Tag Archives: chiropractic

This is your OPPORTUNITY!

ImageIn the fall of 2003, as I was preparing to leave Michigan State for chiropractic school, after many years of education, philosophy, thinking, and planning, I started to develop a real life plan.  It was literally a game plan on not only how I wanted my life but a start and direction in which to head.  That direction was all centered on a couple of core beliefs.  One of which being, “treat every day as an opportunity to better myself and help make an impact on bettering my community’s health and well-being.”  Granted, my life plan changed A LOT over the years but the core belief has always stood strong. 

Every winter, my brain always gets fixated on opportunity, change, and growth. Life has had a funny but all so real way of reminding me to “live life to the fullest” and “don’t take anything for granted.” Recently, after burying a healthy and happy friend, who passed in a tragic accident at the age of 29, the cliché sayings still ring true to this day but opportunity often falls to the way-side. 

We get lazy.  It is not that we don’t care but we stop showing appreciation to the loved ones around us, we settle in to the “this is my life” mentality, or worse, we close off our worlds to new things, ideas and opportunities.  We whine and moan about the weather, politics, insurance, our jobs and the rest of our lives.  What good does it do?

Use this month to start pushing the winds of change in the direction of a new opportunity, a new or better defined direction in life.  Come up with a plan!  It is not written in stone, IT WILL CHANGE!  Be a ninja and ADAPT!  Spring is almost upon us so use the fall to grill some tasty eats and start the migration (between basketball games) of your ass off the couch and toward someplace that will keep you active through the lovely summer months instead of packing on those insulating holiday pounds.  Your body will thank you.  Take a few hours, sit down in a quiet place by yourself and do some thinking and planning.  Share it with the people or person that you share your life with.

 Most people wake up, start their morning ritual, go to work, come home, and then start their evening ritual, day-in and day-out, over and over again.  If that is how you want to live your life then good for you, enjoy the ride because it will be over faster than you think.  Be sure to have a little fun along the way if you can afford it between paychecks. 

What most people never realize is that opportunity is all around us all of the time.  Every day we have the opportunity to make better decisions about what we eat, drink, think, and do.  Often people fall into the “have-do-be” mindset, which means, once I HAVE what I want (usually money), then I can DO what I want (vacation, relax, etc.), and then I will BE the person that I’ve always wanted to be (successful).  The problem with that way of think is that it is backwards!

Instead, think “BE-DO-HAVE.”  Figure out who and what you want to BE, define your beliefs, goals and dreams.  Then you will DO the things that coincide with those beliefs.  Your actions will now align with your core principles.  Once you begin to live your life this way, you will HAVE the things or at least be on the path to get the things that you have already defined.  Your life is no longer a walking contradiction.  When an opportunity presents itself, weigh your options and TAKE IT or MOVE ON to the next opportunity.

 Life is short and time seemingly speeds up as we age.  It can be full of regret from opportunities missed or life can be a wonderful, fun, and amazing journey of learning about this crazy world as well as coming to a better understanding of our self and our place in this universe.

GO STATE!

Dr. Mik

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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

Laugh a little…more

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What’s infectious, free, and available to nearly everyone?  NO, it’s not an STD.  Try a little humor once in a while.  The sound of people falling over laughing is far more contagious than any sneeze, cough, or itch (which you may want to get checked).  Sharing smiles and laughter with others brings people together in happiness and intimacy.  Laughter has profound impacts on the body; such as, boosting your energy, strengthening your immune system, diminishing pain, and reducing your body’s stress response.  Best of all it’s easy to use, fun, and you don’t need a shot of penicillin afterwards.

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”

-Mark Twain

Now let’s look at the biochemical impact of laughter. When you laugh, there’s a lot more going on in your body than just the physical effect. You’re also experiencing a biochemical benefit.

Your body manufactures chemicals based on certain needs and the sends them throughout your entire body.  It has been said that for every sixty seconds of laughter, you produce around $10,000 worth of HEALTHY body chemistry, versus if you had to go out and actually buy the refined, processed compounds from labs or pharmaceutical companies, you would have to pay at least $10k for the same chemistry that your brain is producing for free when you laugh.
Who can afford that in today’s economy? (Please do not try to sell your brain chemistry!)

Some of these are fun, brain-altering chemicals, such as serotonin; others are immune-boosting chemicals such as interleukins and pain-killing endorphins.  And yet, once again, you can create these chemicals for yourself at no cost by simply laughing!

Google “psychoneuroimmunology,” it’s a fascinating specialty that looks at the link between the mind and immune system function. What researchers have found in this field is that your state of mind has everything to do with the functioning of your immune system. By engaging in laughter, you can boost both your mind and your body.

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A jolly old laugh relieves tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune      cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins      promote an overall sense of well-being, increase orgasms and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels an increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Maybe, you could try creating opportunities to laugh; Check out a funny movie, go to a comedy club, hang out with funny people and share hilarious stories or play a stupid (but funny) game, play with a goofy pet.  Try to have some fun in life doing things that make you happy and laugh.

Bring more humor and laughter into your life, it is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Maybe, you didn’t have a lot to laugh about when you were younger but thankfully, you’re never too old to learn to laugh.

Here are some ways to start:

  • Smile.  Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Have you ever found yourself in a bad situation where the only thing you could do was laugh?  Things suck less when      you laugh at them.  It’s already a bad situation, being pissed-off only makes that situation worse.  When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling. Better yet, try faking even if you really don’t like something or someone.
  • Be thankful and count your blessings. Literally make a list. It will remind you of the good even when things are bad.
  • When you hear laughter, move that way. Don’t but in on a conversation if it’s a private moment      or inside joke but if there are a group of people laughing, more often, people are happy to share so that maybe someone else will think they are funny. When you hear laughter, check it out and see “What’s funny?”
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. You know who they are, they (and you) laugh–both at      themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who are experts in finding everyday things to laugh at. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”

Take yourself less Seriously for once!  Get a sense of humor.  One essential characteristic that helps us laugh is not taking ourselves too seriously. We’ve all known the classic tight-lipped duche who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never laughs at anything. No fun there!

Some events aren’t really sad and don’t really warrant a big laugh, in fact most events in life don’t carry an overwhelming sense of either boo or yippee. They fall into the gray zone of blah ordinary life–giving you the choice to laugh or not.

Laugh at yourself more. Share your embarrassing moments. That’s what friends are for.  Attempt to laugh at situations rather than whine about them.  Look for the humor in a bad situation, and uncover the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.  Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a daily reminder to smile and laugh, whether it’s a goofy toy, funny poster or computer screensaver that makes you laugh.  Keep things in perspective.Many things in life are beyond your control—particularly the behavior of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even egotistical. Deal with your stressful issues. Stress is a major barrier to humor and laughter. Pay attention to children and be a little more like them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing. Maybe, you ­­are just out of practice:

When dealing with a bad situation, ask yourself this:

  • Is it really worth getting upset over?
  • Is it worth upsetting others?
  • Is it that important?
  • Is it that bad?
  • Is the situation final and unchangeable?
  • Is it really your problem?

You may find that it’s really NOT THAT BIG OF A PROBLEM and it’s only TEMPORARY!

Life brings challenges that can either kick your butt or become your imaginations new play toy.  When you “become the problem” and take yourself too seriously, it’s tough to think outside the box and find new solutions. But when you play with the problem, you can often transform it into an opportunity for creative learning.

Kids have it down already. When they are confused or afraid, they make their problems into a game, giving them a sense of control and an opportunity to experiment with new solutions. Playing with others helps you retain this creative ability.

As laughter, humor, and play become an integrated part of your life, your creativity will flourish and new discoveries for fun with friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and loved ones will happen more and more. Humor takes you to a higher place (remember the chemicals) where you can view the world from a more chilled, positive, creative, happy, and balanced perspective.

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Mik

Health Care Crisis- It’s up to YOU!

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When asked, most people think of the current health care crisis in the United States as a health insurance crisis. Although the lack of health care insurance is a problem, it pales in comparison to the real crisis – overall health. This crisis is not discriminatory. All segments of the population are affected.

Fingers have been pointed at many for this health crisis:

  • Government: The lack of universal and affordable insurance
  • Pharmaceutical Companies: The price of prescription drugs
  • Health Care Industry: Current managed health care practices
  • Food Industry: Unhealthy food choices for lower income individuals

 Although each of these has a hand in perpetuating the crisis, none are the true cause. The real reason behind the health care crisis is an individual’s poor choices and lifestyle, mostly in the areas of food, exercise and stress. This leads to health related issues such as cancer, depression, high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, and most other health issues.

 Whether we like it or not, we need to take personal responsibility for our health. This means taking personal responsibility to educate ourselves on the choices that will make a positive change for us and for those we love.

 Here is a little reality check for you:

  • 66% of adults are overweight or obese
  • 34% of adults are obese
  • 16% of youth are overweight or obese

 Millions of dollars are spent to find the causes and solutions for obesity. The answer, however, doesn’t take millions of dollars to discover. All you have to do is look in homes across America, specifically in the kitchens and on the couches.

 To understand this further, let’s look at a few statistics. In the last 100 years:

  • Sugar consumption has increased from 5 pounds to 158 pounds per year.
  • Processed grains consumption, such as chips and crackers, has increased by 62 pounds per year.
  • Meat consumption increased by 60 pounds per year.
  • Cheese consumption increased by 28 pounds per year.
  • Soft drink consumption increased by 53 gallons per year.
  • 500 calories per day have been added to our diets.
  • TV watching has increased to 4 hours per day.

 The answer to the obesity crisis, and the health care crisis in general, is simple – returning to a more natural diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, while avoiding processed foods, and being active every day.

The SAD Facts

Stat Fact

 In March 2004, a study co-authored by CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding claimed that, in 2000, obesity and physical inactivity killed 400,000 Americans; that is, obesity caused more than 16 percent of all deaths in the U.S. 4

Early in the 20th century, the American diet was quite different from what it is today. If you could peek onto the shelves at the local store you would find produce, living plants, seeds and grains. You might also find some home canned products. You would not find what is typical on shelves today:

  •  Hormone injected meat
  • Processed foods
  • Fast foods
  • Junk foods

With these different food choices comes, of course, a completely different diet – the SAD diet (Standard American Diet). The foods found in the SAD diet have many imbalances.

  1.  An excessive amount of certain foods such as meat, fats and sugar.
  2. Too little fruits and vegetables.
  3. Lack of nutrients in the food due to overcooking and processing.

 Basically, when talking about your diet:

 Lose: Refined flour, Refined cooking oil, soft drinks, coffee, margarine, and less or no booze is better.                                       

Add: non-processed foods including: vegetables (fresh and lots of leafy greens), fruits, meat in moderation, and fish (not Long John Silvers).

 In the end, don’t fall for all of the hype that you see on tv commercials and hear in the media.  Here are 10 things that junk food makers don’t want you to know about their products and how they promote them. 

Studies Show

Fast Food TV Advertising Has Direct Link to Childhood Obesity

 A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research has shown that a ban on fast food advertisements could reduce the number of obese 3 to 11 year olds by 18 percent and the number of obese 12 to 18 year olds by 14 percent. The study is the largest of its kind to directly tie childhood obesity to fast food advertising on television.

Junk food makers spend billions advertising unhealthy foods to kids. (Promotions to entice children include the use of cartoon characters and free giveaways, as well as fun websites)

  1. 2.      Food studies minimize health concerns associated with their products (In other words, a food company’s research is not really scientific. It is just another avenue of advertising to prove the value of their product)
  2. 3.      Large food industry leaders give money to professional nutrition associations. (the American Dietetic Association accepts money from large food companies)
  3. 4.      More processing equals more profits equals less-healthy food. (Big profits come from turning government-subsidized commodity crops like corn, wheat and soybeans, into processed foods and beverages)
  4. 5.      Natural foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables are more filling than their highly processed counterparts (Fresh fruits and vegetables have an abundance of fiber and nutrients that satisfy hunger easily)
  5. 6.      Foods touted as healthy replacements for unhealthy foods are not as healthy as you would think. (a food company that sells both soda and sports drinks can keep their profits by “helping” you switch from one product to the other while making you believe you are doing more for your body)
  6. 7.      Labels don’t mean a thing. (label claims are meant to distract you from reading the entire label and the contents)
  7. 8.      Nutritional guidelines are confusing due to food industry pressure. (“Choose meats, poultry and fish that will reduce saturated fat intake?”  What?)
  8. 9.      Food lobbyists are often funded by large food companies. (the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is a group that lobbies against obesity-related campaigns)
  9. 10.  The food industry doesn’t like critics. check out (Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health)

 In this country, modern medicine is used routinely for major surgeries such as bypasses and transplants. However, there is little attention paid to prevention. Seventy-five percent of health care costs are due to chronic diseases and only two percent are spent on prevention. To get healthy again, this will have to change and the change must start with you.

 By taking care of your body now, learning everything you can to make good choices, and finding health practitioners that promote the prevention of disease, you will be well on your way to a healthier you.

 These are just some of the facts and suggestions found in the first chapter of my newly released book : The Healthy Life Project.  If you want to learn more, check out:

http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Life-Project-Steven-Mikulak/dp/0985126701/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335131130&sr=8-1 

Health and Happiness,

 Dr. Mik