Don’t Work On Your Job in Pain; Turn to Chiropractic

Most people who work at a desk are familiar with the aching sensation that arises in your neck, back, and shoulders after a few hours of computer work. As you expose your body to the stresses of work day after day, those initial symptoms can turn into persistent pain and diminished function.

Office workers frequently develop myofascial trigger points, or hyperirritable nodules of pain and sensitivity located in a taut band of muscle fibers. Trigger points impair muscle function, restrict range of motion, and cause pain in the surrounding muscles.  Left untreated, these trigger points may cause chronic pain and ongoing disability.

Trigger point therapy is a treatment commonly employed by chiropractors. While trigger point therapy has been shown to relieve a number of musculoskeletal symptoms and headache, few studies have examined the effects of a specific technique called ischemic compression for office workers with neck and shoulder pain.

Ischemic compression, sometimes referred to as trigger point pressure release, involves the application of gentle pressure directly on a trigger point. The practitioner gradually increases pressure on the trigger point to release tension and increase blood flow in the affected area.

To test the effects of the treatment on office workers, researchers tracked the progress of 19 workers with chronic mild shoulder and neck pain. On average, patients had been working full-time for 13 years at their desk jobs. They had suffered from at least 30 days of neck and shoulder pain during the previous year.

After four weeks of ischemic compression, the office workers had significantly reduced pain as well as better muscle strength, pressure pain sensitivity, and mobility. These improvements lasted at the 6-month follow up, when they were found to have further decreases in pain.

Chiropractic adjustments are also effective for relieving neck painshoulder symptoms, and other work-related sources of pain.

Reference

Cagnie B, et al. Effect of ischemic compression on trigger points in the neck and shoulder muscles in office workers: a cohort study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013; doi 10.1016/j.jmpt.2013.07.001.

Written by: Marissa Luck on September 10, 2013.on September 9, 2013.

Could Psychotherapy Be as Effective as Antidepressant Drug Therapy in Treating Depression

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be a powerful tool for preventing depression, equaling or exceeding the effectiveness of antidepressants and other types of care, according to two new studies.
Follow-up cognitive therapy can be as effective as antidepressant medications in preventing a relapse for patients at high risk for another bout of depression, researchers reported in the first study, which was published online Sept. 4 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Adults coming out of acute depression are less likely to suffer a relapse if they receive an additional eight months of either cognitive therapy or the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine) after finishing an initial round of cognitive therapy, the report concluded.
“Everybody did better than they would have if they hadn’t had treatment,” said study author Robin Jarrett, the Elizabeth H. Penn Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “If you treat a patient with cognitive therapy and they do well, then the patient would have a choice: You could treat them with either fluoxetine or therapy.”
In the second study, also published online Sept. 4 in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital found that cognitive behavioral therapy did better than usual forms of care in preventing depression in at-risk teens.
Teens who received cognitive-behavioral therapy were significantly less likely to suffer a depressive episode than those who were referred to therapists for usual care, which typically involves either standard therapy or medication, said Dr. William Beardslee, director of Baer Prevention Initiatives at the hospital and the Gardner/Monks Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
“People at risk for depression often have a very gloomy sense of the future and will misinterpret communications: I’m being rejected or those people don’t like me or what I do makes no difference,” Beardslee said. “What one tries to do is show that actions do make a difference, and do that in a gentle, supportive way.”
The first study involved 241 adults who had responded well to cognitive therapy but were at high risk of relapse for depression. They received treatment at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Researchers broke the group roughly into thirds. The first two thirds received eight months of continuing treatment, either through additional cognitive therapy or by taking Prozac. The final third received a placebo pill.
The people who received continuing treatment had relapse rates that were half that of the placebo group — about 18 percent for either cognitive therapy or fluoxetine, compared with 33 percent for placebo pills.
The protective effect, however, wore off after treatment ended. Two and a half years later, all three groups had similar relapse rates, although rates in the placebo group still tended to be slightly higher.
Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said there is a higher likelihood of depression recurring with each episode of depression.
“For example, with individuals who have had three or more episodes, there is a 95 percent chance of reoccurrence,” Varma said.
“I hate to break the bad news when my patients ask about this, but I tell them that there are some people who fall in this category who are going to need treatment indefinitely given their prior history of multiple depressive episodes and perhaps previous incomplete remission histories,” she said.
The second study involved 316 teenagers who were at risk for depression because either their parents suffered from depression or they themselves showed symptoms or had prior instances.
The teens received cognitive-behavioral group therapy in eight weekly 90-minute group sessions followed by six monthly continuation sessions at sites in Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore.
“We try to get kids to think of a range of options,” Beardslee said. “State what the problem is — let’s say they can’t get over a relationship and they feel persistently sad — then try to get them to the goal by brainstorming all the possible solutions and trying some.”
During a 33-month follow-up period, the kids who received the therapy had significantly fewer depressive episodes than those who were referred for usual psychiatric care.
“We wanted to see if this intervention could be delivered systematically and reliably in four different sites in the U.S., and the answer is yes,” Beardslee said. “It’s a step on the way to eventually disseminating the intervention widely.”
There was one drawback. Kids who underwent cognitive behavioral therapy at the same time their parents were suffering depression received no benefit.
“This speaks to the fact that the parental depression must also be simultaneously addressed, and I imagine both individually but also in the family context through family therapy,” Varma said. “This study says that [cognitive behavioral therapy] prevention is highly effective, but we need to look at the big picture. And this makes sense. Depression for young people does not exist in a bubble, and if we can support the family we can help the adolescent.”

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Alert: What Is Your Risk for a Heart Attack? Find Out Now

Eating A Mediterranean Diet May Be Good For Your Brain Too

Eating a Mediterranean diet may be good for your brain and might reduce the risk of dementia, a new review suggests.
A Mediterranean diet includes higher amounts of olive oil, vegetables, fruit and fish. Higher adherence to the diet involves more consumption of fruit and vegetables and fish, and less consumption of meat and dairy products.
Researchers analyzed data from 11 observational studies and one randomized controlled trial. Nine studies found that people with higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet had better brain function, lower rates of mental decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
However, close adherence to a Mediterranean diet had an inconsistent effect on mild cognitive impairment, according to the article in the current issue of the journal Epidemiology.
Many studies have linked a Mediterranean diet to a lower risk of age-related diseases such as dementia, but this is the first systematic review of such research, according to the British researchers at the University of Exeter and colleagues.
“Mediterranean food is both delicious and nutritious, and our systematic review shows it may help to protect the aging brain by reducing the risk of dementia. While the link between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and dementia risk is not new, ours is the first study to systematically analyze all existing evidence,” review leader Iliana Lourida said in a university news release.
While the new research uncovered a link between the Mediterranean diet and brain health, it didn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
Lourida is with the U.K’s National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care in the South West Pensinsula.
“Our review also highlights inconsistencies in the literature and the need for further research. In particular, research is needed to clarify the association with mild cognitive impairment and vascular dementia,” she said. “It is also important to note that while observational studies provide suggestive evidence, we now need randomized controlled trials to confirm whether or not adherence to a Mediterranean diet protects against dementia.”

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Alert: What Is Your Risk for a Heart Attack? Find Out Now

NEW BREAK THROUGH RESEARCH: ADULT STEM CELLS BEING USED TO REPAIR DAMAGED HEART TISSUES

Former Master Sgt. Barry Brown was teaching physical education to Miami high school students when he realized there was something terribly wrong. Super-fit and just 38, the newly retired Air Force fitness instructor suddenly couldn’t walk a quarter mile without experiencing a searing pain in his back.

“I had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and I assumed I was in the best shape of my life, so it just didn’t make sense,” Brown tells Newsmax Health.

He was stunned when tests showed he had advanced heart disease and needed a triple bypass. But that’s not all. He was also suffering from congestive heart failure and was told that in the future he might need a heart transplant. “I was devastated. I was a father with two young children,” Brown recalls.

He underwent the bypass operation, but during the surgery his heart also received injections of his own stem cells as part of a clinical trial at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
The program is one of many that are starting to reveal the vast healing potential of stem cells. Trials are under way that are studying whether stem cells can be used against a wide array of serious conditions, including heart failure, stroke, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and paralysis, says Joshua Hare, M.D., director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at UM.
Currently, six million people in the U.S. suffer from heart failure. The condition kills an estimated 53,000 Americans each year.
The study involving Brown is still being readied for scientific journal publication, so the results are not yet known. But in a similar trial presented at the American Heart Association’s annual conference, Dr. Hare demonstrated dramatic patient improvements.
Stem cells injected into damaged hearts were able over time to reduce scar tissue by 33 percent. The study, which involved 30 men at UM and Johns Hopkins University, also found that the stem cells rejuvenated healthy heart tissue and remodeled the shape of the weakened heart to look more like a healthy heart. In many cases, such improvements can mean the difference between life or death.
Stem cells are immature “master cells” within the body that have the capability to transform themselves into different types of cells within the human body. The research that Dr. Hare is doing utilized adult stem cells taken from the patient’s own body, as was done in the case of Brown, or from a third-party donor. No embryonic stem cells are used, sidestepping the ethical issues that have made this type of research controversial in the past. In Brown’s treatment, the stem cells were taken from his bone marrow, cleaned and injected into 10 places in his heart during his bypass.
This kind of cutting edge treatment is not yet available in the U.S. outside of trials.
Although the study involving Brown took place in Miami, there are stem cell trials for a variety of diseases throughout the country.
To find such research, go to clinicaltrials.gov. On this website, run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, you will be able to learn the location and other details of ongoing stem cell studies. For instance, a search of “stem cells” and “heart” elicited the names of several studies, including Brown’s, which is now finished and being readied for journal publication.
This past August, Brown’s study was “unblended,” meaning that he was told whether he received a placebo or actual stem cells. It came as no surprise to the ex-soldier that he had received the stem cells. For months, “I could feel my heart growing stronger,” he says. He felt as fit as he ever had.
Brown went back to work as a fitness trainer running his own company, Athlete in Motion. If anybody needed any further confirmation that the injections had done wonders, Brown celebrated the third anniversary of his surgery by running a half-marathon.
The full version of this article appeared in Health Radar newsletter.


Is Psychiatric Therapy Really More Guess Work Than Medical Science

Is psychiatry more guesswork than medical science? That’s the provocative question posed by psychotherapist Gary Greenberg in The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry.

Greenberg argues many basic tenets of psychiatry are based on soft science and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) — the reference book psychiatrists use to guide diagnoses and treatments — is largely a work of fiction. He also contends the many psychological disorders the DSM describes have no definitive biological markers, are often diagnosed by hunch, and may not even be real.

 
What’s more, psychiatrists have a financial incentive to use the DSM’s diagnostic labels because insurance companies require them to do so before paying for treatment.
The net result: Many people diagnosed with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other “official” mental-health conditions may come to view their problems as biological problems — like heart disease or cancer — and falsely believe the only solution is a drug.

That kind of thinking, Greenberg argues, prevents them from taking active steps to heal, recover, and manage their problems in healthy ways.

“By telling somebody they’re suffering from a disease, it changes the way people understand themselves and their problems,” Greenberg tells Newsmax Health, arguing that psychiatrists need to stop treating everyday problems like “pathological diseases” with biological roots requiring medical treatment.
“Let’s say I’m depressed and I go to my doctor and my doctor says I have a biochemical imbalance and puts me on Prozac … Instead of thinking about [how to cope with] the problems I have, I think I have a chemical imbalance. In many cases, that explanation guides the way the patient thinks about his own condition and suffering.”
The problem, he says, is there is little scientific evidence that brain chemistry is at the root of many mental disorders. Drugs don’t cure such conditions, but treat only symptoms. Psychiatrists should do more to help troubled individuals see their problems as issues they can address or manage by changing their behaviors and their thinking to cope, he argues.
“We have this idea that our lives are our lives to live, that basically we understand our lives are something we are supposed to fashion and make something of,” he explains.

“And our society depends on the idea that we take responsibility for our lives. And while there are many problems with that idea, there are even more problems when you put it outside of your [power] — when you say: ‘There’s nothing I can do about my depression, but take the pills my doctors gives me. ‘ ”

Greenberg’s book is the result of two years of research and interviews with many insiders in the psychiatric establishment on the DSM. First published in 1952 and frequently revised, the DSM reflects the official take of modern-day psychiatry on mental illness. But over the years, the book has taken many controversial and even embarrassing positions that were later reversed or overturned.
Homosexuality, for instance, was deemed a mental illness until 1973 and controversies over the book’s waffling positions on autism have dogged its authors right through the latest, fifth edition, published this year. Greenberg and other critics say the book pushes doctors to diagnose ever more illnesses based on fuzzy definitions of symptoms and prescribe a growing list of powerful, sometimes risky drugs.
As a result, sadness over a job loss or divorce can qualify as clinical depression.
Greenberg is not arguing that psychotherapy does not help people. But he contends the most effective therapy helps patients take control of their lives and focus on solution-oriented ways to deal with their struggles instead of diagnosing possible biochemical causes, which are often unknown and unknowable.
“Psychotherapy works by the placebo effect, but that doesn’t mean it’s a scam,” he says. “It’s based on the relationship between therapist and patient. But a DSM diagnosis doesn’t have much to do with that.
“The problem is that we expect a diagnosis of a medical condition to be something that is scientifically ascertained through scientific findings, but that isn’t always the case with mental illnesses … Psychiatry doesn’t have any biomarkers for mental illnesses, so the DSM’s attempts to put mental health into medical language fails. I don’t think it’s doable.”
Greenberg knocks the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and drug companies for turning psychiatry into a money-making enterprise that treats individuals’ daily life struggles as illnesses that require medication.
“It has a lot to do with economics and the way healthcare is funded. We need we have to have a [DSM] diagnosis to attach a payment to service,” he says. “So in that respect economic incentive is behind all of these efforts. The incentive has to do with money and power. If you want to get money to research some kind of mental disorder [from] the National Institutes of Health, you have to tie your research to a specific diagnosis. The rest of the research that is done is done by the pharmaceutical companies, and it’s far easier to get your drug approved if you have a specific condition it treats. ”
Not surprisingly, the Book of Woe — like Greenberg’s 2010 book Manufacturing Depression — has sparked intense debate in the mental-health community. Critics — including some within the APA (which declined a request for comment from Newsmax Health) — have suggested Greenberg’s ideas are irresponsible and could lead some seriously ill patients to stop taking antidepressants and other meds.
Greenberg’s response?
“I’m not advocating that people on meds stop taking them,” he says. “And by the way some patients’ lives have been saved and vastly improved by virtue of treatment of psychiatrists. But psychiatrists do not treat mental disorders; they treat symptoms. It’s not only that there’s no cure, but the reason for the underlying mechanisms for these disorders is not well understood.”
He adds that he is concerned that the debate over his book might cause lead some suicidal patients to stop taking their medications.
“I’m more than vaguely concerned about the precious life of any person,” he says. “But I believe the truth is the most important thing. And I’m sure whatever damage my book might do is doing less damage than psychiatric drugs are doing.”


Is Taking A Baby Aspirin Every Day Right For You

Some medical professionals advise that almost everyone should take a baby aspirin (81 mg) daily. Other experts believe that daily aspirin shouldn’t be a blanket recommendation.

But should you take aspirin? The answer may lie in your specific health situation.

First, let’s take a look at aspirin’s benefits:

• Heart attack. Harvard Medical School experts say that aspirin helps prevent heart attacks in people with coronary artery disease, and also in healthy men over the age of 50. According to the National Center for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, aspirin lowers the risk of a first heart attack by 32 percent in men. Most experts believe aspirin does this by slightly thinning the blood, thus lowering the risk of clots.

• Stroke. The National Heart Foundation reported a study which found that those who took aspirin reduced their risk of having a stroke by 25 percent.

• Cancer. A Harvard study found that women with early-stage breast cancer who took aspirin were half as likely to see their cancer spread and half as likely to die from the disease. A recent study from the American Cancer Society found that aspirin use reduced cancer deaths by up to 37 percent. Other studies have found that aspirin cuts the risk of prostate, colon, skin, and lung cancer.

• Dementia. A study of more than 3,000 Utah citizens found that those who took aspirin, Advil, or ibuprofen at least four times a week lowered their risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s, by 45 percent. Researchers believe that aspirin’s brain benefits are due either to its ability to reduce inflammation or because it keeps dementia-causing amyloid plaques from forming.

Not for Everyone 
Despite this overwhelming evidence, popping a daily aspirin is NOT for everyone, experts say. Certain people should stay away from regular aspirin use.

These include those taking blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin and Plavix, those at risk for gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, and those with age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness in seniors.

AMD Sufferers Beware
Aspirin may cause excessive blood thinning and dangerous bleeding in people taking prescription blood thinners to prevent clotting.

A study published last year in the journal Opthalmology found that daily aspirin use more than doubles the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). “It isn’t wise to recommend taking aspirin” for people with AMD, said William Christen of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Biggest Danger
It is stomach bleeding that is most often cited as aspirin’s biggest danger. “The number one cause of GI bleeding is aspirin,” David Brownstein, M.D., a leading holistic physician, tells Health Radar.

Peter Hibberd, M.D., says that aspirin may not directly cause GI bleeding, but it may exacerbate bleeding that is already occurring.

“Normally, a baby aspirin isn’t going to set you up for an ulcer and cause bleeding in the bowel,” he says. “But if you have a small lesion, the aspirin may make the bleeding noticeable.”

This can actually be a good thing if the bleeding isn’t too serious and it alerts you to an underlying, untreated health problem, says Dr. Hibberd.

He usually recommends a daily aspirin for patients who have a history of heart attacks.

“If a patient doesn’t have heart problems but has high blood pressure or a family history of heart problems, they should probably take aspirin from the age of 40,” he says.

“It’s not a universal recommendation — there are exceptions, such as if they are already taking a blood thinner. You should always seek the advice of your doctor.

“As a general rule, though, most people are going to benefit by taking a baby aspirin.”


 

Some Simple Tips On How To Prevent Bunions

Bunions seem to be more common because of the high heel craze. So here are a few tips to help you to prevent them:

 

  • Wear comfortable shoes.
    This may seem obvious, but if the shoes are causing pain at the site of your bunion, then they’re not good shoes to be wearing. 
  • Think wide toebox.
    Wider shoes may not be as fashionable as the newest Polo or DKNY shoes, but comfort really should matter more. 
  • Avoid high heels.
    Heels cause orthopedic surgeons to shudder, and for good reason–they’re bad for your feet. If you have to wear them, do so in moderation. 
  • Make sure the shoe fits.
    The toebox is just one area–the rest of the shoe, including heel and arch, should also fit well. Try some tips on how to buy the right shoes
  • Pad the bunion!
    When the bunions become painful and irritated, they become more prominent. If it’s bothering you, place

Some Foods To Help You Boost Your Memory And Help To Prevent Memory Loss

Foods That Boost Your Memory

berries, memory, Food Cures,

Eating certain foods can help make life’s little details unforgettable.

Age, stress, quality and length of sleep, medications, and of course, nutrition can all influence how well your memory functions. Physiologically, good memory depends on your total number of brain cells (neurons), the smooth flow of communication between the cells and the health of the cells.

In many ways, overall health can strongly affect memory. For example, the health of the body’s cardiovascular system can affect the performance of brain cells. Every cell in the body needs a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to stay alive and work properly. Because oxygen and nutrients are carried in the bloodstream, anything that impedes blood flow can negatively affect brain cell function. Simply put, a healthy heart makes for a healthy brain. So it’s important to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check and to exercise regularly and not smoke.

Today Show Video: Joy Bauer Talks About Diet and Memory

A heart-healthy diet is therefore crucial to general health as well as to the health of memory, and compelling research has linked specific foods and their nutrients to the enhancement or preservation of memory. These “brain” foods contain flavonoids, which are chemical compounds that give fruits and leafy green vegetablestheir color. Two important flavonoids that appear to support memory function are anthocyaninsand quercetin (both are found in apples, blueberries, and red onions, to name just a few sources).

Other nutrients that have been found to improve memory arefolate and omega-3 fatty acids. Take a look at the following list for a rundown of the best foods for boosting brainpower.

Berries
Berries have some of the highest concentrations of antioxidants among fruit, and all berries are rich in healthy anthocyanins and flavonols(a subgroup of flavonoids),which may help protect against the breakdown of brain cells. Some encouraging animal studies have suggested that diets rich in flavonoids may help reverse memory loss in humans.

Blueberries in particular have received a lot of attention because they are one of the best food sources of flavonoids. In fact, a British study revealed that eating plenty of blueberries can enhance spatial memory and learning.

Fresh berries are available at farmers’ markets, local supermarkets, and health food stores. During off-season months, frozen berries are a good substitute and just as nutritious.
  
Leafy greens
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens are loaded withfolate (folic acid is the synthetic form of this nutrient that’s found in supplements and fortified foods) —  which seems to have a direct effect on memory. In a study done at Tufts University in Boston, researchers followed 320 men for three years and tracked their blood levels of homocysteine — an amino acid that has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease. The participants who had high levels of homocysteine showed memory decline; those who ate foods rich in folic acid, however, which directly lowers homocysteine levels, demonstrated a protective effect against memory decline.

An Australian study also found that a diet featuring plenty of foods rich in folic acid was associated with faster information processing and memory recall. After just five weeks of consuming adequate amounts of folic acid, women in the study showed overall improvements in memory.

Fatty Fish
Healthy fats are important for a healthy mind. Research suggests that when it comes to food and memory, fish should be the star of the show — specifically, fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel and the generous amounts of omega-3 fats they provide. In fact, a study published in theArchives of Neurology in November 2006 found that subjects with the highest levels of omega-3s were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than subjects with the lowest levels.

Another, earlier study, conducted by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, followed more than 3,000 men and women for six years to see how diet affected their memory. Those who ate fish at least once a week had a 10 percent slower memory decline than those who did not eat fish, a difference that gave them the memory and thinking ability of a person three years younger.

Strive to eat three 4-ounce servings of fatty fish per week. If that’s not realistic, consider using fish oil supplements.

Coffee
There’s good news for coffee lovers: About two years ago, researchers from the University of Innsbruck in Austria found that caffeinated coffee can temporarily sharpen a person’s focus and memory. After giving volunteers the caffeine equivalent of about two cups of coffee, they used magnetic resonance imaging to observe that the volunteers’ brain activity was increased in two locations, one of which is involved in memory. Volunteers given no caffeine showed no increase in brain activity.

Another study, published in a leading neurology journal, found that the effects of caffeine may be longer lasting in women. This four-year-long study involved about 7,000 participants who all went through baseline evaluations for cognitive function and blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other vascular issues.

The researchers reevaluated the participants at the end of two years and again at the end of four years; they found that women 65 and older who drank more than three cups of coffee per day (or the caffeine equivalent in tea) had about a third less decline in memory over that time than the women who drank one cup or less of coffee (or the caffeine equivalent in tea) per day.

The results held up even after the researchers adjusted them to take into account other factors that could affect memory function, such as age, education, baseline cognitive function, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, medications, and chronic illnesses. The researchers speculated that this caffeine-memory association was not observed in men because it’s possible that the sexes metabolize caffeine differently.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that unfiltered coffee (such as espresso, as well as coffee made in a French press) contains compounds that can raise cholesterol levels, especially in people who are already battling high cholesterol. To be safe, stick with filtered coffee, and of course, be moderate when adding milk and sugar!

Some Advice To Help In Choosing An Alternative Care Health Practitioner

Choosing a doctor can be a challenge. With hundreds of names to sift through, how do you know if you’re picking the right one? That challenge is taken to an even higher level when it comes to selecting an alternative care health practitioner like a Doctor of Chiropractic, Massage Therapist and Acupuncturist..

We first recommend checking Web sites. The web site should contain some good helpful information about the practitioner and help to even answer some of the questions suggested below.

Alternative Care Health Practitioners: Choosing the Right One

Once you’ve developed a list of potential alternative medicine practitioners in your area, it’s a good idea to do a little research before making an appointment. The following questions can help determine whether this person is the right alternative medicine practitioner for you:

  • What kind of training and education do you have? This can be cross-checked with information available through professional organizations.
  • Do you specialize in any specific health conditions? This is important to know because unlike traditional medicine, where doctors tend to specialize, many alternative medicine practitioners are trained to treat a wide range of conditions.
  • Is there any research available showing that your style of practice can effectively treat my condition? This won’t always be available, as alternative medicine is only recently starting to receive more funding for research, but it’s worth asking.
  • What should I expect from my first appointment? Visiting an alternative medicine practitioner is a new experience for a lot of people, so you want to find someone who is aware of that and willing to take the time to explain how the treatment differs from conventional medicine.
  • How long will it take to see results? A practitioner probably won’t be able to tell you this for certain, but he should be able to give a ballpark based on his experience treating others with your condition.

The only way to know for sure if you’ve picked the right practitioner is to actually meet that person and get treated. But assessing your comfort level with the practitioner’s response to these questions can help point you in the right direction.

Have You Ever Undergone An Injury And Told You Can Never Return To Your Sport Or Recreational Activity Again

You’ll Never Squat Again: Why Physical Therapists and Doctors Should Learn Some Biomechanics

by  • June 15, 2013 • 

I put this story on our blog because it is something we have witnessed many times from young athletes and their parents to weekend warriors, to high school, college, professional athletes, to even the elderly, as in this case. Either the parent of the young athlete or the athlete themselves comes in telling us about their injury and that they were taken off of their sport and/or training for a long period or in some cases told that they should quit that sport or activity because of the injury they incurred. Obviously, in some cases the doctor or physical therapist may be right in their judgement. However, very often, many professionals, either were never trained in sports injuries, injured athletes and/or have knowledge or a background in biomechanics, sports psychology and athletic training. Therefore, their judgement call may not always be appropriate and the best for the athlete.

Gene Lawrence is a badass. He’s a 74 year old powerlifter who has set tons of records in his sport. He didn’t start training for powerlifting until he was 69. Last year, he squatted 225, benched 260, and deadlifted 365, all raw. Last year he also tore his left rectus femoris falling down in his driveway.

Gene Lawrence

Gene Lawrence

The doctor who performed his surgery told him he’d never squat again. His physical therapist told him the same. I knew better. I told Gene that within a year he’d probably be squatting his all-time best.

As a former Olympic weightlifter and powerlifter, I’ve heard many stories of doctors and physical therapists informing lifters that their careers were finished or that they’d never be able to perform a certain lift ever again. Rarely is this advice appropriate.

Doctors and physical therapists are often overly cautious due to liability issues. Their primary concern isn’t about how passionate you are for powerlifting or any other sport, it’s about keeping you injury-free so that they don’t get sued. And the best advice to keep somebody injury-free is to tell them not to lift heavy anymore.

Nevertheless, numerous Olympic, powerlifters and other types of athletes over the years have come back following “career-ending injuries” to set all-time Personal Record’s. Donnie Thompson is the only man to total 3,000 lbs (1,265 lb squat, 950 lb bench, 785 lb deadlift). Many people don’t know this, but several years back Donnie suffered a horrendous back injury and herniated three discs. He could barely walk, but he got out of bed and rehabbed himself every day. Within three months he was back to heavy squatting and setting new Personal Record’s. Got that? Setting personal records three months following an injury that herniated 3 discs!

Gene and Donnie

This is Gene Standing Next to Donnie “Mr. 3000? Thompson

Following his rectus femoris repair surgery, Gene spent approximately 4 months with his physical therapist, strengthening his quads and hips and regaining flexibility. After that, he returned to training with Charles Staley a certified personal trainer and me. Immediately, Charles and I had him performing tons of bodyweight hip thrusts and back extensions to strengthen his posterior chain. We also started him off on deadlifts. For two weeks it was rack pulls with light weight, and from then on it’s been from the floor. After a month, we implemented bodyweight box squats. Two weeks later we had him performing goblet squats. Two weeks later came the barbell for squats.

In just 4 months of training with us (and 4 months with the physical therapist before that), Gene has recently squatted 215 lbs (20 lbs off of his all-time best), benched 258 lbs (3 lbs off of his all-time best), and deadlifted 330 lbs (35 lbs off of his all-time best at this weight). He’ll soon beat his squat record, just as I predicted. It’s not easy returning from a surgery when you’re 74 years old, but Gene may soon start setting PR’s due to the hard work and consistency he’s put forth (Charles and I put him on a very regimented schedule).

Here’s what Gene’s doctor and physical therapist failed to understand. Powerlifting is what makes Gene tick. It gives him strength, courage, and zeal in life. Gene’s home gym is his pride and joy – it houses his hundreds of powerlifting trophies and plaques. Setting PR’s gives him a reason to get up and train. It’s in his blood. If you’re a fellow lifter, you get it.

What if Gene had listened to his surgeon and PT? He’d probably have quit lifting, which would have negatively impacted his physical health and devastated his psychological well-being.

If you suffer a serious musculoskeletal or soft-tissue injury, here’s what you should do: Never rush the healing of an injury, embark on a gradual, progressive rehabilitation program, and find a doctor of sports chiropractic and physical therapist who understand strength & conditioning (there are indeed plenty of great doctors and PT’s out there who also understand S&C – these are the types I gravitate toward). Here’s what you should not do: Solely listen to the advice of one doctor or one physical therapist, and give up on a sport or activity before the rehab process has terminated. Nobody can know for certain how an individual will bounce back following an injury.

Ninety percent of doctors are estrogen-soaked weaklings who couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag. The majority don’t understand strength training, the mental attitude required to be consistent in the gym, and the pride that accompanies weight room strength. Due to their ignorance and fear of heavy strength training, they often utter ridiculous advice.

For example, doctors will usually tell you to stop lifting weights at the slightest sign of danger. Elbow hurts? Don’t lift. Knee hurts? Don’t lift. Back hurts? Don’t lift. Why can’t you just work around the problem? If your knee hurts you can still likely perform weighted back extensions and keep your posterior chain strong. If your elbow hurts you can still train legs, core, and some upper body muscles. If your back hurts you can still perform single leg exercises and certain upper body exercises. There may be times where it’s wise to completely avoid strength training, but this is far more rare than what the doctors tell you, and a savvy lifter can always work around an injury.

Moreover, the vast majority of doctors and PT’s don’t adequately comprehend biomechanics. In our Hip Extension Torque product, Chris and I teach readers how to calculate estimations of torque loading during squats, deadlifts, and other hip extension exercises. I believe that this is a skill that many physical therapists and orthopedic doctors would benefit from – it’s definitely improved my skills as a personal trainer.

squat-deadlift

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve trained a client whose doctor or PT informed them that they weren’t allowed to perform an exercise such as a squat or a deadlift, only to find out that they were prescribing an exercise that put just as much torque loading (or more) on the joint in question as the exercise they condemned. Upon inquiry, I discover that the doctor or PT did not examine the client’s form in order to reach his conclusion; he just offered a blanket statement to cover his ass.

Another common fallacy I see with doctors – they’ll often tell certain clients (let’s say a pregnant lady a back surgery recipient) that they’re never to lift anything greater than a certain weight, for example 30 pounds. However, biomechanics determines the loading on different parts of the body; the interplay between the body position, posture, load, gravity, and inertia need to be considered. A 30-lb kettlebell deadlift positioned directly underneath the center of mass and lifted with proper form with neutral spinal alignment will create far less spinal loading than lifting a 30-lb oddly shaped object positioned out in front of the lifter with a twisted set-up. Contorted body weight exercises can be more harmful for the spine than 135 pound barbell exercises performed with perfect form. Never is a very strong word. With proper progressive training and excellent form, people can usually build themselves up to be quite strong. It would be far more fruitful to teach proper mechanics than to place a limit on loading and thereby instilling a lifelong fear of strength training.

The squat is well-tolerated if you understand progression-regression continuums. If you start at the appropriate level and perform the movement properly by sitting far back and ensuring that the knees track over the feet, then there’s no reason to worry. You can start with high box squats and work your way down in ROM, then add load in the goblet position. People have to squat in their every day lives, so there’s no avoiding the movement pattern. You can either pretend the squat doesn’t exist, or you can take the time to make sure the individual is squatting correctly; distributing the load properly to the hips to spare the knees.

Many lifters with knee problems shouldn’t avoid squats altogether; they should learn how to squat properly with low load joint-friendly squatting variations. If volume, intensity, and frequency are kept low, these drills are usually therapeutic and prevent future injury.

Lifters with back problems shouldn’t automatically avoid hip-hinging. They should learn how to hinge at the hips while preventing excessive motion in the spine and develop their gluteals. Rack pulls, deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, kettlebell deadlifts, kettlebell swings, 45 degree hypers, back extensions, and even bodyweight reverse hypers are all good choices as long as proper form is utilized. Many individuals do not keep a relatively neutral spine during many of these movements because they compensate for weak glutes by utilizing excessive spinal motion. If these individuals never master hip hinging mechanics, how will their form look when they pick things up off the ground or perform yard work? Again, the solution isn’t to avoid the movements, it’s to teach and ingrain proper mechanics.

There are indeed plenty of situations where certain individuals would be better off avoiding heavy loading with certain exercises. For example, not everyone is well-suited for squatting and deadlifting. But this doesn’t mean that they couldn’t include goblet squats and dynamic effort deadlifts into their warm-ups so their squat and hip-hinge form remains solid throughout life. But these same folks can find other lifts that they tolerate well, for example Bulgarian split squats, hip thrusts, and Russian leg curls, and they can build up incredible size and strength through these lifts.

It is not my intention to bash all doctors and physical therapists. I’m friends with plenty of world-class docs and PT’s who possess incredible knowledge of S&C. But just as with any profession, there’s a huge gap between the top tier and the average doc or PT when it comes to S&C knowledge (same goes for strength coaches and personal trainers).

Luckily, Gene has two competent strength coach friends (Charles and me) who know what makes him tick and helped him formulate a plan of action. Last weekend, Gene competed in a PL contest and met a fellow 91 year old powerlifter. That’s how I want to be – pullin’ heavy deads til the day I die. Keep doing your thing Gene!