Real Life Chiropractic

Chiropractic Care

Day 8 Sleep Patterns normalized through Breathing

50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. Driving tired is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries yearly.1 Could something as simple as breathing help with sleeping? Yes! A big reason why people are tired is due to a lack of oxygen in the brain.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing using various forms of mindfulness practices helps to calm our nervous system down and reduce stress. Since stress is being reduced we can also find great benefit in doing Qigong to help our sleep.2

A very simple way to do this would be when you’re laying down on your back in bed for the night, place your hands gently on your lower abdomen. While breathing in and out through your nose gently and slowly, feel your lower abdomen with your hands rise as you inhale and lower as you exhale. Once you get the feel for how to breathe with your lower abdomen, place your arms and hands to your sides on the be. While still breathing slowly, imagine all the muscles in your body relaxing starting from your scalp and go all the down your face to your neck and chest. Then move to your arms and fingers. Continue on to your back and abdomen and to your legs and feet/toes. Take a deep breath in again with your belly and exhale while relaxing 10x as much everything in your body.

References:

1. https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/

2. Zou, L., SasaKi, J. E., Wang, H., Xiao, Z., Fang, Q., & Zhang, M. (2017). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Baduanjin Qigong for Health Benefits: Randomized Controlled Trials. Evidence- based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2017, 4548706

Till next time. Thank you,

Dr. Josef Patterson DC…

Day 7 Breathe Deep to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve! – Part II

There are so many digestive problems going on right now; cortisol levels are through the roof; high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes are rampant, and people are having a hard time calming down. Through it all, the vagus nerve, our parasympathetic nervous system, is being inhibited and, as a society, we are in a chronic state of the Fight or Flight plague.

The heart and brain have more neuronal connections to each other than any other systems in the body!1 From this we can know that the vagus nerve plays a major role in the communication between the two. Whether we choose to be in fight or flight mode, or calm and relaxed makes the difference between health and illness.

When we breath deep and then actually sigh out the breath from our mouth, we further stimulate the vagus nerve as it is vibrating from the vocal cords. The Vagus nerve follows the esophagus down to the stomach, diaphragm and all the digestive organs! As we do this we further relax the body and all systems within.

References:

1. R. McCraty, M. Atkinson, D. Tomasino, et al., “The Coherent Heart: Heart-Brain Interactions, Psychophysiological Coherence, and the Emergence of System-Wide Order,” Integral Review, vol. 5, no. 2: pp.10-115 (2009).

Till next time. Thank you,

Dr. Josef Patterson DC…

Day 6 Breathe Deep to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve! – Part I

The vagus nerve (cranial nerve X) has two components to it linking to both of our autonomic nervous systems; the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. When we are under stress, we are in a state called Fight or Flight which is where our sympathetic nervous system comes in. The nerves impacting the sympathetic nervous system come primarily from the thoracic vertebral column or the mid back.

When we are calm and relaxed we fall into what’s called the parasympathetic nervous system; which nerves come primarily from the head and neck and sacral regions. In this state our body is able to heal and digest our food. Also, we can think clearly and not be as reactive to stimuli as blood leaves the amygdala (fear center of the brain) and goes back to the frontal lobe of the brain.

When we take deep breaths cortisol levels (stress hormone) decrease, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure is improved along with stress.1

Even though this systematic review along with a host of other studies showing the benefit of deep diaphragmatic breathing doesn’t specifically talk about the vagus nerve, we can know that the vagus nerve is involved as it controls these two sides of our autonomic nervous system. When the vagus nerve is stimulated our body calms down and allows for healing to occur. Which is what we all want I think. Although, stress inhibits vagus nerve stimulation which makes it near impossible to heal and be well.

Reference:

1. Hopper, S. I., Murray, S. L., Ferrara, L. R., & Singleton, J. K. (2019). Effectiveness of diaphragmatic breathing for reducing physiological and psychological stress in adults: a quantitative systematic review. JBI database of systematic reviews and implementation reports, 17(9), 1855–1876.

Till next time. Thank you,

Dr. Josef Patterson DC…

Day 5 Deep Breathing and Depression and Anxiety

Depression affects 19% of the US population each year, and anxiety affects about 3% of the US population. Panic disorder affects close to 3%, social anxiety disorder affects about 7% and specific phobias affects about 9% of the U.S. population.1

There seems to be a great need for help in this arena especially since not even half of most people with these mental imbalances receive treatment! I don’t think that anything can compare to cost effectiveness than can something as simple as deep diaphragmatic breathing associated mindfulness practices such as Qigong and Tai Chi.

Many mood and mental illnesses are shown to be significantly helped and improved by various mindfulness practices such as deep breathing. One empirical review showed great results with depression and anxiety.2

Qigong and tai chi shows great promise in the alleviation of and in reversing psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. A systematic review compiled many different studies including 6410 participants measuring a large variety of benefits with Qigong and Tai Chi.3 From this study, 163 different physiological and psychological health outcomes were found. 28 of the studies observed showed psychological factors of anxiety, depression, stress, mood, fear of falling, and self-esteem to be significantly improved.

If you or someone you know has depression and anxiety, tell them about trying Qigong or Tai Chi! You can only help them improve. What do you have to lose?

References:


  1. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics

  2. Baer RA. Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: A conceptual and empirical review.

    Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice. 2003;10:125–143.

  3. Jahnke, R., Larkey, L., Rogers, C., Etnier, J., & Lin, F. (2010). A comprehensive review of health

    benefits of qigong and tai chi. American journal of health promotion : AJHP, 24(6), e1–e25.

Till next time. Thank you,

Dr. Josef Patterson DC…

Day 4 More on the Nervous System and the Breath!

Deep breathing associated with mindfulness meditation has been shown to increase gray matter in the brain. Especially the areas of the hippocampus, the posterior cingulate cortex, the temporoparietal junction, and the cerebellum. These regions of the brain regulate memory, learning, emotional intelligence, social cognition, perspective taking, and self referential processing. Major depression, and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) have been linked with a decrease in volume or density of the hippocampus.1,2,3 We will discuss more about major depression and PTSD the next couple of times you receive our emails.

Isn’t it neat?! That we can, through our breath and our mind, increase the density and capacity of our brain! The more we use our brain to meditate on positive things and to be more present the more we literally form new neurons and make new connections with other neurons. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do better in school with learning and memory recall? Or become aware of the emotions and language of others to be sensitive and non-judgemental as we try to serve them?

I know that meditating while deep breathing helps us to become more aware, receive more energy, healing, and the ability to help others more effectively.

References:


  1. Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S. W. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry research, 191(1), 36–43.

  2. Sheline YI. 3D MRI studies of neuroanatomic changes in unipolar major depression: the role of stress and medical comorbidity. Biological Psychiatry. 2000;48:791–800.

  3. Kasai K, Yamasue H, Gilbertson MW, Shenton ME, Rauch SL, Pitman RK. Evidence for acquired pregenual anterior cingulate gray matter loss from a twin study of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Biological Psychiatry. 2008;63:550–556.

Till next time. Thank you,

Dr. Josef Patterson

Day 3 Our Nervous System and Breathing Oxygen

Neurons in the human brain begin to die in less than 3 minutes when deprived of oxygen. Once 3 minutes has passed, permanent brain damage occurs.

Have you ever noticed students at school, slouching in their chairs? Sometimes you may even see them start yawning or lay their head down to fall asleep. A couple things may be at play here. First, they may have just not received enough sleep. The second possibility is the fact that when anyone slouches or hunches forward, they cut off about two-thirds of their oxygen transfer to their blood from their lungs. This in turn deprives the brain of sufficient oxygen to think straight and function properly. So then, the student becomes more tired and may eventually fall asleep.

As spoken about in our previous blog post, our nervous system, especially our brain, vitally needs oxygen for our cells to produce energy. Without the energy to send direct signals, or action potentials, in the brain, our brains become sluggish and our mental capacities decline.

Anybody who finds themselves slouching or having poor posture, who feels tired, can greatly help themselves by sitting up straighter and taking a few deep breaths in through the nose and out the mouth.

Till next time. Thank you,

Dr. Josef Patterson DC…

Day 2 The Great Mitochondria Needs O2

We breathe a little over 400 liters of oxygen per day and it’s needed to provide nutrients to every cell within our body. Without oxygen, the mitochondria within each cell of our being, is unable to produce enough ATP (or energy) for us to use. These are the molecules that give us the electrons for us to have muscle contractions, action potentials (nerve signals), etc. Every time we do anything, including sleeping, we use ATP; we use energy. ATP is what causes us to have body heat as well.

It’s almost more accurate to say that we breath oxygen to feed the mitochondria which in turn keeps us alive. The mitochondria isn’t even human in nature; it has it’s own set of DNA (not our human DNA), and resembles and acts more like a glorified bacterium! Isn’t that nuts? We will most likely talk about the mitochondria more in-depth in a another blog post.

Enzymatic processes within the Mitochondria require the use of oxygen in order for them to work. So, again, without oxygen, we cannot produce the energy sufficiently to perform. We may feel more tired and not have as much energy throughout the day. Over time, this can develop and get worse to the

point where we may receive a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, orthostatic intolerance, or some (albeit rare) may have an actual mitochondrial disease which is inherited.

Taking time each day to make conscious deep breaths can really boosts your energy levels and help you to feel better.

Till next time. Thank you,

Dr. Josef Patterson DC…

Day 1 BREATHING

During the next 30 days we will be exploring the health topic: BREATHING. There have been so many testimonials, seemingly outlandish claims of being healed, as well as a large body of scientific evidence showing the benefits of deep, conscious breathing associated with movements, meditation, or both!

As a society, with our modernized-overbooked agendas, have lost one of the most fundamental aspects to our health. That is oxygen! The world is literally full of it! Technically speaking, only about 21% of the world’s air consists of oxygen, and most of the rest is nitrogen.

Nitrogen is vital for our body’s ability to produce DNA and proteins. Although, unfortunately the nitrogen that we need cannot come from the air around us as it is, since it’s not bioavailable for us to use. It needs to be in a “fixed” form such as it is in plants and animals who eat the plants. Without our DNA we wouldn’t be alive. Without nitrogen our body wouldn’t be able to repair itself while we sleep. Oxygen is also needed in each cell of our body.

Coming up next, we will dive into what it is within our cells that requires oxygen for the survival of our whole body.

Till next time. Thank you,

Dr. Josef Patterson DC…

Lifestyle practices to help support a healthy back.

There are countless ways to support a healthy back and we couldn’t even begin to name them all. That being said, I have listed a few here in this post. It can be overwhelming to implement all of these ideas all at once. So just start with one or two and move on to more as you are comfortable.

If there is an exercise that you want to do, make sure that the movement in the exercise is done with no pain! If there is pain at any point during your range of motion (and you’re not on pain meds), you are damaging tissues. The issue with pain meds is that you have no idea if you’re damaging tissues during a movement because your body has been blocked from communicating it. First thing, stop the exercise or modify it to be comfortable and without pain.

1. Stop drinking so much caffeine or get rid of it entirely. 

Caffeine concentrates in the kidneys and can imbalance them. When the kidneys are not functioning optimally, they can refer pain to the lower back. If an addiction to caffeine exists, it is important to get off of it slowly to lessen affects of rebound headaches.

2. Reduce stress. 

If we are in chronic stress, then our adrenal glands are being overworked and can also become imbalanced which can negatively influence the kidneys as well. This can also refer pain to the lower back. Reducing stress by taking more time for yourself, grounding barefoot on the grass daily, practicing deep breathing, and doing things that you love to do every day works wonders in healing the body.

3. Sit on the edge of your seat. 

Sitting on the edge of your seat often causes your knees to be lower than your hips which helps to keep the curve in your lower back present. It also helps you to have better posture as you’re firing your back muscles to keep yourself upright. This supports the lower back and back against injury due to poor posture. Slouching or leaning back in your chair causes your muscles to relax and not support your back and also leaves you more prone to injury when getting out of the seat.

4. Intake good sources of minerals.

Calcium and magnesium are excellent minerals to keep your muscles from spasming and injuring. Low amounts of calcium and magnesium in the blood and tissues will cause your body to leech it from your bones. Thereby, causing your bones to become unstable and lose their density among other things.

Iron is also an excellent mineral as it’s important for building red blood cells to bring oxygen to your muscles and tissues. It’s also important for collagen formation.

5. Eat protein.

Protein is important for healing, maintaining, and strengthening bones, ligaments, muscles and soft tissues. A good rule of thumb is to eat about 0.8 to 1 g of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. To get an idea of about how much protein you need, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to put it into kilograms. 

6. Eat more key vitamins.

Vitamin D3 is important for absorbing calcium into the bones. Without sufficient vitamin D levels our bones can be made thin, misshapen, or even brittle. Vitamin D actually functions more like a hormone than a vitamin. It’s uses in the body are practically endless!

Vitamin K2 is also very important to bring calcium into the bones and into the tissues for them to utilize it. Butter from grass-fed cows is a great source of both vitamins D3 and K2.

Vitamin C is also important for collagen formation and aids in supporting the back.

Vitamin B12 is also important for building the bones and supports the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.

7. Lifting the sky.

A Qigong exercise is specifically designed to heal the lower back and also supports it from further injury.

To do this stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands to your sides. Begin by straightening out your arms in front of your pelvis palms down with the fingers pointing to each other. While keeping your eyes on your hands the whole time, inhale through your nose while bringing your arms from that position up and over your head. While at the top, with your feet still flat on the floor, gently push up as if you are pushing up the sky (during this time you can hold your breath for a second or two). 

Then, while sighing your breath out your mouth, bring your arms out to your sides, palms down and bring your arms back to the resting position. Sighing as you exhale stimulates your vagus nerve and helps to relax your body even further. Repeat this process for the next breath and so on for approximately 5 minutes.

The slower this exercise is done, while slowing down the breathing, the more energy is moved within the body. While doing this exercise or any other Qigong exercise, your hands may feel warm fairly quickly and your head more alert. This is because you were increasing circulation throughout your body, and enhancing oxygenation to your brain and all your cells. There are many other health benefits from doing Qigong and there are many other exercises that you can do with it as well! Let me know how Qigong has helped you if you have tried it!

8. Cat-cow.

This is a common exercise done to strengthen and stretch your core muscles.

To do this exercise go on your hands and knees on the floor with your knees and hands about shoulder width apart. When you inhale through your nose bring your head down while you arch your spine upward like a cat as if a string is pulling your spine upward. While you exhale the breath out your mouth, bring your spine back down and flat while sticking out your buttocks and pulling your shoulder blades close together while your head is looking up in front of you. Repeat with each breath for about 5 minutes.

9. Try not to sit with your legs crossed.

If you do, make sure you switch to the other leg giving each leg approximately the same amount of time it is crossed. If you sit with one leg crossed for extended periods of time, you run into a higher chance of injury to your lower back due to over compensation of muscle firing on that one side.

10. Take your wallet out of your back pocket.

Anything in the back pocket of your trousers will cause your pelvic bones to become imbalanced and or misaligned. If your pelvis is misaligned or the musculature is tight more on one side, your lower back often can be injured as well.

11. Vacuum with both hands.

A common injury often comes from twisting the lower spine. While vacuuming hold the vacuum handle with both hands while you vacuum directly in front of you so that your spine doesn’t twist. By doing this you keep your spine in the neutral position and more supported.

12. Wash dishes with your hips and knees bent.

This also keeps your back in neutral position and is less prone to injury.

13. Squats.

Whether you’re performing squats as an exercise, or squatting down to pick up something, always do so with good posture! Squats as an exercise is wonderful at strengthening your back muscles as well as your legs and buttocks. Although, if you notice someone else squatting down and you see their backside begin to tuck underneath themselves, that’s when the lower back becomes unstable. To avoid instability, squat down only to right before that point of when your backside begins to tuck underneath you and then go back up.

The lower back was made for axial loading, not for hunching or bending forward and twisting movements.

14. Suck your bellybutton in towards your spine.

Bringing your bellybutton in and toward your spine works your transverse abdominus muscles and greatly helps to support your lower back. A few repetitions of this can easily be done while sitting in your car at a stoplight or driving down the road.

15. Rowing exercises.

This can be done with an actual rowing machine at the gym, or with a band attached to the wall. Keep your core muscles tight while pulling back and at the end of the pull-back, cinch your shoulder blades as close together as you can.

This exercise tightens the rhomboid Muscles between your shoulder blades, among others, to pull them backwards thereby pulling your shoulders back giving you better posture in your upper body.

16. Pectoralis major stretches.

Bring one arm to the square as if raising your hand, put it against the corner of the wall and turn your whole body the opposite direction. You will feel a stretch in your peck muscle. Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds and repeat with the other arm.

This stretch will help to relax your chest and by so doing aiding your shoulders going back. You can know if your peck muscles are tight, if while standing and at rest, the palms of your hands face behind you. Your pecks are relaxed if your palms are facing your sides.

17. Chin retraction exercises.

While your head is in neutral position bring your head straight back and hold for a couple of seconds being conscious of not extending your head backwards. Then relax and repeat 5 to 10 times. You know if you’re extending your head back if your chin is going up from your original position. Your head ought to stay in the neutral position looking straight ahead and while not lowering your chin or raising it, bring your head straight back.

This exercise works the muscles in front of your neck vertebrae, and assess and bringing the curve back in your neck bringing you better posture. This is a wonderful exercise to do if you notice your head jutting forward past your shoulders.

Common types of back pain and their causes

Discitis

Also known as inflammation in the disc. Pain from this is usually localized to the affected area and is dull, achy, and sometimes sharp in certain positions. It is caused by poor posture, injury, negative energies, and/or malnutrition.

Bulging disc or herniated disc

Where the fibrous outer layer of the disc is compromised to such a degree that the nucleus pulposus (or fluid in the center of the disc) bulges outward most often towards the back. This is what we often call a “pinched” nerve. 

Pain from this is often sharp but can also bring numbness, tingling and weakness. It can be localized to the affected area but also refer pain in other areas of the back, hip, buttock, or down the leg even to the foot.

A bulging disc occurs most of the time because of injury to the tissues of the disc from poor posture. This happens especially while lifting and twisting heavy objects.

Ruptured disc

This is where the nucleus pulposis actually comes out of the disc and can run down the spinal column in the spinal canal.

A ruptured disc is less common than discitis or a bulging or herniated disc. It’s pain is often referred down the back and like a bulging disc go down the leg.

Sprain

This is where a ligament that supports the spine becomes too stretched and tears. This often occurs when twisting or lifting with poor posture. Pain with a sprain is often localized to the specific area.

Strain

A strain happens when there is an injury to the muscle or tendon that supports the spine. The pain is also localized to the affected area. This happens again with poor posture although it can also be from overuse, and lifting really heavy things.

Kidney imbalance’s 

A little known cause for low back pain, but common as well, is from imbalanced kidneys. If there are kidney stones, a bacteria, too much hydration or dehydration, or even too much caffeine the kidneys can become imbalanced and refer pain to the lower back.

The pain is localized to the lower back, although it’s harder to pinpoint a specific spot as it is with a sprain, strain or a disc problem.

Adrenal imbalance’s 

The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and if and balanced they too can cause lower back pain. These become unbalanced by too much stress.

Pregnancy

As the growing baby gets bigger, the pull and strain on the lower back becomes more intense. Thereby the lower can be in pain or other back issues may occur as previously mentioned.

Obesity

As the belly and body becomes bigger with weight gain, so does the strain increase on the lower back and becomes more prone to injury and therefore more pain.…

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