Piggy-backing off of my last post, Dr. Thomas believes (and I tend to agree) that there has been a gigantic movement away from fitness to sports. We've gone to caring more about kids who are good at a playing a competitive game, and thinking fitness will follow after they get good at the game. This thinking is backwards. Fitness is a prerequisite to sport; not vice versa. In fact, thinking that fitness follows sport participation creates injuries.
Think of it like this:
A kid should have stability in rotating his/her torso before playing basketball.
A track and field sprinter should have hip mobility and proper core activation before ever participating in a race.
A soccer player should have proper neck stabilization before ever head-butting the ball.
Does this make sense? Competitive sport is great, it drives us and gives us something to do that doesn't seem like exercise, but in a world of unsurpassed sedentary living, we cannot jump to sport without having the fundamentals down. And you'd be blown away at how many do not have these down.
The good news is that because the fundamentals are fundamental, they can get "turned back on," so to speak, quickly and easily.
I had a chance to speak with Dr. Ed Thomas(that's him speaking in the video) for what was supposed to be a short interview on physical fitness and its impact on American Culture as research for a book I'm currently writing, but turned into a nearly two hour discussion as I was blown away by the depth and breadth of his knowledge on the subject. Regarding fitness, Dr. Thomas said he thought over 80% of children didn't know how to move well. That is to say, over 80% of children are not athletic, or physically fit.
"Think of it," he said, "Where do children learn to move? From their parents. We have a nation of parents who can't do anything themselves, and as a result we have clumsy, awkward kids."
Following is one of the most profound things he said in our discussion. "Kids who can't move well, don't."
What does that mean? You know exactly what it means. If you were the awkward kid who couldn't catch a ball, how much did you love gym class where you were singled out as the only kid who couldn't hit a ball with a bat? or catch the dodgeball as it came at your head? or the last kid picked, left slouching, hiding, against that padded wall? Did that make you love exercising? Did you love your body? Did you dedicate even MORE time to getting better at catching the ball? or running? or whatever physical skill? Heck no. You spent time getting better at the things you were good at: school, reading, maybe beating down the jocks at a good video game. But you let your movement go unaddressed. . .
If we want to fight the horrid childhood obesity statistics, movement must addressed. Getting a kid from clumsy to athletic can be taught. I repeat, in bold: Athleticism can be taught. You're not "born" a good runner. You're not "born" physically fit. Yes, you're born short or tall (I know more about this than most), with maybe a more muscular or skinnier build , but the ability to be graceful in whatever physical movement you perform was learned.
Fitness must be addressed head-on, and in early childhood. Don't wait until a child is a clumsy, overweight teenager and then say they should go in the ego-filled gym to pump weights to get rid of the chub. That makes no sense. It's harder that way. Instead, raise up a kid so that he / she has every opportunity to move, and they'll probably love moving, and move a lot.
In worse case scenarios, when a kid hasn't moved well for a long time; bring them to someone who can help diagnose the problem and get it better, one on one, in a specialized manner, free of the gym-class mentality. Trust me, I know; I used to be that chubby kid. Being able to move is one of life's greatest gifts that all should have the opportunity to enjoy.
I worked on a patient recently who was in a car wreck. (She's given me permission to share this -- although I won't be sharing any details.) After her car wreck she saw saw a doctor for eight months of treatment, and in her own words: "It [the symptom] wasn't getting better."
At what point was it not getting better? The last month, the last week?
Somewhere closer to the first two weeks. After two weeks of treatment, not much changed, and yet the patient was treated for SEVEN AND A HALF MONTHS after that, then told she was all better, and let go. Well, the symptoms persisted and came back until they eventually brought her into my office.
After a thorough exam and one treatment, I am almost certain that I can have her at least 50% better in 3 to 5 visits. I've treated stuff like this before.
I don't share this to toot my own horn, I share this out of frustration. Her other doctor, I'm sure, is a super nice guy. I'm sure he's doing the best he can (I have yet to meet a physician of any kind who didn't like getting people better -- that's usually why we get in the business in the first place). The problem here, I believe, is honesty. . . and maybe a little pride. As chiropractors, medical doctors and physical therapists we HAVE to measure, measure honestly, and act according to results. Results are king. If a patient isn't getting better after 3 months of doing the exact same thing over and over again, I'd say that you may have either reached maximum medical improvement, and you're done here, or that you need to send her to someone else so she can get different care for a problem you obviously aren't fixing.
Yes, I know, it sucks when you -- the doctor -- can't help out a patient. It's OK. It's not your fault (hopefully), it's just not your area of expertise. But, if you won't let go, if you keep trying the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result (insanity?), you're most likely doing more harm than good (the other doc in this situation did do this patient harm, she was over-adjusted and now has hypermobile joints and ligaments in the neck).
Again, results are king. Regardless the motive of your doctor --whether he/she is trying to rack up a huge bill or that they really care and are just trying the wrong thing over and over again --, if he/she doesn't get results, change. See someone else.
P.S. To Doctors: It's OK to refer to someone else.
P.P.S. To Doctors of Chiropractic: It's OK to refer to other chiropractors.
P.P.P.S. To Doctors of Chiropractic: It's even OK to refer to medical doctors, physical therapists and surgeons, when necessary.
First, I wanted to apologize for decrease in the amount of posts I've been putting on here. To blame, we had an extremely busy week last week - house calls, hospital visits, working with the FHS track and field team for the first time, and tons of random new people that walked into our office from out of nowhere.
In short, it's been a blessed week. We've been able to help a lot of people that, in all honesty, wouldn't get this kind of treatment anywhere else in the Four Corners. We're grateful. I'm very grateful.
But, I have a goal. To make the information in this website ubiquitous in the the Four Corner's Area. Everyone should know some basic principles of pain, everyone should know about proper nutrition, and everyone should know what lifestyle creates health. Honestly, I want that. I even laminated that goal down and carry it with my everywhere I go in my pocket to remind me of my duty to the people around me.
Nasty Research Regarding Breastfeeding and Vaccination
For some reason, on my this blog, there's a fascination with vaccination. Whenever I post on this subject there's a dramatic spike. Personally, I believe that's due to how closely we associate vaccination with the health of our most prized possession -- our infants.
Please, read this study. At least read the abstract.
Do you understand what they're suggesting there? Here's the last paragraph from the summary, the studies authors' interpretation:
The lower immunogenicity and efficacy of rotavirus vaccines in poor developing countries could be explained, in part, by higher titers of IgA and neutralizing activity in breast milk consumed by their infants at the time of immunization that could effectively reduce the potency of the vaccine. Strategies to overcome this negative effect, such as delaying breast-feeding at the time of immunization, should be evaluated.
That breastfeeding is interfering with a rotavirus vaccine, therefore, perhaps we should stop breastfeeding in order to administer the vaccine. I don't like this interpretation. I don't like it one bit.
What scares me most is the line of thinking this entails. "Here, no... stop that thing you do that [insert: God and /or Millions Upon Millions of Years of Evolution -- what you believe in doesn't matter, my argument still stands] perfected, so we can make this vaccine work."
This type of thinking gets us into trouble. Whether we're Texan evangelical or strong atheist, the human body is an amazing miracle of complexity that we are to learn from and respect, not try to circumvent when we think we know better.
New research suggests that diet may help alleviate ADHD. Up your omega-3s, and your ADHD seems to disappear. No $&*%? Sorry for the excessive punctuation, but let's be honest here. How long have "quacks" been saying... "Dude, if you're having some neuro symptoms, you should check omega-3 fatty acid levels." Now, I understand that with those "quacks" there were some real, straight-up quacks (no quotation marks). I'm in the middle of the healthcare fiasco. I'm in deep. I know the fallacies that come with the vitamin-and-minerals crowd.
But this was legit.
This is legit.
The first health article I ever, EVER wrote was on omega-3 fatty acids. I wrote it when I was still in graduate school, nothing more than a fledgling noob. That was years ago. And now, just now, big pharma is jumping on board. But the problem is you cannot patent a naturally occurring substance. The problem is there's no money in nutrition. That's OK. Twist a chemical bond on an omega-3 fatty acid, and sell it as a perscription. But yeah, those people who sold fish oils years before you were "quacks."
Being on the cutting edge of healthcare has its drawbacks. Many times, you'll be completely wrong and have to turn around and apologize to those patients you've misguided. Heaven knows I have. That's the price you pay for taking the risk that brings advance. It's easy to sit back and be the cynic, pointing out where others went wrong. Waiting until others try, fail, fail again, and only joining the troves after those who risked it all have found the glorious solution. Over, and over, and over, AND OVER again, I see this statement prove true:
"All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; Third, it is accepted as self-evident." -Arthur Schopenhauer
What's wrong with this picture?
Jamie goes to the general practitioner for her lower back pain, who does some testing and thinks it's a kidney problem, who then sends her to nephrologist, the nephrologist, after looking at the kidney says its a muscle problem, who then sends her to the physiatrist, the physiatrist tests some muscles and range of motion, and after not finding much says it's all in her head, then sends her to the psychiatrist who is so booked with regulars getting their weekly fix of legal drugs that he only has time to write her a scrip for depression and walk out the door.
This cost weeks, probably months (maybe year!), of time. It cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. And Jamie still doesn't have an answer. Now, I'm not blaming any of these physicians, they all did their best with their schooling, and I'm not going to provide an answer to Jamie's problem. What I am doing is pointing out a system that is broken by "specialization."
Don't get me wrong, I want the surgeon who has done nothing for the past twenty years but specialize in his/her brain cutting skills when removing something from the inside of my head. I want him to be that good. But when it comes to health, general health -- when it comes to wellness -- specialization doesn't work. Our body didn't read the textbook. It didn't know to separate itself into neat little subcategories. No, the body was formed from the millions of illiterate cells learning to work together in a perfect, infinitely complicated symphony. As a result, when we have a special problem, it's much bigger and more complicated then we think. We have a big picture problem, not a specialist problem.
We need to break down the barriers in human healing and stop treating the biological systems like automobiles, and start treating them more like a gardner would with his plants. We need to realize that the foot bone really is connected to the knee bone, et cetera et cetera, and that a problem in any specialist part of the body most likely changes everything else in the body. We need to treat whole human beings, not parts.
In my first WELL-inar I mentioned that I would provide a few, simple exercises one could do to help prevent and/or alleviate tension-type headache symptoms. My word is my bond.
My tablet came in, and here is the result. The first of what will be many of what I call WELL-inar (webinar+wellness). There will be an accompanying video going over some simple neck exercises as well that I will post.
This came in my mail box this morning (LINK), it's a summary of the results from a recent study comparing neck manipulation/adjustment (that's the service a chiropractor is known for, commonly referred to as "popping" the back; even though it is so much more) plus exercise to drugs.
I love this study for two reasons.
1.) It lumped joint mobilization and exercise together. Although critics of the study may say that is a flaw, I highly disagree. The two, in most cases, should always go together. The natural follow-up to mobilizing joints and tissues of the human body is to provide stability. Exercise does this. Sadly, I feel exercise is a commonly overlooked therapy in most chiropractor's office. This is due to a lot of reasons. Billing, for one. Doc's don't want to have to fight the already irritating insurance companies to get reimbursed for teaching exercises. Time is another thing. Teaching proper movement takes a lot of one on one time that all physicians are short on. Healthcare providers are getting paid less, yet the cost of medical education and overhead for a private practice continues to rise. In order for doctors to stay in business, they have to compensate for the lack in funds with an increase in patients. Lower pay, higher volume. I hate this, it's near impossible to provide healing to a person in 668.7 seconds (see link)! This is a huge problem with our healthcare in general, and a crux of the argument raging inside medicare/medicaid.
2.) It points out a weakness for pharmaceutical intervention with most neck pain. Yet, this is the most common treatment for pain in general. Grab some Aspirin/Ibuprofen/Whatever from the cabinet, chug a glass of water, and out the door you go. This isn't saying drugs are bad, but that for neck pain, they are not your best bet.
If you have neck pain, and adjustments and exercise aren't a part of your treatment, you may be missing the boat. Come see me, you'll be glad you did. And if you don't come see us, stay exercising, stay moving! On a side note, one concern that many have is that adjustment/manipulation of the neck has been linked with tearing of the vertebral artery. Althought this has happened in the past, it is extremely rare, and a skilled chiropractor shouldn't be adjusting that hard anyways. Statistically speaking, you're just as likely to suffer a stroke sitting in a waiting room at your MD's office. PLUS, in any patient that is hesitant about neck adjustments, or I believe to be the slightest bit, even the slightest bit at risk, there are other ways to move joints of the neck without the adjustment, and we use those treatments as well in our office.
Stay healthy, and stay out of pain!
This hit the shelves recently (LINK) (for access to the actual article, look HERE, but this option costs money). Recent research followed up on a previous study in mice that saw that mice who received yearly flu vaccines showed less markers for immunity than those that were unvaccinated -- the exact opposite reaction that should hypothetically happen with vaccination.
The human study showed the same results with children.
I have not been pro flu vaccine for... well... most of my existence. The complexity of the flu virus, and how fast it changes, makes it a tricky sucker to predict. Each year there are hundreds of different variations of the virus that circle the globe. Each year scientists try to predict what should go into the national flu regimen based upon what we see circulating around in other countries. Even then, the flu vaccine only contains a few strains (thankfully), when there's hundreds of different strains out there. This all equals a slim chance of getting the proper immunity for the exact strain of flu that hits your household even if the vaccine works as planned (this research points out that it may not).
In almost all studies, immunity acquired when one comes in contact with the virus in usual circumstances (e.g. someone coughing on you, sharing a spoon, etc.) is better than immunity acquired from a vaccination. That makes sense, the immune system didn't develop with vaccinations; it developed in the battlefield of real life -- in dirt, sweat, mingling blood, unwashed hands, freely shared coughs and sneezes in close knit tribal societies.
My opinion on vaccination in general has changed over my career -- there's data showing benefits for vaccinating and not vaccinating. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, is what I'm trying to say; as well as, think before you inject.