Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Still Here on Earth and Still Conscious

Hello Friends!

Just writing to let you know that I have not fallen off the face of the earth, and am still Turning 60 Consciously! I am currently researching self-publishing, and beginning the layout of this book. I now realize that there is a lot of work ahead in editing, designing and getting it published. I have not decided whether to make the push and try to have printed copies in hand by Oct 5, 2011 - my bday - or take it a bit easier.

If you want a copy of the book, please consider a pre-order. I know for certain the cost will be a maximum of $20.

Kris :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

DAY 289 - Google + Us May = Better Health

Google has released a beta version of a new social networking platform that may compete with Facebook, and that provides a number of very attractive and functional features not offered by Facebook. Unlike Facebook, the Google+ project allows you to choose which groups you want to share things with. Google+ also offers free video conferencing which it calls Hangouts.

So what’s the connection between hanging out on Google, and health?

Individuals can now come together, without leaving their own homes, to share, and discuss the important issue of health; personal, public or global.

Shortly, I will begin using Google Hangouts to consult with some of my patients.

Community of Health Ventura” public health education meetings will begin offering Google Hangout attendance at our monthly meetings. I will use this function to enable other health experts to join us and speak on the areas of their expertise. Right now I’m thinking about inviting my friend, Thomas Sult, MD (3rd Opinion: Functional Medicine Clinic) of Willmar, Minnesota, to speak to us about the practice of Functional Medicine.

Groups like the Ojai Valley Green Coalition and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions could expand access to their monthly meetings, and their work on local and global issues by offering live video conferencing of the events.

I am also imagining and looking into offering mini-classes on health, chiropractic and Functional Medicine to teachers in classrooms in the Ojai Unified School District and the Ventura Unified School District.

This excites me!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

DAY 286 – What’s The Point?

The Point is a revolutionary way for individuals to combine their influence and make things happen they can't achieve alone.

Whether you’re asking people to do something or give money, people only contribute if they think it makes a difference. On The Point, all campaigns have a “tipping point” — people pledge to give money or do something, but no one does a thing until the conditions are met to make contributions worthwhile. That way, you can gather all the resources needed to be successful before anyone is asked to take action. The Point aims to fix the problems with online petitions, mass letter-writing tools, or many fundraising efforts — it’s not clear how participation translates into results.

Campaigns on The Point are results-oriented, create real incentives for change, and only ask people to act when it actually makes a difference. The Point rethinks group action from the ground up to leverage the Web, opening the door for solving problems that couldn’t be addressed otherwise.

And, what’s Our Point?

Well, our dear friend, Rachel Morris, President of Ventura Climate Care Options Organized Locally (VCCool), a committed environmentalist and cyclists, had her bicycle stolen on June 19th. For years, Rachel has given an enormous amount of time and work to our community and to our earth. She has earned, and deserved our support in this time of need.

I had heard of The Point, and now we had one! That same day I went to the site, and set up a campaign called Replace Rachel’s Stolen Bike. Friends and supporters were asked to contribute $5 or more to get us to $500 to buy a new bike for Rachel. Worked like a charm; 20 days later, on July 9th we were at The $500 Tipping Point, enough for the new bike!

The Point? United, we’re getting Rachel a new bike.

Together, what else can we make happen? Get My Point?

Friday, July 15, 2011

DAY 285 - A Family Plan

Through the ages, families have commonly found themselves fractured; members at odds and out of touch with one another.

While telecoms now offer “family plans”; a cell phone for every member, suggesting that through wireless signals we will be, and feel connected, one need not be a marriage and family therapist to know that American families need plans with much greater connectivity than what these offer.

Great emotional suffering arising from falling-outs among members is a staple of family dynamics. Few escape, yet not once have I heard of a plan created and utilized by a family to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of mutual care and connection for its members.

I don’t know of a family that has not suffered. Mine surely has.

Most people appear to believe that feuding among family members is inevitable; comes with the territory; grin and bear it, or make a residential move equivalent to Fort Lauderdale to Juno. Another interrupter is a common belief that a member or members are hopelessly impossible to deal with.

My family has not adopted a plan. I doubt that the majority of the adults have considered the need for or value of a plan.

For years I have given thought to this issue, and in my view, the process, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), is a gentle and powerful framework that could seamlessly serve as a family’s plan for creating and maintaining the closeness that we all want.

Core beliefs of NVC include:
-each person is inherently good and wants to live in harmony with others,
-fear or unease causes us to behave in unharmonious ways,
-careful and respectful listening is powerful and eases fears,
-attempted communication while in a state of distress is apt to do harm to others and to relationships,
-communication while in a state of calm and compassion, engenders trust and cooperation.

As done with marriages and world peace, we can keep on using the old, tried-and-failed approach of giving things our best, well-meaning attempt, and then settle for failure, or we could begin making family plans.

Monday, July 4, 2011

DAY 274 - The Real Fireworks in My Life

As I write, it is July 4, 2011. Some of my family, including my wife, my kids, their significant others, my grandkids, and I are vacationing in a beautiful house on the beach in Mexico.

On this special day, let me say that I AM a patriot; not a love-it-or-leave-it patriot, but maybe what you would call an Obama-style patriot; grateful to have been born in our wonderful Country (turns out he was too), knowing that we are better than no one, and valuing global cooperation for the common good. But, as you might suspect from the title, today’s consciousness post is not about celebration of the birth of my Country, it’s about something bigger.

Mid-morning today, some family off to the local market, others on the beach, my daughter Jovi and I found ourselves in conversation about family; challenges, and the desire of each member to be a loving and loved part of the whole. In a quiet moment, during which I had come up for air, Jovi said, “Dad, I know how much you love me.” ... I felt it welling up inside me. I got up from my side of the corner sofa, knelt beside her and caressed her head. As I thanked her, I began to sob, not painfully, but deeply in my gut. It came in waves. Tears, sobbing, gratitude, relief. “Many people would give the world for this. ... I would give the world for this”, I said between sobs.

That’s my kind of fireworks.

It’s not that I didn’t know my daughter’s love. Apparently, I need reminders, reconfirmation.

There is no question I have fixated on wanting to be a good dad. For me, that means, most importantly, that they know I love them, and feel I treat them in a loving way. I am home when I know their love for me.

What I would wish, this July 4th, for our Nation, and for the entire world, is for more individuals to accept the love others feel for them, and clearly express the love they have for others.

Happy Interdependence Day!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

DAY 270 - Miracle Cure Brings Tears to Troubled Eyes

Photo by Megyarsh
Ten months before, and virtually overnight, this 57-year-old woman began a progressive loss of vision in both eyes. Fearful, she began asking for, searching for help.

After consulting with 5 doctors, including an optometrist, and an ophthalmologist, she was left with a diagnosis of pseudopapilledema, no understanding of the cause, and no relief.

Today, accompanied by her husband, she was in my office. After a thorough medical history I explained that there were a number of important aspects of her physiology that could be affecting her vision. I also told her that there was ample evidence in her history indicating that dysfunction in her neck could be playing a role in her loss of vision.

I outlined a number of lifestyle measures that I wanted her to take, including removal of potential dietary allergens, nutritional supplementation, and the taking of epsom salts baths.

Finally, I examined her entire spine for areas of stiffness, and manipulated, with particular attention to the neck, those joints that did not move freely. No treatment other than manipulation of the spine was provided.

The visit concluded and the patient was advised to return for a follow-up appointment.

Thirty minutes later, while treating another patient, my office manager (and wife) came to the treatment room door, apologized for interrupting, and stated that the previous patient was on the phone and crying with joy. When I got to the phone, the patient was still crying. She apologized, and through her tears told me that on the drive home she realized that her vision had improved enough that she was able to read the road signs.

Note: I use the word “cure” here, loosely, to draw attention to a very important true account. While “cure” is probably an overstatement, it is obvious that the effect of this one spinal treatment provided clear-cut improvement in the patient’s vision in less than 30 minutes. Not a bad start.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

DAY 266 - The Mother Who Could

photo courtesy of mdanys at flickr
It can be very difficult for a mother, who is responsible for preparing food for her family, to lay down the law with one of her children in regard to what the child eats; even when the rules are for the child’s and the family’s health. The following is the account of a patient of mine, a mother who could.

“When I first saw the doctor we discussed at length my medical and family history.  Then we started talking about my 3-year-old son.  My husband and I have experienced behavioral problems with him since he was about 8 months old.  My son’s diet consisted of two things, banana baby food and milk.  He was very irritable, hyperactive, and did not listen.  His behavior was very unmanageable.  There was constant stress in our household.

The doctor [Dr. Young] suggested that I try eliminating the dairy and the bananas. He said that it was very possible my son was allergic to dairy.  The banana baby food was made of mostly sugar. I reluctantly changed his diet.  I was reluctant because I was afraid he would starve.  He did not.  We started him on soy milk and completely cut out the banana baby food. It was a difficult transition, but it worked.

My son is now a happy little boy. There is a light in his eyes. He sings, he laughs instead of crying and screaming.  He's no longer the same irritable little boy.  His behavior is much better than I could have ever imagined.  I am so thankful for the advice and genuine concern for my family's well-being.  I owe the doctor my sanity.”

Note: It takes two, in this case, to tango; a doctor that knows, and a mother who can. When the two come together, the outcome is often health and sanity.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DAY 262 - Too Big to Poison?

As a child it never dawned on me to think about where the gasoline and paint that I put down the drain would go, nor what they might kill.

That was real magic; toxic crap disappearing down a little hole, and everyone was happy.

I was taught that it was OK to pee in the ocean. Oceans were too big to poison. We weren't imagining that in 1997over 600 million head of US livestock would be urinating in our waterways.

Bank of America may be too big to fail, but our Earth’s ecosystem isn’t. We are running it into the ground.

What a great time for all of us to wake up and realize that that little hole feeds back into our own nest. And it is high time we stop fouling it.

DAY 262 - The Road Back

Dr. Sult and me
In a recent e-mail, my dear friend, and brilliant medical doctor, Tom Sult wrote, “The road from chronic dis-ease is generally not convenient.”

Understated, and true.

My advice to all who find it difficult to make time for actively building health, beware Sult’s rule of the road.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DAY 261 - Who Would Have Guessed?

As we have learned more about ourselves and the universe in which we live, we have relatively recently learned that while the human body is made up of roughly 10 trillion cells, there are roughly 100 trillion one-celled organisms, bacteria and fungi, living in and on us. Ten times as many of their cells as ours.

Knowing this, could and should change one’s life.

If it doesn’t jump out at you, at least, consider what they eat, and who’s feeding them.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

DAY 259 - Almost Desperate Father

Dearest Jovi and Kenn,

Fathers’ Day today:

An incredibly clear, direct, and felt expression of your love for me in a Facebook post, Jovi. A pdf card in my e-mail from you, Kenn; “I Love You” in black and white, with color photos from our past. Then we video-conferenced; both of you in the State of New York, your Mom and I in California. What a pleasure seeing you, almost being with you; most importantly, feeling I was with you.

25 years ago, before your teens, it dawned on me that while I had always been aware of the intense, if not desperate desire of kids to be loved by their parents, I had been clueless that many parents are desperate to be loved by their kids. This new notion would become important to me as I began to realize my own needs.

One of the very most important parts of my life is trying to be a great father to you; not perfect, just great. I am not entirely clear why this is so important to me. Of course, you are wonderful people, and I am so fortunate to have you in my life. Maybe it has to do in part with a sense of responsibility; we brought you into this world. The least I could do would be to show you that I will always take your lives seriously and try to be as gentle and loving as possible.

Anyway, at times I find myself mildly-desperately wanting to be a great father to you. I really want to get it right.

Others reading this, would reasonably assume that we have had difficulties with our relationships. Thankfully, if we have, I was unaware. I have always felt, heard, and seen your love. Even so, seems like I would feel even better if you were hugging me all the time.

As young adults, each of you expressed that you would enjoy living with your Mom and me again in the future in a “family compound”. As they say, “that meant the world to me”. We can, and do love others that we are not necessarily comfortable being with for extended periods; like living with. Saying that you would enjoy living with me again, especially, said while you were still young adults, was such a comfort for me. I am not sure there are words that you could say that would give me more assurance that I was doing a great job.

You know that I am not trying to be “great”, as in being better than others. I just want you to know that I care deeply about you, and I want to have behaved toward you as to be a lift in your life, rather than a load.

Over the years, in trying to stack the deck, I have asked, if not implored each of you to provide me with feedback at any and all times should you feel that I was being inconsiderate or harmful to you in any way. It would hurt too much to find out later that I had caused you discomfort.

The job is not done until I am dead. Until then I will be trying to be a great father to you; one of my greatest dreams.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DAY 255 - Is it All About Pregnancy?

photo by Steve_Jane_Sjjphotography
True story ...

A mother and 15-year-old daughter went to see the family’s general practitioner due to the daughter having not begun to menstruate.

Mother: Sally is 15 and she is still not menstruating. I’m concerned, and wonder what we should do?

Doctor: Look, Sally obviously doesn't want or need to be pregnant at 15, so don't worry about it. She's fine.

The mother was completely dissatisfied with the idea that the lack of menstruation in her 15-year-old would have no potential significance or connection to her state of health. She reasonably believed that her daughter’s amenorrhea (yes, technically not diagnosed until age 16) might be an indication of some imbalance.

My commentary: This incident provides us the opportunity to realize that the lack of a critical human function such as menstruation should be considered a red flag. Obviously, regular periods in a teen are an indication of good general health. It is important to understand that less than 1% of girls in America have not started their periods by age 16.

True, interesting side story ...

I had the opportunity to treat this same young girl shortly after her medical visit. 5 days after spinal manipulation her periods began. Coincidence? Probably not, but I’ll tell you more about that in a later installment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DAY 254 - Gramma Picking Berries

Weeding, watering, planting and setting gopher traps midday today in the beauty and bounty of our organic vegetable garden. As I headed in to get cleaned up to go to the office I passed by my wife, Joanne, quietly picking blackberries. I was 30 feet closer to the house when I finally, and clearly recognized the calm and comfort that I had experienced on seeing Joanne gathering berries.

On reflection I realized that Joanne reminded me of someone’s peaceful, unhurried and loving grandmother, gathering food for the family.

Interesting that I had almost no contact with my grandparents. Interesting, neither did I grow up with vegetable gardens. But I knew this scene with its serenity.

Slightly surprised, it dawned on me that Joanne IS a gramma, though she prefers Noona. And there she was, peacefully, unhurriedly, and lovingly gathering food for our family.

Our first vegetable garden was in 1972 when we were in college. And now, here we are, Noona and Grampa working quietly in the garden.

Monday, June 13, 2011

DAY 253 - Such a Friend

turning 'round
he’s at it again
the voice and heart of the Ojai Peace Coalition
his car, a black and white statement against war
living Peace in Ojai
standing for the rights of gays and of everyone
listening to all who would speak
marching each July 4th for interdependence
singing his song about the UU Church on Ojai Radio
accepting my love and appreciation
such a comfort in my life
such a friend

(written 12/12/08)

Friday, June 10, 2011

DAY 250 – I am Not a Chiropractor ... Entirely

Dr. Young and Emma Hrabak
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. While I used to be a chiropractor, it is clear to me that now I’m only part chiropractor.

Don’t be misled, I am proud to be a chiropractor. I love that part of me.

The schism occurred between our culture’s understanding of chiropractic, and my own professional life in the healing arts.

The chiropractic profession was founded in Davenport, Iowa in 1895. The central thesis of its practice was that the function of the spine directly influenced the function of the rest of the body, and the central therapy was spinal manipulation. Though not as well known, chiropractors have historically also provided patients with physical therapy, laboratory testing; and lifestyle, exercise, and nutritional counseling. Chiropractors are licensed in all 50 states and are only limited in our scope of practice in that we cannot perform surgery nor prescribe drugs.

While many satisfied patients in the last hundred years have directly experienced, and known the benefits of chiropractic care for problems such as constipation, menstrual cramps, allergies, and elevated blood pressure; the more obvious cures were of back pain, neck pain, sciatica and headache. Understandably, what stuck in our cultural mind was that chiropractors are back doctors, the treaters of musculoskeletal complaints.

From the day that I opened my practice in 1983 I wanted to treat both musculoskeletal and other conditions. In the first few years I had the opportunity to treat 2 insulin-dependent diabetics, who within 2 weeks of beginning spinal manipulation, had to reduce the amount of insulin that they were injecting by 50%. Years later
I successfully treated a 19-year-old woman with ankylosing spondylitis who had been in and out of a wheelchair, and had been told that she would be on drugs for the rest of her life.

I have always loved relieving back pain, neck pain, and headaches, but have continued to be drawn to a deeper involvement with patients. I have also been driven by the unmet health needs of our community, our nation, and our world that  cry out for doctors who are willing and able to apply a Functional Medicine, or holistic approach to patient care.

This last month I was rewarded and fulfilled to treat an eight-year-old with excessive weight gain (unresolved medically), an adult female with severe ulcerative colitis (unresolved medically), and a two-year-old with ADHD (unresolved medically).

Thank goodness some people know that I am not a chiropractor ... entirely.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DAY 248 – Do Some People Just Like Being Miserable?

“Some people just like being miserable”, is a rock solid thesis ... in our culture.

But, if we were to release the death grip we have on it, it would plummet like a stone.

Remember, “solid” often refers to a hardening, not necessarily to truth.

And trust me, I have heard all the “proof” supporting the fact that “they” just like being miserable. “They” just want the attention; I know.  Secondary gain; right.

I Google-searched “people like to be miserable”. Have a look at these 2 blog posts from the first page of the search results:

14 Great ways to be miserable
"I have finally come to the conclusion that some people like to be miserable, that they actually feel happier when they are miserable. I’m sure that is an oxymoron, but I am guessing you know the kind of people I mean and we’re on the same page."

Some People Want to be Miserable
"There's at least one thing I've learned in my life: there are some people who want to be miserable. For whatever reason they feel more validated or more connected to reality by feeling bad or by making others feel bad."

Notice in both posts, the leap of faith, or what might be called a leap of dogma. In the first blog the author admits that liking to be miserable “is an oxymoron”. In the second blog the author is apparently not compelled to even consider why one would like to be miserable, and instead leaves us with the worthless explanatory phrase, “For whatever reason”.

This rock solid thesis is about as valid as “some people just like to drown”. Fortunately, most of us understand that the majority of folks who drown, don’t know how to swim, or are unable to survive for other reasons. Disoriented swimmers are known to fail to grab a life-preserver that is within arm’s reach. Does that mean that they like to drown?

What about the idea that some, if not many miserable people don’t know how to swim; don’t know how to swim their way out of misery? Is it possible that many are truly disoriented, and see no life-preserver, no way out?

Would it not be more humane to at least give miserable people the benefit of the doubt until we can prove on an individual basis that they actually like being miserable? Miserable until proven guilty?

Friday, June 3, 2011

DAY 243 - Are Your Allergies Making You Fat?

Add caption
Hang on! This could be a bumpy ride!

“In August 2010, researchers from Yale University published a study in the journal Obesity finding that people who took antihistamines regularly were heavier than people who didn't take them at all. The study's authors used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 to compare the body weight of 867 adults and their prescription antihistamine use. The two drugs most common in the study were ... Zyrtec, and ... Allegra, and the effect was more pronounced in men. The researchers warned that this was an observational study, and couldn't demonstrate whether antihistamines actually caused the weight gain or if obesity predisposes people to allergies.”

“[I]n a separate study, published in 2009 in the Journal of Clinical Allergy and Immunology ... [u]sing data from the same CDC survey, researchers found that obese children were more likely to suffer from allergies, specifically food allergies, than normal-weight children. "It wasn't clear to us if that really meant that the obesity was the cause of that allergic propensity or not," says Cynthia Visness, PhD, the study's lead author and a research scientist at Rho Inc., the research firm that conducted the study.”

“There isn't much literature available on the link between obesity and allergies, so possible explanations for the associations seen in these two studies are simply theories at this point, Visness says. In her study, she suggested that inflammation could play a role. Fat cells release cytokines, chemicals that promote inflammation, and an allergic reaction triggers inflammation as well.”

Here’s the bumpy part. The title of the Rodale Press article that I have quoted above, asks if allergies can make you fat. The Yale study suggests that the excess weight may be due to allergy medications. Dr. Visness of Rho Inc states that she isn’t sure whether obesity causes allergy, but concludes that obesity might be a contributor to the increased prevalence of allergic disease in children, particularly food allergy, and that systemic inflammation might play a role in the development of allergic disease.

Here is the way I see it; the dominant pathway is allergy leading to inflammation, which leads to excess body fat. From my experience treating overweight and allergic patients in the last 28 years, and from the findings of current medical science, I believe that inflammation is the central issue, with much of that inflammation arising from allergic reactions. Many individuals, including infants and young children have food allergy/reactions, inducing inflammation. Those same individuals often have diets rich in sugar and refined starch; and low in, or devoid of fresh vegetables and fruits, the effect of which additionally induces inflammation in the body. The combination of food allergy/reactions plus a nutrient-poor diet, often result in low energy and a resultant lack of physical exercise, which also increases inflammation. If that weren’t enough, the emotional stress of being overweight can also produce inflammatory chemicals.

One powerful therapy for halting this cycle of inflammation and weight gain is to determine and remove food allergens. In my experience, and in the experience of Mark Hyman, MD, a published expert in health restoration and weight loss, dairy products are one of the most common food allergens that induce weight gain. Taking a week to 2 weeks off of dairy can facilitate weight loss for some. There are those who will not respond quickly and obviously, and they will need the guidance of an experienced healthcare practitioner.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

DAY 242 - Plain White Nutritious Milk Is Making A Comeback?

Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution tell us that plain, white, nutritious milk is making a comeback. While there is no doubt that America desperately needs a Food Revolution, I hope that in his heart of hearts Jamie doesn’t see the return of unflavored, unsweetened milk as anything more than a step in the right direction.

Describing milk as nutritious can be both confusing and dangerous. If by nutritious, he means that it contains nutrients, then we are in agreement. If, however, he is using the term more broadly to imply that it is healthy for human consumption, then he is simply wrong. There is medical science, clinical observation, and personal observations that clearly prove that dairy products cause a wide variety of mild to serious ailments in many people.

I want to be clear; I support Jamie, and completely agree that we, the people of the United States of America, need nothing short of a revolution in what we eat, and in our state of health. As a people, we may not be dead, but we are very sick, and like an obese 50-year-old man with coronary artery disease, we are a culture waiting for a heart attack.

My own personal experience of dairy products causing me chronic digestive problems and arthritis by the time I was ten, is dwarfed in its influence on my views on this subject by 28 years of chiropractic practice during which I have advised thousands of patients to temporarily stop eating dairy products, and have listened to the overwhelming majority of them report health improvements ranging from decreased pain, to weight loss, to increased energy.

Me with Dr. Campbell in 2006
T. Colin Campbell, PhD, respected nutrition and health researcher, and author of the landmark China Study, had this to say, "After a long career in research and policy-making, I have decided to step 'out of the system'. I have decided to disclose why Americans are so confused. As a taxpayer who foots the bill for research and health policy in America, you deserve to know that many of the common notions you have been told about food, health and disease are wrong. [In the China Study we found that] People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease ... People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. I propose to do nothing less than redefine what we think of as good nutrition. You need to know the truth about food, and why eating the right way can save your life."

This plain, white, nutritious milk that Jamie is happy to see on the comeback, is one of the same sources of animal protein that Dr. Campbell’s exhaustive and unmatched study shows is a potent cause of cancer.

While we help Jamie create the food revolution that we desperately need, might I recommend that you read The China Study so that you and your family can learn and know that cutting down your intake of animal protein such as that found in dairy products will reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DAY 240 - Community and the Common Good

The place (Hartigan/Foley Contractors - 28 West Main Street, Ventura California 93001) was packed! The occasion today was a press conference at which Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett announced his candidacy for another term on the Board in 2012.

I could list the leaders of our community who were there to share in the announcement and to commit their support, but I won’t. What is more important is that the room was filled with individuals who are committed to the common good, and know that Steve Bennett will continue to tirelessly, and intelligently lead us toward that common good.

A smiling Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks rhetorically asked the crowd, “Isn’t it great when you can vote for someone you like?” Steve Bennett is liked because, as Sheriff Dean stated, you can trust him. He is also liked because he is caring, hard-working, dependable, smart, and looks out for all people.

It will be a pleasure voting for Supervisor Bennett next year. In the meantime, it will be a pleasure contributing time and money to assure that we continue to have his leadership.

Friday, May 27, 2011

DAY 236 - The 9 Mitzvahs of Back Pain

photo courtesy of JB London at Flickr
Loren Fishman, MD, Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City, and the author of, "Cure Back Pain with Yoga”, posted on May 10, 2011 on the Huffington Post, an article titled “The 10 Commandments of Back Pain”. I had to see what he wrote, and then I had to write my own version titled “The 9 Mitzvahs of Back Pain”.

First, Dr. Fishman’s 10 Commandments (in quotes), followed by my brief commentary:

1 – “Like the common cold, back pain will hit you at some point another, so don't panic.” – Makes it sound like the occurrence of back pain is random, when it is not.
2 – “Too much rest or too much exercise can make your backache worse, so do both in moderation.” – Americans neither get too much rest, nor too much exercise.
3 – “Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories” – Why not?
4 – “Take notes. Observe your pain so that you can report it accurately to your physician.” – Great recommendation.
5 – “Get a diagnosis.” – Diagnoses are overrated. A diagnosis is usually a simple naming of a condition; providing no understanding of what caused the condition. If offered a choice, you are better off knowing what caused your back pain, rather than the name of the flavor that you have.
6 – “Don't Underestimate The Value Of Physical Therapy” – Or, don’t underestimate the value of finally beginning to exercise during your physical therapy treatment?
7 – “Do Yoga” – You bet.
8 – “Get acupuncture.” – Absolutely. As long as you can afford yet another therapy.
9 – “Try the Alexander Technique” – Yet another valuable approach.
10 – “Consent to surgery if ...” – For the few who would need it, I agree.

And now, my 9 Mitzvahs:

1 – Everyone is going to have back pain at some time because few have learned the causes of back pain and few take care of their health. A great chiropractor can help you monitor and maintain a healthy back.
2 – Remove all dairy products from your diet until the episode is over.
3 – Take oral magnesium glycinate or SlowMag to relax muscles, and bathe in epsom salts to do the same.
4 - Gentle (and I mean gentle) stretching + general movement.
5 – Ibuprofen as needed.
6 – Chronic gut inflammation (even if unfelt) is an extremely common cause of back pain. Treatments can include; removing food allergens, magnesium to improve gut motility, probiotics, yoga, and more.
7 – Acknowledge your major stresses and your combined multitude of little ones.
8 – Low levels of Vitamin D correlate with a higher incidence of back pain. Most Americans have insufficient Vitamin D in their blood. Everyone, young and old should have their Vitamin D levels tested.
9 - Excellent chiropractic spinal adjustment can speed recovery.

I have pitched this article to the Huffington Post, and hope that they will publish it.

Dr. Young

Thursday, May 26, 2011

DAY 235 - Tooting My Own Chiropractic Horn

Joanne, Kris, Sandi and Michael - 2001
Is it OK for me to show you a 40 second video of my Canadian friend and colleague, Michael Lyon, MD, in which he states his appreciation for my chiropractic treatment of his neck?

Click on this link:

And if you want to check up on Dr. Lyon, here are some of the reasons that I value him:

Video lecture - Nutrition for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD

Author - “Is your child's brain starving?"

Author – “The Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes with Natural Medicine”

Author – “Hunger Free Forever”

Medical Director of the Canadian Centre for Functional Medicine

Served for four years as a Canadian Olympic Team physician.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DAY 233 - Smart Food for Humans on a Coastal Desert

I didn’t grow up eating prickly pear cactus, but now I love it, grow it, eat the nopales (leaves) and tunas (fruit), and give away potted starts to encourage others to do the same.

We all know that we need to be eating more vegetables; enter the nopal.

Living on a coastal desert in Southern California, it would be great to grow food with minimal water requirement; asi crece (so grows) el nopal.

Locally grown food is a must if we are to heal our environment and ourselves. Your yard is local.

Make my day; someone in Ojai or Ventura, accept my gift of this beautiful nopal. Plant it in your yard, and make this local food a part of your life.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

DAY 231 - No I’m Not a Dentist: but what’s the story with bite splints?

Really ... I’m not a dentist. I’m a chiropractor. But more importantly, my mother taught me, by example, to use my brain, and to ask questions about everything.

I hadn’t been in practice long when I started treating patients of all ages with jaw grinding (technically bruxism), and jaw pain. All of these patients had been treated by dentists and had been provided with an occlusal splint (also called a bite splint, bite plane, or night guard), as a complete treatment. When I inquired as to the cause of the grinding, not one had an answer, nor recalled discussing causation with their dentist.

If a patient is grinding or clenching, I think it is a great idea to temporarily put something between the teeth to try to minimize the self-inflicted damage. Having bought some time with a splint, one would hope to take that time and figure out what was causing the grinding to begin with.

When I first started thinking about bruxism 28 years ago, I imagined humans gnashing their teeth. Seemed quite obvious that this harsh clenching would only occur under circumstances of profound provocation. Didn’t seem like one would need to be a dentist to appreciate that something serious must be going on to cause one to destroy his own teeth.

In every case that I treated, the patients, or the parents of the young patients, had no idea what was causing the grinding. So I began looking at the most profound provoker of human physiology that I knew of, one that most individuals have no awareness of; food allergies. While it would be foolish to say that food allergies are the cause of bruxism, I can tell you that some patients experience marked improvement with temporary removal of offending foods from their diet. I can also tell you that in hundreds of patients I have seen decreased head, jaw and neck pain associated with removal of food allergens.

On Wikipedia’s occlusal splint page it is stated that “People prone to nocturnal bruxism, or nighttime clenching, should routinely wear occlusal splints at night.” Won’t it be delightful, and rational, when we see on this same page an encouragement to look into the cause of grinding?

I would love to hear reports from you bruxers. I would also be interested in doing collaborative research on bruxism with a dentist in the Ventura, California area.

Friday, May 20, 2011

DAY 229 - Core Strengthening: Close but Not the Whole Story

photo courtesy istolethetv
Core strengthening has been such a hot topic in the fitness world for many years. And no question, there is value to it. But, like most things in the universe, just a little closer look affords us more of what we dearly want.

One definition of core strengthening is “the balanced development of the deep and superficial muscles that stabilize, align, and move the trunk of the body, especially the abdominals and muscles of the back.”

Low back pain may be the most common reason that individuals seek to strengthen their core.

Now, let’s break it down.

There is nothing more “core” to the torso than the digestive tract. Though most advocates of core strengthening are focused on skeletal muscle function, it is critical to understand that the muscles of the back and abdomen are markedly influenced by the function of the digestive tract through neural pathways referred to as viscerosomatic reflexes. When the digestive tract is distressed by food allergies, constipation, antibiotics, imbalanced gut flora, or spinal joint aberrations, muscles of the back and abdomen are negatively affected, and pain can result.

Strength is not all it is cracked up to be. Many remember in their youth, their first exposure to martial arts, and their amazement at seeing larger, stronger opponents thrown to the mat by smaller, weaker individuals who had mastered greater skill. Ultimately, the greatest function in the torso is attained through integration and coordination of all components, visceral and skeletal.

It is often overlooked that during “core strengthening”, at least two other beneficial influences are being affected on the back and torso. While performing strengthening exercises, spinal dynamics are improved as a result of vertebral joints being moved through ranges of motion, and the digestive tract is benefited by contraction and relaxation in the abdomen which improves movement of the contents through the tract.

While some folks exercise the heck out of their abs and back muscles, and have their back pain go away, others will get no relief, and neither group will necessarily be exploring their gut core. I have had the opportunity to evaluate a number of patients who swore that core strengthening had taken care of their back problems. Clearly, for some of them it did reduce or resolve their pain. But it was obvious during physical examination that many had excessively tight back muscles, stiff spinal joints, and a gut that was tender to touch.

My advice to all would be to remember that coordinated, fluid motion trumps strength; and if you want to get to the core of back pain, or any other health problem, don’t forget your gut, it affects everything.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

DAY 228 - Dental Hygiene: A Rational Model

Teeth are important. If not cared for, they can decay, become painful, and break. See your dentist for an annual check-up beginning when you have teeth, or even just a tooth. Brush and floss daily. Smile.

Brilliant model. Imagine we applied it to other parts of our bodies.

Backs and necks are important. If not cared for, they can become stiff, painful, and arthritic. See your doctor of chiropractic for an annual check-up beginning when you have a spine. Stretch daily. Smile.

Make sense?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

DAY 226 – Gluten-free Tennis?

Today on the blog, Busted Racquet, Chris Chase posts “Is Novak Djokovic’s new, gluten-free diet behind his win streak?”. Fortunately, this story is not just sexy tennis gossip; it is a remarkable opportunity for critically needed health education.

Last year Djokovic removed gluten from his diet. Since then he's made the final of the U.S. Open, won the Davis Cup and Australian Open, defeated Rafael Nadal four times, and is currently on a 39-match winning streak, the third longest of the Open era.

Is it possible that removing gluten from his diet, has improved Djokovic’s tennis performance? Yes.

Parts of Chase’s post need correction and/or clarification, and I have provided them below.

“A simple allergy test could have led to one of the most dominant stretches in tennis history.” – Determining gluten-sensitivity is often not as simple as a “simple allergy test”. Beware.

“... Novak Djokovic's nutritionist discovered last year that he was allergic to gluten ...” – Where was his doctor all this time?

“... Djokovic played it safe and cut out the starches altogether.” – I would say he played it "smart".

 “... a Cornell nutrition professor told The Wall Street Journal, the effects of the new diet could be more mental than anything.” – And Dr. Kristofer Young of Ventura, CA told his blog followers that given that many individuals experience increased physical endurance and performance when on a gluten-free diet, it is quite possible that Djokovic’s gluten-free diet has directly improved his physiology, rather than a placebo effect as suggested by the Cornell professor.

“The gluten-free diet didn't turn Novak Djokovic into a great tennis player. He was a Grand Slam champion and No. 3 in the world while eating the protein. The change may have turned him into a greater, more fit tennis player or it may have simply made him believe he was a greater, more fit tennis player. And, really, isn't that the same thing?” – No, they are not the same thing at all. Gluten-induced illness degrades both structure and function of the human body. Believing you are well, and being well, are not the same.