Sleep…..It Does the Body Good

November 24, 2008

 With the holidays rapidly approaching, we tend to get busier and busier.  Since we cannot add more hours to the day, many of us choose to decrease how much sleep we will get.

 Whenever one thinks of health, you must begin with sleep.  Sleep is when your body gets to recharge, not just physically but also mentally.  When you sleep your blood pressure drops, your heart rate drops, and most importantly your brain gets to recharge. 

 Just about everyday in my office a patient will ask, “Doc, should I get a new mattress and how should I sleep?”  Since I am far from a mattress expert I asked Steve, owner of Siesta Sleepworks in Acton, the first question.  “The first sign a person needs a new mattress is they can see a body impression.  The second sign is when you stop getting a restful night sleep and you toss and turn all night.”  Steve also offered the following advice when you have decided to get a new mattress, “Try a bunch of different mattresses when you go into a store.  Everyone has different tastes and it takes some time to find the one you will be happy with.”

If we are sleeping a decent amount, we will spend between 25% and 33% of our life sleeping.  Once you have determined if you need a new mattress, you now must take into account your sleep position.  Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position in terms of spinal health.  In order to sleep on your stomach you need to turn your head left or right to breathe.  Now doing this for a few minutes is no big deal, however, 6 to 8 hours per night for many years, is going to lead to neck and shoulder problems.  Stiffness and pain are very common reports from stomach sleepers.

The ideal positions for sleeping are either on your side or on your back.  When sleeping on your back you want to choose a pillow as thin as is comfortable.  A pillow that is too thick will jut your head forward placing undue stress on your neck and shoulders.  When sleeping on your side you need to choose a pillow that keeps your head in a neutral position, in other words not tilting either up or down, while lying on your side.

How long you sleep is just as important as how you sleep.  Although everyone is different, the ideal seems to be 6.5 to 7.5 hours.  Interestingly enough, sleeping more than 8 hours may actually be very bad for you.  Morbidity, obesity, and depression are all associated with people who get both too little sleep and too much sleep.

 Changing sleeping habits can be very difficult.  If you are a stomach sleeper and want to change, start out on your side with a body pillow.  If you wake up in the middle of the night on your stomach, flip to your side again.  Give this a couple of months and soon enough you will be finding yourself spending more time in a  good sleeping posture.  You neck and shoulders will thank you.




Bummer About Ginkgo

November 19, 2008

In case you missed the news today, it has been widely reported that a study on Ginkgo Boloba and Alzheimers (AZ) did not turn out as favorably as hoped.  It had been hoped that by taking GB, you could prevent or delay the dementia that is associated with AZ.

3069 people had participated in the trial.  Just about 1/2 were given GB and 1/2 were given a placebo.  Neither the people or the doctors doing the testing knew who was taking what.  A double blind study, as explained prior, and the number of participants lends a lot of credibility to the study.

There is some question if the study followed the exact GB protocols.

As with any study, one does not mean anything is cast in stone.  There is another study going on in France with 2800 participants.  I think it is safe to say the GB community is certainly looking forward to a favorable report.

Are You Last?

November 17, 2008

How often do you put yourself last?  Time after time I see a client who is dashing in after soccer, before ballet, and on their way to the grocery store.  Oftentimes they will rush into the office, lay down on the table, get their adjustment, and skip out before I can even say hello, never mind good-bye.   I always wonder, how stressed out must this person be?

As a father of four, with a super human wife, I completely understand how hectic life gets.  I try and help people realize that slowing down is not such a bad thing.  Sitting on ice in my office, while cold, is oftentimes the only part of someones day that is relatively sane.

Making time for yourself is crucial to your health.  Even the finest tuned race cars need down time.  You cannot keep pushing without something breaking down.  Trying turning off the radio while driving, grab a book and a comfy chair, how about a walk at lunch from your office, or how about scheduling that massage you have been putting off.

Your body doesn’t need much, just a couple of minutes a day for itself and you will see the effects for years to come.

PS. Need a massage therapist leave me a comment and I will set you up with a wonderful one, I have been seeing her for a couple of years and she is great.

How Exactly Does Chiropractic Work

November 16, 2008

In an attempt to keep this super simple please allow me to tell you a story.  You are outside watering the lawn with a typical water hose.  While the water is flowing out, someone places something heavy on the hose back where it comes out of the spicket.  The result is decreased water flow.  Make sense?

That is the essence of chiropractic.

We take the pressure off your nerves so that they flow properly.

It is pretty well known that the brain controls the body.  In order for that to happen, the brain must communicate through the nerves.  These nerves originate in the spine then branch out all over the body.  If there is a misalignment in the spine, pressure gets put on the nerve and much like the water hose, the flow decreases.  With this decreased nerve flow, whatever is connected to this nerve; glands, organs, or muscles, will not work at its peak.  

Chiropractors are trained to detect these misalignments and put them back in place to relieve the nerve pressure.

Let’s start here

November 14, 2008

Thank you for reading my blog.  My goal is to keep you informed, entertained, challenged, and depending on my mood, maybe be even fired up.  I will update this site often with news from the fields of chiropractic, medicine, nutrition, or anything I might think you are interested in.  

Since this blog is for you, I encourage you to leave me comments, ask questions or make suggestions for topics.  I cannot promise to always agree with you, however, I think we can have some fun with this.