Vitamin D and Chronic Pain

Winter is coming and the lack of sunlight leads to low levels of vitamin D.  Low vitamin D levels have been associated with persistant, nonspecific, musculoskeletal pain.(fibromyalgia) and depression.  As more research is being done, low D levels are being implicated in thyroid disorders, autoimmune disease, diabetes and more.

A recent study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings tested 150 patients with chronic pain.  93% or 140 of them had low vitamin D levels.  An interesting finding was that 100% of all African American, East African, Hispanic and American Indians were deficient in Vitamin D.  The study concluded that “All patients with persistant, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain are at high risk for the consequences of unrecognized and untreated severe hypovitaminosis D.”

I talk about vitamin D a lot in my practice.  Too little vitamin D is common, especially in the Wisconsin climate.  Typically the symptoms of hypovitaminosis D are treated with drugs that don’t do anything to fix the problem and in fact can deplete the body even more.

I have found many patients that have severe vitamin D issues.  We get their vitamin D levels tested, base the corrective dose on those tests, and then follow up in three months to see if the problem is corrected.  Patients feel much better when their vitamin D level gets corrected.  I highly recommend testing and supplementation for everyone.

Can Weather Aggravate Pain ?

Anyone who has treated chronic pain patients will tell you that patients seem to feel worse on days when the weather is bad.  Particularly when it is cold and damp.

In an research paper titled “The Relationship of Diagnosis and Weather Sensitivity in Chronic Pain Patients” (JNMS Vol.3, No.1, Spring 1995) the authors found that people with many different types of pain syndromes were adversely affected by bad weather.

They said “The onset of aching and tenderness around joints as an indication of impending storms has been a wives’ tale for centuries.  Clinicians have long observed that the weather seems to influence a number of physical conditions.  Numerous past surveys have reported weather sensitivity in patients with chronic pain.  Accounts date back to Hippocrates…”

So, the pain you may feel when the weather changes is not a psychological, “all in your head”, made up thing.  It is real.

The authors also found that this type of pain indicates bone and joint problems and not muscle problems.  So if you are experiencing this type of pain, treatments that focus on muscles won’t help it.  Treatments, like chiropractic, that focus on the joints, will.

The authors found that spine pain, bulging discs, carpal tunnel syndrome, spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease were the most weather affected conditions.  In clinical practice, I have found that arthritis in the knee is very often worse in patients during bad weather.  Though this isn’t mentioned in the article.

If you are suffering from joint pain that gets aggravated by bad weather, you should know that there is help for you.  Check out this video on ABC method chiropractic.

 

Can Chronic Back Pain Shrink The Brain ?

 

Can Chronic Back Pain Shrink the Brain ?

By: Paul Kramer DC

If you’re one of the millions of people with chronic back pain, scientists say your brain may age up to 20 times faster than normal.

In the first study of its kind, researchers from Northwestern University have found that chronic back pain actually shrinks the brain by as much as 11%. Specifically, it shrinks the gray matter, which makes up the part of the brain responsible for memory and information processing.

It is well documented that chronic back pain negatively impacts quality of life and increases anxiety and depression, but it has been assumed that any brain changes revert to a normal state after the pain stops. This is according to researcher A. Vania Apkarian who has an article in the Nov. 23, 2004 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Apkarian and colleagues compared 26 healthy volunteers with 26 patients who had chronic back pain in the lower region for more than a year. Some patients’ pain radiated through the buttock, thigh, and leg — a sign of sciatic nerve damage, or sciatica. The source of the pain was not considered.

MRI brain images and other sophisticated imaging tests, which measured gray matter size, were performed on all patients. After adjusting for age and gender factors, scientists found that, overall, chronic back pain patients lost about 5%-11% of gray matter a year — about the same as 10 to 20 years or normal aging, the researchers say. Typically, normal aging results in only about 0.5% of gray matter loss each year, they add.

Those with chronic back pain with sciatica had the largest decrease in gray matter. In addition, the more years someone has chronic back pain, the more brain loss they suffered.

What’s Behind the Brain Shrinkage?

By definition, chronic back pain is a state of persistent pain with associated negative mood and stress, says Apkarian. Therefore, one possible explanation for the decreased gray matter is that nerve cells are working overtime.

The researchers hypothesize that as chronic back pain persists, it may become more irreversible and less responsive to treatment due to these brain changes.

The good news is that chiropractic has been found to be a very effective and long lasting treatment for chronic low back pain.  The elimination of chronic pain now, may prevent future problems of anxiety, depression and dementia.

It is in your best interest to look at all the options available to you if you suffer from chronic pain.  For a free no obligation chronic back pain consultation, call my office at 262-293-3790, your body will thank you.  (and so will your brain 🙂

Barefoot Running Tips

By Paul Kramer DC

Barefoot running has become increasingly popular in the last few years, due in large part to the book “Born to Run”.

The author, Christopher McDougall, details his quest to find a way to run without pain. You see, he was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, a very painful type of tendonitis of the foot.  After he was diagnosed, he saw some of the top foot doctors in the country.  All of them prescribed arch supports for his feet, and recommended he stop running.  These recommendations only made his foot problem worse.

He then started studying the world’s top distance runners and found that many of them run barefoot.  Going against what the top doctors in America told him, he started to give barefoot running a try.  To make a long story short, he now runs 50 mile races without plantar fascitis.

As someone who has made the transition to barefoot running myself, I can tell you that it isn’t an easy thing to do.  It can be painful until you get used to it.  Here are some tips that will make it easier for you:

-I recommend wearing Vibram Five Finger shoes, because they will protect your feet and at the same time allow them to move naturally as you run.

-Start by running on grass, pavement is too tough on your feet early on.

-It will take 2 to 3 months for your feet to toughen up enough to run on pavement.  The bones of the feet de-mineralize and weaken as the result of wearing shoes with arch supports.  It will take a few months for the bones to harden up again.

-Concentrate on standing tall when you run, especially as you get tired.  Good posture is essential when you run barefoot.  If you lean forward too much, your feet will hurt almost immediately.

-During your stride, do not put your foot down until it stops moving forward.  You will avoid pounding your joints and it makes you run faster.

-Push off with your toes in the back of your stride.  You will run faster and feel better.  This sets up a kinetic chain that will actually help straighten your back and fix alignment problems in your body.  This is why so many people feel better after switching to barefoot running.

If you are suffering from plantar fascitis and are looking for a doctor who not only will help the pain, but help you achieve long term health for your feet, call us at 262-293-3790.   You can set up a free no obligation consultation where we can discuss your situation and what it will take to get you back to 100%.

How to Save 50% on Your Health Insurance Premiums

I am always shocked at what my patients are paying for health insurance premiums.  Then when they need chiropractic care, the insurance doesn’t pay much due to high deductibles and co-pays.  So on top of paying big time premiums, you don’t get much when you need it.
I want to share with you how my family is handling their healthcare costs.  We decided to join a health cost sharing organization and it has been a miracle for us.  We pay less than half what we normally would pay for just a minimal health insurance policy, and when we need it, it pays much better.
Last year Jennifer had some kidney stones and she needed surgery to the tune of $48,000 and we only paid $1500.
The health share organization is called Liberty Healthshare and its awesome.  I can’t recommend it enough.  Go to: www.libertyhealthshare.org and check it out.  They have a free decision guide and all kinds of information.  Great stuff.
What’s the catch ?  Well you can’t smoke and you must agree to only drink alcohol in moderation.  Some people with severe pre-existing conditions aren’t accepted.  When you use it, the health provider will be billing you and then you will be forwarding the bills to Liberty Healthshare.  So you might be handling a little more paperwork than you are used to, but it really is no big deal.  And that’s basically it.
Its great stuff, so check it out, if you want me to help you with any questions, let me know.  The Liberty people are great to talk to as well.

Workshop Calendar for 2017

 

2017 Body Signals Workshop Calendar   

Tuesday’s @ 6:30 PM

MO:                 TOPIC/BODY SIGNAL:       TITLE:

JULY 18             LOWER EXTREMITY         F.A.S.“FALLING APART SYNDROME”(PART 2)

AUG  22              NECK PAIN                          STOP NECK PAIN FOREVER

SEP 19                HEADACHES                        END HEADACHES NOW

OCT 17                SLEEP PROBLEMS             SLEEP BETTER TONIGHT

NOV 14               DIGESTIVE ISSUES           ELIMINATE DIGESTIVE ISSUES

DEC 12                STRESS                                  STRESSED OUT? THE HOLIDAY RED ZONE

BodySignalsWorkshopCalendar

Benign Positional Vertigo- New Treatments That Work!

By: Paul Kramer DC

 

Germantown, WI- Benign Positional Vertigo is a condition that can come on suddenly and cause dizziness, nausea, headaches and balance disorders.  It is called “benign” because it isn’t caused by cancer, tumors, infections or the like.  But it is far from minor.  It can be absolutely debilitating.

The balance disorder problem can be caused by things not normally treated by the medical profession.  That being pinched or stretched nerves in the head and neck.  When these nerves get irritated it results in garbled communication to and from the brain regarding where your body is in space.

You may feel like you are falling over when you aren’t.  Or the room is spinning when it isn’t.  You may feel light headed when you move or change positions.  Some people can make their symptoms worse by tipping their head down or back.  This is all related to mechanical nerve pressure in the head and neck.

These symptoms can be treated with a combination of two radically new alternative therapy techniques.  Advanced Biostructural Correction to correct the problems in the spine.  Endonasal Cranial Correction to correct the problems in the head.  The two techniques have given relief to many BPV sufferers across the country.

Check out these videos of BPV sufferers I have treated.  If you are interested in treatment and would like a free consultation to find out if you are a candidate for care, call Jennifer or Pat at 262-293-3790.

Her name is Simonetta and she had vertigo.