Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘health’

Great find from Dr. Josh! Get rid of “the FUZZ!”

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Great find from Dr. Josh! Get rid of “the FUZZ!”

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

Supertonic – You Wanted It… You Got It

Posted by Dr. Gray on Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Many years ago, my good friend Dr. Page Crow taught me how to make a homemade tonic which he dubbed “Supertonic.” He assured me that it would cure everything, put hair on my chest, make me grow taller, and make me better looking.

Of course, I’m exaggerating, but I was amazed at the wonderful taste and energizing feeling received from the small dropper of liquid that he had asked me to sample. Such an interesting mix of flavors and an explosion of sensation on the tongue. Dr. Crow explained that he had used this concoction as his own immune booster and energy restorer for years, and that it was quite simple to make. I knew I had to give it a go.

Since then, I make at least one batch per year and it has become our family’s number one absolute that we run to as soon as any of us first begins to feel a little down. You know the feeling… that first sensation in your brain where you ask yourself, “I wonder if I’m getting sick?” Whether you’re “getting sick” or just showing a normal response is for another post, but you know what I’m getting at. The power of this simple combination of herbs is, frankly, incredible. We use it for illness, colds/flu, sinus congestion, fatigue, headache, anxiety, as an energy boost,… you name it!

Recently, I have discovered hundreds of recipes similar to Dr. Crow’s “Secret Supertonic.” It seems I had made some assumptions about the origin and secrecy of this recipe that weren’t entirely accurate. In fact, I guess he never really claimed any secrecy at all and encouraged me to share it with others.

Therefore… even though I’ve found (and tried) other similar recipes, Dr. Crow’s has been, by far, the most effective and tasty. Each batch is different. Don’t worry about exact amounts of the different ingredients. In fact, you’ll have to adjust a little up or down based on your taste preferences. Too hot?… back off on the peppers. Flames shoot out of your nose?… back off on the horseradish. You get the idea. Also, the alcohol is not an absolute necessity, it just preserves the tonic longer. So, without further ado, I present Dr. Crow’s Magic Supertonic:

Start with five plants (herbs) and two liquids for extraction and preservation:

  1. Cayenne Peppers – 6-8 peppers (habanero, hot red chili, jalapeno, etc.)
  2. White Onion – 2 bulbs
  3. Garlic – 6 whole bulbs (not cloves… the whole bulb!)
  4. Horseradish – 1 full stalk (or fresh jar of grated if you don’t have industrial blender… fresh root will kill a normal blender!)
  5. Ginger – 2 whole root stalks
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar – 1-2 quart jug(s)
  7. Vodka – 1 liter

Wash your produce and cut into thumb-sized chunks. You don’t have to peel the garlic, just bust the bulbs and separate the cloves. Put handfuls of produce in your blender then a 50-50 mix of the vinegar and vodka to cover the produce. Chop & blend this mixture into a mash then pour it off into a sun tea jar. Keep processing this way until all of your produce is chopped and blended. Pour it all into your sun tea jar. Store in a cool, dark place and shake this mixture up every day for 1-4 weeks (I usually go about two weeks). Then strain off the mash and plant material using cheesecloth, strainer, french press, etc. until you’re left with clear liquid with a little silt. Store your SuperTonic in glass jars and out of the sunlight (we’ve found it easiest to use glass dropper vials bought cheaply on Amazon). It does not need to be refrigerated (but can be if you like) and should stay good for a year or more. Keep out of the reach of children… but they love it, and it works just as well for them as it does for you!

Take a tablespoon of this herbal tonic, swish it around in your mouth, and swallow anytime you are feeling run down or just need a little “pick-me-up.” Or you can use it as a daily immune system booster by taking a tablespoon each morning. If you are getting that, “Uh oh, I’m getting sick feeling…,” you can take four or five tablespoons a day, or more. Remember it’s just food. SuperTonic works! Click Here for downloadable/printable pdf.

I’m still waiting for it to make me taller and better looking…

Dr. Gray

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

Chiropractic First in Cases of Work Injuries

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It always amazes me that readily available data is ignored. We’ve known for decades that:

  1. Back pain is the number one reason for missed time at work.
  2. Chiropractic care is the fastest and most successful treatment option at returning patients to work.
  3. Choosing chiropractic first costs less both initially and over the long term; yet…
  4. Employers and insurers continue to ignore these facts.

In most states, Worker’s Compensation claims must follow a certain order of progression. First, the employer admits the condition may be work-related. Then, the employer tells the employee where to go for evaluation and treatment.

Most employers really do care about their employees. They know what keeps their business running. The employer just wants their employee healthy and back on the job, so what do they do? They ask their insurance company where to send the employee. Here’s where the disconnect comes in… The insurance company DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THE PATIENT and doesn’t want to PAY ANY CLAIMS. Therefore, they recommend a contracted office who is rewarded for minimizing the claim.

The patient/employee gets minimal care and is returned to daily life without addressing the underlying cause of the condition with which they presented. This leads to further injury or a worsening of the condition… often when the patient is not at work. The employer thinks and the insurance company claims that the condition is no longer work-related, therefore they are not responsible. Ultimately, the patient is saddled with increased expenses, increased time off work, decreased productivity, and declining health.

What’s the answer? Employers must realize that THEY HAVE THE POWER AND CONTROL at the beginning of the case, and can make a more appropriate referral to a chiropractor first. Their unemployment insurance is still responsible and will cover their employee’s expenses… and they will have a healthier, safer, and more productive worker back on the job sooner and with less expense.

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

Acupuncture for Pain & Other Symptoms

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We are often asked, “What can acupuncture treat?” Fortunately, the answer is thousands of conditions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everybody. At the end of the day, acupuncture is just another treatment method for addressing a multitude of conditions. As with any other treatment option, it is not a cure-all. Therefore, a more appropriate question would be, “What conditions does acupuncture have a good success rate in treating?” Again, the fortunate answer is TONS of them!

Here’s what a recent study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry concluded with regards to the use of acupuncture for the treatment of pain in patients with multiple sclerosis:

This study demonstrates clear benefit from acupuncture as a treatment for pain in MS patients. … the sustained benefit of acupuncture as a treatment for pain was further confirmed by the fact that most patients managed to reduce their analgesia requirements, with some able to stop taking painkillers completely. There was some subjective improvement in mood, mobility and energy levels, and more than half felt their sleep pattern improved.

Source:  J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Nov;84(11):e2. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2013-306573.177.

Now that’s a pretty good conclusion! Here’s another recent statement… this time from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA):

Medical guidelines for back pain recommend the use of conservative treatments. A JAMA article published in April 2013 encourages patients with back pain to first try conservative treatments–exercises, physical therapy, chiropractic or acupuncture—and resort to surgery only when less invasive options fail.

However, a study published earlier this year in JAMA Internal Medicine confirms that many physicians don’t follow guidelines and instead refer back pain patients to surgery or write prescriptions for powerful pain killers.

Most of you that know me or follow this blog know that I am not an anti-med chiropractor. In fact, I think the chiropractic profession is limiting itself and derelict by refusing to fight for prescription rights. If it’s for nothing more than to offer an alternative mentality regarding pharmaceuticals, that would be worth it. The right to prescribe also affords a doctor the right to advise. The ability to advise a patient to discontinue a medication is just as important to their health as advising when medications are appropriate. But, I digress…

As noted above, too often physicians (not just MD’s, ALL physicians) don’t follow the appropriate guidelines. They continue to do what they’ve done in the past and what their pharmaceutical/medical device/practice management rep tells them. Most often, the physician is so busy that alternative options don’t pop into his/her head. As a patient, it is entirely appropriate for you to ask about alternative methods when you are discussing treatment options. Tell your doctor that you’ve seen references in JAMA recommending acupuncture, or chiropractic, or physical therapy, etc. Tell them that you’d prefer to try less invasive treatment options before resorting to powerful pharmaceuticals or surgical procedures. Your doctor will not be offended by this, and will likely appreciate that you are taking an active role in your health care.

– Dr. Gray

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

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 »

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 »

Sports Injuries… Who Cares?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2008 Gold Medal winner Kerri Walsh supports her shoulder with kinesio taping.

2008 Gold Medal winner Kerri Walsh supports her shoulder with kinesio taping.

Who cares??? Sounds a little crass, huh? Well, the answer is: YOU CARE!

Just as auto racing often leads to advancements and new technology in our personal cars, health care treatment for athletes often leads to new procedures for everyday complaints. There are a ton of treatments used commonly today that began as experimental methods designed to find anything that could keep an athlete on the field. One of the most striking and recent developments that comes to mind is “Kinesio Taping.” This new form of therapeutic taping uses a specialized elastic tape that allows the athlete to continue with free motion of the joints and muscles, while decreasing pain, healing time and risk of re-injury. It first gained widespread notoriety when Kerri Walsh took to the volleyball court during the summer Olympic Games in Beijing, 2008. Due to pain and prior injuries, who knows if Kerri could have taken gold that year if she hadn’t been able to support it with this new technology. Today, kinesio taping continues to be used with athletes around the world, but is becoming increasingly common in non-athlete musculoskeletal conditions also. A waitress with planter fascitis… a carpenter with tendonitis… a school teacher with lower back pain… You name it, and chances are there’s an application. (… and, yes, we are trained and use this procedure at Gray Chiropractic!)

A recent unique lower extremity study, the first ever to demonstrate preventive effects of chiropractic care, is the Hoskins and Pollard trial, in which adding chiropractic care to standard medical and physical therapy approaches dramatically decreased the number of leg injuries and missed games among Australian professional football players. This has widespread ramifications in the everyday workday world. If regular, even asymptomatic, chiropractic care reduced the number of injuries and games missed for professional athletes, then the same applies for working people. Regular chiropractic care, as a part of your overall health care plan, can reduce your chances for work-related injuries and reduce time missed from work.

Call our office today and schedule your appointment. As noted above, you don’t have to have “symptoms” or pain to benefit from chiropractic care. In fact, most of the time, the best time to take care of a problem is before it gets started!

Dr. Gray

reference: Hoskins W, Pollard H. The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord.2010;11:64.

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

 
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