Month: February 2014

What Kind of Headache Do I Have? (Part 2)

Last month, we discussed three types of headaches: Tension Headache (the most common), Cluster Headaches (a vascular headache – less common, short duration but REALLY painful), and Sinus Headaches. Migraine headaches were discussed the month before last. In keeping with the theme, ONE more headache type will be discussed: Rebound Headaches, followed by anti-inflammatory herbal remedies, and finally, “Headache Triggers.”

Rebound headaches are the result of pain killer overuse. Of course, one would think of pain killers like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.) as well as many prescription drugs as being “friendly” and commonly reached for when a headache or any other ache or pain occurs. But, as the old saying goes, “…too much of a good thing can be bad!” These culprits, instead of helping, can actually hurt you! One theory for the cause of rebound headaches is that too much of these meds can cause the brain to shift into an excited state that triggers the headache. Another theory is that these headaches result from too sudden of a drop of the medicine in the bloodstream, which would only occur if the medication was being taken at a high dose for a relatively long period of time. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, EVERY 10 SECONDS, someone in the United States goes to the emergency room with a migraine or headache due to the intense pain, severe nausea or dehydration, drug interactions, or side effects from headache medications! DON’T BE ONE OF THEM!!!

As mentioned last month, PLEASE FIRST try an anti-inflammatory herb like ginger (Zingiber officinale), turmeric (Curcuma longa), Feverfew, passionflower (Passiflora alata), Peppermint (menthe piperita), ginko (ginko biloba), caffeine  (Coffea Arabica), black or green tea, Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum), Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Lavender Oil (Lavandula angustifolia), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lime or Linden (Tilia spp.), horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), and more!

So what triggers headaches? Here are a few of the more commonly researched triggers: weight [in females, a BMI of 30 (mild obesity) = 35% greater risk, and BMI of 40 (“severe obesity”) = 80%]; personality (traits such as rigidity, reserve, and obsessivity); “let-down” or weekend headaches (breaking your routine, like staying in bed until noon); odors and fumes (e.g., fresh paint); dehydration (drink water AND eat fruits / veggies to get more water); skipping meals (hunger is a common trigger); physical exertion (certain sports like running, weight lifting); too much caffeine (small amounts help, but too much can trigger headaches); inactivity (sedentary lifestyles trigger – 30 min./day cardio, 5x/week is ideal); sleep deprivation (those averaging six hours have more frequent & severe headaches); and certain foods like red wine, beer, MSG, chocolate, aged cheese, sauerkraut, and processed meats like pepperoni, ham, and salami. Foods that can reduce headaches include those high in magnesium– spinach, tofu, oat bran, barely, fish oil, olive oil, white beans, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds.

In addition to GOOD CHIROPRACTIC CARE, and Active Release Techniques headache management requires a multidimensional approach for best results!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing Denver Chiropractic Center service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for headaches, we would be honored to render our services.

Chiropractic and the Common Cold

Chiropractic and the Common Cold

            Chiropractic methods are utilized for many complaints, of which the majority of research-based evidence supports conditions related to the musculoskeletal system – that is, neck, back, upper and lower limb conditions. However, when applied to certain areas of the spine, spinal manipulation can have other beneficial effects that are also supported by research. One of these additional benefits involves the immune system. So, can chiropractic adjustments be of benefit for conditions such as the common cold? Let’s take a look!

The quick response to this question is, “Possibly!” Studies report that regulation of our immune responses (our body’s ability to fight off infections, allergens, and the like) rely on an intimate relationship between our nervous system and immune system. The steps that occur to make this happen include complex interactions between various chemicals including neurotransmitters (chemicals in the nervous system), cytokines (these help “recruit” immune cells to sites of infection), and others. When studying cell cultures taken from healthy humans who received a single chiropractic adjustment to the upper thoracic spine, the production of a key immune system chemical (a cytokine called “interleukin-2”) was found. This study used 74 healthy age-matched subjects who were assigned to one of three groups: upper thoracic manipulation (group 1), sham (fake) manipulation (group 2) or venapuncture only (group 3 – control group). Blood samples were drawn from each participant before (initial base line), 20 minutes after treatment, and two hours following treatment. Blood samples taken from the subjects representing the three groups were placed in separate cultures infected with an agent and analyzed for differences in antibody production (the immune response). They found that ONLY the manipulation group produced protective antibodies (IgG and IgM). Hence, this supports the hypothesis that upper thoracic chiropractic spinal manipulation can stimulate the immune system via the nervous system and result in an increase in antibody production allowing us to better fight off those nasty bugs like the rhinoviruses that result in the common cold. Continued studies will hopefully tell us more about how all this works, but the current science looks very promising! Remember, there are 99 DIFFERENT recognized types of rhinoviruses, each individually unique, thus making it next to impossible to “cure” the common cold since any one or several rhinoviruses may be attacking us at one time.

            Here are some other reported ways to strengthen the immune system:

  1. Probiotics: Supplementing with “friendly” bacteria that NORMALLY live in our GI tract (intestines) which include two types: 1. Lactobacillus acidophilus (LA) and 2. Bifidobacterium bifidum (BB). LA normally resides in the upper GI (small intestine) and BB in the lower GI (large intestine). Studies show that these friendly bacteria strengthen the ability of the immune cells surrounding the GI Tract to defend the body against toxins, (“bad”) bacteria, and allergens.
  2. Exercise: Moderate exercise boosts the immune system function, but intense exercise can have the opposite effect. “Post-exercise immune function dysfunction” is most pronounced when the exercise is continuous, prolonged (>1.5 h), of moderate to high intensity (55-75% VO2 Max), and especially when performed in the absence of eating.
  3. Other vitamins and nutrients: The partial list includes carotenoids, Co-Q10, Echinacea, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc.
  4. Reduce stress: There is a great deal of evidence that stress reduces our immune functions.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing Denver Chiropractic Center for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care, we would be honored to render our services.