Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘General Health’

Stop Discrimination!!! Stop Killing Medicare Patients!!!

Posted by Dr. Gray on Friday, November 6, 2015

2760970STOP DISCRIMINATION!!! Did you know… Medicare patients continue to be denied quality, affordable, and safe treatment options?

  • Medicare requires, but WON’T PAY FOR, an examination… when performed by their chiropractic doctor.
  • Medicare requires, but WON’T PAY FOR, x-rays… when prescribed by their chiropractic doctor.
  • Medicare WON’T PAY FOR physical therapy… when prescribed by their chiropractic doctor.
  • Medicare WON’T PAY FOR any services by a specialist… if their chiropractic doctor referred them.
  • Medicare WON’T PAY FOR any imaging (CT scans, MRI, Ultrasound, etc.)… when prescribed by their chiropractic doctor.
  • Medicare WON’T PAY FOR ANYTHING performed or prescribed by a chiropractic doctor other than a chiropractic adjustment… but they’ll pay an untrained medical doctor (Manipulation: 835 hours – 0 hours… compare here) 400% MORE for the same service… that they’ve never trained to do.

It’s absolutely ridiculous. The greatest shortage in the American health care system today, is primary care providers. How often do you hear someone say they can’t get in to see their medical doctor for 3+ weeks? All this while 60,000+ chiropractic doctors could manage a huge percentage of those primary care visits, if only Medicare would allow it. Instead, we have to first refer to their PCP, who then refers to an imaging center, back to the PCP, then to the specialist… and on and on. Keep in mind, every step in this progression equals another out-of-pocket copay for the patient and more time without the care they need.

By far, the most common reason for a visit to the medical doctor is musculoskeletal pain. Sciatica, back pain, neck/shoulder pain, bursitis, tendinitis, tension headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. Study after study continues to prove that chiropractic care is the most effective, cheapest, and safest form of treatment for musculoskeletal complaints.

  • Chiropractic doctors take 549 hours more than medical doctors in orthopedics.
  • Chiropractic doctors take 193 hours more than medical doctors in anatomy.
  • Chiropractic doctors take 201 hours more than medical doctors in radiology and diagnostic imaging.
  • Chiropractic doctors take 220 hours more than medical doctors in rehabilitation and exercise. (MD’s take zero)

Chiropractic doctors are recognized and licensed in all 50 states and around the world as physicians. Regardless of etiology, they are trained to take a detailed consultation and history followed by an examination when dealing with their patients just like all other physicians. They are trained to diagnose the most likely cause of a complaint, and then to determine the next proper course of action… whether that is further testing, further imaging, referral, or advise treatment.

The discrimination against chiropractic by the insurance companies and Medicare is profit-driven, and is costing patients quality of life in addition to money. Our aging population deserves the best health care this nation has to offer. They will continue to take advantage of us until we band together and demand change. The American Chiropractic Association is spearheading this process and has launched a petition that simply asks legislators to correct the inequity in Medicare. Please take one minute and add your name to this list, and then share it with a friend.

Dr. Gray … PLEASE SHARE THIS AROUND!!! Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Reddit, E-mail, everywhere! Our Medicare patients deserve it!

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health, Political | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cholesterol Meds… Yes or No?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

As a chiropractor, nutritionist, and acupuncturist, I often get questions from my patients that, I think, are designed to pit my answer against that of their medical doctor. Let me start this by stating that I don’t think this is the way we should approach these kinds of questions. Your health care team should all be questioned with an open mind, and their answers considered, before making an informed health decision. Your health care professionals all come from different backgrounds, philosophies, and different specialties. Take advantage of the knowledge you are paying them for, and make the decision that is best for YOU. Don’t forget, the original Latin term for doctor referred to “teacher,” not dictator. Your health, methods of treatment, and all activities and decisions that affect your outcomes are your choice… and responsibility.

I’ve said for years that with prescription rights, statin medications are the one class of pharmaceuticals that I would never consider prescribing for my patients. However, with further research, my position has changed… slightly. First, we must define what is our purpose for considering statin use. Is it to lower cholesterol? No… cholesterol levels are merely one set of numbers used to evaluate how our body is functioning. The theory is that lowering one’s bad cholesterol levels will decrease one’s risk of death, heart disease or stroke. Therefore, the use of statin medications must be determined based on weighing how well it achieves those goals versus the risk of negative effects as a result of taking them.

Ultimately, the decision lies with the patient and I feel it would be my responsibility to clearly define the pros and cons of statin use. For example, I would point out that 1 of every 50 people who use statins develop diabetes. I would also point out that 1 in 10 develop muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis). About 1 of every 100 develop significant liver damage. Those are pretty strong negatives.

Now for the examination of proven benefits… For those with no history of heart disease,

  • 98% saw no benefit
  • 0% were helped by being saved from death
  • 0.96% were helped by preventing a heart attack
  • 0.65% were helped by preventing a stroke

For those with known heart disease,

  • 96% saw no benefit
  • 1.2% were helped by being saved from death
  • 2.6% were helped by preventing a repeat heart attack
  • 0.8% were helped by preventing a stroke

As a public health measure, this suggests that statins may have an identifiable effect, because while the chances of any one individual being affected are small (19 out of 20 people who took the drugs for five years saw no effect), when one million people who already have a history of heart disease take them roughly 45,000 people saw some benefit, while another 6,000 may see a harm.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior scientist at MIT, believes statins should never be given to anyone, but being generous one might justify the only two subgroups of people that might benefit from statins as:

  • Those at very high risk of heart attack (based NOT on your cholesterol levels, but on your heart attack risk factors)
  • Those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes you resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol

If you are not in one of those two categories, statin drugs are likely an unnecessary health risk you’re better off avoiding — and you definitely want to avoid the trap of taking them to lower your cholesterol when your cholesterol is actually well within a healthy range.

A better question would be: What are the alternatives to statins that will optimize my cholesterol levels and decrease my risk of heart disease, and stroke?

The most effective way to optimize your cholesterol profile and prevent heart disease is via diet and exercise. It’s actually quite simple too, as 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease at the same time.

The primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol, without the need for statin drugs that may damage your liver and your heart, include:

  • Reduce, with the plan of eliminating grains and fructose from your diet. This is the number one way to optimize your insulin levels, which will have a positive effect on not just your cholesterol, but also reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease, and most other chronic diseases. Use a nutrition plan to help you determine the ideal diet for you, and consume a good portion of your food raw.
  • There is also very good evidence that following a “Mediterranean Diet” (interesting because this diet emphasizes whole grains… be sure to choose the particular nutritional plan that fits for your metabolism) is more successful at normalizing cholesterol levels and decreasing heart disease than using statin medications, and achieves it without any negative effects.
  • Get plenty of high quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (trans fats, vegetable oils) to balance out your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.
  • Include heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
  • Exercise daily. Make sure you incorporate peak fitness exercises, which also optimizes your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
  • Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Joe Montana and Joe the Plumber… What do they have in common?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beyond the obvious of having the name “Joe,” what do Joe Montana and Joe the Plumber have in common?

Joe Montana is a retired world class athlete and is considered by many to be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Life as a pro athlete may seem all fun and games, but 95% of it is hard work. From high school, through his career at Notre Dame, 13 years with the San Francisco 49’ers, and two years with the Kansas City Chiefs, there were daily workouts and hard exertion. Think about that for a second. Most of the time, all we see of pro athletes is three hours of a game once or twice per week. We watch and are amazed at their ability and strength. My question to you is, “Why should we be so amazed?” Look at the amount of work and effort they put in day in and day out when the cameras aren’t running. They run, they stretch, they lift, they walk, they eat well, they drink tons of water, … they do whatever they can to play better and avoid injury. Of course their skills are more efficient and they have fewer injuries! However, for every Joe Montana, there are 100’s of others who are working just as hard without the fame, without the glory, and without the fat paycheck. Thousands of athletes around the world will never achieve the level of success or be as good as Joe Montana, but they’re willing to work every bit as hard for the same reasons… to play better and avoid injury.

Now, let’s look at Joe the Plumber. Honestly, I just chose that name because it was recognizable but I could just as easily said Scott the Carpenter, Mary the Warehouse Queen, or John the Baker. The point is that regardless of what profession we choose, there is hard work involved. Every day, we have responsibilities that require us to physically exert ourselves. Instead of throwing a football, maybe it’s swinging a hammer. Instead of catching a pass, maybe it’s lifting a box to that third shelf. Instead of running 50 yards, maybe you have to stand on your feet for eight hours. If you think about it, we’re all athletes. We’re all playing this game of life… are you playing to win? Are you willing to work as hard as you can to play better and avoid injury? Just like professional athletes, we must also consider proper diet, regular stretching, exercise, and practice. If we want to live successful lives, we must be willing to do what successful people do.

As a part of his regular health regimen, Joe Montana regularly visited his chiropractor. He was seen on live television getting an adjustment before one of his four Superbowl wins, and has publicly praised chiropractic for keeping him healthy and helping him recover from injuries faster. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots recently said, “Chiropractic just makes you feel so much better. When I walk out of the clinic, I feel like I’m about three inches taller and everything’s in place. And as long as I see the chiropractor, I feel like I’m one step ahead of the game.” Tiger Woods, Evander Holyfield, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Barry Bonds… all adamant that chiropractic is essential to optimal health and fitness.

If chiropractic can help the best of the best, think of how much more it can do for the rest of us.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Back To SANITY!

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to Sanity web graphic

Click Here For Details!!!

Back to school this… back to school that… go here… go there… buy these supplies… need new shoes… pants are too short this year… you want me to bring HOW MANY boxes of kleenex this year?… these markers are okay, those aren’t… of course, last year’s backpack just won’t do… AAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Sound familiar? Well, everybody else can help you with your mandatory “back to school” duties… we’re going to help in another way:

BACK TO SANITY! Now that the kids are in school, the shopping is (hopefully) done, and you can take a deep breath… it’s finally MOM TIME! Dads, too! Grandma & Grandpa count! In fact, we’re all included. Summer vacation has come to a close. Everyone is getting back in the groove, and it’s time to reward yourself for surviving another hectic year. From now through the end of September, purchase one massage and you can get  the second one of equal or lesser value for HALF PRICE! Get them for yourself, your loved ones, and co-workers… you deserve it! This applies to gift certificates, as well.

See you soon!

– Dr. Gray

Posted in Fibromyalgia, General Back Pain, General Chiropractic, General Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Simplest Workout

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fresh from our “Keep It Simple” mindset, is this recommendation as to the most simple way to get in shape, lose weight, increase energy, etc. There are only four steps (like I said, SIMPLE). Are you ready? Let’s go:

  1. Stop Using Machines – Workout machines are great for isolating an individual muscle group if you have a specific goal in mind. For example, if your only goal is to build a great big bicep, then use the curl machine which will isolate the bicep and brachialis muscle… also know as the “Curl Machine.” However, doing curls with free weights, dumbbells, curl bars, etc. makes you use many other muscles to stabilize and balance. This means you fire more muscles, burn more calories, strengthen more small stabilization fibers… ultimately, you get a ton more out of your workout than if you isolate with machines. How about another quick, simple tip? Fill an old gallon milk jug with water and you’ve got the perfect homemade dumbbell complete with handle that weighs just over 8 pounds.
  2. Water, Water, Water – Being dehydrated MAKES YOU FAT. Muscle glycogen (sugar energy created from carbohydrates you eat) is stored along with water. For every gram of glycogen in the muscle, there should be three of water. Dehydration forces glucose to remain in the bloodstream instead of muscle until it reaches the liver for overflow storage. When the liver is full, the glycogen (sugar) has no place to go but your fat cells. Think about it… this goes for ALL of the toxins we put in our body. The liver can only work so fast. Once it is at capacity, the only option is to store things that need processing until they can be dealt with. Water facilitates this process. Picture trying to flush a full toilet with no water in it… that’s what you’re doing if you’re not hydrating properly.
  3. Set a specific goal, and stick with it – Don’t be so vague. “I want to lose weight… I want to get stronger… I want to be healthy.” Yeah, yeah… platitudes. Be specific. “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next two months.” … or, “I want to bench press 100 pounds in three months.” … or, “I want to run a 5K in six months.” Usually, small achievable steps are more motivating and successful than big lofty goals set too far out in the future. Always keep the big goals in mind, but focus on the step in front of you.
  4. Work the Core – Not just sit-ups and crunches. Work the whole thing. Get a swiss ball, play tennis, do some planks,… whatever. Just make sure you integrate the whole core in your routine. Nobody wants a six-pack ab… that looks like it’s surrounded by a giant hot dog bun. Not only will it look silly, but it’s incredibly unstable.

Look… we’ve had this discussion on this blog time and time again. Doing the right thing doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to involve expensive diet plans, weird foods, personal trainers, boot camps, videos, etc. Do these things help? Sure! If they are what motivates you. However, in the end, they all have a common core of tenets. Eat good food, burn more calories than you take in, drink water, and be active. BOOM!

Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Stretches & Exercises | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can Chiropractors Help Stuff That Aren’t In the Back?… or, What Is “Chiropractic?”

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, September 16, 2013

Got a great call this morning that got me to thinking… Backstory: A friend of mine, whose wife has been a patient for a couple years, called and told me, “Ya know… my knee has been killing me for a long time and I never really thought that you might be able to do something about it.” Following this call, I have two conclusions.

First, I am grateful that he finally asked. The mere fact that he called meant that he had either been told by someone else that he should ask me, or he finally had a epiphany that he should ask if I could help.

Second, I am concerned that after 118 years, the general public still thinks that chiropractors are just back doctors. Seriously, this gentleman has been a good friend of mine for more than five years. And yet, facing a long-standing and significant condition that was extra-spinal, he hadn’t thought to ask me about it until now.

So, let’s get down to it. “Chiropractic” in it’s derivative form means “done by the hand.” It doesn’t mean done on the back, or done on the neck. Historically, Chiropractic has become known as a method of healing that values and encourages the natural healing ability of the body, and the optimization of the body’s ability to do so. Throughout the past century, our profession has proven time and again that we are capable of treating and improving the health of millions of patients with a myriad of conditions. Plantar Fascitis? Check. Achilles’ Tendinitis? Check. Chondromalacia Patella? Check. Sprained Meniscus? Check. Osgood-Schlatter’s? Check. Hip bursitis? Check. Herniated disk? Check. Menstrual Cramps? Check. Constipation? Check. Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Check. Kidney Stones? Check. Gall Bladder congestion? Check. Difficulty breathing? Check. High Blood Pressure? Check. High Cholesterol? Check. Overweight? Check. Thyroid Dysfunction? Check. Common Cold? Check. Rotator Cuff Tear? Check. Tennis Elbow? Check. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Check. Trigger Finger? Check. Torticollis? Check. Cluster Migraine? Check. Tension Headache? Check. …. Shall I go on?

Have all of these conditions been helped and treated by a chiropractic adjustment? Yes and no. If you subscribe to the “straight chiropractor’s” definition of chiropractic, then chiropractors are nothing more than technicians who pop joints. If you subscribe to the “mixer chiropractor’s” definition of chiropractic, then you define the adjustment as the only crucial element to the treatment plan that is assisted by complimenting, external, therapeutic procedures.

However, a realistic definition that complements the true and original derivative “done by the hand,” does not have to explicitly imply that the single most important factor of our care is a physical adjustment. I suggest that a more accurate correlation refers to our ability to take “a hands-on approach.” It is my opinion that, as with all doctors, it is not our actual “hands” or the service we provide that is our most important asset. Our most important asset, and what makes us worthy of being doctors, is our intellect. It is our ability to examine our patients, have a thorough consultation regarding current symptoms and history, and ultimately arrive at a working diagnosis.

Arriving at a working diagnosis allows us to then use our intellect, education, and experience to suggest an appropriate treatment plan. With our knowledge of how the body works, we know the power and outcomes secondary to the chiropractic adjustment, therefore we often incorporate that in our treatment plan. However, we also recommend proper diet, exercise, diagnostic imaging, blood tests, appropriate supplementation, physiotherapy, and rehabilitative therapy. We apply supportive tape or bracing to damaged joints and muscles. We use kinesiotape to improve circulation and minimize further injury. AND, we refer to our health care counterparts when necessary for concurrent and/or more appropriate care.

There is a significant, country-wide push right now for an expanded role for chiropractors in the health care market. For those who wish to go through the additional training and certification, some wish to have the ability to incorporate more traditional Western treatments, such as pharmaceutical intervention. I, for one, don’t have a problem with that. By our very nature and philosophy, the natural and innate power of the human body to heal itself will still be respected. The chiropractic adjustment will still remain a critical therapeutic measure that we can provide to our patients. However, we must not ignore the benefits that can be achieved through the provision of non-traditional methods of treatment. The world is not flat, and sometimes antibiotics are necessary. The Earth is not the center of the Universe, and sometimes muscle relaxants assist in the healing process.

So, in conclusion, chiropractors are not “back doctors.” We are not “neck doctors.” If an individual chiropractor wants to limit his practice to a specialty practice dealing only with backs, or necks, or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or headaches, or whatever… more power to ya! However, it is unfortunate that some would seek to pigeon-hole the entire profession to their own desires. It is time to expand our practice models, and provide for our patients regardless of historical traditions. It is time to join the 21st century and encourage the freedom to grow and offer more to our patients. It is time to inform the public that we can treat knees, ankles, ear infections, stomach problems, shoulder injuries, chronic pain conditions, and more. It is time to be the first doctor that comes to mind when ANY health condition presents itself.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health, Other Pain Conditions, Political | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Eat… Think… and Be Healthy… aka: Use Your Freakin’ Head

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Let’s face it… we all talk about “getting in shape,” or “eating better,” or “losing a little weight,” or “getting a little more exercise,” or “drinking more water,” or “going for a walk,” or blah, blah, blah.

So, why is it that Americans are fatter than ever? Why are we less healthy than previous generations? Why is our life expectancy decreasing? Why is prescription medication use at an all-time high? If those prescriptions work so well, why do the rates of heart disease and diabetes continue to rise? We live with these facts… despite a multi-billion dollar fitness and self-help industry, and by far the highest health care costs in the world. WHY?!

Because, like politicians, everyone has an excuse.

I’m too busy. That doesn’t taste good. It hurts when I exercise. I’ll start next week. I was under a lot of stress. Those Pringles just looked too good. We had company. It was a holiday. No one else will do it with me. I’ve tried before. I don’t know where to start. On and on and on, you can keep talking yourself out of it and making excuses, but don’t kid yourself. You’re not fooling anyone… least of all yourself. So, enough is enough. The excuses stop now. Here’s how we’re going to do it:

  1. Use your freakin’ head. The first step towards true improvement is to start thinking honestly. You’ll never make anything better by lying to yourself. Be honest with yourself when you choose Froot Loops instead of eggs. Don’t make excuses when you choose chips instead of an apple. These are YOUR choices. With very few exceptions, if you are unhealthy, it is a direct result of the choices you have made and continue to make. Don’t flit through your day ignoring the consequences of your choices. You are not a politician. You’re not going to be able to do whatever you want, blame it on someone else, and let someone else pay for it. It’s on you. You are the one with high blood pressure. You are the one who ends up with diabetic neuropathy. Think.
  2. It’s not rocket science. Too often, I hear people who put off making life changing decisions merely because they’re so damned confused about their options. Low fat or good fats? Gluten-free or Mediterranean? Paleo or HCG? Salt-free or blazing spice? Weight Watchers or Slim-4-Life? At the end of the day, all of that is just hub-bub. If it helps you to follow one of those “diets,” then pick ONE and have at it. However, for the most part all you need to do is follow Step #1. Use your head. You know what’s healthy and what’s not. Don’t worry about it so much and just start making smarter choices. You know when you’re eating too much… put the fork down! You know when you shouldn’t eat something… don’t do it. You know when you’re being lazy… get off your butt.
  3. Two simple food rules. First, if it’s white, there is almost no nutritional value to it. And don’t let them fool you with food coloring. Read the ingredients and if you see “bleached flour,” it’s a white food that they’ve doctored up. For a more clear discussion of what to look for on labels, click here. Second, the faster a food will rot usually means more nutritional value. For example, fresh tomatoes that will last a week are much healthier than canned tomatoes that will last for three years. The hierarchy is thus: Fresh > Frozen > Canned > Boxed.
  4. A coffee cup will help you shed pounds. A standard coffee cup is 8 ounces. Now that we’ve decided to eat better foods, drink one coffee cup of water about a half hour before each meal. Not only will you increase your water intake for the day, but you’ll diminish your appetite making it easier to eat proper amounts. Stop over-eating! And, by the way… Never, never, never “Supersize” your meal at the drive-thru. It’s ridiculous and unnecessary.
  5. Place a Swiss ball in your front room. Sit on it while watching TV. You’ll soon find yourself doing shallow bounces, which means you’re contracting and relaxing muscles. This is good for the core, good for balance, and is a simple calorie burner that keeps the hypothalamus burning. As you get comfortable, start throwing in some clockwise rotations followed by counter-clockwise rotations. During commercials, roll down and do some crunches. When you show comes back on, roll back up and enjoy. Before you know it, you’ve done 30-60 minutes of exercise.

How’s that for an easy start? No more excuses! When in doubt, refer to Rule #1… Use Your Freakin’ Head.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Health, Nutrition | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Most Powerful Documentary You’ll Ever Watch

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Many of you may have heard about a recently released documentary called, “Doctored.” I finally got to see this video within the last couple days and I have to say… I was much more impressed than I expected to be. Most often, documentaries are produced with an agenda and/or a message in mind, and this one is no different. However, too often those documentaries fall extremely short in actual data and truth in reporting. I’m happy to announce that this is NOT one of them. Although there is a good deal of anecdotal stories, this documentary had a ton of statistically verifiable evidence in support of the underlying message. Many of you that know me, know that I’m not an “Anti-Med” chiropractor. Yes, I’m natural first, but I recognize that there are times and conditions that warrant concurrent pharmaceutical intervention. That said, this documentary is essential watching to anyone interested in true “health care” as opposed to “sick care.”

I want to thank Dr. Mercola for making this video available for free on his website for a limited time. Watch it now, before it’s taken down. Once it’s taken down… it’s worth the few bucks to order a copy on DVD.  Keep your eyes peeled, because I’m sure it will be available on pay-per-view at some point, too. Here is the link to the free video on Dr. Mercola’s site: Click here to go to Dr. Mercola’s site with the free video.

– Dr. Gray

Posted in General Chiropractic, General Health, Other Pain Conditions, Political, Prescription Medicines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Back To School…

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August/September… Summer is winding down… We’re getting the kids back to school. We can learn a lot from our children…

They go through their summer, sleeping in until noon, only waking to grab the phone to see who’s text messages they’ve missed. Once they’ve replied and made potential plans for the coming evening of blissful lack of responsibility, they grab a bite to eat and flip on the tube or Facebook and “check in.” However, once school starts back up (perhaps with a little coaxing), they’re up at 6:00 AM fixing their hair, organizing the backpack, grabbing a bowl of cereal, and catching the bus or driving themselves to school. In short, once they recognize that it’s time to get the job done; once they are expected to be responsible; once they know there is no alternative… they just do it. They may not be happy about it. They may complain and rebel. They may resist… but, in large part, they do it. Decision made, this is what has to be done, let’s go.

Now… as an adult… who are you responsible to? Let’s put this in perspective.

How many of you know and acknowledge that “It’s time to quit smoking?” … “It’s time to start exercising?” … “It’s time to start taking care of myself?” But who is there to kick your lazy butt into gear? The answer is: YOU. We teach our kids that we all have responsibilities, and when it needs to be done, you just do it. We EXPECT them to honor their responsibilities and do their chores. There are consequences if they don’t… but, do we hold ourselves to the same level of accountability? If you demand that your student get up and go to school, but continue with habits that you KNOW you shouldn’t be doing, then you’re a hypocrite. How can you expect to hold their respect, if you won’t practice what you preach? What kind of lesson are you teaching them; or, example are you setting if you tell them one thing then do another?

Let’s take this time to show our children what it really means to be responsible. Let’s make the decision that the time is now to “get it done.” No more “New Year’s Resolutions…” no more, I’ll quit ____ once I turn 40… 50… etc.” Do it now.

We’re here to help. At Gray Chiropractic, we have three doctors and a massage therapist on staff to help you achieve your health care goals. Combined, all of our doctors have over 30 years of experience in dealing with sports injuries, addictions, painful conditions due to years of hard work, acute injuries, chronic pains, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, lower back pain, etc. We have helped patients from the grandmother struggling with duties at church to the infant with a bad case of colic. We’ve helped people quit smoking. We’ve helped people lose weight. We’ve relieved years of pain. Traditional chiropractic care, acupuncture, supplementation, nutritional counseling, strength and conditioning, rehabilitation, … you name it, and we can help you achieve your goals.

So… get off your ass and make an appointment with us today. Whether it’s a simple, tune-up adjustment, or a full nutritional work-up, you know it’s time to start leading by example. If you want your children to make smart health decisions, then you must show them how it’s done. Lead by example. Hold yourself accountable. Make the decision that there is no alternative… there are consequences if you don’t… and, get it done. Do the right thing.

Dr. Gray

Posted in Acupuncture, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, General Back Pain, General Chiropractic, General Health, Headaches, Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, Nutrition, Stretches & Exercises | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can Stress or Emotions Cause Pain?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, January 23, 2012

I received a great question from a patient recently: She had read somewhere that stress and emotions were the cause of back pain, and wondered if I agreed or if it was true. Here is the majority of my answer.

While not the only cause of pain, the relationship between mental/emotional complaints or stress and how they lead to various physical conditions has long been known. The technical term for it is “psychosomatic,” or “psychogenic,” and refers to physical complaints being caused by mental/emotional problems. As our world has gotten busier and busier, and we have gotten away from stress-reducing activities in our daily life, these psychosomatic conditions have become much more widespread. Unfortunately, addressing psychosomatic conditions is difficult for several reasons.

First, psychosomatic complaints can be varied in their expression. Some people experience headaches when stressed, while others will develop back pain. Still others will suffer from indigestion… or high blood pressure… or neuropathy… or constipation… panic attacks… etc. Because of this highly variable presentation, it is difficult to determine exactly when our conditions are psychogenic in nature or when there is a true underlying disease process. In addition, there are no real tests that can be performed or evaluated to definitively diagnose psychosomatic conditions. Therefore, we are often in a position where we must run a multitude of tests and evaluations to rule out more serious complications or underlying disease processes. When these tests, inevitably, show no evidence of other causes, by exclusion the only plausible remaining diagnosis is “psychosomatic.” However, the very process of so many tests, the costs associated with these tests, and the continual disappointment of another test without an answer… only adds to the stress that is ultimately the underlying cause!

Second, when we have confirmed that stress is either the primary underlying cause or just a complicating factor, it is extremely difficult to get patients to comply with our recommendations on how to reduce that stress. Regardless of whether a physician is involved or not, a person who recognizes that stress is the culprit will often be unwilling (or unable) to take the necessary steps to correct their situation. How many of us can change occupations at will? Which of us can rapidly make money problems disappear? Who among us chooses when to deal with a dying parent? Which of us set our own work hours? And on and on… However, there are a great many things that we can do, but are often unwilling. For example: How many of us turn the television off and read a book in the evening? How many of us go to bed early with some soft, soothing music? How many of us choose nutritious snacks instead of sugary, carbohydrate-rich junk? Who do you know that closes their eyes and rests for fifteen minutes at lunch instead of checking in on Facebook? How many of us go for a walk in the evening instead of watching American Idol? Stress is largely a direct effect of the choices we make, our response to the consequences of those choices, and our willingness or ability to change those choices.

Third, our traditional Western medical system is not designed to properly address or correct psychosomatic conditions. If you look at the above complaints we noted above, think about how those conditions are primarily treated. Headache? Take Excedrin. Back pain? Take Alleve. Indigestion? Take Prevacid. High blood pressure? Take Toprol. Neuropathy? Take Gabapentin. Constipation? Take Maalox. Panic attacks? Take Prozac. Are you seeing the pattern here? And don’t blame this entirely on doctors or the pharmaceutical companies… Nearly every one of the conditions I’ve listed are lifestyle-related. In other words, choices the patient has made have led to the conditions with which they are suffering. By extension, patients demand and choose a treatment alternative that allows them to go on making the same ill-fated choices. Unfortunately, our Western medical system is largely geared towards symptom control… not dysfunction correction.

So, can mental or emotional stress cause pain? Absolutely. It can cause a great many things other than just pain, so it is important to make stress-reduction a regular part of your daily life.

Posted in Fibromyalgia, General Back Pain, General Health, Other Pain Conditions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: