Motion I

I was talking with a patient who comes regularly to the Active Healing Center for his adjustment and 8 Weeks to Wellness fitness training.  He’s heard me talk both in and outside of the office about the importance of the form and function of the spine and the importance of proper motion.  After he finished his spinal warm-ups he came to me to get adjusted and with a smile on his face he told me what he did the previous day.

He started by saying, “Dr. Tom I want to tell you about my day yesterday.”  His day went like this.  After taking a shower and eating breakfast he jumped into his car.  He drove one hour to a meeting with clients where they sat for three hours.  After the meeting, he got back into the car and drove one hour to his office where he proceeded to sit at the computer for the remainder of the day.  He got back into the car to pick up his daughter and take her to Karate.  While his daughter was at her lesson he chose to get some physical activity instead of sitting and watching the lesson, but he had to drive to get there.  An hour later, he drove back to pick up his daughter, drove home to sit down for dinner, then sat and watched some television and went to bed.

The vast majority of his waking moments of the day were spent sitting.  The vast majority of our population spends their lives sitting.  Whether it’s behind the wheel, at the computer, or watching television it does not matter.  Take a good look at what you do all day, everyday.   Sitting is the worst position not only for your spine but for your entire body and most importantly for your brain.

Our goal is to get you to move with great form and function and then get you to move more often.  If you are not moving enough, have difficulty moving due to pain or muscle and joint limitations give us a call.  An hour of your time can save you from months or even years of debilitation.

The View at the Top is Awesome!

I had a tough week.  Business was slow.  Two employees quit.  The doctor had to up my blood pressure meds.  The car is in the shop.  It’s finally Friday so I pick up a bag of chips and a bottle of wine.  I get home, pour myself a glass and rip open the bag.  I eat one chip and take a sip of wine.  I fold up and put the bag away and pour the rest of the wine down the drain.  Does anybody do this?

Hell No!  We eat the bag of chips and finish the bottle of wine.  Why?  Because we are human beings.  We are surrounded by all of these temptations.  Chips taste good!  Wine tastes good!  Let’s face it, crappy food tastes good.  That’s why these companies make so much money.  They make bad things taste really good.

Monday rolls around and you do great.  You eat healthy foods and exercise.  Tuesday comes and you do the same, sticking to the new plan.  Wednesday is a little harder but you still follow through.  Thursday is the hardest yet, but you make all the right choices.  Finally it’s Friday.  You did it!  You went the whole week doing the right thing, so time to celebrate.  Friday night is pizza night and a few too many beers.  Saturday you wake up feeling sluggish but friends are coming over later.  The wine and cheese flow freely.  Sunday is family dinner day.  More wine.  More food.  By Sunday night, your body is drained and crashing.  But tomorrow is Monday so time to get back on track.

Doing the right thing half of the time is called half-assed.  Half-assed effort gets half-assed results.  Getting your body to function at its highest level, its optimal level, requires a lot of discipline, but the end result will have you feeling great.  It may take some effort, some tough decisions and some pain to get to the point where your body is functioning great and you’re feeling great, but I promise you it’s worth it.  I promise you the view at the top is awesome!  There is no better feeling than waking up in the morning energized and excited for another great day.

Find out how The Active Healing Center can help you achieve your optimal health.  Make an appointment today. Call (732) 683-0200.

Time

Getting the kids off to baseball and softball practice.  Grocery shopping.  Weeding the garden and mowing the lawn.  Dinner with friends.  Work.  Laundry. Cleaning  the house.  What do all of these things have in common?  Time.  It takes time to do all of these things that are so important to our existence.  Take care of the family.  Have some fun.  Keep a nice place to live.  It’s all good.  These are all common everyday things that we fill our days with.  These all take up precious time.

Time for prayer.  Time for quiet meditation/mindfulness.  Time for visualization about your day ahead.  Time for exercise in all different forms- strength, cardiovascular/interval/ mobility/flexibility training.  Time for journaling.  Time for reading or listening to meaningful/helpful books.  Quality time with family, no phones or television, only good conversation and fun.  Time to prepare healthy foods to properly fuel your body.  Time to get to your chiropractor to clear out your nervous system.  These are all things commonly missing in people’s lives on a daily basis.

Time to get to your medical doctor for yet another sinus infection.  Time to get to the pharmacist to refill your blood pressure medication.  Time off work because you are sick.  Time you cannot be outside playing with your children/grandchildren because you are in pain.  Time in the hospital from your heart attack.  Time spent getting your chemo and radiation therapy.  Time sitting in dialysis.  Time you will no longer have if you don’t get your health back on track.

If any of this sounds way too familiar to you, please give us a call at 732-683-0200 to schedule an appointment. We promise it will be time well spent.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

You are out for the evening enjoying a special night with the family, or perhaps you are out on a hike for the day, when suddenly out of nowhere it feels like your bowels are about to explode.  You have to get to a bathroom and stat!  It’s happened to all of us at some point in time, but for 10-15% of the population this is a common occurrence that happens on a daily basis.  This is a symptom of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  Since April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome awareness month, I wanted to address this topic.

The American Medical Association classifies IBS as a functional disorder which means there is a functional problem causing it as opposed to an inflammatory problem such as the case with ulcerative colitis or Crohns Disease.  We live in a world of cause and effect which means for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  IBS is the effect or reaction of an underlying functional problem causing these symptoms.  The medical model has no answer for IBS.  The standard treatment revolves around symptomatic management.  Why not find the cause?

In pharmaceutical commercials, IBS is depicted as a cute, pink intestine running around to find a bathroom.  Yet for millions of Americans, this problem is far from cute.  It is a major disruption to one’s quality of life.  Many people are satisfied with managing the problem.  But, if you are somebody who likes to fix problems, come visit the Active Healing Center for a consultation.  It all starts by conducting a personalized Wellness Score. Your Wellness Score looks at how your body is functioning by analyzing the following health components:

  • Functional fitness: core strength, core flexibility, body fat percentage.
  • Nutritional Health: blood glucose, cholesterol, C-reactive protein, etc.
  • General Health: blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index, etc.
  • Neurological/Spinal Health: spinal degeneration, a.k.a arthritis, motion restriction, etc.

Based on the function of your body and any areas of breakdown or degeneration, a corrective program can be implemented to fix your problems.  IBS is a serious health problem that can disrupt your entire life.  Find out how your body is functioning and what you can do to improve your overall health.

Why am I so tired?

There are four primary factors that contribute to fatigue. These same four major factors also determine your overall health:

  • Physical Form and Function – The overall structure (form) of your body and how well it moves and works at all levels (function) is vital to your overall health.
  • Nutrition – The quality of the food going into your body impacts your health.
  • Stress – Your ability to cope with and manage the stress in your life greatly affects your overall health.
  • Sleep – The quality of your sleep is a major factor in determining your health.

All four of these factors play primary roles in how healthy you are. Fortunately, you have control over these factors and the ability to change each one of them.

Let’s examine each factor more closely to see how they relate to fatigue:

Physical Form and Function

The vast majority of energy used by your brain and body is for one job: holding your head/body upright against gravity. There has been research stating that upwards of 90% of the energy output of your brain is for this sole purpose. When the body is balanced and symmetrical, this system works extremely well and efficiently, keeping us healthy and happy. However, when proper balance and symmetry is lost, more energy output is required to hold us upright. This makes less energy available to do everything else, including keeping your eyes open.

Nutrition

Look at what you are eating. In general, the lower the quality of food you are consuming (processed foods; foods with high sugar/salt/flour content; foods high in industrial-agricultural chemicals; and foods comprised of any man-made substances) the harder your body has to work to digest and eliminate it from your body. A substance that is not meant to be in your body will have to be eliminated and your body will have to detoxify itself. The more energy your body has to use to digest/cleanse itself on a daily basis, the more fatigued you will be.

Stress

How much stress do you have in your life? More importantly, how well do you handle that stress? Quick, short bursts of stress are healthy for your body. Long, drawn-out periods of stress are draining. It wears your nervous system down, which diminishes your entire body’s ability to function. When the nervous system is constantly overworked, your energy levels plummet. Therefore, it’s so important to look for healthy ways to cope with those stressors in your life. Meditation, prayer, exercise, and breathing exercises are all good coping mechanisms.

Sleep

How much sleep do you get per night? A better question: how much quality sleep do you get per night, every night? A lack of quality sleep results in waking up tired, as well as waking with headaches, soreness and irritability. Obviously, a lack of quality sleep means you will be tired, but it also leads to other more serious health issues, including weight gain, heart disease, chronic illness and depression, just to name a few. The general goal is to improve your overall health (mentally, physically, and spiritually) which will lead to better quality sleep.

Take a good look at your life and your health, and you will understand why you are so tired. When you are ready to improve your quality of life, give us a call. To schedule an appointment, contact us at (732) 683-0200 or via e-mail at tom@activehealingcenternj.com.

Is Osteoarthritis Normal?

 “Isn’t Arthritis (Osteoarthritis) a normal part of getting older?”

As a chiropractor, I am asked that question all the time. The American Medical Association has more descriptively termed osteoarthritis – Degenerative Joint Disease, or if it occurs in the spine, Degenerative Disc Disease. To be clear, osteoarthritis is a disease. So to answer the question, Osteoarthritis is absolutely not a normal part of aging. No disease is normal. Osteoarthritis is a mechanical breakdown of proper form and function of a joint, the surrounding soft-tissue, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage or disc of the spine. When left untreated or treated solely with medication, the degenerative process is allowed to progress, which is to say, worsen. The surgical option can be of help for many areas – knee, hip, shoulder – but with the spine, it is not a preferred remedy. The one key element to the spine is it’s all about function. The less functional, the more degeneration occurs. Spinal fusions diminish function which allows the degenerative process to continue at other levels of the spine.
Age is, however, a factor. The longer joints and soft-tissue remain dysfunctional, the more damage is done. The body in its architecture is simply amazing. For a lack of better words, it is truly built to last. Your body is designed to keep itself healthy, active, and functional for a long time. All it asks is that we keep everything functioning the way it was designed. Once we let things falter, the body will break down at a faster rate than intended. That faster rate of breakdown or degeneration leads to major disability and illness, which is not intended.

The positive side to this is when you work the body correctly – stimulate the joints, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and discs appropriately – it does respond very well. The joints and soft-tissue can be trained to function at normal or near normal levels, maintaining their health. If degeneration has occurred, progression can be stopped. Discs can heal, but need to be worked very specifically in order to be retrained.

The primary concern when dealing with arthritis, especially in the spine, is to not let the condition continue to deteriorate. The more degeneration that occurs, the more difficult it is to correct.
To be evaluated and determine if you are a candidate for our program, please contact us today!  732-683-0200  www.ActiveHealingCenterNJ.com

Recurring Back Pain?

Why does my back pain keep coming back?”

Recurring back pain is a common complaint.  Billions of dollars are spent every year trying to alleviate back pain. Regardless of treatments – physical therapy, pain management (medication), traditional chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, or surgery – back pain has the nasty habit of continually coming back. Why?

We are all different shapes and sizes. However, regardless of how we look on the outside, the functional core – skull, spine, and pelvis – is relatively the same in form and function in each and every one of us. The functional core is the most amazing architectural structure in your body. Its primary function is to keep us upright against gravity and protect the central nervous system – brain and spinal chord – which runs your entire body. Because we live on planet Earth and have to account for gravity as a constant, which affects each of us exactly the same, the functional core must be the same in its form and function.

You have back pain because you have lost proper form and function within the functional core. In other words, your spine is not able to move in its correct manner and this can occur for a multitude of reasons- trauma, wear and tear over time, repetitive use, etc.  When your spine is not able to move correctly, it leads to degeneration (osteoarthritis) which breaks down the joints and discs of your spine.  Excessive stress is also placed on the soft-tissue -muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage- which, over the course of time, will cause significant damage.  You continue to have recurring back pain because appropriate form and function has not been restored, enhanced, or corrected.  None of the therapies or treatments listed above correct or restore proper form and function to the spine.  They are all capable of providing temporary relief from your symptoms, but in terms of long-term correction, they all fall short.

Fortunately, proper form and function can be enhanced and even corrected.  The goal of treatment has to revolve around restoring motion to the spine and all the soft-tissue involved in the impairment.  In order to accomplish this, it is imperative to know which joints and soft-tissue are not working correctly.  Then proper rehabilitative procedures can be administered and measured over time determining your progression.  Obviously, the longer these problems are allowed to persist, the more damage will be done, so time is an issue.

Having to endure recurring pain is frustrating, especially when you have been actively searching for relief.  Fortunately, the remedy might be closer than you think.  For an evaluation to determine if you are a candidate for our program, please contact us at 732-683-0200.

A Blessing or Burden?

This is a topic I bring up quite often at the Active Healing Center. It’s a very simple question: “Do you want to be a blessing or a burden as you get older?” The answer is obvious, but what are you actively doing today to ensure a promising future?

What path are you on? Are you on a path to being a burden to yourself and loved ones or on a path to creating health, vitality and continued freedom as you age? Many people get their annual check-ups which include a blood pressure reading and bloodwork. While these are certainly important numbers to know, there are so many other measurable components that help paint a more complete picture to how well your body is functioning. True health is when your body is functioning at optimal levels and you feel energized and strong.

The number one biomarker for aging is body fat percentage- how much body fat versus muscle do you have on your body? Do you know what that number is? Research has also shown that a simple measurement such as your waist circumference, measured around the belly button the thickest part of your belly, gives great insight toward your tendency to develop heart disease including heart attacks and strokes.

 

Do you know that number? These are just two examples that tell us so much about the path you are on.

Knowing your numbers and identifying those problem areas are critical first steps to improving your overall well-being for today and tomorrow. The next step is incorporating a plan of action. Wellness is not about managing problems, it’s all about correcting them. And that’s exactly what we do here every day at the Active Healing Center. We can implement a plan to identify and correct your health problems which will result in a massive impact on your quality of life.

Here’s our three-step plan. First, we identify all those problem areas utilizing our Wellness Score, a comprehensive evaluation that tests upwards of 23 different parameters of your health. We identify the areas where you are doing well, the warning signs that we need to pay attention to and those areas that are absolutely impacting your health in a negative way. Second, we map out a complete corrective plan addressing all of your problem areas including nutrition, functional fitness, physical form and function as well as mindfulness/stress reduction. Third, we repeat your Wellness Score at the end of your corrective program to monitor and assess your progress and keep you moving forward on the right path.

It all starts with your Wellness Score. For more information, please call 732-683-0200.

Active Healing Center, 265 Highway 34 South, Colts Neck, NJ 07722 www.ActiveHealingCenterNJ.com

Withdrawals and Deposits

We all understand the simple concept of banking.  You can deposit money into your account or withdraw money out of your account.  The obvious goal is to deposit more money into your account than you are taking out.  This is how we build financial independence and freedom.  When the opposite happens, you lose that freedom and bankrupt yourself.

 

We can apply this same principle to your health.   Look at your health as a health account.  Are you making more health deposits or withdrawals?

 

Here are some valuable deposits that you can make on a regular basis:

  • Schedule regular chiropractic adjustments to clear out neurological imbalances and interferences and build your physical balance and posture.
  • Exercise 3-5 hours per week to build muscle, increase flexibility and improve cardiovascular health while reducing body fat.
  • Eat a healthy, organic, well-balanced diet on a daily basis to eliminate toxins and reduce digestive irritation and inflammation throughout your body.
  • Practice mindfulness and prayer to reduce the clutter in your brain. A focused brain leads to a focused and healthy body.

Here are some negative habits that result in withdrawals from your health account:

  • Neglecting physical and neurological imbalances and stress. (98% of Americans have never gone or do not get regular chiropractic adjustments.)
  • Living sedentary lifestyles with minimal to no physical exertion.
  • Eating high sugar/highly processed foods that create digestive stress and inflammation throughout your body.
  • Living physically, chemically and emotionally stressed out lives with no tools to help reduce that stress.

When these withdrawals outnumber your deposits, you achieve health bankruptcy, which could lead to any one of the three leading causes of death and illness in this country- heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

It is important to know not just where you are in terms of your health but also where you are heading.  Invest wisely.  Building wealth in terms of your health is how you maintain your independence and freedom as a human being.

Any questions regarding your health, please contact us on 732-683-0200.

Workout of the Week #4

20 High Knees
12 Sumo Squats
20 High Knees
12 Planks to Push-Ups
20 High Knees
12 Supine Leg Raises
20 High Knees
12 Scapular Raises
*repeat 3x

(Please refer to our video glossary under the”VIDEOS” tab for a demonstration of the various exercises.)