Instant Confidence Boosters

Many of us are driven by what others think of us. They say something negative about us and we walk in the gutter for weeks. Wouldn’t you like to know how you could possibly feel better about yourself in an instant? Here are a few suggestions to help:

Follow Through. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Don’t forget. Don’t drop the ball. Don’t say, “Oh, I thought someone else was going to do it.” No, If you agree to a task then have the integrity to see it through. This helps you to trust yourself more as well as allowing others to see how they can depend on you.

Practice Self-Care. Most of us claim we don’t have time to do things for ourselves. I once told a girl at the make-up counter at Macy’s that I didn’t have time to even put on eye-shadow. Now, I told her that because I didn’t want to buy her product. But when I stopped to think about it, I didn’t put on eye-shadow. I’ll never forget her shocked look. “But everyone has time for eye-shadow and eye-liner.” I claimed I didn’t. And I believed it. But it wasn’t true. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that if I spent all my time caring for others that I would be some kind of super-hero. Instead I learned that a little self-care would feed me enough to help others. Don’t forget to take care of the most important person. You.

The Attitude of Gratitude. Sounds a little corny, but when we count our blessings, we realize how truly fortunate we are. We might not realize how difficult life is for other people. But once we begin to be grateful for what we do have, we realize our blessings. Spend a few moments every day, just breathing and being grateful that we can breathe.

Challenge Yourself. Once in a while, we need to just go for it. I watched a sitcom where the mother of the family suddenly decided to go sky-diving. Something she had always wanted to do, but never did. When she returned she was so full of life no one could stand her. When was the last time you did something you were either afraid to do or didn’t think you should do? I want to have people uncomfortable around me because I dared myself to do something. It might be time to shake things up.

Finally, help others. Reach out and do something that really touches someone else. Most mental care experts say that doing for others helps us to rise above our own feelings of sadness. It doesn’t even have to cost you anything. Maybe you just need to go spend time with people singing, playing a musical instrument, or reading to them. You will enrich their lives, certainly. But the enrichment you feel yourself is beyond measure.

Photo Credit :

Self Defense Practice from “PictureYouth” via Flickr

Healthy Kids Play Outdoors

I don’t know when it started. It used to be that everyone encouraged their kids to play outside. But sometime in the recent past it was deemed “dangerous” or “likely to cause illness” or some other load of bunk. Studies encourage parents today to let their kids pet animals and play in the dirt, that they’ll be healthier and happier if they do.

And yet, parents persist in keeping their kids in unnatural bubbles of sterility and containment.

What happens when kids don’t even connect with nature?

That will be a sad day, indeed.

More and more parents are reluctant to allow their children to play outside for fear of abduction or contracting an illness, or just plain getting dirty.

This is a problem.


Because playing outside helps children to develop their brains. I know, it is scientifically proven that some children actually do well in their chosen career if they play video games several hours a day. But how many of our children are going to be micro-surgeons?

The rest of those kids need to do some exploring, and preferably outside. Let kids pick up rocks and see what kind of life form resides underneath. What happens when you block the natural flow of water from a stream? By allowing children to experience nature, we give them the gift of understanding science at its nascent element.

What parents may not know is that children who experience nature as (ahem) naturally as possible, are the ones who will be more concerned about the world when they become adults.

If your child is transfixed with your iPad, then have them decide where they would like to visit. It might be a local state park, a national wildlife refuge or something similar. Then have them download all the possible wildlife they could possibly see at that place. In order to spot wildlife in nature, they will have to look up from that tablet and take a look at nature as raw as it is. Help them to see how they can identify various birds…by their call, by their coloring, by their nesting habits.

Smartphones can help kids categorize things that they see in nature and bring a sense of connection to their digital world with the one they experience firsthand.

Have your children explore an outdoor museum where they touch the tools aboriginal people may have used to make clothing or food. Have them try to start a fire with only the tools available in ancient times. Help them forge a connection with the past so they understand how important it is to save the earth for future generations.

Photo Credit : Whoosh from pawpaw67 via Flickr

Take Care of Mother Earth

We really only get one chance at this life and what we do will affect generations to come. There are a lot of things that my forefathers have done that I wish they’d done differently because now I feel as if I’m cleaning up their mess.

And if you were to ask me to be honest, I’d say, “I’m done! You suck at taking care of this planet.”

But then, after I was done venting, I would admit that the problem isn’t going to go away and that I have to do something to fix the problem.

Remember the commercial with the Indian who saw all the trash floating down the rivers and along the highways and the last clips were of a single tear coursing down his cheek? Did that impact you the way it did for me?

If so, then the commercial worked. And while it was a little bit of emotional blackmail, in this case I don’t mind.

Seriously folks, we get one chance with Mother Earth here and we have to take care of her. We have threats of global warming echoing across the news-waves every five minutes, and threats of radiation and radioactive weapons being created daily. There are the reports of polar ice-cap reductions, Antarctica glaciers melting. One species is now off the extinction list, but another one now will be no more.

This feels a little overwhelming, and yet, we can’t stop because we feel overwhelmed. Our ancestors didn’t have the knowledge we have. Using plastic bags and plastic rings to hold six-packs of beer and soda together sounded like a good idea in the lab but no one ever considered that wildlife might suffer because we needed convenience.

What do we do?

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

How, exactly do we do this? Obviously many of the things that have been done were due to the sincere belief that it was good for the world…and it wasn’t. How do we know what we’re doing is good?

Start at home. Remember that sign from last summer at the National Park? It said, “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.”

Can you do the same thing at home?

Maybe not. But we can try. Look at what is thrown away at your home. Can you reduce this? Can you reuse anything? Can you recycle what you can’t use? If so, do so.

Fix what needs fixing rather than throwing it away and buying something new. Eliminate clutter by giving away things you no longer use, but someone else can. Make your home look like a place you want to return to. It seems like common sense, and yet many of us leave our homes in a state of chaos and turmoil.

Is it any wonder we’re stressed and looking for a way out?

Photo Credit :
Mother Earth Dancing – Betty Newman-Maguire
from William Murphy viaFlickr

Kids and Chiropractic Tests

Every chiropractor you meet will say that kids shouldn’t suffer from backaches, period – that is unless they suffer from back conditions. Those who deal with kids and chiropractic services will agree, which is why most medical specialists often carry out the following tests to determine why a child who is in the prime of his youth shouldn’t yell every time he bends over to pick up his favorite toy.

X-Rays – A doctor might recommend an x-ray of the child’s spine in order to make it possible for him to examine it from all angles. The exam will show any potential deformities, vertebral displacements or any other problem that might be causing discomfort to the child.

CT Scans – A CT, or Computed Tomography, scan will be necessary if the medical specialist needs to see a full 3D scan of the child’s spine. CT scans allows doctors to analyze anomalies that might not be visible on 2D x-ray scans. This is also why CT scans are so valuable in assessing complex structures in the spine or any small fractures that will not show up in an x-ray.

Bone Scans – Kids and chiropractic practices also use bone scans to diagnose any issues with a patient’s spine.  This test uses a special substance that is injected into a vein. A special camera is used to see where it is picked up. The test is successful in detecting a number of spinal anomalies such as tumors, infections, inflammations and fractures. Medical specialists will also recommend bone scans if the cause of a backache cannot be determined by an x-ray.

MRI – MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a very valuable technique in diagnosing back issues in kids and chiropractic cases in children. Since MRI scans show both tissue and bone this doesn’t come as a surprise.

Professional chiropractors are of the opinion that pediatric backache does not normally carry a diagnosis so parents need not worry about making their kids go through a plethora of imaging tests. Special tests such as the ones mentioned are only necessary if a child’s condition worsens or if he/she was involved in an accident.

It is also best that parents care about their kids’ well being by educating them on better ways to take care of themselves. Kids and chiropractic practices can only go so far to ensure that your child’s back is healthy enough to facilitate his growth.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Teenagers at Play (6768191473).jpg

Dietary Tips

A Good Diet Equals Healthy Living

In order to live a healthy lifestyle, there are some essential nutrients which need to be present in your diet. A good chiropractor will also include a diet plan in his treatments to reduce the risk of disease. Here are some dietary tips you can use to improve your health.

Avoid Junk Food

Avoid junk foods with low nutritional values and additives such as artificial flavoring and coloring, as most of them contain chemicals that your body isn’t familiar with and can cause certain problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and irritable bowel movements.

Eat Foods with Good Nutritional Values

Let’s suppose a person has a calorie requirement of 1600 calories a day. He can either get these calories from healthy foods with good nutritional values, such as beans, vegetables or salads, or he can get them through unhealthy foods such as bagels, donuts or junk food. The calorie requirement is the same but he would be getting a more nutritious diet by choosing the former option, thus making him healthier.

Add Unrefined and Uncooked Foods in Your Diet

Natural foods contain relatively more nutrients as compared to their refined counterparts. For example, refined flour lacks the fiber and other nutrients that whole grain contains. Cooking can also destroy many of the beneficial nutrients in food, so it is important to add some raw fruits and vegetables in your diet to balance out the nutrient requirement.

Avoid Fried Food Items

Though they may seem tempting, a high consumption of fried foods can directly lead to certain health problems such as high cholesterol and heart problems. If you live a busy lifestyle which doesn’t give you time to exercise, fried foods can also cause obesity.

Don’t Use Too Much Salt and Sugar 

Too much salt results in high blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of developing health problems. High levels of sugar can also increase the risk of diabetes. Try to reduce the amount of salt or sugar you use in food items.

Ask Your Chiropractor for Advice

As most chiropractors have information on nutritional requirements, you can ask your chiropractor to advise you further on what you should include and what you should exclude from your diet. A chiropractor can also formulate you a proper diet plan which you can follow to stay healthy.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: A Matched Set by Tony Alter

Dangers of Spine Surgery: What Doctors Won’t Tell You

Low back pain has become a very common occurrence nowadays with over 12 million Americans visiting their doctors with complaints of chronic back pain every year; while over a 100 million visit a chiropractor.

Problems with the spinal column can cause devastating effects on a person’s life. It deprives them of their mobility and flexibility.  Even everyday activities become a challenge in some cases.  With so many of such cases and the advancements in medical science, it is ironic to see a huge number of people being misdiagnosed and prescribed spinal surgery as the only treatment.

Spinal surgery itself carries around a 20% risk of a failure.  Failed spinal surgeries often result in no improvement, worsened pain, and sometimes, even death.

General Physicians, spine specialists and orthopedic surgeons have proven in many cases that they have no clue as to the root causes of back problems.  In a review of low back-pain causes, Andrew Frank, a physician in Rheumatology and Rehabilitation concluded ‘Up to 85% of patients with low back pain cannot be given a definitive diagnosis because of the poor associations between symptoms, signs, imaging results and pathological findings’ (BMJ, 3 April 1993).

Risks Associated with Specific Surgical Procedures

Apart from incorrect diagnoses, each type of spinal surgery procedure carries its own set of risks:


A laminectomy requires removal of parts of a bone, bone spurs and ligaments from the back with the aim of relieving pressure on spine nerves.  This procedure can result in a less stable spine, leading to another surgery.

Spinal Fusion

A spinal fusion procedure is the most common type of surgery carried out for back pains.  A surgeon joins the vertebrae together to restrict movement between the spinal bones.  This in turn limits the stretching of spine nerves.

An incomplete fusion requires the patient to undergo another surgery.  Smoking on the other hand, increases the chances of an incomplete fusion to occur.


Foraminotomy requires a surgeon to remove a bone from the sides of the vertebrae in an attempt to widen the space for spine nerves.

This surgery can also cause the spine to lose stability.

Disc Replacement Surgery

A damaged spinal disc is removed and replaced by inserting an artificial disk.  The introduction of a foreign object into the body always carries a risk of dislocation or breaking, leading to a hardware fracture.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Flickr – Official U.S. Navy Imagery – A doctor performs surgery.jpg

Computer Ergonomics

Ergonomics is a field which is fast becoming popular, because of its focus on designing and providing working spaces and stations, suitable and convenient for humans. The need for ergonomically fit furniture and work environment has become tenfold, because of the highly competitive and stressful work requirements in the industry these days. Absence of ergonomics at work and home puts strain on individuals and they tire out easily. The different muscular pains and strains contracted because of a stressful working environment are treated efficiently by chiropractors.

Computer and Ergonomics

Many individuals spend a major portion of their day working on computers in the office or at home. The long hours spent in front of computers and laptops have a harmful effect on the physical health of an individual, causing different musculoskeletal disorders.

Such individuals run a high risk of contracting back aches, neck pains, shoulder and arm aches and carpal tunnel problems. These medical conditions are very painful and hamper the work of the individual, both at home and in the office.

Ergonomically designed furniture and working environments are specifically constructed with an eye to provide a suitable and stress free work surrounding to individuals, which minimizes the risk of contracting various muscular strains, which ultimately affect the efficiency of an individual.

Individuals experience physical strains, while working on computers, because of their negligence in maintaining a suitable body posture, which results in pains in the back, neck and shoulders. Computers need to be placed in a suitable way to facilitate working, without any strain.

Different musculoskeletal disorders are contracted by individuals, who work on computers and laptops, for long periods of time, without ergonomically fit desk spaces and laptop stands. Computers and laptops need to be positioned according to the ergonomics specified guidelines, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and body posture.

The absence of ergonomically designed computer desk spaces and furniture, results in different painful medical conditions, like:

Carpal Tunnel: The median nerve in the wrist contracts, due to over exertion, which results in a tingling and sometimes numb sensation in the thumb, index and ring finger. In extreme cases, the patient experiences great pain and swelling which requires a few weeks of healing time.

Repetitive Strain Injury: Caused by repeated tasks and forceful exertions, in which the body experiences pain in the back, neck and shoulder area. In some cases, this might also affect the legs and thighs of an individual.

Bursitis: It is a condition which involves the inflammation of the bursa, a sac filled with lubricating fluid which facilitates in movement. It is a very painful condition for the affected individual.

By using ergonomically fit furniture and computer desk spaces, individuals can reduce the risk of contracting different painful strains and muscular disorders. Chiropractors provide effective treatments to the individuals suffering from different musculoskeletal problems.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.png

Back Problems in Teens

Will a chiropractor ever treat an adolescent during his professional career? Junior took a baseball right in the back. Julie fell off the human pyramid during cheerleading practice and landed on her back. Needless to say, parents of athletic adolescents are usually first in line at the chiropractic office.

Can Teens Suffer from Back Problems?

While back problems are more common in adults, they are a rarity in teens since the latter is more flexible and agile. That is why any backaches that accompany any athletic event (such as contact sports) should be immediately checked by a chiropractor.

Back Conditions in Teens

Back conditions that can affect teens or kids include –

  • Any pain that worsens by performing gymnastic activities such as handsprings or the butterfly stroke in swimming may be indicative of spinal conditions such as Spondylolysis. Younger athletes have more chances of developing the condition than older kids who take part in sporting activities.  The condition is often caused by over-use that causes constant trauma and is one of the most common causes of back pain in kids.
  • This is also why the condition has more chances of occurring during a teen’s growth spurt, which is also why it is more common in boys rather than girls. A chiropractor might diagnose Spondylolysis in teens who are aged between 15 and 16.
  • Any type of backache that causes compromises a teen’s balance or coordination may be caused by a problem in the spinal cord.

Adolescents and teens might put themselves in dangerous situations more than the average five year old, but the fact remains that they are still kids.  In other words, they tend to be more aggressive in their activities than younger children. A four year old will probably not stick his hand in a light socket if he has been electrocuted once. However an adolescent will have to keep stressing his back especially if he is pressured to make a tackle or prevent a touchdown in order for his team to win.

Parents cannot stop commercial advertising or peer pressure that expects their kids to push the envelope, but they can educate on taking better care of themselves. A teenager can always be grounded if he/she doesn’t comply to the rules, but parents will be helpless if a backache worsens or worse, ends up paralyzing their child.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Heelstretch Pyramid.jpg

Introduction to Chiropractic

What is Chiropractic?

Being a type of manual therapy, the practitioner utilizes techniques, forces and manipulations that are administered chiefly by hands. The spinal cord is the center of all therapies for a chiropractic doctor. Their belief is that the spine is the central structure as it allows messages from different parts of the body to reach the brain and vice versa. Under the state of paralysis in any part of the body, it is the spinal cord that can make any limb completely nonfunctional.

Spine Manipulation

Keeping the vitality of the spine in mind, D. D. Palmer brought to life the concept of spine manipulation to deal with vertebral subluxation. It is the practice of applying varying amounts of force to the area of concern in the spine to restore normal functioning.  Palmer is popular for applying this technique to a deaf individual (deafness not present at birth) and being successful at restoring his hearing capabilities.


Primarily a chiropractic practitioner deals with a vertebral subluxation. A subluxation is when the spine loses its normal positioning and the neural pathway dysfunction causes a compromise in the functioning of several different parts of the body including the visceral system. A subluxation occurs as a result of a trauma, injury or even a chemical imbalance in the body.

Chiropractic’s Forte 

A thorough examination is undertaken before your doctor performs any chiropractic techniques to relieve your pain. Several conditions are beyond the realm of this care. If you have a neurological condition, then you will be recommended to a neurologist and will not be administered any care procedures under a chiropractic practitioner. Other such conditions that cannot be dealt with manual therapies include tumors, broken bones, osteoporosis and arthritis. Areas that can be called its forte are pain in the upper and lower back, neck pain, and headaches, minor injuries related to sports, asthma, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, menstrual pains and the like.

Neck pain

This is said to be the second most valid reason for paying a visit to a chiropractic practitioner. However, neck pain can be caused by a variety of reasons. Several of which can be dealt with utilizing chiropractics. With cervical disc degenerative diseases, pinched cervical nerve, minor injuries to ligaments, herniated disc disease and the like, chiropractic can be very effective.

When the neck becomes an area of concern, several other parts of the body can suffer the impact. Weakness in the arms, shoulders and hands, the tingling sensation in parts of the body supplied by the neck suffer along with the pain in neck. Therefore, dealing with neck pain with the help of a chiropractic practitioner is a wise decision.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Spine and Disc Herniation by Michael Dorausch

Why Spinal Surgery is a Bad Idea

Because it takes the smallest mistake to permanently paralyze a healthy individual, a fact that any chiropractor will attest to. There is always a risk of injury involved in spinal surgery.

Almost 80% of the people in the country will complain about lower back pain at some point in their lives. More work days are missed because of spinal pain than any other sort of ailment. This also places it as one of the most common causes of disabilities right after cardiovascular disease.

However, most people would rather seek the services of certified chiropractors than their doctors. Doctors usually prescribe numbing medication or painful surgical procedures like spinal surgery for patients who complain of repetitive chronic pain. But that is hardly a permanent solution and also involves a great deal of risks.

What can go Wrong:

Transitional Syndrome

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the spine has to do with its behavior. Your spine behaves like a chain of repeated segments. Each of the individual segments works as a whole to share the workload that is involved in moving the body by sharing the load along the spinal column. In other words the stress that is imposed on the spine during the movement is shared amongst the segments.

However such a process can only happen seamlessly when the spine is healthy. When one or more of the segments doesn’t work as they should their neighboring segments have to pick up the slack and work harder. The segment that is closest to the dysfunctional one gets most of the stress. This means that the area near where the spinal surgery was performed takes on more stress.  This is what is known as transitional syndrome since it occurs due to the transition of a healthy area of the spine to the fused area.

General practitioners and even orthopedic surgeons can never claim to know what causes pain in the back. To them, complex procedures like spinal surgery appear as handy default treatments. This is not to mention the disastrous residual pain that is caused by inappropriate surgery. Such a complication is more of a possibility after common spinal surgeries, such as laminectomies, in which a disc is removed to give the nerve near the central spinal cord more space to move, or fusion, in which a vertebra is surgically joined to another to restrict excess movement.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Illu vertebral column.jpg