Visit our Location
17 Hanover Rd Bldg 300
Florham Park, NJ 07932
Give us a Call
Office (973) 240-7251
Fax (973) 585-6078
Open
Mon - Sat
Tendon Health

Tendon Health
By: Dr. Matt McGowan, D.C

As I reflect on my journey back from a ruptured bicep tendon over the last 4 months, I felt it imperative to pass along important information regarding tendon health. My injury was 100% due to overuse. “Overuse is often synonymous with terms like ‘Chronic Degeneration or  Repetitive Stress’.” Over time if we continually use a joint in the same repeated patterns under any load, we can be causing a long term negative effect on our tendons integrity at that joint.  A person can be very active, and in relatively good health and have unknown problems brewing at their tendons. Statistically, males in their 40’s-50’s tend to be subject to tendon failures the most, but it can honestly happen to anyone who repeatedly loads their tendons.  

So what does it mean to cause repetitive stress on a joint?  It can be a multitude of scenarios; an example can be someone who works with their hands often, a mason lifting and cutting stones over and over again. It can be the pickleball newbie that is so excited about the game that they play 4 times a week for several hours at a clip. It can be the person who has been doing the same exercise routine in the gym for the last 30 years with little to no variation. Any of these scenarios can demonstrate how simple activities that we take for granted can be causing a long term overload on the tendon.  

The hardest part about these injuries is that there are often no warning signs. I never had any pain in my bicep, it never felt tight. In fact most people who rupture their Achilles tendon, never have any warning sign until it pops. The good news is that there are ways we can alter our training to help avoid these tendon issues and ruptures. The most challenging part is staying self aware of our activities and loading patterns and being self accountable to make ourselves do the preventative work. This is where I failed myself. I did not respect the amount of load I was putting on my biceps on a daily basis. If I had taken certain steps in how I train, this may have been avoided.

What I feel are the most three most effective ways to avoid major tendon failure are:

  1. Proper nutrition. Avoid any foods that have an inflammatory effect on your body. Try to limit cheat meals and highly processed foods.
  2. Vary your activity as much as you can control it. Obviously if your job is working on a factory line, you cannot change this, but if you are a runner who loves to jog on a treadmill 5-6 times a week and you never change from that, then adding in other forms of exercises in replacement on 1-2 days can go a long way. 
  3. The most important thing you can do is include eccentric loaded exercises to your routine. The eccentric phase of the exercise is commonly known as the negative phase. The most simple way to explain a negative phase is the phase in which you return the weight back to its starting point. It is when the muscle is elongating. For example with my bicep, normally when people lift weights for biceps there is a smooth cadence of 1-2 seconds pulling up, and often 1 second going down. The key for tendon health is loading the muscle on the way down in a slow and controlled manner.  

A great start for anyone who feels that they may find themselves undergoing repetitive load or stress should take the following steps:

  1. Figure out what joint/tendons may be under repeated stress.
  2. Figure out what exercise can be done to load that tendon directly.
  3. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions of that exercise with following cadence:

2 second concentric phase (shortening phase)/ 5-7 second eccentric

(lengthening phase)

Not every exercise of every workout has to be done in this manner, but adding this in every few weeks is very important to preventing tendon breakdown. If you feel like you may be exposing yourself to tendon overload but do not know where to start or what exercises to do, come in and get it evaluated and we can certainly help you out. 

Aspen Class IV Laser Therapy
By: Dr. Sebastian Poma

Are you looking for a safe and effective way to treat pain points around your body? Laser therapy might just provide you with the solution you need. This medical treatment is FDA-cleared and provides everyone with a non-pharmacological and non-invasive method for pain relief.
Laser therapy is a common, non-surgical, and non-invasive way of treating various conditions. It can be used safely on almost every area of the body and can help with both acute and chronic injuries, pain, stiff joints, sore muscles and more.
Through this procedure there are various benefits to be gained:
– A boost in cellular metabolism
– Reduction in muscle spasms
– A decrease in pain
– Improved healing to damaged tissues

By applying stimulation to the specific wavelengths that affect the cell receptors inside our body, laser therapy can modify the effects of injured tissues. As such, it can reduce the overall duration of inflammation, while enhancing the body’s healing and repair capabilities. Here are just a few results that have been observed in various clinical studies as a result of laser therapy:
– Better vasodilation
– Better collagen production
– Better cell membrane
– Better cell metabolism
– Better lymphatic response
– Better microcirculation
– Better nerve regeneration
– Better pain threshold
– Better bone and tissue repair
– Better enzyme response
– Reduced edema magnitude
– Reduced duration in inflammation

Laser therapy can be used to treat chronic and acute conditions, along with post-activity recovery. It can also be used as an alternative to prescription drugs, a pre- and post-surgery treatment for swelling and pain.
Laser therapy has proved to be effective in improving recovery times after workouts or activities such as sports. It is also capable of reducing delayed onset muscle soreness.

Laser therapy provides the body with a series of healing responses, where patients will feel a wave of soothing warmth which signals the beginning of the process. The modulated cellular activity leads to an improvement in local circulation and decreased pain in the areas being treated. As a result, laser therapy can significantly enhance and accelerate our body’s natural repair and defense mechanisms.

Because of this, laser therapy is particularly useful for inflammation, workout and sports injuries, and some disease processes. For a successful treatment program, it’s best to undergo multiple treatments, where the number of weeks will depend on the severity of symptoms and your condition. Laser therapy is clinically used for the following conditions:


– Neck Pain
– Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) (Jaw Pain)
– Elbow & Joint Pain
– Shoulder Pain
– Low Back Pain
– Fibromyalgia
– Arthritis
– Sciatica
– Soft Tissue Damage
– Sports Injuries
– Plantar Fasciitis

If you’ve never had laser treatments done before, it’s only natural to be nervous about your first time. However, many patients report it to be a pleasurable experience, where you will feel warm, soothing and relaxing sensations during your sessions. These feelings are a reflection that your cells are getting the stimulation they need to promote healing.

Because laser treatment is non-surgical and non-invasive, you’ll be able to go home on the same day as the treatment and quickly go back to your routine. Although, it’s best to avoid strenuous and direct exercise to help speed up your recovery process.

There are key factors that will play a role in determining how many treatments are needed, which are:
1. The patient’s response to the treatments
2. The nature of their condition

Gift the gift of Laser Therapy this Holiday season. Purchase one laser session or a package of laser session at Core Therapies. To schedule an appointment, or for questions, reach out to us at 973-240-7251.

Revitalizing Benefits of Bone Broth
By: Dr. Katie Gleisner

Bone broth is deceptively easy to make and is a health boosting power house.  It contains essential nutrients, including  minerals,  collagen, and amino acids that function as the body’s building blocks.  Keep reading to learn about the ancient wisdom and health benefits of bone broth, and I will share one of our favorite recipes to brew this season.  So grab your stock pot and get ready to simmer some bones to create a nutritious and delicious bone broth.

Ancestral wisdom and indigionous cultures around the world have valued consuming animal bones for health benefits.  Bones store calcium, an essential mineral to build and repair our skeletal system.  Our ancestors recognized that consuming bones built strong bones.  Eskimos ate fermented fish bones, Native Americans crushed up small bird bones into an edible paste, African tribes fermented goat bones, and in Asia they slow cooked bones into broth.  Eating animal based protein and utilizing the whole animal, bones, connective tissue, and organ meat, provide essential nutrients to support our and the environment’s health.

When you simmer a combination of meat, bones, skin, tendons and ligaments on low heat for several hours, you are transferring the nutrients from these leftovers directly into the broth.  Slow cooking bones and connective tissue gently releases collagen, gelatin, as well as essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and amino acids.  You have made a hearty batch of bone broth when it thickens and takes on a gelatinous quality after it has been stored in the refrigerator.  If your broth does not thicken into a gel, you will want to add more collagen dense ingredients including chicken feet and joint bones. Store bought bone broth goes through a flash pasteurization process in its aluminum lined container, which impacts its nutrient profile.  It is best to make your own bone broth, which you can sip, use as the base for soups, and incorporate in other recipes. 

Bone broth is a gut healing superfood because of its role in maintaining normal intestinal barrier function.  Our intestinal membrane functions as a protective barrier from our “outside”  and “inside” environment.  When you catch a cold or get a tummy bug, it most likely enters through your digestive tract.  Fortunately, 70% of your immune cells are located in your gut to respond to microbial invaders.  However, many people struggle with leaky gut syndrome, which occurs when there is damage to the intestinal lining and it becomes permeable. This breakdown in gut lining integrity increases the risk of inflammation, autoimmune disease, and lowered immune function.  Bone broth contains amino acids glycine and glutamine, which improve digestive function and improve intestinal integrity.  Also, these amino acids produce the most potent antioxidant, glutathione.  If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other autoimmune  conditions, healing your gut  will help reduce your symptoms, improve nutrient absorption, reduce oxidative stress, and boost immune function.

Bone broth is rich in collagen, the most abundant protein in our body.  Collagen is the main structural component of our connective tissue, and is found in our bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments.  Consuming collagen supports your own collagen production, i.e. beautiful skin, hair, and nails.  Collagen is rich in glycine which is essential for detoxification and regulating dopamine levels.  Simply sipping on a mug of bone broth or eating chicken bone broth soup helps support cell function and a happy, balanced mood. 

Bone broth is sacred and healing food of our ancestors. When you regularly incorporate bone broth into your diet, you are providing your body with the raw materials to build strong bones, resilient skin, healthy gut barrier and detox pathways, and support a balanced mood. Learning to make bone broth will improve your health, and is a step to becoming a great cook.  Bone broth is incredible to have on hand to create a hearty soup or nutrient dense ingredient for recipes.  Bone broth is a fantastic and delicious way to nourish yourself and your family.

Savory Chicken Bone Broth

Ingredients

  • 10 lbs of chicken bones (combination of necks, wings, and backs)
  • 1 lb chicken feet
  • 5 quarts cold water
  • 8 cups ice cubes
  • 2 cups 1-inch thick slices, peeled carrots
  • 3 cups 1 inch thick slices leeks (white and light green parts)
  • 8 ounces quartered yellow onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 rosemary sprigs

Instructions

  • Rinse the bones and feet very well and be careful to remove all blood and impurities, place the bones, feet and water in a large stock pot. NOTE, If 5 quarts isn’t enough make sure there is enough water to cover the entire mixture, while leaving enough room for the ice.
  • Bring the pot to a simmering boil over medium high heat and maintain for 20 minutes. 
  • Skim off any impurities that may have risen.
  • Turn off the heat and add the ice. Once again, skim off any solidified fat and impurities that form on the top.
  • Add vegetables and herbs and bring the pot back to a gentle boil. After 30 minutes skim off any impurities that rose to the top.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 hours. If the water level drops below the top of the veggies and chicken add more water.
  • Gently ladle the stock, through a fine mesh strainer into a container of your choice.
  • Fill a sink with ice water and let the stock cool for an hour.
  • Stock lasts around 3 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.

 

Notes

  • We collect most of the fat after the broth has completely cooled. My husband, Quinn, saves the chicken fat to make delicious biscuits. It’s pretty much chicken flavored butter.
  • This broth has a lot of bones, therefore the final product is collagen dense. It turns into a jelly when refrigerated, but easily melts into a liquid when cooking.
  • There is no salt or pepper in this recipe. Make sure to season liberally when using this in a recipe.
  • If you have no idea where to get chicken bones or feet, call Goffle Road Poultry in Wyckoff, NJ.
Part 2:  Getting the Ball Rolling.

Part 2: Getting the Ball Rolling.
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

Last month I introduced you to the journey we started with our 8 year old son Briggs and the connection we are making between his oral motor function and his allergies.  It would benefit you to read it if you haven’t already to understand why as a Chiropractor I am highlighting a specific focus of dentistry in this month’s blog. Read Last Month’s Blog Here

To recap, we left off with Briggs being diagnosed with a couple of cavities.  To many this may seem ridiculous that a cavity or two could send a Mother (me) into such a spiral but the report of him having a couple of cavities was just another check in the box of underlying dysfunction.  As Chiropractors, our main goal is to identify underlying dysfunction in the body, not chase symptoms, as they are only the clues.  What Briggs was dealing with was outside of my field of expertise and I needed to develop a plan that would look beyond his symptoms and get to the root of it all.  

As a person outside of the dental profession, I always understood a cavity to be the result of poor brushing, lack of flossing, and/or consuming too much sugar.  As I started digging into how to better Briggs’ oral health, I was quickly finding that those reasons listed weren’t the top cavity causing reasons at all.  In fact, the cavities were no longer the reason my analytical mind was spiraling.  The consistent mention of mouth breathing, restriction/tension within the mouth, improper movement of the tongue and lips due to these restrictions…everything I read mimicked Briggs’ innate way of being right now.  

I started a list: 

  • In order to improve his oral health he has to breathe better, 
  • His breathing won’t improve until he can close his mouth and breathe through his nose, 
  • He can’t close his mouth until the inflammation decreases, 
  • Despite our efforts the inflammation is not reducing, 
  • Allergy shiners (dark circles under eyes),
  • Congestion, 
  • Sleeping with his head in extension. 

My mind is darting 

… and then I finally have a moment of clarity.  

I came across the mention of an Airway Dentist.  

Having absolutely no clue such a provider exists, I finally felt like all of my concerns for Briggs could actually be understood by one such provider.  My internet search took a sharp turn to better understand how an Airway Dentist could help Briggs.  

The Initial Visit.

We initiated Briggs’ treatment at Great Smiles of NJ in March.  We had a very thorough conversation with their Dental Sleep Medicine Coordinator, Jenn, who consulted with me about Briggs and whether or not their practice would be a good fit for him.  It was decided that he should be seen by the Doctor to best determine a treatment plan.  Everything I reported was exactly what they have seen countless times in their office; so much so that Jenn’s questions about Briggs made our last several years of him struggling come full circle.  Briggs was very curious, as was I.  We were told it would be an extensive first visit, and IT WAS, in the most thorough way.

Dr. Michelle Weddle has extensive training in Pediatric Dentistry and amongst many other specialties I was most intrigued by her knowledge of Airway Dentistry.Upon our arrival Briggs’ posture was evaluated and pictures documented.  We were escorted to a treatment room where Briggs was examined thoroughly, pictures were taken to further understand the structure and soft tissues in his mouth.  Dr. Weddle would stop and explain her structural findings of his teeth, tongue, and fascial restrictions.  She noted the alignment of the lower teeth compared to the upper, pointing out compensatory growth patterns.  She explained how the movement of the teeth is dependent on how the tongue and lips move.  His present, long standing, upper lip and tongue tie has most likely contributed to his high narrow palate.  With his palate aligned the way it is, she predicts that his airway will be narrowed contributing to his overall breathing and inflammatory struggles.  As the visit progressed the unraveling of cause and effect continued, from the resting position of his tongue to the movement of his jaw.  I of course asked what could be done and she said without hesitation in order for his breathing to improve (the most pivotal of all her concerns) his palate needed to widen.  Once there is room, his motor function can improve by removing his ties and performing myofunctional therapy.  It all must happen in a specific order because without the space his oral function will not improve.  I was understanding how the mouth silently absorbs all of our stress and compensates much like that of our joints and soft tissues throughout the body as a whole.  I felt encouraged as Dr. Weddle’s approach to practice seemed to parallel much of our own at Core.

Dr. Weddle discussed her course of action which would be to further her understanding of Briggs’ anatomy through a maxillofacial CBCT scan provided in office as well as dental impressions created through digital images taken with a probe like camera.  All non-invasive diagnostic tools that took only minutes.  She also wanted Briggs to wear a device, a ring, for two nights measuring his sleep patterns and breathing.  This would provide data that could indicate Briggs’ need for a sleep study, ruling in or out Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Briggs was up for it all and I was thrilled at the possibility that all of this could be our jumping off point in improving Briggs’ overall health. 

Part 3 of our journey will include Briggs’ test results, our action steps, and why we decided to do things a bit different for our newborn daughter Navy.  Stay tuned!

Bug Off!
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

There’s no better time of year than now to be having fun outside from sun-up to sun down!  Unfortunately treating the pesky bug bites can become a necessary addition to the daily routine as bugs are most prevalent at dawn and dusk.  Bug sprays, like many other conventional products used on our skin contain less than favorable ingredients.  Thankfully essential oils can be used as a natural plant derived alternative.  

Conventional repellents are made of a mix of active and inert ingredients.  The active ingredients are listed on the label and most often the inert ingredients are not.  DEET, Permethrin, and Cyfluthrin are most commonly read on these labels, all of which are considered neurotoxic. Neurotoxicity, meaning harmful to the nervous system and altering its overall function, is an ever growing concern due to the amount of chemical exposure we are subject to daily.  Bug repellent is heavily absorbed by the skin, especially when used in combination with sunscreen.  In animal studies, DEET has even been found to cross the placenta.  This is very concerning!

For a more comprehensive look at these ingredients, visit https://www.madesafe.org/education/chemicals-bug-repellent/

An easy DIY alternative.

Many essential oils have repellent properties and used in combination together can be a safe, beautifully smelling alternative!  

Recipe:

  • 2 oz spray bottle
  • Citronella EO – 10 drops
  • Peppermint EO – 10 drops
  • Lavender EO – 10 drops
  • Lemongrass EO – 10 drops
  • Fill remainder of bottle with witch hazel

If you are new to essential oils or need to restock some of your favorites, call the office. We are happy to help!

Our Personal Journey: The Connection Between Our Oral Motor Function and Overall Health.

Our Personal Journey: The Connection Between Our Oral Motor Function and Overall Health.
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

Over the next several months our family will share our experience as we take a deep dive into improving some of our most tedious health challenges.  In a multi-part series, we will share our journey as we heavily focus on our oldest son Briggs and how his struggle with allergies has become a catalyst for all of us to take a deep look into the connection between our oral motor function and overall health.  

A quick step back in time so you understand our ‘Why’.

Briggs’ was a very healthy 9.8oz baby, born in the comforts of our home, now 8 years ago!  As a first time Mom I read everything, exposed myself to all versions of prenatal support, happily learned and swapped out personal care and household products, ate well, moved well, and mentally prepared myself for my invitation into parenthood.  I was determined (and still am!) to give this child the greatest foundation of health, all that I can influence anyhow.  Briggs thrived as a baby which seemed only appropriate for the efforts invested while I was pregnant.

….Then I was introduced to the feelings housed in my Mommy gut.  I kept hearing that term referenced as those instincts you don’t know you have until you sign up to care for a small human!

Feeding was going well by measurement of numbers.  He was gaining weight, eating the appropriate amount for his stage of development, however his latch was exceedingly uncomfortable.  He spit up with every burp which at times took a minimum of 15 minutes.  He wouldn’t successfully latch again until he burped.  Again as a new Mom I thought we were in the early stages of young mechanics and his mouth just needed to mature.  After a few weeks we would be in the clear.  That wasn’t the case and at 3 months I inquired for the first time about his mouth recognizing how thick his upper lip frenulum was.  The two qualified providers inspected, however did not feel it was severe or contributory enough to put him through unnecessary intervention and discomfort.  On our way we went.  Eventually he must have compensated well enough because his latch no longer hurt, he took on solids like a champ, and seemed like all was well. 

At around 12 months I inquired again about the frenulum beneath his upper lip.  The space between his two front teeth was considerable and the tissue was connecting to the underside of his upper gum.  This time I was told the same, it wasn’t severe enough to put him through such discomfort.  Wait and see if it becomes an orthodontic issue,   they’ll take care of it then. 

As Chiropractors we are aware of some of the negative effects of sustained oral ties in children, affecting their ability to eat, speak, and swallow, as well as possibly contributing to focus and coordination issues.  Briggs displayed none of these.  We were not aware or told of the longstanding issues that sustained oral ties could be contributing to: his poor breathing, poor sleep, inflammation and allergies, and now crowded teeth and narrowed jaw.  

Now looking back at pictures of his swollen eyes starting at the age of 3, listening to videos of his nasal sounding voice, his then little body was expending so much more energy to function because of the inflammation he couldn’t get rid of.  We were very frustrated because no matter our effort nothing seemed to help him.  

Like most, we initially pigeonholed his symptoms to seasonal inflammation.  Then we expanded our reasoning to allergies in general, because his symptoms were outside the seasonal time frame.  We thought he must intermittently be exposed to something he’s sensitive to because his swelling and inflammation would come and go.  Year after year our plan would shift–  supplements for preventative measures, then maybe we threw off the ratios of the immune system trying too many preventative measures, so then we’d back off, food elimination, washing hands after petting an animal, testing for mold sensitivity, etc. etc.  

As health conscious as Briggs has become through his own fruition, his suffering remains the same.  Congestion, productive sneezes causing him to run for tissues, dark circles under his eyes, head and neck extended while sleeping, breathing heavy and labored while sleeping, nightmares and wakeful sleep, and now cavities.  CAVITIES!  In the boy who brushes, flosses, drinks only water, eats whole organic foods and could care less about carbs and sweets, he was defeated, I was defeated.  How do you explain to your kid who willingly contributes to his health, consciously everyday on his own, that it seemingly isn’t good enough, you still have cavities.  Then to listen to the mainstream Dentist tell him he just has to do more of the same plus maybe this treatment (this toxic treatment) to protect his teeth was infuriating.  It was then I decided to take matters into my own hands.  After an incredible conversation with a friend who was sharing similar frustrations with her son, and a whole lot of research, we have started down a path that has our family excited to invest our time and efforts into true measures that will help Briggs, and now maybe my husband Matt, and our newborn daughter Navy!

Stay tuned for details of Briggs’ treatment plan, including where and with who, as well as what we have done for Navy.  As a bonus, see what Matt is looking into for his long standing struggles! 

 

“Why we chose Waveblock”
By. Dr. Melissa Sonners

Hey moms,

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m constantly juggling and doing my best to balance our kids’ exposure to technology.

Although I don’t love them being on iPads, iPods, computer games etc, I do also realize this is and will continue to be a big part of their world.  We give our kids (age appropriate) authority in making their decisions allowing them to have a sense of control, freedom and engage in critical thinking.   If there is something they’re interested in, we have conversations and listen to them on why they’re interested in it, why they think they’re mature for it and what healthy boundaries they’ll create around it. 

Recently, Levi has been wanting wireless earbuds.  We spend a decent amount of time on airplanes and our phones unfortunately no longer have headphone jacks.  On a recent cross country flight, he forgot his headphone adapter which is what prompted this conversation.  

Earbuds emit high levels of EMF/radiation.  Although it is still unknown exactly HOW exposure to high levels of EMF impacts us, there is emerging evidence that these can contribute to a variety of malignant tumors.  Although more studies are needed, some researchers feel there’s already enough evidence of harm from long-term, low-level exposure that EMF’s should be classified as a Group 1 known carcinogen.  Kids are especially sensitive to these EMF’s due to the rapid development of their brain and nervous systems.  

EMF’s are also suspected to contribute to: 

-Sleep disturbances

-Headaches

-Depression

-Irritability 

-Tinnitus (ringing in ear) 

& more 

Although Levi made some great points on why he deserves earbuds, this was a NO for us due to all of the above.  His determination led him to some searches on the internet looking for a solution and he came across Waveblock.

Waveblock has created an anti-radiation sticker that has been lab tested and proven to block the majority of EMF’s from earbuds.  

The founder of the company is a father of three and went on a mission to create a solution after realizing other countries limit EMF in nurseries and schools because of the impact they have, particularly on children.   

So we reached out to them and asked if we could try out their products.  We instantly tested the earbud wraps with our EMF meter and sure enough, the majority of the EMF’s were blocked! 

We were very surprised to also see that earbuds with waveblock on them created LESS exposure than a cellphone to the ear.  

So, Levi now has earbuds and is super happy- although he is only allowed to use them in extreme moderation, we feel at peace knowing his exposure is low. 

The products were so easy to apply, he did it himself and they didn’t negatively impact any sound quality or other features of the earbuds.  

If you haven’t already, check them out.  They have a variety of great products.  We also got the protective sticker for the back of our cellphones.  

https://www.waveblock.com/?rfsn=6669409.2632ad9&utm_source=refersion&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=6669409.2632ad9

Their prices are super affordable and you can also use our code SONNERS15 for a discount.

Let us know what you think! 

Travel Tips for Those Traveling with Lower Back Pain.

Travel Tips for Those Traveling with Lower Back Pain.
By Dr. Matthew McGowan

 

With upcoming holidays, camps, and summer vacations causing a spike in extended travel, we have been fielding a lot of questions on how to keep one’s back steady while traveling.  

If you are taking a long car trip and you suffer from low back pain, it would be a good idea to stop after 2 hours of driving if possible and do a quick 3 minute stretch.  The two most common stretches I suggest that can easily be done while stopping for gas or at a rest stop are the standing figure four stretch and the standing hip flexor stretch.  

For Air travel, you can follow the same guidelines allowing yourself to walk to the back of the plane near the restrooms where you can also do a hip flexor stretch or a standing figure 4 stretch.  Here are photos of both of these stretches:

Standing figure 4:  you can hold onto the side of the car with one hand, cross your ankle at your opposing knee and sit back and down until you feel a stretch across the butt on the side of the crossed leg.  Hold this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and do 3 per side. 

 

Standing hip flexor:   you can place your front foot up on a guardrail, a tire, or even inside the base of the car with a door open.  Before lunging forward it is important to contract the butt muscle on the trail leg and keep it squeezed as you lunge forward.  This will ensure you feel the stretch down the front of your trail leg and keep the lower back safe.  Hold this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and do 3 per side. 

 

  • For shorter intervals of driving or times when you cannot stop, it can also be a good idea to use the seat controls and change the position you are sitting in.  Varied seat positions will keep you from getting stiff in one continuous position.
  • If you are a person that deals with sciatica, you can place a folded beach towel on the seat so that it lifts the butt upwards and keeps the front part of the seat from digging into your sciatic nerve.  Also try to pick your foot up fully when going from gas break rather than just pivoting on the heel.  Leaving the heel down on the carpet and having the foot rotated out towards the gas pedal for long periods of time can irritate people with sciatica as well.  

 

While travel can be tough on people with low back issues, these tips or tricks can sometimes make it a bit more manageable. 

Healthy Travel

“Woohoo! It’s finally Summer. Bring on the travel!”
by Dr. Melissa & Jason

There is just something about a change of scenery that is so enchanting. Couple that with warmer temps, school is out and it’s time to bring on Summer travel!

That being said, travel often comes with it’s not so up side. Airports and airplanes aren’t the most enjoyable, sun filled, fresh aired spaces. Food is often not as healthy as it would be at home, stress of gearing up for travel AND being off routine are often enough to put a damper on our health goals.

When we decided to travel more for work and as a family a few years ago, we quickly realized this was going to take some intention setting in order to stay on point. We are proud to say that two years later, after a pretty intense travel schedule, we are thankfully still in a peak state of health.

Want to know our secrets?!

Here’s how we did it:

Fasting – travel days are often our fasting days. We don’t have to worry about plane snacks (except for the kiddos) or falling victim to not so epic airplane food choices or long lines.

Stay hydrated – we travel with electrolytes. I get ours on Amazon. We get the Ultimate travel packs for easy on the go hydration.

Limit blue light – I always wear blue light blockers while traveling. The airport, airplane and hotels are FULL of blue light that can impact our bodies ability to make melatonin, disrupting our sleep. This is especially crucial when traveling time zones or taking red eye flights.

BYOB – Bring your own bottle. I bring our own water bottles and mugs. Bottle is for staying hydrated and mug is for any warm beverage I’ll enjoy, which also is a bring your own versions.

Travel with your comforts – I bring my Four Sigmatic products with me. Their functional creamer is AMAZING for life on the road.
https://us.foursigmatic.com/ | Use code: SONNERS10

I also travel with a bottle of Dry Farm Wines INCASE we are going to imbibe. We don’t drink so much anymore, but IF we do, this is our main go-to. Their wine has no pesticides, is sugar free, keto friendly, low alcohol and biodynamic/organic. You can get your first bottle for a penny. Click link here: https://bit.ly/3dN5doS

Binders – I always travel with charcoal as you just never know what can creep up and it’s also great for helping to buffer any toxins in food/environment. I take 2 capsules every night when we travel.

Supplements – we travel with an array of immune boosting supplements to help stay on point. You can find our recommended supplements for healthy travel in our Full Script link in bio. We take immune boosters, a nasal spray and a throat spray, always. To see our recommended healthy travel pack, check out our “FullScript” healthy travel link – https://bit.ly/3u6eUtw

Grocery Haul – Whether we are staying in a hotel or in someone’s home we do a grocery haul and stock the fridge with some of our favorite things. Always focusing on protein and fat as our main macros.

Stay active and get in nature – We move our bodies every day. Sometimes we do a full on workout, other times we go for a walk, hike or run on the beach, we do mobilization and yoga or stretching as that is oh so nice after travel days and we spend as much time in nature as possible.

Lastly, our recovery when we get back (and often, before we head out as well)always includes getting adjusted, an IV and ideally- but not often, a catch up chillax day!

How are you staying healthy amidst your summer travel? We would love to know!

Drs. Melissa & Jason

Sunscreen Dangers in Children

Get Outside and Enjoy the Sunshine

By: Dr. Melissa Sonners

Recently, information has been published regarding initial opinions on the safety of three UV filters, oxybenzone, homosalate and octocrylene. These are three of the most common ingredients in many sunscreens.

The findings suggest that sunscreen manufacturers are legally allowed to use these ingredients at concentrations well above the proposed limit.  Many sunscreens in the U.S use concentrations of these ingredients that far exceed the standards of other countries which continue to be far ahead of us when it comes to health standards for our food, personal health products and more.

We now know, based on many studies, that these ingredients are linked to hormone disruption, skin irritations and allergies and more.  These ingredients are all absorbed into the skin and body after just one use and can be detected on the skin and in breast milk and urine samples weeks after application.

The CDC found that in American children, adolescent boys with higher oxybenzone measurements (one of the most common ingredients in sunscreen) had significantly lower testosterone levels. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27383665/)

Many rely on the FDA to protect them from safe products, but currently the agency does NOT require companies to test their products for contamination and many companies that contain toxic, carcinogenic ingredients are not revealed until many have been using them for years.  We must be educated consumers and look out for what is best for our personal health and family’s health without depending on outside agencies to do it for us.

While much is not known and further research needs to be completed, we don’t yet know if these ingredients are “safe & effective.”

Ingredients to avoid:

  • Avobenzone

    • Endocrine disruptor and can cause allergic reactions

  • Benzene

    • Known carcinogen widely found in aerosol sunscreens

  • Homosalate

    • Widely used in sunscreens.

    • Penetrates the skin

    • Disrupts hormones and produces toxic breakdown byproducts

  • Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate)

    •  Animal studies show hormone effects on the metabolic system

    • Affects thyroid hormone production and can impact androgen and progesterone signaling

    •  Can cause allergic reactions to exposure to UV light.

  • Octisalate

    • May affect endocrine system

  • Octocrylene

    • Absorbs through the skin at 14 times the FDA cutoff for systemic exposure

    • Causes aquatic toxicity harming marine animals & coral health

    • Often contaminated with the known carcinogen benzophenone

  • Oxybenzone

    • The most “worrisome active ingredient in sunscreen” according to scientific research.

    • Readily absorbed through the skin.

    •  Behaves as an endocrine disruptor and causes greater harm in children (FDA 2019).

Lotion is safer in general than aerosol as it is less likely to contain a potentially carcinogenic ingredient, Benzene.   Benzene is a petroleum-derived toxic chemical widely known to cause cancer and other serious health effects.  Currently, there is no established level of Benzene that is considered safe for human exposure.  Recently, many common brand-named sunscreens were recalled due to traces of Benzene in them.

In our family, we don’t avoid the sun.  Sun exposure plays an important role in so many of our body’s vital functions. Sunlight is essential for generating the production of Vitamin D, supporting bone health, lowering blood pressure, preventing disease and promoting mental health.  It also strengthens our immune system, improves sleep, reduces stress and fights off depression.  Exposure to sunlight also increases the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin which boosts our mood.  Serotonin is also the precursor to our sleep enhancer, melatonin.  Ever wonder why a day outdoors promotes such great sleep? You can thank the sun for helping you make serotonin for that.

At the same time, we do know some sun protection is important.  Recently, much research is being revealed that fragile, processed oils like soybean oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, shortening, corn oil, margarine, sunflower oil and safflower oil will make your skin more sensitive to sun damage.  I can personally attest to this as a child who used to BURN all the time.  My diet was full of seed oils and I also now know that much of my burn and skin irritation was directly caused by the ingredients in sunscreens that I was sensitive to.

We tend to spend time in the sun during off peak hours and spend more time in the shade during peak sun.  We wear hats and clothes that protect our skin when we feel it’s time to give our skin a break.

In addition, at times we use Shea butter as a protective layer. Although it provides very low SPF (about 7), we find it’s often enough when we are aware of our peak time exposure.

For people wanting traditional sunscreen options I have scoped out the best of the best and will share them here.  Thank you to the Environmental Workers Group for making this simple. (www.EWG.org).

EWG is a  non-for-profit whose mission is to empower you with breakthrough research to make informed choices and live a healthy life in a healthy environment.  You can share your email address with them and you will get monthly informative emails on the best sunscreens, household products, personal products and more.  You can also enter any product into their search engine and they will rate the level of toxicity so you can make informed decisions on what is best for you and your family.

They rate products on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most toxic.  I prefer to only use products rated as a 1, however I have also included some rated as a 2 below in case it makes access easier.

Additionally, when choosing a sunscreen be sure to check the ingredient label and ensure all ingredients are safe.

Ingredients considered safe:

Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide– these should be the only two main ingredients.  Be mindful of other “inactive ingredients” as often those make up 70% or more of the product so be sure to read the full ingredient list.

Best baby & kids sunscreen:

Rated as a 1 (least toxic) on EWG toxicity scale:

  • Raw Elements Baby + Kids Sunscreen Lotion Tin, SPF 30

  • Earth Mama Kids Uber- Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF

  • All Good Kids Sunscreen Butter Stick, SPF 50

Rated as a 2 on EWG:

  • Kiss My Face Organics Kids Defense Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30

  • Banana Boat Kids Sport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50

  • Banana Boat Simply Protect Baby Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

  • Burt’s Bees Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30

  • Cerave Baby Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 45

Best Daily SPF:

Rated 1 on EWG:

  • Love Sun Body Glow Natural Tinted Mineral Sunscreen & Moisturizer Lotion, SPF 30

Rated 2 on EWG:

  • Beautycounter Countersun Daily Sheer Defense for Face, SPF 25

Best Recreational Sunscreen

Rated 1 on EWG:

  • Earth Mama Tinted Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 25 (rated 1 on EWG)

  • 365 Everyday value sport mineral sunscreen lotion SPF 30 (Rated 1 on EWG)

Rated 2 on EWG:

  • BeautyCounter CounterSun Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30 (rated 2 on EWG)

Worst Sunscreens.  Rated as a 7-10 (most toxic) on EWG:

  • Banana Boat Kids Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 65

  • Banana Boat Ultra Sport Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100

  • Neutrogena Wet skin sunscreen spray, SPF 50 – carcinogenic ingredients, endocrine disruptor, biochemical cellular level changes

  • Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Continuous Spray, SPF 100

The ingredients in the products listed above are known to cause reproductive toxicity, allergies, immunotoxicity, endocrine (hormone) disruption & are persistently bioaccumulated

Sun exposure plays a vital role in our health & vitality.  We can take steps through our diet, as well as through planning out our exposure to off peak sun in order to keep our skin healthy.  There are also now many options for sunscreen that contain safe ingredients.  I hope this has helped make finding those products easy for you.

Be sure to follow our social media platforms where we share helpful tips and hacks for keeping your family healthy.

IG: @Drs_Sonners

FB: https://www.facebook.com/DoctorsSonners

Now get outside and enjoy that sunshine!