I'm typically very skeptical — really — of cure alls. Chiropractic is a good example. Now, about every couple of years I end up waking up having done some damn thing to my neck whilst sleeping, and I can barely move my head without sharp pain in my neck & shoulder. It can take a week or more to work back right, and it's very painful every step of the way. Just trying to raise my head off the bed can be excruciating, and I end up having to roll out. In each case, I'll go to a Chiropractor, he/she cradles my head and pops/cracks it to the left, then to the right, and it's like 50% relief on the spot. The rest of the discomfort melts away over the next 24 hours.
Fine. Cool. Love 'em. But then they always want to get kooky, suggesting x-rays, regular visits to keep my spine "aligned," and its all justified under some silly notion that spine "mis-alignment" is the ultimate and fundamental source of all trouble. Nonsense. Quackery.
On the other hand, the notion that refined carbohydrate over years and years lies beneath a lot of our modern diseases carries some weight with me. What I know is that eliminating them completely over the last few months has delivered remarkable benefits. I've been on medication for sinus allergies, hypothyroid, and chronic heartburn for about seven years or so (in the case of the allergies, about 10 years). I'm off all three as a daily thing. I have a couple of times had to use the prescription sinus spray now that it's spring and everything is in bloom, but it's only as needed, now, which has been rare. The only thing this can possibly be in my case is the elimination of refined sugars and gluten completely from my diet resulting in a reduction of the inflammation they cause.
Now there's this, via Matt Metzgar.
An integrated and unifying hypothesis for the metabolic basis of sporadic Alzheimer's disease.
Acquired disturbances of several aspects of cellular metabolism appear pathologically important in sporadic Alzheimer's disease (SAD). Among these, brain glucose utilization is reduced in the early stages of the disease. Hyperinsulinemia, which is a characteristic finding of insulin resistance, results in a central insulin deficit. Insufficient insulin signaling impairs the intricate balance of nitric oxide regulation of the central nervous system. Reduction in central insulin decreases neuronal nitric oxide synthase and increases inducible synthase activity. This, in turn, decreases astrocytic energy substrates and antioxidant supply of neurons. In addition, an increase in peroxynitrite formation impairs redox balance. Hyperleptinemia and glucose excess, which are the other parameters of insulin resistance, may worsen the reduced astrocytic energy supply and the ongoing inflammation via the inhibition of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Consequently, energy deficit and inflammation in neuronal tissue may cause neurodegeneration of SAD.
And as Matt points out, we know what causes insulin resistance. For me, it's a no-brainer. I get so much benefit from being off grains — no exceptions. Added bonus that I may be doing something as well to keep my mind from eventually melting.
In a separate post, Matt also calls attention to this PDF on childhood obesity. Very much worth a read.
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Since I began resistance training last May I have not had a recurrence. I'm hoping that does it for me.
Penn & Teller did a good Bullshit! episode on chiropractors who get into the kook zone. They even interviewed a particularly disgusting chiropractor who recommended adjusting the spines of small children!
I've come to similar conclusions about chiropractors. You would be shocked, no doubt, to lean that the first one I saw was a hyper-Christian, sporting copious tawdry decorations on every wall of her office, lest a visitor somehow overlook the other ten dozen. I did my best to ignore that aspect and gave curt answers to leading personal questions. But when she wanted me to come back and spend over $100 a week, I declined. Months later, I needed another adjustment and happened to see her partner, who was much more down-to-earth. I know nothing of his religious views, and he didn't suggest that I come back any time soon. He then opened his own office, at which point I quit seeing her holiness entirely.
Realizing that spinal adjustments were not going to produce long-term relief, I saw a physical therapist about my neck. She gave me some recommendations. Whether I am sitting, standing, or lying down, I keep the three points of my ear, shoulder, hips along a straight line. I use a pad on my chair at the small of my back to force me to sit up straight. When I am having neck pain, every two hours I do ten reps of the following exercises (separately): (1) roll my head backwards, as if trying to look at the ceiling without arching the back or moving the shoulders; (2) keeping my head vertically upright, draw my head backwards as if trying to make my chin flush with my neck. Each rep should be done slowly and I should feel the muscles burn slightly. She told me that if the pinching pain I felt down my trapezius "drifted" towards the base of my neck, that was to be expected. If doing these exercises caused pain to "radiate" away from my neck, I should stop doing them. Also, when the pain goes away, keep doing the exercises about once every four hours, since the underlying problem may still exist below the threshold of pain.
So far, this has helped me quite a bit. I haven't needed pills, a heating pad, sports cream, neckrubs, or chiropractic adjustments since then.
That'll work, too.
A couple years ago, after I hurt my neck, I was building a wood fence and having to carry quite a bit of weight for several days. Rather than making me feel worse, the activity helped my neck pain.
I've been finding your diet and exercise posts quite informative. Good work.