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!

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.nSciatica 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!

Keeping Your Balance as You Age: 5 Simple Exercises for Seniors

Balance is important in every stage of your life. It allows you to walk with grace, easily see your surrounding and stay pointed in the right direction. Balance allows you to make automatic adjustments to your posture and stability during every activity.

exercising womenBalance is achieved via a set of  ‘sensorimotor control systems’, which includes input from your vision, touch, and vestibular system. The vestibular system involves equilibrium, motion, and spatial orientation. All that sensory input is directed to the muscles of your eyes and body.

Any one of those sensory components can be negatively affected by disease, Injury, certain prescription medications, or—that undeniable part of our life cycle—aging.

How Age Affects Balance

Balance problems as we age usually result from deteriorations in our sensory and muscular functions. After all, many people begin to exercising and move much less after middle age. Here are a few common reasons seniors are more susceptible to falls:

  • Vision decreases;
  • The legs and hips weaken, making walking difficult;
  • Spinal degeneration or the posture becomes poor and it’s difficult to stand up straight;
  • Often people can lift their feet like they used to, increasing the likelihood of stumbling;
  • Our reactions slow when we encounter a physical obstacle, which can cause a fall;
  • Prescription medicines can cause dizziness or affect balance;
  • Low blood pressure can cause light-headedness that increases the risk of falling.

For these reasons it’s a good idea for seniors to begin a gentle exercise program that addresses strength, endurance, and balance. Even a small amount of targeted exercise can help restore good balance.

Simple Exercises for Seniors

The main muscle groups should be exercised several days a week, including the legs and arms, shoulders, chest and abdomen.

Staying safe while retraining the balance system is critical. Before beginning any kind of physical program, check with your doctor to be certain you or your family member’s balance problems aren’t the result of disease or infection. Make sure you or your family member aren’t alone while performing these exercises. Start slowly! There’s no hurry and it will take time for balance to return.

• Single Limb Stance
This is an exercise for seniors that can be done with either a chair or a counter to hold onto. An armless chair from the kitchen or dining room is good. Wear shoes with a smooth bottom so they don’t catch on the floor.

This is an excellent exercise to strengthen the hips and ankles. Keep your body weight over your ankles as you stand with your feet together and your arms as your side. Steady yourself with one hand on the back of the chair, which should be placed a bit to the side and in front of you. Bend the knee of the leg that’s closest to the chair, raising your foot back behind you so you’re balancing on the other foot. Hold that position for 10 seconds, then move over and do the same thing with the other foot.

Work up to standing on one foot for a full minute, and lessen your need to use the chair (or counter) by eventually using only a finger, then letting go completely.

• Eye Tracking
The exercises below helps the eyes track, and assists in the visual and vestibular systems, which in turns improves postural stability.

If you get dizzy while doing the exercise below, stop, sit, take a drink of water and look straight ahead until you feel better.

Begin by bending your elbow and holding your thumb in front of your face. It’s as simple as that. Now, move your thumb to the right, tracking it with your eyes until you can’t see it. Don’t move your head! Move your thumb back to the left until you can’t see it. Lift your thumb up, drop it down—track only with the eyes and not your head.

Now hold your thumb at arm’s length. Repeat the tracking exercise; this time follow the movements of your thumb with your eyes and your head.

Clock reach
This exercise is to designed to improve standing balance by strengthening hip and ankle muscles. It will also add motion range to the upper body and shoulders. Hold onto a chair to avoid a fall. If you want to add to the workout, use a one pound wrist weight.

As you hold onto the chair with your left hand, visualize a giant clock at your right side. Think of the 12, 3, and 6 o’clock positions. Stand tall, lift your right leg and balance on your left leg. Bring your right arm up to the 12 o’clock point then circle your arm back to the 3 o’clock. Don’t reach back too far because it might strain your shoulder. Now go to the 6 o’clock position. Repeat on the other side.

Staggered Stance
This is to strengthen the ankles so they can help keep the center of gravity, which improves standing balance. Remember your chair!

Start with your feet together and hands at your sides. Step forward on the right foot and stand that way for 10 seconds. Now alternate by placing the other foot in front of you. If you need more accuracy, put tape on the floor to guide your feet. To make it more difficult, close your eyes. Or try twisting at the waist. For a really big challenge, do it standing on a pillow.
And don’t do it alone!

• Knee Marching
One final exercise. This is a mild cardio exercise that also addresses leg weakness and helps your ‘moving’ balance.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and arms at your sides. Lift one knee as high as you can and still be comfortable. Lower that leg and lift the other knee. You’re marching in place. Repeat the knee lifts 20 times on each side. Keep the chair or counter close.

Older people can achieve better balance and reduce their risk of falling by faithfully working to improve the strength in their ankles and hips, and by moving their arms to build flexibility in the upper body and shoulders. These 5 simple exercises for seniors will help you do just that.

If you would like to learn about our customized programs of exercise rehab, please contact Texas Spine & Wellness. Our doctors can help you achieve your goals and feel your best!

Chiropractic Treatment and Your Immune System -Natural Ways to treat Allergies and Sinus Problems

Sinus problems and allergies are often treated with medicines, antihistamines and cold remedies, but surprisingly, chiropractic treatment may also play a role in improving allergies. It may sound strange, but recently it’s been learned that there is a direct link between the immune system and the nervous system. If your body is performing at its optimum level then your immune system will be stronger and therefore can prevent infections and disease more easily.

image of a man with sinus problemWhether you have sinus problems, are allergic to pet dander, foods, or are unable to successfully fight off infections, an improved immune system will help. By making strategic adjustments to your neck and spine, our Garland chiropractor can reduce the stresses on your body and help the nervous system operate more effectively.

Although many allergy sufferers rely on over the counter medicines to treat their symptoms, this may not always be the best choice for your body. Over time, traditional medicines can create inflammation within the liver. In addition to fine tuning your body with chiropractic treatment, there are a number of other natural ways you can help your body fight off allergies and sinus congestion.

  • Saline Rinse – Occasional use of a neti pot or a nasal irrigation bottle using a saline rinse can be helpful for many people to thin mucous secretions and aid drainage. We recommend using boiled water to make the saline solution, as it will help prevent contamination from potentially harmful bacteria that might be found in tap water. Please don’t ignore this recommendation as a few net pots users have suffered a fatal brain infection linked to the parasitic amoeba, Naegleria fowleri. You can follow this link for a demonstration on how to use a neti pot.
  • Homeopathy – This system of medicine has been around for more than 200 years. Developed in Germany, homeopathy is based upon a system of like treats like. To give you an simple example, if you were suffering from sleeplessness due to an overactive mind, a couple of cups of coffee drunk late at night might add to your distress. However, a homeopathic remedy, called coffea cruda, which uses infinitesimal doses of the original ingredient, can be used to calm and soothe the mind and promote peace, tranquility and rest. Although traditional science may dispute Homeopathy’s claims of success, we have found remedies to produce wonderful results for many of our patients. We stock several fine homeopathic remedies for both sinus and allergy conditions.
  • Herbal Supplements – Many herbs can be used to tone down or alleviate typical hay fever symptoms, such as stinging nettle, milk thistle, and yarrow. Our office stock products by Allergy research group, Standard process, Douglas Labs and NutraBiogeneis that combine natural ingredients with advanced science to deliver products that can help you get through allergy season with barely a sneeze!

2-A-DAYIn addition, it’s important to check your diet. Be sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Five to seven serving per days is ideal. This will help ensure you’re receiving a rich source of vitamins and mineral through your food. We also recommend supplementing your diet with a professional grade multivitamin, which can be found here.

To sum up, the Health Care professionals at Texas Spine and Wellness are more than just “back doctors”. In addition, to providing chiropractic treatment, our team of health care practitioners which includes an MD and nurse practitioner, can help your body get back on track in other ways. We also offer nutritional advice and recommendations on supplements to help your body work in a more harmonic way to fight disease, infections and allergies. Our doctors are always available to assist you when you need them.

Having a properly balanced and healthy lifestyle, in conjunction with regular chiropractic treatment, helps the body heal naturally and become aligned quicker and more easily.

Contact us today if you’re ready to start feeling your best.

5 Ways Chiropractic Care Can Help You Feel Your Best

Bad posture is one of the unfortunate results of a modern lifestyle. We sit working for hours at our computer screens, hunch over our cell phones and sit watching endless TV programs. Eventually, most of us will suffer from some sort of problem as the bones in our back and neck become misaligned after long periods spent in unhealthy positions. These bones are called vertebrae and one of their functions is to protect the nerves that run through them. When the vertebrae go out of alignment they put pressure on these nerves and reduce their ability to function properly. One of the first signs of a misaligned back is neck or back pain. Other joints in your body can also suffer from similar problems.

image of chiropractic careThe main role of a chiropractor is to keep your vertebrae in healthy alignment and reduce the problems that can occur. There are many ways that a chiropractor can help your well being, but I want to focus here on 5 important ways a chiropractor can help you feel your best.

1. Chiropractic care can alleviate pain quickly. It helps free up and relax muscles and joints that have become frozen and unable to function properly. Nerves that have become pinched in these misaligned joints can then relax, allowing for significant pain reduction.

2. Chiropractic treatment can improve the function of your immune system. Your body interacts in a complex way. Whenever any part of your body is not functioning well, the rest of your body is also affected. When nerves in your spine are under pressure, the function that they control in your body is impaired as well. Your immune system is connected intimately with your nervous system and it benefits your spine is correctly aligned. Your chiropractor can help.

3. Chiropractic care has been shown to result in more satisfied customers than those treated in hospitals. A three-year study in 1995 reported by the British Medical Journal, studied 741 people with low back pain. These people sought treatment from either a chiropractor or from hospital outpatient treatment. Their ages ranged from 18 to 64 years and it involved both men and women. At the end of the three-year study, it was found that those who received regular chiropractic treatment found more benefit in their treatment and were more satisfied with the outcome than those patients who attended the hospital outpatient clinics.

Chiropractic care can also reduce your need for pain relief medication. This allows you to reduce the chance of any unpleasant side effects that these medications can give.

4. Chiropractic treatment can help reduce stress and depression. When you’re in pain and unable to move freely it can quickly become stressful and get in the way of your ability to function at school or work. It can also get in the way of personal relationships as you become more irritable. Compound this with difficulty sleeping due to discomfort, and your ability to cope is further lowered. As soon as you’re able to start a regimen of chiropractic care, you should see a reduction in stress levels and an improvement in your ability to function as a whole.

5. Chiropractic treatment is non-invasive and can treat both old and recent problems. Chiropractic care aims to help your body heal itself naturally. It does not rely on medication or surgical intervention to achieve this goal. While it is helpful to seek treatment as early as possible, treatment can be very helpful for long standing problems as well. Most people benefit from “maintenance” to deal with the general ‘wear and tear’ their bodies face over time. Regular appointments will also keep your boss happy as you’ll be less like to miss work days!

What to expect when you see our garland chiropractor for the first time

Texas Spine and Wellness is an integrated clinic where our team of health professionals work together as a team. Within our Garland chiropractic clinic, you’ll have access to the finest care with services ranging from exercise rehab and therapeutic massage to advanced solutions for knee and shoulder pain. Our team includes a medical doctor, chiropractors, a nurse practitioner, exercise physiologists and licensed massage therapists.

In short, our staff is fully equipped to help you regain strength, and range of motion while decreasing any pain you’re having. If you would like to learn about the many ways the staff at Texas Spine & Wellness can help you feel your best, contact our office at (972) 840-2520.