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.