Monday, December 13, 2010

Vitamin D – The Super Vitamin

Every day, I have patients interested in the new, hot vitamin du jour.  This year it seems to be Vitamin D.  I have included in my blog today a number of studies that talk about the benefits. I really believe the video of Joe Prendergast, MD that I have included below gives the best synopsis of why Vitamin D is an essential nutrient. He has been a leader in this area and speaking about it long before it was in fashion. 

Bottom line, most people need to supplement with Vitamin D, especially those that are living in winter climates like Chicago where there is an appalling lack of sun. Sun is essential to making Vitamin D in our bodies. Most MDs are now including Vitamin D levels in the yearly blood work done at a physical. Don't wait, this vitamin can be added TODAY to help your immune system, mood, heart, and a host of systems of your body. Check out details below...

Vitamin D – The Super Vitamin

U.K. and Canadian scientists have found vitamin D to be even more so vital to health and well- being than previously thought. Their new findings have revealed vitamin D as a direct influencer of more than 200 human genes. One such gene is related to both cancer and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. According to scientists, vitamin D deficiency makes us susceptible to a wide host of diseases. Other diseases thought to be influenced by vitamin D deficiencies include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and dementia. Vitamin D is naturally produced in the body as a result of direct sun exposure to the skin. Vitamin D is also present in larger amounts in fish oils – a common source for most vitamin D supplements. It’s important to note that in larger quantities, vitamin D is also toxic. A number of experts recommend daily dosages of vitamin D ranging from 2000-5000 IU/day.

Source: Reuters. August 24, 2010

Vitamin D To Conquer Your Cold

New research indicates vitamin D may be effective at reducing infections and colds. In this new study, researchers found that a group of young military men who supplemented with 400 IU’s (international units) daily for 6 months versus those who supplemented with a placebo experienced a significantly higher likelihood of having no days missed from work due to a respiratory illness. Moreover, of those taking the vitamin D supplement, half remained healthy during the 6-month study as compared with approximately just one third of those taking the placebo. While more studies are needed, this new research does appear to indicate some benefits of vitamin D in reducing sickness or at least, the severity of sickness. It should be noted that vitamin D when taken in higher dosages is toxic and negative side effects can and do occur beyond 2,000 IU’s per day.

Source: Journal of Infectious Diseases Online. July 15, 2010.

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Colds
Study Shows Vitamin D May Have a Role to Play in Preventing Colds and Flu

A walk in the sun may be better than popping a vitamin C tablet for boosting your chances of preventing the common cold or flu.

A new study adds to mounting evidence that vitamin C may have been stealing the spotlight all these years from the real cold fighter, vitamin D.

The study, the largest to date on the link between vitamin D and common respiratory infections, shows that people with the lowest vitamin D levels report having significantly more cases of cold and flu than those with higher levels. Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight and is also found in fortified foods such as milk.

Researchers say that although vitamin C has been used for the prevention of common colds and other respiratory infections for decades, there is little scientific evidence to support its effectiveness. However, several recent studies have suggested that vitamin D, better known for its role in building strong bones, may also play a critical role in immune system function.

"The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu," says researcher Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, of the University of Colorado, Denver, Division of Emergency Medicine.  "Individuals with common lung diseases, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency."

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Safety of Chiropractic: It's literally is safer than aspirin!

The safety of any procedure, medical or chiropractic, is the first concern for the public safety. One wonders what this means when it comes to drug ads that end with a laundry list of side effects, including serious health problems and even death. Does chiropractic present any dangers to the public and if so, what are they?

The risk of chiropractic procedures has been the subject of much study. With millions of chiropractic adjustments given each and every day around the world it's important to the public, the profession and of course, the malpractice insurance companies. Because chiropractic has historically kept itself separate and unique from the medical profession it has found itself to be the object of attacks from medicine. Since evidence for the effectiveness of chiropractic in many health conditions continues to grow, the attack on chiropractic has moved to safety. What do the facts say regarding risk?

You are seven times more likely to get hit by lightening than have a stroke from a chiropractic adjustment.

No one pays closer attention to injury statistics than Malpractice Insurance carriers. Scott Haldeman, MD, DC reviewed malpractice claims records for a 10-year period between 1988 and 1997. In reviewing the outcomes following the application of 134.5 million cervical manipulations (commonly referred to as the chiropractic adjustment), the records indicated that there were 23 reported cases of stroke or vertebral artery dissection (VAD). Of this group, 10 of the patients had the complicating factors of high blood pressure, use of oral contraceptives, or a history of smoking, all of which are associated with vascular disease. The actual incidence of stroke or VAD following cervical manipulation was found to be one per 5.85 million cervical adjustments. That means that the average chiropractor would work for 1430 years (or practice 48 full chiropractic careers!) before they would see a single case of this type of incident.

The chart below shows the comparative risk of a number of common procedures and events to that of a chiropractic adjustment. Even the risk for stroke of something as common as birth control pills is over 200 times greater than a stroke from a chiropratcic adjustment.

Risk forcompared to chiropractic
Death from spinal fusion surgery100,000
Death from cervical (neck) surgery34,483
Death from hospital mistake30,000
Death from laminectomy (spinal surgery)25,000
Death from prolonged Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Aleve use.4,166
Paralysis or stroke from back or neck surgery3,571
Death from automobile accident750
Stroke from Birth Control Pills235
Get struck by lightening7
Death from aviation accident2.5

Notice you are 7 times more likely to get hit by lightening! Other reports listing a higher frequency of adverse events have been compromised by the tendency of those authors to inappropriately list the practitioner as a chiropractor, even when it turned out that the injury was caused by a medical doctor, a physical therapist or even a kung fu teacher and a hair dresser! And yet the reports typically refer to the treatment as a "chiropractic adjustment."

The National College of Chiropractic Clinic reported that over a 15 year period over 5 million neck adjustments were given without a single vascular injury - and this is a student clinic with relatively inexperienced doctors performing the procedures.

Rather than raising concerns about the safety of chiropractic, these studies emphasize that spinal manipulation, in the hands of a in the hands of a trained chiropractor, spinal adjustment is extremely safe. However, in the hands of unskilled practitioners they can be dangerous, and the practice must be closely regulated. This is why chiropractic exists as a separate profession. To provide you with safe and effective care, not a physical therapist or a medical doctor who attended a weekend course on spinal manipulation (yes, they do have these). All chiropractors complete 2 years of pre-doctoral training followed by 4 years of doctoral training and a one year internship. I had my Bachelors of Science in Nutrition from Ohio University prior to chiropractic school.

The American Journal of Pediatrics found that chiropractic is the most used alternative health care choice for children. One of the largest studies on chiropractic safety is the New Zealand Federal Government's 18 month "Inquiry on Chiropractic" published in 1979. The study concluded that "chiropractic is remarkably safe" and further stated that "chiropractic is the only health profession equipped by their education and training to carry out this procedure."

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Do you "Believe in Chiropractic?"

As a Chiropractor for over 16 years, I hear this statement all too regularly..."I don't really believe in Chiropractic." I guess it cracks me up (no pun intended) that people still view my profession as some kind of religion to be believed in or not.

The truth is that Chiropractic research is abounding. This is not about believing the dogma, it is about science.  I am still amazed after over 100 years that I hear people question the safety and effectiveness of Chiropractic. The fact that I spend more on car insurance than I do on malpractice insurance should be enough to convince people, yet old habits and dogma die hard.

Wilk v. American Medical Association

I understand what people mean when they say they don't believe. It is about people believing in the stories perpetuated by the medical profession. I am not just being a conspiracy theorist, this effort to stamp out the profession of Chiropractic is well documented and the year I entered Chiropractic school, the Wilk's case had just been decided. Wilk v. American Medical Association, (7th Cir. 1990), was a federal antitrust suit brought against the American Medical Association (AMA) and 10 co-defendants by chiropractor Chester A. Wilk, DC, and four co-plaintiffs. It resulted in a ruling against the AMA, saying they had engaged in an unlawful conspiracy in restraint of trade "to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession." (Wilk v. American Medical Ass'n, 671 F. Supp. 1465, N.D. Ill. 1987). The judge further wrote that the "AMA had entered into a long history of illegal behavior". And, this judge issued a permanent injunction against the AMA to prevent such future behavior.

I BELIEVE IN CHIROPRACTIC!  I also believe that if people knew what I knew, they might do what I do.  This Oprah quote, as great as it is, requires a person to not only be open to new ideas, it also depends on someone letting go of ideas that are not working for them. We as a society, we are getting sicker and sicker (the US uses more prescription drugs than the rest of the world combined).  I am going to commence a series on Safety, Efficacy and Satisfaction as it relates to Chiropractic.  I hope you learn something new that will lead you to a greater expression of health, especially using Chiropractic as the foundation of that healing.

I believe in Chiropractic FIRST!!  Enjoy!

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ergonomic 101 - Proper Lying Posture

As I was wrapping up my series on ergonomics, I was reminded that I had left out one of the most important positions:  SLEEPING!  This is the number one question that new patients ask and very crucial because approximately 1/3 of our life is spent lying in bed, on the couch, and on the floor. Like other positions, there is a right way and a wrong way to lie. For individuals suffering from pain, modifications may be necessary to obtain a "pain-free" position or a position which does not aggravate the pain.

Lying On Your Stomach (the evil position)

Extended periods of "stomach lying" should be avoided. This can be the sole reason patients experience pain.  This is because excessive stress is placed on the joints of the low back and because excessive rotation must take place in the neck. Neck pain, back pain, headaches, dizziness, as well as arm paresthesias are commonly experienced when in this position for an extended period of time. If you must lie in this position to relieve pain or for some other reason, keep one leg bent with the same side arm raised with approximately 90 degrees of flexion at the shoulder and elbow joints.

Lying On Your Back

Most people find lying on their back to be a relatively comfortable position. For individuals suffering from back problems, placing a folded pillow underneath the knees will help reduce tension in the lower back and make this position more tolerable. Some individuals may also find placing a small pillow or towel under their lower back to be helpful. This will help to maintain the natural curve of the lumbar spine.

Lying On Your Side

Lying on your side is a favored position by many individuals. It may also be a comfortable position that provides relief for individuals with back problems. It's important while in this position to have adequate support for the head and neck. A pillow which fills the gap between the head/neck and the bed should be used to keep the head and neck in line with the rest of the spine. Additionally, placing a pillow between the knees will help reduce lumbar and pelvic torsion. Women with larger hip and small waists will find a small pillow under the waist will prevent lateral bending of the spine while lying on the side.

Choosing A Pillow

Choosing a pillow which supports the cervical spine is extremely important, especially for those with neck or upper back problems as well as those with a history of headaches. There are a number of cervical pillows on the market, however, many of the inexpensive pillows (those under $20) are poorly designed with rigid foam which does not conform to the natural contours of the head and neck. Look for a cervical pillow which will contour to the shape and size of your head and neck while still providing support. Don't be scared to spend a little extra on a high quality pillow - it's well worth the money, and besides, it's something you'll use everyday.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ergonomics 101-Proper Lifting Techniques

This is the final installment in my series on Ergonomics. I find that little injuries built up over time are cause of most of my patient's problems. My wish is for everyone to learn a little something that they can take back to work that will keep them just a bit safer. This series is full of helpful hits. Dig in people!!

Dr. Steph

The Squat Lift - Ideally, objects should be lifted via the squat lift. With the back relatively straight, the knees are bent so that low back stress is minimized. While this does not seem as easy or natural as simply bending forward at the waist it significantly minimizes the lower spinal stress which can lead to numerous injuries including intervertebral disc herniation. Also, keep the feet wide apart when lifting the object and be sure to keep the object as close to your body as possible.

When Bending The Knees Is Difficult - For individuals who cannot fully bend the knees in order to pick up objects some bending of the spine may be necessary. In these cases, be sure the object being lifting is not heavy and most importantly, be sure to keep the object as close to the body as possible. The farther the object is away from the body the greater the stress on the spine.

The Golden Rule of Lifting - As stated above, be sure to keep objects as close to the body as possible during the lifting and carrying of objects.

Repetitive and Heavy Lifting - Even when proper lifting techniques are used repetitive stress injuries to the spine will occur if objects are too heavy or lifting is done continuously to the point that the spinal musculature becomes fatigued. Never lift heavy objects alone - get assistance or use a dolly. Never lifting continuously to the point that spinal muscles become fatigued. This will dramatically increase the odds of sustaining spinal injury.

Diagonal Lift - The diagonal lift is useful for heavier items that are close to the ground, such as a heavy box. Because this lift requires that you get down close to the item, you protect your back by making your legs do the lift.

Instead of approaching an item straight on, come at it diagonally from one corner. Lower your body down and place one knee on the ground. Gather the item onto your thigh and into your lap. With your back straight and your arms secured around the item, set your core muscles, and stand straight up - making sure your head rises before your hips.

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gratitude Rather than Dread for the Holidays

A good friend of mine and coach Dr. Pat Gaymen sent out a November reminder.  The note was motivated by something I was reminded of today in my office. Today we hung our banner for our annual 12 Days of Cheer event-where we celebrate our patients for 12 days in December, offering New Patient exams and adjustments in exchange for helping us sponsor a family for the holidays. Plus, we give your patients a gift for all of those 12 days! This is all great stuff, right?

My question is why we are getting so many moans and groans? Maybe it is the imminent winter, the reality that the sun is going bye bye. These comments bring up pictures of dread instead of joy. This month please I am joining Dr. Gaymen in a crusade to remind people that the Holidays are about gratitude, joy, fun, friends and family. They are about an opportunity to give our time, our love, our money to others. And the blessing for you is that you have a chance to change your routine and have some fun in the process. 
  • Really think about giving thanks
  • Create a Gratitude Board in your office and ask people to post what they are thankful for (Get some leaf or turkey or cornucopia notepads for fun)
  • Take time to plan
  •  What can you eliminate from your regular routine?
  • Decide to make this season a good one.
  • What can you add that will make this a truly happy, loving time?
  • Have you looked at the sparkling night sky lately?
  • Decide how you want this Season to be for you and your family
  • Set the wheels in motion to make that happen (as closely as possible)
  • Make of list of people or things that enrich your life – then thank them Find someone or some place where you can enrich someone’s life
  • Get children involved in being thankful
  • Notice the magnificent colors Mother Nature is showing us
  • Enjoy company while you cook (if you do)
  • Bring is some beautiful leaves to be part of your decorations
  • Get a massage right in the middle of everything else
  • Invite someone to spend time with you and let them know they are important to you
  • Enjoy the feel of the crisp Fall weather
  • Take time to notice the joy of giving 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ergonomics 101-Taking Mini-Breaks and Stretching

Taking small periodic breaks doesn't just allow you to have a mini-mental vacation from the constant reins of work, it's also an important opportunity to reduce built-up physical tension by stretching out your contracted and tensed body. Every 30 to 40 minutes your body needs to move, stretch and get out of any position that it's been stuck in.

Assuming that your working position is in the seated posture, the following stretches can be performed throughout the day, everyday, to keep your body happy and healthy. All stretches should be held for 15-30 seconds and performed 1-3 times, depending on the amount of time you have. Hold the stretch in a position in which you can feel the muscles comfortably stretch.

Basic Neck Stretches
Eyes To The Sky - Extend your head backwards while allowing your mouth to open. Allowing your mouth to open allows for a greater stretch to the muscles of the anterior neck. If you experience any balance problems, stretch the neck in the seated position only.
Ear To Shoulder - With your head centered over your shoulders, drop one ear to the same side shoulder. You should feel the opposite side of your neck stretch. You may increase the stretch by applying pressure to the top of the head with your hand. Repeat on the opposite side.
Chin To Chest - Drop your head forward while tucking your chin in towards your neck. Place one hand on the top of the head and gently apply added pressure if you wish to increase the stretch. This stretch affects the posterior cervical musculature.

Lateral Torso Stretch - While seated, grasp the lateral thigh or armrest of the chair with your opposite side arm and rotate your torso by pulling with the hand. Repeat to the opposite side.

Anterior Torso Stretch - In a seated or standing position with your hands interconnected place them behind your head and neck. Then, squeeze your shoulder blades together and extend your back slightly.

Posterior Torso Stretch - In the seated position with your buttocks on the forward edge of the chair, spread your legs apart and lean your torso forward, between your legs. If your back and hamstring muscles are tight, you will feel them stretch during this movement.

These are just some of the many stretches which can and should be performed frequently.

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Important Note: Do not perform any exercise or stretch without the recommendation of a licensed health care professional. If performing exercises or stretches at the recommendation of a licensed health care professional, immediately discontinue and seek professional medical assistance should unusual or abnormal pain and/or discomfort arise.Any and all exercises, stretches or similar contained within or available from this website are meant only for active patients of our office who have been specifically advised to perform said exercises, stretches or similar.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ergonomics 101-Setting Up Your Workstation

Having a well planned, ergonomically designed workstation increases productivity, minimizes repetitive stress injuries, increases employee morale, and increases the bottom line. Since everybody has different tasks and different body types, no one workstation setup is ideal for everyone. There are, however, some basic guidelines that should be abided by when designing a workstation.

Space - There needs to be adequate space for you to comfortably accomplish all tasks required of you. If you're constantly running into others or cannot properly function due to lack of adequate space physical and emotional stress increases while productivity decreases.

Equipment - Having the proper equipment which has been designed for the task at hand is essential. Equipment should be compatible with other equipment and be ergonomically designed to conform to your specific duties. Chairs should move freely in the work area and fit under desks and tables, lighting should fully light all work areas while not reflecting off of monitor screens, and computers and monitors should fit desks properly so screens can be read in comfortable positions and computer discs can be inserted without getting on all fours under the desk.

General Layout - Plan ahead. If you know what tasks you will be performing and what equipment you need, draw a floor plan and include equipment, furniture and accessory placement. Be sure keep those items used most frequently within reach are nearby to minimize strain and twisting. Commonly used equipment and other materials should be within reach from your primary workstation position.

Accessories - Add stackable document holders, have your Rolodex nearby, purchase telephone headsets and any other items which can help to organize your workstation and keep all important and frequently used materials within your reach.

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ergonomics 101-Proper Telephone Techniques

Probably one of the biggest problems facing my patients with office positions....the dreaded phone-propping (note the picture)!  My hope is to give some pointers on how to manage this tricky task. Remember, headsets are the BEST!! Good luck and enjoy! Dr. Stephanie

Spending prolonged periods of time on the telephone can lead to chronic neck, shoulder and upper back pain disorders. Using the proper techniques and equipment is key in preventing these problems from developing.

Phone Location - The telephone should be located close to the main working area such that it is easily reached without having to twist, bend or overly stretch.

Shoulder Rests - For individuals who like to have their hands free when on the telephone we highly recommend not using a shoulder rest extension on your receiver. This still requires you to cock your head in order to keep the receiver next to the ear. This position places stress on the supporting structures of the neck and can throw the neck out of alignment. Rather, purchase a headset device. They have become plentiful and fairly inexpensive. Note the WRONG phone position in the above photo!

Speaker Phone - Using a speaker phone allows for maximum flexibility to work while talking. However, for some this may not be appropriate such as during times that clarity, volume and professionalism are required. If this is the case, look into purchasing a headset.

Headsets - Headsets are the most versatile telephone utility. They enable you to work uninhibited while on the telephone and keep your body in an ergonomically safe position.

Writing Materials - Be sure to keep a pen and pad of paper near your telephone so messages can be immediately taken without changing position or straining to grab the appropriate materials.

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ergonomics 101-Adjusting Your Monitor

Maintaining the correct monitor height will prevent many problems with your eyes, neck and upper back. A monitor improperly positioned can irritate neck musculature, alter the normal spinal curves, induce eyestrain and even initiate migraine headaches.

Monitor Distance - The monitor should be located directly in front of the area where you're positioned to view the monitor. The preferred distance from your eyes to the actual screen varies with the size of the monitor and the current resolution settings. A 17 inch monitor should be located no less than 20 inches away. For smaller monitors you may need to be a little closer and for larger monitors a little farther away.

Monitor Settings - In conjunction with setting up the ideal distance between you and your monitor you may additionally need to alter the monitors resolution, contrast and brightness settings. This will allow characters and images to display clearly preventing squinting and eyestrain. The settings will vary depending on the distance you are from the monitor, the background you have on your active screen, the amount and type of lighting at your workstation, and the quality of your vision.

Lighting and Glare - Improperly positioned lighting can also wreak havoc on your ability to comfortably view your monitors display. Solutions include moving your monitor, moving the lighting, closing blinds or curtains, adjusting your monitors brightness setting, installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor, changing your background color to a lighter color, or even taping paper or cardboard along the edges of the monitor to act as a "visor".

Monitor Height - The proper monitor height is vital in preventing gradual neck and upper back strain. The most effective way to determine correct monitor height is to sit correctly in your chair or where ever you view your monitor. Next, close your eyes and position your body and head in a neutral and comfortable position - your spine should be straight and head centered over your shoulders. Then, open your eyes and note at which point your eyes are initially focused on. This area should correlate to the center of your monitors screen or the part of the screen you view most frequently.

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ergonomics 101-Choosing the Right Chair

Prolonged sitting is a frequent cause of back and neck pain. And while extended periods of sitting are best avoided, for many, it's a fact of life.

When sitting, it's important to keep the back straight, knees bent, and head centered over the shoulders. Slouching forward may be comfortable and allow the spinal muscles to relax but gradually overstretches spinal ligaments, leading to back and neck pain among other problems. We always encourage patients to maintain a "neutral spine" position at all time is ideal.

Seat Backrest - The proper chair has a backrest which slightly inclines backwards. This has the effect of relaxing the spinal musculature and decreasing spinal discal pressure.

Armrests - Armrests provide support for the arms which helps to reduce the work load and stress on the trapezius and shoulder muscles. The armrest height should allow the forearms to comfortably rest while being low enough to go underneath tables or desks in the work area.

Lumbar Support - Having a lumbar support either built into the chair or inserting a portable lumbar support helps to maintain your natural lower back curve. These small supports are quite handy, effective and relatively inexpensive.

Seat Bottom Angle - The seat angle relative to the floor is more of a personal preference than an exact science, as long as a neutral spine can be maintained in comfort. In general, the more the seat bottom tilts forward the more extension of your lower back will occur to keep you in a neutral position.

Seat Height - The height of the seat should be so that it allows you to sit all the way back in the seat while your feet are still able to reach the floor. If they can't and you're stuck with the chair, use a footrest to remedy the problem.

In addition to the suggestions provided above, it's important to:

  • Be aware of your posture throughout the day and be sure to maintain a neutral spine -no slouching
  • Take mini breaks on a regular basis when in a prolonged position and remember to stretch
  • Have the right equipment and tools for working in a prolonged position, use ergonomically designed furniture and keep a lumbar support in your car for "chair crises"
Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

If I Could Only Adjust ONE Nerve Level.......

Subluxation of the Week:  1C

The first spinal vertebra under the skull is called the Atlas or the first cervical.  The Atlas is a single, 2 oz. doughnut-shaped vertebra at the top of the spine. Trillions of nerve fibers from the brainstem travel through the small opening in atlas and flow down into the spinal column. Because of the smallness of the opening and because of the atlas’ close proximity to the brain stem, if the atlas has moved out of position even a fraction of a degree, very serious things can result.

The atlas (C1), according to our Neuro-Anatomy chart, is involved with providing the primary nerve supply from the control centers in the brain to the head, face, brain, pituitary gland, eyes and ears.   It is commonly found to be an area that is subluxated (misaligned producing abnormal nerve system transmission of information) leading to such common health complaints as headache, migraine, earache, colds/flu and sore throat.

Atlas (C1) subluxation can be caused by physical, chemical, emotional and/or environmental stress or a combination of these stressors beyond the body’s ability to cope.  Common stressors affecting this part of the spine and nervous system include: caffeine withdrawal, alcohol abuse, unmanaged stress, anger, confusion, despair, exhaustion and ergonomic stress like repetitive motion or long periods of inactivity.

Perhaps of greater importance than these local affects of subluxation of 1C, are the global affects of subluxation of this area because this is the one area where the entire spinal cord and brain stem may be affected by spinal misalignment.  This can cause effects throughout the body ranging from remote problems like low back pain to impairment of the immune system of the person.  In fact, research conducted with HIV positive patients found that those adjusted in this exact area enjoyed a 48% improvement in immune system function over time while the non-adjusted group experienced an 8% decrease in immune system function over the same period of time.

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meet My Starfish!

In my last blog, I used the pictures and video of my time in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to express the richness and desperation of the experience. Today I would like to introduce you to a village I am going to be talking a lot about in the future and that is Phaeton, Haiti.  We were introduced to Phaeton by our guide and friend Elmond Jean.

In future posts, I will start to describe in detail; just suffice it to say that this is a town in need. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the 50 children that need our help. These children have nothing or close to nothing. They have no resources to attend school (all schools are private in Haiti which means the government does not fund them) so no money, no school. The problem goes much deeper. We found out these children eat 2-3 meals per week, IF THEY ARE LUCKY. When I say lucky it means if Elmond is able to tell their story to people he guides and they donate money for food.

The kicker is that of these 50 kids, 15 of them are flat out orphans: no mom, no dad, living on the streets. There is nowhere for them to go and with all the resources going to the earthquake zone, this small town is in desperation.  To make a long story short, we (Dr. Janice Hughes, Dr. Martha Nessler and myself) have committed to build an orphanage/school/health center to serve this area.

We are making it up as we go along. That being said, the pictures below are of the initial structure. Not too shabby considering we have not even been home a month. We have just begun!

Someone said to me in my office, "There must be 100's of villages like this in Haiti and thousands around the world."  I know his thinking was that how can we make a dent and that feeling of powerlessness that comes with that.  Well, I met those children and they are not going to starve on my watch! I feel like this is a great time to post about the starfish.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.  He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean."  "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.  To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"  At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"

This is the intro to a story about the power of the Chiropractor!   I love Chiropractic and that has allowed me to find a passion that I never knew existed. Let the excitement begin....

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Feed Our Souls-Give the Children a Chance for Change in Haiti

I just returned from my third visit to the island of Hispaniola and my first visit to Haiti. My previous trips I focused my service work in the Dominican Republic, in the area surrounding Puerta Plata. This trip took us first into Haiti to visit what will be the home of our orphanage in the town of Phaeton.

I wanted to write an account of our time in Haiti and then changed my mind.  Review the video below. Look at the pictures. Both beauty and devastation all wrapped up together. These children in Phaeton are starving. Well, not on my watch. We (Drs. Janice Hughes, Martha Nessler and myself) have committed to feeding, educating and building an orphanage in this town. Don't worry, you can help. I'll keep you informed on how! Dr. Steph

Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cell Phone Kids YIKES!!

A Kaiser Family Foundation study (Generation M2) found 8-18 year-old spend in excess 7.5 hrs/day using some form of mobile device.  Also, 7th - 12th graders report spending an average of 1:35 a day sending or receiving texts. (Time spent texting is not counted as media use in this study.)

As a result, these youngsters are sure to develop a condition known as Forward Head Posture (FHP), which can cause neck pain, headache, shoulder pain, and/or numbness and tingling into the upper extremity. Please talk to your youngster about this. This is not a GOOD THING!!!!!!!!!!  Avoid the problem from the start and look to Chiropractic care to help insure these pediatric spines (spine still has growth plates until 22 years old) are balanced as kids continue to grow.

Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds is the third in a series of large-scale, nationally representative surveys by the Foundation about young people's media use.  It includes data from all three waves of the study (1999, 2004, and 2009), and is among the largest and most comprehensive publicly available sources of information about media use among American youth.  Below is a graph to summarize:

5 Tips For The Correction Of Forward Head Posture:

Forward head posture is a very common imbalance seen today from excessive cell phone use and from bad posture. Correction of forward head posture takes awareness, resolution of underlying causes, and repetition to make a lasting impact. These five tips will help you get faster results.

1. Focus on lifting your chest, not just tucking your head back.

In most cases, forward head posture is accompanied by rounded shoulders and a slouched upper back posture. In this scenario, simply retracting your head will not correct the problem. In fact, this can cause a jamming of the lower cervical vertebra. A simple instruction to help you lift you chest is to imagine you have a helium balloon attached to each of your chest muscles, and they are lifting them toward the ceiling. Many times, just lifting the chest causes a natural retraction of forward head posture.

2. Perform "chin retractions".

A great way to re-program yourself to get rid of forward head posture is to perform 10 chin retractions every hour on the hour throughout the day. If you do this throughout an 8 hour workday, along with lifting your chest, you will have done 80 postural corrections! This will help you re-pattern your posture easily and effectively.

3. Ensure you have proper ergonomics in your phone use, car, at work, and at home.

Make sure your computer height is optimal at work and home. Another great trick to do in your car is to move your rear view mirror just an inch higher. This will remind you to sit straight while driving.  NEVER, NEVER, NEVER prop the phone up with your shoulder & make sure you lift the phone so that you can look straight on when texting or surfing the web.

4. Eliminate food allergies.

Food allergies, particularly to gluten, soy, and dairy, can cause your nasal passages to clog, and make it more challenging to breathe. Forward head posture is very common to individuals that mouth breathe. Think about it, what do they teach during CPR to help someone open their airway? Tip the head back. In a standing position, this is done by extending the cervical spine, which inevitably leads to forward head posture.

5. Stop doing endless amounts of crunches.

Excessive amounts of abdominal training, particularly crunches, can cause an adaptive shortening of the abdominal muscles, which then pulls down on the upper body, leading to forward head posture. This can easily be corrected by performing an appropriate amount of exercise for the muscles that lift the chest and shoulders back and down.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Returning to ChiroMission by Dr. Janice Hughes

Dr. Janice Hughes caring for patients in a

hospital in Puerta Plata

Originally uploaded by Stephanie M.

Returning to ChiroMission

by Dr. Janice Hughes

Returning Mission Leader on May 2010 trip to Dominican Republic and Haiti

Have you ever felt like once you have experienced something you know what to expect from that same situation? Well, me too. Until my return to ChiroMission.

After my first trip with ChiroMission something definitely opened up inside of me in a very different way. The ability to adjust again, after having sold my practice 7 years ago, was magical. The people on the trip, the people we were meeting...the Haitian villages I stumbled upon. These multiple experiences all combined to open up my heart significantly.

I immediately knew I would be back. And while telling others about my experiences, I knew they would travel with me! Without realizing it I was setting up an entirely different experience for my second ChiroMission experience!

The week before leaving I began to visualize 2-3X per day what experience I hoped I could create at the airport. I had asked for donations, and ended up with a garage full of supplies. I packed up 7 large hockey bags, and just kept picturing my trip to the airport, what would happen inside the airport, and the luggage coming out on the other end. As anyone will tell you, the airlines limit 2 carry on bags per person into the DR. I just pictured the porter meeting me outside the airport, the JetBlue team supporting me with this mission, and the bags coming out on the DR side and being stowed into Pastor Joel's vehicle. I didn't even know what he drove, but pictured it as I envisioned this entire scenario playing out.

M. Maltz tells us that there is nothing different between something real and something perceived so explicitly in our minds....and I obviously needed another concrete reminder of this in my life!

Everything about this trip was unique and different for me. Bringing so many supplies and having this all play out exactly as I had envisioned. Being in such totally different locations that I had experienced the first time. Traveling to the middle of the country, to Bonao, and having people hand me CT scans and MRI's. Addiction centers and hospitals. Nothing I've ever experienced in life really prepared me for this....yet everything must have on some level. I just showed up. I focused. I put into practice all the things I teach in life....and result was magic.

I met incredible people...MD's that now want to train as DC's, young people that are inspired to be chiropractors, young people dieing from totally treatable issues in any other country....and a 10 year old boy in an addiction center. The list goes on and on.

I ended up traveling in a boat to meet someone that had been shot 3 times. And in the message that this man gave to me, it tied together a guiding principle in my life for 21 years.

Something happens to me when I just show up for ChiroMission. And how can this joy and giving not be good? I hope to share more of these experiences with you on the next ChiroMission trip in October.


For more information regarding ChiroMission see their website

5 Reasons to Visit a Chiropractor

5 Reasons to Visit a Chiropractor

Of course we think of visiting a Chiropractor when we have an injury or pain in our lower back or neck. We also tend to think of them following an automobile accident.

While these are all great reasons to schedule your visit with a Chiropractor, there are also many other reasons we should be considering chiropractic care. Every Chiropractor is different and specializes in different types of treatment options.

There are many reasons to visit a Chiropractor aside from spinal related items; however I want to share just a few of them with you.

1. Fertility- That’s right. Fertility. When trying to conceive a child there are many things you need to focus on to allow your body. If you prefer a more natural, holistic way to help your body become pregnant, than ask around and find out if your local Chiropractor specializes in Fertility. If he/she doesn’t they would be happy to refer to you to a Chiropractor who does.

2. Head, Shoulders, Knees and toes -We should remember that issues with shoulders, knees, hips and basically all moveable joints can be treated by your Chiropractor. If you are living with pain or numbness in any of your joints, please discuss them with your Chiropractor.

3. Weight loss- Many Chiropractors have received training on weight loss programs and can assist you with meeting your weight loss goals. By developing a custom training program and discussing nutrition, your Chiropractor can help you with safe weight loss and help you learn better habits.

4. Quit smoking- Ready to give up the ghost and stop smoking? You can visit your primary care doctor and receive a nicotine patch or prescription drugs, however have you thought about asking how your Chiropractor might be able to help and help you stay away from the prescriptions? When you are ready to stop smoking, please talk with your Chiropractor.

5. Sports Performance or general well being. If you are an athlete or just want to feel your best while running, biking or playing with your children or grand children, then a routine schedule of Chiropractic care should be part of your schedule. Keeping your spine in proper alignment not only reduces your chance of injury, but keeps your body operating at its full potential.

Remember, Chiropractors can help with many of your needs. They work hard to resolve these issues in a variety of natural methods.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Research Shows: Chiropractic Care for Children is Safe and Effective

I find it important to share the current research being done in the Chiropractic field, especially as it relates to kids.  In a world that uses prescription drugs on kids without testing (Ritalin & antidepressants just to name a few), it is nice to see research supporting the safety and efficacy of a Chiropractic adjustment for children.  Enjoy!!

The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association's (ICPA) ground breaking study, The Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic: A Survey of Chiropractors and Parents in a Practice-Based Research Network, was published this month in the prestigious, biomedical journal, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. The objective of this study was to describe the practice of pediatric chiropractic, including its safety and effectiveness.

The results of the study determined that the indicated primary reason for chiropractic care of children was “wellness care.” The most common reasons for parents seeking symptom relief care were muscles conditions, ear, nose, and throat, respiratory and digestive disorders. Out of 577 children, with 5438 visits, doctors reported only 3 adverse events. Out of 239 children, with 1735 visits, parents reported only two adverse events. These events were minor discomfort after the adjustment and were readily resolved with continued adjustments. All children remained under chiropractic care. Both parents and doctors indicated a high rate of improvement with respect to the children's presenting complaints. In addition to these improvements, respondents reported better sleeping patterns, improvements in behavior and, improved immune system function while under chiropractic care.

Dr. Joel Alcantara, ICPA Research Director and presenting author said, “this paper shows the preliminary results of the ICPA’s Children’s PBRN – Phase One. Phase Two is well under way and we have initiated similar research pertinent to pregnancy. We are pleased that a major CAM Journal respects the importance of chiropractic care for children and we foresee greater collaboration with the CAM community on the importance of chiropractic care for children.”

Dr. Jeanne Ohm, executive director of the ICPA says, "I am pleased to be affiliated with an organization dedicated to chiropractic family wellness research. It is wonderful to see research substantiating the safety of chiropractic care for children and the overwhelming satisfaction of parents with children under care."

The ICPA is the oldest and largest pediatric organization in the chiropractic profession. Their mission is Research, Training and Public Education on behalf of family wellness. To find out more about children and chiropractic and to locate a doctor who cares for children visit