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Migraines and Magnesium

Migraines and Magnesium

A recent study from Iranian researchers found that there might be a link between blood levels of magnesium and migraine headaches.1

Researchers looked at 50 migraine patients and 50 healthy subjects with no history of migraine. The migraine patients had average magnesium levels of 1.86  mg/dl, while the healthy subjects had magnesium levels of 2.10 mg/dl.

The researchers didn’t find any variation in magnesium levels in patients during or between headache attacks.

Other research has confirmed a relationship between magnesium serum levels and migraine, and some headache experts recommend magnesium supplementation for migraine sufferers.2

Chiropractic has been shown to be an effective treatment for migraines, and your chiropractor can help you choose nutritional supplements and dietary changes that might be beneficial in reducing or eliminating migraines.

  1. Samaie A, Asghari N, Ghorbani R, Arda J. Blood Magnesium levels in migraineurs within and between the headache attacks: a case-control study. Pan African Medical Journal 2012. 11:46.
  2. Mauskop A, Varughese J. Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium. Journal of Neural Transmission 2012;119(5):575-579.
Children and Caffeine: What Parents Should Know

Children and Caffeine: What Parents Should Know

girlThe next time you pass a Starbucks, pause for a moment and imagine that the customers inside drinking their lattes and Grande Espressos are your children. Then imagine them ingesting a drug (caffeine) that is known as a powerful stimulant with a proven history of producing nervousness, restlessness, irritability, high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches and heart palpitations. Finally, consider that this exercise in imagination may not be all that far off the mark.

That is the key finding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a 2014 study published in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers found that nearly three out of four children and young adults in America (73%) consume some caffeine a day, mostly from soda, tea, and coffee, but also from an alarming number of “energy drinks.”

This study comes as part of an investigation undertaken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into the safety of foods and drinks that contain caffeine—especially their effects on children and teens. In response to numerous reports of hospitalizations and even deaths after the consumption of highly caffeinated drinks or “energy shots,” the investigators analyzed health surveys containing data on over 22,000 subjects aged 2 to 22.

Many foods contain caffeine (including chocolate, candy bars, some jelly beans, and marshmallows), but most of the caffeine ingested by small children comes in the form of soda. The rise in the use of energy drinks—although they account for only 6% to 10% of children’s daily caffeine intake—is seen as particularly alarming, because many of these drinks contain even higher amounts of caffeine than soda.

The FDA study found that the average caffeine intake among participants was about 60-70 milligrams—roughly the same amount of caffeine present in a six-ounce cup of coffee or two sodas. However, this finding does not necessarily mean that this level of caffeine consumption is safe for children. In fact, while the FDA has classified caffeine as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), that classification is based solely on its use by adults. There is actually no current body of research analyzing its possible detrimental effects on children. Nakia V. Williams, M.D., a pediatrician at the Henry Ford Health System, says, “There haven’t been a lot of studies of caffeine in young children, but we do know that children suffer from similar side effects as adults, and that on average these side effects can occur at lower doses given the smaller body sizes.” The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against caffeine consumption for children and teens because of possible harmful stimulant effects as well as the possibility of it worsening anxiety in children already suffering from anxiety disorders. The AAP holds the clear position that “stimulant-containing energy drinks have no place in the diets of children and adolescents.”

So if you have kids, think twice before allowing them to consume soda and other drinks that contain caffeine. Pediatricians are unanimous in suggesting that they would be better off drinking water, reasonable amounts of fruit juices, milk, and other non-caffeinated beverages.

Can Chiropractic Care Really Reduce Your Sensitivity to Pain?

Can Chiropractic Care Really Reduce Your Sensitivity to Pain?

???????????Chronic back pain is a worldwide problem. According to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease report, it is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. In America, an estimated $50 billion is spent each year to treat back pain. And that figure doesn’t even take into account broader economic or societal costs that come with lower productivity and wages lost to work absences. As a result, chronic pain (whether it’s located in the back, neck, head or elsewhere in the body) and its treatment is an issue—either directly or indirectly—affects all of our lives.

Over the years, there have been tens of thousands of anecdotal reports from patients who found relief from their chronic pain as the result of chiropractic spinal manipulation therapy (SMT). There have also been a number of research studies that documented pain relief after receiving spinal adjustments, especially with regard to decreased sensitivity to pain. But critics have always been able to suggest that the pain relief experienced in these studies might be due more to the placebo effect and “expecting” relief than to the therapy itself.

New research from the University of Florida, published in the February issue of the Journal of Pain, provides demonstrable proof that the pain relief from spinal manipulation therapy is the result of the therapy itself, and not simply the result of patient expectations. In this study, researchers worked with 110 participants suffering from chronic back pain. They assigned them randomly to four groups. A control group received no intervention at all, the SMT group received real spinal manipulation therapy, a third group received placebo SMT (non-chiropractic manipulations designed to simulate treatment) and the fourth group received “enhanced” placebo SMT accompanied by instructions that said “The manual therapy technique you will receive has been shown to significantly reduce low back pain in some people.” Patients then received their therapies or mock therapies six times over a period of 2 weeks. Pain sensitivity was assessed at the start and the end of the experiment.

The study design was thus intended to determine how much of any pain relief experienced by the test subjects was due to the placebo effect. Patients in the real SMT group experienced much more significant reductions in their sensitivity to pain than the control group (as expected), but also more pain reduction than either of the placebo SMT groups, including the group that had been “implanted” with the expectation that it would relieve their pain. The researchers suggest that real spinal manipulation therapy created changes to central nervous system response or the processing of neural pain input that the placebo treatments did not. They attributed the pain relief to “the modulation of dorsal horn excitability and lessening of central sensitization. This suggests potential for SMT to be a clinically beneficial intervention.”

These results should not surprise either chiropractors or their patients, who have had first-hand experience with spinal manipulation for years and understand its potential to reduce pain sensitivity in patients. But it is useful information to those who still doubt chiropractic’s ability to provide real relief without drugs or surgery. The pain alleviation produced by chiropractic adjustments has been determined to be a real and valuable alternative to other types of treatment than may involve far more risk and expense.


The Benefits of Magnesium

The Benefits of Magnesium

magnesium-crystals-200-300While it may not be as well-known as other mineral nutrients, Magnesium is involved in a variety of the human body’s processes, ranging from maintaining bone density to keeping our heart rhythm steady. Without the proper levels of magnesium, we’d suffer from fragile bones, high blood pressure, weak muscles and heart problems, among other health problems.

Most people know that calcium is important in maintaining strong bones. However, many are unaware that without adequate magnesium, the bones cannot absorb that calcium, making it worse than useless. If calcium supplements are taken without corresponding amounts of magnesium (in a proportion of 2 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium), the calcium will tend to build up in the soft tissues and the joints, contributing to osteoarthritis, while at the same time failing to protect against osteoporosis.

There are over 300 different enzymes in the body that require magnesium in order to work. Magnesium helps to lower blood pressure by keeping the muscles of the heart and blood vessels relaxed. It can reduce headaches (including migraines), alleviate symptoms of PMS, and reduce your risk of diabetes. It is also helpful in the treatment of kidney stones, constipation, muscle cramps, depression and anxiety, and reduces inflammation.

The NHANES study (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) of 1999-2000 found that 68% of Americans do not get their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium. Adults who consume less than the RDA of magnesium are one and a half times more likely to have elevated markers for inflammation than those who get the recommended amount. Increased inflammatory markers indicate a higher risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is as follows:

Children 1-3 years: 80 mg/day
Children 4-8 years: 130 mg/day
Children 9-13 years: 240 mg/day

Girls 14-18 years: 360 mg/day
Women 19-30 years: 310 mg/day
Women 31 years and over: 320 mg/day

Pregnant women under 19 years: 400 mg/day
Pregnant women 19 to 30 years: 350 mg/day
Pregnant Women 31 years and up: 360 mg/day

Breastfeeding Women under 19 years: 360 mg/day
Breastfeeding Women 19 to 30 years: 310 mg/day
Breastfeeding Women 31 years and up: 320 mg/day

Boys 14-18 years: 410 mg/day
Men 19-30 years: 400 mg/day
Men 31 years and up: 420 mg/day

Although magnesium is found in a number of common foods, it is easily depleted by cooking and processing. There are also certain conditions that put you at risk of magnesium deficiency, including intestinal viruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, kidney disease, pancreatitis and taking diuretics.

Signs of magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms or weakness, abnormal blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, sleep disorders, nausea and vomiting, anxiety, irritability and restless leg syndrome.

Good food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables (spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard greens), seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, and flaxseed), nuts (almonds, cashews, and walnuts), baked potatoes and chocolate.

Car Accidents and Delayed Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Car Accidents and Delayed Symptoms: What You Need to Know

rescue # 3Even if your recent fender bender didn’t seem too serious, there’s still a very real chance that you or your passengers may have been hurt. That’s because even the most minor car accidents can cause hidden injuries and delayed symptoms. And while damage to your car is likely obvious and easy to assess, evaluating damage to your body may be far more difficult. In fact, it’s not unusual for a driver or passenger to walk away from a collision with potentially serious musculoskeletal injuries (such as a concussion or whiplash), without knowing it.

Because of the stress response, right after an accident the body’s defenses are on high alert. Any pain may be masked by endorphins produced by the body during and shortly after this kind of traumatic event. Endorphins help the body manage pain and stress and can create a temporary euphoria or “high” feeling. When the threat of the accident is gone, endorphin production slowly disappears, allowing you to feel pain that may have remained hidden earlier.

Perhaps the most common delayed symptom is that of whiplash. Whiplash consists of soft tissue damage in the neck from the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head, creating hyperflexion and hyperextension of the neck. This can not only cause damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of your neck, it can also occasionally fracture or dislocate vertebrae and cause any of the following symptoms to show up later:

  • Headaches
  • Reduced range of motion or difficulty moving
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle spasms
  • Localized weakness or numbness
  • Stiffness in shoulders and arms

Every bit as serious as any broken bones or lacerations, a concussion can prove to be a grave threat to your health. Quite simply, a concussion is the result of the brain colliding with the inside of the skull from a rapid acceleration or deceleration. Not all concussions occur because of bumping the head. If the head is restrained in any way and the restraint suddenly stops or suddenly jerks into motion, a concussion may occur. Symptoms of concussion include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Bad temper
  • Nausea
  • Spasms
  • Loss of balance
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty concentrating or reasoning
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Tiredness, sleeplessness, or other problems with your ability to sleep


The key point with any of these symptoms is to know whether or not you had them before the accident. Someone who knows you or lives with you can help identify any changes in your behavior that may indicate a possible concussion. If you didn’t have a symptom that you’re now experiencing, see your doctor right away.

In addition to the health consequences of car accidents with delayed symptoms, there is also the insurance aspect to consider. Because many accident-related injuries don’t show up immediately, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for the medical expenses from any delayed symptoms if you settle with your insurance company right away. Therefore, consider waiting a few days before signing any release of liability so that any delayed symptoms have an opportunity to reveal themselves. Seeing a chiropractor for a medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident is also a good idea, since he or she can help identify injuries and start treatment promptly. In many cases, seeking appropriate medical care soon after an accident can improve your chances of a more complete and more rapid recovery.

Migraine Headache Causes and Treatment Options

Migraine Headache Causes and Treatment Options

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????For those of you who wonder if you’ve ever suffered a migraine, it is likely you haven’t.  Migraines are a debilitating form of headache that can involve not only intense throbbing head pain, but also nausea, vomiting and flashes of light.  Despite how common migraines are, there is surprisingly little known about what exactly causes them.  Researchers believe that they are due to a combination of different factors, including genetics and environment, which cause chemical changes in the brain.

When a migraine occurs, levels of serotonin have been found to drop.  Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite and sleep.  Experts believe this drop causes the trigeminal nerve, which is a major pain pathway, to release neuropeptides into the meninges that covers the brain, causing intense headache pain.

Other likely causes of migraines include the following:

* Hormonal changes in women – Particularly when estrogen fluctuates before menstruation, during pregnancy or during menopause.
* Sensory stimulation – Bright lights, glare from the sun, loud noise or even certain scents (whether pleasant or unpleasant) can trigger a migraine.
* Particular foods – Some of the most common food triggers of migraines are red wine, caffeine, aged cheeses, chocolate and monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is a flavor enhancer commonly used by Asian restaurants.  Pickled or fermented foods and the nitrates in deli meats and can also be triggers.
* Not eating – Skipping meals or fasting.
* Changes in sleep – Both getting too much and too little sleep can trigger a migraine.
* Stress – Not surprisingly, stress can contribute to the likelihood of getting a migraine.
* Medications – Particularly vasodilators and contraceptives.
* Physical activity – Intense physical exertion (including sexual activity) can be a trigger.

Your family history plays a major part in whether or not you are likely to get migraines.  Of those who suffer from them, 90 percent have a family history of migraine attacks.  Although they can begin at any age, most people who are going to get migraines have had their first attack during their teenage years, and nearly all have had at least one by age 40.

Treatment for migraines can include pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen and anti-emetics to control nausea and vomiting.  For those with chronic migraines who do not respond to over-the-counter pain medication, a doctor may prescribe a drug such as Sumatriptan, which is similar to serotonin and reduces the vascular inflammation that is associated with migraines, in addition to reducing the action of the trigeminal nerve.

In addition to avoiding the known triggers mentioned above, some migraine sufferers use various vitamins and herbal remedies to help prevent them.  These include vitamin B12, riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, magnesium citrate, feverfew, butterbur and melatonin.

Chiropractic care can also help to prevent and relieve migraines.  Studies have found that chiropractic relieves migraines as well as medication, and with no side effects.  Also, those who received regular chiropractic care reported a significant reduction in both the frequency and intensity of their migraines.  Dr. Oblander has had great success in working with his patients who suffer from migraines. Quite often, he has discovered that there are multiple factors involved for his patients who frequently suffer from migraines. If you are one of the unlucky ones for whom migraines are a fact of life, just remember that there are safe and effective ways to treat them.