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    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Atrial Fibrillation, Hypertension and Upper Cervical Care

    by Dr. Kevin Lin

    Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia which can cause palpitations, fainting, chest pain, or congestive heart failure. Atrial fibrillation can also increase the risk of stoke by seven times over the average population. It is a serious condition that affects over 2.3 million Americans and the latest research indicates that Upper Cervical Care can be effective in providing  a resolution.

    The patient in the research article was a 68- year old female that presented with Atrial fibrillation and Hypertension. She initially presented with a blood pressure of 193/98 that was reduced to 124/74 by the second month of Upper Cervical Care. In addition, the patient no longer had occurrences of arrhythmia. In total, the patient only needed 4 corrections over the first two months of care and currently still under care and is no longer on any medication to control her hypertension or her arrhythmia.

    Upper Cervical doctors have such good results with heart issues including hypertension and arrhythmia because when a correction is made to the Upper Cervical spine it releases tension and pressure from the brain stem. When the brain stem is free from interference the body is able to function and heal properly in the fashion that the body was designed.

    This research article can be found here.

    (Editor's note: Remember the objective of upper cervical care is to correct head neck misalignment that is interfering with proper brain to body communication. When this is corrected the body functions at a higher level and can often correct other problems more efficiently on its own. Please do not confuse upper cervical care as a treatment for any condition, disease or symptom.)

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Dr. Tanase's Mattress Recommendations

    (Editor's note: Dr. Tanase is a great upper cervical doctor and a good friend.  His advice is helpful and should always be considered.  While this post is not directly about upper cervical care certainly that which supports your head, neck and the rest of your spine while you sleep is important for the patient and this info could be helpful so that they can make the best decision on a mattress for themselves.)

    What’s the Best Type of Mattress?

    Buying a new mattress can be expensive and daunting if you’re not sure what to look for… So I’m going to tell you exactly what I recommend (and don’t recommend) to patients who ask me what type of mattress is best. I’ll also share some additional mattress-buying tips which could save you up to $1,000 or more!

    The “best” mattress I know of probably isn’t one you’re interested in… That’s because it costs more than most peoples’ cars ($60,000). From there, ultra-premium quality mattresses run anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000.

    Fortunately a good night’s sleep doesn’t have to be steep. The recommendations I give to people are much more affordable.

    Before I go into that, I must say that “comfort” is highly subjective. People can be comfortable resting in really cockamamie positions… So the recommendations I’ll make are based on my clinical knowledge of the spine, comments patients have shared with me over the past 12-years, and personal experience.

    To begin, here are four types of mattresses I wouldn’t buy:

    1. Waterbeds:  Good mattresses allow for proper spinal alignment. Sleeping on a giant bag of water that’s always moving can’t do this for you. Waterbeds were actually invented in the late 1800′s to help prevent invalids from getting bedsores.

    2. Air Mattresses:  I’ve sat through the “pitch” at Select Comfort stores in the mall, and can confirm that the last bed they show you is much more comfortable than the first (sales trick). But at the end of the day, you’re still sleeping on a glorified air mattress. Several patients have complained to me about “Sleep Number” type beds and regret buying them.

    3. Pillow Top Mattresses:  These seem luxurious at first, but the material inside a “pillow top” is extremely flimsy and can break down in a few weeks. Eventually an indentation forms around where you sleep, and this can compromise spinal alignment. Mattress makers are fully aware of this, so they’ve started sewing a second pillow top on the opposite side of the mattress for you to flip… That’s their way of admitting the problem. It’s a trap, don’t fall for it!

    4. Tempur-Pedic Mattresses:  I like memory foam, but there are four reasons I wouldn’t buy an entire mattress made out of it. First, the sheer number of patients who’ve complained about the visco-elastic material’s recovery time is alarming. Many describe the problem as feeling like they’re sleeping in a ditch. Second, this photo taken from one of their TV commercials makes me question the company’s understanding of the spine. They claim Tempur-pedic mattresses provide “perfect alignment,” but the blue dots I placed along the model’s spine aren’t aligned at all! The third reason involves the price tag ($1,200-$6,000). Purchasing an off-brand memory foam mattress topper can be just as relaxing for a fraction of the cost ($150 or less). Lastly, it’s because I don’t sleep in Outer Space (these beds were invented in the 1970′s for astronauts).

    Here’s what I recommend to patients looking for an affordable new mattress:

    First, determine if you really need a new mattress. If your current bed doesn’t dip or sag, you can save a lot of money by adding a high quality memory foam mattress topper.

    Be careful though, people make two mistakes when buying these. The first is buying the thickest topper they find. Since these are sold in different sizes (from 1.5-inches to 6-inches), it’s tempting to assume that 6″ is best… but it’s not! The second mistake is buying the toppers conveniently sold at Walmart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Save your money; these toppers are over-priced and wear out very quickly.

    Here’s what you should know about memory foam mattress toppers:

    Density is more important than thickness. Every topper comes with three measurements: Size, thickness, and density. Pick the size you want (twin, queen, king), then buy the heaviest density you can afford. The denser the memory foam is, the longer it will last and the more resistant it is to wear-and-tear. Quality toppers can last for 3-4 years. Cheap ones won’t even make it 3-4 months!

    A good rule-of-thumb is you want the density weight to be greater than thickness. Toppers that are 4″ thick with 2-lbs of density aren’t nearly as good as a 2″ topper with 4-lbs of density. I recommend buying a 2-3″ pad, with 4+ pound density. Anything higher than that runs the risk of being too thick. Full memory foam mattresses are typically 6-8″ of pure memory foam, but that’s what creates the “sleeping in a ditch” effect I mentioned earlier.

    If this sounds confusing, don’t sweat it. Here’s the kind I have at home.

    Doing this can delay the immediate need to buy a brand new bed, so try it before embarking on a mattress mission.

    Here’s what I suggest to patients who still want a brand new mattress:

    If you’re on a tight budget, don’t assume you have to spend $600+ dollars on a mattress. When sawed in half, there’s not a significant difference between $300 and $600 mattresses. The $600 options probably have a pillow top and more touch-friendly fabric… but the “bones” of the bed will be eerily similar. So you’re not missing much if you wish to purchase a “wallet-friendly” mattress.

    Just buy the heaviest mattress you can afford; something that doesn’t dip, bend, poke or squeak. The firmer the better. Then purchase the type of memory foam topper I described above. Your new economy mattress will feel much more expensive than it is…

    Now, if you’re willing and able to spend more money on a higher quality mattress, take a look at Simmons Beautyrest. They’re very well-built and reasonably priced. I like them because they offer the right amount of firmness without being stiff, are surprisingly heavy, and promote healthy spinal alignment. Here’s the kind I have at home.

    Mattress Buying Tip #1:  When purchasing a bed, the last person you want advice from is the guy hoping you buy it. Peer through the window of a free-standing mattress store and you’ll quickly notice that these are relatively low-volume businesses. Salesmen might work an entire shift and not have a single customer. So when someone does walk through the door, it’s “do-or-die” time. They have mouths to feed and might desperately need that sale!

    Mattress Buying Tip #2: Standard bed construction isn’t nearly as complex or intricate as the price tag indicates. I’ve spent time with manufacturers who build beds from scratch and they’ll be the first to tell you (if they’re being honest) how unsophisticated bed-building is… So remember this when you’re ready to buy. Consider going directly to a local mattress maker instead of an overpriced chain store. Skipping the middle-man can save you a nice chunk of change.

    Mattress Buying Tip #3: Depending on where you live, it’s possible to find $1,000+ beds at discount mattress stores on clearance for as little as $200 if you know where to look and how to sniff out bargains.

    Mattress Buying Tip #4: Prices are negotiable. Buying a bed is like buying a car… Don’t pay sticker price! The mark-up varies between different models and manufacturers, but these bedding stores need to move their inventory. It’s not a flea market, but you certainly have the right to make them an offer. They might say no, but they could also say yes!

    Mattress Buying Tip #5: If you’re waking up with back or neck pain, it might not be your mattress that needs replacing. Your pillow or your sleep position could be the culprit. In either case, if you’ve never had your spine checked, I recommend you consult with an upper cervical doctor. Even a $60,000 Hasten’s bed can’t fix a misaligned spine.

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    How To Misalign Your Head And Neck...Let Me Count The Ways

    (Editor's Note:  Fifty to be exact and this is far from a complete list but it gets you thinking about why it is important to be checked periodically.)

    In a perfect world, none of us would have been born by forceps, or by Cesarean, or with the doctor pulling with too much force on our heads.

    In a perfect world, none of us would have fallen off the side of the bed when we were two, tripped down the stairs at age eight, or rolled our car in the ditch at eighteen.

    But these things happen. And when they do they often stress the muscles and ligaments of the upper neck to the point where the bones misalign and lock-down, placing stress on the spinal column and the delicate nervous system inside.

    If we were lucky enough to have our parents take us to an upper cervical doctor at a young age, we might have only lived with our neck misalignment for days, weeks, or maybe a few years before having it properly corrected.

    But most of us aren’t, which means many of us live one, two, or six decades before we ever have our atlas unlocked by our upper cervical doctor. By this time ligaments are tightened, muscles have developed amnesia, and we have patterns of movements which place stress on the top of our spine without us even knowing.

    All of this is to say, that even a really good upper cervical correction may not hold very well, especially in the beginning of our care. And if we want to make the most of our upper cervical  care, we’re going to need to be careful what we do on a day to day basis.  Here are 50 simple ways you could lose your upper cervical alignment.

        Sleeping on your stomach.

        Sleeping on your side without proper neck support.

        Reading in bed with a book on your chest.

        Watching television in bed with your chin on your chest.

        Falling asleep on the arm of the couch.

        Falling asleep upright in a chair.

        Falling asleep upright in a chair and waking up with an ear resting on one shoulder.

        Falling asleep anywhere other than your bed.

        Propping your head up on your hands, fist or palm under your jaw, for more than a few seconds at a time.

        Looking up for more than a minute at a a time, be it stargazing, birdwatching, or painting a ceiling.

        Stretching your neck by pushing it forward, backward, or pulling it to the the side with your hands.

        Having anyone else push or pull your head to stretch your neck.

        Stretching your neck by rolling your head in big circles.

        Staring down at a Smart Phone screen or tablet for hours everyday.

        Gripping a phone between your ear and your shoulder, instead of using headset or speaker phone.

        Having a small child hang from your neck.

        Having a small child jump on your head while wrestling in the living room.

        Having anyone hang from your neck or jump on your head.

        Whipping your head to the left or right or up and down while dancing, head-banging, or whatever it is you might be doing.

        Flipping your hair repeatedly to remove it from your face.

        Shaking your hair out to help dry it after a shower.

        Turning your head without moving your shoulder to look behind you while driving.

        Driving and hitting anything going more than five miles per hour.

        Driving and getting hit by anyone else going more than five miles per hour, for that matter.

        Getting into your small sedan by craning your neck to one side to sit down over and over again, instead of sitting down facing outward, and then rotating your body inward.

        Getting elbowed in the face while playing basketball, volleyball, tag, or any other amateur sport.

        Standing on your head.

        Heading a soccer ball.

        Smacking your own forehead.

        Falling on an outstretched hand.

        Doing a somersault improperly.

        Doing a cartwheel improperly.

        Doing certain yoga positions improperly.

        Doing ab crunches with your hands behind your head.

        Landing on your head from any height.


        Martial arts with bad form.

        Bench pressing and watching your biceps, not the bar.

        Squatting and lifting your chin as you fatigue.

        Lifting without tucking your chin at work, at home, or anywhere.

        Getting dental work.

        Popping your own neck.

        Having someone else pop your neck.

        Chewing gum all day.

        Cracking a tooth.

        Deep tissue massage in the neck.

        Getting your hair washed, dyed, or dried backward in a salon sink.

        Getting into a pillow fight.

        Getting placed in a head-lock

        Getting up, turning over, or moving your body by leading with the head and neck, and not with the pelvis.

    Does doing any one of these 50 things mean you’re going to need another adjustment? Not necessarily. Everyone is a little bit different. (Some kids have played high school football without losing their alignment.)

    But they are common ways that you can set your upper cervical care backwards, and they’re worth considering if you’re having a hard time holding your alignment.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    What Does Upper Cervical Care Cure?

    Adapted from "Chiropractors Do Not Cure Anything!" by Dr. Jason Watts

    Upper cervical care doesn't cure anything; not headaches, not asthma, not stomach disorders or even back pain.  Then what does upper cervical care do?

    Upper cervical care is based on a very basic scientific fact.  Your brain is responsible for every bodily function you ever perform from before you were born until the time you die.  Your brain sends those instructions through a vast telephone network (known as the nervous system) to every cell, tissue and organ in your body.  If those telephone lines are interfered with in any way, those instructions coming from the brain can get distorted and the result is lost function.

    Your spine is designed to protect the telephone lines.  If the spine has been injured (even very slightly and especially where the head and neck come together) it can become a major irritant to the nerve system, this is what upper cervical doctors call head/neck misalignment (vertebral subluxation).  How serious is this problem?

    “Vertebral subluxation changes the entire health of the body by causing structural dysfunction of the spine and causing nerve interference.  The weight of a dime on a spinal nerve will reduce nerve impulse transmission by as much as 60%.” - Chang H. Suh, Spinal Biomechanics Specialist, University of Colorado

    “Nerve dysfunction is stressful to the visceral nerve and other body structures and the lowered tissue resistance modifies the immune response and lessens the overall capability of the immune system.” - The Journal Science, 1981

    “The quality of healing is directly proportional to the functional capability of the nerve system to send and receive nerve messages.” - J Edwards, MD, PhD., Journal of Neurological Science

    Knowing how important the role of the nerve system is, it should become clear how vital the job of the upper cervical doctor is.  The objective of upper cervical care is to correct head/neck misalignment that is interfering with proper brain to body communication.  Considering another medical study which states that 80% of newborns receive their first spinal trauma during the birth process, when do you think is a good time to begin checking the spine for head/neck misalignment?  Perhaps at birth, just a thought.

    And at what point in life does it become acceptable to have head/neck misalignment distorting your nerve system?  Hopefully never.

    This is why periodic care throughout life makes so much sense.  Not to treat or cure any disease or disorder, but to maintain your nervous system function at optimal levels.  Allowing your brain and your body to communicate with maximum efficiency every moment of your life, that is the real definition of wellness and that is what upper cervical care seeks to provide, not a cure for a specific disease.

    When people have head/neck misalignment reduced or corrected and their nervous system is able to function better, do some diseases and disorders and other symptoms go away?  Frequently, but in every case their body is able to function at a higher level.

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