Tired of Neck Pain?
Tired of your neck pain? Here’s how to get rid of it.
If you are suffering with nagging neck pain and don’t know what to do about it then you're in the right place. Taking Tylenol to kill the pain may work short term but eventually the pain returns. Let me explain what contributes to neck pain and then we can talk about how to relieve the pain and prevent the pain from coming back.
Imagine a tall, neat stack of Jenga pieces. Each section is evenly stacked on top of one another. If you push the top of the tower so that it leans farther than the bottom stacks, the tower falls and the pieces collapse. Gravity is pulling the pieces down. When they are stacked on top of each other, the center of gravity is in the center and has less force to collapse the tower.
Now think of the Jenga tower as your spine, each level is a vertebra with your skull stacked on top. Your skull is approximately 12 pounds. When you lean forward over your center of gravity you put stress on your spine. However, we have muscles and connective tissue to support our spine like tent ropes support the circus tent from collapsing. The farther forward your head leans, the more these muscles tense to support your head.
We lean forward most of our day looking down at our cell phones, computers, reading etc.
Every inch our head is forward is an additional 10 pounds of pressure on the spine. The vertebra in your neck compress and restrict blood flow, nerve impulses and restrict elimination of waste causing pain and discomfort.
If your skull is 12 pounds and each inch forward is an additional 10 pounds of pressure on the neck, then at 2 inches forward your head weighs 32 pounds. At 3 inches your head weighs 42 pounds. If you held a 42-pound weight in front of you for 3,4,5 hours your arm is going to hurt and want to drop the weight. Except your muscles that support your neck cannot release your head when they get tired.
This restriction can cause a throbbing headache because its “kinking the hose” of blood flow to your head which increases the blood pressure in your vessels. Dehydration and a buildup of metabolic waste can cause pain receptors to activate from the limited blood flow.
All in all, this can be uncomfortable and even debilitating if you get migraines.
But how do we fix it?!
Correct the structure and relieve the compression of the muscles and connective tissues. This means having better posture. This “un-kinks the hose” and allows proper flow that is needed to eliminate waste, bring water and nutrients where they are needed. The less stress on the head, spine and muscles means less pain, headaches, pinched nerves, tension etc.
Myofascial Release, stretching, trigger point therapy and cupping are some of the treatments that we can do to release compression and re-align the spine and shoulders into a more stacked position.
Next, we strengthen muscles that are weak to help support our neck, shoulders and spine. There are exercises that I recommend helping support better posture and are easy to do.
I want to empower you to understand your body and know tools to relax, strengthen and re-engage your nervous system to prevent pain and discomfort in the future. The better your body can move the less chance of pain and injury.
Finally, we work on a plan to create new postural habits that are long-lasting, helping you feel better, move better and think better.
Come in and learn about your body and how Functional Movement Therapy can help to eliminate your neck pain for good!
Mastering Emotions for Success
Master your emotions to go for what you want this summer!
Our emotions can sometimes be chaotic like wading in the ocean in a storm. Fear can take over and dictate our decisions which can take us further away from our goals and dreams.
Mastering our emotions can be the sail that moves us forward toward our greatest aspirations.
Your inner being wants to have loving and joyful emotions, but we can become bombarded with fearful thoughts and a sense of loss that our subconscious mind plays on repeat.
This fear can start in the morning with the shock value of the news. When you hear about death, terrorism, politics and someone’s negative perspective of the economy this can influence your own perspective that the world is a negative and unforgiving place. Your subconscious brain records this information and can revert to fear when confronted with a conflict or major decision. When in fear we may freeze and do nothing, run away from the problem or get angry and reach your emotional “red line” far too quickly.
Emotions either drive us forward by taking appropriate action or hold us back from lack of action.
Can you think of a time when you let fear or anger take the reins and the outcome was not for your highest good?
I categorize emotions into 2 boxes: The 1st is the Box of Fear and the 2nd is the Box of Love.
These boxes are deep in your mind and you reach into them daily just as you reach into your closet to choose what clothes to wear. You want to look and feel good. Not for the world but for yourself.
The Box of Fear
When you reach into the box of fear you may pull out guilt, anger, frustration or disappointment.
Fearful emotions hold us back from what we want. If you are wanting to start exercising, you may have negative thoughts running through your head and decide to distract these thoughts by watching television on the couch instead of looking for the easiest way to get in your exercise. We may cover up our emotions with food, alcohol or drugs. We also may suppress our emotions because we do not want to deal with them or confront them. This causes chronic stress, frustration and resentment which can bite us back later and cause us to stay in an underlying state of fear. These negative emotions can lead us down a dark hole. When you are in this state, you make poor choices or avoid making choices all together.
The Box of Love
When you reach into the box of love, you pull out happiness, confidence, gratitude, joy and enthusiasm.
What are some more loving emotions that you want to have in your life?
Loving emotions drives us to take action. Self-love gives us confidence to join that fitness class or go to the pool to swim laps. We love ourselves enough to choose more nourishing foods that will make us feel and look good. We love ourselves enough to find outlets to release stress in a positive way. Love helps us be creative, find ways to grow and become healthier. Love keeps us open to receive support and ask for help when needed.
You have the choice of which box to choose from. The more intentional you are when choosing the easier is becomes to love yourself and see positive in others and the world. Ask yourself “who do I want to be today?” Do I want to choose fear and feel helpless or cynical? Do I want to put it off for another day? Or do I want to step out into the world standing tall and confident knowing who I am and what I stand for? Do I want to take action to move forward one more step toward my goal or find the courage within me to have that conversation that needs to happen? Do I want to feel empowered today?
Will you choose the box of fear of the box of LOVE tomorrow and the next day... and the next?
If you have a health goal that you want to reach and are unsure where to start, let’s have a conversation about it. To reach any goal we need to get organized to create the new habits we want that will move us toward our goal. Let’s talk if you're tired of yo-yo-ing with your diet, suffering with brain fog, or just don’t feel healthy and vibrant in your body and are ready for a change. I give free consultations and work to empower you to overcome your health challenges in a positive and easy way.
Give us a call so we can have the conversation that is going to start you on the path to success.
Give Your Skin a Healthy Boost with Broccoli
Raw Asian Portabello Mushroom BBQ and Slaw
This recepe was inspired by Asian Lettuce Wraps found at Mariko Sakata's webiste. Check her out for some amazing inspirations. In the mean time, I have adapted her recipe to make an amazing Raw BBQ and Slaw Sandwhich.
Portabella Mushroom BBQ Meat
4 Portabella Mushrooms
3 Stalks of Asparagus
4 T Tamari
2T Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Green Onions
2T Apple Cider Vinegar
2T Maple Syrup
4T Sesame Oil
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Grated Ginger
1/4 tsp Liquid Smoke
1T Dijon Mustard
1T Apple Cider Vinegar
1T Sesame Oil
1T Chili Past
1/2 Head of Red Cabbage
2C Shredded Carrots
1/4C Sesame Seeds
1/4C Sunflower Seeds
2 Green Onions
Blend all ingredients for Portabella Mushroom BBQ in a Vitamix or Food Processor. Save two green onions for garnish. Blend Sauce incredients and pour 1/2 over BBQ meat mixture. Dehydrate for 2-4hrs on 115degrees to keep raw and delicous and to give a meaty texture. This step is optional! No dehydator no problem. Shred the cabbage in a Food Proccessor on S blade, or in a Veggie Bullet on S blade. Combine with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and small chopped green onions and the other half of the sauce. Place in lettuce wraps, on sprouted grain bread or enjoy as is as a BBQ Salad with the BBQ Meat over top of the Slaw.
The 411 on H2O
Do you pull your own strings and sabotage your desires?
My wife and I visited the Wright brothers memorial during our honeymoon to the outer banks, South Carolina. There was a kite festival taking place on the grounds where their first flight was achieved and recorded for history. As we were learning how to fly different types of kites and how to control them in the wind, I was reminded of an ongoing struggle that we as human beings experience.
As I was throwing a small triangular fighter kite into the air, it flipping and spinning in the wind, the instructor instructed me to pull on the string whenever the kite spins in the direction that I wanted it to travel. Each correct pull with the flow of the wind, my plan ascended higher into stronger wind. Flipping and spinning even harder now, causing me to focus and concentrate on the direction I wish it to travel.
The quicker it spins the more I pull the string toward me, foreboding that I will lose control and the kite will come crashing down. The more I pull on the string to maintain control, the faster the kite descends, causing me to pull even faster and stronger. It crashes to the ground and I have to start all over again.
I throw it back up, maintain flight for a few moments, panic, tug on the string again and the kites come crashing down to my feet. Back to where I started from. It took me several attempts to control and steer this kite in the direction that I desired. Only to realize that when it spins faster, and I relax and focus, the kite will eventually turn in the direction that I want to go. All I have to do is give the kite a slight pull to nudge it in the direction I want it to travel and the wind takes it the rest of the way.
Does this sound familiar in your life? Starting a job, a diet, a meaningful task that you have the good intentions to complete with flying colors, yet panic when the going gets tough, crash and burn and have to start from the beginning again.
You are capable of greatness. You must believe in yourself and know that you are human. That life is a learning experience.
Think of yourself as the kite. It falls to the ground, picked back up and thrown back up to ride the wind into the sky. This kite does not swim and it does not walk or run. No matter where the kite is thrown, it is meant to fly and so are you. Embrace your greatness and fly!
I honor you for being present on this journey called life. Keep putting one step forward, believe in yourself each new day, lean in and enjoy the moments that life brings.
7 Tactics to help you stick with your health goals
Sugar Addiction - How excess sugar harms your body
Sugar is everywhere we look. Thing is most packaged foods hide sugar as an ingredient, so we don’t notice that we are consuming more sugar in our diet than we need. Take for instance fruit yogurt which many people think is a nutritious breakfast. Fruit yogurt can contain 19 grams of added sugar in a single serving. But how much is 19 grams?
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are :
Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).
So women who start the day with a cup of fruit yogurt containing 19 grams of sugar have already eaten over half of their daily intake.
This is only in the first hour of the day!
A can of coke consists of 33 grams of sugar. If someone had a cup of blueberry yogurt for breakfast and a can of coke for lunch….. they have already surpassed the maximum daily intake before noon.
Now let’s talk about what this sugar does in the body when it breaks down.
What is sugar?
Sugar is a combination of two molecules:
Glucose and Fructose
Glucose is “plant” sugar. Plants and make glucose from photosynthesis to store as energy. Every cell in our body can metabolize glucose. If we don’t get it from a food source then our body makes it. A wonderful process called Gluconeogenesis!. Sounds cool right? I won’t bore you with this process though (Phew!).
Fructose is “fruit” sugar. Found in fruits and many plants as well and can only be metabolized in the liver. The liver then stores this converted energy and if full will turn the fructose into fat. If this overabundance of fat cannot be shipped out of the liver you have a greater chance of creating Fatty Liver Disease.
According to the American Liver Foundation, this disease can form with as little as 5% to 10% of the liver’s weight in fat. This disease can cause fatigue, weakness, jaundice, swelling of the legs and abdomen, mental confusion and other nasty symptoms.
Insulin and insulin resistance
We have all heard of diabetics taking insulin but what is insulin?
Insulin is hormone made by the pancreas to signal the cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Our body monitors what we digest, what our cells demand and releases insulin in the right amount to help regulate blood sugar.
The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces to send the signal to your muscle and fat cells to remove and use glucose from the blood. When your cells get enough glucose for energy from the excess sugar, they essentially block the insulin signal. The body then produces more insulin and tries again. The pancreas will continue to create insulin until it cannot anymore which in turn causes the blood glucose levels to rise. This is known as Insulin Resistance which is the first step to type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance comes long before type 2 diabetes occurs. You can prevent future harm by getting regular checkups at your primary care physician to check your glucose levels and vitals.
Other symptoms that can come along with type 2 diabetes is arteriosclerosis or known as atherosclerosis. This is thickening and hardening of your artery walls which can lead to strokes or heart attacks. Skin lesions and skin tags can also develop. Problems with menstruation in women known as polycystic ovary syndrome can develop causing women to grow moustaches, sideburns and mid-chest hair. I’m quite sure no woman wants to resemble David Hasselhoff.
This information is not given to scare you but to inform you so you can make your own choice when you step into the grocery store.
Now that I have ruined the sweet joy we all like to indulge in, here are some sugar alternatives.
Monk fruit sweetener- this is a zero calorie sweetener made from a sub-tropical melon in southern china. It is not processed with toxic chemicals. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar which allows you to use much less and still get the same taste.
Here is what we use in our home Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener.
Stevia extract- this is also a zero calorie sweetener derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant which is native to Central and South America. Stevia extract is about 40 times sweeter than sucrose. It is mixed with other ingredients when sold as a powder. You will have to check the label of the manufacturer to see what it is combined with. The main ingredient in Truvia is a sugar alcohol called erythritol, which has no calories since our body cannot metabolize it. I prefer the monk fruit since it is in its natural state when turned into granules.
I want to emphasize that I recommend using these alternative sweeteners in moderation. These can still raise insulin levels in high quantities.
The more we moderate our intake of sweet food the less we will crave sweet. Eating whole fruits is a good way to satisfy our sugar craving since it has fiber to help us digest and metabolize properly.
If you are addicted to sugar, these sweeteners will help you lower your sugar intake and lower your cravings over time. The more you can get your sugar from natural sources the better. We have to lower your craving first so you will be less likely to eat something “bad” for you in a moment of temptation. If we limit our sugar intake, we can stay far away from type 2 diabetes and these health limiting symptoms.
There are simple habits that we can develop in our lifestyle that will make it easier to live a healthier, more vibrant and energetic life. I know you want to live fully each and everyday and share your passion and purpose.
At Enrich Your Health we can help you develop these habits and dive into our psychology to understand what we do and don’t do when it comes to making choices about our health and wellness. We will work with you one on one to tailor a program to your specific needs and help you reach your health goal.
You CAN have a more productive life to get things done and still have energy to give to your friends and loved ones. Give us a call and get a free consultation so we can help you be a high performer everyday!
Now continue to be the amazing person you are and always
enrich your mind, enrich your body and enrich your health.
Author - Michael Coles
The Benefit of Castor Oil on Our Muscles
Castor oil is an amazing natural oil that has many holistic uses. You may have heard your grandmother say to drink Castor oil if you have a backed up GI tract. Today we mostly use castor oil to induce labor, for muscle cramps or hyper-tonic muscles. Castor oil is thankfully used externally for these purposes.
So what exactly is Castor oil?
Castor oil comes from the beans of a perennial flowering plant called Ricinus Comminus. The beans are pressed into an oil. Castor oil is a triglyceride of fatty acids. Approximately 90% of its fatty acid content is made up of ricinoleic acid. Ricinoelic acid has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ricinoleic acid can also be effective in preventing the growth of viruses, bacteria, yeasts and molds.
There are many helpful uses for castor oil but the main benefit that I want to discuss is the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Many of us have achy, tense or sore hands from time to time. This pain can be attributed to long periods of gripping tightly, typically from holding a racket, golf club, long periods of typing, jobs that require large amounts of hand dexterity etc. These forces and activities of overuse aggravate the muscles and tendons in your hand, wrist and forearm creating inflammation and tension.
We use our hands everyday so finding time to rest them for more than the time we sleep is hard to come by. The muscles and tendons need to let nutrients and blood flow freely to help the healing process. When we receive trauma to our muscles, they tense and tighten inhibiting adequate flow of these essential nutrients. Also prohibiting the lymphatic flow which removes waste trough the circulatory system.
Castor oil is known to have a significant increase in the production of lymphocytes (disease-fighting cells of the immune system). With the anti-inflammatory properties to relieve muscle swelling, in addition to the increased lymphatic flow, pain and tension is greatly reduced, giving adequate relief as well as starting the healing process.
By rubbing a dime size amount on the hands before bed can greatly help relieve and prevent pain and tension.
Author - Michael Coles
Why Do I Feel Sore After Strenuous Exercise?
We all know that exercising can leave our muscles feeling sore and stiff. The question is WHY? Why do my muscles feel achy and sore to the touch. How come I am stiff in the morning getting out of bed?
Here is why:
Muscles need energy
Our body produces energy to sustain extended periods of muscle exertion. Our body needs oxygen to perform this process which is called aerobic respiration.
This process is done by converting glucose (sugar) into pyruvate (an organic acid that supplies energy to living cells). This is done when aerobic activity is present. Over the course of exercise, lactate or lactic acid is produced from pyruvate. In short, this chemical compound helps maintain energy production throughout the length of activity in which lactate concentration rises.
Imagine a camera inside of a beer cask that is in the fermentation stage. Initially it is just water, yeast and hops (or whatever else you throw in), then the carbohydrates and the yeast introduced begins to turn into alcohol. The longer it sits the more sediment builds and the cloudier it becomes. Then it is filtered out and we have a delicious brew.
But what if it wasn't filtered? This process applies to our muscles as well. If this sediment builds up in our muscles and is not removed, our muscles react accordingly. We get sore and stiff! Lactic acid is exactly that... an acid, it irritates the muscle fibers as well as putting the body through strenuous activity causing them to swell and stiffen.
Here is another analogy.... Imagine now that you are at your sink about to do the dishes. You have a sponge in one hand and a plate in the other covered in spaghetti sauce, but before you get the sponge wet you start to clean the plate. You will notice that the spaghetti sauce just smears around the plate, the sponge doesn't soak up the sauce and it just a bigger mess. This obviously is not cleaning the plate. Now, rinse the sponge under the running faucet and allow the clean and fresh water to saturate the dry sponge and flush out all the sauce and impurities it is holding. This analogy also applies to your muscles. Lactic acid build-up, impurities from chemicals, artificial dyes, and sediment settle in your muscles and need to be flushed out.
Here's how you can reduce the amount of impurities in your body to reduce muscle soreness and increase athletic performance:
Drink adequate amounts of water
We need water to flush out the muscles as does the sponge for cleaning. We need water for proper organ function and to clean the blood as well. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even when not exercising.
You work diligently and may forget to drink water. Here is a way to help you stay hydrated at work.
Health Hack: Find a aesthetically pleasing bottle. Fill it with tap water and sit it on your desk in a in eyes view. When you look at it and your body is thirsty it will trigger you to think about drinking. Have another bottle with filtered water handy or get up and go to the water cooler. Taking a many small sips throughout the day can help give the body the hydration it needs to keep you functioning well.
The water we drink needs help flushing the muscles. Stretching contracts and elongates the muscle fibers to help excrete metabolic waste and pull in water, blood and needed nutrients for tissue repair. Stretching also helps keeps our joints and skeletal system healthy. Creating space between the joints allows the cartilage and bursa to stay healthy by allowing blood and bursa fluid to enter the joint space. This allows your joints to move freely without pain. The tighter your joints are, the less movement you have and you increase the risk of muscle injury.
Foam rolling is a great addition to your stretching routine. All you need is 5 minutes of rolling before exercise to stimulate blood flow and prepare the nervous system and 5 minutes after exercise to help stimulate waste elimination. Imaging pulling an inflated balloon on both ends away from each other. Then visualize someone compressing the balloon from the top and bottom. If this balloon was porous the air would start to seep out. Foam rolling compresses your congested muscle fibers and helps to excrete metabolic waste.
Call and ask about my personalized foam rolling class to show you how to use the foam roller properly for your best recovery.
Regular Sports Massage, Thai or Shiatsu
Getting Sports Massage sessions regularly:
- Re-balances postural misalignment that contributes to hip, knee and foot pain.
- Improves waste elimination to minimize muscle soreness
- Improves joint health
- Increases flexibility
- Facilitates faster tissue healing
- Increases athletic performance.