Our Chiropractic Blog

From time to time we post articles we believe are of interest to our patients. It may focus on the latest ways to treat neck and back pain, or offer information on ways to stay healthy and improve your well-being. Sometimes we just like sharing our thoughts on a newsworthy topic. If you’d like to read our latest posts, please register to receive Garland Chiropractor’s, Dr. James Mixon’s RSS feed, or check back often to catch up on recent chiropractic blog articles. If you find what we’ve written helpful and would like to share the word, please like us on Facebook or bookmark a post!

Numbness and Tingling in Your Hands? Visit Your Neighborhood Chiropractor

Our spinal columns could be viewed as an electrical central relay system. Our brain, a biological computer, is directly connected to the “electrical wiring” of the spinal column and through it communicates wit the rest of the body.

When we feel tingling in the hands or fingers it is often a sign that there is some type of nerve compression along the nerve signal path from the brain to the fingers or hands. Often this problem begins with the vertebrae in your neck. Sometimes the hand or finger tingling is just something innocuous and relatively harmless, such as sleeping on your arm overnight.

Leaving your arm in a static position for an extended period of time can also cause the tingling sensations. Many people, at one time or another, have accidentally hit their “funny bone” near the elbow joint. This is simply a nerve plexus concentration area. While painful and causing arm or hand numbness, the sensation quickly dissipates as the nerve signals are restored to normal. But any time there is an extended period of time where the hands or fingers constantly tingle, there could be more serious underlying medical problems, and you should consult your doctor and/or chiropractor.

image of a tingling handsPotential causes of tingling in the hands or fingers could be due to any of the following; herniated disc , shingles or herpes zoster infection, injury to the nerve from infection, migraines, diabetes, stroke, seizures,  under-active thyroid, lack of vitamin B-12, multiple sclerosis, radiation therapy, animal bites, insect, tick, or spider bites, and seafood toxins. But for the majority of cases, a compression or restriction in the nerves of the neck or shoulders could be the source of the problem.

You may even be able to relieve the tension of the neck muscles by doing simple neck stretching exercises. A lot of tension is built up in the neck area, just from day to day living. Our specially trained Garland chiropractor can perform basic neck, shoulder, back and spinal manipulations to alleviate the nerve compression.

Your wrist has eight different bones, and any bone that isn’t working properly can cause nerve pressure or compression, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Our chiropractors will make sure that all those bones are in their proper configuration, and in many cases the result will be instant relief from any hand, finger, joint pain in the immediate area..

Sometimes the tingling in the hands or fingers could be caused by a compression of nerves in the chest area. Routinely stretching the pectoral muscles should help to relieve the problem, as will a chiropractic adjustment. Therapeutic massage:  done within our clinic or at a massage clinic of your choice will also help to keep the muscles and fascia loose and relaxed.

Here’s a  simple exercise that can performed at home. Stand in a corner of the room. Lift your arms so that your elbows are aligned with your shoulders and your hands are facing forwards. Next, place each hand on either side of the corner.  Now slowly lean in toward the corner. You will feel a stretch in the pectoral or chest muscles. Hold that position for three minutes. Perform this exercise twice daily for two weeks, and this may relieve any nerve compression through the chest area, which should decrease the tingling sensation.

Our doctors may also recommend using ices pack to relieve the inflammation, swelling, and numbness.

It’s important to understand that there a wide variety of potential causes of tingling in the hands or fingers. Nerve compression cases with most people  are relatively benign, but it’s important to get a full assessment from either your medical doctor and/or chiropractor, to ensure proper treatment for your individual case.

Our Garland chiropractic clinic is medically integrated and includes the services of a Nurse Practitioner, two Chiropractors, Massage Therapists and exercise rehab. If you’re feeling tingly, achy or stiff, we may have what you need to feel better.

Give us a call today to schedule an appointment. We have convenient office hours and work most Saturday morning. We accept all major commercial insurance plans and have affordable cash rates as well.

Sugar: How Does It Link to Inflammation and Pain?

Have a back ache you can’t get rid of? Or painful, swollen joints that make you want to sit and not move? Have you tried to alleviate the pain with medications, rest, exercises, but nothing works? It may be because you haven’t addressed the real culprit: sugar.

What many people don’t realize is that sugar consumption and the resulting bodily inflammation is often a major factor in the creation of aches and pains.

Our Garland chiropractors see this uncomfortable connection every day. We understand that bypassing sugar can be a real challenge. It beckons as we pass the donut shop on the corner or spy a child with a double scoop ice cream sundae.donuts

Sweet cravings affect everyone at one time or another, but It’s more than just the taste that sparks those cravings. Sweets are a brain reward, a good feeling, a great way to lift your mood.

What causes the cravings?

Dopamine is a chemical that serves as a neurotransmitter in the brain, which means it sends signals to other nerve cells. Dopamine has always been thought of as a chemical of pleasure; however, pharmacology now believes that instead of creating pleasure, dopamine mediates motivation and desire. It causes ‘wanting” reactions. Studies indicate the region of the brain that responds to drugs such as cocaine and heroin also reacts to dopamine. And—here’s the kicker—when sugar (glucose) is introduced to the system, the brain happily releases dopamine!

That’s why sugary foods are a comfort when you’re tired or depressed or in a mood for a mental health break. There’s nothing like a shot of dopamine to brighten your day! The problem that it can be hard to stop eating sugary foods. Because it tastes so good and it makes you feel so good (at least temporarily), sugar can be addicting.

What causes the inflammation and pain?

Sugar, is an inflammatory food. One of the ways it affects the body is by depleting minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which are necessary for muscles to contract and relax naturally. So when you eat a large amount of sugar your muscles go a little haywire. If it happens often enough or long enough, you end up with back spasms.

Any food that increases cortisol(a stress hormone) levels in the body causes inflammation in connective tissues. Sugar is one of those foods.

image of man with joint painInsulin levels are also affected by sugar. Sugar causes insulin levels to spike, which leads to a slew of biochemical reactions that result in inflammation. Also, insulin takes sugar from the blood and stores it in cells, which contributes to fat accumulation. Stomach fat actually secretes proteins and hormones that generate inflammation. Joint pains, in particular, result from inflammation.

We already know desserts and candy are cornucopias of sugar, but it’s amazing how many foods that we think of as ‘regular’ also contain sugar. Even those labeled as “low-fat” or “light” are often rich in sugar.

If you want to decrease your sugar consumption, consider avoiding or cutting back on these foods:

  •  low-fat yogurt
  • BBQ sauce
  • ketchup
  • fruit juice
  • spaghetti sauce
  • sports drinks
  • chocolate milk
  • granola
  • flavored coffee
  • iced tea
  • protein bars
  • vitamin water
  • per-made soup
  • cereal bars
  • canned fruit
  • canned bake beans
  • bottled smoothies
  • breakfast cereal
  • white bread
  • cola
  • dried fruit
  • crackers
  • instant flavored oatmeal
  • soy milk
  • low-fat/fat-free salad dressing
  • frozen entrees

Alternative Choices

• Distract your taste buds – If your taste buds crave sweet, distract them with flavors that make cutting back on sugar less difficult. You can make your oatmeal or coffee tasty with a sprinkle of nutmeg, cinnamon, or vanilla powder. Prefer flavored water? Try lemon, mint, or grapefruit. Stick with roasted vegetables. That cooking process accentuates food’s natural sweetness. A few sugar substitutes: honey, molasses, pureed banana, club soda, balsamic glaze, raisins, unsweetened cocoa powder, cranberries, processed dates, and maple syrup. All excellent cooking ingredients!

• Cut back on processed food and drinks– stop consuming them or reduce the amounts and the frequency of intake. The best approach is to just stop drinking soda and stop eating cookies, cakes, candy, and white pasta, rice, and bread. Search for healthy alternatives.

• Eat more fruits and vegetables– these foods have antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that work against inflammation.

• Fill up on the good stuff – eat foods that naturally fight inflammation, such as oily fish, seeds, nuts, olive oil, and avocados.

• Read the labels– food labels will inform you of the presence of the sugary ingredients you want to avoid. Be informed, and be cautious because different words are used for sugar, often to try and hide its presence.

• Stick with the whole-grain carbs– control blood sugar and protect against inflammation by eating brown rice, whole-grain pasta, barley, quinoa and oats.

• Exercise– fighting weight gain also fights inflammation. And it helps reduce stress.

• Consider adding chiropractic treatment to your routine– Our Garland chiropractors can help with proper joint and spinal alignment.

Coming back to health

Change isn’t easy, especially when your diet is a habit. For most of us, sugar has been an integral part of our lives since we were young.

At our Garland Chiropractic Clinic our professional staff can work with you to establish a healthy eating and exercise routine that will enable you to make the right choices for your health. Combined with chiropractic care our garland chiropractors will help you to feel your best.

It can be done! And pain—as much as we hate it—is an excellent motivator. A chocolate-glazed doughnut or an apple? A pain in your back or a sweet fruit that satisfies your cravings without causing a single ache?

Contact our office today at (972) 840-2520.

7 Simple Tips for a Healthier Neck and Back

It’s undeniable. Whether at work or at play, most of us spend a lot of time sitting. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently concluded that less than half of all American (45%) spends even 20 minutes walking each day.

There are many reasons that contribute to our sedentary lifestyle, chief among them our long work weeks (47 hours on average for full-time employees) and our fascination with technology such as computers, tablets, and electronic games.

We know that a sedentary lifestyle is a major contributor to hearth disease, obesity, hypertension, breast cancer and more. But it’s also a large contributing factor to back and neck pain.

Frequently looking down at documents, books or tablets can lead to postural changes. Even something as common as texting can, over time, lead to heads that are thrust forward and rounded shoulders. And it’s not just newer technologies that encourage bad posture. Hobbies such as beading, scrapbooking, and even sewing and quilting can add to our back and neck pain.

Our posture problems have often been present for years before we begin to feel pain.

If you find yourself slouching, sitting cross-legged, or standing while leaning on one leg, it’s time to pay attention. Also note if your chin extends past the chest while reading or when engaged in sedentary hobbies.

Simple tips to improve posture

1.  When you’re seated at your desk or at home, make sure both feet are on the floor. It’s a good idea to have the seat height adjusted so that your bent legs form a 90 degree angle. Your ankles should be in front of your knees and chair seat.
2.  Take frequent stretch breaks. Get up, and move around often.
3.  When standing, keep your feet approximately a shoulder’s width apart and balance your weight between the balls of your feet and your heels.

Helpful tips for sleeping

4.  Try to sleep on a supportive mattress. This doesn’t mean you must buy a extra firm mattress, simply that the understructure of the mattress must have provide good support.
5.  Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
6.  Side sleepers may benefit by putting a pillow between their legs. Proper pillow height is also important. A pillow that is too fluffy may raise the neck too high, while one that is too low may bend the head downward. Either extreme can throw the back out of alignment.
7. If you prefer to sleep on your back, a pillow positioned under your thighs can ease pressure on the back.

Simple exercises to perform at home or at work

  • Baby spine – This modified yoga pose is easy to perform and is most effective when done every day. Simply lie on the floor with your stomach facing downward. Next rise up on your elbows and cradle your head in your heads. Start off by holding this pose for 10 minutes each morning and night. Gradually build up to 20 or 30 minutes sessions. This is easy to do while watching television. This pose will greatly improve flexibility when done routinely.

    bay spine

    Baby Spine

  • Shoulder Squeeze – This simple exercise can be performed while seated. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat often throughout the day to bring your awareness to your upper back and to keep your seated posture aligned.

    shoulder squeeze

    Shoulder Squeeze

  • Pelvic Tilts – Begin by lying on the floor with your feet flat. Next move your pelvis upward by engaging your lower abdominal muscles. Hold this position for a few seconds. Try for a set of 10 exercises. This exercise can also be performed in a chair. As your strength improves, aim for 50 to 100 repetitions per day.

    pelvic tilts

    Pelvic Tilts

Many of our patients report that simply by following these simple tips and by adding these 3 easy exercises to their daily routines, their strength and flexibility begin to return. They also report fewer episodes of serious back pain.

We encourage you to give these tips and exercises a try. Then let us know what you think!

For acute or chronic problems, our medically directed chiropractic clinic in Garland, TX offers a wide range of services including chiropractic care, exercise rehab and therapeutic massage. We also specialize in joint pain treatment including osteoarthritis of the knees.

Over the last decade Dr. James Mixon has successfully treated thousands of patients suffering from back pain, neck pain and stiff, achy joints. If you’d like more information on our treatment options, please contact us at (972) 840-2520.

Heartburn Pain: Why Proton Pump Inhibitors Are Not Your Safest Option

Many people suffer from “Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)”, a complicated name for a chronic digestive disease. GERD results when stomach acid, pepsin and bile back up into the esophagus. This is “acid indigestion”, or, more commonly, heartburn. Because your esophagus runs down the center of your chest and behind the breastbone, that burning sensation can feel like it’s surrounding your heart, which is how the term “heartburn” came about.

Image of man with heartburn painThe burning heartburn pain from acidic influx often extends into the abdomen and the throat. The intrusion of very powerful stomach acid onto the sensitive esophagus and throat tissues is a misery! It can cause health issues such as ulcers, chronic coughing, vomiting, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, wheezing or hoarseness, and the unpleasant sensation of a lump in your throat!

Our Garland Chiropractic Clinic wants you to feel your best and live a pain free, active life. This is one of the reasons we offer a range of nutritional options that can reduce or eliminate the discomfort of heartburn pain.

What Causes Heartburn Pain?

There is a narrow band of muscle located around the base of your esophagus called the “esophageal sphincter.” When this sphincter relaxes, food and liquid can enter your stomach. Once food is safely in the stomach, the muscle retightens. This is the body’s simple, direct means of protecting the esophagus from the stomach.

It’s the health of the esophageal sphincter that prevents, or causes, acid indigestion. If something happens to the sphincter that either makes it relax abnormally or makes it weak, reflux and heartburn pain can occur. An open sphincter is an easy route for fluids to flow back up the esophagus. The influx is even worse when you bend over or lie down.image of gastroesophageal-disease

Stress, anxiety, and fear have long been linked with heartburn symptoms. In addition, the risk of heartburn increases for people who are overweight or pregnant. With more than 36% of Americans being overweight, heartburn is a major issue across the country!

The initial trigger for heartburn pain in some people results from the types of food and drink they consume, including but not limited to:

  • Spicy foods like peppers
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Citrus products
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Tomato products like ketchup or salsa
  • Fatty foods
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol, caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea or soda, and carbonated beverages
  • Large high-fat meals

Problems with Proton Pump Inhibitors

When faced with heartburn many people reach for over the counter antacids. When that doesn’t work, people will often turn to their doctors for a prescription. One of the most common categories of drugs used for heartburn are  proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which directly block the millions of tiny pumps in your stomach that generate acid.

One commonly known proton pump inhibitor is Prilosec. Ideally, this drug should only be taken once a day for two weeks.

Absorption of the drug doesn’t begin until it reaches the intestine, about an hour after being swallowed. The drug isn’t a quick relief for heartburn, instead providing more substantial relief over a longer period of time. PPIs are usually eliminated from the body within 90 minutes of absorption, but their effect continues for more than 24 hours.

PPIs are effective as a treatment for ulcers, improve pancreatic enzyme absorption, provide healing of erosive esophagitis, and prevent stricture formation.

However, there are side effects. Many people tend to use the drug for relief long after the recommended two week cycle, and the longer it is used, the more PPIs reduce stomach acid. It doesn’t matter that PPIs don’t remain in the blood for very long. The problem is the manner in which they bind to proton pumps is irreversible! That affect suppresses the body’s capacity to absorb necessary minerals, including iron, magnesium and B-12.

Here is a list of many adverse effects that can develop from long term use of PPIs:

  • increases the risk of wrist, hip or spine fractures
  • acute pancreatitis
  • anxiety
  • cough
  • depression
  • drug toxin-related hepatitis
  • erythema multiforme
  • flu-like symptoms
  • myalgia
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • thrombocytopenia
  • toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • ulcerative colitis
  • upper respiratory hypersensitivity reaction
  • upper respiratory infection
  • vomiting
  • reduced kidney function
  • may mask the symptoms of stomach cancer
  • may increase infections in the colon
  • may increase the risk of heart attacks
  • allergic reactions

Of great concern is how PPIs suppress stomach acid keeps ingested microorganisms from being destroyed. This allows them to reach the intestines, which can significantly alter the bacterial balance in the Gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract. That imbalance leads to an increase in bacterial strains dangerous to the system, such as streptococcus. This type of bacteria causes diarrhea and abdominal pain. These bacteria also increase the colon’s susceptibility to serious infections from clostridium difficile, a bacterium that releases toxins into the linings of the intestine.

Considering the potential side effects from long term use, it’s important to keep PPI usage to low doses and short duration. In fact, the best approach is, when possible, to avoid PPIs altogether.

Alternatives for Better Digestive Health

Dr. Ellen Cutler, DC, author of MicroMiracles: Discover the Healing Power of Enzymes” states:

image of fresh vegetables“Even if you eat good food every day, if you don’t digest it properly, undigested food can actually seep from the small intestine into the bloodstream, and the immune system reacts.”

Lack of energy and digestive discomfort are among the first symptoms of poor digestion, but there are many others: craving certain foods; weight gain; thyroid problems; bloating, heartburn, gas, indigestion or burping after meals; constipation or diarrhea; hair that is dull, thinning, or falling out; lackluster skin; weak or cracked nails; trouble getting up in the morning; sleep problems; arthritis or joint pain; feeling too tired to exercise; depression; mood swings; headaches or migraines; ADHD; rashes; hives; hot flashes; PMS; and, sometimes, fertility problems. Poor digestion also speeds up the aging process.

Just knowing the consequences of poor digestion encourages us to seek a remedy.

With our patients we use two powerful nutrients in a combination approach. Okra Pepsin, produced by Standard Process, works to soothe the symptoms of heartburn pain, while professional grade digestive enzymes, help the body by supplying dietary enzymes their body might be lacking.

The Power of Digestive Enzymes:

• Digestive enzymes help convert food into nutrients that produce energy in our bodies. They also work to repair and support our physical structures and their functions.
• Digestive enzymes are safe for adults and children.
• Raw fruits and vegetables contain the essential digestive enzymes needed.
• Many Americans don’t consume enough raw fruits and vegetables; therefore, enzyme supplements are beneficial.

Our digestive enzyme supplements contains all the enzymes required for a healthy digestive system.

The Okra Pepsin made by whole food supplement leader, Standard Process, includes okra, fat extracts from alfalfa, sunflower seeds, carrot roots, buckwheat, pea vine, gelatin, milk, water, and soy. This supplement supports the intestinal function of mucosal tissues and bowels, and provides a good bowel cleansing. It is excellent for easing gastric aches and heartburn pain.

Lifestyle Tips for Better Digestion

In addition to taking our recommended supplements, you might also want to make certain changes in your lifestyle and diet. Try to avoid stress, but if you can’t, work to reduce its influence by relaxing more often, getting more sleep, exercising, or engaging in an activity that calms you. Avoid foods that bother your stomach, and don’t eat within two to three hours of bedtime. Also important, chew your food thoroughly. As you chew you produce saliva. Your saliva contains key enzymes which start the process of digesting fats and starches.

Eating should be an enjoyable activity. Don’t let the unpleasant effects of heartburn pain make your life miserable! Contact us today to learn how these two supplements can help your enjoy your meals again.

Spinal Decompression Therapy: Non-Invasive Treatment for Sciatica

Few people make it through life without experiencing  some level of back pain. It’s inherent to the way we live our lives. Ever get down on your knees to pull a weed or plant flowers? How about lifting a child? Do you often carry in bags of groceries? Dragging out a full trash can takes effort!

Sooner or later furniture is going to be rearranged or removed to the curb. Or maybe you’ll climb a ladder to hang a picture or paint a wall.  Life is ripe with opportunities to hurt your back!

How many of us take time to  stretch or warm up their muscles before engaging in the typical activities daily life requires? One wrong reach or lift or movement can stain your back and—whoa! Pain!image of woman with sciatica pain

Often this is muscle pain that can be eased by an ice pack or a OTC pain remedy. But this article explores the more debilitating and agonizing back pain those simple remedies can’t resolve. When a condition related to the spine itself is the problem, such as a herniated disc or sciatica, what can you do to stop the pain?

Garland Chiropractor Dr. James Mixon offers an option that can help you deal with spinal pain that’s a result of a bulging or herniated disc.

Let’s take a look at Spinal Decompression Therapy for Sciatica and how it may be your answer to relief.

Serious Spinal Pain from a Herniated or Bulging Disc

Disc herniation can be a degeneration related to age, but it can also be caused by lifting injuries, strain, or other trauma. A herniated or bulging disc is a tear in the disc’s fibrous ring that lets the spine’s spongy inner material jut out between the outer rings. Pain results when inflammatory chemical mediators are released. This is serious enough that for many people back surgery may be required.

Another cause of back pain is sciatica, which occurs when the soft material bulging from the disc presses against a nerve, pinching or irritating it. Sciatica pain specifically relates to a pain that extends from the lower back down into the leg.

Painful Symptoms

Symptoms of a herniated disc you shouldn’t ignore:

  • Pins-and-needles or numbness down one leg, extending from the buttock, down the thigh to the knee. Sometimes the pain can reach clear to the ankle or foot.
  • Weak muscles in one or both legs.
  • Pain in the front of your thigh.
  • Severe muscle pain or spasms.

Sciatica pain symptoms:

  • Lower back and/or hip pain.
  • Rear or leg pain that gets worse when you sit.
  • Weakness or numbness that makes it difficult to move your leg or foot.
  • An annoyingly constant pain on one side of the rear.
  • A distracting burning or prickling feeling down the leg.
  • A shooting pain that makes it really hard to stand up.

Spinal Decompression for Sciatica – An Option for Relief

Fortunately, there are non-surgical options available! Spinal Decompression Therapy (SDT) non-invasive, and far less expensive than surgery. It doesn’t require drugs and you remain fully clothed for the procedure. .

As a long time Garland Chiropractor, Dr. Mixon offers years of experience with diagnosing and working to correct spinal conditions such as herniated discs and sciatica. He will recommend Spinal Decompression Therapy if he feels it is the best treatment to relieve your painful situation.

What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Decompressing the spine provides an injured disc with a healing environment. Stretching the spine reduces the pressure and allows the protruded spinal material back inside the disc, opening it to the body’s restorative nutrients. With repeated treatments, the damaged disc has the opportunity to heal naturally.

How is the stretching done? You lie down on a comfortable traction table located in the chiropractic office, and are strapped in place around the abdomen and under the ribcage. Based on Dr. Mixon’s diagnosis of your condition a personalized treatment plan is entered into a computer that operates the therapy bed. The therapy itself consists of a series of cycles that stretch your back gently but consistently. It lasts approximately 20 minutes, and the number of sessions required depends on the progress of your pain alleviation.

This is a simple therapy that allows the body to heal itself, rehydrating the damaged discs and bringing them back to a natural spongy condition. The treatment has benefited thousands of patients by providing a remarkable reduction in pain. The number of treatments needed is dependant on the individual patient’s requirements.

Who Shouldn’t Have Spinal Decompression?

  • Expectant mothers
  • People who have had fusion of the spine, or who have had spinal implants, especially an artificial disc
  • Patients who have had a failed back surgery.
  • Also considered poor candidates are people who have osteoporosis, spinal infections or tumors, or who use any kind of blood-thinning medications.

Final Words

Spinal Decompression Therapy is a treatment worth considering if you’re suffering from a herniated disc or sciatica. For suitable patients, this therapy is very effective. It’s non-invasive, doesn’t require drugs or injections, and it doesn’t take up much of your time!

Current patients of our Garland Chiropractic clinic already know that Dr. Mixon is a skilled and thorough chiropractor who focuses on helping people to achieve optimal health.  If you aren’t currently a patient, please contact Texas Spinal Health to learn if you’re a good candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy.

Get rid of the pain and reclaim your freedom of movement!