All of us have had health-related issues at some time or other. Whether it's low back pain, headaches, asthma, gastritis, an ankle sprain, or a rotator cuff injury, we've all had a health problem ...View Article
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Dr. Nathan Karpinsky at Elite Health Solutions in Mt Pleasant SC demonstrates utilizing the foam roll on the Hamstrings and Quadriceps.
Dr. Nathan Karpinsky at Elite Health Solutions in Mt Pleasant SC demonstrates utilizing the foam roll on the Glutes and external rotators of the hip.
Dr. Nathan Karpinsky at Elite Health Solutions in Mt Pleasant SC demonstrates utilizing the foam roll on the Thoracic Spine.
We had the opportunity to attend the Ironman 70.3 in Augusta, GA and treat over 100 athletes at the expo and after the race. Here are a couple pictures from the event. We hope to be able to attend and provide treatment to more events like this in the Charleston area.
For this week here is a new recipe for those who have a gluten-sensitivity. For those who don’t remember what gluten-sensitivity is you can read past posts about this subject below.
Today we have a lemon-chardonnay grilled chicken. This flavorful meal is great to serve with a quick side of steamed broccoli and gluten free penne.
• 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons chardonnay or other dry white wine
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
• ½ teaspoon dried dill
• ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
• 4 (6-oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• Cooking spray
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Reserve 2 tablespoons marinade. Add chicken to remaining marinade in bowl, turning to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, turning chicken occasionally.
• Heat a large nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from bowl, discarding marinade. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Place chicken on a serving platter.
• Stir salt into reserved marinade; spoon evenly over the chicken for that extra flavor.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size 1 chicken breast half)
Calories: 213; fat: 4.6 g (sat 0.9g, mono 2.3g, poly 0.7g); protein 39.4g; carb 0.6g; fiber 0.1g; chol 99mg; iron 1.3mg; sodium 256mg; calc 23mg
This past weekend Dr. Kukes taught a course on the importance of proper core training. Click Here for the exercises that he went through.
Last week we discussed how sleep can alter hormones in our bodies and have real physical consequences. As we explained previously, these hormones altered by lack of sleep can be regulated back to normal levels shortly after proper sleep is reintroduced.
To review sleeps effects on hormones you can check out the previous post on sleep below.
This week we will discuss some of the conservative methods to get the best night sleep you have had in a long time.
The first and easiest way towards better sleep is to check your pillow. Everybody has a different preference to pillows, and it’s not our goal to say one pillow is better than another. Dr. Karpinsky personally uses a memory foam pillow and has for years, while others swear that an ergonomic neck pillow works best for them. The most important thing is to try different pillows and find the one that is most comfortable for you. Some things to be aware of:
• If you use memory foam pillows and the foam begins to clump, this is an early sign that you need a new pillow.
• If you use a feather pillow and you have to repeatedly “re-fluff” it to get neck support, it is time to replace the pillow.
• If you need to place your arm under your pillow, your body is subconsciously telling you that you need more support and likely a new pillow.
Many of us use caffeine throughout the day, but studies have shown that the half-life of caffeine varies from person to person meaning we all process caffeine slightly differently. This half-life range has been found to be from 4.8 – 11.4 hours meaning that even if you consumed caffeine early in the morning you may have caffeine present in your blood at bedtime. A rule of thumb when having difficulty sleeping is to avoid caffeine all together.
Two supplements that have been shown to be helpful with sleep are Melatonin and Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis). Melatonin is a hormone that our bodies normally secrete for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. These levels are normally low during the day and increase significantly at night. These levels typically decrease as we age, and could be part of the reason why we don’t sleep as well as we age. Simply taking a dose of 2-5mg at night of melatonin may help you fall asleep easier and actually keep you asleep throughout the night.
Valerian, which is the root of Valeriana officinalis, has been shown to contain two substances that have sedative effects. Typically, valerian is taken 30-60 minutes before bedtime and dosages vary. This is another great natural remedy to try if falling asleep is difficult for you.
If you are not getting the sleep you think you should be please visit or call us at 843-654-9330. We would be glad to discuss more options to improve your sleep and get you feeling great!
This week we will be changing gears a little bit and discuss something most of us probably will admit we don’t get enough of….sleep. Most of us have probably heard that lack of sleep will cause us to be emotionally moody, or that it can cause us to gain weight. However, that is not the true point behind this week’s topic. We will be explaining what our bodies go through when we are sleep deprived, and why we should do our best to get a great night’s sleep when possible.
Sleep deprivations effect our body’s hormones, specifically insulin, androgens, growth hormone, and cortisol (the stress hormone). Let’s break down the importance of each of these hormones and how sleep can manipulate them.
Insulin is an important hormone for our bodies because it allows our cells to pick up glucose. It is a vital component that helps regulate carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Research has shown that insulin levels do not seem to be affected by sleep deprivation; however, it does show that there is a decrease in insulin sensitivity in fat cells and the liver. This reduced sensitivity can occur very quickly and can actually increase your risk of developing diabetes. A loss of only 90 minutes of sleep over a few weeks has shown to decrease insulin sensitivity. Fortunately, once proper sleep is reintroduced the insulin sensitivities quickly normalize.
The second hormone of importance is androgens, such as testosterone. Testosterone, similar to insulin, is quickly affected by sleep deprivation. One study from JAMA in 2011 showed that getting up to three fewer hours of sleep for five days can reduce testosterone by over 10% and other studies suggest even higher reductions. Again, like insulin, testosterone can reduce quickly, but can normalize once sleep is restored.
Growth hormone is a hormone that is not affected by sleep deprivation as much as others. Studies have shown that a large amount of growth hormone is released shortly after we sleep. Our bodies adjust and compensate the secretion of growth hormone even if our sleep cycle is altered or reduced. Having a lack of sleep does not reduce the overall secretion of growth hormone, but it does alter the secretion cycle.
Last is cortisol, which helps to mediate the waking process. During the morning (when you wake), the cortisol levels are elevated, and suppressed during the evening (allowing you to fall asleep). When we become sleep deprived these levels become deregulated and increased, creating an all-day exposure. Therefore, it is important to prevent sleep deprivation to avoid this altered regulation of cortisol.
Sleep can have profound effects on hormones, and this should give us a big wake up call, no pun intended, of the importance sleep has and how quickly it can affect our bodies. Next week we will go into this topic a little deeper and provide some useful tips to help regulate your sleep.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other previous health topic visit or call us at 843-654-9330.
Now that we have covered many aspects of the diet that contribute to systemic inflammation, here are some tips to begin to apply it to your daily life. Please remember eating to decrease systemic inflammation is not a diet, but a lifestyle change.
First, try to have 3 balanced meals every day. When we say balanced that means having some high quality protein, fat, and carbohydrates in each meal. This includes a good palm sized serving of protein, (fish, eggs, beef, chicken, etc.), filling up your plate around that protein with veggies and possibly some fruits (veggies are the more important factor though), and last to include some good healthy fats like a couple tablespoons of olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee, a handful of almonds, or half an avocado (these fats can be included in the cooking of your food). Don’t be afraid to try something different and replace any vegetable oil for cooking with olive oil, ghee, or coconut oil. Some great resources for delicious recipes can be found just by Googling “Paleo recipes”(one of my favorite resources is http://nomnompaleo.com/recipeindex ) .
Second, make sure to read all ingredients in the items that you purchase. Many minimally processed foods contain additives and preservatives that have been linked to chronic diseases and cancer. Some of the worst include MSG, sulfites, and carrageenan. All three have been linked to increasing systemic inflammation in the body and even neurotoxic effects!
Last, try to have fun with changing the way you eat. Take the time to actually sit and enjoy your food even if it is for only a 15 minute break. Try to eat while not watching TV or being distracted by something else. A recent study showed that on average, consuming food while distracted, like watching TV, increased the amount of food eaten by 10%. What is more notable is that eating with distractions increased what study subjects ate at the subsequent meal by more than 25%.
I challenge you to mark off 30 days on your calendar and commit to changing your eating habits during those 30 days. You will be amazed at how great you will feel at the end! Also, if you are interested in exploring further how you can decrease systemic inflammation, feel better, and have a better guide for this lifestyle change check out http://whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/ and order this book!
Next week we will be moving on to new topics but if you have any questions about this or any other topic please visit or call us at 843-654-9330.
Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) include omega-6 and omega -3 fatty acids (FA’s). These are essential fatty acids because we are unable to create them in our body, which means we must get them from our diet. Both omega-3 and omega-6 FA’s have important critical functions like maintaining a healthy brain, growth, memory, and even retinal health; however, too many omega-6’s in our diets can promote an inflammatory state in the body. Many of the common foods we eat contain added seed and vegetable oils (peanut, soybean, sunflower, canola, etc.). Vegetable and seed oils contain a high amount of PUFA’s, with a large amount of them being omega-6 ‘s, these omega 6’s get incorporated into our cell membranes making them more vulnerable to oxidation by free radicals leading to systemic inflammation. Even products that say “with olive oil” still contain added seed and or vegetable oils, just read the labels!
Omega -3 fatty acids include both DHA and EPA which have been shown to reduce inflammation as well as decrease the risk of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. There are many ways to increase your consumption of omega-3 FA’s including grass-fed beef, wild salmon, fish oils, walnut, chia, hemp, and flax oil (note that walnut, chia, hemp, and flax oil contain omega-3’s in the form of ALA which does not have the same benefits of DHA and EPA. Our body is able to convert a trivial amount ALA to DHA or EPA but not nearly the amount to get the anti-inflammatory effects). Studies have shown that consuming 1-2 grams of omega-3 FA’s in the form of EPA and DHA on a daily basis is recommended for the anti-inflammatory effects. It is difficult to consume that amount through our diets alone so we suggest a supplement. It is also important to note that all omega-3 supplements are not created equal. Many contain low quality, poorly purified, highly processed oils that will actually limit the effectiveness of omega-3’s and may even contain levels of mercury or other toxins. We recommend Nordic Naturals ProOmega because they utilize independent 3rd party testing to assure no heavy metal, PCBs, or dioxins and guarantee that the omega-3’s are of the highest quality and freshness.
Next week we will continue our discussion on systemic inflammation and how we can change our eating habits to combat it. If you have any questions about this or any other topic please visit or call us at 843-654-9330. Also, if you are interested in exploring further how you can decrease systemic inflammation and feel better, check out http://whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/ and order this book!
Fats are a well-known and often misunderstood macronutrient. Most of us think of fat as a bad, calorie-dense, heart disease inducing, greasy substance. This is somewhat true in certain aspects; however, fats are critical for maintaining proper immune function, absorbing particular vitamins and nutrients, providing the building blocks for brain tissue, nerve fibers, reproductive and stress hormones, as well as being an integral part of all cellular membranes. Fats also provide an excellent energy source for our day to day activities and low intensity activity. To begin to understand how fat plays both a good and bad role in systemic inflammation, as well as other diseases, we first need to learn that not all fats are equal.
Fats are naturally found as free fatty acids (FFA’s) or built into complexes. Fatty acids belong to one of three categories: saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated. There are also unnaturally occurring fats like Trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils or substances) that, as most people know, are linked to many diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) are found in many vegetables, some nuts and oils, like avocados, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, olives, and olive oil. Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in MUFAs can improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and even reduce the risk of cardio vascular disease. They also have found that other compounds found food with high levels of MUFAs, like olive oil, may have some anti-inflammatory effects in the body thus decreasing systemic inflammation.
Saturated fats are generally thought of as the artery clogging and heart attack inducing fat found in red meat and butter. This is not necessarily the case. A meta-analysis of 21 studies published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition that followed over 347,000 individuals for up to 23 years concluded that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease.” The problem is not the saturated fat but the systemic inflammation that is going on in your body from many of the things we discussed in previous topics. The other problem with many saturated fats is the quality of the source. If you are eating factory farmed, genetically modified, anti-biotic infused meat you will be consuming many unhealthy toxins. These toxins increase the amount of inflammation going on in your body. Good sources of saturated fats include ghee, clarified butter, grass-fed organic meats and coconut (which also have Medium Chain triglycerides, MCTs, a form of saturated fat that is very beneficial). These types of fats are great for cooking at high temperatures because they are very stable when exposed to heat, air, and light unlike many other fats.
Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs) are most commonly discussed as omega 3 or omega 6 fatty acids. Next week we will explore more about these and continue our discussion on systemic inflammation and how we can change our eating habits to combat it. If you have any questions about this or any other topic please visit or call us at 843-654-9330. Also, if you are interested in exploring further how you can decrease systemic inflammation and feel better, check out http://whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/ and order this book!
Last week we continued our discussion on systemic inflammation and introduced some of the background information on it, including how the macro and micro nutrients begin to fit into it. To continue, we need to learn a little more about the macronutrients, protein and fat.
Proteins are composed of long chains of amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks for many biological structures like enzymes, hormones, muscles, skin, ligaments, tendons, and even teeth. There are 2 types of amino acids in our diets, essential (from diet) and non-essential (our bodies can make). Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids which we get through animal sources (meat, eggs, seafood), most plant sources of protein are incomplete. In addition to being essential to your diet, eating a moderate serving of complete proteins with each meal helps signal your brain to stop eating and keeps you satiated longer than both carbohydrates and fat.
Many plant sources of protein like legumes (beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, soy) besides being an incomplete protein source also may contribute to systemic inflammation through certain compounds found in them. First, they contain a considerable amount of phytates, which bind to minerals making them unavailable to absorb through our intestines, thus legumes are not as good a source of certain nutrients as once thought. Second, they contain short chain carbohydrates (galactans) that are not properly absorbed by our intestines. Bacteria in our intestine take the galactans and ferment (digests) them which leads to gas and bloating (something most of us have probably experienced after consuming some legumes). This can also promote an unhealthy balance of gut flora which contributes to systemic inflammation by causing an immune response. Last, legumes, specifically soy, contain phytoestrogens. These phytoestrogens are recognized by our bodies as the female sex hormone (estrogen) and actually bind to estrogen receptors throughout the body. Although this may be a great thing for perimenopausal women in combating symptoms like hot flashes, its effects on other populations are largely unknown. We like to think that most of us probably don’t need any more estrogen, as much as many men’s wives would argue.
Protein requirements for each individual can vary greatly, as a general recommendation you should attempt to eat a portion approximately the size of your palm with each meal. As for selection it is important to choose a variety of high quality sources (free-range, grass-fed, wild caught, antibiotic/hormone free, etc.) This is to increase the quality of the protein as well as decrease your exposure to toxic substances that also may contribute to systemic inflammation.
We will continue next week looking at fats and their effect on systemic inflammation. If you have any questions about this or any other topic please visit us or call us at 843-654-9330. Also, if you are interested in exploring further how you can decrease systemic inflammation and feel better, check out http://whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/ and order this book!
Last week we introduced the idea that the food we eat has a profound effect on our bodies. From the moment we put it into our mouths our bodies are already interacting with it and having reactions associated to that food. To begin to understand the major ways food affects us we first need to discuss the basic building blocks of food.
Food is composed of a large amount of complex molecules. Macronutrients, like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats along with micronutrients, like vitamins (vit A,B’s,C etc.), minerals (calcium) , and phytonutrients (lycopene, beta-carotene) are the two major classifications of the compounds that make up our food. Our bodies take these micro and macro nutrients and break them down through digestion to be utilized for energy and other biological functions, like free radical scavenging or immune system responses. Energy in food is measured in calories (kcals), carbohydrates and proteins have 4 kcals per gram while fat has 9 kcals per gram. This is where most people realize that because fat has twice as many calories as carbohydrates and proteins it must be less healthy for you. Sadly, choosing to eat less fat and more carbs and proteins to benefit your health and reduce inflammation is not the answer. To better understand this let us look at each component individually.
Carbohydrates are made up of starches, fiber, and simple sugars like glucose, the universal energy source for every cell in our body. Most people think of Carbohydrates as breads, whole grains, and pasta; however fruits and veggies are a major source of carbohydrates as well. The other misconception with carbohydrates is that they are bad for you and contribute to making you fat, this is true to an extent. It is all related to the source of the carbohydrates, in addition to the proteins and fats you are consuming alongside those carbohydrates.
The other big debate with carbohydrates has to do with sensitivities to certain aspects of grains, like gluten. This is a well-researched topic and something we touched on in a previous heath tip. Depending on these sensitivities, grains may actually contribute to systemic inflammation in the body by interacting with cells in your intestines allowing them to let compounds pass the barrier into your blood stream. Once in the bloodstream, these compounds are identified as foreign by our immune cells and cause a systemic immune response, in other words, systemic inflammation. Over time this will lead to fatigue, decreased healing, and may even contribute to chronic diseases like arteriosclerosis (buildup of plaque in the arteries).
If you are currently experiencing any symptoms similar to those discussed, try substituting more fresh vegetables for your grains, breads, or pasta in your diet. We will continue next week looking at proteins and fats and their effect on systemic inflammation. If you have any questions about this or any other topic please visit or call us at 843-654-9330. Also if you are interested in exploring further how you can decrease systemic inflammation and feel better check out http://whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/ and order this book!
Many people do not realize the importance of the food they put into their bodies. Each food choice we make has a profound effect on how we feel and even how our body functions down to a cellular level. Based off the food we eat our bodies will: up and down regulate hormone levels, choose which fuels to utilize for energy, regulate our immune system, and even change how our pleasure, reward, and emotional centers in our brain get stimulated.
Food also has a profound effect on our body’s inflammatory response, which is our body’s protective effort to stop injury and repair damage, whether it is caused by infection, overuse, or actual physical trauma. This is an extremely important process and can easily get out of control if we are not aware of what contributes to our inflammatory response. When it does get out of control it leads to pain, scar tissue buildup, and a chronic systemic inflammatory state wreaking havoc our bodies.
Chronic systemic inflammation is linked to hundreds of chronic diseases such as: cancer, arthritis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart disease, fibromyalgia, and even allergies. If we are able to control the amount of inflammation going on in our bodies we are able to actually decrease the chances of developing these diseases and decrease and even eliminate symptoms. The easiest and most effective way to do this is by learning and knowing what foods can lead to inflammation and what should you eat instead.
Check out our facebook posts on anti-inflammatory foods for a beginning guide to helping prevent chronic systemic inflammation. We will be continuing to expand on this topic over the next few weeks. For more information on this and/or previous topics visit call us at 843-654-9330.
The back is made up of small bones called vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other to make up your spine. The spinal column is made up of three different sections that create the natural curves in your back. These regions are in the neck (cervical), chest (thoracic), and lower back (lumbar). The muscles, ligaments, nerves, and intervertebral disks make up the additional aspects of your spine (1). All of these structures can be damaged which can lead to pain or discomfort.
Figure 1 (1): Low Back / Lumbar Region
Figure 2 (1): Vertebra and disk cross-section
The difficulty with diagnosing and treating back pain is that it differs from person to person. Pain can have slow onset or can come on suddenly. Pain can also be constant or come and go. One common cause of low back pain is decreased bone strength, muscle elasticity, and muscle tone which typically happens with aging. This may contribute to a loss of fluid in the intervertebral disks as well as decreased flexibility, resulting in a reduced ability to cushion the spine from all the daily activities we do (2). This may lead to joint degeneration, also known as arthritis. Additionally, scar tissue created when the injured back heals itself does not have the strength or flexibility of normal tissue. The buildup of scar tissue from repeated injuries eventually weakens the back and can lead to more serious injuries (2).
For younger people, back pain usually occurs from overuse, overstretching, or lifting things that are too heavy. All of these activities put more strain on all parts of the back including the vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments. When this happens the muscles and ligaments can be sprained, torn, or spasm resulting in pain and discomfort (2). The intervertebral disk can also rupture or bulge and place pressure on the nerves leading to severe pain and even changes in sensation and strength.
Low back pain can be experienced as pain that worsens with bending and lifting, worsens with sitting, worsens with walking or standing, pain that extends from the back into the buttocks or outer hip area, and pain that goes down the leg which is known as sciatica. Regardless of your age or symptoms, if the back pain does not get better within a few weeks, or is associated with a fever, chills, or unexpected weight loss, you should contact your doctor (1).
Finding the cause of back pain requires a thorough medical history and physical examination. Depending on those findings imaging may be warranted, including x-ray, MRI, CT, or a Bone Scan (1). For more information about back pain or if you or someone you know are currently dealing with pain of any kind please contact us at 843-654-9330 to see how we can assist.
Last week we discussed the link between the neck, upper back, and shoulders. All three of these regions require proper movement, control, and strength to make it through our busy days without aches and pains. The “upper cross syndrome” was a result of muscle imbalances, weaknesses, and even joint dysfunctions.
Stemming from last week’s topic, someone asked, “Does this happen to the lower back too?” In short, the answer is yes, but we cannot end this week’s discussion here! We need to explain the similar phenomenon of “lower cross syndrome,” and how it involves the core and the lower extremities and the connections to lower back discomfort.
In “upper cross syndrome” muscles and tissues are characterized in an alternating pattern of tightness and weakness. In other words, muscle imbalances generate faulty movements which create joint dysfunctions and additional stresses through muscles.
The same principle holds true for “lower cross syndrome”. Our lifestyles and daily activities play a large role in muscle imbalances. Our muscles function in the ranges of motions in which we live. Commonly in this syndrome, there is an over activation of the mid and lower back muscles which extend the spine, the quadriceps muscles, and the hip flexors. Additionally, there is inhibition of the abdominals (particularly transverse abdominus) and the gluteal muscles (butt muscles).
You may be asking yourself, “How is this related to my back pain?” The common connections are the muscle imbalances. An exaggerated but quick example would be a person working at a desk for 8 hours a day. When this person remains in a seated position for hours upon hours, muscles prone to tightness will generally have a “lowered irritability threshold.” This means they are readily activated/stimulated with any movement, and therefore, prone to create abnormal movement patterns.
As explained in past posts, movement dysfunctions and muscle imbalances will have a direct effect on joint surfaces. Over time this can potentially lead to joint degeneration if imbalances are unaltered. When there is irritation of the joint or joint degeneration, pain is often felt.
Most people draw the conclusion that with joint irritation or joint degeneration there is pain. While this is true, it is not the whole story of what is taking place. We let others know when we feel over worked or cannot handle the workload, our muscles and joints do the same thing. They tell us when they are being overworked in the voice of pain and discomfort.
This helps to explain why we often find temporary relief treating the pain with pain killers, rest, and other pain relieving remedies. However, no amount of aspirin, rest, or other pain relief remedies will necessarily change the muscle imbalances. A passive (pain relieving) component needs to be matched to an appropriate active movement component of care in order to accomplish the desired long term pain free goal. Muscle imbalances must be addressed; otherwise, joint dysfunctions and sore muscles will just keep coming back over time.
A few exercises to help treat “lower cross syndrome” are:
1. Side Bridge
2. Glute Bridge
These are just some of the exercises that may help with Lower Cross Syndrome. For more information on this and/or previous topics visit our website: www.elitehealthsc.com or call 843-654-9330.
When long days at work and stress begin to overwhelm us, the last thing we think of is posture. By the end of the day we may start to feel a twinge in the neck, upper back, or even in the shoulder. You might be thinking “I understand posture and its connection to the neck and upper back, but the shoulder?” Let’s explain how it’s all linked together.
Although you may or may not be familiar with the term “Upper Cross Syndrome” we probably all have seen it. This syndrome is often used to refer to a person that appears to have forward head carriage and rounded shoulders caused by major muscle imbalances between the overactive flexors and the underactive extensors of the upper torso and neck.
All of this may sound a little bit confusing but let me give you a mental picture of what we are talking about. Picture a little old lady in front of you who is slouched so far forward with rounded shoulders you don’t know how she is standing. Now this is an extreme example but it doesn’t necessarily have to be an old lady. Another example is the person you see at the computer leaning forward to see the screen with a rounded back and shoulders. The common piece connecting both scenarios is the muscle imbalance. These imbalances can be caused by our normal daily activities or may be due to improper training or movement patterns while exercising.
Again, how is this associated with the shoulder? The muscle imbalances often referred to in an upper cross syndrome create joint dysfunction and muscle compensations. These place an extra stress throughout certain segments of our spine and the shoulder which can lead to pain. These postural changes and faulty movement patterns decrease shoulder stability, and it is this loss of stability that forces the muscles in the upper back/neck to increase activation to maintain the shoulder in its proper place. Ever wonder why we seem to carry our stress in our shoulders and neck? It’s strongly connected to these muscle imbalances. Here are some suggestions to fix these imbalances and alleviate the resulting pain/discomfort.
1. Hourly postural breaks – example (Brueggar’s Postural Break)
2. Spine Mobilization foam roll
3. Corrective exercises – example (Bird dog or Cat Camel)
These are just some of the exercises that may help with Upper Cross Syndrome. For more information on this call us at 843-654-9330.
While we briefly touched on gluten in our health topic a few weeks ago, we would like to give some more information to clarify some of the mystery about gluten this week. If you missed our previous health topic, check it out for a delicious gluten-free recipe the whole family will enjoy.
For a quick reminder, gluten is the general name for specific proteins that can be found in wheat, barley, and rye. Most people have no ill effects from gluten, but people that have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergies, and so on must modify their diet. The people that need to avoid gluten are consistently looking at and analyzing the food that they put into their bodies.
To further explain what celiac disease is, we must look at some of the biology that is involved. As we eat different foods, our digestive system breaks down, processes, and then absorbs the micronutrients that are contained within the food. All of the non-absorbable material is then removed by our bodies. With celiac disease, and to a lesser extent gluten-sensitive individuals, the part of our bodies that absorb the nutrients, micro villi, are attacked by our immune system. This damages the villi, and it affects our body’s ability to absorb the nutrients properly.
Inflammation occurs in our digestive system as the immune system fights our own body. This can create symptoms such as:
• Abdominal pain, bloating, gas, or indigestion
• Decreased appetite (may also be increased or unchanged)
• Diarrhea, either constant or off and on
• Lactose intolerance (common when the person is diagnosed, usually goes away after treatment)
• Nausea and vomiting
• Stools that float, are foul smelling, bloody, or “fatty”
• Unexplained weight loss (although people can be overweight or of normal weight)
• Potential vitamin deficiency signs due to poor absorption
To test for gluten-sensitivity blood work will need to be performed. It is important not to start a gluten-free diet prior to the tests since this will affect the outcomes. Some of the blood tests look for specific antibodies made by the body that attack our digestive system. These antibodies are called antitissue transglutaminase antibodies (anti-tTG) or anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA). If these tests are positive an endoscopy may be done to perform a biopsy on the small intestines to confirm a diagnosis, although it is not always required.
Once a proper diagnosis has been made you can begin to implement a gluten-free diet. This allows the intestines to heal and prevent further damage from occurring. A gluten-free diet requires constant monitoring, educating, and planning which makes it challenging to maintain. However, the benefits from adhering to this diet will go a long way to improve a person’s symptoms.
Stay tuned to Elite Health Solutions weekly health topics as we continue to help our gluten-sensitive patients find great tasting gluten-free recipes. If you have any more questions about gluten-sensitivity or are interested in being tested please contact us, the blood test kit is simple and can be performed at home!
When it comes to food and eating healthy, most of us probably have heard the common statement “is this gluten-free?” But what does “gluten-free” actually mean? To clarify what “gluten-free” means we first need to understand what gluten is and how it can affect some people.
Gluten is the general name for specific proteins that can be found in wheat, barley, and rye. For most people gluten can be eaten without any ill effects, but gluten is toxic to millions of others. A gluten free diet is required for individuals diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, wheat allergies, and in some cases children with autism.
We will discuss more about gluten sensitivity in future health topics. The goal this week is to provide a meal that you can make that is tasty and at the same time gluten-free. Stay tuned as we add new recipes and tips about eating gluten-free in the future.
Today’s recipe is a delicious Greek Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto:
3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth (check for gluten on box)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 ¾ cups chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion (about 2 medium)
1 cup Arborio rice or other medium-grain rice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¾ cups (1/2-inch) slices asparagus (about 8 oz)
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp, cut into 1-ich pieces
½ cup (2 oz) crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring broth and 1 cup water to a simmer in a medium sauce-pan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add broth mixture, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total).
3. Stir in asparagus and shrimp; cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and remaining ingredients.
a. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 ½ cups).
b. Calories 426; Fat 8.9g (sat 3.6g, mono 2.8g, poly 1.2g); Protein 33g; Carb 53.5g; Fiber 5.1g; chol 189mg; Iron 4.5mg; Sodium 794 mg; Calc 194mg
With it being that time of year again it seems that everywhere you look someone is coming down with a cold or the flu. In last week’s health tip we talked about some easy things you can do to prevent getting sick, as well as things to get yourself healthy a little faster. One supplement we mentioned was Echinacea.
A popular and effective botanical, Echinacea, also called purple coneflower is used for the prevention and treatment of colds and the flu. It also may be taken as a supportive treatment for recurrent infections of the ears, respiratory tract, and urinary tract. During the cold and flu season, the preventative property of this botanical provides protection for the upper respiratory tract, limiting the virus’ ability to infect.
Echinacea works by stimulating the immune system, and it is most effective when only taken during the cold and flu season. Since it is a powerful immune stimulator it is important not to overuse Echinacea. A dosage for up to 8 weeks, then discontinuing for at least 2-4 weeks allowing the immune system to refresh itself, has shown the greatest benefit.
There are no known side effects of this botanical, but proper guidance and dosage recommendations should be made by your doctor. Please do not take Echinacea if you have an autoimmune illness or progressive systemic disease such as tuberculosis and multiple sclerosis. These illnesses are aggravated by an overactive immune system.
With colds and the flu worse than ever this year it is important to know what can be done to help prevent and shorten the illness. Check back next week for another health tip.
At Elite Health Solutions we strive to give you information that you can use to live a happy, healthier life. If you have questions regarding this health topic or any other please contact us or stop on by.
With winter upon us, many are trying to avoid coming down with a cold or the flu this season. Missing out on the family obligations, social events, or work is the last thing any of us wants to have happen. Thankfully, there are many things we can do to avoid getting sick, as well as things we can do to get better faster if we do begin feeling under the weather.
To understand how to fight back against the common cold, it is important to know exactly what it is. The common cold is an acute upper respiratory infection caused by rhinoviruses. Many of the common symptoms include rhinorrhea “runny nose,” nasal congestion, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, headache, fatigue, malaise, aka just feeling crummy. Typically these symptoms last between 1-2 weeks, but it doesn’t mean we can’t do something to help.
Many of the conventional treatments we use include antihistamines, nasal decongestants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (ie. Advil, Dayquil, Benadryl). These treatments will help relieve the symptoms, but they will not shorten the duration of the illness. This makes it even more important to prevent catching the cold so we can avoid feeling sick for nearly two weeks.
There are many simple things we can do to prevent catching a cold; wash your hands frequently and clean environmental surfaces, like counter-tops and telephones, on a regular basis with disinfectant. Do your best to avoid people with a cold, avoid others if you have a cold, and when you cough or sneeze cover your mouth with your arms and not your hands. This will limit your and others exposure to the virus and minimize the possibility of the virus getting into your system. However, if you do catch a cold, you can do a few simple things to replace and/or in addition to conventional treatments that may help you get better faster.
Nutritional supplementation can be used to help limit the symptoms including vitamin C, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, garlic, probiotics, N-acetylcysteine, and Echinacea to name a few. It is important to follow the recommended dosages with each and to consult your physician prior to taking any new supplements.
• Vitamin C should be taken at levels of 2-5 grams per day once the first signs of a cold are felt. Vitamin C can also be taken at levels of 1 gram per day as a preventative measure. Vitamin C is more effective if taken multiple times a day at smaller doses rather than all at once.
• Vitamin D may be taken daily as a preventative measure, therapeutic doses of 400-2,000 IU per day have been shown to be effective. On a side note, if you have a history of kidney stones, be careful when approaching the upper levels of dosage for Vitamin C and Vitamin D, as these may promote the formation of stones.
• Vitamin A may be taken at levels of 100,000 IU during the duration of a cold. However, with vitamin A do not take levels of greater than 100,000 IU for daily use for months at a time, and should not be taken due to toxicity concerns during the first 7 weeks of pregnancy.
These are just a few of the supplements that may be taken to help recover from the common cold. Utilizing a combination of these supplements and conventional medication may help to make your next cold experience less uncomfortable.
At Elite Health Solutions we strive to give you information that you can use to live a happy, healthier life. If you have questions regarding this health topic or any other please contact us or stop on by.