The answer is complicated.
Each joint of the foot connects to one another, then to the ankle, then the knee, then the hip and pelvis. Overall, there is an impact on each joint in the spine. High heels contort the shape of the foot and this misalignment can move up into the spine leading to things like low back pain or headaches.
In those cute pumps, the arch of the foot is shortened. This can lead to Plantar Fasciitis (a painful condition affecting the sole of the foot). If the shoe is pointed, the toes become jammed and this can eventually lead to bunions. Distorted foot positions can lead to stress fractures in the foot.
Over time, the unnatural stresses on the bones can cause painful breaks. Heels shorten the calf muscles giving the legs a sexy look, but over time this can cause problems with the attachment sites of the muscles (namely the heel and knee). The pelvis tilts forward creating not only a cute “bubble butt,” but also a “pot belly,” which ultimately affect overall posture and can lead to low back pain.
The change in the balance over the foot in walking changes stride length and type which can have major effect on muscle groups in the body adding to postural imbalances. Inexperienced heel wearers are prone to sprains and falls. There’s nothing hot about a sprained ankle.
High heels are A-OK as long as they aren’t worn for a very long time. All day every day at work is a lot of time. That’s 40+ hours of distorted feet and posture a week!
The postural distortions created by the heels are counteracted with stretching and exercise. How can you counteract the affects of wearing heel?
- Do some calf stretches to lengthen the calf muscles after wearing heels has shortened them.
- Work on core strengthening and work those abs! This can help you maintain better posture when walking and reduce the likeliness of back injury.
- Go barefoot at home to lengthen the plantar fascia on the sole of the foot.
- See a chiropractor that adjusts feet. Make sure that all of the joints in your feet and legs are working properly.
Are high heels safe for kids and teens?
It’s up to every parent to decide when it is appropriate for their children to strut in heels. It’s important to note that there are specific conditions that form in young women who wear high heels excessively, although rare. This condition is called Frieburg’s disease and the metatarsal bones of the foot can actually become necrotic or die from lack of blood flow!
Now that you’re armed with this information, get out there and strut your stuff safely!
For Valentine’s Day show your heart a little love. From young children to adults, it’s important for everyone to keep their heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association Cardiovascular Disease is the number one killer in women.
The cardiovascular system consists of your heart and the intricate arteries and capillary network that deliver blood to every cell. Not only does the blood carry oxygen, but also other necessary nutrients and hormones throughout the body. It is this same system that carries waste products through the veins back to the heart to then go to the lungs to pick up more oxygen and then back to the body in a continuous cycle that keeps us alive. The heart is the central figure in the cardiovascular system because with out its continuous beats pushing the blood to our tissues, our brain can't last longer then four to six minutes without it.
How do you keep your heart healthy?
Just like every other part of you starting with diet, exercise and happiness/satisfaction. Diet:
What really clogs up the heart and arteries is cholesterol. It makes little "plaques" that stick to the arterial walls and affects blood flow, or worse they can dislodge and block the flow of blood completely. Limiting our fat intake is important, but don't go too crazy; we need fat and cholesterol to survive. Fats are an important part of every single cell in our body. Good Fats:
These are the types of fats that matter. Good healthy fats are what you need.
Good fats include: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, omega-6 fatty acids found in walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds and vegetable oils and monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados and many nuts. Fiber:
A diet high in soluble fiber collects a lot of this extra fatty stuff on its way throughout your system. Soluble fiber is found in oatmeal, lentils, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, psyllium, fruits and vegetables.Inflammation:
Another huge player in heart heath is inflammation. You want to keep it low. Sugar and carbohydrates are a huge culprit in inflammation. Inflammation is measured in the blood by CRP (C-reactive protein) and ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate)
. These are commonly ordered tests for arthritis. Get these and your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked next time you have blood work done. Be sure that you are forming a good relationship with a medical provider so that they can get to know your personal blood levels and body type so that you can work as a team to help you achieve any health goals. Exercise:
Your heart is a muscle and just like every other muscle in your body, if you don't use it you lose it. Just like those biceps curls work your muscles on the outside, cardio workouts work out the heart muscle on the inside too. Any exercise program that creates a sweat and gets your heart pumping is what you need to stay healthy. From pushing your kids in a stroller to hitting the slopes to working out on the elliptical at the gym, The American Heart Association
recommends about 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Don't feel overwhelmed; it's not much if you break it into smaller increments. For example, you can do three 10-minute increments a day for five days a week. Even simple things like running after your kids on the playground or parking at the far end of the parking lot can get your heart pumping. The most important thing is to get out there and get going!
What does this mean? In other words, chill out! Stress is the source of most of our health problems. It is important to have social connections that nurture you and where you feel respected and supported. Meditate and do “self work” of your choosing. Get into the chiropractor and tone your nervous system down, take a yoga class, read to your kids at bedtime, and stop and smell the roses. Just take a little time to figure out what it means for you to follow your bliss.
The societies and cultures that live the longest get a lot of exercise, eat a good diet and have good social connections. Aim to incorporate these things into your life and see how good you feel. In the end, prevention is the best medicine.
Whether you are celebrating Kwanza, Chanukah or Christmas the holidays tend to be a time full of festivities, family, fun and most importantly: FOOD… Lots and lots of yummy food.
There are some easy ways to keep the holidays fun but slightly healthier than the traditional approach.
Try some of the following:
Prep before party. Eat a small healthy meal before going to that holiday party that you know will have a bounty of tempting, sugary and fatty foods. That way you will be less likely to fill up on junk but have a little room to sample some of the tastier items.
Be selective. Rather than taking one of every cookie or treat, take only one of the things that look the best to you. By having your less favorite treats on your plate you will be more compelled to eat them, so just skip them altogether and go for your favorites.
Put less on your plate. Often our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and with a yummy spread in front of us we are likely to go “hog wild” and fill our plate to the brim. Take only a small amount of food. Don't panic! Allow your self to go back for seconds of a small portion of only the foods that are especially appealing to you.
Serve fruit and nuts with sweets. When your going to indulge or when giving your kids a treat, be sure that you are giving an equal amount of fruit and/or nuts with the sweets.
Substitute oils in your baking. Try cutting the amount of oil in half and replacing it with applesauce.
Chose your sugars wisely. Try replacing your traditional refined sugars with unrefined or fruit based sugars.
Don't be hard on yourself. If you over do it, let it go. Cut yourself a break. It’s the holidays. Be happy, not guilty. Just make a mental note that you had a good time, but you'll be more carful in the next situation, or tomorrow.
To your good health!
Castor oil has been used throughout history for a variety of uses. The FDA has deemed it as “generally safe and effective.” What most people know castor oil for is the old home remedy of choking down a spoonful to relive constipation. There are a wide variety of castor oil products available form creams to ready made castor oil compress packs.
Studies have shown many uses for castor oil. There are reports that it is:
- Reduces inflammation
- Help with arthritis
- Can have anticancer effects
- Help with constipation or gastrointestinal upset
- Boost the immune and lymphatic system
- Help with some skin conditions
- Induces labor
- It is believed to help with the livers detoxification
They side effects of taking castor oil orally are also treatment for constipation by creating abdominal tract spasm. In constipation this can help move the bowel contents, how ever it can lead to cramping, prolonged diarrhea and pain. Increasing Immune Function:
Castor oil compresses applied to the abdomen are absorbed into the blood stream through the skin. This has been found to increase lymphocytes in the blood (lymphocytes are disease fighting white blood immune cells). Application to the abdomen is also believed to help with liver detoxification and increasing lymphatic flow. Read more about compresses below. Decreasing Muscle and Joint Pain:
When made into a compress, castor oil treatments can be applied right to the joint or muscles causing pain. This method can help pain in joints associated with arthritis or ligament strain. By decreasing inflammation in the area healing can happen rapidly. Read more about compresses below. Menstrual Pain:
Castor oil compresses applied to the abdomen to help with menstrual pain and/or endometriosis. Inducing labor:
Oral use of castor oil is touted as a effective way to get labor underway if the mother is past due, effaced and slightly dilated. The side effects mentioned above still apply in this situation and can lead to some discomfort. Skin uses:
Castor oil has been touted to help with a variety of skin conditions. It has been applied topically for conditions such as acne, some skin cancers, scars and stretch marks, warts and moles, eye styes, anti-aging, hair health and hair regeneration. Check out this website for more info.
The Homemade Castor oil Compress:
What you need:
- Good quality cold pressed castor oil
- Strips of flannel
- Plastic wrap
- Heat pack or hot water bottle
- Old towels
Read more about making your own compress by clicking here.
- Cut the flannel into a size and shape that it covers the area to be treated (knee, ankle, elbow, wrist, stomach, etc.) with 3-4 layers of fabric.
- Soak the flannel with room temperature castor oil so that the cloth is saturated but not dripping (you can wring out excess oil).
- Apply the cloth to the area to be treated and wrap the cloth on with plastic wrap.
- Put the hot pack or hot water bottle on top of the plastic wrap.
- Wrap the whole area in the old towels.
- Keep warm and covered for 30-45min.
- Wash skin after application with soap.
- Store the pack in an airtight container for later use. Packs can be reused repeatedly.
- Repeat daily for 3-7days.
There is some concern that some castor oil can have poisonous effects if made poorly. For this reason it is important to use a good quality oil from a well known brand. Due to the adverse effects that castor oil can create it is important to proceed slowly with ingestion or topical application (ie. Very small oral dose or skin patch test). Ask your healthcare provider or chiropractor for assistance. Read more. This is a great video about how to make a compress at home:
What’s not to like about thanksgiving? It’s a wonderful excuse to fill our bellies and enjoy good company. But, what’s with the sleepiness that follows? Is the turkey really to blame?Tryptophan:
Turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is a essential building block of protein that we have to get through our diet. It is part of they synthesis of serotonin, a hormone that helps us to feel happy and content. Tryptophan is in many foods including chicken, eggs, soy and many fish. (Read more about tryptophan rich foods here.)
Other causes of Thanksgiving sleepiness:
Just like any other large meal Thanksgiving feasts fill our bellies with food. That food takes more blood to the stomach to digest. Neurologically, it’s a time to rest and digest at the nervous system slows down. The high carbohydrate content in the typical Thanksgiving feast also contributes to lethargy (breads, stuffing, grains, sweets, etc.). This “carbohydrate crash” is due to a spike in insulin also adding to a spike in tryptophan in the blood. Not to mention if your gathering is partaking in libations.
So the Turkeys off the hook!
As it turns out chicken contains more of the sleepiness inducing tryptophan than turkey meat.
No one knows the stress of a crying baby like the parents of a infant with colic.
Read how to identify and deal with infantile colic. What is Infantile Colic:
Colic is defined by the “rule of threes” which is: at least three weeks with at least three days where the child cries for at least three hours. The diagnosis is made after all other possible aliments have been ruled out. The baby will typically have a loud sharp cry with tightly clenched knees and arms. (Read more about colic
Infantile colic is more than a mild annoyance. It can lead to poor attachment of baby to parents and/or parents to baby, poor feeding, post partum depression, exhaustion, unnecessary treatment and possibly ER visits.Causes of Colic:
It is widely believed that colic is due to belly discomfort. This discomfort is associated with neurological dysfunction, digestive upset, gas, abdominal tension and pressure all leading to pain.
Colic and Chiropractic:
There are many parents that have attributed the resolution of infant colic to chiropractic adjustments. See if chiropractic can bring harmony back into your home. Here's how it works: Chiropractic adjustments to the spine can help effect many dysfunctions in the nervous system. Restrictions can develop from birth or other traumas to the spine. This can effect the way that the stomach, colon and other digestive organs function. Chiropractic adjustments to the spine can help make the nervous flow to these organs return. Adjustments can be applied to digestive organs when necessary as well. (Read a study about chiropractic and colic here
Warmth: Hold your baby, holding alone can help. Put a warm bottle on the belly.
Feeding: when breast-feeding try to ensure that your baby gets the hind milk as well as the first milk from each breast when feeding. Formula fed babies: try changing the formula brand paying attention to food sensitivities. Always follow with a good attempt at burping.
Probiotics: Probiotics help ensure that there are lots of good bacteria in the stomach. Mom should take them if she is breast-feeding but give them to the baby as well, especially formula fed babies. Ask your pediatrician or chiropractor to recommend an infant probiotic.
Peppermint oil: Mix a few drops of peppermint into half an ounce of sweet almond oil and rub on the belly.
Belly rub: Rub your infants belly lightly in a circular motion clockwise. Rub a big circle within the boarders of the soft belly (under the ribcage and above the boney pelvis to the edges of the belly around the belly button) with the pads of your fingers and a little bit of baby lotion or oil. Be sure that your baby is nice and warm during the bully massage.
See if chiropractic can help your baby get out of pain and help the family sleep in peace again.
We hear it all the time: Organic this... Organic that...
There are a lot of mixed feelings about how harmful herbicides and pesticides that are added to the soil, sprayed on plants and the fruits and veggies actually are. In farming we see that they repel insects or actually cause damage to the insects nervous system. So how could they be safe for you or your kids? American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to minimize exposure to herbicides and pesticides. Read more here.
Organic foods cost more money and spoil faster than conventional produce. Weather your trying to cut costs or just want to minimize your exposure to herbicides and pesticides here’s a guide set by the Environmental Working Group (this is the eighth edition! Read more here)
. Below are the worst and best produce based on how much is applied to them.
Print off this guide to keep with you when you groceries shop as a quick guide. Happy shopping!
Birchann Paffenbarger, D.C.Infinite Potential Chiropractic & Family Wellnesswww.infinitepotentialchiropractic.com
100 Arapahoe Ave. #5
Boulder, CO 80302
Knowing what pillow is right for you can be complicated and frustrating. Have you tried everything for neck pain? Chiropractic, heat, exercises, etc? All that good effort will go to waste if you don’t have proper spinal alignment while sleeping. Here are some helpful hints:
Maintain proper alignment:
You want to maintain your spines natural curves even when sleeping. The spine has natural curves that are important to maintain. Once you get the right pillow check if you have the right alignment by bringing a mirror in front of the bed or ask a friend if you are in proper alignment (more below).
You want to be sure that the middle of your ear is in alignment with the middle of your shoulder. This means that your pillow should support the curve of your neck and that the back of yours head should be on the mattress. Check out some special pillows that are shaped just for this posture. Or, try using an old down pillow or a down pillow with some of the feathers removed so that you can mash it into a shape that’s good for your neck.
Be sure that your nose is still in alignment with your breastbone and belly button. This means having a pillow that supports the curve of your neck and lifts the head slightly from the mattress.
Sleepers who change position:
If you are a sleeper who moves from your back to your side during the night be sure you have a pillow that can keep up or keep extras in bed. If you have a cervical pillow you may find that you have to move your head to the edge of the pillow in order to keep good posture.
Check your kids and babies head positions and pillow uses too. The same rules apply however infants don’t have a neck curve to protect as much as adults and don’t need to use pillows at all, however pediatric pillows are available.
Check out some examples of good supportive pillows below:
What's the big deal with warming up before working out?
We heard it in PE in elementary school and we hear it mentioned in exercise classes at the gym or home workout DVD's. So what's the big deal with warming up before working out?
What does it mean exactly?
It means slower more purposeful movements that get the joints, ligaments and muscles moving and blood flowing. This includes: walking before your run, doing a few bent knee forward folds and mountain poses before moving into vinyasa in yoga, having the kids do a few jumping jacks before hitting the soccer field, etc. Properly warming up helps to prevent injury, tears and sprains in muscles, ligaments and joints.
What is happening?
When you warm up your muscles and joints are literally "warming up." Blood flow into the muscle allows for delivery of nutrition and removal of normal waste products. This is important to do well before any intense exercise to make the tissues work more effectively. The slow build up of movement into the joints allows for the normal fluid in the joints to disperse and lubricate the joint fully and bring blood flow into muscles and other tissues before it has to work extra hard. It’s like priming the pump. It get's the body ready for what's about to come.
Remember that stuff? When it is fresh out of the shell and you pull it between your two fingers it may snap in half or be really hard to pull apart. If you roll it around in you hands and get it warmed up when you pinch it and pull it apart it stretches easily and sags. This is the same thing with warming up your muscles and joints. When they are cold they are more likely to "snap" or get injured. Warming them up makes them soft and pliable. How do I know when I am warmed up?
When you are warmed up you should be physically warmer then when you started. Maybe, but not necessarily a full sweat, but starting to feel a flush and your heart and respiratory rate go up. When you are well warmed up your body temperature should raise 1.4-2.8 degrees Fahrenheit and only take about 10-15 seconds of muscular contractions according to Dr. Mercola (read more
). Who needs a warm up anyways?
Everyone benefits from a good warm up, children to adults alike. Even those who are avid exercisers (weather marathon runners or weekend joggers) should warm up their body before every strenuous workout. Just because you do it often does not make you immune to injury.
Happy warming up!
Vitamin D has been named “The Sunshine Vitamin” not only because we produce it in our skin from sunlight but when we have adequate levels it can help us have a sunnier attitude. Helping fend off the winter blues isn’t all that vitamin D helps prevent. Bone Health:
We need vitamin D with our calcium. Without vitamin D we are at greater risk of bone density loss. In children lack of vitamin D leads to a disease called Rickets where children get soft curvy bones.
Low levels of blood vitamin D has also been attributed to the following: Heart disease, some cancers, multiple sclerosis, the flu and even autism (read more)
. Even lung infections to newborns to moms who had low vitamin D in pregnancy (read more).
Make Vitamin D yourself:
The most important form of Vitamin D to take is Vitamin D3 (called cholecalciferol). This is the kind that we produce in from our skin by about 15-20minutes of UV light from the sun on the upper body for a light skinned person (and about 3-6times that for darker skinned individuals). Just be careful to not slather on more sunscreen than you need, there is risk for children who are never directly exposed to sun to become deficient. Supplement:
Not every one can get that much that direct sunlight. Supplementation can be great. Read the bottle. Only take the cholecalciferol or D3 version. Tablets are the most common but like any supplement liquid is better. Dosing: Infants only need 400-1000IU daily, kids 2500 and adults about 2000-4000 (read more)
. Ask your chiropractor or nutritionist for a brand they recommend and dosing for you and your family (vitamin D toxicity has occurred with large dosing). Are you getting enough?
The only way to tell if you have enough vitamin D is to get your blood tested. You want your blood levels to be at or above 30ng/ml and below 20ng/ml supplementation needs to be bumped up. Sources of Vitamin D:
Cold liver oil has the highest sources of vitamin D. Fish like salmon, mackerel sardines and tuna have some of the highest levels of it. Eggs are also very high in vitamin D. There are also many foods fortified with the vitamin such as cereals, milk and cheese.
Birchann Paffenbarger, D.C. Infinite Potential Chiropractic & Family Wellnesswww.infinitepotentialchiropractic.com
100 Arapahoe Ave. #5
Boulder, CO 80302