Dr.’s Notes: Herbs for Weight Loss
One of the most common questions I receive from patients involves using herbs for weight loss. We all want to find a natural, easy, and a safe way to lose weight without hours of exercising. The answer to this desire is, “dream on”. However, unlike Aerosmith’s song, “dream on until your dream comes true”, this dream is not happening anytime soon. The simplest way to lose weight using pill-form has proven to be very damaging to the human body. As for now, sensible diet and exercise seems to be the method of choice.
However, there are still some natural products you can use to induce better metabolism without any side effect. Probably the best natural product to increase metabolism is coffee. Coffee does stimulate metabolism and the recent research shows that it helps in maintaining good blood glucose level. Off course, the problem seems to be the addictive nature, and the side-effects of coffee. Anything beyond two cups seems to affect our function such as mood, sleeping patterns, and cardiac rhythm. Drinking coffee can also be calorically high. To make the bitter taste of coffee delicious many add a lot of creamer and sugar that cancels the metabolic goodness of coffee. One can easily add up 40-80 calories of sugar and creamer to make coffee desirable.
The other herbs that may help in weight loss is green tea. Green tea seems to have the specific antioxidants that help increase metabolism. However low it may be, one must again, take into consideration the issues of caffeine when drinking green tea. Seaweed or kelp is a natural metabolic stimulant. Although I do not like having my hyperactive thyroid patients take kelp because it does stimulate the thyroid gland. Ginseng, Nettle, and Hoodia herbs are potent herbs for weight loss. It is noteworthy to state, that Hoodia, (aka, Hoodia Gordonii) works by suppressing the appetite, not increasing metabolism. Having said all this, I will go back to my old unyielding position of good diet and exercise. Call, email, or just set an appointment with us to discuss any questions. We feel better when you feel better. So don’t just “dream on”, make it happen.
Dr. Manfred Alkhas M.Div., D.C.
Good Life Chiropractic
In my practice I see people in pain on a daily basis. Some walk-in with ice packs, walkers, back braces, wheelchairs, and etc. But as far as severity, no pain comes close to a full blown migraine headache. Such patients walk into my practice usually very medicated, with dark sunglasses on due to photophobia, a bucket or a bag for vomiting, and almost always accompanied by a friend or a spouse. This is a snapshot of a migraine patient.
The good news is that over 90% of our migraine patients feel immediate relief after their first visit. It usually takes us less than 10 minutes to clear over 60-70% of the headache. Hard to believe! Let me make it more interesting: almost all of these patients become migraine-free when they go through the corrective treatment. What is the corrective treatment and why does it work?
It was 1988. I was 21 years old, studying neurophysiology at Palmer-West Chiropractic College. Out of pure coincidence I did some research on migraine headaches. Just by way of simple anatomy, I realized that there was a clear connection between the C1 and C2 cervical nerves and a certain nerve bundle in the brain that are linked to migraine headaches. My interest peaked and I continued to enrich my spinal adjustment techniques using different methods that improved upper cervical correction. The breakthrough happened when I met a well known Sacro-Occipital Technique teacher named Dr. Roy Skidmore, who passed away in September of 2001. It was through merging the Palmer Diversified Technique and the Sacro-Occipital Technique that our clinic has been able to produce amazing results with different types of headaches including migraine. A usual headache examination consists of:
- Full history evaluation of the patient
- History of previous spinal traumas
- Hereditary issues
- Evaluation of the patient’s work and home ergonomics
- Full spinal evaluation of the patient
- A dietary analysis of the patient
- Computer scan of the spinal nerves
- Thermography analysis of the spinal muscles
- Complete x-ray evaluation of the patient’s cervical spine
After the evaluation is completed, the patient is set for the report of finding visit, which takes about 45 minutes and introduces to the adjustment plan and lifestyle changes required for maximum improvement. Time wise, an average migraine adjustment visit is at least twice as long as other appointments at our office. These treatments are usually formulated and tailored specifically to the needs of the patients according to their spinal problems.
Results vary, but the majority of migraine patients feel significant improvements in about 4-6 weeks, and begin to see a decrease in the frequency and intensity of the headaches. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a patient free from the fangs of migraine headaches. The experience is usually emotionally overwhelming and causes other members of the family and friends to become chiropractic patients as well.
TMJ Dysfunction or Temporo-mandibular Joint Dysfunction is a cluster of symptoms associated with the jaw joint. The name is indicative of the joint formation via the mandible and the temporal bones of the head. The joint has a cartilaginous disc in between its articulation that may be injured during biting, trauma (severe whiplash injuries or blow to the mandible) or slow chronic grinding of teeth. Although the joint pain is usually considered very benign, the consequences of TMJ Syndrome can be very difficult. Unfortunately, in some cases, TMJ Syndrome can last for years, and due to inconclusive treatment protocols and lack of research, many patients seek help from doctor to doctor with minimal relief.
Dr. Manfred’s training in TMJ Syndrome treatments started in 1989 when he personally faced the disease. Due to the severe stress of clinic entrance exams at Palmer Chiropractic College, Dr. Manfred, then a student at the school, noticed severe jaw pain which forced him into liquid diets for weeks. Finally, out of sheer desperation Dr. Manfred consulted one of his adjustment instructors and asked for help. Using the Activator Method and only two visits, Dr. Manfred was pain free with immense interest in treating this debilitating disease.
A good practitioner must diagnose by finding the core cause of the disease. The patient must be evaluated for any arthritic diseases, hereditary possibilities, traumas to neck and face such as car accidents or sport injuries, bite or dental issues, and grinding of teeth such as bruxism. TMJ Syndrome is diagnosed when pain, lack of mobility, or noise such as popping sounds present during normal jaw function. About 20 to 30% of the adults are affected by this disease and the majority of the patients are females. The treatment consists of:
- Decreasing TMJ inflammation
- Decreasing joint fixation using gentle and pain-free chiropractic adjustments
- Improving bilateral muscle balance using specific jaw exercises to retrain the involved muscles
- Improving jaw muscle tonicity by using specific TMJ exercises
- Treating the cervical spine (neck) if involved in the TMJ Syndrome
- Possible referral to a dentist for occlusal adjustment (bite adjustment)
- In severe cases where medical intervention is needed, the patient may be referred for more invasive treatments such as injecting anti-inflammatory in involved soft tissue or using botox injections to relax the involved muscle
If you are suffering from TMJ Syndrome or think you may be having some jaw discomfort, feel free to call our office for a quick evaluation of the condition. Such diseases should be first treated using conservative methods before any invasive procedures are utilized. The jaw joint is an incredibly sensitive joint and lack of ease in this joint can decrease the quality of life. Pain during eating, pain at night during sleeping and jaw pain at work due to stress can be fatiguing. The sooner you seek help the better your chances of beating this disease.
Degenerative Disc Disease or arthritis of the spine is not a disease of aging. The majority of patients have been forced to believe that age is the cause of their Degenerative Disc Disease. Age does not degenerate any joints. To prove this point, just look at other areas of the spine and you will be amazed to find young, hydrated, thick and well-nourished joints present next to the degenerated ones in patients who are in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s. If age causes degeneration, then all the discs of the spine should be degenerating together. Why is it that certain areas of the spine degenerate and others do not? If age is not the cause, then what is causing some discs to degenerate?
The answer is elementary biomechanics. When a joint’s biomechanical function is disrupted, the motion of the joint is altered. Motion allows the flow of nutrition within the joint capsule and the cartilage. By itself, cartilage does not have much vasculature. In fact, spinal discs lose almost all arterial circulation after the age of 30. Ultimately, motion of the spine becomes the primary form of circulation of the joint capsule, pumping nutrition in and out of the discs. Once this motion is disrupted, the flow of nutrition changes at cellular levels. This begins the first phase of degeneration, which is dehydration of the disc. At this stage of degeneration, the disc can bulge out, like a balloon, and impinge on nerves or cause irritation of the surrounding tissues.
The next phase occurs due to the bulging disc’s extra stress upon the surrounding ligaments. The body feels the irritation and extra pressure and begins to calcify the surrounding tissues irritated by the collapsing disc. This is the second stage of the Degenerative Disc Disease. We call these calcifications “spurs”. The common medical name for these spurs are “osteophytes”. Years go by and if the irritation is not halted, the spurs become large enough and the dehydrating disc small enough for the joint to totally fuse together. At this stage, the patient’s mobility is compromised and the patient might feel severe and constant pain and nerve symptoms. It is not uncommon that the majority of conservative cares such as chiropractic, physical therapy, and acupuncture fail these patients. The doctor must be keen to quickly diagnose the severity of the disease and possibly refer the patient for more medical care such as cortisone injections or surgical intervention.
It is absolutely imperative for anyone with Degenerative Disc Disease to be evaluated by a chiropractor who understands the magnitude of joint mobility and its role in joint degeneration and osteoarthritis. Such doctors are hailed as “lifesavers” by people who have found relief through their care. By normalizing the joint mobility, the disc begins to experience the flow of nutrition. This can slow the progression of the disease, or even stop it. At Good Life Chiropractic we do not just blame “age” for a disease. Age is a major health factor, but some of our patient, at Golden Age enjoy full spinal mobility with x-ray results that compare to people less than half their age.
Some of the most grateful chiropractic patients began their spinal alignment journey at pregnancy. During this transitional time of life, a woman’s body experiences major hormonal and biomechanical changes that can cause mental and physical stress. It is during this time that the weight of the fetus begins to weigh upon the mother’s spine and change the dynamics of her spinal alignment. These changes can cause major subluxations (vertebral misalignments) that can lead to joint inflammation or even nerve impingements.
One of the most well-studied hormones that causes joint laxity is the Relaxin hormone. Relaxin hormone is known to rise during the first trimester of pregnancy. The peak levels of Relaxin hormone are experienced during the 14 weeks of the first trimester and at delivery. The primary function of this hormone is to soften the pelvic ligaments to open the way for the baby to glide through the birth canal. At this point, the pubic symphysis joint is softened and the iliac crest bones of the hips have fanned out backward to allow for the needed extra space. Unfortunately, this softening of the ligaments creates instability in the entire spine, especially at the low back and hip regions. It is at this stage of pregnancy that the mother is prone to bone misalignments and nerve impingements. Thus, these treatments are essential in promoting wellness during pregnancy:
- Proper pregnancy adjustments to ensure spinal alignment
- Pregnancy exercises to strengthen core muscles and spinal stability
- Good nutrition, especially minerals, for tendons and ligament rehabilitation
Pregnancy should be one of the most rewarding and positive experiences of life.
Do not let pain and discomfort make pregnancy a nightmare. Many of our patients have come to believe in the benefits of chiropractic through pregnancy treatments. They testify that their pregnancies with chiropractic care were much easier and positive than the pregnancies without the care. If you have any questions regarding this topic or want to begin your chiropractic care due to pregnancy discomforts, feel free to call us for a thorough evaluation. It is noteworthy to state that majority of our pediatric patients (child patients) started chiropractic care before birth, in the womb, when the mother started pregnancy adjustments.
The most important system in human body is the Central Nervous System. The CNS includes the spine and the brain. The rest of the nervous system is called the Peripheral Nervous System. It is within the CNS that identity, beliefs, attitude, behavior and the control of every other system and organ in human body is neurologically regulated. All the other systems in human body exist to maintain the integrity and health of the Central Nervous System. This system is protected and nourished by the skull and the vertebral column of the skeletal system. The movement of the skull and the vertebrae allow fluid circulation in the Central Nervous System. Once the motion of the skull and the vertebral column is compromised, the health of the Central Nervous System is at risk. Any misalignment or fixation of the bone in the vertebral column that causes nerve dysfunction is called Subluxation.
Subluxation of the spine can cause back pain and nerve dysfunctions such as sciatic pain. If left untreated, subluxation of the spine can lead to more degenerative diseases that may be permanent. Degenerative Disc Disease is the most common condition that follows spinal subluxation and causes destruction of the disc in between the vertebrae and possible impingements of spinal nerve roots that exit the spinal cord to provide essential neurological information to the rest of the body.
If you are dealing with any form of back or neck pain, please feel free to use our website to increase your knowledge regarding the conditions which you may be suffering from. It is absolutely important for you to take any form of back pain very seriously, for it involves the most delicate and essential system of your body, the Central Nervous System. At Good Life Chiropractic we provide the most advanced and holistic approach to treating acute and chronic spinal conditions. We also strongly recommend that you call our office and have a free consultation before you make any decisions regarding your spinal health. We take your health very seriously and hope to be part of your success story.
Dr. Manfred Alkhas M.Div., D.C.
I have heard health practitioners say, “Death begins in the colon.” I disagree strongly. Colon is an organ comprised of smooth muscles and glands that does what the nervous system dictates. It is true that lack of toxic filtration can cause life threatening diseases. Truly, colon malfunction can cause death. But this logic begs the question of cause behind colon’s malfunction. Why did the colon get sick and became abnormal in the first place. The master system behind all other systems is the central nervous system. When the central nervous system malfunctions then the rest of the systems follow the disease course. Ultimately, if correction is not made, healing does not happen, and serious health consequences are inevitable.
My point is to slightly redirect your focus regarding health. Eat well, exercise, be happy, love others, give, see the greater purpose, and continue learning to keep your nervous system healthy. Once your nervous system functions well the other systems such as muscles, glands, vasculature, bones, and individual organs will follow like well maintained machines. That is the eternal unchanging verity of health law. Focus on the master system-the central nervous system. Feed it good food, exercise it regularly, and save it from any injurious traumas, may it be psychological or physical. Once you have the main idea, the rest follows.
Dr. Manfred Alkhas M.Div., D.C.
Founder and the Treating Doctor at:
Good Life Chiropractic
280 E. Hamilton Ave. Ste E.
Campbell, Ca 95008