My patients in my Bellevue chiropractic office occasionally ask me whether chiropractic x-rays are safe, so I wanted to summarize the current FDA statements on x-ray safety and give you a couple credible resources where you can learn more. Read the full article if you want the complete story, but if you are looking for a quick answer, the FDA estimates that the radiation exposure from a chest ray is roughly equivalent to the background radiation you are exposed to in 10 ordinary days on planet Earth.
The FDA states on its website "Don't refuse an X-ray. The risk of not having a needed X-ray is greater than the small risk of radiation."
First of all, there is no difference between a chiropractic x-ray and any other type of x-ray. While x-ray equipment does vary slightly by manufacturer, what really matters is the body part being imaged. Different body tissues absorb radiation in different ways.
To provide consumers with a way of monitoring radiation exposure across multiple sources, the FDA uses an effective dosage scale. Each type of x-ray has an effective dosage associated with it measured in millisieverts (mSv). Since millisieverts isn't a unit of measure most people are familiar with (like a mile or a teaspoon), having a reference value helps put the numbers in context. The FDA estimates that the average person is exposed to 3.0 millisieverts of radiation per year from naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic rays. That's what allows them to state that a 0.1 millisievert dosage from a chest x-ray is equivalent to about 10 days of background radiation exposure.
Compared to a chest x-ray, x-rays of the extremities (arms and legs) have a much lower effective dosage and x-rays of the lower torso have a higher effective dosage. Recall that the effective dosage comes mainly from the body part being imaged not the intensity or duration of the x-ray machine pulse. Here's a summary of effective dosages and background radiation equivalents for the various types of x-rays a chiropractor is likely to recommend:
• Extremities - 0.001 mSv – similar to 3 hours background radiation
• Chest - 0.1 mSv - similar to 10 days background radiation
• Spine - 1.5 mSv - similar to 6 months background radiation
The FDA website and the excellent radiologyinfo.org website from the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America both point out that disease risks from radiation exposure are cumulative across time and that patients play a critical role in tracking their own exposure levels. Since you may be working with multiple health care providers in different specialty areas, you should keep a log of your exposures. Here is a link to a site where you can download a personal Patient Medical Imaging Record: imagewisely.org/Patients.aspx
Note that this article refers to effective exposures and recommendations for adults. If you are pregnant or looking for x-ray safety information for children, visit imagegently.org
Consumer Updates Reducing Radiation from Medical X rays. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 29, 2011, from FDA.gov: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095505.htm
Patient Safety X ray and CT. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 29, 2011, from Radiologyinfo.org: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/safety/index.cfm?pg=sfty_xray
Radiology Risks Benefits for Patients Image Wisely Image Wisely. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 29, 2011, from ImageWisely.org: http://imagewisely.org/Patients.aspx
“Mercury toxicity should be evaluated in any patient with hypertension, coronary heart disease, cerebral vascular disease, cerebrovascular accident, or other vascular disease.” This was the conclusion of an August 2011 study that appeared in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
For those of you lucky enough to not know the term, hypertension is the medical name for high-blood pressure. About one out of every three adults in the United States has high blood pressure (National Center for Health Statistics, 2008) so the odds are that at least one of your parents or grandparents is affected. Or, perhaps it you that has high blood pressure? Either way, this is a study you’ll want to know about since it clearly connects how mercury toxicity (which can be tested for and reduced) can manifest itself as hypertension and other vascular diseases.
Most research studies you hear about on the evening news or popular science programs are full of data and statistics. These types of studies are typically trying to correlate two facts – such as people with higher mercury exposure have greater incidence of heart disease – and may go future to try to establish causation. However, statistical methods don’t ever really settle the causation question. For that we need biochemistry.
Biochemistry is all about understanding the d
ifferent pathways that nutrients (and toxins) travel in our bodies. This particular study looked at the many internal processes that mercury interferes with in order to establish a biochemical basis for the resulting symptoms - hypertension and coronary heart disease. Here’s what they found.
1. Inactivates many reactions that depend on sulfer-containing enzymes
2. Inactivates many sulfer-containing antioxidants
3. Substitutes itself for zinc, copper and other trace minerals in certain reactions
As a result:
1. Mitochondria – the energy powerhouses of the cell – malfunction
2. The body’s oxidative defenses are diminished increasing oxidative stress and inflammation
Which manifests in the body as:
1. Hypertension (high blood pressure)
2. Coronary heart disease
3. Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
4. Cardiac arrhythmias
6. Renal dysfunction, and
Even if you didn’t follow any of the preceding couple paragraphs, you can appreciate the need to ‘connect-the-dots’ between cellular-level processes and downstream diseases. This study connected the dots between high levels of mercury and the many downstream disease states listed. A brilliant piece of work!
So, what should you do if you have hypertension or other types of coronary heart disease? The study authors advise testing for acute or chronic mercury toxicity. Modern mercury toxicity tests are done using urine, blood, hair and toenail samples so they are minimally invasive and results come back fairly quickly.
Houston, M. (2011, August). Role of mercury toxicity in hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 13(8), 621-7.
National Center for Health Statistics. (2008). Retrieved August 12, 2011, from Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus08.pdf
Today I wanted to share a great story that a local news station in Omaha Nebraska did on Chiropractic and Infertility. It features the story of one women who became pregnant after 3 months of chiropractic care when other infertility treatments had failed her. For any couple wishing to have a child, this story represents real hope .
But it’s just one women and one situation and if you saw this segment on your evening TV, it would be easy to dismiss the story as a coincidence. The critical question is…how many other infertile women has chiropractic helped and what is the likelihood it will work for me?
The doctor in the story explains how spinal adjustments can aid fertility issues. His explanation is that adjustments ensure that the nerves which send signals to the ovaries and other reproductive organs are transmitting properly. One of the basic tenets of chiropractic care is that normal nerve function is necessary for good health – which of course includes normal hormonal functions, ovulation and menstruation.
But again, he is just one doctor in one town. Isthere any evidence that chiropractic really improves fertility among women that are struggling to conceive?
The answer is yes.
At the end of the news story the anchor makes reference to a research study (Behrendt, 2003) that showed 14 of 15 women with a history of fertility issues became pregnant after starting chiropractic care. The women’s stories are all quite different and all very personal.
One 32-year-old woman had had no menstrual cycle for the past 12 years. She had been unsuccessful with medical infertility treatments. Then after 4 months of chiropractic care her menstrual cycle resumed and after two additional months she became pregnant – unassisted.
Another great story to emerge from the study was that of a 26-year-old woman with terrible scoliosis. She had had multiple medical fertility treatments to help her conceive. She became pregnant – again unassisted – in her seventh month of chiropractic care.
Reflecting upon the findings of the study Dr. Behrendt commented that “although not conclusive, the results of the research should stimulate consideration of structure as a factor in infertility and increase awareness of the role of the central and peripheral nervous system in fertility.” We couldn’t agree more.
As a woman reading this article, do you know where in your spine the nerves that supply your reproductive organs are located? Most likely not. And if you are like most women, you’ve never thought about reproductive issues from the perspective of nerve signals.
Fortunately, this line of thinking is starting to make its way into the mainstream. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the American Pregnancy Association website makes reference to nervous system function and the benefits of chiropractic care for infertility. The American Pregnancy Association site states that “in many cases, fertility issues may be associated with improper nervous system function, poor nutrition, high stress and poor lifestyle habits.” It goes on to note that “chiropractic care can be used in conjunction with traditional approaches to fertility issues and can greatly enhance the chances of successful medical procedures such as IVF.”
Once you factor in the price and possible side-effects of IVF treatments, choosing chiropractic care first to aid conception is a very logical choice backed by solid evidence.
If someone you love is struggling with infertility and has never visited a chiropractor for an evaluation, please share this article with them. If you personally are having difficulty conceiving, please call us so we can answer your questions about chiropractic and fertility.
(n.d.). Retrieved August 11, 2011, from American Pregnancy Association: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/infertility/infertilityandchiropractic.html
Behrendt, D. (2003). Insult, Interference and Infertility:An Overview of Chiropractic Research. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, 1.
The risks of heavy metal poisoning are a frequently discussed health concern. Some definitions cite the atomic weight or a specific gravity greater than 4.0 or 5.0, but generally it refers to a group of metals and semi-metals posing a potential risk to humans and the environment – such as lead, mercury and cadmium. A danger of heavy metal toxicity is that its symptoms are commonly misdiagnosed, often as incurable chronic conditions, but if unrecognized and untreated they can lead to severe health problems and even death.
In our daily lives, it’s hard to avoid heavy metals entirely. Contaminated food, mostly fish, can contain traces of heavy metals, as can working environments, direct and passive smoking, mercury fillings and old homes that have used lead-based paint. Poisoning occurs after an excessive build up of heavy metals in the body. Usually these are flushed out via urine or fecal waste, but some people, such those suffering from chronic conditions, cannot excrete them and this results in an accumulation over time. Toxicity also depends on individual factors such as the dose absorbed, exposure, age and route of exposure. There have also been studies that indicate a possible genetic predisposition to heavy metal toxicity .
The usual symptoms associated with heavy metal poisoning can manifest as chronic pain throughout muscles, in the tendons and soft tissues; chronic malaise; ‘brain fog’, meaning when one’s thoughts become clouded; Candida and other chronic infections; gastrointestinal complaints; food allergies; headaches and migraines; dizziness; mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety; and malfunctions in the nervous system, which may result in numbness, tingling, paralysis and/or electric shocks in the body. Recent studies have found that a link may exist between heavy metal poisoning and cardiovascular disease .
Conventional treatment for detoxifying the body can take a long time – up to years in some cases – and many have experienced side effects resulting from heavy metals being stirred up in the body before excretion. Chelation therapy is the most common form of treatment, in which agents bind to heavy metals in the body and are expelled via urine or fecal waste. Medicines commonly used for detoxification include DMSA, prescribed to patients suffering from lead poisoning. DMSA binds with the lead in the body before excretion via urine ; Calcium EDTA is a chelating agent predominantly used against lead, but it can also treat for mild effects against mercury, arsenic and gold poisoning . Finally, DMPS is a strong chelating agent treating mercury poisoning, with ten times the strength of DMSA.
Maintaining a healthy diet can also help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. This means eating foods high in anti-oxidants; probiotics; cilantro, as anecdotal studies have shown that they may mobilize mercury and other toxic metals , making it easier for chelating agents to expel them from the body. It is also a good idea to avoid consuming deep-sea fish and shellfish, which may be high in mercury. Exercise can help aid in the release of toxins, since sweating is a natural way to detoxify.
Heavy metal poisoning can be very dangerous. If you have questions, please consult your medical professional.
 “Mercury on the Mind,” Miller, Donald Jr. Dr. http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller14.html Accessed September 18, 2011
 E.M. Alissa and G.A. Ferns , J Toxicol. 2011;2011:870125. Epub 2011 Sep 8.
 “Lead and Your Health”,http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/assets/docs_f_o/lead-fs.pdf Accessed September 18 2011
 “Edetate Calcium Disodium Advanced Consumer Drug Information” http://www.drugs.com/MMX/Edetate_Calcium_Disodium.html Accessed September 18, 2011
 “Cilantro: A Common Spice/Herb That Can Save Your Life”
http://www.mnwelldir.org/docs/detox/cilantro.htm Accessed September 18 2011
With numerous chiropractic techniques available, choosing the treatment right for you can be a tough decision. If you’re not an expert, the various techniques can seem confusing, and may complicate your choice in finding the right chiropractor for you. One specific technique frequently seen is the Gonstead technique, named after its founder, Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead, who established the Gonstead Clinic of Chiropractic in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.
But what is the Gonstead technique, and why is it different from other chiropractic methods? Dr. Gonstead discovered that foot and leg pains, which were previously difficult to treat via conventional medicine, responded to chiropractic care, and this led him to further investigate the health benefits behind chiropractic medicine.
The body’s foundation is grounded in the pelvic girdle, which consists of the pelvic bones and the lower back. If the girdle is rotated or tilted out of place, along with the vertebrae in the spine, it can result in various health issues. Pressure on disc separation in the vertebrae can cause misalignments in the spine, which can in turn compress and inflames the nerves, thus putting pressure on the nervous system. Generally, most chiropractors detect misalignments in the upper portion of the spiral column, but often relief from these adjustments is limited. The Gonstead technique focuses on the lower portion of the spine, which is frequently the origin of the problem. This treatment restores and maintains health by locating and correcting any interference with the body’s nervous system caused by swelling and misalignment of the vertebrae discs.
The Gonstead technique seeks to go beyond the usual treatment offered by most chiropractors, offering a full spinal assessment and analysis with various criteria, in order to determine the location of inflamed or misaligned spinal discs. First, visualization is carried out, in which the doctor examines the patient for any subtle changes in movement and/or posture in the back that could result in potential problems. Instrumentation also plays a key role in the Gonstead technique. A nervoscope detects uneven distributions of heat along the spinal chord, possibly attributed to inflammation or nerve pressure. A chiropractor practicing the Gonstead technique uses a process known as static palpitation --feeling the spine in a stationary position in order to locate areas of swelling, tenderness, and abnormal texture or tightness in the muscles and tissues in the back. The technique of motion palpitation involves feeling the spine while the patient is moving and bending into various positions. In this way the chiropractor can determine how each segment in the spine moves in different directions. The doctor also visualizes the structure of the spine via X-ray analysis, which is helpful to evaluate posture, joint and disc integrity.
After the analysis is complete, the necessary adjustments can then be made. The aim is to be as precise, accurate and specific as possible, with focus on the problem areas of inflammation and dislocation.
Dr. Weir does not use the Gonstead meathod, but can help direct you to a Gonstead Doctor if you feel this would be a good fit for you. Dr. Weir uses a lower force technique called ProAdjuster. You can find out more information here http://www.backinactionchiropractic.com/proadjuster/
 http://www.gonstead.com/ Accessed September 2011
 http://www.chiroaccess.com/Articles/Technique-Summary-Gonstead-Technique.aspx?id=0000128 Accessed September 2011
High fructose corn syrup is a popular ingredient in sodas, fruit flavored drinks and most processed foods. It has become a staple alternative to cane sugar in many foods and beverages, but is it safe? There has been much controversy and debate over the health effects from long-term usage of high-fructose corn syrup. So far, research has yielded mixed results about its adverse consequences.
High consumption of added sugar in any form can lead to numerous health problems, including weight gain, dental cavities, poor nutrition and increased risks of heart attacks. While the health concerns of excess sugar consumption may seem obvious, what about the specific case of high-fructose corn syrup? Should we go out of our way to exclude it from our diet, even in moderate consumption?
High-fructose corn syrup and cane sugar are not biochemically identical – cane sugar is a naturally occurring ingredient, whereas high-fructose corn syrup is an industrial product, and is processed differently by the body than naturally occurring sugar . Sometimes high-fructose corn syrup is produced from genetically modified corn .
A study at Princeton University  found that rats from two test groups, one that consumed high-fructose corn syrup and another standard table sugar, yielded different results in the rats’ obesity -- even with the same caloric intake. The group of rats that consumed high-fructose corn syrup experienced abnormal weight gain – particularly in the abdominal region – and also elevated triglyceride levels. Along with high quantities of HDL, otherwise known as bad cholesterol, high triglyceride levels can cause arterial blockage and may increase the risk of heart disease, hypertension and even strokes.
Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes . An increased risk of diabetes was observed from the metabolic profile in the study of rats that were given sugar-sweetened beverages, exhibiting impaired glucose and insulin homeostasis.
Long-term liver damage has been cited as a side effect to consuming high-fructose corn syrup . This is particularly risky to individuals who live a sedentary lifestyle. Excess consumption can also result in a fatty liver .
One indirect health concern pertaining to high-fructose corn syrup is the contamination of mercury . Mercury cell chlor-alkali products are used in the manufacturing of high-fructose corn syrup, which may leave a trace of the toxic heavy metal in its products, which can be up to 0.5micrograms/g of corn syrup. When you consider the average consumption of corn syrup as being around 50g per day, this could lead to a dangerous build up of the heavy metal in the body’s system.
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/high-fructose-corn-syrup-dangers_b_861913.html Accessed September 2011
 http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/high-fructose-corn-syrup-dangers/ Accessed September 2011
 Bocarsly ME, Powell ES, Avena NM, Hoebel BG., Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Nov;97(1):101-6. Epub 2010 Feb 26.
 Sheludiakova A, Rooney K, Boakes RA., Eur J Nutr. 2011 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print]
 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100322204628.htm Accessed September 2011
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 Dufault R, LeBlanc B, Schnoll R, Cornett C, Schweitzer L, Wallinga D, Hightower J, Patrick L, Lukiw WJ., Environ Health. 2009 Jan 26;8:2.
In light of the obesity epidemic of recent decades, it is clear our sugar intake has increased drastically, including our intake of artificial sweeteners. There are many who believe that artificial sweeteners are the solution to our obesity epidemic, but are they really a lesser evil?
Did you know that aspartame was initially developed as a medical treatment for stomach ulcers?  This means your tabletop sweetener or that can of diet coke you’ve just consumed was originally intended to be a prescription drug.
Aspartame and saccharine are the most common artificial sweeteners encountered on a daily basis, and they can usually be found in your breakfast cereal, diet sodas, tabletop sweeteners and more. While they may well be low in calories, what is the price you pay for the alternative? Medical studies have indicated a possible connection between aspartame and migraines , and headaches . Sucralose, an active compound in many commercial sweeteners on the market, has also recently been found to trigger migraines .
Depression can also manifest from the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Regular dosages of aspartame have been found to decrease serotonin levels, which is the main cause of depression in the brains of mice . Individuals suffering from mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, are advised against the regular consumption of artificial sweeteners, since they are more sensitive to the adverse effects of aspartame .
There have been numerous studies and discussions about the carcinogenic properties of artificial sweeteners. Whether aspartame or saccharine causes cancer is the subject of much debate, with numerous studies yielding inconclusive results. One Argentinean study  cites aspartame usage as the main cause of urinary tract tumors. Others suggest the FDA re-evaluate their position on the safety of aspartame in light of recent studies on animals, linking cancer risks to artificial sweetener consumption .
Additional health risks may be caused by the consumption of artificial sweeteners. One possibility is that the long-term intake of aspartame may impair the liver’s antioxidant status and could lead to liver injury . Those suffering from fibromyalgia should also be cautious with their aspartame intake, since it may induce a curable but chronic pain .
Many switch over to artificial sweeteners for weight loss purposes. However it may be the sweeteners themselves that contribute to obesity. With the rise of the obesity epidemic correlating with the use of artificial sweeteners, studies have been conducted to ascertain whether there is a link. Some theories postulate that sweeteners such as aspartame induce hunger cravings, causing us eat more and therefore gain weight, but results thus far have been contradictory and inconclusive .
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When most of us sneeze, we put it down to a cold or even allergies, and our first thoughts are to pop an antihistamine pill – not to call a chiropractor! But did you know that a chiropractor could help you overcome your allergy problems? Most people associate chiropractors with back and neck issues, and while it’s true that chiropractors can help with such health conditions, they can also help the body achieve optimum health by ensuring the spine is correctly aligned.
A study from the University of California  found that signals from the nervous system may influence the function of the immune system. While our immune system is there to fight against viruses, disease and infection, and helps to keep the body performing at its peak, it also works to dispel foreign contaminants that enter the body. When we sneeze because of an allergy, it’s because our body detects the presence of a foreign object in the system, such as dust, mites, pollen, etc. and it produces chemicals to neutralize and expel the allergens. These chemicals are known as histamines. In the case of allergies, the immune system overreacts to the presence of the allergens in the body.
A chiropractor may help by removing the nerve interference from compressions in the spine, and as a result the immune system is able to function optimally once more.
Most traditional treatments for allergies, such as antihistamines, only deal with managing the symptoms and don’t eliminate the cause. The safety of anti-allergy medication is under debate, the long-term use of antihistamines or combined with other medication may cause cancer. A study conducted in lab rats with brand name anti-allergy medication found that cancerous tumors in the rats grew much father with the intake of antihistamines .
A chiropractor treats the patient by releasing the stresses on the patient’s nervous system, which as a result causes the immune system to work more effectively and as a consequence allergies are thereby reduced. Patients with misaligned spinal vertebra may have pinched nerves, which apply pressure and stress the system. Once the trapped nerve is released, the nervous system in general is free from stress and the body can then work more effectively to neutralize the allergy-causing chemicals found in the body.
Spinal health is as beneficial to the body as is good nutrition. A Bellevue chiropractor can help the body to achieve optimal health and can help to improve the quality of life.
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From Simply Gluten Free magazine, September-October 2016
6 ounces bacon, diced small
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup dried golden raisins
3 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°
In an oven safe 12-inch skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve the bacon drippings in the skillet. Add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, until they start to brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, tossing at least once. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F, stir in the pine nuts, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the reserved bacon, golden raisins, and cheese. Serve warm.
What if I had told you 40 years ago that you would be able to see a dentist with no pain? Or, if that one day a doctor would be able to perform surgery by watching a TV? You most likely would have laughed at me! Now that we are in the year 2010 all of these things and so much more are a reality. Even in the field of chiropractic technology is advancing patient care.
Technology and computers now allow a select number of chiropractors to deliver the chiropractic adjustment in a comfortable upright position with out any other quick movements or jerks involved. This technology is called the Proadjuster. The Proadjuster is advanced computer and engineering technology that is being used by a select number of chiropractors today to treat musculoskeletal pain.
Chiropractors have always diagnosed joint fluidity, motion and or rigidity which is one of the major causes of pain in the back and neck, as well as headaches, sciatica and even TMJ. The Proadjuster uses the advancement of the piezeoelectric sensor to achieve this same diagnosis, but with extreme precision and accuracy. This allows the doctor to find out specifically find out what is wrong with you and exactly how your treatment needs to be delivered.
The next step is for the Proadjuster system to take the information that was gathered by the piezeoelectric sensor send it through its complex computer system for interpretation. This interpretation is used to find the perfect treatment that is needed to correct the dysfunction in your body and spine.
With the use of the same diagnostic tool the doctor can then deliver a treatment based on the computer determination. This treatment is an oscillating force which is uninterrupted until the piezeoelectric sensor feels the joints mobility increase. This is an extremely comfortable process in which I have even had a few patients fall asleep during. In every field it is important to utilize the advances in technology. The Proadjuster has allowed chiropractic to advance as technology advances.