Thursday, March 6, 2014

Basic Steps To A New You!!

When a person decides that they are going to get healthy they can become so overwhelmed by everything that they just give up. Here is how to get started so that you can ease your way into a routine and change your lifestyle for the better without getting frustrated and giving up.

Did you know that in order to lose weight it takes about 85% Nutrition and 15% Exercise?? What you put into your body is an essential part of losing the pounds/inches. However, exercise is extremely important as well to achieve optimal results and health.  

Do not commit yourself to any of the fad diets out there. They simply do not work and even if you do get results from them, they don’t last. I’m sure we all know this from experience. So forget the fad diets and focus on living a healthier lifestyle. Many of us need to create baby steps to achieve this goal because if you try to do it all at once you are more likely to fail.

Start out with cutting back on the sweet sugary food. Everyone has a sweet tooth but sometimes this craving can mean that your body doesn’t have enough Vitamin C. Having an orange instead of ice cream can be just as satisfying. Soda is probably the worst thing you can drink because it is all sugar.  Instead of soda drink more water. Your body is made up of approximately 75% water. If you don’t drink it then how else is your body going to get enough to function properly and stay hydrated? If water is too plain for you here is what you can do to add some flavor. Cut up some lemon wedges and put them in your water. It is a natural way to add flavor and it is also a good way to detox. I went and bought a huge glass container with a spout on the side. I fill it with filtered water, add lemon slices, and let it sit in the refrigerator to “marinate.” This way you have lemon water whenever you want it without the process of cutting up lemons all the time. When the water is gone filter more water and cut up more lemons.  You can experiment with all sorts of fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, oranges, raspberries, ginger, etc. No matter what you use you are making your own vitamin water and it is way healthier than the other drinks you can buy from the store, especially soda.
Make sure you eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber which will naturally decrease cholesterol. You have to drink plenty of water as well for the fiber to work properly through your intestines. You can even make smoothies with them for breakfast or snack.

Supplements can also be added to your diet to make sure you have enough nutrients daily. They have to be good pharmaceutical grade vitamins though, not the ones you can buy off the shelves. Most of these vitamins that you can buy at the local market don’t have the nutrients it says it does. They have a lot of fillers to make it look like it does and therefore you are not getting the boost you think you are.
Eat all day long. You want to have about 6 meals a day. Now this does like mean plates heaping with food. A meal can consist of a banana and some almonds as a mid-morning snack. Constantly eating healthy food increases your metabolism allowing you to lose weight faster.

Do not eliminate Carbohydrates from your diet. Carbs are what give you energy. It you cut them out completely you will feel drained and may even convert muscle for energy which is something you do not want to do. Eat Carbs in moderation. However, the Carbs you eat you do need to burn or they will be stored as fat. Do not over eat them. It takes about 30 minutes of exercise to burn all your stored Carbs. After this amount of time you will burn fat which is what you want to do. Stay within your target heart rate for maximum benefit. If you go over your maximum heart rate you will begin to burn muscle which can be detrimental. To find your target heart rate use this formula: 220-age, this is the maximum that your heart rate can get without complications. You want to say away from this number.  Multiply that number by 60% and 80% and this will give you a range to stay in working 60-80% of your target heart rate.  This is where you will get your maximum benefit. For example: I am 29 so this is what my target heart rate is:

220-29 = 191
191 x .6 = 115
191 x .8 =  153

So, I should keep my heart rate within the range of 115-153 for maximum benefit.

While you are getting your nutrition shifted towards healthy, go out and get yourself a gym membership. If you have to pay for it then you will more likely go. Start out with cardio. Try to do 45 minutes each time. Go to the gym at least 3 times a week to start and just do cardio. Then you can work yourself up to more days. Once you got cardio down try to incorporate body weight exercises into the mix. You can alternate days. So on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday do 45 minutes of cardio. On Tuesday and Thursday perform a body weight exercise routine. Don’t know any body weight routines? Well I have the solution for you. There is a facebook page that has a 90 day challenge for you to try. It is called the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge. Briana, who created this challenge, is a personal trainer and a nutritionist. She came up with this routine after she had a baby. She has had 4 children since and has done this routine post baby every time and got significant results.  I am currently doing this challenge and it is amazing. It is really challenging but you go at your own pace. It is all body weight exercises to start and then she adds a few dumbbell exercises in the mix. But you are the one who has to push yourself. Keep a journal with all these workouts because you are supposed to time yourself for how long it takes you to perform the task at hand and write down how many reps you perform on certain exercises. Don’t get discouraged if you do not know what the exercises are, she has YouTube videos of her performing the exercises and how to do them. You can even do these in the comfort of your own home if you have the room. She also has a meal plan that you can buy where she sends you a shopping list weekly for the weeks meals ahead. She is such an inspirational woman and you should definitely look into her website and share with your friends. After the body weight exercises you can always move to free weights to gain strength and maintain your new figure.

The main thing with exercise is to make it part of your daily routine. Whether it be before you go to work or after. Make arrangements so that you can perform your exercise routine daily. Consistency is what is going to get you the results you want. Keep with it and do not get frustrated. It will take about 1 month before you notice results and 2-3 months before anyone else does. Grab a workout partner so you can complement and motivate each other. Also remember you are doing this for YOU, not anybody else. You are the only one who can make this change in your life. So get out there and do it! You will not regret it!!! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Backpack Safety

Since it is the beginning of yet another school year I thought it would be important to address Backpack Safety. Many people are unaware of the fact that Backpacks can cause injury if the weight is too heavy or if they are not worn properly.

In 1998 the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission estimated that over 3,300 kids  between the ages of 5 and 14 were treated in emergency rooms across the country due to injuries related to backpack use. This study didn’t even count the visits to family physicians or specialists such as orthopedists or chiropractors! Since that initial estimate in 1998, several colleges and universities around the country conducted studies which analyzed the effects backpacks have on America’s youth.

In 2001, a study conducted by doctors Shelly Goodgold and Karen Jacobs, found that over 50% of students carry more than the recommended national guidelines of 10-15% of body weight. In 2005, a study performed at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine helped to identify that the way loads are distributed under backpack straps is a definitive source of shoulder and back pain in young people.

The Consumer Product and Safety Commission re-examined this issue again in September of 2007. Here they found that the U.S. Emergency Rooms treated 7,300 injuries during the 2006 school year due to heavy backpacks. In 2008 it was found that more than 8,000 Americans went to emergency rooms due to backpack-related injuries.

Heavy backpacks have a very destructive impact on your posture and spinal health and can cause injuries that can last a lifetime. There seems to be a national epidemic forming. Schools either remove or restrict access to lockers during the course of the school day which leads to more and more books, accessories, and other possessions being stuffed into backpacks. Students are becoming walking lockers!

In school aged children their muscles and bones haven’t fully developed yet. Too much weight in the backpack combined with the improper wear puts undue strain on the spine and other structures.  Over time, abnormal posture maintained for extended periods of time leads to weakening of neck, mid-back, low back, and abdominal musculature. These underdeveloped muscles can then be “molded” into a permanent deficient posture position.

There should be no more than 15% of your total body weight in your backpack. Here are some examples:

Persons Weight
Backpacks Weight
50 lbs.
No more than 7.5 lbs.
80 lbs.
No more than 12 lbs.
100 lbs.
No more than 15 lbs.
130 lbs.
No more than 19.5 lbs.


It’s been determined that this amount of weight, when carried properly, can be done without much of a chance of injury or permanent structural change. When the weight is not carried properly functional stresses placed upon the body alter the center of gravity requiring mechanical adjustments. When mechanical behavior within a joint is altered, flexibility and range of motion suffer leading to injury.

Long-standing over-activation of abnormal joint reflexes causes changes in spinal cord memory. This can eventually “burn a groove” in the Central Nervous System (i.e.-brain and spinal cord), via saturation of a constant stream on inappropriate proprioceptive information (Proprioceptor: a sensory nerve ending in muscles, tendons, and joints that provides a sense of the body's position by responding to stimuli from within the body.)

 SO, if the weight of your backpack is greater than the recommended 15% of your body weight, your center of gravity is changed, and initially it forces you to lean backward. In an effort to re-balance the body you move your torso forward. This constant weight shifting that occurs every 45 minutes as you change classes leads to the “molding” & “grooving” discussed earlier! Combine this with an improperly worn or fitted backpack and further problems can develop.

The straps on the backpack can compress sensitive neurovascular bundles in the neck and shoulder region which can lead to pain as well as tingling and numbness in the arms known as “rucksack palsy.”

Here are some ways to stay safe while using a backpack. First of all, select the proper backpack. Your backpack should not be wider than your torso and not much longer than the length between your shoulder and your hip. The bottom of your pack should not rest more than four inches below your waistline. The straps should be well padded and wide so that the load is distributed over a greater area in order to protect the nerves and blood vessels that pass underneath. Look for backpacks that provide support for the lumbar spine as well. Some packs come with air bladders that fit in the small of the back or some form of lumbar padding which allows for even more of a custom fit. The lumbar cushion will distribute weight to the legs, creating a fulcrum that facilitates an upright standing position and good posture that is essential to proper spinal health. Secondly, load your backpack properly. No more than 15% of your own body weight. Lastly, adjust and wear your backpack properly. NEVER wear your pack slung over just one shoulder. This leads to Muscle fatigue and nerve compression. It causes you to lean more to one side causing abnormal curving of the spine. It can also jam the joints in the vertebral column leading to what is known as facet imbrication.

Only carry what you need to minimize the weight. Keep heavier objects on the bottom and equally balanced from side to side. When getting contents in or out of the backpack, place it on a desk or table if possible rather than the floor.  The higher surface will prevent you from stooping. Never twist when putting it on or taking it off. When picking it up, always bend your knees and never bend at the waist as this could cause injury.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you pass this along because this is an epidemic that can be prevented.


National Backpack Safety Program Manual







Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that can result in a “C” shape or an “S” shape if there are two curves. It is most common in girls but boys can develop it as well. It usually becomes present between the ages of 10-15 years old as this is when most children hit puberty and have a growth spurt. It is very important for children to have a yearly spinal screening to determine if they are developing Scoliosis. Scoliosis does run in families and should be checked for yearly.

Most Scoliosis is idiopathic, meaning they don’t know what the cause is. Some curves develop mildly where all the child has to do is to wear a brace to prevent it from progressing. Others can continue to progress into adulthood and may require surgery to stop the advancement of the curve. Large curves can be disabling as they decrease the space in the chest and cause lung dysfunction.

Common symptoms of Scoliosis are uneven shoulders, one shoulder blade that is more prominent than the other, uneven waist line, and one hip is higher than the other. If you notice any of these in your child get them evaluated by a physician familiar with Scoliosis. During your child’s yearly physical make sure to have their spine checked as the progression of Scoliosis can be subtle and painless to begin with. Or if you or your child goes to a Chiropractor regularly have them check the spine for any curvatures that may be present.

Being a Chiropractor myself I have noticed that there can be curvature in the spine from unbalanced musculature. Tight muscles can cause vertebral misalignment, which in turn may present a slight curve. Relaxing the tight musculature and performing a vertebral adjustment can reverse the curve.

The main message in this blog is to get your children checked every year for Scoliosis and be aware of the symptoms so that you can get your child the help they need if necessary.



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Low Back Pain and Active Isolated Stretching

It seems that everyone has experienced some form of low back pain in their life. It is a really common ailment that we see in our office on a day to day basis. There are many different causes of low back pain but the most common thing that I have seen in the office is the lack of lower extremity flexibility.

Flexibility can be defined as the range of pain free motion at various joints. This is necessary for all activities of daily living whether it be your occupation, cleaning the house, gardening, playing sports, or playing with your kids. Movement is necessary in all aspects of life. Lack of flexibility can inhibit your ability to perform various activities due to the pain it elicits.

A regular stretching routine can keep you pain free. The old gym class routine of holding a specific stretch for 30-60 seconds is out the door. There is a new type of stretching which is called Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) that we teach our patients to do at home to aid in the healing process of their pain, and to also help others prevent the pain from even beginning.

AIS focuses on the physiological principles of specific muscle lengthening, increased circulation and oxygen to the tissues, and the lengthening of the superficial and deep fascia. Active Isolated Stretching uses active movement and reciprocal inhibition to achieve optimal flexibility without the risk of muscle spasm or tear. AIS is performed slowly while the muscle is relaxed which better isolates specific muscle groups.  Stretches are only held for 2 seconds and repeated for 10 repetitions.

Benefits of AIS:

•Improves flexibility  

•Reduces the risk of muscle strain and tearing

•Reduces risk of muscle spasm

•Improves oxygen and nutrient delivery to cells

•Helps to increase athletic performance

•Helps improve and maintain good posture

•Helps to relieve stress

•Helps to recover from injury

•Helps to relieve chronic pain

•Helps to relieve muscle soreness

•Helps stimulate lymph circulation and elimination of cellular waste

 Active Isolated Stretching is not only for low back pain, it can be used for any part of the body. There are many different protocols that can be used depending on location of the injury. In our office we have noticed a decrease in pain quicker with implementing AIS into our treatment plans. Patients who are compliant with home care get better quicker than those who are not. This is an amazing type of stretching which I use myself. It was great throughout my pregnancy and even now for an everyday routine. I highly recommend finding someone who can teach you this technique so that you can implement it into an everyday routine. You won’t be disappointed.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Arsenic In Your Food?

The definition of Arsenic from is “a grayish-white element having a metallic luster, vaporizing when heated, and forming poisonous compounds.” With this being said, why is this in our food supply?

Consumer Reports did some research and has found Arsenic in Apple and Grape Juices. Now they have tested over 200 samples of a variety of rice products and have found an alarming amount of Arsenic in these as well. They found Arsenic in both forms being Inorganic, which is carcinogenic, and organic which is less toxic but still dangerous.

I understand that Arsenic is found naturally in our soil, so therefore we are going to get it in our food supply. But it needs to be strictly regulated!!! The Environmental Protection Agency says that there is no “safe” level of inorganic arsenic but there are no federal regulations or limits on most foods. So my question is, since we know arsenic is a poison why are we not regulating the amounts in food that we are selling to the public?

The Arsenic was even found in Gerber’s Infant Rice Cereal. This is the first thing that infants consume as “real food” and yet there is poison in it? Has anyone ever realized why there is more cancer and other diseases now than there were back in the old days?? Maybe our food supply has something to do with it huh? That is just my opinion anyways. With Gerber’s Rice Cereal they have found inorganic levels 5 times more than in Gerber’s Oatmeal Cereal.

The rice growers in the United States say that this subject is blown out of proportion and that there is no real danger with the levels of Arsenic. They say there is no hard evidence that these products have caused cancer or other diseases. But honestly, isn’t it just common sense? Why would we wait for a 10 year Epidemiologic Study to prove this? Why not do something to prevent these adverse events from happening?! Studies have begun and that is a good thing don’t get me wrong, but something needs to be done before it becomes too late for people. One study was done that said by eating just one half cup of rice the urinary arsenic level was increased substantially. People who eat rice on a regular basis have a higher arsenic level in there body than somebody that only eats it once in a while.

My advice would be to stay away from rice products as much as you can until it is regulated. It is said to consume every once in a while and not to eat it every day. For me, I think I will stay away from all rice products for a while. For more information and to see the full article where I have taken this information from please go to:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Formula Lock up: Right or Wrong?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomburg has a plan to increase the number of women who breastfeed. But is he going about this the right way? He wants all the hospitals to lock up formula and make women breastfeed in the hospitals. Only those who truly need formula will be allowed to have it.

I have mixed feelings about this issue. I understand the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits that come from it. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my plan was to breastfeed for the first year. Well, when she was born I did not get the chance to put her to my breast and feed her. She was transferred to a different hospital and we were not reunited until the next afternoon. I pumped all night long so that she could have something to eat when I got there. Since I was not there to feed her they gave her a glucose drip to satisfy her hunger knowing that I was on the way to breastfeed. But in the meantime they gave her a pacifier. When I got there I put her right to my breast BUT she had nipple confusion. She would not take to my breast at all or maybe she would for only a few sucks. She did not want to work for the milk and became frustrated so she wouldn’t eat.

I pumped as much as I could in the days to follow so that she could eat out of a bottle because she was still not latching. I tried numerous times for her to breastfeed but she just was not latching. Therefore, my breasts ended up not producing much milk and we were forced to use formula so that she would get enough nutrients for development. I was totally fine with this because I knew my baby was getting full at feedings. Today she is a beautiful healthy one year old and we couldn’t be happier.

So for the formula lock up plan, I understand what they are trying to accomplish but if women are having trouble breastfeeding because the baby just doesn’t want to do it then they need to give it formula in the hospital. The baby needs to eat to gain weight and become strong enough to go home. There is nothing wrong with formula. Everyone tries to push breastfeeding because it is the best thing for the baby. By the baby putting its mouth to the breast the saliva (spit) lets the mother’s body know what nutrients the baby needs and it puts those nutrients in the milk. So it is kind of a personalized nutrition plan rather than a generic plan like the formula. But regardless the baby is still getting the right nutrients.

I feel that education on breastfeeding is needed for all women who are pregnant. Some women decide that they don’t want to do it at all even before the baby is born. Women need to know the benefits of their milk for their baby. If you don’t know anything about breastfeeding and would like to know the benefits please contact your OB/GYN or other health care professional that knows about it. And spread the word to all women that you know. Remember, Mother’s milk is the best for baby but there is no shame in supplementing with formula.

So for mother’s who are trying to breastfeed and it is just not working for you, don’t get frustrated. It is ok and you tried. Just pump as much milk as you possible can until you’re not producing much anymore and use formula too. There are also mother’s out there that don’t produce enough milk to satisfy their babies and need to supplement with formula. There is no shame in this either. I know numerous women who have done this. Especially as the baby gets older they eat more. Don’t get discouraged or frustrated. There is nothing wrong with you. I had to tell myself this numerous times. Some babies are easy to breastfeed and some are not. As long as they eat that is all that matters. They will grow up and be healthy beautiful babies in the end!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Prenatal Chiropractic Care

The postural changes caused by a woman’s protruding abdomen throughout pregnancy places a significant amount of stress on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the low back and pelvis. These stresses can lead to the pelvis becoming torqued or twisted, a condition known as intrauterine constraint, which can compromise the space of the developing baby. Chiropractors certified in the Webster Technique have the ability to restore a state of balance in the pelvic joints, musculature, and ligaments to create an environment that allows for a much more natural delivery process.

The Webster Technique as defined by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) is “a Chiropractic analysis and adjustment that reduces nervous system stress and potential intrauterine constraint by improving pelvic muscle and ligament function which can reduce torsion to the uterus and allow the baby to get into the best possible position for birth.” This also maximizes uterine space allowing for optimal baby development thereby decreasing the restriction on developing structures such as the cranium, spine, and extremities. Having the maximum space available also allows the baby to move into the best possible position for birth decreasing the chance of breech presentation which subsequently decreases the need for C-section or other medical interventions. This in no way means that chiropractors are turning breech babies. They are simply providing a state of pelvic balance and therefore increasing the opportunity for the mother to give her child a natural and less traumatic birthing process and achieved in a very gentle non-invasive way.

Specially designed pillows which protect the mother’s belly are placed on the treatment table so that range of motion in her sacrum (tailbone) can be assessed. The side lacking proper motion is adjusted using an apparatus on the table that enhances the very slight mobilizing pressure applied to the restricted joint. It is a very quick and simple adjustment and in no way harms the mother or her baby. The mother then lies on her back so an assessment of the round ligament can be performed. This structure is found to be under a significant amount of stress during pregnancy and a massage type technique is then applied to decrease this tension. While this is the primary form of treatment used in prenatal chiropractic care, other therapies that can be utilized in conjunction with this to enhance the expectant mother’s overall range of motion.

An article published in the 2002 edition of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics demonstrates the effectiveness of this technique. One hundred and twelve expectant mothers in their third trimester took part in the study. 87.5% of those in their seventh month (14 of 16), 98% of those in their eighth month (50 of 51), and 84.4% of those in their ninth month (38 of 45) experienced resolution of breech presentation after application of the Webster Technique. While chiropractic care throughout pregnancy would be most beneficial this study showed an overall success rate of 82% when applied at various times during the final trimester of pregnancy.

Increasing the public’s awareness of such forms of complementary care can help decrease the need for cesarean interventions and give mothers the natural childbirth that they have always dreamed of.