Words of Wellness Seminar May 21, 2016

Saturday May 21st, 2016 from 7am to 4pm at the Sheraton in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Sponsored by Integrative Family Wellness Center.

Visit with health providers, vendors, listen to educational seminars. $25 registration fee – all event proceeds will be donated to the Wisconsin Naturopathic Doctors Association.

Call Integrative Family Wellness Center 
– 262-754-4910 – 
to Reserve Your Seat Today!

Acid Reflux – What You Can Do About It

Acid RefluxAcid reflux is an extremely common health problem, affecting as many as 50 percent of Americans. Other terms used for this condition are gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) or peptic ulcer disease.

The hallmark symptom of acid reflux is “heartburn”—a burning sensation behind your breastbone that sometimes travels up your throat. In some cases, this pain can be severe enough to be mistaken for a heart attack.

Conventionally, acid reflux is thought to be caused by excessive amounts of acid in your stomach, which is why acid-blocking drugs are typically prescribed or recommended.

This is a serious medical misconception that adversely affects hundreds of millions of people, as the problem usually results from having too little acid in your stomach.

What Causes Heartburn?

After food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes, preventing food or acid to move back up.

Acid reflux occurs when the LES relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid from your stomach to flow (reflux) backward into your esophagus. But it’s important to understand that acid reflux is not a disease caused by excessive acid production in your stomach. It is a symptom more commonly related to either a Hiatal hernia or a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection (H. pylori bacteria is thought to affect more than half of the world’s population, and has been identified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization)

While these two conditions are unrelated, many who have a hiatal hernia also have H. pylori, which cause a chronic low-level inflammation of your stomach lining that can result in an ulcer and associated symptoms. If you have a hiatal hernia, physical therapy on the area may work and many chiropractors are skilled in this adjustment.

The hypothesis that H. pylori infection is responsible, or at least a major factor, for producing the symptoms of acid reflux stems from the work done by Dr. Barry Marshall, an Australian physician, during the early 1980s.

Are You Suffering a Drug Side Effect?

Besides these underlying conditions, beware that certain prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can also cause heartburn. Common culprits include anxiety medications and antidepressants, antibiotics, blood pressure medications, nitroglycerin, osteoporosis drugs, and pain relievers.

If your heartburn is caused by a medication you’re taking, the answer is, of course, to address what, when, and how you’re taking that drug. Don’t make the mistake of simply adding yet another drug to counteract this side effect. WebMD offers a number of helpful tips for how to address drug-induced heartburn, such as:

  1. Avoid taking more than the recommended or prescribed dose.
  2. Some medications are best taken on an empty stomach, while others are less likely to cause side effects like heartburn when taken with a meal. Check the label for instructions, or ask your doctor or pharmacist for advise on when and how to take your medication.
  3. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review ALL the medications and supplements you’re taking to see if one or more of them cause heartburn.
  4. Changing the dose or switching to another medication may be advisable to ease your heartburn. Some drugs may be available in cream form rather than a pill, which would be far less likely to cause heartburn.
  5. Avoid laying down right after taking your medication.
  6. Drink some ginger tea.

Why Medications for Heartburn Can Do More Harm Than Good

One of the most commonly prescribed drugs for heartburn and acid reflux are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are very effective at blocking acid production in your stomach.

While that may sound like an appropriate remedy, considering the fact that stomach acid is creeping up your esophagus, in most cases it’s actually the worst approach possible, as a major part of the problem is typically related to your stomach producing too little stomach acid.

There are over 16,000 articles in the medical literature showing that suppressing stomach acid does not address the problem. It only temporarily treats the symptoms.

PPIs like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid were originally designed to treat a very limited range of problems. According to Mitchell Katz, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, who wrote an editorial on this topic four years ago, “About 60 to 70 percent of people taking these drugs have mild heartburn and shouldn’t be on them.”

Your First Line of Treatment – Unprocessed Foods and Probiotics

Ultimately, the answer to heartburn and acid indigestion is to restore your natural gastric balance and function. Eating large amounts of processed foods and sugars is a surefire way to exacerbate acid reflux as it will upset the bacterial balance in your stomach and intestine. Instead, you’ll want to eat a lot of vegetables and other high-quality, ideally organic, unprocessed foods. Also, eliminate food triggers from your diet. Common culprits here include caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine products.

Next, you need to make sure you’re getting enough beneficial bacteria from your diet. This will help balance your bowel flora, which can help eliminate H. pylori bacteria naturally without resorting to antibiotics. It will also aid in proper digestion and assimilation of your food. Ideally, you’ll want to get your probiotics from fermented foods. If you aren’t eating fermented foods, you most likely need to supplement with a probiotic on a regular basis. Ideally, you’ll want to include a variety of cultured foods and beverages in your diet, as each food will inoculate your gut with a variety of different microorganisms. Fermented foods you can easily make at home include: Fermented vegetables, Chutneys, Cultured dairy such as yoghurt or kefir, and sour cream, as well as Fish, such as mackerel.

Addressing Low Acid Production

As mentioned earlier, heartburn is typically a sign of having too little stomach acid. To encourage your body to make sufficient amounts of hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), you’ll also want to make sure you’re consuming enough of the raw material on a regular basis.

High-quality sea salt (unprocessed salt), such as Himalayan salt, will not only provide you with the chloride your body needs to make hydrochloric acid, but it also contains over 80 trace minerals your body needs to perform optimally, biochemically. Sauerkraut or cabbage juice is also a strong, if not the strongest, stimulant for your body to produce stomach acid. Having a few teaspoons of cabbage juice before eating, or better yet, fermented cabbage juice from sauerkraut, will do wonders to improve your digestion.

There are other Safe and Effective Strategies to Eliminate Heartburn and Acid Reflux. Speak to our team of experts at Integrative Family Wellness Center for more information.

Drug-Free Migraine and Headache Prevention

A migraine becomes active in response to various triggers, such as stress, hormonal fluctuations, sleep disturbances, certain foods and even changes in the weather. This causes headaches of all kinds, including those mild to moderate headaches that tend to be mislabeled as “tension,” “stress” or “sinus” headaches. It’s a mistake to think of a migraine as one specific type of headache. A migraine can be much more than the stereotypical throbbing headache with nausea, vomiting and inability to tolerate bright light or loud noise.

A migraine involves many parts of the brain, various brain chemicals and, ultimately, the nerves and blood vessels around the head. The more blood vessel swelling and inflammation you have, the worse your headache.

The ideal solution is to prevent migraines by reducing your exposure to triggers, for example, eliminating certain foods or managing stress. Unfortunately, most people try to treat headaches after they occur. If your headaches occur infrequently and respond well to the occasional use of an over-the-counter or prescribed painkiller, that’s fine. But for people with frequent or daily headaches, this approach can make a bad situation worse.

The Pitfall of Painkillers

Painkillers can create a “rebound” effect. This occurs when the medication you have been taking for your headache wears off. While certain migraine medications relieve the symptoms if you use them occasionally, you may find that you need to use these drugs more frequently and in larger doses to achieve the same relief if you overuse the drugs. As a result, more severe headaches develop.

Many commonly used headache medications are associated with this rebound effect, including:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers that contain caffeine, such as Excedrin
  • Decongestants
  • Butalbital compounds, such as Fiorinal and Phrenilin
  • Vasoconstrictors, such as Midrin
  • Ergotamines, such as Migranal
  • Triptans, such as Imitrex, Zomig and Amerge
  • Narcotics, such as codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can cause a rebound, but they do so less commonly than the drugs listed above.

The Solution for Migraines and Headaches Can Be Rooted in Your Diet

You can prevent some migraines by avoiding the triggers that cause them. You can’t control weather changes, but you can control what you put into your mouth and swallow, such as medications and food and drink. Certain chemicals in food and drink, such as caffeine, tyramine, monosodium glutamate, nitrates, phenols and others, stimulate the migraine control center.

First, however, you have to stop rebounding. If you use any rebound-causing medication on average of three times per week or more, stop taking it. This can be difficult. You may experience more headaches for a few weeks because of withdrawal. Note: Always check with your doctor before you stop taking any prescribed or recommended medication.

Once you have any rebounding problems taken care of, you are ready to start controlling your triggers. Most headache sufferers do not recognize their dietary triggers because the effects can happen a day or more after consumption. Another reason dietary triggers go unrecognized is that they don’t always work alone. Each trigger can act in concert with other triggers. Often, the combination of triggers determines whether you will have a headache and how bad it will be on any given day.

For example, one day you may eat chocolate and notice a headache within a few hours. A few days later, you eat chocolate again but don’t get a headache. Is chocolate a trigger for your migraine? It’s hard to say. Maybe by itself chocolate is fine, but when combined with another trigger, the two items set off a migraine. To help you find your triggers and trigger combinations, many doctors recommend keeping a diet diary. By writing down everything you eat and drink, and tracking when your migraines occur, you and your doctor may be able to pinpoint likely triggers and trigger combinations. Be aware, of course, that other factors come into play, too, such as the weather.

Integrative Family Wellness Center nutrition consultations are designed to evaluate each client’s unique needs and situation, and co-creatively develop a personalized plan that will brew success. Talk to our team of professionals and start your journey on the road to better health and wellness today.

A Holistic Approach to Wellness

Sometimes life is like a roller coaster. At times you’re riding on the top of the world looking around and watching all the people, what they are doing, and wondering if they are as happy as you are. Other times it’s like you’re riding on an out of control downward spiral. Your health and well-being are threatened by all manner of external factors. You might be ill, you might be in a stressful job situation, maybe you had a slight injury which is causing you pain, your relationship with your spouse or family member could be going through a rocky time, and your inner spirit is weakened. All of these things can accumulate and compound into what some people simply refer to as “being in a slump.”

Most people believe that wellness is a focus on aspects of physical health such as diet and exercise. These are definitely important factors, however, a holistic approach to wellness also includes the body, the mind and the spirit. Wellness as a state of health involves many dimensions that make up your whole person.

Six Dimensions of Wellness

Dr. Bill Hettler, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati – College of Medicine and co-founder of the National Wellness Institute is credited with developing an interdependent, holistic or whole-person wellness model as an approach to healthy living. This Six Dimensions of Wellness model emphasizes that teaching people how to live and influencing healthy life choices would have much greater impact on survival than anything physicians are likely to accomplish.

  • Physical – taking action to maintain health
  • Social – connecting and interacting
  • Intellectual – stimulating mind and mental capacity
  • Spiritual – seeking spiritual centered beliefs
  • Emotional – feelings, managing stress, transitioning
  • Occupational – contributing, using skills/abilities

Today’s health education focuses primarily on the physical aspects alone. Many well-intended people

may inadvertently focus on biological parameters to gauge the well-being of individuals and overlook the holistic aspect or approach. Lifestyle choices and taking personal responsibility for wellness decisions have a guiding influence in the quality of our lives. Using anything less limits options for optimizing health and wellness.

If you could choose to enjoy better health, would you be interested? Do increased energy, greater enthusiasm, and an enhanced sense of well-being appeal to you? How about a greater sense of joy?

The good news is, these things are possible for you. Within yourself, you have the power needed to create wellness in your life. It’s your choice. The family physicians at Integrative Family Wellness Center care for patients in many different areas that are underserved by other medical providers. Whether your concern is one or more of the six dimensions of wellness, the team at IFWC can be your first step in helping you get your life back in balance. Give us a call today and set up an appointment.

Chiropractic Care and You

Most often, people go to chiropractors the first time for relief from neck or back pain commonly caused by accidents, muscular strain from heavy lifting, even stress. We’ve all been there at one time or another. Even normal, healthy activities can cause sprains and strains, which can lead to pain. Gardening, tennis, running, even a friendly game of golf can all potentially cause pain in your neck and back.

However, chiropractors treat a broad range of conditions and ailments in addition to neck and back pain. The following conditions are known to respond well to chiropractic treatments:

  • Asthma
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Autism
  • Blindness/Visual Disorders
  • Blood Pressure
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Chronic Neck Pain
  • Colic
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Deafness
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Disc Herniation
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Low Back Pain
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Pregnancy-related Pain
  • Repetitive Stress
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal Pain
  • Vertigo and Balance
  • Whiplash

Because chiropractic healthcare is holistic care, patients look to chiropractors for general wellness, too. In fact, preventive healthcare is among the fastest growing areas of chiropractic care.

Chiropractic care even helps athletes have better coordination of muscles and balance. When the bones of the spine are misaligned, the spinal joints cannot function properly, putting pressure on nerves causing hindered biomechanics. Every single aspect of body function is controlled and regulated by the brain and nerves. Unstable spinal alignments can alter body weight bearing, increase risk of injury, accelerate degeneration of the spine, and the body can’t reach its full potential.

At Integrative Family Wellness Clinic, you will be evaluated using time-honored methods including consultation, case history and physical examination. In addition, you will receive a careful chiropractic structural examination, with particular attention paid to the spine. Your chiropractor will readily refer you to the appropriate health care provider if chiropractic care is not suitable for your condition or if the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of our IFWC health care team.

Regular chiropractic care can help you feel better, move with more freedom, and stay healthier. Although you can enjoy the benefits of Chiropractic care even if you are only treated for a short time, the real benefits come into play when you incorporate chiropractic care into your lifestyle.

Stop suffering with consistent pain, soreness, and joint immobility. If your condition is one of those listed above, come and visit Integrative Family Wellness Center for an evaluation.

Stop Feeling Sick & Tired

You’re a busy person. Everyday you juggle Work, Family and countless Activities. You need to feel your best so you can be your best. Agreed? Don’t struggle through another day. Now is the time to get your “whole self” back on track.

Good News! Jen McCommons, PA-C, is now accepting new patients. You can count on her Health & Wellness expertise to help you Get Well, Stay Well, so you can Live Well. Take control of your health. Most insurance programs allow you to receive an annual Wellness Check-up … Get yours for yourself and those you love.