Many well designed research studies show no advantages for lumbar surgery versus conservative treatment for low back pain or sciatica.
While a very small percentage of patients, such as those with progressive neurological deficits or loss of bowl or bladder function need surgery, most with herniated discs can improve with a conservative treatment program.
We have seen similar results here at the Natural Medicine Clinic as we have helped thousands of patients with cervical, thoracic and lumbar herniated discs and sciatica recover fully without ever needing surgery.
Our holistic treatment program includes:
1. Using a cold laser to reduce pain and inflammation, and enhance microcirculation to promote healing.
2. Active Release Techniques, which is a type of manual therapy, to reduce pain producing myofascial trigger points, adhesions and fibrous tissue, and to restore muscular balance.
3. Chiropractic adjustments to restore normal joint function and movement. We use manual spinal manipulation or a computerized instrument called the Impulse.
4. Physical therapy functional training exercises and vibration training to improve strength, flexibility and balance.
5. Nutritional supplementation, such as Boswellia, Ginger, White Willow Bark, and EPA/DHA, to help support recovery and aid the healing process.
We have found this program to be very effective in the non-surgical treatment and healing of herniated discs, radicular syndromes and sciatica.
A man in his 60’s presented to the Natural Medicine Clinic with a total cholesterol of 230 and LDL of 153. He also wanted to lose weight, as he was 180 pounds.
He had a family history of heart disease so his doctor wanted his cholesterol below 200, and said the only possible way to achieve this was by taking statin drugs. He said he had already been eating a healthy diet, taking vitamins and exercising regularly but without results.
After reviewing his lab work, we put him on a custom tailored diet, nutritional supplements and exercise program.
After we retested him at four months, his cholesterol dropped from 230 to 176, and LDL dropped from 153 to 97.
He was at his desired weight of 170 having lost 10 pounds, and he said he felt great!
His primary doctor was very upset… I mean happy.
It is incredible how the body can heal itself if you provide the right ingredients for success.
If you or someone you know would like help with this or any other health condition, please email or call us. We would be happy to help.
Do you or someone you know suffer from dizziness or vertigo?
While vertigo and dizziness have many causes including inner ear disorders, BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), migraines, head trauma, and other conditions, one often overlooked cause is called cervical (neck) vertigo.
It is estimated that up to 58% of patients who sustain closed head injuries or whiplash experience late onset symptoms of vertigo or dizziness. This can include headaches, tinnitus, feeling lightheaded or off balance, nausea and vomiting.
Often, with cervical vertigo the symptoms are associated with neck movement. There are many causes of cervical vertigo, including disc herniations, cord compression, abnormal sensory input from neck proprioceptors, and spinal joint dysfunction.
At the Natural Medicine Clinic, we have seen many patients with vertigo and dizziness over the years that we have been able to help. Soft tissue techniques to the neck muscles as well as gentle instrument assisted spinal adjustments have usually resulted in complete resolution of the symptoms, allowing them to return to their normal daily activities.
Here are some simple tips on how you can strengthen and support your immune system for preventing colds and flu this season.
First, you can start by taking probiotics, which are “friendly” bacteria that have many health benefits including improved digestion and strengthening your immune system.
At the Natural Medicine Clinic, we use the very potent ProbioSupreme DF from Natural Medicine Formulas.
Second, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. Besides numerous other health benefits, studies show that vitamin D can enhance the immune system and significantly reduce incidence of upper respiratory infections, colds and flu.
The best form is a daily Vitamin D3 (the natural form) as the higher weekly or monthly doses haven’t been shown to be nearly as effective.
At our clinic, we determine proper dosage by an easy blood test for vitamin D levels. In general though, we usually end up recommending 1000iu/day for infants, 2000iu/day for children, and 5000iu/day for teenagers and adults.
Third, a good quality multivitamin can help ensure your getting the proper nutrients, like Zinc, Vitamin A and others for immune system support. Look for brands without the artificial sweeteners, dyes and flavorings, and hydrogenated oils. Take a look at our high quality ActivMulti here.
If you or your family do get sick, two great natural remedies that we use at the Natural Medicine Clinic are Immune Support and Smart Silver. I have seen great results in speeding up the recovery from colds, flu and upper respiratory infections with these.
Last but not least, go outside. Getting regular fresh air, sunshine and exercise is essential to helping build a strong immune system, and great for stress relief also.
If you’re looking for more immune-boosting, flu-busting tips this year, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 561-627-5800. We’ll help you get on the right path.
It shouldn’t come as a shock to hear that we need sleep to function properly throughout the day, just like we need proper nutrition and exercise. What most people don’t realize is how much sleep we in fact need, and what the consequences to not getting enough z’s on a daily basis can mean to our overall health.
Over the past couple of decades, numerous studies have been conducted, producing varying results and a whole lot of different conclusions, but one thing always seems to be consistent…. not getting enough sleep can actually make you sick. It’s recommended that adults sleep for at least 7 hours a night to give the body rest needed for a full next day of energy. There’s a myth floating around out there saying that we can actually train ourselves to function on less than 6 hours of sleep, but I promise you that it would eventually catch up to you.
Most of us have the perception that when we go to sleep, our minds just shut down and our body gets the rest it needs, but there is so much more happening. While we’re sleeping, our brains are working hard on creating new pathways for learning, getting new insights, and creating new memories. When you don’t get enough sleep, it’s difficult to focus, pay attention, and even react / respond quickly. Next, it might not come as a surprise, but lack of sleep can even cause significant mood-swings, irritability, depression, and of course, fatigue.
Over the course of these numerous studies, a number of ailments have been linked to sleep-deprivation. Without an acceptable amount of sleep, our bodies are more prone to major issues such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. On top of all of that, those who are sleep-deprived are even more susceptible to getting infections and then in turn have a more difficult time fighting them off.
Cause and Effect
There are probably hundreds of reasons why a lot of us don’t get the amount of sleep that is recommended. Let’s just touch on a few of the major players in the game:
– Do you have a TV in your bedroom? Things like computers and televisions stimulate our minds. When we need to rest, but are distracted by the news, a TV series, or our friends’ new posts on Facebook, we don’t allow our minds to rest.
– What are you eating? First, going to bed hungry is not the best idea. It is known to be a cause of insomnia. Our minds need nutrients (let’s call it brain food) just like our bodies do. Be careful that you don’t overeat though. Eating too much can prevent sleep too. Second, eating foods with a lot of sugar can keep your body stimulated, not allowing it to rest when you want it to, and taking in too much caffeine from things like coffee and tea can keep your mind going a mile a minute when all you want is to close your eyes and sleep.
– Are you stressed out? Things like stress and anxiety are like vicious cycles when it comes to sleep. Being stressed can prevent you from getting to sleep, and not getting enough sleep can make you more stressed out or anxious. A couple hours before going to bed, look back at the day in a positive way. Don’t focus on the tasks of tomorrow. Let your mind “wind down”, whether through a form of meditation or by reading a relaxing book.
– How’s your posture? Studies have shown that the same cause of your headache or neck discomfort may be responsible for your inability to sleep. Neck tension is known to cause a variety of issues like headaches, neck pain, tingling, and insomnia. While focusing on proper posture can help this, having us evaluate you might be in your better interest.
The list of many reasons goes on, of course. If you’re having trouble sleeping and you frustratingly cannot figure out why, come in and talk to us. There are numerous nutritional and lifestyle contributors to getting your needed beauty sleep these days, and we would be happy to help.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the latest about Omega 3’s and their importance to your health. well, let’s make this a bit more interesting than the typical “fish oil helps clear up your eczema” article. By the way, that is true, it does do that. There are countless other benefits that come from omega 3’s though. We often hear about how bad fatty foods are for us, but what you don’t hear about enough is how there are healthy fats.
Certain foods contain the right kind of fats; the fats that our bodies actually need for optimal health. When we take in the right foods, we feel better. How? I’m getting there. Healthy fats (especially omega 3) are extremely important for cell membrane health, heart health, brain function and maintaining healthy joints. Not only that… they can help with depression, skin health, and even support blood sugar and insulin metabolism.
Here’s a short list of foods that are high in healthy fats for us! Extra virgin olive oil, ground flax seeds, raw almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, avocados, and extra virgin coconut oil. The best source of EPA and DHA (Omega 3 fats) is wild-caught fatty fish, such as salmon. If you’re not a big fan of fish, then you’re still in luck because most people would benefit from taking a fish oil supplement (generally 1000-2000mg per day of EPA/DHA).
Let’s make sure we all start the New Year off right! Are you looking to feel better overall? Have you noticed that your energy level just doesn’t seem to be where it was before? Believe it or not, the reason could be as simple as “you need to drink more water”.
Now, let’s be clear here… Fluids are good, yes, but nothing can replace that beloved water our bodies crave so much. Not soda, not juice, not alcohol, but water! It’s recommended that you drink half your body weight in ounces per day. I’ll wait, go ahead and do the math. When you think about it, it’s actually not that much. A person weighing 150 pounds would drink about 75 ounces or 9 cups of water per day.
What’s amazing is to think about all of the ways we can feel better if we make sure we’re drinking enough of this stuff! Lack of water can have so many effects: lack of energy, indigestion, headaches, high blood pressure, aches and pains, dry skin, and the list goes on…
Before you go out and buy cases and cases of bottled water from the grocery store, let me fill you in on a little secret; it’s expensive! Besides that, it’s not even necessarily the best water for you (unless you’re in a third-world country). The best and cheapest way to get quality H2O is by using a home water filter (for instance, an under the sink filter or a counter-top unit). Filtered tap water is ridiculously cheap, easily accessible, and it doesn’t carry the potential bacteria that some bottled waters can be home to.
So, that’s your health tip for this week. Let’s make it a great year!
After a tough day, relaxing in a sauna sounds like the perfect way to unwind for a lot of people. There’s something about it that has a natural “calming effect”, but believe it or not, relaxation is only one of many benefits an infrared sauna can offer you. You’re about to learn why these glorious wooden rooms are becoming evermore popular in homes and health-care facilities.
Your body needs a number of things to continually function properly. It needs things like food, water, sleep, exercise, sunshine, and the list goes on. With the exception of the UV rays, an infrared sauna can actually play the role of the sun in a number of ways. Instead of warming the air around you like a traditional sauna does, infrared heat warms your body, just like the sun does. This means that in order to get the same benefits as those traditional saunas, the temperature in the infrared sauna doesn’t need to be as high, thus allowing more people to tolerate the warmth.
Infrared saunas offer an abundance of health benefits, some of which I am sure you would not have ever guessed. In no particular order, here we go:
Detoxification – Sweating is the body’s safe and natural way to heal & stay healthy. Infrared saunas heat the body directly causing a rise in core temperature, resulting in a deep, detoxifying sweat at the cellular level, where toxins reside. This is great for those who suffer from heavy-metal intoxication or poisoning.
Weight Loss – Studies have shown that a 30 minute infrared sauna session can burn upwards of 700 calories while you relax! As the body works to cool itself, there is a substantial increase in heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate, causing the body to burn more calories. What happens when we start burning calories? We start shedding the pounds.
Relaxation – Unlike traditional saunas which operate at extremely harsh temperatures, infrared is a gentle, soothing and therapeutic heat that promotes relaxation and improved sleep. Infrared sauna therapy helps you relax while receiving an invigorating deep tissue sweat, leaving you fully refreshed after each session.
Pain Relief – Infrared heat penetrates tissue, joints, and muscles to relieve anything from minor aches and pains to chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia. Pain management professionals incorporate infrared heat therapy into treatment plans to decrease pain and muscle spasms and to speed up recovery time.
Lower Blood Pressure – Infrared saunas induce a deep sweat to make the heart pump faster, which in turn increases blood flow, lowers blood pressure and helps circulation. Scientific evidence shows that using an infrared sauna a couple times a week lowers blood pressure.
Improved Circulation – Heating the muscles with infrared rays produces an increase in blood flow similar to that seen during exercise. Regular infrared sauna use—especially in the mid IR range—can significantly stimulate blood flow up to twice the normal rate.
Anti-Aging and Skin Purification – The near infrared wavelength (sometimes referred to as Red Light Therapy) is the most effective wavelength for healing the epidermis and dermis layers of the skin. Near infrared treatments stimulate collagen production to reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin tone.
Wound Healing – Scientific research has concluded that near infrared therapy greatly enhances the skin’s healing process by promoting faster cell regeneration and human tissue growth. Human cell growth increases to repair wounds and prevent infection.
Cell Health – Near infrared therapy stimulates the circulatory system and more fully oxygenate the body’s cells. Better blood circulation means more toxins flow from the cellular level to the skin’s surface to improve cell health, aid in muscle recovery and strengthen the immune system.
Amino Acids. Not a lot of us know what those two words together mean, but something worth knowing about them is how important they are when it comes to our mood! What we end up eating has a tremendous effect on our mood, whether we want to believe that or not.
Amino Acids are responsible and essential for the formation and function of our neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters are actually what regulate the chemicals in our brain and have the ending effect on our mood. Without the right nutrients and with an overload of stress, we deprive our brain of its needed amount of chemical regulation, which can ultimately lead to illnesses, both mental and physical.
Serotonin, catecholamine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and endorphins are the brain chemicals that are directly associated with our every-day moods. Deficiencies in these chemicals can cause an annoying array of symptoms, most of which we would more commonly attribute to a poor night’s sleep, the common cold, or other viral infections like the flu. However, when in good balance, these neurotransmitters have the ability to keep us cool, calm, and collected. We stay more positive, more relaxed, more alert, and more resourceful.
What is odd is that rarely do we associate a good diet with our mood. We get cravings for foods we desire, and while we temporarily feel good when we eat what we crave, if the food we eat is not what our body needs, we suffer from it in the end. Poor diet and digestion, stress, and prescription drug use can all lead to an imbalance, leading us to feeling “under the weather”.
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that has natural calming effects. This helps to regulate our mood, sleep and appetite. When our levels of Serotonin are low, we are more likely to experience trouble sleeping, anxiety, panic attacks and cravings for certain foods.
Tryptophan is the amino acid responsible for the production of our serotonin. Food sources high in tryptophan include brown rice, cottage cheese, meat, peanuts, and soy protein. Amino acid supplements are available to assist in increasing serotonin levels as well. The two most common and popular supplements are L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP. Since we all have a different body chemistry, some foods or supplements may work better for different individuals.
We naturally have a “caffeine-like” chemical in our bodies. Catecholamine acts as a natural mild antidepressant for us, and when our bodies are low on it, we can feel the effects of it through a lack of energy, drive, and focus. L-Tyrosine is the amino acid necessary for catecholamine production. Not only is L-Tyrosine the precursor to thyroid hormones, but supplementation of it will have a tendency of increasing your energy level.
GABA is a natural relaxant. It is derived from glutamic acid and can be supplemented directly. Symptoms of low GABA include stiff and tense muscles, stress, feeling burned out, and inability to relax.
Endorphins are the chemicals that help us feel good. An interesting study showed that those who are low in endorphins are considerably more sensitive to pain, both emotionally and physically. They had a tendency to cry more and craved comfort from people, foods, or other things around them. It is more common for someone low in endorphins to crave foods and alcohol.
Endorphins are metabolized from phenylalanine. The best supplement form is the DL-Phenylalanine form which is used to elevate mood, decrease pain, suppress the appetite and aid in memory and learning.
Another amino acid helpful in balancing brain chemistry is L-Glutamine. Supplementation with L-Glutamine stops carbohydrate cravings and moodiness by preventing low blood sugar in the brain.
There are certain conditions in which taking amino acids would be contraindicated so check with your health care practitioner if you are considering taking any of these supplements. If you need assistance in this area, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to help.
Yours for Optimal Health,
Dr. Tom Rofrano
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Content on this website is based upon the opinions of Thomas Rofrano, D.C. and is not considered medical advice. It is designed to be a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Rofrano and his community. Dr. Rofrano encourages you to make your health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Dr. Rofrano is a chiropractic physician and offers physical and nutritional support and guidance to those seeking alternative or complementary care to traditional medicine. His care is not meant to replace that from your primary doctor and specialists but rather to help you on your path to achieving life-long vibrant health.
Regarding any supplements mentioned: *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.