Stress and Weight

Stress and lack of sleep tend to go hand in hand. Stress can cause weight gain in many ways. It can cause stress eating, poor digestion, poor utilization of nutrients due to always being in a fight or flight mode, or it can lead to a secondary factor such as lack of sleep. If stress is contributing to your weight gain you may need to reduce the amount of stress in your life, or you may just need to improve your ability to cope with your stress load.

From positivemed.com

From positivemed.com

Reducing your stress may be an option for you, but it may not. One way to find out is to make a list of your activities and label what you are doing in your life as un-needed, good, better, and best. When you look at that list you’ll know where your focus should be and which things to eliminate.

Sometimes you cannot eliminate enough stress from your life in which case you need to evaluate your coping ability. If you are coping by becoming anxious, irritable, distracted or depressed then you may need outside help. Family, friends, or counselors can give advice, help you learn problem solving skills, or relaxation techniques. They can also help you identify behavior patterns such as comfort eating. A good method to cope with stress is exercise. Finding a distraction or hobby can also be a way to release stress safely. The important thing to remember is that yo don’t have to go through stressful times alone.

Here is a great site for Stress Management: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

 

Go to Your Chiropractor for Your High Blood Pressure

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I interrupt this weight discussion for hypertension.

Hypertension is the most common primary diagnosis in the country. It is a serious public health issue affecting over 30% of the adult population of the USA. Hypertension and hypertension related conditions are a leading cause of death with nearly 350,000 per year. It is also a very manageable condition. In most cases Chiropractors should be managing these patients in their offices. Chiropractors are trained to make the diagnosis and in the treatment methods required. For some treatments they are the only practitioners trained.

Hypertension is broken into two categories, essential and secondary hypertension. Essential Hypertension is the most common and the one that we know least about. It is linked to lifestyle, genetics, age and so much more. Secondary Hypertension is easier to understand. In these cases the increase in blood pressure (BP) is caused by another condition such as kidney disease, or endocrine problems. Patients with secondary hypertension should be referred for the appropriate medical care.

Diagnosis and classification of hypertension is simple:

Systolic BP (SBP) mmHg Diastolic BP (DBP) mmHg
Normal <120 <80
Prehypertension 120–139 80–89
Hypertension Stage 1 140–159 90–99
Hypertension Stage 2 >160 >100

Blood Pressure will vary a little each time you take it so it is important to take multiple readings in a systematic manner using the same arm and technique each time. Readings over time will give you the best idea of where a BP truly is, and at least 3 readings on separate occasions are suggested.

The following is a small list of common drugs or drug categories that can increase BP:

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • Decongestants, Cough and Cold Medications
  • Headache Medications
  • Weight Loss Medications
  • Corticosteroids such as asthma medications
  • Oral contraceptive hormones
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Adrenal steroid hormones
  • Licorice (including some chewing tobacco)

The home remedy is really the only remedy, if by remedy you mean cure. You see high blood pressure is usually a lifestyle issue. That means the things that you do from day to day are causing your high blood pressure. Change those things and your blood pressure normalizes. If it doesn’t then you’re blood pressure is just a symptom of something else that needs to be addressed medically (small % of the cases). High blood pressure is just a symptom and not a disease in and of its self.

SaladThe recommendations for management of hypertension start with lifestyle modifications such as achieving and maintaining normal body weight, BMI of less than 25. Blood pressure can be reduced between 5-20 mmHg by achieving and maintaining a normal BMI. Weight loss of even 10lbs can show significant reductions in BP. Good diet, specifically the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), has been shown to decrease your BP between 8-14 mmHg. Diet can also help to decrease your weight. Reducing sodium intake as a part of your diet can reduce your SBP by 2-8 mmHg. Exercise, even just brisk walking for 30 min a day, 5 days a week, can reduce SBP by up to 9 mmHg. Limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking also have significant effect on reduction of SBP.

It is not unreasonable to expect a 10-20 mmHg drop in BP with just lifestyle changes. Because all of the lifestyle changes are interrelated you cannot just add the possible reductions from each together to determine how much this treatment should reduce BP. It is important to keep a balance in treatments and utilize all of the lifestyle modifications possible.

The medical recommendations of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection,Ragnar Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure suggest that medication should be used in conjunction with lifestyle modification for Stage 1 and 2 Hypertension.  Lifestyle modification has been shown to be effective at reducing BP even without medication, and so suggests that most cases of hypertension can be brought under control without medication.  Chiropractors can provide benefit in these cases in multiple ways.  The Journal of Human Hypertension and others report that in initial studies chiropractic treatment was found to have the long term effectiveness equivalent to using two medications for reducing hypertension and it had no negative effects.  The results showed an average reduction of 17 mmHg Systolic BP and 10 mmHg Diastolic BP.  The nature and frequency of chiropractic treatments lends to more frequent contact with patients which provides greater opportunity to educate, encourage and to monitor BP levels.
In other words chiropractors use the only remedy/home remedy to treat high blood pressure. You can do it on your own or ask your chiropractor about it.

Sleep and Weight

If lack of sleep (insufficient rest) is causing your weight gain then the solution is easy to figure out, but not so easy to implement. You nee to be getting more and better rest. The Average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep your weight can increase, but that’s not the only thing that sleep affects. Lack of sleep increases accidents, decreases cognitive ability, increases heart problems, speeds the aging process, and decreases sex drive. The reasons for the effect on weight is that lack of sleep affects your hormones that regulate hunger, metabolism, appetite.

To help you sleep there are many things that you can do. This may mean adjusting your bedtime schedule or routine. It may be as simple as getting a new pillow or bed. It will be different for every person, but improving your rest will benefit your whole health, and that includes your weight. Here are some simple things that you can do to improve your sleep:

  • Have a sleep schedule , even for weekends
  • Have a bedtime ritual
  • Exercise
  • Find your ideal sleep environment including light, sounds and temperature.
  • Get a quality bed (Intellibed) and pillow that is comfortable for you .
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Avoid electronics before bed.
  • Know your best sleep postures.

Thank you to Dr. Posture and the National Sleep Foundation for their great charts.

 

 

Weight – What about it?

What is a healthy weight for you?

There are many guides or tools that you can use to determine a healthy weight for you. The classifications for weight usually involve a screening system such as body fat content, Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference measurements and others. As the systems vary so do the classifications, and they are all guides, not absolute laws. The best way to tell if you are at a healthy weight is if you are able to move and do all of the activities that your healthy mind wants to be able to do. If you get winded walking up the stairs then how could you possibly keep up with your friends, kids or grandkids.

What are the causes of weight gain and what can you do about it?

Make no mistake weight gain comes from food, but there are other factors that play a role. If you can find the thing or things that influences your weight the most then you can address them and begin the process of achieving a healthy weight. Here are some of the most common reasons for weight gain or obesity:

  • Lack of sleep (insufficient rest)
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Medical Condition (depression, hypothyroidism, pain with exercise, poor CNS function)
  • Medical Treatment
  • Tobacco use or cessation
  • Poor diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle (not enough exercise whether due to pain or lifestyle)

Now that you know some of the likely causes of your weight gain you can address them. The next few posts will address each of these factors, and ways that you can overcome them.

Access to Chiropractic for Military Families

The NavyTimes reported on a possible revamping of the military medical system recently

Washington policymakers will soon begin consideration of the biggest overhaul of the military health care system since Tricare replaced CHAMPUS in the early 1990s — changes that would shift millions of beneficiaries to commercial, private-sector health plans.

This plan is purported to save the Pentagon billions of dollars as well as improving access to care for over 9 million military families.

Participants would have to provide the same services now covered by Tricare, including inpatient and outpatient services, medical and surgical care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, maternity care and pediatrics, preventive care and more.

But some plans could offer benefits that the current Tricare program doesn’t — chiropractic care, fertility treatments, acupuncture and more — at various costs.

The commission, whose members included six retired military officers, a Navy reservist and a Medal of Honor recipient, all with legislative and professional expertise in military pay-and-benefits issues, says the program, called Tricare Choice, would give families more choice of doctors, better access and improved treatment.

For the full article visit http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/benefits/health-care/2015/03/16/commission-proposes-tricare-choice/24458697/

chriscapitolstraightTo support improved access to chiropractic for our military and their families you can sign up for alerts about legislation affecting chiropractic at http://www.chirovoice.org/ or you can visit the legislative action center for the ACA (http://cqrcengage.com/aca/) to find current issues and contact your representative or senator to make your voice heard.  There are currently 3 federal issues that affect chiropractic and the military. Take a look and support our troops.

Low Back Pain, Right Here! – Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

si-joint-painMany people suffer from Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction even if they don’t know it by name. Most often people come in complaining of low back pain right along the belt line usually radiating to the glutes. They can usually point to the source of their pain and they point right to the S.I. joint. This is usually Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, and it can cause serious pain. It often affects pregnant women more easily than others because of the hormone-induced relaxation of the pelvis along with increased weight and low back stress.

Sciatic Pain

Sciatic Pain

It is usually caused by trauma such as lifting heavy items while bending and twisting at the same time. It can be exaggerated by the same motion such as loading a dishwasher or front loading clothes dryer, or even vacuuming. SI dysfunction will often produce a functional inequality in leg length (one leg appearing longer than the other). This pain is often one sided and also confused with sciatica. If you have S.I. Dysfunction it can produce pseudo sciatica. S.I. Dysfunction is the cause of about 25% of all low back pain.

What can you do if you have S.I. Dysfunction. Chiropractic is the treatment of choice having about a 75% success rate in research (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804708/). Stretching the hip flexors and gluteal regions can help relieve some of the pain. The best thing to do is to see a chiropractor to restore proper function to those joints. If you have low back pain there is a 1 in 4 chance that it is S.I. Dysfunction.

In Honor of all Veterans

American-flagWe all know veterans.  Some are family members, some are friends.  My father, a veteran, is finally coming home from overseas and will be living near me.  He recently called me to ask about getting treatment when he gets back.  The answer that I had to give him was that it would be difficult to get any chiropractic care through the VA here or through Medicare.  I have treated quite a few veterans here in Sandy from all over the Salt Lake City area, and they all have had difficulty with the VA.  The VA told them that they don’t cover chiropractic care here in Utah.  That is not true, so, I provided them with this VA fact sheet and this guide to Veterans getting care put out by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).  After being shown the law the VA does cover their treatment.  When asked about this discrepancy in thier policy the official reply from the VA was that there is no demand in the Utah VA for chiropractic care.

“In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has started the long-overdue process of providing veterans with access to chiropractic care by placing doctors of chiropractic on staff at VA hospitals. The process of integrating chiropractic care in the VA system was initiated after Congress enacted a series of statues—Public Law 108-170 and Public Law 107-135—that reinforced a permanent chiropractic benefit within the VA health care system and specifically directed the VA to hire doctors of chiropractic to provide care for veterans.

As a result of the above-referenced congressional directives, the VA now provides chiropractic care (via hired or contracted staff) at 47 major VA treatment facilities within the United States. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of America’s veterans still do not have access to chiropractic care because the VA has taken no action to provide chiropractic care at more than 100 of its major medical facilities.

Despite important data demonstrating a critical need for chiropractic services within the VA, the disparity in access has been allowed to persist. Recent VA data cites “diseases of musculoskeletal system/connective system,” such as back pain, as the number one ailment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans accessing VA treatment.” -ACA Website

If you are a veteran or know one, or just appreciate the service that they have given then please give back.  Contact your congressman and Senator today.  There are currently bills in both the senate and the house that would require the VA to have a chiropractic physician on staff at all major VA medical facilities by 2016.  To make your voice heard on this topic you can visit the ACA Political Action Center

For more information visit the Chiropractic Veterans Affairs page