Benefits of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine) is another of the water-soluble B-complex vitamins, involved in a number of important functions, including the body's metabolic activity. It metabolizes sugars, fats and amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Another important function is its role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, and in the creation of DNA, heme (part of red blood cells) and the phospholipids that make up our cell membranes.
Without sufficient B6 we would not be able to process carbohydrates properly. B6 also helps our muscles produce energy! This can be especially important for athletes who require increased strength and endurance. Vitamin B6 also helps athletes as it repairs tissues. Another of the benefits of vitamin B6 is that it helps control excessive inflammation.
Because of its use in healthy brain and nerve function, it also helps to regulate mood. It plays a role in the production of hormones that protect against depression, and has been used to treat patients with Alzheimer's.
Vitamin B6 works in conjunction with folic acid and vitamin B12 to help keep homocysteine levels low. Elevated homocysteine is linked to a number of diseases, including heart disease, osteoporosis, and stroke. It has been successfully used in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome and premenstrual syndrome, and has been shown to help prevent attacks of asthma by lowering histamine levels in the blood.
The major dietary sources of B6 are meat, eggs, liver, fish, whole grains, legumes (peas and beans), potatoes, brewer's yeast, avocados and dairy foods. Because it is a water soluble vitamin it can not be stored in the fat cells, so it is important to get B6 on a regular basis. And as B6 is necessary in order to break down proteins, the more protein you eat, the more B6 you need.
Although a deficiency in vitamin B6 is not common, it can lead to anemia, feelings of numbness or pins-and-needles in hands and feet, a sore red tongue, and confusion, depression and irritability. This deficiency is most often found in alcoholics and those with chronic fatigue syndrome or women who use oral contraceptives.
It is recommended that adults get 1.6 mg per day of vitamin B6 for optimal functioning. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding require more, about 2 mg per day. Because it naturally occurs in a wide range of foods it's not likely you will need a supplement if you eat well. However, it may be useful if you suffer from one of the conditions noted above, for which a doctor can give you a recommended dosage.
Chiropractic Or Surgery For Sciatica?
Pain coming from compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve is called sciatica. Sciatica - which can include pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness - is really a symptom indicating an underlying problem, not a diagnosis in and of itself. This article will explore in detail the findings of a recent controlled study comparing spinal manipulation (chiropractic) and surgery for people whose sciatica did not respond to traditional medical treatment approaches.
The study discussed here was conducted by the National Spine Center in Alberta Canada and published in October of 2010 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics . The 40 study participants all had sciatica lasting over 3 months which had not responded to treatment with pain medications, lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, massage therapy or acupuncture. They had all been referred by their primary care physicians to spinal surgeons who had deemed them appropriate surgery candidates.
Instead of having all the patient proceed with surgery, they were split into two groups - one group to undergo a surgical microdiscectomy and the other group to be treated with standardized chiropractic spinal manipulation by a single chiropractor. (If not satisfied with the results they obtained from their assigned method, the patients were allowed to switch to the other treatment plan after 3 months.)
There is one paragraph in the results section of this study that is easy to overlook, but incredibly important. There were originally 120 candidates of which 60 met the study criteria and were asked to participate. Of these 60, 20 refused. Why? Because they had never been offered spinal manipulation as an alternative to surgery! They didn't want to participate in the study and be randomly placed in the surgery group without first trying the spinal manipulation! This is incredibly telling. Not only does it demonstrate that there is still a lot of education about chiropractic that needs to happen among the public and among primary care providers, it also demonstrates that people understand the risks and costs of surgery and want to exhaust other possibilities first.
You can benefit from chiropractic care at any age. Because the birthing process - even with natural childbirth methods - can cause subtle injuries to the clavicle, collarbone, spine and neck, parents often bring their infants to their chiropractors for a checkup soon after they are born. Many chiropractors have received specialized training in pediatric care, and have been trained in how to assess these subtle problems and imbalances in ways that medical doctors and pediatricians have not.
Chiropractic care can also benefit children as they continue to grow. Spinal problems may result as the result of falls, or from long periods of time spent in cramped or uncomfortable positions, such as riding in car seats. This can result in many common disorders in children, such as persistent earaches, bed-wetting, colic, or headaches. These conditions have often been successfully treated via chiropractic care. In 2007, nearly 3% of American children were treated with chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, making it one of the most common forms of complementary or alternative medicine used for children.
Chiropractic has been proven for decades to be one of the safest alternative health care methods, and of course safety is even more important when dealing with children. Spinal adjustments, when performed on infants or young children, involve very light, finger-tip movements. One or two pounds of pressure is all that is necessary to correct spinal structures that have become misaligned, because although it is easy for children's spines to shift out of alignment, it is also easy to ease them back into place. The "popping" sound that is often heard when spinal joints are manipulated in adults is not always heard in children. There is rarely any pain or discomfort, and many children enjoy their visits to the chiropractor and look forward to subsequent visits.
So there is no reason why, as a parent, you should not consider chiropractic care for your infant or child, and there are many reasons why it may be wise to do so. The focus of chiropractic is, after all, to treat the "whole person" and, by keeping the spine and nervous system healthy, keeping the whole body healthy. This is as important in children as it is in adults.
It is important to note, however, that a chiropractor is not a replacement for your pediatrician, who is there to provide your children with medications and care in case of serious illness or injury. The chiropractor provides complementary care, focusing on wellness, integrity of the spine and the nervous system, and the development of a healthy immune system. You would not expect your medical doctor or pediatrician to perform a checkup on your children's teeth; instead you'd take them to a dentist, who has had more specialized training. Similarly, chiropractors have had more specialized training that enables them to diagnose subtle imbalances in children's spinal structures and restore them to balance with subtle, non-invasive adjustments.
What Is Sciatica?
To answer the question, 'what is sciatica' it is helpful to explain some of the relevant anatomical structures. The sciatic nerve is both the longest and the widest nerve in your body. It begins in the lower back as five separate nerves that extend from five different vertebrae - L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3. These nerves meet up to form one large bundle which runs through the buttocks and down the entire length of the leg. The sciatica nerve is responsible (directly or indirectly) for nearly all the sensation in your leg including the skin of the thigh and gluts.
Sciatica occurs when there is compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain is felt in the low back and leg, but the site of the pain isn't always the site of the underlying issue. Since the sciatica nerve is so long and travels around or through the large muscles of the buttocks, it takes an expert to determine if the pain is coming from disc compression, from muscle spasms or from something else. Again, sciatica is a symptom, not a diagnosis.
Chiropractic and TMJ
Living in the fast paced world of Bellevue Washington, stress is a common part of our day. Job stress, family stress, traffic stress, and name it stress is hard to get away from. In my office I see a lot of the physical results from stress. One of the physical manifestations of stress that I see on a daily basis with my patient is TMJ.
What is TMJ? Great question! TMJ stands for temporal mandibualar joint, or your jaw bone and joints. Simply put, TMJ is pain the joint or joints of the jaw. It is a very painful condition that can affect the way you eat, talk and even sleep. Clenching and grinding of your jaw, which are common while under stress, is a common cause of this problem.
I see quite a lot of patients with TMJ in my practice and have found that it is very closely associated with conditions of the neck. As a chiropractor I first look to see if the joint has been misaligned, and if it has use very gentle steps to realign the joint. Many times this will help in eliminating TMJ pain, and symptoms.
I use very gentle steps to help create normal alignment in the jaw.Once aligned the next step is re-balancing the muscles so the TMJ symptoms do not come back. For this I use simple a home exercises. If you have TMJ and have found no cure it may be time to see a chiropractor. The testimonial below is from one of my many patients who have found relief while under my care.
"I have had pain from my misaligned jaw (TMJ) for years and years. I have tried mouth guards, massage, been to different doctors, stretching, etc. Nobody can help and they all refer me to oral surgeons (who want to break your jaw) but no insurance companies, medical or dental will cover anything to do with TMJ and even most doctors cringe and run away at the mere mention of it. I never thought Chiropractic treatments could help this sort of thing, but eventually out of desperation asked Dr. Weir if there was anything he could do. After our session I had no more pain and was able to fully open my mouth without it clicking or my joint popping out of place for the first time in over 10 yrs! - (plus, so far it's staying that way without falling right back out of place). He was more informative on things I can do to help reverse the damage (without surgery) than ANY of the "specialists" I have seen. I should also mention that he has a fantastic staff and the office is super comfortable. For the first time in a looong while, I feel hopeful that I won't have to live with this pain for the rest of my life. - thank you Dr. Weir!!! - C.B."
Imagine a camping trip..no electricity, no toilets, and cold sandwich's. Now imagine these conditions on a luxury cruise to the Mexican Riviera. This was the disaster that awaited Dr. Michael Weir and wife as they boarded the Carnival Splendor on the 7th of November. "We had been planning this trip for 9 months and were very excited to go on vacation with friends", said Michael Weir, owner of Back in Action Chiropractic in Bellevue WA.
After pulling away from the dock on Sunday afternoon, the couple and their friends enjoyed their first evening on the ship with a great dinner and live entertainment, unaware of what lay ahead the next day. Six o’clock the next morning, Dr. Weir was woken by a jolt, and rumble which shook the entire ship. “At first I thought it was just heavy waves, but as soon as the captain came over the loud speaker telling us there was a mechanical problem I knew something big was happening.” The loud rumble was the main engine room of the boat catching fire and frying the main electrical wires for all the ships power. The fire sent billows of smoke throughout the boat. “We had to leave our rooms almost immediately because of the amount of smoke that was flowing through the halls and cabins.”
As Dr. Weir recounts, "My main concern through the whole ordeal was the sanitation on the boat. Because of my public health courses in school I knew that a major concern in a disaster is the lack of public restrooms. When all of the toilets on the ship would not flush, I knew there could be a problem." With out the ability to flush any of the toilets on the ship most of the day Monday the smells of overflowing toilets started to become to much to bear. Much to the relief of his party and himself the toilets regained function by the end of their first day stranded at sea. "I truly felt that we were 3 to 4 hours from a sanitary disaster, if they could not get the toilets to flush."
"I was very impressed with how well the passengers on the boat responded to a bad situation. There could have been pandemonium, but every one stayed very positive. There were even nights that you would not have known that we were stranded at sea, people singing karaoke, dancing, and laughing." Making lemonade out of lemons is one of Dr. Weir's life philosophy's. "We can moan and groan, but in the end that does nothing to change a situation. We had fun in spite of the poor situation." Dr. Weir and his family were extremely happy to be home, but maintain that they have no reservations about going on another cruise in the future. "It was a big disappointment to close my office and not be available for my patients, only to have a week stranded at sea, but we made it home safe, and we get another cruise out of the deal."
With more and more people taking up recreational running in the US, the number of running associated injuries have also increased. Commonly reported cases include: shin splints; patellofermoral pain syndromes; Achilles tendinitis; flat feet; and compartmental syndromes and stress fractures. All these injuries are a result of cumulative stress reactions to soft tissues and bones. While running, the musculoskeletal system may absorb up to 250-300% of the runner’s weight on the heel strike [1,2,3], and this exerts stress on the body.
Chiropractors are generally contracted to help alleviate pain and non-specific symptoms associated with running, usually from the gradual onset of regular stress on the soft tissues and bones. If these symptoms are caught early, they can then be effectively managed and reduced in a short period of time . Chiropractic treatment can help excessive pronation , the inward rolling of the hind foot and the midfoot beyond the acceptable parameters of general walking and running; prolonged internal rotation of the internal extremity , the inward rotation of the femur, which transmits stress to the pelvic region; and excessive supination , and those with very high arches who are very sensitive to stress reactions and fractures.
While chiropractic treatment can help with pain and injuries, its biggest advantage to runners and athletes is preventive care. Many runners, athletes and non-athletes may ask – why pay for chiropractic treatment when there is no pain to treat? It’s much easier to maintain good health and prevent injury than to treat somebody already in pain. The danger with running injuries is that they are likely to be caused by repetitive stress and alignment problems that take time to develop, and an even longer time for the pain to start. If our bodies were designed with perfect alignment, then we would be able to cope with the regular stress running delivers. However, very few of us do have perfect alignment, and in many cases those with flat feet or high arches are at risk to extra cumulative stress to the body. 
In preventive cases, a chiropractor can give a good overall evaluation, teaching the patient how to prevent injuries and maintain good alignment – thereby reducing the chance of injury. For those looking for preventive treatment, your chiropractor can help assess and evaluate your condition by offering scans of your feet, testing for strength imbalances and an analysis of your posture. In addition, the chiropractor can also suggest a program suited to your needs to prevent injury in the future.
 Lutter LD. Foot-related knee problems in the long-distance runner Foot &Ankle 1980; 1:112-116.
 Robbin SF, Hanna AM. Running-related injury prevention through barefoot adaptations. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1987; 19.148-156.
 Cavanaugh PR, LaFortune.MA. Ground reaction forced in distance running. Biomech 1980; 13:397-406.
 Griffith., HJ et aZ Magnetic resonance spectrum of stress injury to bone and ib clinical relevance. (in press) Presented at Annual Symposium of Am Coll Chiro Radiol, 1992.
 Michaud TC. Recurrent lower tibial stress fracture in a long-distance runner. Chino Sports Med 1988; 2(3):78-87. 18. Cavanagh PA The shoe ground interface in running. Symposium on the foot and leg in running sports, n.d.
 Schafer RC. Clinical Biomechanics Musculoskeletal Actions and Reactions. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1983. 21. Greenawalt MH. Spinal Pelvic Stabilization (4th ed.). Roanoke: Foot Levelers, Inc., 1990.
 Subotnick SI. Sports Medicine of the Lower Extremity. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1989:164.
 http://www.campanellahealthcenter.com/uncategorized/why-chiropractic-care-is-important-for-runners/ accessed September 2011
Are You Suffering From Migraines?
Migraine sufferers have to endure a pain that is recurring, severe and can last up to 72 hours. Warning signs such as an “aura”, which is a type of visual disturbance, and nausea, sometimes accompany migraines. Many sufferers find that conventional medicine and prescription drugs offer little relief from their condition, and many are turning to alternatives methods of treatment in order to manage the pain. I have found that one such alternative is chiropractic treatment.
A holistic approach to pain relief, chiropractic treatment focuses on aiding numerous health issues through massage, spinal manipulation and adjustment of the body’s soft tissues and joints, predominantly in the back. But is it effective against migraines?
In February 2000, a study published by Dr. Tuchin et al.  cited the possible benefits of chiropractic treatment in alleviating or easing both the pain and frequency of recurring migraines. The study used a sample of 127 migraine patients, all of whom suffered from at least one migraine per month; this sample was divided into two groups – one control group who received inactive treatment, while the other group received chiropractic treatment, focusing on aligning and treating specific areas of vertebral swelling and misalignment. The study concluded that those who received chiropractic treatment experienced subsequent improvement in the duration of the study, showing reduced pain and frequency of their migraines within two months of treatment. The latter group also reported a decline in the need of migraine medications. Further results from the same study found that one in five sufferers from the chiropractic treatment group had a 90% reduction of migraine frequency, while 50% found significant improvement in the severity of their migraines.
Recent studies conducted by R. Bryans et al. published in 2011 , concluded that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, were found to improve both cerviocogenic headaches as well as migraines. A systematic literature search on controlled clinical trials on the topic of migraines and headaches involving chiropractic treatment, published through August 2009, was conducted using a selection of medical and alternative therapy databases. Research found that chiropractic treatments such as spinal manipulation and massage could significantly help patients who suffer from chronic or episodic migraines, whereas sufferers of tension-type headaches did not respond to such treatment.
While using alternative methods of treatment such as chiropractic care can help sufferers to gain more control over their migraines, it should be treated as another form of support or extra help, instead of completely overlooking conventional medical care.
 P.J. Tuchin, H. Pollard, R. Bonello, A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for Migraine. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb. 2000: Vol. 23, No. 2, pp91-95.
R. Bryans et al., J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jun;34(5):274-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008.
A triathlon is an athletic event incorporating back-to-back running, cycling and swimming. Triathlons exert great strain on the body, which may challenge athletes on both physical and mental levels. The extreme training a triathlete must endure can put the body under great cumulative stress, and it’s not uncommon for the athletes to suffer from a broad range of injuries and overuse stresses.
There are numerous worldwide triathlon events, such as Ironman, Half-Ironman, Olympic and Spring. The majority of these events advocate the use of chiropractic care to aid not only in treating injuries, but also to improve performance. Chiropractic care offers the possibility of enhanced finishing times and a greater likelihood of triathletes finishing events.
Chiropractic treatment is a practice that focuses on the neuromuscular skeletal system and its use optimizes biomechanics. For these reasons, chiropractic care is ideal for athletes looking to treat or prevent injuries.
One type of chiropractic treatment used by many triathletes is the “Active Release Technique,” which is a form of soft tissue treatment based on an advanced movement massage system. It is very effective in locating and treating the cause of soft tissue conditions. Active Release Techniques are used in most of the large name triathlons. Many triathletes suffer from injuries attributed to repetitive strain and stress, since excessive training can result in muscle restrictions due to adhesion formation. Before treatment takes place, a biomechanical analysis of the athlete is conducted to determine the exact location of restrictions in the body along the kinetic chain. Active Release Techniques focus on specific tissues that have become restricted physically, and are then manipulated back into their original texture, tension and position. Once the soft tissues are repositioned, specific exercises are then carried out in order to aid the recovery of damaged tissues. Unlike most treatments, treating the injured triathlete with chiropractic care does not require extended rest periods before improvements are seen. It is very common that injured athletes who receive the Active Release Technique show signs of improvement in just a few sessions. For those who are looking to invest only in preventive treatment, improvement in performance is also achieved in the span of a few sessions.
A possible reason that chiropractic care prior to an event can result in performance enhancement may be that spinal adjustments improve the body’s maximal oxygen consumption ability. Since prevention is easier than treatment of an injury, many professional athletes invest in preventive and performance enhancing chiropractic treatment.
 http://www.kinetichealth.ca/4-Triathalon.html Accessed September 2011
 http://www.bthconline.com/sport-injuriesperformance.html Accessed September 2011
Dr. Michael Weir