Hot peppers are known for giving people a burning sensation, because, well, they’re hot, right? But what is it about peppers that makes them hot? It turns out they contain capsaicin, which is a molecular compound you’d also find in some popular pain-reliever pills. Capsaicin has no dietary content (such as calories or nutrients) but it gives the eater a “burning sensation.” Found in every part of the pepper except for the seed, capsaicin is thought to have many benefits.
Research has shown that capsaicin essentially calms painful nerves, muscles and joints. In Science Signaling, a peer-reviewed scientific weekly journal, Tibor Rohacs and a team of researchers from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School reported how a nerve mechanism is activated by capsaicin to block pain signals. Essentially, capsaicin works like a local analgesic.
Rohacs’ team looked at ion channels in sensory nerve terminals that respond to heat. They focused on the capsaicin receptor and concluded that the pain-causing, heat sensor ion channel does something to the nerves that, in the long run, silences or desensitizes them. So, in essence, capsaicin helps calm nerves, inhibiting mechanical pain. Of particular note was Rohacs conclusion that capsaicin works fast and robustly, with long lasting effects.
For now, if a person really wants to feel relief from capsaicin, they’d need it injected into them along with a local analgesic, though some people buy capsaicin creams and other over-the-counter medications to use for “some relief.” That said, maybe just adding hot peppers to one’s diet might “do the trick” in helping ease nerve pain?! It’s worth a try! By the way, the more capsaicin a pepper contains, the spicier it is.
If you’re looking to try peppers, look for these keywords: cayenne, jalapeno, habanero, and serrano– the most popular varieties of chili peppers. In the U.S., most peppers are imported from Mexico. You can eat them fresh, dried or powdered (known as paprika).
Eating peppers tends to give people an endorphin rush. People with neuropathic pain, arthritis, and itchy dermatological conditions stand to benefit most from eating hot peppers in whatever form they can tolerate. Some say hot peppers help with weight loss, too, by reducing calorie intake and even shrinking fat tissue.
The verdict? Eat more hot peppers for your overall health.
Have you ever had chest pain? If so, you know that it can feel very scary– and the first thing most people assume is, “I’m having a heart attack.” There’s cardiac-related chest pain, which means something’s not right with the heart and its arteries. But then there’s also “mechanical” chest pain. This is where the bones and/or joints of the chest and middle back are not functioning properly. A person feels pain because nerves have been irritated. Mechanical chest pain is often the result of a person’s poor posture, their working at a computer all day, and/or trauma, such as car accidents.
For those with chest pain, it’s important for a cardiologist to first check you out. If they determine your pain is not heart-related, then it’s time to explore options regarding mechanical chest pain.
One of the ways to deal with mechanical chest pain is through chiropractic care. In clinical research, one particular patient had chronic chest pain, along with trouble breathing and anxiety for over four months. The pain was so bad that he couldn’t work at his job and even had a hard time doing physical activities most of us take for granted on a daily basis. This 49-year-old man received chiropractic care for his chest pain. Mechanical force was done through manually assisted short-lever chiropractic adjustment of the thoracic spine, with an emphasis on the area where the ribs meet the breast bone on the front of the chest. Chiropractic care over the course of 14 weeks got rid of the chest pain, and even when he did his 9 month follow-up appointment, he was still feeling good.
Similarly, another test case involved a man’s chiropractic adjustment of both his spine and his sternum-rib complex, which lead to the pain going away.
Basically, chiropractors like Dr. Gerard of Lakewoods Chiropractic, look to relieve “vertebral subluxations,” which are areas where something’s wrong with nerves and muscles. These subluxations can be found in many parts of the body, including anywhere two bones come together– such as the chest.
If you’ve been experiencing chest pain that’s not going away and you want to take a drug-free approach to healing, make an appointment with Dr. Gerard at Lakewoods Chiropractic. Please call the Lakewoods clinic at 651-464-0800 to make an appointment.
When people think about visiting a chiropractor, it’s usually to get some relief because their neck or back hurts. Fair enough– because that IS what chiropractors are well-known for, but what about other benefits of chiropractic care? Say, for instance, going to a chiropractor could make you smarter? Is that possible?
It turns out that research shows there’s a connection between back problems and your brain. So, if you improve your back, you can improve the function of your brain. Specific spinal adjustments done by your chiropractor can help make the communication process between your brain, spinal column and nerves work well. A chiropractor works to get rid of “interferences” and “misalignments” inside of you. Just like an accident on the highway causes back-ups for miles, so, too, can interferences and misalignments– making it harder for your brain to function well.
Have you ever had difficulty concentrating? Have you found yourself having brain fog or having a harder time just thinking about things? You may have interference in the connections within you. There’s something called “neuroplasticity.” It refers to the brain’s ability to, like a computer, reorganize itself by forming new neural connections. So, if one path is “broken” or “trouble,” the brain finds new paths to use to send signals/messages.
When you have negative neuroplasticity, it’s harder to be smart about things because your brain isn’t functioning like you’d hope it would. You might have brain fog or even memory loss. However, if you want to “jumpstart” the brain to improve (and/or heal) cognitive functioning, then one way to do that is through chiropractic care. Ultimately, spinal adjustments help optimize both brain and nerve health. So, technically, chiropractic care could make you smarter!
If you’ve felt like you’re not as smart as you used to be, and something’s “off,” but you can’t quite figure it out, perhaps it’s time to make an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, MN. Maybe spinal adjustments and such could help clear away your brain fog, and allow for clearer thinking. It’s worth a try– call the Lakewoods clinic at 651-464-0800 to make an appointment.
During the past couple decades, more and more families have bought and installed outdoor trampolines. While adults sometimes use them, they’re mostly popular with children. That said, playing around on trampolines can lead to serious, often permanent injuries, so there are some things parents should know about trampoline safety and such…
Who is most likely to get injured on a trampoline? That would be children younger than 6-years-old. And what are typical injuries? Broken bones, concussions, muscle strains/sprains, cuts, and even head and neck injuries can occur. Want a recipe for trouble? Put more than one kid on the trampoline at a time– then there’s the added risk of kids landing on each other in awkward positions, including mid-air collisions– not good!
What can happen to kids on a trampoline? They can “land wrong” while flipping or jumping. They can try “stunts” that go wrong. What if they accidentally land on the springs or frame, or worse– fall off the trampoline onto the harsh ground below? Don’t forget the pain that comes from hitting another person.
With all that said, if you’re thinking of getting a trampoline for your backyard, should you? No! Don’t do it. There are other, better, safer options for kids to enjoy exercise. Send them to team sports or take a bike ride together as a family.
If, however, you already have a trampoline or insist on getting one, to minimize problems, you should only allow one jumper on it at a time. And, of course, there should always be an adult supervising that person on the trampoline. Equipment needs to be checked often to make sure nothing on it has come loose. Somersaults should be discouraged. Padding should be placed over parts that could hurt somebody. And check your insurance policy to make sure trampoline-related injuries are covered, just in case.
For those who’ve been on a trampoline and now find their neck, head or other body part is hurting, consider making an appointment for chiropractic care at Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, Minnesota. Please call the clinic at 651-464-0800 to make an appointment.
Back pain is the worst, isn’t it? One of the main effects of back pain is that it means your back hurts and that pain makes you have a harder time moving around… so it’s harder to get out of bed, harder to get in and out of a car, and harder to sit for long periods of time at restaurants and movie theaters. Ugh.
But what are some lesser known effects of back pain? For one, it can mess with your mental well-being. Did you ever know someone who blames everything on their back pain? Their pain consumes them, to the point where they become depressed. Yes– depression and back pain are linked. Because the pain hurts, that person doesn’t do what they used to. So, if Joe Average used to go to the local YMCA and lift weights, but now his back hurts, he gives up working out. Then he sits at home watching TV and not interacting with people. He starts eating more and more junk food. Soon he’s not only depressed but he has gained ten pounds. His XL shirts don’t fit. He goes to the store to buy XXL shirts, which makes him more depressed. His back pain is controlling him, and not in a good way. “I’m a fat, miserable mess,” he tells himself.
Back pain is more than just a physical problem. It affects a person’s mood and their daily life. They don’t concentrate as well. They’re more irritable, lashing out at people. Their appetite and sleeping habits become abnormal. Stress levels are elevated. People with back pain can end up withdrawing from social situations. They might stop physical activity for fear of making it worse, even though that activity is good for them and could be helpful.
There’s the tendency to “catastrophize” their pain– magnifying it into something worse than it actually is, whereas their back pain is all they think about, talk about, and concentrate on. As you’d imagine, this is not good.
Now some people will resort to medication/drugs for their back pain. What about when they take too many pills at once and that messes with their overall health, leading to more problems? Or what if they get hooked on hard drugs, like heroin, because it “gives them relief.” That’s a road no one should go down.
Treating back pain involves both the structural problem and the psychological problem. Chiropractic care is important because it takes a drug-free, holistic approach to helping a person get better over time.
If back pain is ruining your life, please call Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, MN, at 651-464-0800 or email [email protected] Make an appointment to get on the path to recovery.
Have you ever experienced a medication overuse headache? This occurs when using pain medications too frequently causes the headache! While they used to be known as “rebound headaches,” today they’re referred to as medication overuse headaches and to be considered such, they generally need to occur more than 15 days a month for at least three months straight. Who is most at risk? People who use narcotic and butalbital-containing meds. That said, those who use triptans, ergotamines, analgesics, opioids, and even certain over-the-counter meds can get them.
Keep in mind that pain medications affect how your brain functions. Research suggests that using certain pain medications frequently can lower your threshold for pain while reinforcing pathways that process pain. Thus, you get headaches.
Are you already a migraine sufferer? Then you’re more likely to develop medication overuse headaches.
Are you using simple analgesics like aspirin or ibuprofen, but exceeding the recommended daily dosage and doing so for more than two weeks? Then you’re likely to develop medication overuse headaches. Similarly, the use of combination pain relievers that include caffeine, aspirin and acetaminophen can bring on such headaches. Headaches can be exacerbated by even something as simple as drinking too much caffeine daily, so if you’re addicted to coffee, pop or Red Bull, you might need help weaning yourself off those drinks.
If you’re looking for a treatment that doesn’t involve drugs, consider chiropractic care. Dr. Jason Gerard can make a correction of the neck to relieve chronic headache syndromes. Meanwhile, adjusting the cervical spine is a way to fix the source of the headache condition in order to reduce the need for the person to take their particular medication. Ideally, chiropractic care on the neck and spine can lead to a person not having as many headaches, which means not having to take medication like they used to.
Why not make an appointment to see Dr. Gerard? He will see if you have a subtle shift in your top vertebra that needs correction in order to improve the way you feel. Please call Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, MN, at 651-464-0800 or email [email protected]
It’s summertime, and that means a lot of people are enjoying time in the pool, river or lake. Minnesota winters can be cold and snowy, but come July and August, the temperature heats up and people flock to bodies of water for relaxation, fun, and exercise. And, of course, to cool off, too!
Can you “swim your way to health?” Yes. Swimming is an aerobic workout that works well for those who like being somewhat unshackled from the constraints of gravity. When you’re floating in the water, it’s almost like your light as a feather because you’re only feeling ten percent of your body weight. It’s not a load-bearing aerobic exercise like running is. Being in the pool means pressure is uniformly distributed– it’s “easy” on the body.
If and when you run or bike, it’s all about your lower body, right? Swimming, however, works more of your body’s muscle groups, including your core and upper body; it’s ideal for working the muscles of your middle back and upper arms.
For those who have back problems, swimming is good because your body is in a horizontal pose, which is better than, for example, the hunched over position of being on a bicycle. Swimming can also help improve your posture.
Have you been feeling lethargic? Try swimming to boost your energy levels. Not only does swimming get your heart pumping and blood flowing, but it also burns calories and fat. Have you seen swimmers’ bodies? They’re often quite attractive! Meanwhile, time in the pool helps a person reduce stress and feel better about life. That’s because swimming releases endorphins. You also focus on rhythmic movements and breathing to the point where it almost becomes meditative. Some people feel like their time in the pool is a much needed break from the noise and craziness of the world– a chance to tune everything else out and just focus on their body, mind and spirit.
Whether you’re in the shallow or deep end, with goggles or without, a great swimmer or not, time spent exercising in the pool ultimately makes you look and feel better. Try taking a group class at your local indoor/outdoor pool if you’ve never done so before– it could improve your life. This is the year that you should start to swim your way to health.
We hear a lot about “stress,” but when’s the last time you thought about what things trigger stress?
For most people, office work is the main cause of stress in their lives. Deadlines, bosses and working long hours can definitely cause stress. So can being handed a heavy load at work where you’re expected to do too much in too little time with too few resources. Are you unhappy in your job right now? Are you unsure about your job’s future? Do you have to deal with co-workers who are harassing you daily? Work can be a main source of stress in people’s lives.
Aside from work, there are other causes of stress. Any time you have a major change in your life and its routine, expect some stress. This can include changing jobs, changing spouses and/or moving somewhere new. Chronic illness and injury can lead to stress, as well as experiencing a traumatic event such as rape, theft or violence against you or someone close to you. Don’t forget money and all things financial– when there’s an increase in financial obligations, who doesn’t stress out thinking, “How am I going to pay for this?”
Stress involves change, fear and uncertainty, attitudes and perceptions, and having to deal with unrealistic expectations. While your mind is stressed out about being stressed, what are some physical symptoms affecting your health?
Typically, if you’re overly stressed, you’re going to have a hard time sleeping. Either you will sleep too little (insomnia) or you’ll sleep too much. Besides changes in sleeping habits, stress can also bring on muscle tension and aches, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and fatigue. In other words, you’ll feel bad, and that’s not good.
Dr. Jason Gerard and his staff can help relieve some of your stress through chiropractic care, which focuses on the spine– the root of your nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments help ease muscle tension and cause your body to “go back to normal” so you’re not experiencing nerve interference-related pain.
Make an appointment today with Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, MN, by calling 651-464-0800 or emailing [email protected]
Are you a jogger? Do you do a lot of running? If so, you might end up with running injuries if you push yourself too hard. What are some common running injuries you should know about?
First, there’s “runner’s knee,” which typically occurs when your kneecap gets out of alignment. If and when you feel pain around your kneecap while sitting with the knee bent for a long time, and/or going up or down stairs, you might have runner’s knee.
Next is a “shin splint.” If you run long distances and/or run several days a week, shin splints may occur whereas you feel pain in the front of your lower leg along the shin bone, also known as your tibia. Shin splints and stress fractures (a small crack in a bone in the shin and/or feet) are painful while doing activities– but can feel “okay” with rest. Interestingly, those with flat feet are more likely to develop shin splints.
Thirdly, there’s such a thing as “Achilles tendinopathy,” which is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, located where the calf and heel meet.
Running injuries also include muscle pulls/strains, which are tears often caused by overstretching, as well as ankle sprains.
On the bottom of your foot, from your heel to your toes, there’s a band of tissue known as the plantar fascia. Runners often develop inflammation in this area, and the condition is known as “plantar fasciitis.” Oftentimes, runners visit a chiropractor to help relieve this pain.
What are some ways to prevent running injuries? Anytime you’ve got consistent pain in a muscle or joint and it’s not getting better with rest, you should see a professional rather than just ignore it and hope it goes away. It’s also a good idea to “check in” with a trainer to help guide you with your running plan. A trainer can help you determine the right amount and intensity of running to do, as well as long-term goals. Meanwhile, warming up and stretching before going for your jog, as well as stretching after you do, too, is a very smart thing to do. Strength training, with an emphasis on developing your core muscles/strength, helps prevent injuries. Rather than only running, it’s best to mix up your exercise time with other stuff like biking or swimming. This, in turn, helps prevent overuse injuries because you’re not always using the same muscles over and over.
If and when you do think you’re experiencing running injuries, and the pain/discomfort is becoming unbearable, make an appointment for relief at Lakewoods Chiropractic. Call the clinic at 651-464-0800.
Are optimists healthier? Well, spend an hour at an old folks’ home and you’ll get your answer in person. You’re going to find grouchy pessimists there as well as cheerful optimists. The ones who enjoy their days, smiling and laughing, will tell you they feel good! They’ll remind you of the Eric Idle song from Monty Python’s Life of Brian movie that says, “Always look on the bright side of life.” The ones with a scowl and nothing but complaints will literally talk your ear off about their problems, including many health ailments. Now who would you rather be around?
Optimists have been studied to see if their health truly was better than others, and the results were a resounding… YES! Researchers at the University of Illinois studied over 5,100 adults over 11 years. They took into account seven metrics used by the American Heart Association– things like blood pressure, body mass index, dietary intake and physical activity. Ultimately, this study found that there was a correlation between an optimistic attitude and improved cardiovascular health. The conclusion was this: optimists may be twice as likely to be in “perfect” heart health compared to pessimistic people.
What does being optimistic do for your body? It can help keep down your blood sugar and total cholesterol levels. It can strengthen your immune system and lower rates of depression. And it can kind of “mask” the effects of bad experiences.
Think of it this way: if something bad happens to a person, how will they react? Will a pessimist’s “blood boil?” Probably. An optimist, meanwhile, frames the bad experience in their mind as more neutral, such that they don’t get “all worked up over it.” Now the body can only take so much stress before parts start to wear out, so it makes sense that optimists do, indeed, live healthier lives.
How’s your attitude? Are you surrounded by optimists or pessimists? You know, they say you’re a lot like the five people you spend the most time with, so be careful who you choose for your inner circle. Anytime you can choose optimism, do so.