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Month: December 2013

Best Nutritional Supplements for Children

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If children eat a healthy, balanced diet, they should not generally require nutritional supplements. However, very few children actually eat a wide enough variety of foods to get the all the nutrients their growing bodies need. To help you choose the best nutritional supplements for your children, we discuss the most important ones below.

Multivitamins – The top nutritional supplement to give your child is a quality multivitamin. Multivitamins for kids are specially formulated to contain just the vitamins and minerals your child needs, and in the right amounts. A good multivitamin should contain at minimum the following:

·         Calcium – A low intake of calcium early in life can lead to osteoporosis when your child gets older. Calcium is crucial for a child’s proper bone development.

·         Vitamin D – Many children (and adults) are deficient in vitamin D. The fact that we spend a lot more time indoors than we used to and that we use sunscreens more frequently when we do go outside means that we don’t get enough exposure to sunlight for our bodies to create vitamin D naturally. In some parts of the world far from the equator, this is actually a seasonal problem—no matter how much time people spend outdoors, there simply aren’t enough hours of sunlight during short winter days for anyone to produce enough vitamin D on their own. Vitamin D is important not only for strong teeth and bones (it aids in the absorption of calcium), but it’s crucial to the health of the immune system as well.

·         Iron – In order to help children develop healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia, healthcare professionals often suggest that they take an iron supplement. Iron is also important for muscle building and is particularly necessary during stages of rapid growth.

·         Vitamin C – This vitamin supports a healthy immune system, strengthens muscles and connective tissue and speeds the healing of wounds. It also aids iron absorption.

·         B-vitamins – Necessary for the development of healthy blood cells, B-vitamins are also important to maintaining a healthy metabolism.

Omega-3 fish oil – Studies have shown that children who take fish oil supplements are calmer, concentrate better, and are more productive in school. Omega-3 fatty acids support and protect the brain and nervous system and help keep emotions stable.

Probiotics – Studies are increasingly showing the importance of healthy gut flora to overall health and emotional wellbeing. The common use of antibiotics has reduced the population of healthy microbes, which leads to digestive problems and reduced immunity to disease.

Always consult with your child’s physician before giving your child any type of supplements. While they are generally safe, some vitamins and minerals can be toxic when taken in large amounts (particularly the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K). When it comes to safety, it’s best to think about supplements in the same way that you think about medicines:

·         Make sure you buy them from a knowledgeable, reputable source.

·         Know exactly what’s in them.

·         Keep them out of the reach of children.

You might also want to consider buying chewable tablets, since some children have difficulty swallowing pills.

As a responsible parent or guardian, one of your first priorities should be to make sure your child has a well-rounded, nutritious diet that provides as many of the building blocks as possible for healthy development. But by using supplements in a thoughtful way to ensure adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals and to fill in particular nutritional gaps, you can work with your physician to start your child on a path to lifelong health.

Vitamin D is important not only for strong teeth and bones (it aids in the absorption of calcium), but it’s crucial to the health of the immune system as well.
Vitamin D is important not only for strong teeth and bones (it aids in the absorption of calcium), but it’s crucial to the health of the immune system as well.

How Nerve Impulses Work

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Nerve impulses (also called action potential) are electrical signals that travel along a nerve channel. These signals act as communication between cells and between various parts of the body. It is through our nerves that we feel pain, heat or cold, see our surroundings, hear sounds, and control our muscles. Neurons are the specialized type of cells that carry these signals.

It is through our nerves that we feel pain, heat or cold, see our surroundings, hear sounds, and control our muscles.
It is through our nerves that we feel pain, heat or cold, see our surroundings, hear sounds, and control our muscles.

At the core of a neuron is the soma, which can be anywhere from 4 to 100 micrometers in diameter. Extending from the soma are dendrites, which are tendrils that give the soma the appearance of someone experiencing a “bad hair day.” The dendrites receive signals sent from other neural cells. Extending from each soma is an axon, a single, long channel along which signals are sent to other cells.

Nerve impulses are traveling electrochemical signals that change in charge as they travel along a nerve channel. The transmission of electrical energy along a nerve is typically measured in millivolts (+30mV to ‑70 mV), with times measured in milliseconds. Speeds range from 10 to 100 meters per second. Considering the fact that a large adult human is about 2 meters tall, a signal can pass from head to toe in only 20–200 milliseconds.

The normal, resting condition of a nerve channel involves polarization along the cell membrane of the nerve channel—a positive charge on the outside and a negative charge on the inside. When a signal is sent, it creates a domino effect in one direction along the nerve channel.

When the cell membrane near the soma is stimulated beyond a certain threshold (for humans, around ‑30mV), it excites chemical gateways to open in the membrane letting positive sodium ions into the axon. This is called “depolarization,” giving the axon an internally positive charge, instead of a negative one. Within a millisecond, nearby potassium gateways open, letting positive potassium ions out of the axon, restoring the at-rest, negative potential. This is called “repolarization.”

This same process occurs in the adjacent area of the axon’s cell membrane, effectively moving the impulse down, along the axon toward the postsynaptic or receiving cell. Sodium gates open, depolarizing the axon at that point, stimulating adjacent sodium gates to open. Potassium gates respond in the wake of the depolarization in order to restore the normal conditions locally in the axon. This process repeats all along the length of the axon, transmitting the electrical impulse.

When nerve channels are damaged by physical trauma, the body may feel extreme pain, causing muscle tension, which can spread the pain and discomfort to other, nearby parts of the body. If nerve channels are interrupted by chemical interference (drugs or toxins), the body may not feel anything locally. Certain chemicals, such as snake venom and local anesthetics (lidocaine, benzocaine, novocaine) stop action potentials from being transmitted along nerve channels. They can prevent you from feeling pain, but they can also stop you from controlling your muscles.

None of us would live very long without the action of nerve impulses, since these signals are a key part of the “wiring” system that lets us perceive our environment and allows the various parts of our body to communicate and coordinate their activities. Even when those impulses involve pain, they’re performing a very important function—letting us know that something is wrong. However, it is also possible for nerve pathways to become obstructed or for neural impulses to get out of hand and become a source of chronic pain. Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating neuromusculoskeletal conditions such as these, and they have developed a wide range of safe and effective therapies that do not require drugs or surgery.

How Much Screen Time Should Kids Get?

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In life, it’s nearly always possible to have too much of a good thing, and moderation is usually the right common-sense prescription (no matter what the advertisers say). Screen time is no exception. But how much is too much? That’s the question many parents are asking… watching television

There’s no doubt that a little bit of time watching TV, working on a computer, playing video games or using a tablet or smartphone can be useful. However, it’s also become increasingly clear that long, uninterrupted periods of screen time can cause real problems. This can be a result of the screen-watching activity itself as well as what’s NOT happening while an individual is focused on the screen. While there’s growing evidence that both adults and children are at risk, the rest of this article will focus on kids and what their parents need to know.

Most young children aren’t very good at moderating their behavior or setting their own limits. This means that it’s ultimately an adult’s responsibility to do it for them until they can exercise their own good judgment. And this is true EVEN THOUGH IT TAKES TIME AND EFFORT FROM THE ADULT AND IS OFTEN INCONVENIENT. As tempting as it may be to use devices with screens as electronic “babysitters” to free up your own time, being a parent or caregiver means keeping the child’s needs in mind, too.

Following is a brief summary of the most-widely circulated guidelines for children’s screen time (entertainment-oriented use of electronics), based on recommendations made by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Under 2 years—No screen time

2–5 years—One hour of preschool TV, but no computer time

5–8 years—One hour

Over 8 years—Two hours

The first couple of years are particularly critical for a child. This is the time when a baby’s brain goes through the most rapid growth and development. Children need to explore and to engage with their broader environment. When these opportunities are limited or “crowded out” in favor of engaging with electronic devices, their cognitive and social development may be altered in negative ways we don’t yet understand. At the same time, researchers have not been able to establish that screen time of any sort (regardless of the media) has any real benefit for very young children. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that infants younger than two years shouldn’t have any screen time. Media companies and advertisers of infant-oriented products may tell you otherwise, but their interests are probably not the same as yours when it comes to the best interests of your child.

Many of your child’s most basic preferences and habits are developing between the ages of 2 and 5. Simply put, the prevailing wisdom is that electronic babysitters offer no substitute for the physical activity and social interaction kids need at this age. In fact, to the extent that they encourage inactive, solitary play, they may actually pose real health risks on several fronts.  For instance, if your child is sedentary, he or she may have an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease later on, and may be slower to develop physical skills. If he or she doesn’t have regular social interaction with other adults and children, emotional problems and depression may be more likely.   

By challenging your young children with a broad range of physical, intellectual and social activities, you offer them a developmental advantage. While media may have a place in the mix, experts agree that it should be a small one. Television specifically geared to preschoolers (think Sesame Street) can help expand your child’s awareness of learning concepts, but it shouldn’t be occupy more than an hour a day.

Between 5 and 8 years old, children can handle a little bit of screen time without it jeopardizing their development. Just be sure to set firm limits and encourage them to spend at least some of their screen time doing things that will enhance learning and hand-eye coordination.

As your children grow older, teaching them to live within certain sensible limits (in this case, by regulating screen time) and explaining why these limits exist can help them begin to look out for their own health and develop their own sense of self-discipline. Life lessons like these have value in and of themselves. So while your kids may not appreciate your efforts to restrict their use of electronic media, there can be very real longer-term benefits for your kids and for your family as a whole. It’s worth the effort!

What Will Healthcare Reform Mean for Access to Chiropractic Care?

Healthcare reform, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “ObamaCare”, means there will be some major changes in everyone’s health care coverage. Its general aim is to slow the overall growth of healthcare costs while at the same time expanding access for more people (especially those with preexisting or chronic conditions and low incomes) and ensuring that certain types of care are included in the mix.

Although the extent of coverage is not yet set, according to the Affordable Care Act, chiropractic services are considered essential health benefits, which means that they cannot have an annual or lifetime dollar limit imposed on them.
Although the extent of coverage is not yet set, according to the Affordable Care Act, chiropractic services are considered essential health benefits, which means that they cannot have an annual or lifetime dollar limit imposed on them.

 

Despite the political controversy, public confusion and technical bungling, there are many positive things about the ACA that shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle.  In fact, three key ideas written into the Act are also at the heart of most chiropractors’ approach to healthcare—inclusion, coordination, and an emphasis on prevention.

All that said, there is still a lot of uncertainty. During the first few months of the rollout, it has become clearer to most Americans that the process itself will be complicated and that there will likely be many unintended consequences. It is also becoming clearer that the actual benefits and costs of healthcare reform are likely to be very unevenly distributed. Whether the ACA increases your own range of healthcare options or decreases your costs for care will depend on your particular situation—your current health and income as well as your prior choices about health coverage. It will also depend on a lot of decisions made by the country’s insurance companies and employers, who must come to terms with new legal obligations and manage the costs of complying with them. The Act’s provisions will be phased in slowly over the next 7 years and will not be complete until 2020. Where chiropractic care fits into these new changes is still not exactly clear, but it will likely be covered at some level.

This is where the ideas of inclusion and coordination come in. One positive aspect of the Affordable Care Act is that insurance companies cannot discriminate against chiropractic care. Section 2706 of the Act states: “… health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law.” This means that as long as the chiropractor has a state license, their services can be covered. However, the details of the extent of the chiropractic benefits that will be covered has not yet been worked out by the Department of Health and Human Services. The law’s provisions specify that Doctors of Chiropractic, like other health care professionals, are to be included as potential members of interdisciplinary community health teams.

Although the extent of coverage is not yet set, according to the Affordable Care Act, chiropractic services are considered essential health benefits, which means that they cannot have an annual or lifetime dollar limit imposed on them. For example, Blue Cross Blue shield previously had a $1,500 cap on chiropractic services. Under the new Act, Blue Cross now limits visits to 35 visits per year, with no dollar limit. Each insurance provider will impose their own limits, depending on the package you get and which state you live in.

What about prevention? One of the main reasons for implementing the Affordable Care Act is to increase Americans’ ability to utilize preventive healthcare services, since this is one key to reducing long-term healthcare costs and improving overall wellness. A large number of studies have shown that people often achieve better outcomes from chiropractic services than conventional medical care involving drugs and surgery, which also come at higher costs. According to Brian McAulay, a doctor of chiropractic and president of Parker University in Dallas, “One of the things early on that President Obama talked about was bringing more access to wellness and preventive care. Chiropractic at its core is prevention-oriented. We support wellness that prevents serious diseases.”

The “Essential Health Benefits” defined by the ACA take a very broad view of healthcare and it is easy to see how chiropractic care can play an important role.  At the level of policy, this is a very good thing. However, it is the way the Act is implemented that will determine just how much access patients really have to chiropractic care and whether their new benefits under the law will allow them to continue seeing their current physicians. In these key respects, we’ll just have to “wait and see”.

Chiropractic Care Around the World

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Chiropractic is a growing healthcare profession throughout the world.  And it’s no wonder—several different factors are driving its growth at the same time, and most of these factors transcend national boundaries:

Chiropractic is a growing healthcare profession throughout the world.  And it’s no wonder—several different factors are driving its growth at the same time, and most of these factors transcend national boundaries: ·The effectiveness of chiropractic care in relieving musculoskeletal conditions and a variety of other health problems has been proven by an increasing number of scientific studies.  ·	Patient satisfaction ratings increasingly give chiropractors high marks, especially for their treatment of back and neck pain. ·	Chiropractic care (along with other manual therapies) has shown itself to be a very cost-effective way to treat a range of health conditions.  ·	Having a well-established complement or alternative to conventional medicine can help reduce the burden on overworked healthcare system in countries around the world. ·	Chiropractic care appeals to large segments of the global population who are looking for safe, effective ways to treat musculoskeletal pain without the use of drugs or surgery.  Let’s see what the numbers can tell us about the growth of chiropractic care outside the U.S. and how other countries are incorporating this therapy into their own healthcare systems .  The World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) is a global organization affiliated with the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO). In essence, it is an association of associations. The WFC brings together various national chiropractic associations from around the world and collects information about the status of chiropractic. Not surprisingly, the greatest number of chiropractors can be found in the US, which is where chiropractic was founded approximately 120 years ago. There are currently about 75,000 chiropractors in the US, followed by 7,250 in Canada, 4,250 in Australia and 3,000 in the UK. These countries have the most chiropractors working inside their borders today because the first chiropractic schools were located there. Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa also have chiropractors numbering in the hundreds, as do most European countries (Norway: 600, Denmark: 550, France: 450, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden: 400, Spain: 300 and Switzerland: 275). Chiropractic care is available in other nations as well. However, it is important to know that practitioners in those countries that do not regulate the profession may or may not be properly qualified to provide these services. Chiropractic is regulated by law in 48 countries around the world. Though the rules are different for each country, most allow patients to seek out chiropractic care on their own and do not require a medical referral. In most places, regulation also defines the “scope of practice” for the profession (the sorts of care chiropractors may and may not offer), provides for credentialing and oversight, and reserves the use of the name “chiropractor” exclusively for those who have met the educational and licensing requirements. Among countries where chiropractic care is regulated, most practitioners are allowed to order film imaging (69%) and lab tests (62%), while a smaller number (38%) are authorized to order and read magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs). A group of international accrediting agencies have established common international standards for the education of chiropractors.  These were adopted by the WHO for its 2005 Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Chiropractic. An undergraduate chiropractic degree consists of four years of full-time study, followed by post-graduate clinical training and licensing exams. Most American chiropractic schools are private colleges. However, the newer international programs are part of the national university system in many other countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK). In the Danish and Swiss programs, chiropractic and medical students take the same basic science courses for the first three years of their education before branching off onto their respective tracks. There were only four recognized chiropractic programs outside the US in 1990: Canada, Australia, South Africa and the UK. Today, there are 41 programs operating in 16 different countries, with new schools being planned in other nations as well. More chiropractors are being integrated into mainstream healthcare systems, particularly since studies have shown that patients who have chiropractic services included in their healthcare plans incur lower overall costs than patients without them. There are now chiropractors on staff in many US Veterans Administration and military hospitals, as well as chiropractors in the Middle East and Latin America working within spine care clinics. Chiropractic care around the world continues to grow, which will be a benefit to both patients and healthcare systems the world over.
Chiropractic is a growing healthcare profession throughout the world.

·         The effectiveness of chiropractic care in relieving musculoskeletal conditions and a variety of other health problems has been proven by an increasing number of scientific studies.

·         Patient satisfaction ratings increasingly give chiropractors high marks, especially for their treatment of back and neck pain.

·         Chiropractic care (along with other manual therapies) has shown itself to be a very cost-effective way to treat a range of health conditions.

·         Having a well-established complement or alternative to conventional medicine can help reduce the burden on overworked healthcare system in countries around the world.

·         Chiropractic care appeals to large segments of the global population who are looking for safe, effective ways to treat musculoskeletal pain without the use of drugs or surgery.

Let’s see what the numbers can tell us about the growth of chiropractic care outside the U.S. and how other countries are incorporating this therapy into their own healthcare systems .

The World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) is a global organization affiliated with the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO). In essence, it is an association of associations. The WFC brings together various national chiropractic associations from around the world and collects information about the status of chiropractic.

Not surprisingly, the greatest number of chiropractors can be found in the US, which is where chiropractic was founded approximately 120 years ago. There are currently about 75,000 chiropractors in the US, followed by 7,250 in Canada, 4,250 in Australia and 3,000 in the UK. These countries have the most chiropractors working inside their borders today because the first chiropractic schools were located there. Brazil, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa also have chiropractors numbering in the hundreds, as do most European countries (Norway: 600, Denmark: 550, France: 450, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden: 400, Spain: 300 and Switzerland: 275). Chiropractic care is available in other nations as well. However, it is important to know that practitioners in those countries that do not regulate the profession may or may not be properly qualified to provide these services.

Chiropractic is regulated by law in 48 countries around the world. Though the rules are different for each country, most allow patients to seek out chiropractic care on their own and do not require a medical referral. In most places, regulation also defines the “scope of practice” for the profession (the sorts of care chiropractors may and may not offer), provides for credentialing and oversight, and reserves the use of the name “chiropractor” exclusively for those who have met the educational and licensing requirements. Among countries where chiropractic care is regulated, most practitioners are allowed to order film imaging (69%) and lab tests (62%), while a smaller number (38%) are authorized to order and read magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs).

A group of international accrediting agencies have established common international standards for the education of chiropractors.  These were adopted by the WHO for its 2005 Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Chiropractic. An undergraduate chiropractic degree consists of four years of full-time study, followed by post-graduate clinical training and licensing exams. Most American chiropractic schools are private colleges. However, the newer international programs are part of the national university system in many other countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK). In the Danish and Swiss programs, chiropractic and medical students take the same basic science courses for the first three years of their education before branching off onto their respective tracks.

There were only four recognized chiropractic programs outside the US in 1990: Canada, Australia, South Africa and the UK. Today, there are 41 programs operating in 16 different countries, with new schools being planned in other nations as well.

More chiropractors are being integrated into mainstream healthcare systems, particularly since studies have shown that patients who have chiropractic services included in their healthcare plans incur lower overall costs than patients without them. There are now chiropractors on staff in many US Veterans Administration and military hospitals, as well as chiropractors in the Middle East and Latin America working within spine care clinics.

Chiropractic care around the world continues to grow, which will be a benefit to both patients and healthcare systems the world over.

Why Bed Rest Isn’t Usually the Best Medicine When It Comes to Back Pain

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Conventional wisdom says that back pain should be followed by rest to reduce undue strain on the injury. According to the National Institutes of Health and Dr. Michael S. Wilkes of the Western Journal of Medicine, “Despite a plethora of research intended to guide physicians in their management of back pain, physicians still hold strong non-evidence based beliefs dating back to the 19th century.” komm rein!

One study, according to the Daily Mail, found that 35% of people thought bed rest is the best way to handle such aches and pains. The study included 1,000 people from 25–65 years of age.

Certainly our minds are part of the feedback loop in any therapy, especially where intense pain is involved. Michael Vagg, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine, said, “It’s tempting to assume that chronic pain only occurs in the weak and petulant. But personality factors are one of the few things we’re sure of that doesn’t contribute to the risk of developing long-term pain.” Vagg further points out that the mind’s expectation of pain “can itself cause protective movements to persist for longer than necessary.” Thus, the tendency to use bed rest as a solution.

For most types of back pain, there is powerful evidence that extended bed rest does not help. One study showed that when comparing routine care, bed rest and exercise, bed rest seemed to result in greater intensity of pain, greater disability and more work days lost. Exercise had the most favorable outcome. According to Wilkes, “14 of 18 controlled studies do report that active exercise can improve outcomes.”

When the patient is experiencing their most acute back pain, they may need to temporarily change their routine, but the majority of such patients should minimize bed rest and return to their normal routine as soon as possible. Exercise can help produce better results and quicken the healing process.

Bed rest can be helpful to reduce painful muscle spasms when such spasms are an attempt for the body to limit movement in an injured part of the body. However, bed rest restricts the spine’s motion and, unlike other body parts, spines require motion in order to get nutrients to stay healthy. Restricted movement can result in lost strength and can make it harder for the spine to recover.

Whenever there are problems with the back, getting chiropractic care is the most logical first step. Studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective than conventional medical care in cases of low back pain. In some cases, significant relief from back pain can be immediate.

Do Some Foods Really Help Us Sleep Better?

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It’s not hard to find stories in the media about people who claim to be able to live their lives with little or no sleep. Some stories are meant to be sensational—a Vietnamese man reportedly spent the last 33 years without sleep and suffered no ill effects. Other stories just highlight quirky bits of research—one study found that short sleepers had a very low “worry index”.

Couple sleeping

For most of us, though, it’s very clear that sleep is a large and important part of life. We need a full night’s sleep, and we suffer for it the next day when we don’t get it. So what can we do to help ensure that we get this much-needed rest? The answer is to be proactive. And that includes being proactive about the foods we eat. It turns out that what you put into your body can have a big impact on the quantity and quality of sleep that you get. One study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania showed that eating poorly resulted in sleeping poorly. No surprise there, but what exactly should we eat? And what foods should we avoid?

There are several foods that can help us calm our body by increasing the production of serotonin. This chemical helps to regulate sleep. Other foods contain melatonin or tryptophan, each of which has been shown to increase our ability to rest. Still other foods, like lettuce, contain lactucarium, which possesses sedative properties.

Among other substances that can help are the following:

·         Lycopene—found in tomatoes, grapefruit, watermelon and papaya

·         Selenium—found in tuna, cod, shellfish, halibut, plus nuts, turkey and barley

·         Vitamin C—found in strawberries, pineapple, papaya, broccoli, kale and bell peppers

·         Vitamin B6—found in tuna, salmon, halibut, pistachio nuts and raw garlic

Some people find that it’s helpful to experiment with different foods to find out which ones help with sleep. If you’re interested in giving this a try, it’s best to eat 2–4 hours before bedtime so that you’re not kept awake by the increased blood flow in your digestive system. Waiting a couple of hours between the time you eat and the time you go to bed also allows the sleep-inducing compounds in the food to be absorbed into your system.

Here’s a list of foods to experiment with…

·         Bowl of cold cereal and milk

·         Milk (warm) or other dairy products, like cottage cheese

·         Oatmeal

·         Honey

·         Peanuts or peanut butter

·         Walnuts

·         Almonds

·         Grapes

·         Watermelon

·         Grapefruit

·         Tomatoes

·         Papaya

·         Cherry juice (especially the tart kind)

·         Banana

·         Lettuce or kale

·         Herbal tea (non-caffeinated, like chamomile)

·         Miso soup

·         White rice

·         Tuna

·         Hard-boiled eggs

·         Shrimp and lobster

·         Elk (this game meat has twice as much tryptophan as turkey)

There are also a number of foods you should avoid if you want to encourage a good night’s sleep:

·         Evening caffeine (such as tea, coffee or soft drinks after 6:00 pm)

·         Late-evening meals

·         More than a little alcohol (upsets natural REM sleep cycle)

·         Smoking (smokers typically take longer to fall asleep because of the nicotine stimulation)

Also, take a tip from the “short sleeping elite”—don’t worry. You may still need your full 7–8 hours of sleep, but not worrying will help you get there.

Hydration and Spinal Disc Health

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Your spine requires plenty of water and nutrients to stay healthy and perform at its best, just like the rest of your body. The problem is, your spine is not able to absorb the water and nutrients it needs in the same way as other parts of the body, nor is it able to eliminate the wastes from metabolism. In a person’s early teens, the spinal discs lose the nutritional supply coming from blood, and the elimination system atrophies. Subsequently, the spine is only able to receive water and nutrients through osmosis and a process called imbibition. This last method occurs when the motion between vertebral discs acts as a pump to move fluids in and out of the discs. Thus, the health of your spine depends on movement. The sedentary lifestyles of most Americans (and especially senior citizens) make this problem worse.

To keep your spine healthy, stay active, drink plenty of fluids every day and remember to see your chiropractor regularly.
To keep your spine healthy, stay active, drink plenty of fluids every day and remember to see your chiropractor regularly.

As a person gets older and grows less active, the loss of spinal water can lead to disc degeneration and the eventual loss of motion between vertebral discs. Once this mobility is lost, further degeneration occurs more rapidly and the cycle of dehydration, shrinking, chronic pain and disease accelerates.

Proper hydration is essential for nutrient delivery, lubrication and waste elimination. Normal vertebral discs are 88% water, and because discs lose some of their water during the day, rehydration also proves essential for maintaining the height of each disc. Each sleep cycle will restore most of the daily water loss, but not all of it.

If a person begins to become dehydrated, the body will look to retrieve water from places like the spinal vertebrae first. So drinking abundant amounts of water throughout the day remains an important way of maintaining your spinal health.

Contrary to what has been reported by some in the media, certain aspects of spinal disc damage can in fact be repaired. Appropriate chiropractic care and spinal decompression therapy, along with exercise, nutrition and hydration programs, can often relieve pain and restore function WITHOUT the need for drugs or complex surgery.

Unlike other parts of the body that have abundant blood flow, spinal discs are slower to heal. This means that, while many chiropractic and spinal decompression patients find relief from their pain relatively quickly, it typically takes longer for the discs themselves to recover.

Of course, they say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To keep your spine healthy, stay active, drink plenty of fluids every day and remember to see your chiropractor regularly.