The foot has 26 bones, 144 ligaments, and enough muscles to move them all. These all have to move well in order to not experience foot pain. When things don’t move well, pain is often the result. I am going to cover a few of the common injuries that I see in my practice. These are not all that I treat, but will give you an idea of what can be accomplished with osteopathic manipulation of the foot.
In approximately 1990, I was standing on a ladder with my feet ten or so feet off the ground. I was attempting to close a window when the ladder slipped and I rode it to the ground still standing on the rung. I landed standing up on the same rung I was standing on when I was hammering. I had the wind knocked out of me, but was in my 20’s and mostly indestructible. I shook it off, realized I did not break anything, and went about my life. I knew nothing of osteopathy at that time. Ten years later, when I started osteopathic medical school, my feet would ache, I could no longer run vey far, and I started to get worried. I spurred me to learn about the feet so that I could understand what was going on with mine (and hopefully get them better). It has been an amazing journey (and my feet are back to normal).
The simple foot problems are plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, bunion (bunionette), and heel spurs. Along with fractures, these are many of the common foot issues. Let’s start with plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is on the bottom of the foot. It’s “job” is to precent the arch of the foot from spreading too far. When the bones/ligaments of the foot are working well, stepping down loads the arch, bringing the foot up unloads it. If the bones/ligaments down work correctly, then stepping down loads the arch and can move it farther than is is meant to, stretching the plantar fascia and causing pain. If removing the force does not remove the load on the arch and allow it to return to normal, pain is the result. We call that plantar fasciitis. I have found that by simply resorting the function of the arch and its bones, the pain of plantar fasciitis is a thing of the past without injections of steroids or surgery.
Morton’s neuroma is a swelling of the end of a nerve. Mechanically, it occurs when the metatarsal bones of the feet get too close together, crowd the muscles between them and irritate the nerve. This nerve then swells and becomes irritated. The irritation lowers the firing threshold of the nerve (makes it super sensitive) and Morton’s neuroma is the result. The treatment is straightforward if you understand the mechanics. Releasing the tension in the muscles that go between the bones of the forefoot allows the metatarsals to return to their normal position. This removes the tension in the muscles and the nerve gets to relax. This removes the pain within hours, and, as long as the foot remains working, it does not return.
A bunion (on the big toe side), and a bunionette (on the little toe side) is most commonly the result of poor footwear. If found early in their development, simple exercises can return the foot to normal. If found later, then correcting the forces that caused them can return motion to normal. This may not give a cosmetic result that looks like it did at birth (that may require surgery), but normal motion can be restored. I have had great success at returning normal motion to these problems with simple osteopathic manipulation.
Heel spurs are a result of Wolff’s Law. That states that tissues in the body will move and grow based on the forces place upon them. In a heel spur, the plantar fascia (which attaches at the heel) can pull on the heel bone (the calcaneus) and cause it to literally “drag” a portion of the bone with it. This is the cause of a heel spur. This can be treated with an understanding of Wolff’s Law (remove the force and the bone returns to normal. This can be accomplished with osteopathic manipulation and/or prolo therapy to the area. The pain can be removed and the person’s life returned to normal.
I hope this small bit of information on some common causes of foot pain has helped you. If I can be of further assistance, please call the office and make an appointment.
Many of my mothers have come in and asked if I can help treat what they term “baby belly” – the result that they see from bring pregnant and giving birth.
Many, if not all, women, who carry baby’s to anywhere near term, have tears or distortions in their abdominal fascia that leave them with “baby belly” – an abdomen, that, no matter how much exercise, just will not return to your pre-baby shape. This is due to fascia – the covering of all of the muscles, bones, and organs, that gets torn or distorted in large or small ways. It works like this…when a muscle contracts, it uses the fascia that surrounds it as a stabilizer to allow the muscle to contract. What we call competent (that is structurally sound) fascia is necessary for a muscle to have a good contraction and relaxation. If the fascia is torn (from trauma, falls, birth, etc.) or distorted (from the same kinds of forces), then the muscle either can’t quite relax all the way, or it can’t contract fully, or both.
This leaves an abdomen that is not the way it was before. It does not have the same tone (and it can’t because of the torn/distorted fascia. If the fascia gets damaged all the way through, we call it a hernia. It basically leaves a hole where the abdominal contents can come through (herniate). I can repair some of these in my office, but many may require surgery. If the hole does not go through all of the layers, we call that a diastasis. It is a bulge, not a true hernia. These may be corrected surgically, but many surgeons prefer to leave these alone. What I am speaking of with “baby belly” is that, in a very small local area, parts of the fascia that cover the muscles tear and/or get distorted. Muscles can push through if the area is big enough, but weakness and possibly pain is the key symptom no matter what the size. In damaged fascia, the nerve endings become irritated. This makes them painful and sore. If we keep it simple – if it hurts, it is not working right. If it does not hurt when you push on it, it is working correctly.
Correcting the damage in the fascial layers restores the competency of the fascia. The pain goes away. The fascia becomes strong again. The belly that you were never able to get flat again starts to flatten and get strong. This correction can be accomplished using either/both direct osteopathic manipulation to the damaged fascia or prolotherapy injections into the area. Changes are seen almost immediately and treatment should continue until no more pain/discomfort is experienced and the belly returns to full strength. If you would like more information, or would like to schedule a consultation/treatment, please call the office.
Infertility is on the rise. There can be a number of reasons why a couple cannot conceive. Modern technology has given doctors the ability to enhance and augment many parts of the conception process, but the price tag is high. I am going to provide an osteopathic perspective on some things that can be done BEFORE other procedures to make both of the couples bodies function better. It may allow you to conceive naturally, or to get better results out of fertility treatment.
Hormones are one of the first things I check in patients with the complaint of infertility. The sex hormones should be in balance if you want to conceive easily. There are many things that can throw them off. Stress (generic or specific) can make conception impossible. We are not designed to make children when running away from a saber toothed cat or during times of no food. You body sees all stress as the same, so a few rough months at the office are the same to your body as a drought or bad harvest. Blood and saliva tests cane be done to access hormone levels and also to adjust medications, if necessary, to maintain optimal levels. Bioidenticals are the best method to restore the balance.
Once your hormones are correct (which many doctors can do), osteopathic visceral manipulation can take you the rest of the way in most cases. All of the sex organs (both male and female) are part of the viscera (meaning that they are not part of the bony skeleton, but part of the organs). We believe that all organs have a subtle motion, and, if this motion is not working properly, then what we term dysfunction is the result. Dysfunction is just altered motion.
Let’s put this altered motion into context with the female system (although the male system has different parts, the concept is the same) :
If the ovaries are not moving well, they have altered hormone output, they can develop eggs that mature, but don’t detach properly (ovarian cysts), and, they can make having a baby challenging, if not impossible. In some ways they completely rule the show.
After the egg leaves the ovary, it travels down the fallopian tubes to the uterus for implantation. In the Fallopian tubes, there are little hairs called fimbria. They act like an escalator to carry the egg to the uterus (for implantation). If the fimbria don’t move well, either by being slow, or by being stuck altogether, then fertilization can occur, but implantation cannot. The fertilized egg does not complete its journey.
In the uterus, there is a rocking motion (it is a midline organ, and all midline organs rock back and forth). If it is inhibited in its motion, then implantation can be difficult, and, placental problems, including miscarriage can occur.
Osteopathic treatment by someone who is trained in visceral manipulation can alleviate these and many more symptoms that can help pregnancy to occur. When I learned how to perform these treatments I treated three female friends who all thought they could not get pregnant (as in they had been having unprotected sex with their partners for years with no children). All three were pregnant one month after treatment (and I now warn my female patients who receive this treatment to be extra careful if they don’t want a child). It can be a powerful aid toward pregnancy.
There is much more that could be written about this subject. Osteopathic manipulation does not cure every problem, but it may help yours. If you have any questions about your specific circumstances, please call the office and schedule an appointment. I would be happy to work with you and your partner to help you conceive.
If you have been told you or your child needs orthodontia, then education is the first step in making a decision on where to go and who to get it from. You have likely been told that orthodontia is required because the teeth are not straight, or that one or more teeth are growing crooked (impacted). Straightening teeth is just one thing that orthodontia can do. Good orthodontia can not only straighten teeth, but it can open the airway, reshape the face into something more attractive, and correct posture. This is not your garden variety orthodontia though. It takes an outside of the normal box thinker to get these results.
Conventional orthodontia will usually look to pull the first molars and then use braces to push the remaining teeth backwards to get a good cosmetic appearance. The teeth are straight and you have a beautiful smile cosmetically. This thinking is not the best for your body. It pushes the bones of the face together, which can result in life long headaches (until corrected), vision problems, and a multitude of other ailments. It can result in the need for a permanent retainer to keep the teeth in place (because the dentist does not understand the forces involved). It can crowd the airway (which results in poor tissue oxygenation and can cause a life of chronic disease – that leads to death up to 20% earlier). It can push the tongue back into the throat, leading to sleep apnea and TMJ problems as we age. It is VERY rare that I would recommend this approach to correction.
What I DO recommend is the following:
Get you or your child treated osteopathically by someone who understands cranial osteopathy and its role in dentistry. That is a pretty specific request and there are not many of us. This can change your teeth and the way they interact a great deal. THEN go to see your dentist/orthodontist. Find someone who uses the ALF (advanced lightwire functional) or a Biobloc (orthotropics). Both of these appliances have strengths and weaknesses that will need to be discussed with your dentist before choosing the appliance that works best for you. Neither focus on pulling teeth, but work with the mouth to make room for the teeth that are coming in or are already present. Both work on obtaining a functional airway. Both move the tongue and help it fit the mouth well and function optimally. This helps the airway and the TMJ. Getting treatment first allows the dentist to take impressions from a moving, functional mouth. This will speed the process of moving the teeth and will reduce the possibility of adverse reactions (like headaches or vision changes) from an appliance pushing on stuck bones or teeth (which tends to just jam them further).
Once the impression is made and fitted, my recommendation is to see the osteopath both prior AND after each adjustment of the appliance. These need not be long visits. This approach makes sure the head and the teeth are moving prior to the adjustment of the appliance (which makes it easier on the dentist and the patient). Then after the appliance is adjusted, another treatment ensures that the bones and the teeth are still moving well (this makes it easy on the patient). This approach can shave as much as ⅓ of your time in braces off when compared with no osteopathic treatment.
As you wear your appliance, any issues that you have should go through both your dentist AND osteopath. There are a great many things that the osteopath can do that will save you a trip to the dental office.
Once your teeth have moved where they need to be for a functional and cosmetic result, check with your osteopath to see if the bones of your face and your teeth have any strains that might cause the teeth to move once the appliance is removed. If the facial bones are moving freely, then you may not need a retainer.
I hope this has shed some light on questions to ask you osteopath and dentist/orthodontist about how to get the results you need. If I can be of any assistance, please send an email or schedule an appointment
Root canals are definitely something to educate yourself on BEFORE getting one. In a root canal procedure, the tooth is diagnosed as having a dead root. Thus, the tooth is effectively dead. The tooth is drilled out in its center and filled with composite or other material to cover the hole. It is not a procedure to take lightly. What happens in the tooth is this: in a healthy tooth, there is a flow of fluid from the healthy tooth (called axoplasmic flow) from the center out. This flow in the healthy tooth actually pushes out bacteria toward the surface, so it keeps the center (the nerve) healthy. When a tooth has trauma this axoplasmic flow reverses. This makes the tooth basically self destruct over time. This is when you need a root canal.
But what if you could return that axoplasmic flow to normal? This can be accomplished in one of two ways that I know of. Osteopathic treatment of the tooth and surrounding tissue can remove the trauma and set the axoplasmic flow back to normal, as can ozone treatment of the tooth and surrounding tissue. I would highly recommend either or both before entertaining a root canal procedure. If done early enough, the tooth can make a full recovery.
When the dentist drills the tooth, the bacteria that inhabit the tooth (remember the axoplasmic flow is reversed it now draws in rather than pushing out) retreat down the hollow parts of the tooth (a tooth is similar to a honeycomb). They wait here until the procedure is over (the tooth is drilled and filled). When the tooth is filled, the bacteria have been sealed inside the tooth. These bacteria, which had been living in air (or partial air) convert from aerobic respiration (with air) to anaerobic respiration (without air) and in doing this, start to put out some really noxious chemicals as waste products. These toxins then flow from the tooth into the bloodstream. Each tooth sits on an acupuncture meridian. So, depending on the location, these toxins can cause, or contribute, to many chronic diseases, including cancers. This is the reason I do not recommend root canals.
Teeth that have had root canals can be tested for these bacterial infestations. If found, two options are available – extraction or ozone treatment. I would recommend beginning with ozone and leaving extraction as a last resort.
I hope this has shed some light on what your options are and why. If you have more questions, please contact me.
There can be multiple reasons for not being able to have a bowel movement. Some of them can require medical attention. I will start with the simplest reasons and cover how to correct them here. If these don’t correct your problem, please seek medical attention.
One of your colons jobs is to reabsorb water. Water is vital to our body. We need it to live. Without the right amount, we can have brain fog, stutter, stagger, or lose consciousness. Our bodies go to great lengths to maintain the right balance. When we eat, we mix the food with saliva (water), then stomach acid (more water), then bile, pancreatic enzymes and other substances (still more water) to make a slurry that allows the food to flow through the digestive system and be broken down and absorbed. Once this process has completed, our body recovers as much water as it can to conserve our supply. This mainly happens in the colon.
When we are taking the right amount of water into our diet, the body (and colon) has enough and can afford to give up a bit. Our feces come out coated in a bit of mucous as a lubricant and we consider that normal. Bowel movements don’t hurt and they happen regularly.
If you are a bit low on water, the body reduces the mucous and things don’t slide as well. Painful bowel movements or tears around the rectum can result.
If you are more dehydrated, the body hangs onto the stool a bit longer to pull out more water. Now we have constipation. It can get bad. I once had a patient who only had a bowel movement once every six to eight WEEKS!
This is a cycle that, unfortunately, can cause some lasting problems. The gut is a muscle. It needs water and exercise to stay healthy. If you are dehydrated and the gut slows down as a result, this can lead to slower movement through the gut tube. While correctable for most people, maintaining good health is easier and trying to recover from poor habits.
Most animals eat and then poop (watch your dogs and cats). We should be similar if our gut is in good shape. Having a bowel movement once per day is the minimum I define as healthy. If you are having less than that the food in your gut has a prolonged time to create toxins and we don’t need an excess of them nowadays.
To make sure you have enough water coming in, use this simple formula – drink ½ of your body weight in pounds in ounces of water daily. (Coffee, Tea, Soda Pop, and Alcohol are all diuretics (make you pee out more water than they give you) and should not be counted in the above formula). That is going to get you in the ball park for having enough fluid.
Once there, if you are still having problems, try more water, then you can first add bulk forming agents. These are usually the husks of seeds (psyllium, wheat germ, senna) that have been dried and ground. When they get wet, they swell. This adds bulk to the stool. This bulk can trigger a bowel movement. Try not to rely on these long term. They are OK to help return your bowel health to normal, but should not be life long additives.
If the bulk forming agents don’t help, you can add laxative agents. These help to relax the gut muscle. My first recommendation is pure MSM (with nothing else added). Take one gram every 15 minutes until you have a bowel movement. Vitamin C works the same way and in the same dose (don’t use chewable vitamin c in these amounts). You can also use magnesium. MOM (milk of magnesia) and Epson Salts (magnesium sulfate) can be used as laxatives. Smaller doses of magnesium (usually in pill form) can be added to the diet daily to help keep things flowing.
If these simple methods don’t solve your constipation, then ask a doctor before going to more aggressive treatments. I am happy to work with my patients to help them restore bowel health and regularity.
If you are told you have a cavity, get a second opinion BEFORE getting it filled. What some dentists define as a cavity may not fit the definition for another dentist. That should tell you something. Some dentists are filling teeth that don’t need it. That is bad for your pocketbook and can be bad for your health as well.
If you do actually have a cavity that needs to be filled, ask your dentist if it is necessary in that visit or if it can wait a few months. If it is not causing you pain, try this first…Tooth pastes with glycerin in them coat the tooth and can prevent re-enamilization (the tooth can heal itself to some degree). It takes 26 rinsings to get the glycerin coating off before the tooth can place minerals on its surface again. Switch to a powered tooth cleaner that has no glycerin. There are a few different brands out there – Solay, IPSAB, Eco-dent all make quality products. Neem and Peelu are natural fibers that can be used to clean teeth. The following is a recipe that I have come across if you wanted to try your own:
• 4 Tablespoons Bentonite Clay
• 3 Tablespoons Calcium Magnesium Powder
• 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Celtic Sea Salt (Himalayan or other natural salt can be substituted)
• 2 Tablespoons Powdered Mint Leaf (optional, or can use essential oil)- Powder in blender, food processor or coffee grinder.
• 1 tablespoon Cinnamon Powder
• 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of Cloves Powder
• 1 Tablespoon (or more to taste) Xylitol Powder
• Essential oils for taste- completely optional but Peppermint, Spearmint and Cinnamon are good.
Brush your teeth with a powdered tooth cleaner for a few weeks and get your tooth rechecked. Many people have reported good results with this method. They also notice cleaner, whiter teeth too.
If treating your teeth in this way does not heal your tooth and you need a cavity filled, avoid amalgam (silver) fillings. These contain mercury. Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on the planet. I always found it interesting that the filling material is a biohazard coming out of the package (meaning it takes special equipment to handle it and you are not supposed to breathe it or ingest it), yet the moment it goes into your mouth it becomes inert and safe. But, you need those same precautions if it is removed from your mouth. Stay away from amalgam for new fillings. As it ages, amalgam expands, which can crack the tooth it is in and necessitate its removal. Composite and porcelain are both good choices. If you already have amalgam in your mouth, consider having it removed by a qualified dentist and having it replaced with another material. It can significantly improve your health, not only in the short term (by clearing up things like brain fog), but in the long run as well (by removing a potential cause of cancer and other chronic diseases). If you have questions about your teeth and their health, please ask me at your next visit. I continue to study dentistry and learn more about how to care for teeth and your body as my knowledge grows.
Dental hygiene is an important part of having healthy teeth. I whole heartedly recommend getting your teeth cleaned by a competent hygienist. However, I do not recommend cleaners containing fluoride. Some, but not all, of the abrasives used in cleanings contain fluoride. If you choose not to have this used on your teeth (it is a neurotoxin and can contribute to thyroid problems – not to mention that it has never been proven to improve tooth health), just ask your dentist or hygienist to use a cleaner without fluoride. That should include no rinses with fluoride in them. These should be available at any dental office.
Sitting in a dental chair with your mouth open and your head tiled back can also cause symptoms after a treatment. This is due to a shift in the relationship of the bones of the head and the neck. It is relatively easy to resolve if addressed soon after the cleaning. Some hygienists are incredibly gentle, while others use a bit more force when they remove plaque form the teeth. This force can actually move or rotate the tooth in its socket and cause symptoms after a cleaning. These can range from tooth/mouth pain to headaches and blurred vision, to name a few. I have been blessed recently with a gentle hygienist, but have not always had them. Sometimes I actually need an osteopathic treatment after getting a teeth cleaning. If you are not sure if your hygienist is gentle, or it you have any issues that begin directly or shortly after your cleaning, you may need a treatment to get your teeth, head, and body back to working well. Call the office or visit your osteopath (who should be skilled in cranial osteopathy) for an appointment.
With the leakage of the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the entire world is being exposed to low level radiation. It is in the water, which then evaporates and becomes clouds, then falls as rain and the cycle repeats. It washes up on beaches… It gets into the food supply… Never before in recorded human history have we had experience with low level radiation. If the event had been of a short duration, things would not be so bad, but the power plant is still spewing radioactivity into the ocean three years after it happened, and the end is not in sight. Here in the US, our government has stopped reporting the radiation readings. We are told it is safe now. Truth is, there is no amount of radiation that is “safe”. There is an amount that our body can handle in a day that will not show up as immediate symptoms, but it is a cumulative poison, totaling up over a lifetime. If causes harm to your DNA, women’s eggs, men’s sperm, and babies and children more than adults.
So what are we to do? Well, living in a fall out shelter is an option, though an impractical one. The more practical ones are via relocation, nutrition, and homeopathy. relocation involves putting as much distance as you can form the source of the radiation. In the case of Fukushima and the prevailing ocean currents, the US Wet coast and Alaska are in the direct line of dispersement. Don’t stay there if you can help it. There are nutritional supplements that will bind radioactive material in the gut and body and help with elimination (like spirulina and chlorella) – but, now that the source of many of these products (the ocean) is contaminated, you must be careful of the source of your products. Still, if you can find a good source, they can certainly help combat the effects of radiation.
Homeopathy can also help, but you have to have the correct remedy to actually help you. Homeopathic remedies are specific to symptoms, and the wrong remedy can be worse than doing nothing at all. With the right remedy, the body can correct the effects of damaging radiation.
Please feel free to ask me during your visit about what you can do to help you stay in top health.
EMF – electromagnetic frequency pollution – is what we have in our environment from the use of electricity and electronics. To understand what this does to the body, we need to look back in history. Up until the late 1800’s, the only EMF’s our body had to deal with were light (technically part of the electromagnetic spectrum), and infrared and ultraviolet (the opposite ends of the visual spectrum that can be produced by fire, for example), and a few stray cosmic rays. This is what our bodies have been conditioned, over generations, to think is “normal”. With the advent of electricity, we have introduced MANY more frequencies that our body has to deal with. Some, like ELF (extremely low frequency) are used for submarine and cave communication. These may interfere with whale migration. Others, like microwaves and x-rays, can definitely cause tissue damage to us, even in small doses.
The problem seems to be that our nervous system, which has been wired for generations to not have a lot of extra things going on in our surroundings, is now being bombarded with EMF frequencies never before seen on earth. And, we continue to add them. WiFi, cell phones, BlueTooth, HD radio,…even the infrared detectors on the automatic paper towel dispenser are new to the body. Our body responds just as it has been hardwired to over generations…it sees it as stress – a trigger to the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system.. Your body does not know the difference between sleeping next to a hungry lion and sleeping with WiFi on. It sees them both as a trigger to our nervous system. It is just the way we are wired. So, it stands to reason, that minimizing, or eliminating as much EMF pollution as possible will improve our lives by minimizing the unseen pressure on our nervous systems.
There are a number of things we can do to help minimize our exposure. This list is not inclusive:
Benefits of removing EMF pollution can include:
I did not set out to write a treatise on EMF pollution, so I am going to cut it off here. If you want more information, check on-line or call the office and set up a consult time. I’ll be happy to share what I have learned.