Category Archives: lifestyle

Headaches….what!? You make your head hurt.

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Headaches are no joke.  Sometimes, it is lightning bolts through the eye balls that strike out of seemingly nowhere.  Other times, it is the throbbing pressure behind the eyes or the tension band that starts in the back of your neck and seizes your entire head.  Ever feel like there are dozens of tiny bastard people redecorating the inside of your skull with a hammer, drill, or other painful power tool?  You know it is bad when you are left in a dark room, void of any noise other than that of you rolling on the ground crying like you’re being tortured by a Justin Beiber song.  Headaches come in all shapes and sizes, and can affect anyone from little kids to the eldest of adults.

Why do we get them?  The medical world defines them according to the symptoms that people experience.  Cluster, tension, sinus, and migraines are some of the terms that doctors and TV commercials toss around but the medical world is not interested in the cause.   Blood work, MRI’s, CT scans, and most other testing methods are more often than not, inconclusive.  So without knowing what is causing the headaches, you get introduced to the wide world of over-the-counter drugs and when they don’t work, you get to try the real good stuff…prescription drugs.

The list of drugs thrown at headaches is HUGE!  Often, the side effects are worse than the headache! Everything from liver destroying Tylenol to mood stabilizing anti-psychotic drugs that send people on crazy shooting spree rages.(I will take the headache) None of these chemical cocktails even address the CAUSE of the headache to begin with!

So why do headaches afflict so many of us.  One possibility lies in our structure, more specifically, the structure that houses, holds, and protects the vertical communication system in our bodies known as the NERVOUS SYSTEM.   That structure is the spinal column.  When your head starts to migrate in front of your shoulders due to the repetitive stress of your life and gravity, the back of the neck is placed in a stretched position ALL DAY LONG.  You guessed right, this is not a good thing.  What happens next?  Your body starts to follow your head and your shoulders start to round and move forward which make your shoulder blades spread apart putting those muscles in a stretched position ALL DAY LONG.  If you didn’t know, muscles DO NOT LIKE being stretched or contracted all day.  They’re supposed to be in balance and relaxed once in a while.  The tension alone can start to cause headaches.  Some research has shown upwards of 80% of headaches is neck and back stress related.

Another possibility is fuel.  WHAT ARE YOU FEEDING YOURSELF!?  You cannot run a gas engine on diesel fuel, well at least, not for long.   Food sensitivities are HUGE!  Seriously, most of what people eat is crap.  Highly processed, refined, bleached, enriched, de-fortified, re-fortified “food-like” products are what the vast majority of the Standard American Diet (SAD Diet) is comprised of.  Addictive ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and known neurotoxins like MSG that damage your nerves are snuck into many of these products to make them taste good so that we buy them.  Artificial sugars, colors and flavors, synthetic vitamins in mass amount, even the preservatives used to prolong shelf life have known side effects such as HEADACHES.   If it has more than four or five ingredients or you can’t pronounce most of them, just walk away.  Watch what you eat!

By making sure that your structure is functioning properly so that your nervous system is operating optimally and giving your body the proper food, your chances of experiencing headaches are greatly reduced.  Not only will your symptoms most likely go away but you will actually have a more positive global impact on your body as a whole.

The final main cause of headaches is TOXIC OVERLOAD.  Toxins also come in many forms.  Environmental toxins in the air we breathe, water we drink, and the places we live and work all have impacts on our health.  Also, the toxic load of emotional stress that some endure during their lives can greatly affect how often or if you get headaches.  Our bodies are great at two things: 1. ADAPTING 2. HEALING.  When the toxic load of stress out-weighs our body’s ability to adapt, things break down and symptoms like headaches can be one of the end results.

It is simple, well far from it but we’ll call it simple.  Watch what you put into your body, be aware of the environmental stressors around you, have an interference-free nervous system and a solid, well-functioning structure to protect it.  Then, your chances of ever getting a headache are almost nil except for the occasional hangover which is your own fault.   Otherwise, try EXERCISING!  Exercise has been shown to increase blood flow, improve mobility and decrease headaches.  You can make it a headache-free winter and get your life moving in a healthier direction before Mother Nature has her way with us this winter.

Get up, get active!

Dr. Mik

Get the Junk Out!

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It’s fall!    While walking around downtown GR the other day, I wandered down by the river to check things out.  I was staring into the water and noticed something.  There is a LOT of garbage and junk floating down the river and being tumbled along bottom.  In other words, there is a bunch of crap in the water that shouldn’t be there.  Why is this important?

Like the river, we have thousands of miles of blood vessels that carry the blood in our bodies to and from the heart.  When that blood is clean, it has the proper chemical composition and is free of damaging debris.  Blood is supposed to flow unrestricted delivering oxygen and nutrients to EVERY cell in the body.  However, just like the river, things end up in the blood that shouldn’t be there or at least shouldn’t be there in mass quantity.  Cholesterol can start to oxidize, like a rusty pipe, and begin to clog your blood vessels, especially the ones supplying the heart, leaving you more susceptible heart attacks.  Heavy metals from our food and our environment can stay in the blood for long periods of time and have a compounding effect as we grow older, which has been linked to many diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.  These diseases are put into motion long before they are diagnosed usually between ages 60-85.

Have you ever felt sluggish or out of sync? Have skin issues, aches and pains, or digestive problems? Straying from your healthier habits lately? Having trouble kicking off your weight loss? It might be time to detox your body!

Contrary to what modern medicine says, your body actually has the ability to heal itself without the need for Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, etc! (If it has the proper, organic nutrition and clear communication from the brain to the body and back again.)

Detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.

How does detoxification work?

Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this mainly by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.

How can it help?

1) Resting the organs through fasting;
2) Help the liver to drive toxins from the body;
3) Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin
4) Improving circulation; and
5) Rebooting the body with tons of healthy nutrients down to the cellular level.

How do you know if you should detox?

The average person should detox at least once per year.  Some people do it quarterly.  A short detox or cleanse is generally safe; in fact, scientific studies show that a detox is beneficial for health. However, for nursing mothers, children, and patients with chronic degenerative diseases, cancer or tuberculosis, I wouldn’t personally recommend it. Please consult your health care practitioner if you have questions about whether detoxing is right for you.

Unfortunately, toxins are everywhere around us, especially in the environments we live and work it.  I believe it is CRITICAL to detoxify your body, even if you think you are eating only the right things, exercising, and are generally healthy, bad things from our environment continue to build up over time. You could try detoxing for symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, sluggish elimination, irritated skin, allergies or low-grade infections; bags under the eyes; a distended stomach even if the rest of your body is thin; menstrual difficulties; or mental confusion (main reason why I detox).

Where to start?

First, lighten up your toxin load. Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process. Also, minimize use of chemical-based cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes, and make-up!), and substitute some natural alternatives.  Check out http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ for more info.

What about stress? Stress triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can push your body to the “fight or flight” state that it needs to gear up for war or to get the heck out of dodge, in large amounts they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. So it’s a good idea to detox stressful life situations along with detoxifying your body.  Yoga, deep breathing, meditation and exercise are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring.

Which detox program is best for you?

There are many detoxification programs and cleanses available depending on your individual needs. I usually recommend that people start with replacing breakfast for 2 weeks with a healthy, fresh, organic vegetable juice, made at home from all organic ingredients and a slow-juicer.  It is a great way to start your day with a flood of awesome nutrition that is quickly absorbed into your system.  Also, it is a great way to prepare your body for a 10 day juice fast.

Other popular detoxing programs and natural body cleanses include:

  • Cleansing supplement packages, which generally contain fiber, vitamins, herbs and minerals. There are several safe products on the market, with easy-to-follow instructions.
  • A routine water fasting (drinking only water one day each week)

9 Ways to Aid Detoxification

After a detox, you can continue to cleanse your body daily through diet, supplements and lifestyle practices.

1. Eat plenty of fiber, including organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods.

2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.

3. Eat foods rich in vitamin C (kale, bell peppers, cherries, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, etc.), which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.

4. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day.  (200lbs = 100 oz. water)

5. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.

6. Dissipate stress by focusing on the positive side of things.

7. Try sweating in a sauna so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration.

8. Try detox foot baths and exfoliating your skin to remove toxins through your pores.

9. Most importantly…EXERCISE at least 30 min. per day but shoot for an hour of combined strength training and cardio exercise to reap the full benefits of dissipating stress (but don’t go kayaking down a flooding river).

Remember, detoxing can be tough.  Some people are incredibly toxic because of where they live, what they eat, the amount of stress in their lives, and their lack of willingness to exercise.  These people will likely have a difficult time due to the amount of unnecessary junk built up in their systems. So take things slow.  It will take some time but your body will remember what it is supposed to do when it has proper nutrition and a little time to heal.

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Mik

Rockford Chiropractor tackles the Mysterious Ear Infection

IMG_9482Why do ear infections occur?  Why do kids get these damn infections over and over again?  According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (medical doctors who work on sinuses, ears and throats) Otitis Media (ear infections) happen in 62% (some articles say it is closer to 80% of kids and accounts for 25 million office visits in the US alone with direct costs at nearly 3 BILLION dollars.  Add lost wages from parents missing work to take their kids to the appointment and those costs rise to 6 BILLION dollars!  THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM!

First comes the pain, then screaming, tugging on the ears, complaining, and of course lots of sleepless nights that parents have to endure.  Ear infections suck!  Parents who try to do the best that they can with the information that they have, run for the pediatrician.  The pediatrician checks the kid’s ears and sure enough, it’s an ear infection.  He or she says that the Eustachian tubes in your kid’s ears are horizontal when they’re born and are don’t allow for proper drainage of fluid in the ears.  Over time, those tubes angle down a little more and drain better. What’s the treatment? The first medical intervention is antibiotics.  The antibiotics kill the bacteria and the inflammation reduces and the kid gets better…or so it seems.  Suddenly, a couple weeks later, the ear infection is back.  Why?

To start, it has been estimated that 70% of ear infections are VIRAL not bacterial infections and the antibiotics have no effect on them whatsoever.  Viral infections resolve on their own after a couple of days.  Sadly, medical science has known this for the last 30 years according to medical research.  So why are they still treating ear infections this way?  It’s one of only two treatments options that a pediatrician has and more often than not, parents demand them.  When the antibiotics fail, they move onto putting tubes in the kids ears which will set you or your insurance company back (if you can afford insurance) somewhere between $2500 and $3500 dollars!  Often, the tubes fall out as the kid grows and they have to do another surgery to put them back in.  It is not uncommon for this to happen two to eight times.  Are you fricken kidding me?  That’s the best we have as far as options go?  Good news, there is another option.  But first, you have to understand how an ear infection occurs.

Take your right hand and with your thumb and all your fingers, make an “O” to represent the Eustachian tube inside an ear.  There is a muscle called the Tensor Villi Palitini (say it with an Italian accent and it sounds better) that holds that tube open or closed.  When it’s functioning well, fluids can move through the tube with ease and no blockages occur.  When that muscle is contracted or spasming (make a fist with your right hand), the tube closes and stays shut which doesn’t allow for fluid to drain like it is supposed to and just like a stagnant puddle in the summer-time, bugs and bacteria start to accumulate.

Why does the muscle go into spasm in the first place?  The nerves supplying that little muscle come out behind the top 4 bones in the neck.  When misalignment of even one of those bones happen whether it be through the trauma of a C-section, forceps delivery, natural delivery, or childhood falls and spills, the tension, twisting, or stretching of that nerve cause the muscle to spasm.  There is no antibiotic or tube that will take the pressure off of that nerve, only a simple, safe and effective chiropractic adjustment can do the job.  Yes kids can and do get adjusted every day in my office and guess what…they rarely get an ear infection.  It’s awesome!  No drugs, no surgeries, no pain and no missed work for mom or dad!

You could stick with what hasn’t been working for the last 30 years and keep doing what “everybody else does.”  Or, just maybe, you could try something different.  Something that won’t ruin your child’s gut by killing all of the necessary bacteria in it, thus lowering their immune system (70% of you immune system is in your gut), and rendering them MORE susceptible to MORE ear infections as well as other infections.  You could save yourself the $2500-$3500 surgeries and maybe take a family vacation with that saved money.  You could have a truly health child versus one that is just not sick.  It is your choice, but now you know there is another option that works over and over again without the drugs and side-effects.  Ear infections are a serious thing… Check out http://wyattleamonfoundation.org

(You can stop making a fist now)

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Mik

It’s Time…

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Right now, things are changing.  There is a new era approaching us here in west Michigan and around the United States and even over-seas.  What we currently call “health-care” is starting to point in a different direction.  Insurance premiums are rising and benefits are seemingly decreasing across the board.  Deductibles are hitting INSANE amounts from $1500-$25,000 per family.  The typical wait in an emergency room is nearing four hours.  Side-effect laden drugs are being over-prescribed to everyone, especially kids.  Despite our “best efforts” and advances in technology, we are the sickest and fattest country in the world!  So what are we doing wrong?

Traditionally, we get sick, we go to the doctor, and the doctor gives us some drugs and maybe a muscle relaxer or a pain killer to knock us out and sends us on our way.  How does that help?  What good did those pills do?

Last time I cut my finger, I cleaned it up and put a band-aide on it and left it alone.  Magically, my finger healed.  My body didn’t start healing my toe, it knew what to do.  It sent the proper cascade of chemicals from my brain through my body, down my arm, into my and hand healed my finger.  The band-aide kept the cut from getting dirt inside it but it did not do squat to actually heal my finger.  In other words, our bodies heal from the inside out and not the outside in.

We have some of the best doctors and surgeons in the U.S. right here in Grand Rapids.  Some of them save lives, others help to bring new life into the world and I’m thankful for that.  However, in a health-care system as broken as ours, even their hands are tied due to hospital budget cut-backs, falling insurance reimbursements, and a bad economy.

The bottom line is, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GET SICK!  We don’t have the time to miss work, to be stuck in bed feeling like crap, unable to take care of ourselves or our families.  We cannot do it.  Being sick is time consuming and expensive.  The only way to not get sick is to actually start moving our health in the right direction.  If you do not want to be sick, the dumbest and most ineffective way to get healthy is by focusing on not getting sick versus focusing on truly taking steps to get healthy.  There is a difference.

The public’s views and beliefs have been skewed by the government, insurance companies, drug companies, and the media that is paid by all of them to report what the drug tell them to.  It is a completely false, misleading system that we’re stuck in.  We are constantly barraged by these messages over and over every day.  Have a sniffle?  Take a runny nose pill.  Have a headache?  Here’s a headache pill.  Trouble focusing?  Enjoy some Ritalin.  There is a pill, potion, or lotion for every ailment you can think of and even some for things that you didn’t even know you needed and that’s the whole point.

Our system is stuck in a reactive, drug-dependent state.  How can we possibly move forward if the majority of people are waiting to get sick?  It will never happen, we will never get there.

It is time to focus on getting healthy!  No more focus on losing weight, by starving yourselves with the latest low-calorie, gimmick, fad shake of the day that puts your body into starvation mode.  You will lose weight but that does not make you healthy in ANY WAY.  The weight will come back because weight is a lifestyle issue and the only answer is CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE.  Do not let these companies take advantage of you.

You are the one who needs to define your own “WHY.”  Why do you want to be healthier?  Is it because you want to lead a better example for your children?  Maybe, you want to do something that you have always wanted to do but your weight or health has not allowed you to do.  Whatever your “why” is has to be big enough to facilitate the change you are trying to make.  Otherwise, if your “why” is not big enough, then you will simply and quickly fall back into your old habits of being lazy, eating crap, and drugging yourself back to that wonderfully-numb state that you call your life.

I am here to tell you that you are not alone.  There are tons of people out there to help you on your journey to a healthier you.  You have to want to change and you have to take responsibility for your own health.  Contrary to popular belief, having good “health insurance” does not mean you “are covered,” it will not make you healthy or keep you healthy.

Imagine you are standing at the edge of a cliff.  One step or push forward and over the edge you go.  Your insurance will pay to fix your broken self and get you back onto the edge of that cliff where you started but that is not a very safe or healthy place to be.  That is what your insurance pays for.  It is your responsibility to take action to get the hell away from the edge of that cliff.

Happy St. Patty’s Day to my Irish brethren and remember that everybody is Irish on St. Patty’s Day!

Dr. Mik

Once Upon A Time…

As we move through the holiday season, we often get lost in our lives and begin to have tunnel vision in the mundane, sometimes it is a good idea to look back.  It is our forefathers that are able to share their wisdom from many years and of many years ago.  They push forth this knowledge in great hopes that we may take this valuable information and learn further, creating a future that is better than the past.  The issues don’t differ.  Our great grandparents wanted the same things that we do today, happiness, love, success and health.  It is merely the circumstances that have changed.

“We never know how far reaching something we may think, say, or do today will effect the lives of millions tomorrow.”

B.J. Palmer  D.C., PhC.

Founder of Chiropractic

And yet still we hold back!  Each of us can be the great person we want to be for others, just find a purpose.  Realize how much you can help others just by not being afraid to do so.  It is okay to be rejected, at least you tried!

“Great spirits have always experienced violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

Albert Einstein

If you knew in advance that everyone would reject you, but you would succeed later, what would you do?  Sometimes greatness is a lonely path.  Just think of the bigger picture, the long term, rather than today!

“Your greatest risk is to underestimate your potential.”

Burleigh Cook

Your potential in spirit and body are linked closely.  If you do not rise to your goals or are not true in your word, your body feels this defeat.  It is of the greatest importance to realize this connection and maintain health in both aspects.

“People are whole – a package of the problem and the solution.  There is nothing we can do about it, we are not in charge!”

Dale Lotter, D.C.

“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.  We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to work.”

Albert Schweitzer, M.D.

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

                                             Thomas Edison

“If all the medicine in the world were thrown into the sea, it would be bad for the fish and good for humanity.”

O.W. Holmes, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, HarvardUniversity

“The power that made the body, heals the body, it happens no other way.”

B.J Palmer, D.C.

“Whether or not you believe it, doesn’t make it any less true.”

Damon J. Popovics, D.C.

So remember to give your body a chance to heal itself that is the way it was designed.  It was a far greater intelligence that made the human body.  Do you have faith in the arrogance that believes something was left out? If you see someone who needs help, tell them the truth that you know about the body.  Give them the chance to rise to their potential.  That is the right thing to do and it will make for a healthy new year for all!

Happy Holidays!

Dr. Mik­­