Sunday, May 5, 2013

Got Indigestion? Part II

To understand the side effects of antacids ( Tums, Pepsid AC, Zantac ) and acid blocking medications (Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec)  it is necessary to examine how they work.

 Antacids neutralize the acids (diminish their effects) that should be in your stomach while acid blocking medications work by suppressing your body’s natural secretion of hydrochloric acid (HCL). The overall effect is that hydrochloric acid (HCL) is rendered ineffective. 
*Remember the reason why the stomach is designed to be so highly acidic is to break down your food so that when it passes into your intestines it can then be absorbed. If this doesn't happen, your body is now setup to experience a whole host of issues in the stomach, intestines & colon from your undigested meal.

Despite temporarily reducing your pain neither drug addresses the underlying cause of why you're having heartburn or GERD. If you check closely, you'll see that most antacids include a disclaimer that they should not be used for longer than 14 days and acid blocking medications are to be discontinued after 8 weeks. There are good reasons for this. When stomach acid is neutralized or reduced the body experiences a decline in health due to mal-absorption of nutrients. This is not something you'll immediately feel or know, but over time your body will suffer the effects of not being nourished.  Low stomach acid impairs the body’s ability to absorb calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, folic acid, vitamins A, B1, B6, B12 and E.  In addition, it weakens the anti-microbial action of the stomach which normally kills food born bacteria and fungi.

These are just a few of the side effects you should be aware of:

Antacids: constipation, frequent, difficult or painful urination, frequent urge to urinate, headache, loss of appetite, mood or mental changes, muscle pain or twitching, nausea, nervousness, unpleasant taste, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, light-headedness, irregular heart-beat, undesired weight loss, swelling of feet or lower legs, stomach cramps, bone pain, swelling of wrists or ankles.

Acid Blocking Medication: anemia, anxiety, diarrhea, skin rash, itching, abdominal or stomach pain, increased or decreased appetite, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, cold or flu-like symptoms, constipation, increased cough, mental depression, muscle pain, rectal bleeding, unusual bleeding or bruising, headache, increased or decreased urination, increased sweating, loss of hair, ringing or buzzing in ears, runny nose.

So what can you do? 

  • One of the first things you can do is to change your eating habits. Eating refined carbohydrates, and processed foods exacerbate the problem. Eat foods foods in their whole state & choose organic meats whenever possible.
  • Secondly, it's important to have enough B1(Thiamine) & Zinc in your diet as these are absolutely essential for HCL production. 
  • Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 4 ounces of water & drink this before each meal.  If you experience any symptoms from this, it's time for a thorough nutritional evaluation with me.

Your digestive system is at the core of your physical well being & health. Every part of your body is affected by what you eat and how your digestive system absorbs nutrients. This is quite literally how your body rebuilds itself.  So you truly are what you eat! 

For more information about proper digestion or to schedule a complimentary nutritional evaluation with Dr. Terri call 781-826-5555 or email at

Monday, March 4, 2013

Got Indigestion?

Who hasn't over indulged in a meal at one time or another? We're all guilty of eating more than we should whether it's from celebrating our teams Super Bowl victory by having a few extra buffalo wings & potato skins or hastily eating that slice of pizza as you race off to your next client.

Heartburn is a familiar foe to roughly 50% of Americans. The most common sign of heartburn is a painful sensation in the throat, stomach or chest. Other symptoms can include, belching, a persistent sore throat or a sour taste in your mouth. So many people have experienced heartburn that it has come to be accepted that this is just a normal discomfort one must pay in order to enjoy certain foods. Sadly, the overwhelming thought is "this is just how my body works." But, just because something is COMMON, does not mean it is NORMAL.

Acid indigestion is probably the most misdiagnosed & understood condition in health care. To help you understand a bit more, I'd like to walk you through a mini physiology course.

Digestion begins first in your mouth. The process of chewing your food is meant to break it down into small pieces so that you're able to access the nutrients needed to fuel your body. Once you swallow & food reaches your stomach, via the esophagus, your stomach stores the food & mixes it with digestive juices & enzymes in an effort to break the food down into even smaller parts. Stomach acid has to be strong stuff since it is meant to burn through flesh. After all that's what a double cheeseburger is....animal flesh. In order to effectively break down your food, the PH of your stomach needs to be in the range of 2-3 (highly acidic). This is basic physiology.

Now imagine that you are engaging in the 2nd scenario (racing to see a client) I created above & you begin to experience heartburn. Conventional wisdom tell us that stress & indigestion go hand in hand; too much stress causes our stomachs to produce more stomach acid which leads to heartburn & ulcers. Yet, ANY physiology textbook will tell you that when the body is in a stress handling situation your Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) is fully engaged. What does this mean exactly? Well, when you're eating that pizza in your car on your way to see a client & you get stuck in a massive pileup on Rte. 3 North. You glance at the clock & realize there is no way you're going to make this meeting & you begin to feel anxious & angry. At this point, if not earlier in the day, your sympathetic nervous system becomes activated. When in this stress handling situation, the body will divert ALL available energy AWAY from the GI tract. Think about it...if you were being chased by a bear in the woods, does it really make any sense for your body to increase the digestion of your lunch or does it make more sense for it to put all it's energy into getting your legs to move fast & escape? When you eat food in a stress handling situation, the food sits in your stomach & it waits. What is it waiting for you ask? Well, it's waiting for the Parasympathetic Nervous system to become engaged. It's responsible for Rest & Digest.

So, if stress isn't causing this heartburn/indigestion what is? In most cases, it's a LACK of stomach acid..............................yes, I said a LACK of stomach acid. Without enough acid, your food sits in your stomach & rots. The stomach is a nice warm, moist place & what happens to food when it's in that environment? rots. With rotting comes the organic gases & acids of fermentation & putrefaction  which is not supposed to happen in your stomach. THIS leads to burning of the stomach & lower esophagus & hence, heartburn.

Next month, I will delve into how acid blockers seriously hinder your health & how you can maximize your own stomach acid & get rid of heartburn.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What do you mean there should be a curve in my neck?

I get this question every now and then when talking to people about the normal structural alignment of the spine.  Most everybody realizes that the spine should be straight when looking at it from the front or back.   However, this is NOT the case when looking at it from the side.
Many people are unaware that the normal structural alignment of the spine, from the side view, has three distinct curves.  The name for this is lordosis (neck and lower back) and kyphosis (mid-back) These curves can be objectively measured with specific structural x-rays and they have a normal value associated with them. which is no different than objectively measuring eyesight, blood pressure, or body temperature.  Proper alignment of these curves not only provides balance, support, and shock absorption, they also allow nerve impulses to flow freely from the brain into the limbs and organs.
Perhaps the most important curve is the neck curve or the cervical lordosis.  Since this is closest to the brain and the majority of the nerves have to pass through this region to get from the brain to the rest of the body, normal structure is vital.  Research has shown that losing the normal curve in the neck causes the spinal cord, nerve roots, and blood vessels to stretch like a rubber band thus causing a pathological tension.  This tension can travel all the way down to the lower back region and can be a reason why someone has lower body symptoms.  This is also why we examine the entire structure of the spine even if someone has lower back pain.

I came across a recent study that shows a dramatic and eye-opening correlation between the structural alignment of an athletes neck curve and the extent of injury sustained during head-first or direct impact blows to the  front-top of the skull.

It was found that athletes with straight or reversed cervical curves (Both  of which are ABNORMAL) are prone to complex injuries to the cervical tissues and nerve roots, while those who maintain a normal structural cervical curve have a lot less chance of long-term and complex injuries.  This is just another example of  how "structure dictates function" and how having an abnormal structure decreases the bodies ability to optimally function. 
So whenever I'm describing the normal structural alignment of the spine to anyone, I include the side view.  Many of life's activities can change the structural alignment of the spine such as poor postural habits, accidents, and injuries.
Fortunately there exists specific structural corrective techniques to correct abnormally aligned neck curves; which will in turn improve curvature and overall health.
Moore Family Chiropractic focuses on helping people with restoring abnormal structural alignment and proper curvature.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sitting Is The New Smoking

Sitting is the "new smoking." When I recently heard this I had to stop & think about it a moment. It would seem obvious that if you're a sedentary person that sitting alone would have negative effects on your health, but there are all sorts of studies and statistics that state things like:
  •  For every hour you sit in front of the TV you raise the risk of death by 11%. 
  •  Sitting for more that six  hours per day puts you on an early death list EVEN IF YOU EXERCISE. 
  • People who sit are more prone to high blood pressure, depression, and cancer.
  • Sitting for longer periods of time predisposes you to developing diabetes and if you are already diabetic, then stick a fork in yourself because your done. 
What seems so non-threatening or non-toxic to our body is basically just the opposite.  We are heading for a society just like in the movie "Wall-E" where all the humans sit around reclining in chairs, eat fast food and drink sodas, LOL.

The reality is that many people have jobs that require sitting, and because of that most will just disregard the studies because there is "nothing they can do about it". But there are choices you can make that can minimize these detrimental effects.  More on that in a moment...

First, from a musculoskeletal point of view, let me try and describe to you why sitting could be a major contributor of your aches and pains most commonly your neck, shoulders, and lower back.  First of all, anything done repetitively and for an extended period of time is going to cause some over-use issues leading to breakdown and injury. Sitting is NOT exempt from the overuse category even though you may not  feel as though you're doing anything harmful.  The reality is that your body is always fighting gravity and the way your structure is aligned is going to forecast how long it will be able to handle those gravitational forces before it starts to breaking down.

Our office focuses on the Structural Correction of the spine.  If the body has structural problems, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and discs are over stressed from the forces of gravity. Better ergonomics are not always enough. I look at ergonomics as a tool to help an already normal structure become more productive and withstand fatigue as a protective measure NOT a corrective measure.  For example, a person with a herniated disc in their lower back might feel better with a seat cushion, but the herniation is still there and needs to be corrected.  Applying better ergonomics to a broken structure is like putting tape on a baseball bat.....its temporary.  Once a patient's structural problems are identified, a thorough game plan to correct and protect the structure is recommended for a long term solution.

The other dangerous part to sitting is the LACK of MOVEMENT.  No matter how good your structure and ergonomics, you are still not moving!  Our bodies are meant to move; joints need to go through full ranges of motion to stay healthy.  Soft tissue (muscle & ligaments) will adapt to any position after about 20 minutes and become abnormally shortened or lengthened.  On top of that muscles and fascia are designed to slide on top of one another.  Lack of movement causes a gluing of these structures to one another that prevents normal function.  When a cat wakes up from a nap, the first thing it does is stretch to become more mobile.  This is what most people don't do after being immobile for long periods.  This lack of mobility causes the body to compensate (Structural Shifts) and move abnormally leading to secondary symptoms like pain.

So what can you do?  First, get a thorough structural assessment to identify any abnormal shifts in your spine.  Second, get your work station assessed to see if it can be ergonomically improved.  Third, move, move & move.  See if you can do some work while standing and trade off.  There are even treadmill desks that are becoming more popular.  Fourth, perform some mobility exercises (especially for the lower body) to address the soft tissue affect of sitting.  Fifth, if you have any questions, give us a call.   A consultation is always no charge.  It's a conversation, not a commitment.

Thanks for Reading!

Dr. Deane

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Square Wheels Versus Round Wheels

What Shape Wheels Do You Want?

Square Wheels

Round Wheels


The above question would seem obvious to most of us because we realize that round wheels are more efficient and faster than square ones.  There is a saying that STRUCTURE DICTATES FUNCTION and this is very obvious for the bike wheel.

The human body has many examples of this as well.  From the design of our cells to the shape of our joints; structure dictates function.  When it comes to the spine, it has an optimum shape that allows it to be strong yet flexible.  

The vertebra (individual bones) of the spine protect the central nervous system, and because the spinal column is moveable, it is susceptible to the various stresses and forces of life. This can cause it to lose its proper structural position. We realize that not many people have absolute 100% perfect alignment.  However, no different than normal blood pressure, normal body temperature, and normal weight, there is a range of what is acceptable and what's unacceptable. If your structure shifts outside of what is considered normal, also known as "Vertebral Subluxation," then your body's function decreases leading to a secondary condition or symptom.  These abnormal shifts or deviations in the spine can be present without you even being aware that they exist. Just like a cavity begins in a tooth, you don't initially feel the decay until it is bad enough to cause pain.

Throughout our lives, we engage in many activities that challenge the integrity of our spines; long periods of sitting, computer work, texting, and basically being bent forward are probably some of the most common reasons people develop spinal shifts that lead to a secondary condition (symptom).  This is when they end up in my office. Most of these patients present with Anterior Head Syndrome. This is a condition where the head has a shifted forward beyond its center of balance. A shift in this structure creates a continuous strain on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and discs primarily in the upper back , but also down into the mid and lower back region as well. This stress will result in symptoms such as headaches, neck and or back pain, numbness or tingling, muscle spasms, shoulder pain, TMJ pain, and pinched nerves just to name a few.  

You see any force that the human body cannot adapt to causes a shift in the structure of the spine.  The human head weighs 10-12 lbs on average.  For every inch the head shifts forward from its normal position, it weighs an additional 10lbs. That means it actually gains weight! It's not uncommon for me  to see someone with their head two inches in front of their shoulders.  At this point their heads weighs ~30 lbs!! Do you think this could cause some muscle spasms, head aches, pinched nerves, etc...?  (answer... YES!) 

So having an abnormal structural condition, like Anterior Head Syndrome, will not only lead to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments being chronically overworked, but you will also have decreased strength and efficiency and a higher chance of injury.  Just like the square bike tires YOU become very inefficient and break down.

How Do You Fix This?

For the sake of this blog, I have simplified the an example of a structural shift within your cervical (neck) region.  In reality, there are numerous configurations that the spine can abnormally shift into.  In the cervical spine there are at least 16 major abnormal possibilities from the side view alone!  This is why general solutions do not work for everyone.  Not everyone can just exercise their head back to normal or just practice "standing up straighter" to fix their structural problem.  Traditionally chiropractors concentrate on pain reduction and improved ranges of motion.  This is a great service for those who want just that.  I look at the reason why the pain and immobility started in the first place.  If its due to abnormal structure, then I know there is going to be abnormal function and therefore the structure needs to be addressed. Without this type of care, you may get rid of your symptoms but your structure will remain a square wheel.

If you have chronic issues with pain, mobility, or some other function of your body, give us a call for a consultation.  It might be a structural issue that was never addressed.

Thanks for reading, Have a great day!

Dr. Deane

Monday, January 7, 2013

Clean house & lose weight at the same time!

I know what you're thinking when you read the title of this post..."Seriously Dr. Terri. How can I lose weight by cleaning my house?" Metaphorically speaking, the house I am referring to is your body. It is the house that actually counts, because it is where you have to live each & every day of your life until you die. Cleaning your house has profound effects on your health; one of which is weight loss.

Let's talk about cleaning house first. Our bodies naturally go through regular cycles of cleansing/detoxifying without our even being aware that it's happening. The primary systems involved include our liver, skin, lymphatics, digestive, urinary & respiratory systems. These all work together to neutralize & eliminate waste & potentially harmful substances that have entered the body. Sadly, each & every one of us now carries a toxic load/burden due to the overwhelming number of chemical substances in the environment, in our food, in our homes, in our water; in our lives. The body stores what it cannot get rid of & hence we all become a bowl of dirty toxic soup.
So, how do I know if I should detox? Each & every one of us should detox at least once a year, but if you look at the list of symptoms below & you answer yes to any of them you should start 2013 off right by cleaning house.
  • fatigue
  • acne
  • allergies
  • drowsiness after eating
  • depressed appetite
  • digestive issues (GERD, gas, ulcers, diverticulitis, etc.)
  • loss of energy
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • difficulty staying asleep
  • emotional stress
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • muscle cramps
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • food cravings
  • PMS
  • skin problems
  • mental fog
  • poor tolerance to fatty foods
  • pain under the right shoulder blade
  • excess weight

I have worked with a number of patients on detoxing their bodies & each & every one of them has experienced a life transformation. Whether it was a 25lb weight loss,  the complete disappearance of diverticulitis or the overall improvement in mental clarity & energy, cleaning your house has amazing benefits.

Let me walk you through the steps of a healthier & more amazing you in 2013.

~Dr. Terri