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Sometimes walking the dog, shopping, cleaning out the garage, running around with your kids or grand kids at the park or beach,  even traveling may be difficult if you are experiencing any type of back pains. Dr Millie from our Westbury, NY location explains how to avoid and manage a painful back so that we can move on with our daily lives!

by Dr Millie Lytle, ND

If the philosophy “Work hard, play harder” applies to you then likely you are an active professional with a desk job, work stress and an active social life. Aches and pains may come along with the territory, but does it have to?

Non-specific back pain is characterized by dull or intense pain in the low, mid or upper back that tends to come and go. What’s just as frustrating as the pain itself is that it may have a variety of causes not well-investigated by your physician. In fact, there may be very little medical reason why you are walking around stiff and sore. This is where nutrition and some revealing lifestyle factors might come into play.

• Weak Core: Weak muscles in the abdomen and back can leave the tissues lax and with bad posture. Weak muscles may be caused by surgery, pregnancy, sitting for long periods of time, a lack of exercise or obesity, especially in the belly.

• Shoe Quality: They may seem far from your back but your feet might be the key to your back troubles. Flip flops, sandals, heels and shoes without arch support may not provide enough support.

• Old Mattress: Each night you have a bad sleep can contribute to back pain for more reasons than one; fatigue, poor healing response and body tension can build-up.

• Junk Food/Fast Food: Your diet may be promoting chronic inflammation and pain. In fact it’s likely if you eat out more than 3 times per week, consume energy drinks, sodas, fried foods, donuts and alcohol. Too much of any of these can cause toxic build-up over time. General aches, body stiffness and an unhealthy feeling can ensue.

skeleton back pain

Natural treatments can increase nutritional status, reduce stress and eliminate toxins thereby reducing overall inflammatory burden and yes…reduce pain!

• Yoga and Pilates: Muscle strengthening exercises increase comfort by strengthening the core muscles groups in the back and belly. Increasing lean muscle mass also encourages fat burning, which takes the strain off the lower back.

• Greens and Reds: Loading up on green veggies, red and purple berries that contain natural antioxidants creates a high nutrient environment to promote cellular detox, high energy and fight that sluggish, heavy feeling.

• Muscles and Joints: Natural muscle relaxers such as Magnesium glycinate can help reduce muscle tightness. It can also help reduce stress and even promote sleep when taken before bed.

• Pain and Swelling: For extra pain relief due to a poor lifestyle try Bromelain in between meals. This digestive enzyme sourced from pineapple can reduce painful inflammation in the muscles. Curcumin extracts from Tumeric as well as Omega 3 fish oils can help jump-start flexibility by reducing stiffness and soreness in the joints.

• Sleep and Healing: Your body recuperates at night. Make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of Z’s so your body can recover from the effects of your busy lifestyle.

It’s always recommended to see your doctor to rule out any underlying conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis or vertebral fracture. If you are clear of diseases, consider this info as healthy lifestyle tips to live-by.

 When is your back most painful and what do you think causes it?

The complexities of depression and teens

 Antidepressant studies have been conducted mostly on adults, yet teens continue to be prescribed.  The brain of a teenager develops until 20 years old.  Introducing anti-depressant medications to developing brains may cause erratic side effects ultimately counter productive to neurotransmitter balance.

Prozac is currently the only anti-depressant still recommended for teens, and in the last 2 years at least 2 judges have ruled depressed teens committed homicide while suffering side effects from Prozac prescriptions.  The problem of mental illness is not just the social stigma; the narrow-sighted treatments, where short term bandaids become toxic for the brain, is becoming equally substantial.

News (BBC) : June 9, 2003 – Seroxat SSRI no longer to be prescribed to under-18′s

News (BBC) : Sept 21, 2003 – Effexor (Venlafaxine) no longer to be precribed to under-18′s

June 19, 2003 – FDA rule Paxil not be given to under-18′s

News (Guardian) : Dec 10th, 2003- UK – All SSRI’s for under-18′s banned, save Prozac

News (Reuters): Feb 3, 2004 US -Stronger warning about anti-depressants for kids

Not to mention, teens are experimenting with street drugs, alcohol and drug cocktails, while on Prozac.  They are experimenting with growth hormone and steroid or hormone injections.

Teens are also likely to eat poor diets, high in McDonalds and other depressive junk foods, low in salad and high nutrient vegetables. They over-consume brain-altering carcinogenic soft drinks with aspartame and even worse high sugar stimulant energy-beverages that deplete essential nutrients.

Even teens with mental illness must have option to alternative treatments, to which there is not a single answer. Kids need food and dietary supplements with high vitamin and mineral content.  They need omega 3 fatty acids to improve structure and function of their brains.  Behavioral problem kids need omega 3 supplements, and phosphatidylserine to help nourish the brain.  They need love and they need Bach.   And more.  Not that all drugs are equal, but check out books like this for ideas: How to Raise Drug Free Kids: The Straight Dope for Parents

The brains of teenagers are starving for nourishment.  Nutrients like good fat, protein and vitamins and minerals are essential to the body so they can be healthy, such as make proper neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters are made by the brain from nutritional components such as amino acids or protein building blocks and B vitamins.

Everything is connected.

Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd. is a non-profit company that is dedicated to improving mental well-being through natural and nutritional means.
Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd. is a non-profit company that is dedicated to improving mental well-being through natural and nutritional means, what pharmaceutical company can say that?

Xox Dr Millie

______________________________________________________________________

Detoxify your spring (Originally published in The Healthy Dancer Magazine)

Detoxification naturally occurs in the body’s five emunctories, or cleansing organs: the liver, kidney, lungs, skin and colon.  “Doing a cleanse” or “cleansing” is to follow a regimen that encourages the body’s organs of detox to do more of what they already do naturally. Most cleanses focus on two primary emunctories – the liver and the colon. The liver cleans the blood and conjugates harmful chemicals for excretion.  The colon excretes the chemical waste, so it is not re-circulated in the blood stream.  But the overall goal of a detox program is to promote the functioning of all the detox organs via fresh food and herbs, pure water, exercise, deep breathing, saunas/sweating and waste excretion so that the body works more efficiently at generating and using energy.

No heart disease here

A detox or cleansing regime generally has three components, which are done simultaneously as part of a comprehensive cleanse:

1)     a healthy/clean diet free of stimulants, processed, packaged and fast food

2)     a herbal liver cleanse

3)     a bowel cleanse, these last two provided by dietary supplements taken orally/by mouth

A short cleanse lasts three to five days.  A longer detox can last from twenty-one to thirty days but ten to fourteen days is the most common.  While some people wanting a drastic cleanse will consume mono diets (consisting solely of master cleansers such as lemon-aid, cabbage and onions, or green apples) for a period of time, these cleanses can be too low in calories for an active person. The safest cleansing program is based on a modified brown rice diet of gluten-free grains such as brown rice or quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) as the staple for three meals per day.  Other common detox foods are fresh green vegetables, apples, carrots, beets, raw nuts and seeds, lentils, chickpeas and split peas.  Fresh herbs and spices, lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, raw apple cider vinegar and olive/flax seed/coconut oil are choice condiments. Finally, there are many commercially packaged herbal liver cleanse and bowel cleanse programs on the market.  Those containing organic or wild crafted herbs are recommended, as they are free from the chemicals we are attempting to cleanse.

Anyone embarking on a detox program should adjust their cleanse to accommodate certain aspects of their own lifestyle. Working or training dancers, for example, may require fish, lean chicken or eggs or organic yogurt while on a cleanse, just to keep going. However, animal proteins are not considered detoxifying and should be kept to a relative minimum.

Healthy Recipe: Liquid Lunch

Liquid Lunch
Liquid Lunch

photo source: http://www.ninjahealthchef.com/avocado-liquid-lunch/

¼ cup organic carrot juice (substitute with other vegetable juice)

½ avocado

1 cup sunflower sprouts

½ organic apple, cored

½ lemon, squeezed

1 tsp spirulina or chlorella (optional)

Directions

Note: If you have a juicer, juice the carrots first, as fresh juice is always better.

Pour the juice into the blender.  Add rest of the ingredients into the blender.  Blend until smooth.  Pour over ice or drink at room temperature.  This juice is energizing, refreshing, detoxifying and satisfying.  Most importantly it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, some proteins and healthy fats.  It’s a meal of its own or on the side of a detoxifying quinoa or brown rice salad, hot or cold.

xox Dr Millie


NUTRITION

Eating to Reduce Inflammation (Originally published in Healthy Dancer Magazine)

Inflammation is a common denominator in many instances of pain, where the body responds to injury and stress by signaling chemicals to inhibit infection and promote healing.   Rest, cold compression and elevation and medications are applicable for the first 48 hours following an injury, but for ongoing maintenance, dancers can avoid inflammation-related aches in muscles and joints by following these tips.

Med_pyramid_flyer

photo source: http://oldwayspt.org/resources/heritage-pyramids/mediterranean-pyramid/overview

Some foods naturally promote inflammation in the body.  Food sensitivities tend to be individual; certain categories of foods may have a negative effect on one dancer, but not the next.  Foods most likely to increase inflammation are processed sugar and sugar substitutes, food additives, common allergens such as gluten, dairy, sugar, tree nuts, eggs and citrus fruits, alcohol and food with lower nutritional value such as fast food, processed foods and foods high in sodium.  Some otherwise healthy foods are known to cause rheumatic type stiffness in some individuals. These include members of the nightshade family of vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  Frequent consumption of conventionally raised meat, fowl and dairy may also exacerbate with chronic inflammation in some dancers due to livestock exposure to bovine growth hormone, antibiotics and higher content of saturated fat than organically raised animal products, which are allowed to pasture graze and roam freely.

Great news! Just as there are foods that promote inflammation, there are also foods that alleviate it.  The so-called “Mediterranean” diet or “Macrobiotics” diet, high in fresh vegetables, gluten-free whole grains, lentils and raw seeds is an appropriate anti-inflammatory diet. Remember to include cold-water fish, rich in Omega 3 such as sardines, wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies and herring.  Research studies have shown an improvement in circulation and reduction inflammation with diets that include spices such as turmeric, ginger and cayenne. High in collagen, traditional dishes using animal bones such as Italian osso buco and Korean pork bone soup support joint and connective tissue integrity. Foods high in natural digestive enzymes such as bromelain from pineapple and papain from papaya are proteolytics considered to alleviate the pain associated with inflamed muscles, if consumed regularly.  For the time-pressed, natural health supplements containing these active ingredients are also available over-the-counter at health food stores.

Lifestyle factors other than diet may contribute to less inflammation as well. Healthy elimination is key so it may help to regularly consume 50g of fibre per day and drink at least 2 litres of water per day to prevent a re-circulation of waste within the digestive system.  Seven to eight hours of sleep per night also helps the body heal and may reduce painful inflammatory mediators. Finally, a soak in a magnesium-rich Epsom salt bath can be incredibly relaxing for daily muscle tension.

Healthy Recipe: Broiled Mackerel with Pineapple

photo source: http://helengraves.co.uk/2008/05/barbecued-pineapple-salsa-with-mackerel/ (A different recipe to try as well)

mackerel-and-pineapple-salsa

4 (225 grams) mackerel fillets

2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1-tablespoon coconut or organic canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

2-teaspoons turmeric

1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro sprigs

4 raw pineapple rings

Directions

Put fillets, skin side down, in a lightly oiled large shallow baking pan. Stir together ginger, garlic, lime juice, oil, salt, chili powder, and turmeric in a small bowl until combined well, then rub onto mackerel flesh and marinate 10 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Broil mackerel 5 to 6 inches from heat, without turning, until cooked through and lightly browned (Approx 7 to 8 minutes). Carefully transfer to plates and top with cilantro.  Use pineapple rings to garnish.  Serves 4. Recipe has been inspired by Broiled Mackerel with Ginger and Garlic at http://www.epicurious.com

xox Dr Millie

———————————————————–

Energy and Endurance

Energy boost; is caffeine required? (Originally published in the Healthy Dancer Magazine)

To drink coffee or not to drink coffee.  Recently, studies have shown that the little brown bean, in addition to providing caffeinated energy, is capable of contributing a plethora of other health benefits.  Yet so many feel agitated or jittery after a strong cuppa joe.  So what gives?  Coffee (Coffea Arabica/Canephora), traditionally is the choice herb of the majority of North Americans, containing 40-120mg of caffeine per cup.  While it brings a fine aroma, liver cleansing bitters, organ protective phytochemicals, it is clearly not a positive choice for all.

Caffeine is a phytochemical known to increase physical endurance, reduce fatigue, and enhance mental alertness. It is also linked to weight loss and the reduces risk in developing the metabolic syndrome/diabetes. The benchmark dosage of caffeine is approximately 63mg/day this serving.  Though clearly below what many people are consuming daily, it may be too high for some sensitive individuals. If you find yourself in the group of few who feel achy, tired, anxious, itchy or nauseous from coffee, consider some other superfoods for energy and stamina.

Green tea or white tea: organic Japanese or Chinese tea (Camellia sinensis) contains cancer-preventing polyphenols, calming amino acids L-theanine in about 12.5-25 mg of caffeine per cup.

http://blog.skinowl.com/skingredients-green-and-white-tea-extract-in-skinowls-eye-cream/

images

Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis): a popular Paraguayan drink contains cancer protective phenols and cholesterol loweing properties.  The traditional method of preparation is to enjoy the caffeine from the first press, and refill the pot as the leaves when steeped repeatedly decrease in caffeine and improve trace minerals bioavailability.

http://bringbacksomething.com/when-in-uruguay-yerba-mate-cup-mate-bombilla/

yerba-mate-cup-gift-uruguay-600x469yerba-mate-cup-gift-uruguay-600x469

yerba-mate-cup-gift-uruguay-600x469yerba-mate-cup-gift-uruguay-600x469

Maca (Lepidium meyeni): Related to the radish family, the Peruvian highlanders have a long life expectancy with little chronic disease in part due to their diet high in superfoods such as maca.  Related to the radish family, this caffeine-free tuber provides favorable effects on energy and mood, may decrease anxiety and improve sexual desire.

photo source:  http://www.kamilakveljkovic.com/superfood-spotlight-maca-root/

Maca Root

Chia:  Traditionally the Peruvian messenger food, Salvia hispanica contains phyto rich protein, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids.  It may contribute to a reduction in inflammation, improve satiety after a meal and provide endurance in a caffeine-free food stuff.

http://healthfulmindbodyandsoul.com/2012/07/

100_0397

Healthy Recipe: Superfood Cookies-

These cookies are a superfood energizer chalk-full of protein, vitamins and minerals.  With these cookies you require no caffeine to improve energy and optimize endurance.

Ingredients: (note: if you don’t have some of these ingredients – the recipe will probably work fine with substitutions!  When in doubt, add applesauce to moisten.)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup teff flour (Bob’s Red Mill)

1/4 whole wheat flour

2 Tbs ground flax

2 Tbs maca powder (found in Health Food stores)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 Tbs organic unbleached white sugar

1/4 cup butter or coconut oil

1 egg (or to make vegan – whisk 1 Tbs flax with 3 Tbs water)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Whisk together all the dry ingredients (oats through salt).  Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the earth balance and sugar.  Add the egg and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture.  Gently combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Stir in the coconut and chocolate chips.  Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake cookies for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

recipe source: http://www.runnerskitchen.com

xox Dr Millie

 

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