For this blog post, I decided to answer some common questions that I get,and the answers that I give. My answers are based on reasearch and my own experience. For those of you who would like sources, please contact me, and will provide them to you. For those unfamiliar with chiropractic terminology, an adjustment is the main treatment provided by a chiropractor. It involves restoring proper motion and function to joints. I hope you find this informative...
Does chiropractic treatment boost my immune system?
While many chiropractors make this claim, there is no strong evidence to support that claim. There are a few low quality studies that possibly indicate that chiropractic treatment may boost immune function, bigger and better studies need to be done to substantiate these claims. Chiropractic DOES decrease the stress on the musculoskeletal system. There are other strategies that may be more effective in keeping your immune system strong, including proper sleep, proper exercise, and proper nutrition. A chiropractor may help you develop these strategies.
Is chiropractic safe for children?
Chiropractic is very safe for children, especially if it is done by a professional that has training and experience. Parents report a 90% satisfaction rate according to multiple studies.
Do all chiropractic treatments involve twisting, cracking and popping?
Absolutely not. There are many effective chiropractic techniques that involve no twisting cracking or popping. Some involve a specialized table, others use a small handheld instrument.
What are the risks involved with a chiropractic treatment?
As with any medical procedure, chiropractic is not risk-free. The most common risk is soreness after an adjustment. Less frequently, broken bones can occur in those that are prone to broken bones or have other disease processes (like osteoporosis). The most severe risk, also the least likely is a certain type of stroke after a manipulation to the neck. Trained chiropractors decrease the risks by doing a thorough evaluation, screening for the risks, and choosing a technique that is appropriate for your condition.
Can I really have a stroke after a chiropractic treatment to my neck?
You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning, drowning in the bathtub or dying from taking too much aspirin over a long period of time. The chance is close to one in a million according to most research. If you have risk factors, then avoid a hands-on neck adjustment. Request an activator adjustment or different treatment that does not involve rotation of the neck.
What makes the popping sound when you get an adjustment or crack your knuckles?
Most likely, the sound comes from the precipitation of gasses that are dissolved in the fluid in your joints. When the joint capsule expands nitrogen gas that is normal dissolved in the joint fluid escapes. The gas remains in the joint and eventually dissolves into the joint fluid again. This takes about 20 minutes. Until the gas is dissolved, it's difficult to get another crack sound.
Will cracking my knuckles make me get arthritis?
No. This is a common myth.
Once I start going to a chiropractor, do I have to keep going?
Of course not. Many people choose to keep going to the chiropractor because they see the benefit. It's like going to the dentist. You can wait until you have a toothache, which means you have a potentially serious problem that may cost a lot of money to take care of, OR you can go in for regular check-ups and avoid costly fees. If you have a spinal problem, it may take a lot of work and money to take care of the problem. If you get regular checks, you can avoid potential problems and some injuries, certainly saving money in the long run.
Does a chiropractic treatment hurt?
One of the most common side-effects to chiropractic treatment is soreness after an adjustment. This does not always happen, though. Occasionally there is discomfort during an adjustment. Sometimes it does hurt. It really depends on the severity of the problem, how long you have had the problem, and the nature of the problem. Chiropractors do their best to make sure your experience is a good one. Most people respond very well to treatment. There are a small few who don’t. A good chiropractor will know when to adjust and when NOT to adjust.
Does it help?
Although no medical procedure is guaranteed to help, most chiropractic patients do report satisfaction with treatment. It is not like magic, though, and most of the time one single treatment will not miraculously get you better. Very much like antibiotics, you have to complete the treatment plan to notice any type of result. Again, even then, it is never guaranteed because every person is different in their health, needs, and response to treatment. Again, most people do report satisfaction with the treatments.
Is there an age limit to chiropractic?
There is no age limit. A good chiropractor will adapt his techniques based on the age and needs of the patient. A 90-year-old will not be adjusted the same way as a 25 year-old, or an infant.
I am sure there are many other questions and answers. What are some of your questions?
I’m biased. Let’s get that out of the way. As a healthcare professional, I understand the potential risks of the novel coronavirus. As a business owner, I understand the need for income. I know that there are millions of individuals all over the world that have been, are being, and will be affected by this pandemic. I understand that the complications of the virus are not only health-related, but also financially and economically related.
What I would love to say: This whole virus pandemic is one big hoax, a government conspiracy, and we all just need to get on with our lives.
What I am required to say: We need to follow the guidelines of the CDC and WHO.
Here’s my opinions, both personal and professional:
This COVID 19 virus is unlike anything we have seen before, and the implications of it reach almost every aspect of our lives. It is different. It is new. We want answers NOW. But it’s different… it’s new. We are going to have to wait for answers.
Have we over-reacted with the whole stay-at-home/shelter-in-place? I don’t know. What I do know, is that COVID 19 is an infectious disease. This means it is spread from person-to-person. I know that it has been firmly established by scientific literature (epidemiologists study these types of diseases, so they are the experts) that the virus is infectious up to 2 weeks before symptoms manifest. This means you could have, I could have it, and not even know it. IF I have it, and I go about my daily business, I risk spreading the disease to everyone I come in contact with. That’s a lot of people. In addition, if some of those people I come in contact with have the virus, even without symptoms, they could give it to me. Then I take it home, and give it to my family, and they, in-turn, have the opportunity to spread it to others over the next two weeks. Since the symptoms don’t manifest for so long, it is so easy for a disease like this to spread. However, if I limit my contact with other people, by staying home, I decrease the risk of spreading the disease, or getting the disease. And if everyone does this, they are also decreasing the risk of spreading and getting the disease. So, this method works.
The problem is, I need to work, you need to work, we depend on others working to keep our lives comfortable. I understand why people protest the stay-at-home order. I wanted to travel. I had the plane tickets and the hotels paid for, the whole trip was planned. I cancelled all of my plans. I could have been very selfish and kept my plans, putting my family, friends, colleagues, and clients at risk. I CHOSE not to. I don’t have to follow anyone’s advice. I don’t have to follow the “rules”. I choose to, because I respect others. I don’t want to put anyone at risk. But that’s just me. I did close my office. As a healthcare professional, my business is considered essential. I still closed my office, offering telemedicine instead. Does it hurt my finances? Sure. But to me, it’s not worth putting others at risk.
Many of my colleagues may consider closing my office as a dis-service to my clients. They say that chiropractic boosts the immune system and may prevent COVID 19. They may be right, but I don’t see enough high quality evidence to make those claims. There are some preliminary studies, but not enough. I can help my clients by giving nutrition advice, which may benefit them. Any healthy habits will help combat this virus, and other infections. But, I can do that via telemed without putting anyone at risk. I feel good about my decision because I have looked at the science, and I have tried to look past my own biases.
Again, these are only my personal thoughts. I think this post was more for me to clear my head than for anyone else. Thanks for reading.
In the last blog post, I discussed the difference between whole food supplements and multivitamins.
What about the extra cost... Is the extra cost of these vitamins and mineral supplements worth it? That really depends on the quality of the supplement. For example… Let’s pretend I need calcium supplementation. I go to the health food store and find a calcium supplement. I look at the ingredients list and find that it contains calcium carbonate. Does it work? Yes. It’s calcium. The studies that show the efficacy of calcium use this form. For a little more money, I can get a different calcium supplement that uses calcium citrate. Calcium citrate is more soluble (meaning it’s easier for your body to get it), but there is less calcium. Calcium citrate doesn’t need to be taken with food. Calcium carbonate does. The best source of calcium is dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables. The best calcium supplement for the money is calcium lactate.
A second example: B-vitamins. B-complex vitamins are very important to your health, and they affect almost every system in your body. A whole food supplement will contain foods that are rich in the B-complex vitamins. They should be in a base of liver powder because you need to support the liver to get anything done. Cocarboxylase is the ready-to-go-form of B1, so make sure that is in your product. Dessicated duodenum helps your body get the B1 easier, so it is a nice addition to any B-complex supplement.
Whole food supplements don’t have to be expensive, and in the case of supplements, more expensive does not necessarily mean more effective. Again, look at the labels to see what’s in them.
Many companies sell whole food supplements, and some claim to sell whole food supplements, but don’t. It’s best to look at the labels--are you getting the idea yet? If you can identify food products in your supplement (carrots, beets, liver, mushrooms) then you can be sure you’re getting a whole food supplement. My favorite company (if you don’t know by now) is Standard Process. They maintain high quality supplements that start with high quality soil, environmentally-friendly farming methods, nutrient-saving processing techniques, and good pricing.
Standard Process makes sure that the efficacy of their supplements is high because they only sell through licenced health care professionals. This way, the doctor is involved. The doctor can help you determine your deficiencies and your need for supplementation. The doctor can help you choose what you would benefit from most.
Nutrition is an important part of my practice. I choose supplements that not only help with neuro-musculo-skeletal complaints, but also support whole-body health. Please understand, however, that the FDA has not evaluated any statements regarding any supplements. Also, supplementation should not be a substitute for medical treatment, if you need such services. I am happy to work with your medical doctor or other health care professional to provide you with the best possible care. Sometimes if you correct deficiencies in your diet, you may be able to reduce the amount of medication you are taking (again, work with your medical doctor). If you have health complaints that you think could be helped with supplementation, please contact my office to schedule an in-office visit or a telehealth visit.
What are whole food supplements? Why are they important? What is the difference between a whole food supplement and a multivitamin? Are they expensive? How do I know which one is the best? Where can I get them? These are some of the questions I will try to answer in this post.
Humans have always gotten their nutrition from food. Early humans were hunters and gatherers. Then humans developed agriculture. They still consumed plant and animal products for their nutrition. Very recently, humans developed processed and refined foods. These processed and refined foods, though delicious, are severely lacking in nutrients. We have developed large scale farming operations in order to provide fresh food to the masses. Many of these farming methods result in nutrient-deficient soil--which translates to nutrient-deficient produce. Human technology has led to genetically-modified-organisms (GMOs) as a food
source, which in and of itself is a controversial issue, worthy of a separate blog post.
Because of the decreased nutrition of food, many of us have turned to vitamins, multivitamins, or other vitamin and mineral supplements. This is fine, but unfortunately, the only things that are in these are vitamins (or minerals) by themselves. They still work, they are still vitamins and minerals. BUT, they are missing a lot of the phytonutrients, factors, cofactors and other micronutrients that help your body get and use the vitamins and minerals efficiently. Remember, the best source of vitamins and minerals is whole food. Our bodies are perfectly adapted to get nutrition in this way.
This takes us to whole food supplements. We know the food that we eat may be deficient in vitamins and minerals. We know our bodies use food more effectively than vitamin and mineral supplements. Whole food supplements are made out of food. They don’t simply isolate the vitamins and minerals. Whole food supplements contain all of the factors, cofactors, micronutrients, and phytonutrients (known and unknown) because they are food. That is the difference between a whole food supplement and a multivitamin.
I will discuss costs in the next blog post. In the meantime, if you have questions please contact me.
What is detox? Is it necessary? Is it a good idea? What is the goal? Is it a scam? Does it work?
These are all legitimate questions that should be asked. I have seen many “detox” products that make claims that sound too good to be true… most of the time, that is the case. So how do we sort through the legitimate claims and those that are trying to scam you? Well, it helps to answer the questions above.
What is detox?
That really depends on who you ask. It helps to know a little about human anatomy and physiology to answer this question. So, without getting too complicated, I will explain a little bit about the organs that assist in getting rid of the “bad” stuff that comes from what we eat, breathe, absorb, and come into contact with.
The most important “detox” organ is the liver. The liver performs hundreds of functions. This includes processing chemicals that are harmful to us in a way that our body get rid of it. We all know what happens when we drink too much alcohol. We all know that it takes time to sober up. This is the liver at work, clearing the blood of the alcohol, and getting rid of it. So, really, it’s the liver that engages in detox--not a pill, not herbs, not carbs, not a water diet (although water is necessary for all body processes), etc. In addition, too much abuse to the liver will damage it, possibly irreversibly so, decreasing its power to detoxify and perform all of its other vital functions.
Kidneys help with detoxification, too. The kidneys act as a kind of filter. They keep as much water inside of your body, while ridding your body of water-soluble wastes.
Your intestines absorb nutrients, and leave the waste products, which pass through your body. They absorb water from the food we eat. They move the waste products through. Without a healthy gut, toxins can build up. Many detox products focus solely on this. While digestion and gut health are very important, if we neglect the other major detoxifying organs, we are missing a vital part of detox.
Your skin, through sweat, can release some toxins. Skin health is important, and it plays a minor role in detox, but it should not be the focus.
Other organs are also involved, but they play more of a support role, so I will not focus on them.
Is detox necessary?
That also depends on who you ask. Remember, your body has organ systems that detox for you, so it is important. Without these organs, you would die. You don’t need a detox pill, or a detox diet. What you do need is a diet that will support the healthy function of your organs that engage in detox. You can’t expect your body to do its job if you don’t feed it what it needs. Your body does a remarkable job in surviving on relatively little, but it works better when you feed it correctly.
Is detox a good idea?
It is a better idea to eat good foods, and avoid unhealthy foods. Sometimes you can give your body a boost by feeding it a special diet that is geared to support the organs. If this is what you mean by detox, then yes it is a good idea. If you starve your body by going on a water diet (or something similar that involves very low calories) then, no, it’s not a good idea.
What is the goal in detox?
For me, the goal in a detoxification program is to support the organs of detox: the liver (mainly), kidneys, gallbladder, intestines, and skin. For some the goal may be weight loss. I don’t think that this should be the goal in detox. A good detoxification program may result in mild weight loss, but it should not be the goal. A good weight loss program may include a diet that will support detoxification, but should also include regular exercise and proper sleep.
Is detox a scam?
Sadly, there are many scams, fad diets, false claims, and ineffective “natural” remedies that are available for purchase almost everywhere you look. There are a few products out there that might actually work, but they are far and few in between. It is important to find a product that involves supporting your organs that detoxify. If you can eat the proper foods, that is the best way to detoxify. Many of the foods we eat are deficient in the trace minerals that are required for more effective detoxification. Most supplements don’t do the trick, either. A whole food supplement will be much more effective. There are a few companies out there that produce whole food supplements. My favorite is Standard Process.
Does detox work?
It does if you do it right. Remember, we want to support the body and its organs. We want to feed the body good food. Your overall health will determine how effective your body can engage in those processes--not only detoxification, but overall effectiveness in all of its processes. If you would like some guidance on the healthy way to detoxify, please contact me. In the meantime, eat lots of green leafy vegetables that support the liver like kale and beet greens, and reduce your consumption of foods that hurt the liver like alcohol, refined sugars like candy and soda, and certainly drink enough water!
Your immune system is complicated. It involves your genetics, blood, internal organs, trace minerals, major minerals, vitamins, chemistry, and more. Is it possible to boost your immune system?
Unfortunately, there is not a magic pill that can boost your immune system. There is not a supplement that can take that will guarantee that you will not get sick. There are many companies out there that would have you believe otherwise, and they have great marketing teams that make promises that are too good to be true.
Having said that, there are some things that you can do to stay healthy, which will help your immune system work its best.
These ideas are simple, but it is not necessarily easy. You need a support system. Contact me or another health care professional that provides evidence-based treatment. Together, we can come up with strategies that will help you get healthy and strengthen the power of your immune system.
For a more thorough overview of your immune system, visit the Harvard medical website.
There are many causes of headaches. Some are stress related, others may be due to allergies. They may be vascular in nature, or due to organ dysfunction. Dehydration could be the cause. To make things even more confusing, it could be a combination of these, or something different all together. Headaches can be mild or severely debilitating.
Headaches are very common. 50% to 75% of the world population will have experience at least one headache in the last year. 30% or more of those are reported migraines.
The problem with headaches and treatment:
Most of the population do not consider headaches to be a serious problem. After all, they are not life threatening and most are easily treatable with over-the-counter medications or self care. Many governments fail to acknowledge the burden of headaches in the home or workplace. Most doctors may not be properly trained on the proper diagnosis and treatment of headaches. Many individuals with headache disorders are not diagnosed or treated.
Headaches are not unbeatable. There are ways of identifying the cause of headaches. Once the cause is identified, the proper treatment becomes apparent. Sometimes, it takes several health care professionals working together, including chiropractors, dietitians, and neurologists to successfully treat complicated headaches. Most, however, are relatively easy to treat.
For more information on headaches, visit the world health organization (WHO) website.
If you suffer from headaches, let me help. There is no need to suffer. Contact me for more information or if you would like an in-depth evaluation of your headaches.
Bradley Shepherd, DC
Bradley Shepherd, DC was born and raised in Utah. He graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in August 2008. He has practiced in Utah, Texas and New Mexico. He currently practices in Las Cruces, and occasionally in El Paso. He has experience with auto injury, pediatric treatment, sports injury and nutrition. He particularly enjoys the nutrition aspect of his practice, and practices telemedicine for all residents of New Mexico and Texas. When he is not practicing chiropractic or nutrition, you can find him playing his guitar. He plays with a local rock band. He lives in Las Cruces with his fiancee and his two children. He enjoys helping others with their health and wellness.