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How to Avoid Headache and Whiplash Injury During a Car Accident

Hi, I am Dr. Erik Slovin, from DrSlovin.com.

I am a chiropractic physician specializing in non-drug treatment for injuries that come from auto accidents and slip and falls.

Today, I wanted to talk about how to protect yourself from damaging your neck in a car accident.

Neck pain and headaches are often seen together. It’s common to suffer headache and migraine symptoms after a crash, so today I thought I’d teach you a few tips and tricks on what to do and how to set yourself up in a car so you are less likely to get hurt.

For years, insurance adjusters have claimed that the damage sustained by the car directly correlates with the damage sustained by its occupants (YOU). This is So VERY wrong.

Not too long ago, I heard a story of a young couple that just got married.

On the way to the airport for their honeymoon, they got into an accident. The husband was killed immediately. The wife didn’t have a scratch on her.

They were in the same car. How’s that possible?

Well, it goes to show you, the damage to the car is absolutely not equivalent to the damage endured by the person.

One thing has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the other.

Studies show you can suffer whiplash-related injuries such as headaches, neck pain, numbness and tingling into the hands and arm at speeds as slow as 2.5 mph. So basically, you can walk yourself into a wall when not paying attention and suffer a case of whiplash.

You don’t actually have to be in a car.

During a slip and fall, or a car crash, muscles, tendons and ligaments get pulled and stretched beyond their normal limits causing rips and tears ultimately causing you significant pain. Ligaments, for example, heal with scar tissue. Without proper management, they become weaker, less elastic, and highly prone to pain and re-injury.

Women have thinner, more flexible neck muscles then men, and are therefore at even greater risk of long term debilitating pain following an accident. Recent studies show that 80% of women who suffer neck muscle injuries continue to experience chronic pain even 15 years later.

So here are 3 ways to help you prevent whiplash and other serious side effects:

First, always wear your seat belt.

That goes without question. I don’t care how tall you are, how fat you are, if you’re’ pregnant or if your father has a comb over.

You need to wear your seatbelt.

Second.

Set up your seat, so that when you sit, the headrest sits one to two inches above the top of your head.

This will help prevent your head from ramping or extending up over the top of the headrest if you’re hit from behind.

Third.

Many of us have this thought that if we remain relaxed during a collision and just kind of go with the flow, that we won’t suffer a whiplash injury.

This couldn’t be more incorrect.

If you stiffen up, tuck your chin down a bit, keep your hands on the steering wheel without really gripping the wheel.

Your muscles can help protect you and you can greatly reduce your injuries.

Keeping your seatbelt fastened, setting up your head restraint properly and making sure your stiff upon collision are three things you can do to help yourself next time you think you may be in a crash.

I hope you have found these tips in this video helpful.

If you have, tag a friend, share the video. There’s lots of info in here that could quite possibly help someone avoid severe long-term whiplash-related symptoms.

Have you been able to avoid a whiplash injury from a recent accident? How? What did you do?

Let me know in the box below. I’m always happy to hear from you.

If you have any questions… please email me at :drslovin@drslovin.com and maybe I can answer your question in my next video.

Kinky Neck? 5 Tips to Get Rid of That Neck Pain

Kinky Neck? 5 Tips to Get Rid of That Neck Pain

Is there a kink in your neck you’ve been trying to work out? Looking for a way to relieve neck stiffness without hours of therapy?

It’s winter, and that cold weather isn’t exactly relaxing for your achy neck muscles. In fact, an upcoming storm or significant change in weather can create all sorts of pain in your neck and back.

In this article, I will give you a few tips to get rid of that neck pain and relieve the stiffness at home or work.

How Does a Kink in the Neck Happen?

A crick or kink in the neck happens due to injury to the small vertebral bones in the cervical spine.

The neck is very susceptible to injury because the bones are small, and the joints provide tremendous motion without many supporting structures. These are a few of the reasons why whiplash is so common after a car accident or slip and fall.

A kink in the neck is often caused by one of the following:

· Placing your neck in an awkward position for an extended period, such as while sleeping.

· Sitting slumped in your chair or looking down at your phone for a long time.

· Stretching or lifting abnormally.

· Improper form while weight-lifting or running.

· A pinched nerve, infection, or arthritis.

5 Tips to Get Rid of That Pesky, Kinky Neck Pain

One of the most common reasons you have a kink in the neck is you slept wrong or suffer with poor posture. Here are five things you can do right now to fix the neck pain and relieve stiffness.

1. Try the 60-second fix, which involves kneading away the cramp-like sensation in your neck by following these steps:

a. Identify the exact spot of stiffness or soreness.

b. Firmly push into the spot with your fingers, as hard as you can tolerate. If you feel a sharp pain, stop immediately and call your provider or me. You’ll want to get that checked.

c. While you have pressure on the area, turn your head slightly in the opposite direction of the neck pain. Bend your neck diagonally and point your chin toward your armpit. Hold for 5 seconds.

d. Repeat those steps 20 times in a row, stretching your neck and upper back afterward.

2. Another option is to identify the acupressure points in your neck based on the pain’s location and use those to help massage out the kink.

3. Change your sleep and sitting positions. Invest in ergonomic furniture that will put less pressure on your neck and other muscles.

4. “Text neck” is a massive problem today. Please stop looking down at your phone so often and for so long.

5. Leverage movement. Stretching and exercising will go a long way to keeping your spine strong and healthy.

Can a Chiropractor Help?

Obviously, I’m going to say yes; however, I encourage you to try the tips above first before trekking to an office in the dead of winter (or any time, really).

If you’re having trouble getting past the stiff neck pain, call my office! We’ll set up a safe time for an appointment, and I’ll help you work out the kink in your neck.

Keep Your Brain Moving and Stay Informed

For many, neck pain comes and goes. My monthly newsletter can help you gain control of your whole-body well-being. You’ll learn about specific movements and stretches for different parts of the body, natural healing remedies, and crucial medical science that involves the musculoskeletal system.

Whether you’re on my blog to meet a new chiro or just looking for information, signing up for my newsletter will help you stay up to date on all the latest posts and essential info that’ll keep you moving strong.

Sources:

Healthline – how to get rid of stiff neck

Healthline – Crick in the neck

Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy – Solve that Kink

Body Works Medical Center – Natural treatments for neck pain

4 Pieces of Back Pain Self-Care Advice You Must Ignore

We all have them – friends, colleagues, and family members who dish out back pain self-care advice as if they are expert healers. They mean well, most of them, but there’s a lot of junk advice out there.

I’ll tackle some of the worst back pain self-care advice anyone could give to someone in pain, especially when the pain is chronic. Before we jump into that, let’s start with the basics – what kind of back pain am I talking about?

Different Types of Back Pain
I’m talking about all of them because the self-care advice out there is pretty generalized. Back pain is complicated. There are a variety of things that could go wrong in the spinal column, and medical providers usually describe them according to the parts of the body responsible for the pain, including:

· Muscular injuries

· Nerve damage

· Joint pain

· Bony issues

The easiest way for your doctor to determine what’s going on in your back is for them to do a thorough medical history and diagnostic studies to look at the structures. Most importantly, however, will be how you describe the pain. The description is one of the most helpful things you can give to your provider.

Here are some of the ways to describe the different types of back pain:

· Mechanical pain is in one spot or region. You can point directly to the pain’s location. Some descriptors include dull or sharp, constant, comes and goes, and throbbing.

· Referred pain is often described as an achy or dull pain that tends to move around to different body regions. For example, degenerative disc disease can cause referred pain in the hips and legs.

· Radicular pain is often described as a shock-like or searing sensation and usually follows the line of nerves going down the spinal canal. This is typically the result of a compression injury and/or inflammation at the spinal nerve root. Sciatica is a common condition in this category and can be caused by a narrowed spinal canal, herniated disc, or spondylolisthesis.

 

 

The Unsolicited Back Pain Self-Care Advice You Should Avoid

There are a few doozies on the internet for back pain advice. Here are four pieces you should always avoid.

1. “Stay in bed for at least a week.” If you do that, your muscles will deteriorate, and recovery will be more difficult. Instead, spend no more than three days in bed for the back pain. Start gentle stretches or low-stress activities as soon as you can. The kind of stretches will depend on the injury, so be sure to speak with your chiropractor before starting any new moves.

2. “Take higher doses of an anti-inflammatory.” That’s like pouring rubbing alcohol into a fire. Don’t take higher doses; just go for a standard dose if needed. Use ice therapy. If this is a chronic problem, talk to your chiro about a vitamin and mineral supplementation regimen that targets inflammation.

3. “Everyone with back pain should get spinal manipulation.” As much as I’d like this to be accurate, it’s most definitely not. Chiropractic treatment may not be the right answer for something like acute pain from a tumor. Instead, work with your chiropractor to determine a treatment plan that not only addresses your current pain but actively works to repair the problem with the appropriate specialist.

4. “Your mattress needs to be extra firm.” Of course, you don’t want anything too soft, but a too-firm mattress can put more pressure on the spine. If your bed is too firm, try mattress toppers or pads to help soften the surface.

With the advent of the world wide web came an onslaught of information – some good, some bad, but I recommend reviewing the sources of this article and taking a close look at who is giving you advice. If you need some help sorting through all the material, give me a call! I’m available for safe, in-person appointments, as well as phone and video consultations. Don’t wait until it’s too late to talk to a chiropractic doctor who gives it to you straight.

Sources:

·         Spine Health: Understanding Different Types of Back Pain

·         Prevention: The Best and Worst Back Pain Advice

·         Choosing Wisely Canada: Treating Lower Back Pain: How much bed rest is too much?

·         WebMD: Vitamins and Supplements to Fight Inflammation

Nobody’s Perfect: 5 Red Flags of a Really Bad Chiropractor

Just like with any profession, there are always The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly when talking about medical professionals. While all of us may have our proper licensure, it is the little things that can make a good doctor great, and a bad doctor someone who you should never work with again. Here are a few tell-tale signs of a really bad chiropractic doctor.

5 Red Flags of a Bad Chiropractor

These warning signs will help you figure out if the doctor you’re seeing, or thinking of visiting, is worth the effort, money, and time.

  • The chiropractor doesn’t address specific areas of pain. They just go about their business and ignore what you tell them. If you tell them you’re having low back pain, it’s a red flag if they don’t somehow address the area of complaint during your very first consultation.

  • Not every patient who walks through the door will need an x-ray.  If the office seems to be overscheduling their x-rays or if you’re not getting any benefit from being x-rayed frequently, this is a red flag.  Regular x-rays mean you should be able to see either improvement or decline in the problem.  It’s a red flag if you’re getting nothing from these studies.

  • The chiropractor uses body shaming as a treatment tactic.  This is unacceptable. Any patient who is susceptible to this kind of behavior from their chiropractor should run in the other direction. Quickly.

  • Fear-mongering is a regular occurrence in many types of doctor’s offices. As a doctor, it’s our duty and responsibility to give it to you straight. You’re coming to us for expertise, and we should give it completely, transparently, and compassionately.  Any chiropractor who uses fear-based methods to get you into the office or agreeing to a specific treatment is not suitable for patient care.

  • Your office visits are uncharacteristically short, or they offer a “one-and-done” treatment option.  There is no such thing, and chiropractors should be spending at least 30-45 minutes with each patient on their very first visit.  I’ve heard of some spending under 10 minutes in the room with their patients when first meeting them. How can you get to know anyone in that time?

Overall, there are many warning signs that the chiropractor you’re seeing or thinking of visiting is a bad one.  That’s why you don’t always want to look at the “near me” results when searching for the right care provider.  Ask the hard questions; look at all the reviews; make informed decisions about your health care.

If you’d like to know more about how we do things here at Slovin Chiropractic Center, give us a call at (203) 840-0000 or send us a message through this website. We’re around, ready to answer all your hard questions.

Sources:

ChiroCare of Florida

Julie Scott Chiro

4 Myths About Chiropractors That are Actually True

The popular TV series, MythBusters, uses different aspects of the scientific method to debunk or prove popular myths. It’s such a fun show to watch. When it comes to chiropractic methods, I’m always looking around for legends to debunk every chance I get; however, some myths are actually true! Those are the ones I’d like to talk about today.

The Myth:  Chiropractors Only Focus on the Spine

Well, of course that’s true, our main focus is your spine – But it’s important to understand your chiropractor isn’t only focused on the spine. Many of us love taking care of extremities like your shoulders, ankles, and knees as well. We are well-skilled practitioners in the entire musculoskeletal system. Our focus is our solid understanding of your nervous systems.

The Myth:  Chiropractors Aren’t Doctors

True, chiropractors are not medical doctors. We are board-certified Doctors of Chiropractic Medicine who don’t prescribe medications or perform invasive procedures.  Instead, we focus on helping the body heal itself by reducing inflammation on your nerves.

 

The Myth:  Chiropractic Care Costs Too Much

Some insurances don’t cover chiropractic care, but most do. So this may feel and be true for some people but not for most.

Several studies over the years have looked at the cost of traditional healthcare versus chiropractic care and found that undergoing regular chiropractic care was significantly less than the cost of medical expenses.  In a North Carolina study, over 43,000 workman’s comp claims were examined over the course of 19 years.  It was discovered that the average claim managed by a medical doctor was $21,000, while chiropractic care costs only added up to $663, an 82% decrease!  Moreover, with chiropractic care, injured workers lost only 33 days of work on average while those under the care of an MD were out for 200 days or more.  A Nevada workers’ comp study supported these findings as well and found that loss of work time is one-third less with chiropractic care than with medical care.

The Myth: Chiropractors Are Sports Doctors

We work with a lot of athletes here in Norwalk as well as with those who are very physically active; however, chiropractic patients come from all walks of life. We also work with car accident victims, migraine and headache patients, those with fibromyalgia, as well as with people with a variety of other chronic conditions that are nearly impossible to treat only with medication.

So, it’s true, we are “sports doctors”.  As long as your injuries are not life-threatening, we work with anyone who has a spine and a pulse.

The Myth:  Chiropractic Care isn’t Mainstream

This one is a flat-out myth.

Chiropractic care is one of the world’s largest leading healthcare and healing professions. Chiropractors work closely with medical doctors and surgeons to offer the patient well-rounded, coordinated care.  It is estimated that Doctors of Chiropractic treat more than 30 million people annually. Today, Doctors of Chiropractic comprise the third largest group of doctorate-level, portal-of-entry primary-care providers in the nation, next to medical doctors and dentists.

The medical and health industries are great with misinformation. If you have some chiropractor myths you’d like to sort out, let’s have a chat. You can call my office, reach me on social media, or simply fill out the form on this website to get in touch. Ask your questions, get your answers, and start moving better.

Sources:

American Chiropractic Association

National University of Health Sciences

Medical News Today

https://getgreaterlifechiropractic.com/the-cost-of-chiropractic-care-vs-traditional-health-care/

Why Every Athlete in Oyster Town Should Consider Spinal Realignment

Keeping the body in tip-top shape for competition isn’t always easy. The last year has been a real challenge for many athletes and athletic-minded people here in Norwalk and all around the country. Many have been sidelined and benched thanks to the bully on the field, COVID-19.

But just because you may not be in the game right now, it doesn’t mean you should stop working to be your best self, and part of that means getting regular spinal realignments.

What to Expect Here

We’re athletes, so we get it. Being out of the game plays with your emotions and can be demotivating. Perhaps there’s a little more stress to release in your workouts, or maybe you haven’t been working out at all (I hope that’s not the case)! A spinal realignment could be just what you need to give your energy a healthy boost and readjust your mood in either scenario.

This post will talk about what a spinal realignment is and how it affects your body.  After that, I show you the top five benefits every athlete in Oyster Town can benefit from, even if you’re temporarily benched.

What Exactly Is A Spinal Realignment?

Sometimes referred to as spinal manipulation or adjustment, a realignment is precisely what you’d expect it to be; it’s a chiropractor using a specific force to put your vertebrae (the bones in your spine) back in their correct place.

A spinal realignment improves your range of motion, which is just a fancy way of talking about your ability to move around and do all those snazzy dance moves you’ve been working on in quarantine. A spinal realignment can also reduce the pesky lower back pain that tends to be a thorn in the side for many athletes.

What Happens When the Spine is Out of Alignment?

You can survive with your spine out of alignment, but you may not like it much. It causes a distracting level of discomfort, prevents an even flow of your body’s fluids, and makes movement a chore. Once you get a few regular realignments, however, you’ll feel the difference of a misalignment.

Allowing a spinal misalignment to go on for an extended period can cause sluggishness, extreme fatigue, and irritability. It can also lead to headaches, muscle pain, and joint stiffness too.

 

How Athletes Benefit from Spinal Realignment

There are several benefits athletes receive from a spinal realignment. Here are the top five:

  1. Perhaps most importantly, a realignment can enhance performance. You’ll feel more energized, even in the cold, wet winters of Norwalk.
  2. There are no drugs or chemicals involved. Drugs and chemicals that treat back pain and discomfort can tank your performance.
  3. A misalignment can exacerbate even the smallest injury, but regular spinal manipulation will strengthen your spine and help you prevent serious injury.
  4. Related to #3, not only can regular spinal realignments strengthen the spine, but it can reduce recovery time when you pull a muscle doing that fancy footwork, break a bone in your push to the winning line, or lift those weights without proper support.
  5. Finally, every athlete has some pain, whether from a previous injury or something new. Spinal realignment opens the flow of nurturing and nourishing fluids that help reduce common pains in athletes and active people.

 

How to Recognize a Misalignment

You can see if your spine is out of alignment in the following ways?

  1. Check the heels on your shoes. If they wear out unevenly, you’re putting too much pressure or weight on one leg, which could mean your spine needs to be realigned.
  2. If it’s difficult to pivot your head or hips easily, you’ll want to talk to us about a spinal realignment.
  3. Check the way you walk or run.  Go in a straight line for about 20 yards. If there is any limping or hobbling, it’s time to schedule a spinal realignment.

Staying in shape is vital for athletes, even during the cold weather and darker months. Spinal realignments can help keep your body healthy and your mood uplifted.  Please schedule an appointment with us to get the VIP treatment for your spinal realignment. Our office is safely organized and appropriately sanitized.

 

Sources:

5 Benefits of Chiro Care for Athletes

Chiropractic Medicine for Athletes

9 Signs Your Spine is Out of Alignment

6 Ways To Protect Your Neck and Back While Shoveling Snow This Winter

6 Ways To Protect Your Neck and Back While Shoveling Snow This Winter

A big storm is coming! Connecticut is bracing for the biggest storm it’s seen in three years!

As winter storms continue to threaten the East Coast, snow is an obstacle to many Americans daily. Here are some of our best tips on how to avoid risking a back injury while shoveling snow.

First, you should start with a quality shovel with an ergonomic design. Choose a push blade with wheels, a snow scoop, or a push snow shovel. A traditional snow shovel will put too much pressure on your neck muscles due to the “scooping” motion, whereas pushing will not. A snow blower is always the best choice for deep snow.

Second, try shoveling when there are no more than two to four inches on the ground. I know, this means you will need to shovel more, but the snow will be easier to lift, and this movement will be healthier on your back. Spraying the shovel with a silicone or WD 40 is also another favorite trick of mine and will help move the shovel through the snow quicker as well as keep the shovel clean between passes.

Third, always shovel loose snow. Hard-packed and frozen snow will require tremendous strain on your muscles and be too heavy. Take care to shovel small amounts of snow, so as not to overwhelm yourself.

Fourth, shovel the snow by pushing it rather than bending down to scoop it; try pushing the snow to the side of a driveway or walkway.

Fifth, try placing one hand on the shovel mid-shaft to make it easier to handle and keep the loaded shovel as close to your body as possible.

And last, but certainly not least, always think about your body’s posture when shoveling. Don’t reach or stretch to reach the area you’re focusing on; instead, move closer to it. Always bend at the knees and hips, keeping your back and neck straight, and let your weight help you push the snow.

This storm looks like a big one!

It’s very common for our office to become quite busy with lower back injuries following a storm like this or even smaller ones. Hopefully, these little reminders will help you through without injury. Snow shoveling is tough. Remember to take your time, don’t dress too heavy, and take frequent breaks. We’re here if you need us. Stay safe!

How to Avoid Winter Stress Meltdowns

For millions, winter is anything but a wonderland.  Managing the anxiety, fatigue and mood swings associated with winter stress can be a challenge.

Whether you call it winter stress or holiday blues, the period between November and January sends many people careening toward anxiety, overwhelming busyness and even feelings of inadequacy, and that’s without the added stress of Covid.

To help you start winter off right, here are several valuable and timely tips to help you avoid holiday meltdown and survive the anxiety often associated with the winter season.

First, start by really taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally. You are much more likely to avoid bouts of anxiety and drastic mood swings with this one simple step. Just be aware of what you are currently doing so you may make changes for the better.

For example, many people tend to overeat when anxious or stressed, particularly during the holiday season when high-calorie foods are plentiful.  While comfort food can be a great thing every now and then, over-doing it can have some unexpectedly unpleasant effects.  Indulging in too many sweets or high-fat meals can trigger increased anxiety, mood swings, fatigue and even erratic behavior.

By simply paying attention to the types of foods being consumed, as well as the amount, you can avoid many of the nasty pitfalls associated with using food as a stress reliever.

Second, caffeinated beverages can also have a definite negative impact on winter stress.  Studies have shown caffeine consumption increases the production of stress hormones such as cortisol.  This can result in increased feelings of anxiety and nervousness as well as increased fat accumulation, particularly around the belly area.

Of course, the most well-known effects of caffeine are “jitters” and sleeplessness, which often aggravate and intensify physical and emotional stressors.

The issue of sleeplessness frequently goes hand-in-hand with winter and holiday stress. And that is why it is number three on our list of things to help avoid winter stress meltdowns. Irregular or hectic schedules can leave you lying awake at night with thoughts and worries keeping sleep frustratingly away.  A lack of good, recuperative sleep plays havoc on the body’s hormones which affect physical and mental health.  The result is an increased level of anxiety, depression  and often even anger.

If you find yourself frequently losing sleep, try going to bed and rising on a regular schedule.  Yes, even on the weekends. Also, avoid heavy meals, sugar-laden snacks or alcoholic beverages within three hours before your regular bedtime.  As you lay down to sleep, make a conscious effort to create a mental picture of yourself relaxing on a beach, getting a massage or perhaps curled up in front of a warm fire.  Whatever you consider relaxing, send your thoughts there.

Another excellent way to help ensure a good night’s sleep is regular exercise during the day.  Staying active also relieves stress and encourages the production of mood-lifting hormones.  If hitting the gym every morning just does not fit your lifestyle or schedule, at least commit to taking three or four brisk 30-minute walks per week.  With this little bit of regular exercise, those extra pieces of pie or fudge will have a harder time finding their way to your waistline.

Number 4: Mediation is another highly effective “stress buster.”  This can be in the form of yoga, deep breathing or simply turning down the lights and listening to soothing music.  You do not need elaborate equipment or a special room for this.  Just find a quiet corner and spend 20 minutes letting the stress of the day wash away.

Finally, number 5. Set specific, attainable goals for the holidays, for next year, heck even for next week!  For instance, if you want to lose weight, create a plan, and do your best to stick to it. Goal-setting is a great way to take control of your life, particularly when faced with stressful situations.  And be sure to celebrate each milestone you achieve while working toward your goals, no matter the size.

Pain Medication Marketing: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It seems like every month a new pain medication is brought to market. No matter the medication, it always seems to have a laundry list of side effects and a heaping dose of fear-based, “don’t-miss-out” advertising campaigns. Anyone who has been in the U.S. healthcare system understands drug prices are extraordinarily high, and the costs far exceed those in other countries. Why?!

In this blog article, I am going to tell you more about Big Pharma’s excessive profits and discuss how their marketing communications create a sense of dependency while poking at the fear of missing out. Before getting into the profits, however, it’s important to understand what I mean by marketing.  There are four Ps to bringing a new drug to market:

  1. Develop a product
  2. Create a pricing strategy
  3. Determine placement in the market
  4. Promote it to the public

Many often think of marketing in terms of the fourth P – promotion, and that’s because we’re bombarded with advertisements every day; however, that’s really the last part of marketing. There are three other steps to bring a new drug to the market. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen in the previous few decades is an exponential growth in medications and a decline in public health. The amount of money put into what Big Pharma calls “innovation research” is astronomical and reflected in pricing strategies, which are placed heavily on the backs of chronically ill Americans who are being maintained in illness.

Follow the Money: Big Pharma Profits

In an original investigation from JAMA in 2020, researchers found that the cost of medications for Americans is as much as 190% higher than in nine other high-income countries. That’s because those other countries have regulations on drug pricing, while America does not.

Let’s examine personal relationships for a moment. Modern medical professionals partner with pharmaceutical companies to prescribe drugs that treat a variety of symptoms for a seemingly endless list of diseases. While there are laws to monitor how Big Pharma spends money, it’s not illegal to pay doctors who will help them research and promote their drugs. According to Pew Research, 74% of Americans have an overall positive view of their doctor, with 90% believing their doctor cares about them. A high level of trust and reverence is awarded to doctors, and science is deemed an honorable field.

Now we have a scientific, profit-geared relationship between the doctor and the pharmaceutical company with a trusting and emotional connection between the doctor and the patient. To me, that sounds like a disastrous recipe for your pocketbook.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of Pain Medication Marketing

The advancement of medical science is vital for the growth and development of humanity; however, when profits are the driving force behind the innovation, we defeat the purpose. There is one good thing that comes out of pain medication marketing:  the regulations that govern what the patient – or potential patient – must know about the drug. For example, advertisements must indicate the purpose of the drug, along with contraindications and side effects. Companies are required to inform consumers at all levels of the process – in the doctor’s office, at the pharmacy, and in the comfort of your home. Here’s an example:

That’s about the extent of the good. The bad things pile up quickly, but here are just a few:

  • Government and pharmaceutical companies continue to downplay the dependency factor of pain medications.
  • Side effects are also downplayed by companies and treating physicians, especially when patients are on a variety of other medications.
  • The FDA – the government body that gives the formal nod of approval for drugs to go to market – was created by the same “doctors” of the 19th century. They intentionally suffocated natural medicine in favor of experimentation on the human body (see the book, For Her Own Good for more information on this topic). They have a vested interest in this form of “science.”
  • There is too little research on synthetic drugs, and that means the list of side effects is overgeneralized and incomplete.
  • Every new drug comes with a 20-year non-compete. That means generic drug companies cannot manufacture a cheaper version of the drug until the original creator has made their money. Competition in a free market keeps prices low, and this 20-year protection has continued to lead to the development of dangerous medications and exorbitant profits.
  • Advertising campaigns try to make viewers feel like they’re missing out on something important. They poke at our need to feel better the same way a domestic abuser blames the victim. Take the “I am here” campaign from Amgen for the drug, Aimovig. It touches on emotional needs and tries to convince you the drug will help you achieve those goals.

The ugly truth is that Big Pharma is making you, the everyday American with a painful condition, pay for ill health by making it seem like you need this medication or that one to feel better. They are draining your bank account while filling up their coffers. I would argue that Big Pharma and their partnering medical professionals are creating diseases they can treat with more drugs.

There is a great need for healthcare reform in this country, but not in the sense of money alone. We need to reform the meaning of health care and stop perpetuating the system of sick care. This is one of the biggest reasons I have focused my doctorly studies on functional medicine. Your body is incredibly powerful, and it can heal naturally, but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about capitalizing and leveraging the strongest parts of your physiology.

Remember that you’re not alone on this journey. If you’re looking to start reducing the number of medications, or you want to avoid using pain medications, in particular, reach out. I can help you find a regimen that works. It’ll take time and patience, but it’s worth it when you start to feel like yourself again.

Sources:

Grand View Research

National Center for Biotechnology Information

JAMA Network

The Commonwealth Fund

The Dangers of MSG – Your Brain and Your Body

The Dangers of MSG – Your Brain and Your Body

 

More than half a century after MSG’s adverse health effects were first recorded, 4 in 10 Americans are still avoiding the ingredient. In this article, I’m going to address how MSG is scientifically proven to have adverse effects on the body and brain, especially in migraineurs who are hypersensitive to chemicals, herbs, and spices.

The Science of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

I’ll start with the obvious issue with MSG, the ingredients.  MSG occurs naturally in foods, which is vital to consider when you’re creating a diet plan. A Japanese professor in the early 1900s found, the flavor in seaweed broth heightened the flavors of other foods, making them more savory. However, mass production made a few changes to how the crystallized version of MSG we know today is made.

No longer is MSG extracted from a single ingredient – seaweed broth. Now, MSG is made from fermented starch and sugar – usually beets and corn. Corn was never supposed to be ingested by humans. It’s closer to a grass than a vegetable fit for human consumption. Further, sugar beets are sugar. When sugar beets are not available, manufacturers use cane sugar or molasses. All those ingredients should frighten a migraineur, who is well versed in how sugar and starches wage war on their bodies.

Observational research and consumer reports list cringe-worthy symptoms from MSG like:

  • Headaches
  • Flushing and sweating
  • Muscle aches
  • Tingling and numbing in the legs
  • Rapid or fluttering heart rate (some have reported fearing a heart attack)
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Chest pain
  • Facial pressure

Even with those complaints, some “scientists” are still claiming that since the research doesn’t reflect the charges, these claims are false, and we’re all just crazy, prejudiced sheep. Rather than try to understand why some people insist on telling us we’re wrong about our health, we must do what’s best for ourselves. If you believe MSG is causing pain, do what you can to avoid it, no matter what “they” say.

It’s also important to note, MSG has over 100 different names.  There are also over 40 different products that contain MSG as part of its chemical make up.

Names of ingredients that always contain MSG

Glutamic acid (E 620) *2
Glutamate (E 620)
Monosodium glutamate (E 621)
Monopotassium glutamate (E 622)
Calcium glutamate (E 623)
Monoammonium glutamate (E 624)
Magnesium glutamate (E 625)
Natrium glutamate
Anything “hydrolyzed”
Any “hydrolyzed protein”
Calcium caseinate, Sodium caseinate
Yeast extract, Torula yeast
Yeast food, Yeast nutrient
Autolyzed yeast
Gelatin
Textured protein
Whey protein
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Soy protein
Soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate
Anything “protein”
Anything “protein fortified”
Soy sauce
Soy sauce extract
Protease
Anything “enzyme modified”
Anything containing “enzymes”
Anything “fermented”
Vetsin
Ajinomoto
Umami
Zinc proteninate

 A full list of these names can be found here.

 

How MSG Affects the Brain and Body

There seems to be a direct line of danger in MSG for migraineurs who are struggling to figure out trigger foods, with the most common triggers being primary ingredients in the manufacturing of monosodium glutamate.

study in 2016 found higher levels of concentrated MSG affected more women than men in number, frequency, and severity of headaches. If we take what we know about beets, sugar, and starches like corn, we can see the link to MSG and adverse migrainous reactions. The available research tells us that high levels of concentrated MSG are likely the cause of the participants’ increased pain and symptoms. With the average American taking in an average of 0.55-0.58 grams per day, headaches and other symptoms showed up in females with highly concentrated doses at 3 grams.

I think you should avoid added MSG at all costs, but most especially if you’re a female migraineur. You are at a higher risk of suffering MSG-related symptoms. Also, keep an eye out for hidden sugars, and be sure to pay close attention to how your body is responding to different foods.

Remember, “you are what you eat.” That’s as true now as it was when it was first coined in 1826. A mind is a powerful tool. If you believe you’re sensitive to an ingredient, you’re probably right. No test, journalist, doctor, or scientist can take that away from you.  Listen to your gut, literally. If you need sound medical advice regarding your migraine treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out. I work with people all over the world!

Sources: