Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Primary Reason Why 90% of People Are In Pain

Pain is an aggravating and draining experience, affecting our jobs, personal lives, and general quality of life.  It is also increasingly prevalent; 50% of the population suffers from a headache-related condition; 30% suffers from neck pain, with over half likely to experience recurring episodes; low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the United States (neck pain is fourth) and accounts for $100 billion in lost wages per year due to decreased productivity. 

Perhaps the most frustrating things about being in pain are the ineffectiveness of commonly prescribed treatments and not understanding the cause, with conflicting and numerous opinions making it all seem so complicated.

Well, what if it was really not that complicated?  What if a big part of the explanation was as simple as, “You are showing signs of physical breakdown because the foundation of your body has shifted, forcing every bone and muscle in your structural frame to compensate”?  Could it possibly be that simple?

That it is absolutely possible for it to be that simple is one of the best kept secrets in healthcare. 

You see, your body is not unlike your home in that its foundation has to be level in order for it to maintain its structural integrity.  If your home’s foundation shifts, then at some point – be it months or years later – noticeable adverse reactions will develop; the same thing happens in the body, but a quick review of Anatomy 101 reminds us that the body is structurally designed from the top down, not the ground up like in a home. 

While developing in-utero, the first bones that form are the skull and the upper cervical vertebrae in the neck to protect the two most important parts of your body: the brain and the brainstem; such is the foundation upon which the rest of your anatomy is built.  After development is completed, the balance of the head and neck becomes crucial to your body’s ability to maintain and sustain itself physically; to recover from the stress of day-to-day life, to heal following vigorous activity or exercise, etc.

Unfortunately, nine out of ten people have lost their foundational stability, most frequently on account of head and neck injuries from birth to the late teenage years, when trauma is far more common and the body is still developing.  That header off the top bunk, tumble down the steps, fall off the bike or backyard tree, teenage sports injury or auto accident – one or more of these things happen to everyone – can actually become very clinically relevant.

When your head and upper neck are taken out of their normal state of alignment due to injury, the first cervical vertebra no longer positions squarely under the head, and a chain reaction occurs (through your body’s righting reflex) that prompts your bones and muscles from head to toe into an adapted physical state in order to return your head to as balanced a position as possible; the body uses the level positioning of your eyes, along with the fluid inside of your ears, to establish equilibrium, so when your head and upper neck are off balance, failure to adapt would keep you consistently dizziness or disoriented. 

In the adapted state, one shoulder often shifts up higher than the other and one hip draws higher than the other, dragging the attached leg up and giving the appearance of that leg being shorter than the other, frequently by a quarter to a half inch or more; the head also tends to jut forward over the shoulders, biomechanically disrupting the normal structural support system that helps carry the weight of your body on its structural frame.  This shifting causes muscles that run along the left and right sides of your body, as well as the muscles positioned in the front and the back, to pull against one another instead of working in tandem as they are designed; persistent muscle strain on the head, neck, shoulders, back, and hips can cause pain in various areas of your body as early in life as youth. 

Uncorrected body imbalance creates on-going structural stress and has a very negative long term effect.  Though incredibly resilient by nature and capable of reorganizing well enough during the early phase of foundational adaptation to avoid much more than minimal warning signs like pain or other symptoms, your body will break down if the head and upper neck alignment is never restored.  Foundational shifts result in the loss of natural support curves in the spine (i.e. straight spines), causing the body’s weight to stack on the discs in between each vertebra in the short-term and, consequently, premature degenerative disc disease, disc bulging and/or herniation, and even a closing down of spinal nerve canals (stenosis) in the long-term; it also causes unequal weight distribution across each hip and leg by up to twenty pounds, resulting in degenerative joint disease in the hips/knees/ankles/feet.  Just as driving your car with the front end out of alignment causes premature tire wear, long-term body imbalance causes your body to age faster.   

Logical as all of the above may be, that you may never have been made aware of it before speaks to the primary flaw in our health system; we have collectively become so enamored with symptom management that a basic, extremely common cause of pain goes chronically overlooked.  We all experience trauma and, thus, are all susceptible to foundational misalignment, but when head/neck balance is restored, immediately your body can begin to re-adapt, your innate self-healing process can more effectively resume, your muscles can begin to relax, pain can start reducing, the degenerative process can be curbed, and even disc bulges and herniations can be reabsorbed.  It really can be that simple. 

Sources: The National Institute of Health, The Mayo Clinic, Dr. G. Gutmann (Manuelle Medizin), The World Health Organization


Dr. Chad McIntyre owns and operates the Triad Upper Cervical Clinic in Kernersville.  Specializing in Upper Cervical Care, his office emphasizes a proactive, goal-oriented approach to health rooted in strong patient education.  If you would like to learn more about Upper Cervical Care, visit www.triaduppercervical.com or call 336-992-2536 to schedule a consultation.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Guest Blogger Series: The Energy of Healing

Everything is energy. Our physical bodies – that which we can see and touch – are comprised of atoms that are constantly in motion. The fact that they are more densely packed and are moving more slowly than, say, the atoms of water or air is what gives them their tangible physicality. Science now proves that our body actually extends beyond what we can see and touch.

This energy body, or biofield (called the ‘aura’ in more new age terms), is what we recognize when someone steps into our ‘personal space,’ when someone is too close for comfort, when we feel someone looking at us, when we step into a room where the tension can be ‘cut with a knife.’ This energy can be measured in hertz by scientists, and can be felt or seen by some people.

Because we are holistic beings – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, energetic – healing in one aspect can heal the whole. I choose to work on the energetic level to affect change in all other levels. By working with the energy body and raising our vibration, we bring about an authentic balance that holds space for whatever healing or ‘wholing’ is needed for each individual.

My path to this work has been lifelong and meandering, but persistent and seemingly inevitable. As a child, I would give family and friends shoulder and foot rubs, and it was satisfying to see how good it made them feel. On some level, I determined then that I would be of healing service in the world.

In my 20s, I became a licensed massage therapist. From my perspective, the opportunity to professionally touch my clients was simply an excuse to let the ‘real’ healing happen, to be a vessel for healing energy. Since then, I have studied, practiced, and been certified in numerous techniques and modalities.

At the same time, I have been committed to my own healing and spiritual growth. Like everybody else, I’ve had my own physical issues and emotional wounds to deal with, and have explored myriad healing methods. So not only am I able to share my knowledge and training with my clients, they also receive the benefit of my personal healing experience.

In every aspect of my practice – Healing Touch energy therapy, Conscious Creation Coaching, and WeightLESS™ System Detox Program and Health Coaching – I focus on my client’s energetic and vibrational body. Everything we do together is to raise their vibration so as to make everything in life easier. The higher your vibration, the more able you are to release stress and fear and pain and resistance. The higher your vibration, the more able you are to attract ease and joy and comfort and abundance.

I am committed to sharing with my clients with the means to facilitate their own innate healing/wholing process. My long-term goal is to divest myself of all clients, to send them on their way with their own toolbox full of self-healing techniques and exercises so that they are empowered to take care of themselves and their loved ones.

I invite you to order my free e-book, “Conscious Life Creation: 10 Easy Steps to Raise Your Vibration and Begin Living the Life You Were Born to Live” ( http://www.betzmckeown.com/a-gift) and take the first steps towards your inherent wholeness. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

An Open Letter Encouraging Change, Innovation, and Opportunity

The following is written specifically to the Chancellor, Provost, and Board of Trustees at North Carolina State University, in hopes of breaking new ground in health care through the opening of the first public Chiropractic school in the United States.

Dear Dr. Woodson, Dr. Arden, and Others To Whom It May Concern,

I write to you today thinking about innovation and opportunity for North Carolina State, my alma mater, and encourage NCSU to consider advancing the cause of the first public university school of Chiropractic in the United States. 

In the winter of 2005, I was in the midst of completing my undergraduate degree in psychology and had been accepted to the two most prestigious Chiropractic colleges in the United States.  I went onto receive a merit scholarship, for which one of the requirements was a written essay about the future of the Chiropractic profession. 

At that time, I was just beginning to learn about Chiropractic’s place in American society.  I knew of it previously only through a patient’s perspective.  I was thirteen years old when I experienced my first debilitating bout of pain.  Medical physicians knew not what to do with a case like mine other than to prescribe pain medication, but a family friend, who was a Doctor of Chiropractic, got me back to functioning and feeling relatively normal again.  It was not until years later, when I began to consider becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic myself, that I first learned that seeing a Chiropractor was uncommon or that it was considered “unscientific” by a medical community whose leadership (namely the American Medical Association) had been found guilty of violating the Sherman Act with an unlawful conspiracy against Chiropractic by the United States District Court (1), a decision affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals in February 1990 (2). 

With the above in mind, I wrote my merit scholarship essay about the advancement of Chiropractic in the mainstream through a new Chiropractic college set to be opened by Florida State University.  There are presently only fifteen schools in the United States which offer the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree; FSU would have been the first public school to house a Chiropractic college on its campus.  Unfortunately, Florida State rejected the project, citing protests primarily by its medical school staff, but the subject of my essay has stuck with me and I have long thought my own alma mater to be the perfect site of the nation’s first public Chiropractic school.  Since receiving my Doctorate in Chiropractic, I have seen firsthand the perception that my profession faces; I have seen the public resistance in my own clinic; I have seen graduating classmates, frustrated by the lack of acceptance for Chiropractic, return to school for medical doctorates or leave the health care field altogether.  It is, in some ways, a constant uphill battle.  However, change does not happen without forward-thinking innovators, the types that we produce regularly at North Carolina State.  I like to think that graduates of NCSU are the more logical sorts who, in a world where so many see a problem and circle around it endlessly, instead draw a straight line toward getting to the root of the issue and solve it. 

It is a very logical assertion that Chiropractic as a profession would greatly benefit from an association with a school like NC State and that, in turn, NC State would greatly benefit from its forward-thinking status as the home of the first public Chiropractic school in America. 

From a business standpoint, the front-end costs (such as facilities and staff) would be quickly off-set by the popularity of the program.  If NCSU were to adopt a similar tuition-structure as the Veterinary School (roughly $80,000 total over four years), for example, the 10-trimester or 14-quarter D.C. program would be more cost-effective for aspiring Chiropractors than any other school in the country which, combined with the early year novelty of attending the first public Chiropractic college and the eventual reputation for an unmatched standard of excellence that I can only assume NCSU would produce, would make for a very profitable venture. 

In addition to tuition fees and the added influx of what realistically could reach as high as 150 students per graduating class, NC State could expect to be a harbinger for federal grants related to researching alternatives to medicine.  The results when Chiropractic has been properly studied have disproven the dated, unjustified notion of it being unscientific; for example, a 2008 randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study through the University of Chicago showed a highly specific correction  in the upper neck (down to the nearest millimeter and degree) was more effective at consistently lowering blood pressure than two antihypertensive medications (3); and an on-going study by a team of medical scientists in Italy of an upper neck misalignment’s direct link to the disruption of cerebral spinal fluid flow (4) and its consequent causative relationship with the onset of conditions such as Migraines and Multiple Sclerosis has offered powerful evidence to support the outcomes that millions have achieved through specific chiropractic procedures. 

So, again, I return to my thoughts of innovation and opportunity for NC State.  We need change in American health care.  A report of the Commonwealth Fund stated in October 2015 that the U.S. spent 17% of its GDP on health care – more than 50% greater than any of the other countries studied (5) – yet according to the World Health Organization, we rank 37th in health statistics (6) despite our consumption of 80% of all the pharmaceutics produced in the entire world (7).  Americans collectively suffer from a lack of education and understanding about the basic necessities for healthy living (8). 

We have to shift health care’s priorities in the United States.  A grassroots movement to broaden the philosophic scope of health care research has been underway for years, with people becoming increasingly sick and tired of being sick and tired, and chiropractic has been a leader in that movement.  It would be of great benefit, though, if the process happened faster and I believe that the nation’s first public chiropractic school could further stimulate the necessary adjustments.  A mutually beneficial relationship between North Carolina State University and the chiropractic profession is just waiting to be cultivated.  Will you accept the invitation to help us lead American health care out of the doldrums and into the future?

Yours in Health,

Dr. M. Chad McIntyre

Sources
1- Wilk v. American Medical Ass’n, 671 F. Supp 1465, N.D. III. 1987
2- Wilk v. American Medial Ass’n, 895 F.2d 352, 7th Cir. 1990
3- Journal of Human Hypertension (2007) 21, 347–352
4- Mandolesi S, et al. Ann Ital Chir. 2015 May-Jun.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Guest Blogger Series: From The Corporate World To The Healing Art Of Reflexology

There are some days in life that you never forget; Friday, December 4, 2015 was one of those days. I had just finished a sales call with a prospective client, as I was working at the time for the world’s largest online faith and spiritual website. Working from home was a dream! Flexible schedule, the ability to take care of my wife who was recovering from knee replacement surgery and connecting with people all around the United States; what’s not to love? I receive a phone call from the home office in Denver and it was the president. The CEO is a High A, driven, ex-military, commander in chief at our organization and thankfully he liked me and we had a great rapport. I could tell by the tone in his voice that today’s call was serious. He just came right out with it;”Troy, we like you and you do a great job, but we are selling the company and your position is being eliminated.” I was stunned but had peace. As he went on with details and the standard separation speech, my mind was racing with worry, fear, and trying to determine next steps. This was the fifth layoff in my career and I was done working for corporate America!

It’s amazing how things from your past, play an important role in your future. 18 years ago I became fascinated with Reflexology, the science of reflex points in the feet and hands that correspond with specific organs in the body to help stimulate blood flow and bring about natural healing. My wife’s aunt is a practitioner in a little town in Blue Ridge, GA and her passion and zeal to help others utilizing this form of work made a lasting impression on me. I decided to take the course and become certified in the art of Reflexology and for a short while worked part time in this healing art. It was actually more of a hobby and when people were ailing with aches and pains that could not be corrected with traditional medicine, I’d offer a hand and they experienced amazing results! I was in need of Reflexology myself and went to a local studio to get some work. While there, I mentioned that I was a reflexologist and to keep me in mind if they ever needed assistance. A seed was planted and started to germinate and as it turned out, their reflexologist became ill and could no longer practice and they offered me an opportunity to serve.

At the urging of my incredible wife, she suggested that I give it a try; “What do we have to lose? You’re a gifted man, great reflexologist and you’ve always wanted to work for yourself, so go for it.” I was in awe of her support, love and belief in me and we started in January 2016. I started working one day a week and my mom was my first client! As word spread, my practice continued its growth and then two full days a week started becoming the norm. It soon became necessary for me to move to a larger practice space and I started at The Wellness Collective on Fifth, in June 2016. An amazing health and wellness center with other likeminded phenomenal practitioners, I had found my tribe, my calling and my new journey to help others! I’m happy to say that I now work five days a week and have helped hundreds of people with their health and wellness goals through the power of Reflexology.

Along this journey, I’ve accepted the mantle of becoming a healer. I’m thankful for my Christian roots and faith and also grateful for my intuitive gifts that I have discovered along the way. People have often asked me if I had ever thought about becoming a minister; funny, because I used to do that type of work in various capacities. Although this work is “Hands On” physical work, stimulating the feet to help increase blood flow, it’s much more spiritual and emotional than one may realize. So in a many ways, Yes, I am a minister, but not in the traditional sense of the word. I am also a Reiki practitioner and taking classes to become a medical intuitive, to continue my abilities to help others. I’ve learned many things on this new journey and one of the most important discoveries: Never underestimate the power of love and encouraging words! Having my wife believe in me, when I did not believe in myself was more powerful that she realized. Listening to my client’s needs and concerns aids in the healing process. Listening to the body’s needs is important as well, for if we stop, ask and listen it will tell us what needs to be done to help facilitate healing. Although fearful at first, I am now fearless in my passion to help educate others to the healing power of Reflexology, the healing power of words of encouragement which leads to healing of the spirit, soul and body. I am now truly happy and have found my calling; service to others is the greatest work on earth!


Troy Hurst is located at The Wellness Collective, 823 West Fifth Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 and can be reached by calling 336-831-5615, Planetreflex@gmail.com, Planet Reflex Wellness Management. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Root Cause For Migraines And A Simple Solution

Migraines are one of the most commonly debilitating conditions in the world, affecting 20% of the population.  Those who have suffered at least one, with any combination of the hallmark Migraine symptoms ranging from pain to sensitivity to light and/or sound to nausea to vomiting to visual disturbances to numbness or tingling to clumsiness to having difficulty communicating, etc., can vouch for how it takes over your world from when it hits to when it goes away. 

In a single word, Migraines are awful.  They are also one of the most aggravating conditions to treat through traditional medical options, as drugs used to combat symptoms are potentially dangerous and can cause a whole host of side effects, including increasing the likelihood of more consistent Migraine episodes. 

As with most complicated matters, part of the frustration over the prevalence of Migraines is a lack of understanding as to what causes them.  While many triggers have been discovered – caffeine, cigarette smoke, excessive light or sound, fatigue, certain foods, head trauma, hormonal changes, hunger, poor sleeping posture, stress, and weather changes among them – the causes largely remain a mystery; and, without knowing the causes, treatment programs are predominantly designed either around stopping Migraine symptoms after they have already been triggered or prophylactically taking medications.   

Years ago, Dr. Seymour Diamond, Executive Director of the National Headache Foundation, identified what he believed to be perhaps the root cause of Migraine Headaches: a malfunction in the nervous system’s hub, the brainstem.  Using advanced imaging, he mapped neurologic activity throughout the brain and the brainstem before, during, and after Migraine attacks.  Before a trigger was introduced, the brainstem was overactive.  Once the trigger was introduced, there were spikes across the board, consistent in the brainstem as before and also in various parts of the brain.  Imitrex was then introduced via injection and, although the turmoil reduced throughout the brain as Migraine symptoms decreased, the brainstem remained overactive. 

After subsequent follow-up studies, Dr. Diamond concluded that the drugs used to suppress Migraine symptoms were not affecting the brainstem and that the brainstem remaining overactive was the reason that symptoms were so prone to return even after drug therapy. 

The research begged the question: if the brainstem malfunctioning causes Migraines, what causes the brainstem to malfunction and, then, what if anything can be done to correct it?

Given that the brainstem is located where the head converges with the neck, a misalignment in the Upper Cervical spine quite commonly affects the brainstem’s function.  The brainstem is the control center of the body responsible for the regulation of pain perception, breathing, heart-rate, balance, blood pressure, digestion, and the expanding and contracting of blood vessels; when it malfunctions, it provokes a state of crisis throughout the body and prompts the blood vessels surrounding the brain to swell, laying the foundation for one of the aforementioned triggers to set off a Migraine. 
  
Upper Cervical spinal misalignments have been shown through a variety of clinical trials to be underlying causes of several vascular conditions, Migraines, Hypertension, and Multiple Sclerosis among them.  The primary reason why these misalignments occur is physical traumas, particularly those associated with the head and/or neck.  Traumas occur throughout our lives, from the birthing process to the thousands of falls we incur during youth to sports injuries to bike wrecks to major falls to car accidents.  When the upper neck vertebrae consequently misalign, the brainstem’s ability to normally regulate internal functions is impaired and the vertebral arteries which run through tiny openings on either side of the vertebrae can be compressed, decreasing the blood and oxygen supply to the brain and preventing the veins that drain fluid in the brain from working the way that they are supposed to.


Fortunately, these misalignments can be precisely identified and safely corrected by an Upper Cervical Practitioner, who uses specific diagnostic imaging to discover the complexities of the problem and who expertly sets the vertebrae back into their proper positions, removing the irritation to the brainstem and restoring proper blood flow to and from the brain in order to decrease and often eliminate the principal cause of Migraines. 

Kimberly Bostic, a Triad resident, stated the following about her experience with Upper Cervical Care: “Since I began my treatment in January 2011, I have suffered approximately 4 or 5 Migraines.  I had a Migraine at least monthly, if not more frequently, for almost 30 years.  In my mid-20s, I became aware that I could predict most precipitation-related weather events rather accurately because of my Migraines.  The first time that it rained after the correction that put things right, I was thoroughly shocked to watch the news and see the radar indicated it was raining outside.”

Thirty four years ago and pregnant with my first child, I experienced what I now know to be a Migraine,” Jan T. recalled about her history with the life-altering condition.  “I [saw] medical doctors, neurologists, and chiropractors.  I have had x-rays, MRIs and a list of neurological tests – all of which showed nothing of concern.  I tried numerous medications and injections (as needed and preventative), but continued to experience Migraines.  [Learning] about how misaligned upper cervical vertebrae can affect the entire body system made complete sense to me.”  She said of her work with an Upper Cervical Practitioner that “the headaches have [become] much less frequent and intense” and that she “highly recommends” Upper Cervical Care. 

When Gwen Brown first visited an Upper Cervical Practitioner, she had become increasingly miserable and frustratingly unsure as to the reason why. “My diagnosis was very unclear but ER doctors and a Neurologist were calling it anywhere from a weird Migraine to the possibility of MS,” she said.  “After one [Upper Cervical correction], my focus began to improve and my chronic Migraines went away along with the stress of anticipating surgery or life-long drugs to manage my condition. This completely changed my life.”

Finding the cause is the key.  If you or someone you know has been plagued by Migraines, encourage them to see an Upper Cervical Practitioner who will not only pinpoint the cause but correct it as well.  Upper Cervical Care is restoring the health and function of thousands of people who were sick and tired of being sick and tired, suffering from conditions like Migraines.


Sources: The National Institute of Health; The National Headache Foundation

Thinking good things for you,

Dr. Chad

Friday, February 10, 2017

An Example of Long-Term Healing Under Upper Cervical Care

An Example Of Long-Term Healing 

(Dr. Chad Note – One of the most common questions we get is “how long will it take me to feel better and/or heal?”  Everyone is different, so it is not an easy question to answer.  For some, the feeling better part happens faster than the actual healing does; for others it can be the opposite.  Time is an important factor to account for in your healthy endeavors and the following is a fantastic example of that.  Had this particular patient ceased care in the stabilization phase or before returning to an optimal state, she would never have seen the benefit)

“In 2006 I injured my left arm carrying my work laptop into the office.  I grabbed it to put it on my shoulder and I heard a loud pop in my upper left shoulder.  It stung for a while and I just dismissed it thinking it was like a popping ankle or knuckle, the pain would go away and I would be fine.  The pain didn't go away, it was a constant ache and I again dismissed as me getting older and the body taking longer to heal.  Then in 2008 I re-injured the same left shoulder trying to beat my husband in a game of Wii Tennis.  This pop brought me to my knees and tears in my eyes.  I dismissed it again thinking the body will heal itself, I'll just give it time. 

Next thing I noticed that in June of 2011 I couldn't lift my arm over my head or lift it to check the time on my watch.  So I had a physical in September 2011 and I was referred to a Physical Therapist.  She told me I had a Frozen Shoulder, never heard of that before and that same month I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Could the two be related?  I had no idea.  So I started the Physical Therapy, went for about 6 weeks, weekly.  I got my range of motion back, could look at my watch again but couldn't make certain moves and still had the pain in the top left shoulder, although not as bad.  I started my treatment for Breast Cancer and still had the nagging pain in my shoulder some nights it was unbearable and I would have tears in my eyes.  I finished my treatment for Breast Cancer in October 2012 but my left shoulder continued to hurt. 

So I was referred to Dr. Chad at Triad Upper Cervical Clinic.  I completed his new patient questionnaire and he asked me before I could mention if I had a Frozen Shoulder.  I told him I did, went to physical therapy but it still hurts.  Well I started the program with Dr. Chad in Jan/Feb 2013.  The pain got worse, unbearable and I just wanted to cut it off some days.  However, when I would mention it to Dr. Chad he would say, “give it time, how long ago did you injure it?, etc.” I knew what he was saying, it's not going to be poof and go away but he did say one day I will wake and the pain would be no more.  I was patient but didn't stop asking around for solutions.  I would always go back to Dr. Chad and say can I try this and that.  He would stay true to course (believing in his profession)  “it's going to work!”

I listened and when I began to hold a correction for over a month and then month and half and Dr. Chad was like “oh you don't have to come as often,” I'm thinking in the back of my head…but my shoulder it still hurts).  It didn't hurt everyday only at times and I began to associate that with healing. 
Well on June 21, 2013, my left shoulder hurt terribly bad, I was about to just lose my mind but when I looked under my arm I saw dark black - just deathly looking - under my arm.  I got scared but went “something is coming out.”  So then I started to itch under my arm, I scratched and black, flaky matter was under my finger nails.  I kept telling myself this was a good thing.  Then white bumps appeared and my skin was very dry and chaffed under there.  I was getting scared but decided to wait it out.  It was painful and one day around June 24, 2013, I woke up and started using my left arm like it never hurt.  I was combing my hair and my left arm was doing the work and I didn't feel ANY pain.  It was at that time I rejoiced and couldn't wait to share with Dr. Chad.  I've not been in pain since.  I never did shots, I took a pill once from the medical doctor (Mobic) but it was only temporary and I decided not to keep taking it.  I am glad I stopped and went this way.”

Monday, January 16, 2017

Discussing The Cholesterol Controversy

Warning: High Cholesterol!  Due to its long-standing association with heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control, the emotional response to finding out that your cholesterol levels came back abnormal has become increasingly frightful over the years.  Basically labeled as an artery-clogging destructive force, cholesterol has been argued for four decades as something to keep as low as possible, even resulting in a push in recent years for cholesterol-lowering drugs, primarily a classification called statins, to be taken proactively in ages as early as pre-teen to prevent heart problems.

However, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the cholesterol theory of disease and the ever-increasing recommendation to take statins and, with the controversy amplified by the recent changes in guidelines which will potentially raise the total number of American adults on statins to above 50 million, it is time to put the theory and the medications so frequently prescribed as a result of it under the microscope. 

Fascinating, is it not, how easily one train of thought can become the dominant school of thought?  Science, especially of the medical-variety, can be a tricky beast.  Sometimes one study can be the catalyst for a mindset toward a health problem that yields a standard protocol adhered to almost religiously by conventional physicians, even in the face of strong opposition from others who posit the original study’s conclusion is questionable to outright incorrect.  Such has arguably been the case with the cholesterol theory.  Decades ago, a pervading medical hypothesis was born of a study that linked high cholesterol levels to heart disease and has served as the basis for the modern proliferation of statin-recommendations even amidst increasingly intense scrutiny regarding the merits of both the hypothesis itself and the study that helped construct it.  

Part of the reason for skeptical inquiry is the vital role that cholesterol plays in the body.  Cholesterol is used for a wide variety of purposes, from creating cell membranes to producing hormones, digestive acids, and vitamin D.  The importance of cholesterol could perhaps be summed up best by saying that, without it, human life would not be possible.  So, how could considerably lowering it be a net positive?

When the debate about the cholesterol theory of disease got louder, the dialogue among the supporters then shifted to include the now-classic differential between HDL and LDL; that HDL is the “good cholesterol” and LDL is the “bad.”  For clarity, HDL and LDL stand for high or low-density lipoprotein, which is a vehicle that carries certain substances through the bloodstream.  Neither HDL nor LDL is an actual type of cholesterol, mind you, but rather both are carrier-proteins that transport it.  HDL facilitates the removal of excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and takes it to the liver, while LDL takes cholesterol from the liver and through the bloodstream for distribution to cells; both are very important for normal human biochemistry.  The cholesterol disease theory links high levels of LDL to cardiovascular events (i.e. stroke and heart attack) and adamantly supports keeping it as low as possible, while other research confirms that high levels of LDL support, among many things, the health of the nervous system and the general functional capacity of the body and that chemically-lowering it only serves to trigger a series of adaptations that hurt the body in the long run. 

Confusing, right? 

One of the flaws in our healthcare system is its dependence on drawing generalized conclusions from research about the minutiae of something so complex as the human body which, on average, contains 75 trillion cells that perform upwards of 200,000 chemical reactions every split second; naturally, there are going to be conflicting sets of data when studying a biochemical rubix-cube.  Accordingly, there is a need for careful interpretation of research and to perhaps take findings about more intricate matters – especially those that go against logic and the basic understanding of physiological facts – with a grain of salt until further research, preferably reviewed by peers without a financial conflict of interest, can reproduce the results time and again.

Cholesterol might well be a hallmark example of caution not being exercised when the original research drew its debatable conclusions, which slammed hard into the logic that lowering a factually vital component in the human body’s assembly line could do far more harm than good.  The theory stimulated by the original study created a panic, which rather quickly manifested itself into the propagation of processed foods engineered to contain less cholesterol and the instigation of the statin drug-craze.  Statistically, it has not made people healthier to lower their cholesterol, as heart disease is more prominent than ever, as are rates of obesity (see professed foods), diabetes, and nutritional deficiencies from not eating foods plentiful enough in cholesterol.

Meanwhile, statins are a $29 billion industry infamous for their horrific and very common side effects.  Crestor, for instance, is commonly known to cause joint and muscle pain, headaches, dizziness, and higher liver enzyme counts.  The laundry list of less common (reported) side effects is vast and even includes the onset of type 2 diabetes; one particular study, a landmark trial in fact that ten years ago helped expand the use of statin drugs, showed a 25% increased risk of new onset diabetes in the treatment group!  The new drugs rising to the forefront in the aftermath of the statin controversy are being shown to be far riskier in terms of the potential side effects.

The bottom line is that the cholesterol theory of disease is flawed, its claims do not hold up against thorough inspection, and it defies the natural law of life that states clearly the important role that cholesterol plays in basic human body function.  As for statins, it would not be altogether unfair to label them as toxic.

We have reached the moment in the history of healthcare when it has become imperative to re-evaluate our near half-century tendency to treat the human body like the test tube for a science experiment.  These “landmark” studies that support the use of wildly popular drugs like statins are paper thin to the point that it is quite easy for other scientists to poke many holes in them.  When a medication-type so prominently endorsed then gets directly connected in other studies to actually increasing the risk that it professes to lower as well as accentuates the risk of other major issues like osteoporosis, cancer, kidney failure, and brain disease, then it calls into question the philosophy and practices that have steered the United States to its currently poor standing in healthcare as compared to the rest of the world. 

Thinking good things for you,

Dr. Chad


Sources: The National Institute of Health, MIT, New England Journal of Medicine