October 14, 2008 [Volume 2, Issue 23]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
Putting Health Into Motion
Cause for Concern
3 Ways to Get in Shape FAST

Putting Health Into Motion

Every single bone forms some type of joint with another bone because joints allow us to have motion. When motion is normal at a joint, life is good. But daily activities or injuries can cause improper position of the bones, resulting in abnormal movement at the joint. This can lead to problems like swelling, pain, muscle spasms and arthritis later in life. The point is, from head to toe, your joints occasionally need a tune-up. Let's take a look at some of the more common trouble spots and what a chiropractor will do to get the healing process started.

Head and Neck: When patients have headaches, they almost always have a lack of normal movement of their skull and the first two cervical vertebrae (bones). By restoring alignment to these bones, muscle tension is released. This allows blood circulation and nerve information to flow better.

From Shoulders to Hands: You probably know a lot of people who have shoulder injuries. Well, our shoulder is made up of more joints than just the ball-and-socket joint. Anyone with shoulder pain likely has one or more of these joints that need to be realigned. Moving down the arm, we can find elbow tendonitis (golfer's elbow, tennis elbow), carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive-use injuries that can cause considerable pain, swelling and muscle spasms. In general, pain in any of these joints can be treated quite effectively with chiropractic care.

Hips and Knees: Hip joint arthritis is very common these days, and you might even know someone who has had their hip replaced. When a hip is not in good alignment, the same pattern we have talked about exists. It can lead to lack of normal movement, arthritis and pain. And ligament injuries in the knee and knee cap pain often arise due to the leg bones being malpositioned.

Feet and Ankles: Did you know we actually have three arches of the feet that are supported mostly by a large ligament and secondarily by the bones and muscles? When we have a collapse of these arches, which happens in eight out of 10 people in the world, we can have a variety of painful conditions.

The moral of this story is this: No injury or pain is ever just muscular. You know now that muscles attach to bones and bones make up joints everywhere in the body. It may be the muscles giving you pain, but unless you have the joints examined, you could be setting yourself up to have a relapse or a flare-up down the road. Ask your chiropractor for more information.

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Cause for Concern

Every day, we slather lotions, creams and other products on our bodies in the name of better health and vitality. But have you ever looked at the ingredients in these products? Do you know whether they're safe? Recent studies suggest we should probably be taking a closer look at what's in those bottles. Here are a few key ingredients that are best to avoid when shopping for cosmetics and personal care products:

Preservatives: They are added to kill bacteria and other organisms from contaminating the product and to give it a longer shelf life. However, many preservatives are irritants and cause contact dermatitis. Some even release formaldehyde, a known cancer-causing chemical.
Endocrine disruptors: Parabens, in addition to being preservatives, are xenoestrogens or endocrine disrupters. They disturb the hormone balance in your body. They are also skin sensitizers and have the potential to cause allergic reactions. They have been found in breast cancer tumors, but it is not known if they cause breast cancer.
Fragrances: A single fragrance can be made of as many as 600 different ingredients. None of these ingredients is required to be listed on the label. Some of the chemicals used in fragrances are hazardous. A number of them may even cause cancer. Even products listed as "fragrance-free" actually may have fragrance added to mask offensive odors.
Artificial colors: Most artificial colors are derived from coal tar, which is known to cause cancer. Generally, artificial colors are designated either as FD&C, D&C or as a color with a number after it, such as FD&C Red No. 40, D&C Green No. 5 or Yellow No. 6.
Talc: Talc may contain cancer-causing contaminants. It's a common ingredient in makeup and baby powder. Products containing talc should never be used on the genital area or on infants and children.
Antibacterial agents: We have become overly obsessed with killing germs in the name of preventing illness. Antibacterial soaps are not only unnecessary, but also harmful. Triclosan, the most commonly used antibacterial agent, is classified as a drug by the FDA and as a pesticide by the EPA.
MSG: Most people are aware that MSG in food causes a reaction in some people. But did you know that MSG can be hidden in your personal care products too? MSG is a neurotoxin and excitotoxin. It's toxic to your nervous system and excites your brain cells to death.

You can protect yourself and your family by ensuring the products you buy are safe and healthy. One of the best ways to do this is to learn to read product labels, including determining which ingredients are safe and which are not.

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3 Ways to Get in Shape FAST

Who better than personal trainers to know the best exercises to get you in shape safely and effectively? The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recently conducted a survey of 1,000 ACE-certified personal trainers to get their advice regarding the best techniques to get fit. Here are their top three recommendations, which the ACE suggests combining with a healthy diet to achieve the best results:

Strength Training – Just 20 minutes of basic exercises, two days a week, will help firm and tone the whole body. Strength training will modestly increase metabolism, helping to burn more calories, even when you are resting.

Interval Training – Lack of time is the number-one reason people give for not exercising regularly, and lack of results once they do start exercising isn't far behind. Interval training is a great solution for both of these common complaints. Alternate short bursts of intense activity with what is called active recovery – typically a less-intense form of the original activity.

Increased Cardio/Aerobic Exercise – Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups in a continuous, rhythmic fashion for sustained periods of time. Walking is a weight-bearing aerobic exercise, as are jogging, rope-skipping and dance. There are also non-weight-bearing aerobic exercises such as bicycling, swimming and rowing.

So get out there and get moving! There's no better time to get in shape, and your body will thank you for it. Your doctor can help outline an exercise program suitable to your needs.

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The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

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