Stress

Stress is an every day part of modern life.  Unfortunately, it can become an overwhelming force in our lives and can lead to adrenal exhaustion, elevated levels of cortisol, anxiety and depression disorders.  The first step toward curing it, or at least getting it under control is noticing how it is impacting you physiologically.  Notice how often during the day you are clenching your jaw, breathing shallowly and elevating your shoulders.  This is part of your fight or flight response that can become hard wired and damaging.  Helping people break this cycle is a big part of care in our office, but there is also some tools you can apply through online searches.

Back and Neck Pain, Causes and Solutions

What is Causing that Back or Neck Pain

Learn more: Watch the video or read the article below

There really are two types of pain that we will experience when we feel back or neck pain. The first is mechanical pain, and the second is non-mechanical pain. You can see a breakdown of the causes of each in the following lists:

Potential Causes of Non-Mechanical Back or Neck Pain:

  • Infection

  • Tumor

  • Cancer

  • Other Diseases

Potential Causes of Mechanical Back or Neck Pain:

  • Joints

Dr. Phelan describes jointsA joint is the point of contact between elements of an animal skeleton whether movable or rigidly fixed together with the surrounding and supporting parts (as membranes, tendons, or ligaments).

  • Ligaments

Dr. Phelan describes ligamentsLigaments are a tough band of tissue that serves to connect the articular extremities of bones or to support or retain an organ in place

  • Nerves

Dr. Phelan describes nerves

Nerves are any of the filamentous bands of nervous tissue that connect parts of the nervous system with the other organs.

  • Discs

Dr. Phelan describes discs in thespine

A disc is any of the tough elastic discs that are interposed adjoining vertebrae and that consist of an outer fibrous ring enclosing an inner pulpy nucleus.

  • Muscle

Dr. Phelan describes muscles
A muscle is a body tissue consisting of long cells that contract when stimulated and produce motion.

  • Tendon

Dr. Phelan describes tendonsA tendon is a tough cord or band of dense white fibrous connective tissue that unites a muscle with some other part (as a bone) and transmits the force which the muscle exerts.

  • Bursa

Dr. Phelan describes what a bursa is

The bursa is a small, thin, watery sac between a tendon and a bone.

When going to see a provider of any kind, whether it’s a medical doctor or a chiropractor, the first thing that we have to do is determine what type of pain you are experiencing. Once we’ve safely eliminated the non-mechanical pain category as a source of your pain, we can start to focus on the origin of the pain itself. We will check the potential sources for your pain, which may be caused by one or more of these sources. All of these sources are capable of producing pain, either by themselves or in concert with any of the others.

Your top priority should be to receive an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Phelan is an outstanding diagnostician, and he will provide you with the most conservative plan possible to help you to heal as quickly as possible. When treatment plans require services outside of spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, exercise, ergonomic lifestyle changes, or massage, then Dr. Phelan will provide you with a referral to another highly qualified physician.

If you’re interested in speaking with us about back or neck pain, please go to our website, http://www.wakeforestchiropractic.com.  If you would like to make an appointment, please get in contact with us by calling 919-562-0302. We would be happy to help you. Thank you.

Wake Forest Chiropractic
851 Wake Forest Business Park, Suite E
Wake Forest, NC 27587
919-562-0302

November 14, 2009
© copyright 2009-2010 Wake Forest Chiropractic. All rights reserved.
Images are courtesy of the US Library of Medicine and the US National Institutes of Health

What Makes Fish Oil and Omega-3 so Special?

Are Fish Oil Supplements Right for you?

Learn more: watch the video or read the transcript below.

Transcript of Video:
What Makes Fish Oil and Omega-3 so Special?

There are a lot of questions about nutritional supplements such as; which ones to take, when are they appropriate and what is the correct dosage.  Today, we will concentrate on fish oil because of its current popularity and its many potential benefits.

Why should we take it? Why should we not take it? How does it help us?

If we look at the length of time that we’ve been consuming food on this planet as a species, it is only the last ten thousand years that we’ve been eating agriculturally produced grains. Imagine that the entire pencil represents the length of time that modern humans have existed, and that the eraser represents the length of time that modern humans have been eating grains, which is just ten thousand years.

Prior to this period of time we were hunter/gatherers who consumed rooImagine that the entire pencil represents the length of time that  modern humans have existed, and that the eraser represents the length of  time that modern humans have been eating grains, which is just ten  thousand years. ts, tubers, berries and meat, when we could bring it down. When we developed grain, it helped us to become stationary. We could stay in one place; we didn’t have to travel with the seasons and with the food which helped us become civilized. The problem with that is our gastrointestinal tracts have not caught up to the need to process these grains.

consuming grains increases the level of omega-6 fatty acids in our bodiesWhat happens when we eat a lot of grains and pastas and baked goods? These foods are all essentially made from grains, and the grains produce something in our bodies called omega-6 fatty acids. We should have some omega-6 fatty acids in our systems, but not an excessive amount. What we should have is a ratio of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids which is equivalent to about a 1:1 ratio. That’s what we are looking for and that’s what our bodies need – the omega-3 fatty acids. We are used to hearing that we should eat our fish, such as salmon, to protect our hearts with the omega-3 essential fatty acids, and that is true.

The ratio that we are looking for is 1:1 and that was the ratio that we had when we were hunter/gatherers before we started producing grains. In the USA, our diets are very heavily laden with grains. The reason that is a problem is it produces the omega-6 fatty acids in much higher ratios than our bodies need.

If we look at the American diet, what we see, instead of a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fattThe ration of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids should be 1:1y acids, are ratios as high as 60:1. The problem with that is the excessive omega-6 fatty acid will produce arachidonic acid (an essential fatty acid found in most animal fats). This fatty acid crosses our cell membranes and creates prostaglandins (an unsaturated fatty acid found in all mammals), which in turn creates inflammation.

too much omega-6 fatty acids can cause inflammation in our bodiesLet’s look into what happens with inflammation, and the reason we need fish oil. The inflammation that we are talking about isn’t just muscle inflammation, a stiff neck, or tight muscles. This inflammation is occurring on a cellular level in our bodies and is driving certain diseases such as heart disease. There are other conditions that we may not commonly associate with this ratio imbalance such as: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, neurological disorders, and many others.

This country, although it is one of the wealthiest on the planet, is leading the world in these diseases. So how do we stop this from happening?  We need to realize that we should consume less grain – safely one to two servings per day. If you are eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a big lunch with sandwich bread, and a bowl of bowtie pasta and garlic bread for dinner, then you are consuming an a lot of omega-6 fatty acids. As discussed above, too much omega-6 will create arachidonic acid which leads to inflammation, and imbalanced ratios. The consequence can be the production of the same diseases you have seen in your ancestors such as high blood pressure from arteriosclerosis and heart disease.

What can we do about it?  One proactive step we can take is to supplement our diets with fish oil. This will allow us to continue to consume grains and protect ourselves with the fish oils’ rich omega-3 fatty acids. The EPA and DHA, two fatty acids found in fish oil, are going to protect the cell wall. Protecting the cell wall will then reduce the amount of arachidonic acid that is able to enter the cell. Less prostaglandin will be made and therefore, the amount of inflammation is reduced.

Should you take fish oil? Check with your doctor.Not everyone should take fish oil.  Excessive dosage of fish oil may create allergic reactions and adverse side effects on the body. Further, fish oil can be problematic in many conditions and hence, it is necessary to take fish oil supplements cautiously. You should consult a doctor or physician for the correct dosage.

To summarize, if you are going to consume grains, which most of us are, do it within limits and also take fish oil in the correct amount. Remember to check with your physician before you begin adding any kind of supplement to your diet.

If you’re interested in speaking with us about fish oil or other supplements, please go to our website, http://wakeforestchiropractic.com.  If you would like to make an appointment, please get in contact with us by calling 919-562-0302. We would be happy to help you. Thank you.

Wake Forest Chiropractic
851 Wake Forest Business Park, Suite E
Wake Forest, NC 27587
919-562-0302

March 25, 2009
© copyright 2009-2010 Wake Forest Chiropractic. All rights reserved.

Migraine Headache or Cervicogenic Pain?

How do you know if it’s really a migraine?

Learn more: watch the video or read the transcript below

Transcript of Video:
Migraine Headache or Cervicogenic Pain?

Hello, I’m Dr. Shawn Phelan. I’m here to speak to you about head pain, primarily migraines, and another condition called cervicogenic headaches. In the general population, there is often some confusion about head pain. We often assume, or are being told, that we are suffering from a migraine, because we have a severe headache that is causing us nausea, sensitivity to light, ringing in our ears, a funny taste in our mouth, or funny things happening in our visual field. That is not always the case.

Migraine headaches are considered to be something that is either of vascular origin, something that’s caused by a chemistry issue in the brain, usually in the serotonin pathway, neurologic issue, or sometimes a combination of some of all of these issues. Migraine headaches caused by a serotonin imbalance, vascular, or neurologic issues are really rather rare. A true migraine sufferer should only have about seven migraines per year. If you are having more than seven migraines per year, there’s a pretty good chance that there’s an overlay of some sort.

Greater and Lesser Occipital Nerves

Figure 1

Different conditions can cause overlays. The one am speaking about today is called the cervicogenic headache. So the question is, if we are suffering from migraines, is it truly a migraine that we’re suffering from, or is it possibly a cervicogenic headache?

So, let’s take a brief look at the anatomy. Figure 1 (left) shows the skull and two nerves that are coming out of the upper cervical spine. The first is the greater occipital nerve, and the second is the lesser occipital nerve. They exit the spine at the level of the upper cervical spine, and then they transit up into the head. Irritation of those nerves will cause head pain.

Cervicogenic pain radiating to the head

Figure 2

Figure 2 (right) shows us the skull with nerves traveling up into the face. That is another area that we often see pain generated from. Consider the fact that cervicogenic headache can cause all of the same symptoms that a migraine will cause. It will cause visual field disturbances, a funny taste in mouth, ringing in the ears, nausea, and sensitivity to light, called photophobia, but it is not really a migraine headache. It is a problem with the upper cervical spine.

So, if the upper cervical spine and the joints are irritated, inflamed or causing irritation to the nerves then it can cause all of the symptoms that a migraine sufferer will be familiar with. Yet, it is not a not a serotonin imbalance, vascular or neurological issue. It is simply a mechanical compression or mechanical irritation of the nerves in the upper cervical spine that is causing the headache.

The Facet Joints

Figure 3

Figure 3 (left) shows you the upper cervical spine and the facet joints that can become symptomatic and cause cervicogenic headaches. If you are a migraine sufferer, you should be examined by a professional to determine if there is a situation that is driving the cervical spine problem for you. Cervicogenic headaches can be fairly easily treated, and can help you get control of your symptoms, so that you are not at the whim of the migraines.

If you would like further information on cervicogenic headaches or migraines, please go to our website, http://wakeforestchiropractic.com. If you would like to make an appointment to be examined at our office so that we can determine whether or not you are not you are suffering from cervicogenic head pain versus migraines, then please get in contact with us by calling 919-562-0302. We would be happy to help you. Thank you.

Wake Forest Chiropractic
851 Wake Forest Business Park, Suite E
Wake Forest, NC 27587
919-562-0302

March 04, 2009
© copyright 2009-2010 Wake Forest Chiropractic. All rights reserved.

So, let’s take a brief look at the anatomy. Figure 1 shows the skull and two nerves that are coming out of the upper cervical spine. The first is the greater occipital nerve, and the second is the lesser occipital nerve. They exit the spine at the level of the upper cervical spine, and then they transit up into the head. Irritation of those nerves will cause head pain.