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Top Foods for a Healthy Nervous System

Top Foods for a Healthy Nervous System

The health of your nervous system is vital for maintaining all your body’s functions and avoiding a range of potentially serious health problems. But if you’re not getting a sufficient amount of the nutrients needed for good nervous system health, you can experience such as numbness, nervous twitches or even muscle cramps. Fortunately, one of the easiest things you can do to help ensure a healthy nervous system is to eat the right kinds of foods.

Here’s a quick overview of several nutrients that play a key role in keeping your nervous system healthy and working the way it should.

Vitamin B1 (thiamin)

A deficiency of this vitamin can give you that pins-and-needles sensation in the toes or burning feet, especially at night. Good foods for vitamin B1 are beef liver, seafood, brewer’s yeast, beans, eggs and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B6

Nerve cell communication suffers without this vitamin. Two key neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, depend on vitamin B6 for their production. Bananas, potatoes, and chick peas are good sources.

Vitamin B12

A shortage of this vitamin can result in tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. Clams, fish, eggs, meat and dairy products are key sources of vitamin B12.


Like vitamin B6, this mineral is essential for the production of neurotransmitters. A severe lack of copper in your diet can lead to spinal cord degeneration and a progressive failure of nerve function. Liver and oysters are the best sources. Add prunes, spinach and kale (as well as other dark, leafy green vegetables), and nuts to your diet for even more copper.

Healthy foods for good nervous system function include the following:

Spinach—In addition to containing a powerhouse stock of nutrients and vitamins, this leafy green vegetable also contains an abundance of antioxidants to boost overall health and slow down the aging of the brain and nervous system.

Whole grains—Brown rice in particular contains high levels of vitamin B6, which helps to protect against mental deterioration caused by high levels of harmful homocysteines. Whole grains also include magnesium, which is important for the health of your nervous system. Stabilized rice bran contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all known foods.

Cocoa—This contains a powerful antioxidant that puts the brakes on oxidative stress that can lead to Alzheimer’s and similar neurological ailments. It is also high in magnesium.

Whey—An excellent food for a naturally calming effect. Rich in L-tryptophan, which the body cannot produce, this essential amino acid is vital in the production of serotonin, an essential neurotransmitter. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression.

Garlic—This not only includes antioxidants, but garlic can help prevent aging of the brain and prevent infections, too.

So try working more of the above foods into your weekly menus, and feel pleased that you are doing something good for the health of your nervous system!

If feel that you need help with improving your eating habits and diet, we are just a phone call away! You can call at Oblander Chiropractic at 406-652-3553. Dr. Oblander is always willing to meet with you to discuss your nutritional needs!


Can You Really “Bank” Sleep?

Can You Really “Bank” Sleep?


Banking sleep to save energy for later? To most people, this idea probably sounds too good to be true. At the very least, it probably seems to defy common sense and or runs counter to the way we think our bodies work. However, it actually turns out that banking sleep is possible—within limits.

A great deal of research has been conducted on this subject.  In one particular study, American scientists invited a number of volunteers to adjust their sleep patterns so that researchers could observe the effects. For a week, half of the volunteers were permitted to sleep more than usual, and the remaining volunteers were made to sleep according to their usual pattern.

“After this week of either extended or habitual sleep per night, all the volunteers came to the lab and they were given three hours of sleep, per night, for a week,” says Tracy Rupp of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The volunteers were then assigned tasks of varying difficulty, and those who had banked their sleep were more unaffected throughout the sleep restriction.

Rupp elaborates: “They showed less performance deterioration with regards to reaction time and alertness than the group that had been given the habitual prior sleep.”

The study also revealed that a week after the experiment, the banked sleepers were recuperating faster from deficiency of sleep than the others were. Rupp again: “What we’re basically saying is if you fill up your reserves and pay back your sleep debt ahead of time, you’re better equipped to deal with the sleep loss challenge.”

While these results may sound great, there are limits to what banking sleep can do for you. “It’s a strategy that’s only partially successful,” explains Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., in the November 2013 issue of Psychology Today. “New research indicates that although some of the negative effects of a week of insufficient sleep can be remedied with extra sleep on the weekend, others cannot. Researchers at Penn State University College of Medicine studied the effects of weekend recovery sleep after a week of mild sleep deprivation. They found that make-up sleep on the weekends erased only some of the deficits associated with not sleeping enough the previous week.”

Banking sleep isn’t limited to sleeping longer nights. Naps can be extremely effective as well—within limits, of course. According to Science Focus, “A 1991 study at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio found that after an ordinary night’s sleep, subjects could take an extra nap in the afternoon and then work through the night with greater alertness that a control group who didn’t nap. The study also found that performance is proportional to the length of the nap—but the effect doesn’t last.

After a second consecutive night without sleep, all of the subjects performed equally badly, regardless of how much sleep they had initially. It may be that all of us are normally slightly sleep-deprived and one really good night’s sleep will bring us back up to 100%, but that the ‘tank’ isn’t big enough to buffer us against more than one all-nighter.”

The practical uses of banking sleep go beyond needing to pull an all-nighter before finals or a big presentation at work. Dr. Winter, a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, puts it thusly: “If you knew you were going to give birth on a particular day, for example, you could sleep for 10 hours a day for multiple days before the event, and be fine.”

Lastly, it is important to consider the host of negative effects of sleep deprivation. Memory loss, obesity, and even early death comprise some of these consequences. The moral of the story here is that banking sleep in advance may actually be a reasonable short-term strategy for coping with an isolated event (like giving birth). However, the best long-term strategy for staying healthy and performing well is to get a good night’s sleep as consistently as possible.


Chiropractic for Chronic Back Pain

Chiropractic for Chronic Back Pain

back-pain-office-200-300About a third of the millions of people who make appointments with chiropractors every year seek relief from back pain. Back pain can be acute, meaning it happens suddenly, lasts 6 weeks or less and often clears up on its own; or back pain can be chronic, meaning it comes on gradually and lasts 3 months or more. Chronic back pain can be particularly debilitating and can limit movement and mobility.

Traditional treatments for back pain include medication, physical therapy, surgery or steroid injections. While these treatments may provide symptomatic relief, they do not address the root cause of the pain. They can also be painful and expensive to carry out.

The foundation of chiropractic care for chronic back pain is the understanding that misaligned vertebrae can cause the pain. This misalignment can result in many additional problems, such as headaches, body pains and impaired joint mobility. Chiropractic treatment aims to restore alignment to the vertebrae, returning natural health to the spine and all the body parts the spinal nerves serve.

Chiropractors believe in the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Chiropractic care avoids medications and their possible side effects, and it also avoids surgery. As an example of the differences in treatment, surgeons may remove a herniated disk from the spine in order to relieve pressure on the nerves, while chiropractors use non-invasive spinal manipulation to achieve the same result.

Dr. Oblander can treat your chronic pain based on the vertebral misalignments found in your body. A quick, sudden force is applied to the appropriate vertebrae in order to restore the motion of the joint. Another common treatment for chronic pain is known as the flexion-distraction technique. This treatment involves a special table that stretches the spine. It is particularly effective in treating injuries to the discs that have been the cause of long-term back pain.

Chronic back pain will probably also require additional treatments such as massage, exercise, and perhaps physical therapy. A good chiropractor will work with other health professionals as needed to ensure you get the best possible treatment for your pain. He or she will also look at the entire picture of your life, including your diet, health habits, medical history, family history, and other conditions you may have. This approach is holistic and has a better chance of eliminating the root cause of your chronic back pain than traditional treatments that only work on the symptoms.

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask. We are here to help those in the greater Billings area!


What Causes Muscle Tension?

What Causes Muscle Tension?


Muscle tension occurs when a muscle (or group of muscles) remains contracted for an extended period of time. This might be characterized as a low-energy or low-intensity muscle cramp. Such tension in the muscles constricts blood flow, which in turn keeps oxygen and nutrients from reaching the muscle tissues and tendons. Muscle tension also keeps cellular waste from being carried away. The result is more muscle tension, spasms and damage. Why does this happen? There are actually several possible causes.

One key source of muscle tension is stress or anxiety. For our ancient ancestors, stress was a simple fact of everyday life, and their ability to response effectively to imminent threats (predators, hostile neighbors, natural disasters, etc.) was an integral part of their survival. As a result, their bodies evolved a set of short-term physiological changes that helped them to meet sudden life-and-death challenges by increasing their alertness, strength, speed and stamina. Today, we refer to these changes collectively as the “fight-or-flight” response, and they’re part of our evolutionary inheritance.

Unfortunately, there is now a kind of mismatch between the kinds of modern threats (real or perceived) that most of us encounter in our day-to-day lives and our bodies’ primitive fight-or-flight response. Instead of short-term physical dangers, modern stress is much more likely to come from social or financial pressures that are (usually) lower-intensity but more prolonged. Mounting bills, insane work deadlines and relationship problems are all great examples. This is a problem because our fight-or-flight response was really designed to be “switched on” only for very short periods of time—essentially, just as long as it took us to either defend ourselves or escape from a physical attack. It turns out that the human body pays a high price for the fight-or-flight response, and this price is especially high when the response is activated continuously over long periods of time, even at relatively low levels. Chronic muscle tension is just one potential result.

Muscle tension can also be the result of underlying structural problems or injuries affecting the musculoskeletal system, especially in the back or neck. When the spine is misaligned or there is an injury, the body may compensate by activating other muscles or muscle groups to stabilize the area and prevent pain. These muscles are put under additional strain for which they were not designed, leading to chronic muscle tension.

Chronic muscle tension itself can lead to new kinds of discomfort and pain. The pain can lead to an increase in anxiety and more muscle tension. This becomes a vicious cycle—an unhealthy, downward spiral. Luckily, there are a number of different ways to relieve muscle tension.

One of the best ways to relax your muscles is to exercise. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but muscle use increases blood flow and, accordingly, reduces the tension caused directly from lack of such blood flow. Exercise also produces endorphins which help to relieve stress and anxiety.

Heat is another method of relief. It can help by opening up blood vessels and relaxing the tense muscles. Use care when applying a hot pack. With heat, you can do too much of a good thing. Use a cloth between the pack and the skin so the heat remains measured and soothing. If you use an electrical heating pad, do not lie on the pad, but lay the pad on the tense muscles.

Water therapy can also help reduce muscle tension. Floating in a swimming pool or on a waterbed can prove to be extremely therapeutic because of the relaxing nature of wave action on the body.

Of course, a massage therapist is an expert at helping muscles relax. A truly good therapist can adapt his or her technique to your specific situation and will be skilled at gradually building up the intensity of the massage so that you’ll receive all the therapeutic benefit without losing the relaxation benefit.

Remember—it’s important to understand the underlying cause of chronic muscle tension so that it can be addressed in an effective way. Your chiropractor is specially trained to determine if the underlying cause is structural. If it is, he or she may be able to perform adjustments to correct the problem. Depending on your specific situation, your chiropractor may also recommend a treatment plan that includes several of the therapies mentioned above in order to relieve your pain and restore your mobility as quickly as possible.

Use it or Lose it: Five Tips for Maintaining Your Sense of Balance Beyond Middle Age

Use it or Lose it: Five Tips for Maintaining Your Sense of Balance Beyond Middle Age

yoga on the natureIf you are middle-aged (40-60, by some definitions) or older, here’s 15-second self-test for you. Do you often find yourself needing to sit down or steady yourself against a table when putting on your shoes or stepping into pants? Do you increasingly need to use the armrests of your chair to “push off” when getting up? Do you generally hold on to handrails whenever you go up and down stairs? If you stand with your feet close together, do you feel unsteady and unable to balance yourself properly?

If you’ve answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you might want to start giving a little bit of thought to your sense of balance, and how important it is to you. It’s easy to take good balance for granted—most people don’t give it a first or second thought until after they’ve experienced a fall. However, the behaviors we asked about in our self-test are actually “early warning signs” that your sense of balance may be starting to deteriorate. Your balance is controlled by an area of the brain called the cerebellum, which works in coordination with your vestibular (inner ear) system, your visual system (your eyes, and their ability to perceive whether you are standing upright), and your proprioceptive system (your body’s sense of position in space).

All of these systems begin to deteriorate once you pass the age of 40, as do the muscles they control. Worse still, this process of deterioration can become accelerated if you lead a sedentary lifestyle (which growing numbers of Americans do). And although you might not think of balance as a health issue, falling is the leading cause of injury for people over the age of 65. In the U.S., someone from this age group is treated in an emergency room for injuries resulting from a fall every 17 seconds.

So how do you improve your sense of balance, and protect yourself from dangerous falls? Simple—use it! Balance is to some extent a learned skill, so if you practice a few simple exercises that isolate these components of balance, you can actually make your sense of balance better. Experts on aging suggest performing a few exercises to improve your balance each day, starting in middle age, before the systems that control your balance have begun to deteriorate.

For example, just avoiding the use of handrails on stairs or the poles in buses and subway cars forces your body to work harder to maintain its balance, improving reflexes, increasing coordination and strengthening your muscles. Other exercises you can perform include creating an unstable surface at home (such as a board placed on wobbly pillows) and then practicing standing on it with one foot, or improving your coordination by standing on one leg with the opposite arm extended and then swinging the other leg back and forth. Office workers can improve their balance—and get a refreshing break at the same time—by practicing getting up from their chairs ten times in a row without using their hands. Each of these simple movements shifts your center of gravity, causes your muscles to react to changing positions, and improves your balance.

Just walking in a small circle around your living room or your backyard can be good for your balance, because walking along a curve is more difficult than walking in a straight line. When you’re out for a walk, try to choose uneven surfaces rather than smooth pavement because this also exercises the muscles in your back and legs that are essential for good balance. Or place cones or other objects in a line on the floor in front of you and then weave between them while walking. You can strengthen your hips, which are very important for balance, by holding on to a table or a kitchen counter and then swinging one leg forward, to the side, to the back, and then up to your chest with your knee bent. Do this ten times, and then switch to the other leg and repeat. Yoga, Tai Chi, martial arts, and other forms of exercise that emphasize flexibility can also improve your balance.

So if you are concerned about protecting yourself against falls as you age, the important thing to bear in mind is the phrase “use it while you’re young, or you’ll lose it as you age.” The more healthy exercise you get in your 30s and 40s, the more healthy – and safe – you’ll be in your 60s and beyond.


Pets, Kids and Immune System Health

Pets, Kids and Immune System Health

young-girl-and-cat-200-300Over the past few years, health researchers around the world have become increasingly interested in exactly how our immune system develops. In particular, they want to understand how it might be shaped by the environment we live in—and especially by our interactions with microbes. One theory, known as the “hygiene hypothesis,” posits that reduced exposure to bacteria, symbiotic microorganisms (for instance, the flora that live in our digestive tract) and parasites makes us more susceptible to allergic diseases by suppressing the natural development of our immune system.

The basic idea is that modern standards of household and personal cleanliness, smaller family units and less outdoor time have all combined to limit the number and types of microbes many of us come into contact with, and that this has resulted in more people having immune systems that are over-sensitive or calibrated incorrectly. This line of thinking leads to an interesting question: Do people who have been exposed to more or different types of microbes actually have stronger immune systems?  One way researchers have approached this question is to study individuals who have spent more time with animals (pets) or in the company of lots of children.

The Pet Effect

A recent Finnish study performed by researchers at Kuopio University Hospital found that babies who grow up in a home that has a pet are less likely to get coughs and colds in their first year of life than their counterparts who live in pet-free homes. Lead author of the study, Dr. Eija Bergroth, a pediatrician at the university, said, “We think the exposure to pets somehow matures the immune system so when the child meets the microbes, he might be better prepared for them.” Researchers believe that the dander that pets shed and the microbes that they bring in from outdoors prime babies’ newly-forming immune systems, teaching them to fend off allergies, bacteria and viruses.

Previous studies had found a link between the presence of pets in a baby’s home and a lower risk of allergies. And in a study performed on mice, exposure to household dust from a home in which a dog lived prevented a common respiratory virus that has been linked to the development of childhood asthma.

Researchers from the Finnish study, published in the journal Pediatrics, followed the health of 397 Finnish children during their first year of life. Parents recorded the state of their child’s health on a weekly basis, including any runny noses, coughing and ear infections. They also noted if the child took any antibiotics. The results of the study found that children with pets in the home had a 44% lower risk of contracting an ear infection and were 29% less likely to be prescribed antibiotics, when compared with babies from pet-free homes.

The type of pet in the home did make a difference in how likely babies were to become ill during their first year. Dogs in the home were associated with a 31% lower risk of illness in the first year, whereas the presence of cats in the home was associated with only a 6% improvement in risk. The greatest benefit was from outdoor pets (those that were not restricted only to the indoors), as they brought in a wider array of microbes on their fur.

According to researchers, early exposure to pets seems to be the key in developing greater resistance to microbes, as it is the time that a child’s immune system is learning to differentiate friendly from unfriendly microbes, and by getting a wide array of these in small amounts, babies’ immune systems become well-trained early on.

The Kid Effect

Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but many moms and dads (as well as teachers and childcare workers) believe that being around young children boosts their immune system.  It’s easy to see why this idea has some popular appeal.  After all, young children typically have lots of contact with other young children, often in environments where lots of germs can be spread. They then bring these same germs into contact with adults, whose immune systems need to fight them off over a sustained period of time. The thinking goes that this, in turn, helps make these adults more resistant to them.

But what does the science actually say about this? Rigorous research is hard to come by, but perhaps the best anecdotal evidence can be found in the “common wisdom” imparted to new kindergarten and elementary school teachers. When one woman started teaching in California, her school board warned her that she should probably plan her finances for the first year of teaching based on being out sick more than her allotted number of “sick days,” and thus not being paid for them. The woman, who had always been remarkably healthy, laughed at this advice, but then spent 25% of her first year at home sick, likely because of all the germs she picked up from kids in the classroom.

However, this same schoolteacher rarely ever got sick again. Her exposure to a wide variety of germs transmitted by the kids did seem to boost her immune system over time, and enhanced her ability to be exposed to them in the future without getting sick herself. We can possibly infer that the same thing happens with small children in the home—they pick up germs at school and bring them home where the parents are exposed to them. This exposure then builds immunity over time rather than diminishing it. Dr. Jordan S. Orange, chief of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Texas Children’s Hospital explains the simple mechanics of this “early exposure” process this way: “When you get it [immunity], you have it. So, if you get it earlier, you’re going to be immune earlier.”

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.


Inside the Teenage Brain

Inside the Teenage Brain

Cheerful youthIf you have ever wondered why the teenage years are so difficult for parents (and often the teens themselves) you need look no further than their brain. The brain undergoes rapid and profound development during the teen years, much more so than during most of childhood. It is a time when the areas of the brain involved in the calculation of risk, rewards and decision making go through increasingly major changes. This may explain why late adolescence (between ages 15 and 19) has a six times greater mortality rate than those in late childhood and early adolescence (between ages 10 and 14).

Research conducted by scientists using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from early childhood through adulthood has mapped the many changes that the developing brain makes as it matures. They have found that the brain continues to develop into a person’s early 20s, with the frontal lobes that are responsible for reasoning and problem-solving being developed last.

Although the teenage brain is more impulsive and willing to take risks, it is also dynamic, vulnerable and stimulated by positive feedback. The reason for this is that the reward centers in teenage brains are highly responsive, while at the same time, the region of the brain associated with self-control is still not developed fully.

Dr. Jay Giedd, Chief of Brain Imaging at the Child Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health, says “The most surprising thing has been how much the teen brain is changing. By age six, the brain is already 95 percent of its adult size. But the gray matter, or thinking part of the brain, continues to thicken throughout childhood as the brain cells get extra connections, much like a tree growing extra branches, twigs and roots.”
Although the brain grows in gray matter significantly during childhood and early adolescence, the amount of gray matter actually begins to fall in mid-adolescence, which researchers say is a normal process of brain maturation.

Giedd says, “… the pruning-down phase is perhaps even more interesting, because our leading hypothesis for that is the “use it or lose it” principle. Those cells and connections that are used will survive and flourish. Those cells and connections that are not used will wither and die. So if a teen is doing music or sports or academics, those are the cells and connections that will be hard-wired. If they’re lying on the couch or playing video games or MTV, those are the cells and connections that are going [to] survive.”

Studies have shown that experiences early in life have a profound effect on the development of the teenage brain. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that children who received a lot of cognitive stimulation and parental nurturing had a brain with a thicker outer cortex, which is important in thinking and memory. Another long-term study from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in London discovered that there were major structural changes in the areas of the teenage brain that relate to empathy.

Adults should perhaps give teenagers more of a break. As Giedd says, “It’s sort of unfair to expect teens to have adult levels of organizational skills or decision-making before their brains are finished being built.”

Choosing the Right Lumbar Support

Choosing the Right Lumbar Support

red-chairs-200-300Lumbar back support products are designed to help prevent neck and back pain, which can lead to pain in other parts of the body as well. Many of these products are pillows or cushions that offer additional support when you are seated for long periods of time.

The lumbar region of the spine is usually referred to as the lower back. It is the area just above your tailbone and below the thoracic (middle back) region. The lumbar area includes your spine and all the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding your spine. If your ligaments are pulled or torn, you will experience a lumbar sprain or strain, which can lead to muscle spasms and significant pain in your lower back.

What can cause lumbar sprains and strains? Poor posture, poor lifting technique, obesity, and other health-related factors can contribute. In fact, sitting for long periods without lumbar support can itself aggravate lumbar pain. Finally, one of the greatest contributors to back pain is using the wrong type of chair for your body. Surfaces that are too hard or too soft do not encourage proper posture and do not provide adequate support for your back.

Usually all that is required to relieve lower back pain is sufficient rest, but most of us are unable to rest for long enough to overcome lumbar problems. So preventing these problems with a good lumbar support is essential, especially if you spend significant amounts of time sitting down.
The first step to choosing the right lumbar support is to ensure that it fits perfectly in the chair you spend the most time in. An even better option is to choose an ergonomically designed chair that includes a built-in lumbar support, or an individual lumbar support that is specifically designed to be used with your chair. “One size fits all” lumbar support products rarely provide any benefits and should be avoided.

Make sure you test the product in the store before you buy it. If you can, sit with the lumbar support for at least 15 minutes to see if it feels good or aggravates back pain. The best lumbar supports are adjustable, so you can fit it to the chair’s height. Ergonomic chairs with lumbar supports included usually allow you to adjust the height and width of the support. Adjustable separate supports are particularly useful if you use more than one chair throughout the day.

Good health is a combination of many factors including your nutrition, preventative care, appropriate corrective care and the small choices you make every day in the course of living. If you have questions about this article, your general or spinal health, please ask. We are here to help!

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.

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