Heathrow Chiropractic

Date: April 22, 2016 | Time: 1:06pm | Posted By: Mark Pegan


Does Popping My Knuckles Cause Arthritis?
We've all had a grandparent or mother tell us stop cracking you knuckles! That will cause arthritis!
The Truth is, knuckle cracking or bone cracking is harmless and does not increase your risk of any chronic issues.

So What is the sound we hear?

Joints are the points of articulation between two bones. The joints of your fingers have small gaps (joint space) between the bones like all joints in the body. These joint spaces are filled with a fluid called synovial fluid. The synovial fluid lubricates joints and prevents bones from rubbing on each other.

When you pop or crack a joint, you increases the amount of space within the joint. This suddenly expanded space joint space creates negative pressure, and synovial fluid rushes into the area to fill the negative pressure void. The popping or cracking sound you hear is actually the sound of that synovial fluid rushing into the space between your bones.

Popping Knuckles is NOT Associated with Arthritis Risk


Many different clinical studies have examined patients with osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), the most common form to determine how many of them are "knuckle poppers." Scientists have found no evidence to suggest that people who pop their knuckles have higher rates of arthritis or other bone conditions than those who listened to grandma and didn't pop their knuckles.

Of course, popping a joint does cause the the material holding the joint and surrounding connective tissue to stretch. Over time, repeated joint cracking can loosen the tissue. This makes it easier to crack the joints and that's why knuckle crackers have joints that are particularly susceptible to popping. However, this appears to be a harmless side effect of knuckle cracking. Loosened connected tissue as a result of frequent knuckle cracking has not been associated with any side effects.

When We Should Be Concerned about Cracking Joints

Cracking your knuckles should not be a source of pain or discomfort. Some patients with bursitis, arthritis or tendinitis find that their joints crack more often. If you do notice that your joints crack more often and cause you pain, call the office today to schedule an appointment.



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Alternative Medicine Is Recommended prior to Painkillers according to the CDC

Date: March 29, 2016 | Time: 12:59pm | Posted By: Mark Pegan

F4CP Lauds CDC Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, Chiropractic is Safer, Non-Drug Approach for
Pain Relief


CDC recommends conservative care and alternative options prior to prescription painkiller treatment.

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - March 21, 2016 - In response to the new federal guidelines issued
by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding opioid prescribing, the Foundation forChiropractic Progress (F4CP), the voice for the chiropractic profession, notes that many individuals are prescribed opioids for pain associated with musculoskeletal conditions, including low back and neck pain. Individuals utilizing opioids may be unaware of the effectiveness of alternative care, which includes chiropractic.

"The growing opioid epidemic is finally gaining the attention it deserves," states Sherry McAllister,
DC, executive vice president, F4CP, referencing a report which found that in 2014, the increased
utilization of opioids led to 28,647 deaths - or 61 percent of total drug overdose fatalities in the U.S.
"Chiropractic care is a hands-on, non-invasive approach documented to yield improved clinical outcomes,reduced costs and high levels of patient satisfaction."

According to a report published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), spinal
manipulative therapy effectively and significantly reduced pain and improved function for patients with chronic nonspecific low back pain. Today, doctors of chiropractic (DCs) perform 94 percent of spinal manipulations in the U.S. Additionally, an earlier BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders study on upper cervical chiropractic care for neck pain, headache, mid-back, and low back pain concludes that 9.1 out of 10patients indicated a very high level of patient satisfaction.

"Collectively, we need to implement changes across the health care continuum, and the care provided by a doctor of chiropractic is the key to effectively managing pain and avoiding opioid drug treatment," adds Dr. McAllister, who notes that Americans consume 80 percent of the world's opioid supply, despite comprising less than five percent of the global population. "Health care providers across all disciplines should consider safe and effective conservative care options prior to prescribing addictive and potentially fatal opioids - which have yet to be deemed effective for long-term pain management."

Under the new guidelines, the CDC encourages doctors to utilize conservative care prior to prescription painkiller treatment, and prescribe painkillers only after considering non-addictive pain relievers, behavioral changes and alternative options. Additionally, the CDC recommends doctors prescribe the lowest effective dose possible, and only continue prescribing the drugs if patients show substantial improvement.

Doctors of chiropractic, who receive a minimum of seven years of higher education, are specifically
trained to diagnose, evaluate and provide non-pharmaceutical care and rehabilitation to individuals
suffering from acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain, headaches and general health concerns.

The F4CP is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the value of chiropractic care, and cites chiropractic care as an integral part of the solution in mitigating opioid misuse, abuse and dependency.

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Neck Pain and The Office Worker

Date: July 20, 2015 | Time: 8:08am | Posted By: Mark Pegan

Attention Desk Jockeys


More people than ever sit in front of a computer for a living these days, and if you're reading this online it's likely that you're one of them. So before you get back to being productive for your boss, let's review some ways you can spare your neck in the process.


First, the basics: Your head weighs, on average, about 12 pounds. You have a fairly complicated series of joints and muscles holding that weight off your shoulders and giving you the freedom to look around. Like every other complicated system, the more moving parts to deal with, the more likelihood for something to go wrong. Some of the muscles that get tweaked and stretched when your head moves too far forward (the classic computer posture) are the deep flexor muscles. That would be these guys:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_BtXNREI-BMQ/TRjg5Ry2REI/AAAAAAAAACk/QnLJH8k6_yI/s1600/deep+neck+flexors.jpg

These muscles work in concert with others in the posterior aspect of your neck to give both stability and freedom of movement to the head. They also get beat up when we get our heads too far forward and keep them there all day, like you may very well be doing right now. Interesting fact--every inch forward your head moves takes three times more power to support the weight. Makes sense--if you hold a bowling ball close to your body it's easier to support than holding it out in front. And your head weighs about the same as a bowling ball. No disrespect.



Eventually, certain muscles get too tight which causes others to turn off ("reciprocal inhibition," again). This happens because muscles activated on one side of a joint cause the muscles on the other side of the same joint to become inhibited--when you flex your bicep, your tricep has to turn off so you can perform the movement. Your neck is no different, and when it happens for hours on end in only one direction neck pain is often the result. This is sometimes referred to as "upper crossed syndrome." It looks like this:

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Plantar Fasciitis

Date: July 8, 2015 | Time: 7:54am | Posted By: Mark Pegan

Plantar Fasciitis

One of the most common conditions of the lower extremities that presents to my office weekly is plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is a condition that refers to a lingering pain on the bottom of the foot. It is a condition that normally does not respond well to traditional methods of treatment. This condition causes muscular dysfunction and pain that can cause serious drop in a persons movement especially with their physical activities.

There are many ways for a person to suffer from plantar fasciitis such as over pronation, walking with a flat foot, developing tight Achilles tendon, sudden increase in mileage when running and a high arched foot all adding for to a cause this condition. A patient who suffers from plantar fasciitis normally complains about experiencing pain localized at the bottom of their foot deploying to the inside of the heel. In a typical injury a pain from plantar fasciitis will make for a patient very difficult to place the weight on the foot due to the intense throbbing pain. Walking a few steps in the morning proves to be painful as well as doing other physical activities like running and jumping.


Common Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

  • Too much standing

  • Unpadded shoes on hard ground

  • Poor shoes

  • Repetitive stress

  • Diets low in vitamin C

  • A change or increase in activities

  • Being overweight

  • An injury

Affected Muscles

The plantar fascia is a band of fibers which runs from the heel bone to the base of the toes. Plantar Fasciitis occurs when these tissues are irritated and inflamed. Bone spurs often form on the heel if this condition is not correctly treated. Biomechanical or training flaws such as over-pronation, flat feet, a tight Achilles tendon, a high-arched foot, or a sudden increase in training mileage often cause plantar fasciitis. Long distance walking, running cycling, or just standing can overwork these muscles. As they are chronically over-worked, they start to shorten. When a muscle shortens, it is less resilient and is more easily damaged. As the Plantar aponeurosis and the muscles shorten, they produce pain in the bottom of the foot.


With the lack of success in traditional healing, chiropractic care has become one of the leading choice of treatment for patients suffering from this condition. Plantar fasciitis and chiropractic care go hand in hand with the administering of Myofacial Release technique, this method of treatment allows therapy to target the soft tissues in the feet. Its aim is to make the different parts of the foot and ankle to move through a typical full range and keep the stress located on the plantar fascia to a minimum.



Chiropractic Care for Plantar Fasciitis

Chiropractic care treatment done by a chiropractic practitioner often gets the job done in limiting the pain caused by plantar fasciitis. It helps bring the treatment into the root of the problem by getting rid of restrictions along the joints, muscles and other parts of the foot. The chiropractor will also help increase the work and movement range flexibility of the calf muscles by using special treatment protocols that help correct other functional risk factors such as tightness and weakening of the intrinsic muscles of the foot.


If a patient sees a chiropractor earlier than most, the more chances they will have in preventing further injury and the higher chances they will have at a full recovery. A successful chiropractic treatment will also avoid any further episodes of plantar fasciitis.



Chiropractic helps in treating individuals with plantar fasciitis and coupled with the right kind of lifestyle that involves exercising regularly and a proper diet and nutrition it is not fat fetched that the therapy and chiropractic healing methods will do the trick. Manipulation, stretching, soft tissue work, ultrasound and home exercises are just some of the chiropractic therapies administered for patients suffering with this condition.
Do not risk your feet and your ability to gain strength and perform physical activities. Consult a doctor of chiropractic at the onset of feeling pain under your feet, as it might be the initial stage of a plantar fasciitis and let the treatment help you achieve great health and body condition that is always in great shape.

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Mens Health and Testosterone

Date: July 6, 2015 | Time: 7:58am | Posted By: Mark Pegan

This one is for the men. Specifically for the men in their 40s and older. Men who want to maintain not just their libido, but their muscle mass and health as we move forward into our Golden Years.

Guys, we have to maintain, or increase (if it's low) our testosterone levels if we want to maintain our health. Low testosterone levels will also make you a weak girly man who can't open jars. And we can't have that. Your testosterone level is the rate limiting factor for how much muscle mass you can keep. Your muscle mass dictates the amount of organ reserve you have. In other words, a little extra skeletal muscle influences how well your heart, kidneys, liver, and all the other organs work. I don't know about you, but I want that stuff to work really well.

One of the greatest problems that comes along with excess adipose tissue (fat) is the reduction of testosterone levels. This happens because adipose tissue leads to the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. This can lead to, among other things, a phenomenon known as
gynecmastia--the development of female breasts on men. Not all that flattering. Increased estrogen leads to higher retention of body fat, and the vicious cycle continues until it's broken. My challenge: break it now.

The single best thing you can do to elevate your testosterone levels is resistance training with weights. Period
. I know for some of you this conjures images of muscle bound bodybuilders who can't scratch their own backs. Let me clear that image up for you by saying that this just doesn't happen unless performance enhancing drugs are used. Resistance exercise can literally be the fountain of youth for men with waning testosterone levels, but you have to be smart about it. The more muscle groups stimulated simultaneously, the more testosterone production is enhanced.


Of course, there are some diet related changes to be made--you've got to have the raw materials to make testosterone. The good news is that the raw materials for all the sex hormones are cholesterol and saturated fat. I'd advise most men to decrease their carbohydrate intake to around 150 grams a day and replace the lost calories with fat from grass fed beef, fish, coconut oil, butter, and avocado. Grass fed beef isn't that hard to find these days--go to eat wild and check your state. It takes some getting used to as grass fed beef is leaner than corn fed, but grass fed beef has a much better ratio of omega fatty acids, and the farms treat their animals as humanely as possible. Indeed, grass fed cattle live like kings compared to their feed lot brethren, and the end result is better for them, the environment, and you.

The one supplement I'll mention when it comes to elevating your testosterone levels is magnesium. Studies have shown that magnesium even helps increase testosterone in the elderly/sedentary population, so 400mgs a day for a 50 year old man who pushes some iron three times a week can make a world of difference.

A very important addition to this list is to get adequate sleep. Your body does its healing and rebuilding when you sleep, and inadequate sleep doesn't give your internal construction crew enough time to get the job done. You know, technically speaking and all. Magnesium supplementation is often helpful if you have a tough time getting to sleep, and getting your eyes off blinking lights such as television, computer, and cell phone screens at least 30 minutes before turning in can be huge when it comes to letting your brain power down. Incidentally, e-readers that have the gray background screen like the Kindle won't over-stimulate your brain like the color screens found on an iPad or Kindle Fire.



There are blood tests that can tell you where you are with your testosterone levels, but if you're over 35, you can count on your levels declining a few percentage points each year if you don't fight back. Low levels of testosterone has been linked to higher levels of clinical depression, and general malaise. A few hours a week is worth the time and trouble to keep your levels up, or even get them higher than they have been in years. You'll look better and feel better, and hey, this is the only body you have--treat it well for many happy returns.

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Disc Herniation's

Date: July 3, 2015 | Time: 3:00am | Posted By: Mark Pegan

What can be done to help with a Disc Herniation?


A recent research study reviewed records from 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation database who had diagnoses of disc degeneration, disc herniation or radiculopathy, a nerve condition that causes tingling and weakness of the limbs. Half of the patients had surgery to fuse two or more vertebrae in hopes of curing low back pain. The other half had no surgery, even though they had comparable diagnoses.


After two years, just 26 percent of those who had surgery had actually returned to work. That's compared to 67 percent of patients who didn't have surgery. In what might be the most troubling study finding, researchers determined that there was a 41 percent increase in the use of painkillers, specifically opiates, in those who had surgery.


"The study provides clear evidence that for many patients, fusion surgeries designed to alleviate pain from degenerating discs don't work", says the study's lead author Dr. Trang Nguyen, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.


So if surgery is not that effective for correcting a Disc Herniation what are some of the alternatives?

. Medications- such as NSAIDs, pain killers, and muscle relaxers.


. Injections-Steroid injections into the back in the area of the herniated disk may help control pain for several months. Such injections reduce swelling around the disk.


. Non Surgical Spinal Decompression and Life Style Modification.

Medications and Injections definitely have their place in treating musculoskeletal conditions such as Disc Herniation's because they can reduce soft tissue swelling around the Disc. They can also give relief to patients in which the pain is unbearable. The problem is this only masks the pain and without any outside correction will lead to further injury. This is why at my practice for this condition I recommend Non Surgical Spinal Decompression along with life style modification (losing weight, exercising, proper ergonomics etc.)



What is Spinal Decompression you ask? Decompression is a form of therapy that relieves pressure that builds up on the discs and nerves. The task of relieving pain comes about as a result of drawing areas of herniated disc back into place.

Decompression achieves this by creating negative pressure within the disc, referred to as negative intra-discal pressure. This creates essentially a vacuum to draw the bulging and herniated disc material back into the disc space and relieves pressure. As the ligaments that hold disc material in place become stretched or torn due to bulging and herniation, decompression strengthens the ligament bands that hold the disc material in place to heal & prevent future recurrence. The Decompression Table is computerized and the procedure is relatively pain free with many patients falling asleep due to the relief they feel during the procedure.

In most cases the healing process requires only a few weeks of treatment on an out-patient basis. Patients come to us to return to a normal pain free life. While no treatment is full proof and Disc Herniation's can take months or even years to heal. Spinal Decompression offers patients a better non-invasive alternative from traditional surgery to correct Disc Herniation's.

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Grains Inflame Part 2

Date: July 1, 2015 | Time: 3:30am | Posted By: Mark Pegan

6. Grains aren't good for your joints.

Due to their inflammatory nature, grains - even whole grains - are linked to joint pain and arthritis. Grain's amino acid composition mirrors that of the soft tissue in your joints. Because both synovial tissue and grains are chemically similar, your body has difficulty differentiating between the two. So, when your immune cells get all hot and bothered by inflammation caused by grain and begin to attack it as a foreign invader, they also begin to attack the soft tissue in your joint - leading to pain, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and, of course, more inflammation.


7. Poorly Prepared Grains prevent mineral absorption.

When improperly prepared as they most often are, grains can inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption. Grains contain substances like phytic acid which binds up minerals and prevents proper absorption. Essentially, though your diet might be rich in iron, calcium and other vital nutrients if you eat improperly prepared grain, you're not fully absorbing nutrients from the foods you eat. However, please note that souring, sprouting and soaking grains neutralizes phytates and renders the nutrients in grain more absorbable.


8. Grains are bad for your teeth.

Due to those high levels of phytates in grain, grain is linked to dental decay. With high levels of mineral-blocking phytic acid coupled with low mineral absorption rates and plenty of starches for bacteria to feed on, grain contributes to dental decay. Anthropological records of our pre-agricultural ancestors indicates very little to no tooth decay; however, that changed after the dawn of agriculture. Indeed, some anthropologists use the presence of tooth decay is an indicator of an agricultural society.


9. Grains aren't good for your skin either.

Grains have a very high carbohydrate content, and while the carbohydrates in grain are complex they are still broken down into sugars nonetheless. These sugars instruct your body to produce more insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IFG-1). Elevated insulin levels lead to a cascading hormonal response and these hormones activate the sebum-producing glands in your skin - encouraging them to produce more oil. IFG-1 is also linked with the increased production of keratinocytes which also contribute to acne.


10. Eating grain makes you crave grain.


You know how the smell of bread creates a longing in. Or consider a plate of cookies set in front of you. Foods rich in carbohydrates give you quick energy, but that energy wears off just as quickly as it came. Since grains break down into sugar, they create a rise in insulin levels when those levels fall you crave more grains and, thus, the vicious cycle continues.

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Why You Should Go Grain-free Part 1

Date: June 30, 2015 | Time: 6:00am | Posted By: Mark Pegan

Why You Should Go Grain-free Part 1


1. If you can get it from grain, you can get it elsewhere.

The big heroes of most grains' nutrient profile are dietary fiber and B vitamins. Take heed, every grain is different and different grains offer different nutrient profiles. Yet, one thing remains constant: if you can find the nutrient in grain, you can find the nutrient in better quantities in other foods. For example, 100 grams of whole wheat flour contains 44 mcg of folate; however, a 100-gram portion of lamb liver will give you 400 mcg of folate and a 100-gram portion of yardlong beans will give you a whopping 658 mcg per 100-gram portion. Similarly with the B Vitamins niacin and thiamin, while a 100-gram whole wheat flour contains 30% of the RDA for niacin and 32% of the RDA for thiamin, you can find these nutrients in higher quantities in other foods - namely flaxseeds and sesame seeds. Whole grains are often touted as health foods for their fiber content, but you can find dietary fiber in better quantities in other, more nutrient-dense foods. For example: 100 grams of cooked brown rice offers up 1.8 grams of dietary fiber; by contrast, a 100-gram serving of cooked collard greens offers 2.8 grams; 100 grams of raw fireweed contains a whopping 11 grams of dietary fiber and even green peas contain about 5 grams of fiber per serving.


2. Grains aren't good for your gut.

Intestinal health is critical to your overall health. If you're gut isn't healthy, you can't absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. If you can't absorb nutrients from the foods you eat, your body is malnourished and is more prone to disease. Grains are associated with a condition called leaky gut syndrome. Tiny particles of grains, when ingested, can slip through the intestinal walls causing an immune response. With your immune system excessively taxed by constantly attacking these out-of-place particles of grain, it cannot effectively fight against true threats like pathogens.


3. You're probably gluten-intolerant.

If you're white, there's a good chance that you're gluten-intolerant to some degree. Current research estimates that about 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease, an auto-immune condition related to the ingestion of gluten-containing grains like wheat and barley; however, some researchers on celiac disease and gluten intolerance estimate that 30% to 40% of people of European descent are gluten-intolerant to some degree. That's a lot of people who are regularly consuming a food that makes them sick.


4. Grains cause inflammation.

Due to a high starch content, grains are inflammatory foods. The more refined the grain, the more inflammatory it is. For example, unbleached white flour is more inflammatory than whole grain flour; however, whole grains are still moderately inflammatory foods and certainly more inflammatory than other foods like fresh vegetables and wholesome fats. Chronic inflammation is linked to a myriad of degenerative, modern diseases including arthritis, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, bone loss, emotional imbalance and even cancer. Unbleached white flour earns an inflammation factor of -421 or strongly inflammatory on NutritionData.com while whole wheat flour earns an inflammation factor of -247 or moderately inflammatory. Similarly, whole cooked millet earns an inflammation factor of -150 and cooked brown rice earns an inflammation factor of -143 - also moderately inflammatory.


5. Grains are fairly new on the scene.


While still a traditional food, grains are, nonetheless, the new kids on the block. Prior to the advent of agriculture, humans relied on hunting and gathering for their foods. They foraged for wild greens, berries, fruits and other plants. They hunted wild animals. They fished for wild fish. They didn't plant a garden, or grow any amber waves of grain or, for that matter, drink dairy from domesticated animals since there simply wasn't any domesticated animals. Humans survived like this from the development of the appearance of the first homo sapiens sapiens about 47,000 years ago to the advent of agriculture some 10 - 12,000 years ago. So, for the better part of human existence grains did not comprise any notable portion of the human diet. In essence, what has become the bulk of our modern diet was missing from the diet of our prehistoric ancestors.

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New PIP Law

Date: June 29, 2015 | Time: 12:37pm | Posted By: Mark Pegan

In early 2012, Florida Legislature made sweeping changes to the Florida's no-fault automobile insurance law at the urging of Governor Rick Scott. Most significant were changes to the personal injury protection (PIP) component of your coverage that protects you should you be the victim of an auto accident. While all Florida drivers will still be required to carry PIP coverage, the new law signifacantly alter how you will be able to seek and obtain medical care for your injuries following an accident.


New Time Limit

Unlike the current law which allows a patient to seek treatment for injuries following an accident with no time frame, the new law only gives a patient 14 days to file a claim to use their PIP coverage. If you do not file a claim within this time frame you loose your right to use PIP coverage to cover your health care.


Changes in Coverage and Treatment

While you will continue to be required to carry and pay for insurance premiums for a full $10,000 of PIP coverage, in certain situations you may only be entitled to up to a $2,500 reduced benefit. The new law requires you have a determination of an "emergency medical condition" to gain access to the previously normal $10,000 in PIP coverage. This could cause problems as a normal hospital visit can run through your benefits quickly if there in only $2,500 in benefits now available. You still have direct access to a chiropractorhowever PIP coverage no longer covers massage therapy and accupuncture. This also could be an issue as alternative medicine is no longer redaly available to auto accident victims. This could unfortunetly lead to more people seeking drugs and pain management first.


Impact to Your Insurance Premiums

While the Legislature's stated goal of these benefit reductions is to attack fraud and reduce costs, there is no requirement within the new law that inusurance companises reduce costs for these newly reduced benefits. Carriers were asked to consider a 10% reduction in premiums by their rate fillings in October 2012 however, the majority chose not to comply. You may want to monitor your renewal premiums closely this year, as we have heard from several patients their rates actually have increased despite the insurance companies not having to pay for the same coverage.


When The New Law is to Take Effect

The major changes take effect January 1, 2013. You can expect a lot of controversy over the interpretation of this new law because of its vagueness and because it has potential to decrease your PIP coverage by 75%.

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    Neck Pain and Arthritis

    Date: August 4, 2011 | Time: 11:57am | Posted By: Mark Pegan



    When we say the word "arthritis," many images pop up in our heads. Some people think of crippled hands or perhaps Mr. Smith who talks about his bad hip being, "...bone on bone!" Or, how about the neighbor who has a bum knee and walks with a limp and a cane? Rarely do we think about the neck being associated with "arthritis."

    Before we go too far into this discussion, we should define the term, "arthritis," which means joint ("arth-") swelling (-itis). Simple enough, right? Wrong! Without getting too complicated, we must realize there are MANY different types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gouty arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, etc. To narrow this down a bit, we will limit our discussion to osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease.

    Degenerative joint disease or DJD, is the most common type of arthritis that EVERYONE eventually ends up with - whether we like it or not. That's because, over time, our joints wear out and become "arthritic." While it's true that weight bearing joints wear out quicker (like hips and knees more so than elbows and shoulders), DJD can affect any joint. There are many causes of DJD, including a genetic or hereditary tendency but the most common cause is wear and tear over a long period of time. Of course, the rate of acquiring DJD in the neck (or anywhere else for that matter) is directly related to how "nice" we have been to our body, in this case, the neck. For example, after a car accident, a common injury to the neck is whiplash. This occurs because we literally cannot control the speed of the head as it rapidly moves forwards and backwards upon impact and it's all over within 600-800 milliseconds! Since we can't voluntarily contract a muscle that fast and when joints move beyond their normal stretch length, the ligaments - those non-elastic, tough tissues that securely holds bone to bone - will only "give" so much and then tear, which is technically called a "sprain." This leads to an accelerated rate of degeneration.

    frey cervicalddd250
    Blood tests are negative with DJD (unlike many of the other types of arthritis), and an x-ray can help determine how "arthritic" the joint is and whether the smooth, silky ends of the joint (called hyaline cartilage) are worn down and if bony spurs are present. In the neck, DJD can create a lot of symptoms which may include pain and stiffness, especially in the mornings after laying still and not moving during the night. After we get up and move around, "...it loosens up." As the condition advances, neck movements become tight and restricted with pain, which further limits movement, and sooner or later, the patient must rotate their whole body to look to the side. If the arthritis hits or bumps into a nerve as it exits the cervical spine, neck soreness, and numbness/tingling may radiate down an arm, at times to the hand, usually only affecting certain fingers. Headaches, especially in the back of the head, can also occur from the reflex muscle "splinting" due to the pain associated with arthritis. As Dr. Peter Ulrich, MD points out (http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/arthritis/cervical-osteoarthritis-neck-arthritis) chiropractic adjustments, "...help control chronic symptoms or provide relief for more severe episodes of pain from osteoarthritis."

    We at Heathrow Chiropracticrealize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck/arm pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.
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    Are all Supplements Created Equal?

    Date: January 27, 2011 | Time: 11:50am | Posted By: Mark Pegan

    Supplement Quality--What's the Deal?

    In the United States alone there are approximately 1,000 supplement manufacturers. These companies can be anything from a mom and pop operation putting raw materials into capsules in a garage to a multimillion dollar lab with high tech equipment comparable to some of the large pharmaceutical companies. And there's no government regulation of the supplement world. This often leads the consumer to question the purity and manufacturing process of what they see on the shelves, as they should. All supplements are definitely not created equal. But just because the government doesn't regulate the supplement industry (which is good, because they would probably make it worse) doesn't mean the industry doesn't have some internal regulation.

    I now direct you to the Natural Products Association, a company that, among other things, has a "Good Manufacturing Process" seal of approval available to supplement companies that pay to have their labs audited. If the supplement company goes for it, and passes, they get to put the "GMP" stamp of approval on their products. I already mentioned that there are 1,000, give or take, supplement companies in the U.S. There are only 77 companies that have made it through the process and sport the GMP label.

    And of the 77 that have made it that far, only one company can claim that they also, in fact, manufacture actual pharmaceuticals, and therefore have inspectors and auditors of various natures in their facilities on a very regular basis. And that supplement company is Anabolic Labs--the guys I deal with. Not just because of their level of quality; their actual line of products is congruent with my thinking about what people need less of: inflammation. They're making it easy these days by putting 30 day packages together of the four supplements I think most people should take: vitamin D, magnesium, fish oil, and a multivitamin that contains no iron (more on that in a future post). The clinical results from a low inflammatory diet (more on that, too) and the addition of the aforementioned supplements can be impressive.

    Essential NP web
    I'm not telling you not to take the stuff they sell at your corner vitamin/supplement store, I'm just telling you to be aware that there are quality control measures in place. There are some good companies that aren't participating . The one company that I personally have always trusted is Anabolic Laboratories!
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    Office workers and their Necks

    Date: January 5, 2011 | Time: 12:58pm | Posted By: Mark Pegan

    More people than ever sit in front of a computer for a living these days, and if you're reading this it's likely that you're one of them. So before you get back to being productive for your boss, let's review some ways you can spare your neck in the process.

    First, the basics: Your head weighs, on average, about 12 pounds. You have a fairly complicated series of joints and muscles holding that weight off your shoulders and giving you the freedom to look around. Like every other complicated system, the more moving parts to deal with, the more likelihood for something to go wrong. Some of the muscles that get tweaked and stretched when your head moves too far forward (the classic computer posture) are the deep flexor muscles. That would be these guys:
    deep neck flexors
    These muscles work in concert with others in the posterior part of your neck to give both stability and freedom of movement to the head. They also get beat up when we get our heads too far forward and keep them there all day, like you may very well be doing right now. Interesting fact--every inch forward your head moves takes three times more power to support the weight. Makes sense--if you hold a bowling ball close to your body it's easier to support than holding it out in front. And your head weighs about the same as a bowling ball. No disrespect.

    Eventually, certain muscles get too tight which causes others to turn off ("reciprocal inhibition," again). This happens because muscles activated on one side of a joint cause the muscles on the other side of the same joint to become inhibited--when you flex your bicep, your tricep has to turn off so you can perform the movement. Your neck is no different, and when it happens for hours on end in only one direction neck pain is often the result. This is sometimes referred to as "upper crossed syndrome." It looks like this:
    Fig5 uppercross W
    Upper crossed syndrome can lead to a wide variety of pain and instability problems, including shoulder pain, pain around the shoulder blades (especially at the upper, inside border), and, of course, neck pain. None of which is very fun.

    Incidentally, the shoulder pain I just referred to is more than just pain, it's lack of stability. The shoulder blades are essentially the reason your shoulders move the way they do, and the serratus anterior muscles you can see in that picture (the ones that get inhibited) are important when it comes to stabilizing your shoulder joint. If they get turned off and you go try throw a softball around or swing a racket of some kind you could be in for some shoulder issues. More on that in a future post.

    An ounce of prevention, as they say, so let's look at the exercise I give every patient with neck pain who walks in the door here: The Brugger. This is done while sitting on the edge of your chair. Step one--tuck your chin straight back while keeping your eyes nice and level. This will create a really nice double chin that you can be proud of. Step two--try and keep your head in position while placing your palms in a a forward facing position with your arms slightly bent and back a little. You should feel a nice stretch where your chest connects to your shoulders.You'll be in this position at the end of the movement:brugger Hold this position for three deep breaths and then go on about your business.

    Sometimes the neck pain associated with the upper crossed syndrome is due to joint restrictions in your neck. Static postures held for hours on end can cause the joints to stop moving like they should, which can often lead to pain. Classically, the base of the neck (where your neck connects to your body) gets locked up, and when the muscles of the shoulders join the party to protect the compromised joint, the combination drives people to my office. The joint right at the base of the skull is another key location for dysfunction, and the combination of those locations can cause blistering headaches with a fairly predictable pattern, such as this:
    tp upper trapezius3d
    Fortunately, those headaches respond quickly to manipulation of the affected joints, especially when combined with soft tissue work to release the trigger points in the muscles. I recently had a patient leave the office with tears of joy welling up in her eyes because her chronic headache had disappeared for the first time in about a year.

    So do your Bruggers, and take your eyes of the screen and focus on something on the other side of the room while you do them. This will help your back, neck, shoulders, and your eyes, too. Why don't you start now? And if the headaches have already begun, and this doesn't make them go away, come see me at Heathrow Chiropractic. Tell 'em the blog sent you!
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    Office Workers Beware!

    Date: December 22, 2010 | Time: 8:52am | Posted By: Mark Pegan

    I'm a fan of computers and all, but sitting all day is bad for your back, bad for your neck, and bad for your sense of well being, too. I know--I'm writing this while sitting, and if it weren't for the fact that I regularly show (and therefore do myself) people exercises to help recover from the excesses of sitting, I'd likely end up with back pain myself. That scenario is not a practice builder.

    What's so bad about sitting? I'm glad you asked--first off, prolonged time in any position can shorten certain muscles and lengthen others beyond the norm. Sitting though, especially at a desk in front of a computer, can really wreak havoc on the low back and neck. Let's start from the bottom, at the hip flexors. That would be these guys:
    hip flexors muscles

    That one muscle, the psoas ("so-as") is especially prone to shrinking to fit the shape it's called to be conformed to all day long. As a result, we get tight in the front of our hips. Right here:Psoas Attachments

    When a muscle is shortened it is essentially flexed. You have built into your muscles a mechanism (called "reciprocal inhibition") that causes muscles on the opposite side of a joint to relax to enable the contracting muscle to contract unimpeded. As an example, when you flex your biceps, your triceps relax so your arm doesn't tear off or explode with all that raw power.

    In the same way, when your hip flexors are contracted, and end up shortening after all day sit-a-thons, the muscles that are forced to relax are found beneath your back pockets and are known far and wide as your glutes. Also known as your butt muscles.

    When your glutes get turned off because your hip flexors are contracted and shortened and therefore always a little too activated, problems in gait (the way you walk) can be the consequence. Because, you see, your glutes help extend your hip when you walk--in other words they help with the pushing off motion of taking a step. Go ahead, touch your own and extend your leg backwards to feel them activate.

    When your glutes aren't doing their job, other muscles and tissues try to compensate, but there really is no other muscles that can do the job as well. This often leads to IT Band Syndrome when runners go from desk to the track with inhibited glutes. IT band syndrome results in pain on the outside of your thigh. You can see in the following picture that the IT band is in a key location to try and do something it shouldn't be doing when the glutes are fast asleep at the wheel.

    IT Band

    The effects of sleepy glutes can eventually lead to knee pain and ankle pain as well--it just depends on how your system compensates for the faulty movement pattern.

    Short hip flexors can also cause low back pain, which we'll explore in the coming days. I'll follow up with how sitting affects your neck, and then we'll get into some stretches and exercises that will help with both ends of you. You can usually manage these things yourself, which is good, but if you're in more that the usual pain it could be something that could use a more experienced eye, and if that's the case, come see us at Heathrow Chiropractic!
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