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What Should You Eat For Chronic Pain? | Nutrition for Chronic Pain

Do you suffer from chronic pain? Perhaps you’ve had pain for greater than three months, and you’re not sure how you can support nutritionally? Fortunately, there is so much high-quality evidence to support how diet therapy can make a profound difference in chronic pain.

Chronic pain is associated with pro-inflammatory states which are linked to peripheral and central sensitization. This is when the brain perceives that there’s pain, and even a heightened sense of pain with very little stimuli, yet there is no tissue damage.

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Additionally, the mitochondria, which is essentially the powerhouse of our cells, are also associated with chronic pain. The damage to the mitochondria can be driven by how we eat. Consuming pro-inflammatory foods, such as the Standard American Diet—the Western Diet—which is rich in sugary foods, alcohol, processed meats, and enriched grains, can contribute to inflammation and even damage the mitochondria. Therefore, with the Standard American Diet, there becomes an imbalance between our essential fatty acids, which we need for optimal health, and pro-inflammatory markers. That’s where a specific diet therapy comes in.

The first thing we want to do is address the inflammatory markers. The Mediterranean diet is one of the best and well-researched diets that has been shown to decrease inflammation. Think of a diet comprised of fish, legumes, olive oil, low in grains, and high in vegetables – also referred to as an anti-inflammatory diet.

5 ways that you address your chronic pain through diet

1) Decreasing Inflammation

The best way to do this is through an elimination diet. Eliminate the potentially pro-inflammatory foods for at least three weeks and then slowly reintroduce them, one at a time. These include gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, coffee, tea, corn, soy, processed meats, red meat, chocolate, tea, coffee, and shellfish. If you don’t want to do a full elimination diet, you can do a modified version—eliminate gluten and dairy, for example. These two definitely can play a role in inflammation, and specifically chronic pain. If you’re eating a lot of sugar, this is also a great place to start. Sugar is a massive pro-inflammatory agent, so decreasing sugar in your diet would be very beneficial.

 2) Calorie Reduction

When we are consuming fewer calories than required by our basal metabolic rate, then we can not only increase our brain’s ability to generate new neurons by decreasing free radicals, but we can also increase ATP, the energy source of the cells, and we can increase our number of mitochondria. These all could play a huge role in inflammation and pain.

3) Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating, can help turn on genes that help cells survive by reducing inflammation. There are many different ways to include intermittent fasting in your life. Fasting from seven o’clock at night until seven o’clock in the morning would be a 12-hour fast. You can slowly increase that to a 16 hour fast, or you can do 24-hour fast two days a week. There are many options to suit your lifestyle and it is strongly recommended to start slowly.

4) Specific Nutrient Supplementation

Omega 3’s, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B-12, and magnesium have all been shown to impact chronic pain. There are other nutrients that also help specifically with chronic pelvic pain, such as vitamin E, B1, and B3. 

5) Gut Health

Seventy percent of your immune system is in your gut. If there is an inflammation issue, we should start in the gut. So, do you need to include prebiotics, probiotics, or do you need a specific gut health protocol? If you are not managing gut health properly, then you are not managing chronic pain and inflammation well, either. 

These are just a few of the ways that we can use diet to influence chronic pain.  When we have that central sensitization of the nervous systems, our brain still perceives that there’s pain, yet there is likely no tissue damage. Our nervous system is heightened, and we can begin to associate chronic pain with pro-inflammatory markers. We can use diet to decrease inflammation and optimize our micronutrient, antioxidant, and phytonutrient profile to begin to bring our body back into a state of balance and healing. 

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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How to fix your forward head posture | Cranial nerves

WHAT SHOES TO WEAR FOR FOREFOOT PAIN

What do your gut bacteria do? | 10 Functions of Gut Bacteria | Microbiome

Everyone talks about the microbiome and gut bacteria, but why is it so important? What are the actual functions of the bacteria?

Before we get into the 10 functions of your gut bacteria, let’s talk a little bit about the anatomy. The small intestine which is 18 to 25 feet of our intestine, should be a relatively sterile environment. The large intestine, however, is where we house the majority of the bacteria, especially the beneficial bacteria. When we get something like a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), it is in essence where the bacteria have now been relocated and overpopulated into the small intestine where it is not supposed to be. We have trillions of bacteria in our gut, and we have a thousand different species. There are also 5,000 different bacterial strains. With that said, everyone is unique, however, there are combinations of collections of bacteria that are present in healthy individuals.

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10 Functions of Gut Bacteria

So, let’s get into the 10 functions of gut bacteria and why it is so important that you have an optimal balance.

  1. Nervous System Modification

This is a really powerful function of our gut bacteria. We want to think of three key neurotransmitters which are essentially are chemical messengers that are formed from the gut bacteria.

  • Serotonin: This is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. Ninety percent of our serotonin is located in our gut.
  • Dopamine: Fifty percent of our dopamine, our feel-good hormone, is located in our gut.
  • GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid): This is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that decreases feelings of fear and anxiety and produces a feeling of calm.

All of these are associated with this amazing gut-brain connection.

2. Breaks Down Food Compounds

Essentially, the gut bacteria metabolize the food and medications that we consume.

3. Pathogen Resistance

Think of our gut bacteria as one of our protective mechanisms. It will protect us from pathogens and toxins.

4. Protection Against Any Epithelial Injury

It protects against infections, just like it does with toxins and pathogens.

5. Bone Density Modulation

The gut bacteria can influence our bone density.

6. Promotion of Fat Storage

The gut bacteria can influence the hormones that store fat. Additionally, the Standard American Diet (SAD), that is, the western diet, is influencing gut bacteria, which has been linked to obesity.

7. Immune System Stimulation

Seventy percent of our immune system lies within our gut. So when we have optimal gut bacteria, this gut bacteria is influencing how our immune system responds to foreign invaders, toxins, and pathogens that they might be exposed to.

8. Promotion of Angiogenesis

When we have more blood vessels in the gut, this can be very powerful for future advances in treatments for gut infections.

9. Biosynthesis of Vitamins and Amino Acids

Water-soluble vitamins are plentiful in the diet, but also can be synthesized by the gut.

10. Metabolism of Therapeutics

This is ultimately how we process our medications and supplements. So keep in mind, that if you are planning to take things, you have to make sure that your gut is optimized so that you can metabolize these appropriately.

Now that you know the functions of gut bacteria, you know how important it is to optimize it. You can do that through numerous things, and you can see some other videos for different suggestions to optimize your gut health. But, we do want to think about everything from prebiotics, the fiber that the probiotics feed on, probiotics whether that’s through fermented food or supplementation, and then, of course, stress management, a high-fiber diet with 25 to 35 grams a day, drinking plenty of water, eating a whole, natural food diet to ensure that you are optimizing the diversity of your gut—that is one of the key things that your gut loves, diversity.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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How to fix your forward head posture | Cranial nerves

WHAT SHOES TO WEAR FOR FOREFOOT PAIN

How to fix your forward head posture | Cranial nerves

Do you have forward head posture, or do you have a friend or family member who does? Perhaps you’re always telling them to stand up straight, but they just can’t seem to do it. Let’s talk about the neurology and physiology behind forward head posture and most importantly, what you can do about it.

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Three things that contribute to forward head posture:

  1. Decreased tone in the trapezius muscle and increased tone in the sternocleidomastoid muscle

This is typically due to some kind of breathing dysfunction. That can be from an airway issue such as nasal valve collapse, deviated septum, chronic allergies, jaw issues, enlarged tonsils, just to name a few, which contributes to poor breathing mechanics, breathing more from the neck and shoulders as opposed to the abdomen and diaphragm. It can also be caused by a stressful event, trauma, or even chronic ongoing stress. This specific imbalance in these muscles is what contributes to forward head posture. Additionally, people that have asthma or COPD will almost always have a forward head posture.

2) State of the nervous system

If you are in a chronically stressed state, perhaps a fight or flight state, or even a freeze state where you feel shut down, how you hold your posture will be impacted. Your posture is your story and how you present yourself to the world. Do you walk into a room with confidence and standing up tall, or do you feel shy, reserved, and rounded forward? All of your thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and activities impact your posture. We can’t simply think about your forward head posture as a plumb line.  It is so much more than that. 

3) Scars

No matter where the scar is or how old it is, it can affect your breathing, emotions, and movement. Scars contribute to postural changes, shifts in the nervous system, and contribute to muscle imbalances. It’s important to look at any scar in your body no matter where it is or what it’s from, and begin to address the scar from a fascial perspective. This means that doing scar work can influence your emotions, breathing, and movement. 

Now that you have three causes, let’s talk about three solutions. So, when we’re thinking about how we’re going to shift this forward head posture, we have to think beyond just simple exercises such as chin retractions and thoracic mobility. We have to think about the cranial nerves because they are impacting our nervous system, facial expression, and whether we’re in a state of social engagement, which means we’re mindful, joyful, and grounded. We’re going to address this more so from a cranial nerve perspective and optimizing breathing so that you can make a change immediately. You can also have a cumulative effect the more that you do these.

What I would recommend before you start the exercises is to have someone take a side view picture of your forward head posture. Then, take one again after you finish the exercises to see if there is a change. There absolutely should be at least a subtle change if not a very noticeable change. 

Three solutions for forward head posture

Three solutions for forward head posture

1) The Basic Exercise

With this, you’re putting input to the back of your head and looking with your eyes to create more blood flow around the brainstem. This is where the vagus nerve originates. What happens when we’re not in a state of social engagement is our first two vertebrae can become slightly misaligned. By bringing blood flow to the area and stimulating the vagus nerve can bring the first two vertebrae back into alignment, which means we’re back into a state of social engagement. This can impact your forward head posture almost immediately.

To perform the basic exercise, interlace your fingers and bring them behind your head. Look with your eyes only in one direction until you sigh, swallow, or yawn. When you’ve done that, repeat on the other side. This should take approximately 30 to 60 seconds, however, it can take longer depending on if your nervous system is ready to relax 

2) The Salamander Exercise 

This is also a cranial nerve reprogramming exercise, which will help to create more space in the chest cavity, the heart, and the lungs, therefore impacting breathing and forward head posture.

To perform the salamander, assume a table position. Look with your eyes first and then your head as you bring your ear to your shoulder and hold that for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the other side again making sure you lead with your eyes, then side bend your head bringing your ear towards your shoulder. 

3) The Trapezius Twist

This is essentially waking up all of the trapezius muscles. It’s not stretching or strengthening them. It’s just waking them up, which means there will be an immediate change in posture, breathing, forward head posture, as well as overall posture. Especially after you’ve been sitting for some time, get up and do these three twists! You won’t be disappointed.

To perform this exercise, start with your arms grasped together at waist level rocking back and forth. Next, move your arms up to the heart line rocking them back and forth. Lastly, raise your arms slightly above your shoulders and once again rock them back and forth. You should do about five to ten repetitions at each position. 

There you have it, some causes for forward head posture and most importantly some solutions. We do have to remember that with forward head posture it becomes a vicious cycle because the more forward the head is the more blood flow that is constricted from the vertebral arteries. This means less blood flow to the brain. It also is affecting our airway which means it’s impacting our lymphatic system, hormonal system, and causing inflammation in the body. It’s really important to understand the neurology and physiology of forward head posture and begin to think about it from a much different perspective rather than simply corrective exercises like the chin tucks, upper back stretches, and retractions. We want to think of it especially from a nervous system perspective.

Reach out for a 15 minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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WHAT SHOES TO WEAR FOR FOREFOOT PAIN

How to Map Your Own Nervous System: The Polyvagal Theory

WHAT SHOES TO WEAR FOR FOREFOOT PAIN

Do you have forefoot pain or pathology and you’re not really sure what shoe you should be wearing? There are numerous foot pathologies that you could have, however we are going just zero in on a few today, such as bunions, first metatarsal joint arthritis, neuromas, and plantar plate tears.

Before we get into details about each, let’s just go over some quick anatomy.  The forefoot includes the phalanges (toes), the five metatarsals, and the connective tissue.

Now, let’s jump right into our foot pathologies and what feature in the shoe you should be looking for to accommodate for your pain.

  1. 1st MPJ arthritis:

This 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint is also referred to as the great toe. This is caused by the joint jamming too early in the gait cycle or an inflammatory reaction.  If you have arthritis in this toe and it is either painful and or limited in mobility, then the most important feature for your shoe will be a more rigid midsole. Secondly, you’ll want a wide toe box so that you have room for your toes to splay properly.

midsole

2. Bunion:

A bunion occurs when we lose stability in the metatarsal cuneiform joint (first ray). The first metatarsal will swing out and create a valgus position on the great toe. With a bunion, you definitely want a wide toe box. Because a bunion is caused by a lack of stability in the 1st ray, this often indicates that the foot is likely an unstable, everted foot type. In this case, a stiff heel counter in the back of the shoe will help control the foot so that it does not overpronate.

heel counter

3. Neuroma:

A neuroma is a scarred or fibrotic nerve often between the third and the fourth metatarsal. The nerve rubs on the fascial tissue and then becomes fibrotic.  This typically occurs from a loss of stability in the foot and/or compression in footwear, among other things such as injury. What will be most important with acute symptoms of a neuroma will be a stiff midsole. If the midsole is flexible, and you have an active, painful neuroma, you will continually compress the nerves at toe-off in your gait. So when your foot is more irritated, a stiffer midsole with a wide toe box will be most beneficial. 

toe box

4. Plantar plate tear:

The plantar plate is an extension of the plantar fascia that runs horizontally across the joints. A plantar plate tear can be very painful, and you’ll want to immobilize the tissue for a period of time. In this case, once again, you’ll want something more rigid in the midsole. During an acute injury, you will want to immobilize the tissue for a period of time, therefore utilizing the rigid midsole.

In certain circumstances depending on the level of forefoot pain and pathology and how it’s affecting your quality of life, a forefoot rocker is frequently recommended. If someone has advanced great toe arthritis, whether it’s fused itself or a fusion surgery has been performed, a rocker bottom shoe can be very helpful.  It can be added to the shoe or there are actually shoes that you can purchase with this specific feature.

Now for your bonus! The more cushion you have in your shoe, the more impact force you will have through your body. Picture yourself walking outside barefoot. Imagine how you would walk–your pace, your intention, your impact.  Now picture yourself doing the same walk in high cushioned shoes. Think about the difference in how you would interact with the ground. You will strike the ground much harder because you do not have the same sensory input that you would have if you were walking barefoot. 

When you have pain that is affecting your quality of life, shoes can be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

If you’d like to schedule a free 15-minute virtual discovery session, please email drarianne@themovementparadigm.com or text 302-373-2394 to schedule. We’d love to help you get healthy again!

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement, and share with anyone you think may need this.

THE SCIENCE OF KNOWING WHAT TO DO BUT NOT DOING IT | 6 Mindset Hacks

Did you ever wonder why you know exactly what you should be doing to make your life better, happier, healthier, but you don’t do it? You keep saying next week, next year, in five years, but it never really becomes a reality. We have all been there but let’s talk about the science of why that happens and what you can do about it. To put it simply, we are humans and we all have emotion. With that, we are naturally going to gravitate towards pleasure and away from pain. Say for example, Friday night rolls around, and your spouse or significant other wants to order pizza. You’ve had a long week so even though you’re planning to have a salad, you go for the pizza. Another example is sleeping in versus working out in the morning. The reality is that we consistently overcomplicate things. We make them way too complex for what they need to be.

Your subconscious mind is 99 percent of your mind. This is the house of all of your past experiences. This includes your memories, beliefs, and unresolved emotions. This is the domain of your habits. Our conscious mind, however is one percent of our mind and is responsible for our thoughts, goals, awareness of self. For us to be able to set a goal and be able to succeed at it, we have to align the subconscious mind with the conscious mind. Even though we know what we should do i.e. our conscious mind, our subconscious mind is a million times faster and much more powerful. If those two are not aligned, then unfortunately we will not be able to meet our goals or set out to do what we said we were going to do. As it relates to habits, we run our day on approximately 45 percent to 95 percent on habits.  Our thoughts are actually part of our habits. We have about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day. You can hopefully appreciate that if these conscious thoughts are overpowering our conscious mind, then we are going to default to whatever is easier. We are not necessarily going to move towards the pain, we are going to move towards pleasure, whatever is the easiest thing right now. Going back to that Friday night pizza, “I’ve had a long week and I’m tired,” so I’m just going to go back to what’s comfortable and what’s easy…pleasure.

Additionally, when we get out of our comfort zone, for example setting a goal to exercise every day, this signals fear to the body. Immediately we have chemicals released that are signaling fear and danger. So guess what happens? We also want to move towards what’s easy, what’s comfortable, and what’s pleasurable. We easily will revert back and not achieve our new year’s resolution to exercise every day.

So let’s talk about six ways that you can begin to align your subconscious mind with your conscious mind, you can begin to make your goals a reality.

1) Healthful habits

You want to develop healthful habits so that when your conscious mind gets tired from all those thoughts that are racing through your head, that your subconscious mind decides to take over and do the right thing.

2) Be aware

Be aware of your thoughts, inner voice, and most importantly the language that you are speaking to yourself. If you continue to say, “I’m never really going to get strong,” then you will not get strong. You will not necessarily work out like you’re supposed to in order to get strong. So, you want to make sure that you’re in tune with the language that you’re speaking and shift it to a productive language. “I am going to work out so that I am strong.”

3) Clarity

Have clarity about what you want, what are you striving to do, and the goal(s) that you are hoping to achieve. If you do not have clarity of your vision, dream, or goal, then it will be very challenging to allow that subconscious mind to be aligned with the conscious mind.

4) Take small action steps

This is extremely important to make sure that you are making small incremental changes, especially in your habits. Think of the first time that you were told you had to brush your teeth. Since you were a young child, you’ve been brushing your teeth every single day, at least we hope so. That’s a perfect example of how habits start.

5) Consistency

It is so crucial that for you to do what you want to do, to be consistent with your habits, day in and day out. Blocking time in your schedule, for example, to allow yourself the time to be able to perform whatever it is that you need to do. Whether that’s working out, meal prepping, or meditation. Be consistent with whatever you do so that it becomes a habit, just like brushing your teeth.

6) Celebrate

Celebrate your successes! This is where we can have serotonin and dopamine responses that can improve that feeling of happiness, as well as reward and motivation. It keeps you motivated to keep doing what you’re doing to keep this habit going to make sure that it’s truly part of your life.

There are six different ways to help you align your subconscious mind with your conscious mind, allow you to achieve your goals, and do what you say you are going to do.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule a FREE 15 minute virtual consultation.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

The truth about salt

Have you been told over and over again how bad salt is? Usually, salt is portrayed as an evil thing that you must avoid in order to live a healthy life.

Let’s discuss this amazing electrolyte that actually has a ton of health benefits, and that may be, per research, not something you need to be so scared of.

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What is sodium?

What is sodium? Sodium is an essential electrolyte that is very important for human nutrition. About 60 to 70 percent of our sodium is found in extracellular fluid, about 30 to 40 percent is found on the surface of the bone, and then about 10 percent can be found in the muscle and nerve tissue. Sodium is absorbed in our small intestine and the proximal part of the colon.

Benefits of salt

Salt has so many benefits, and we want to think about salt being a priority in our bodies’ osmotic balance or fluid balance. It is crucial for activity, especially if you are sweating in a hot, humid environment. This essential electrolyte needs to be maintained and replenished while we’re exercising.

In addition to reducing muscle fatigue, it also helps with nerve transmission and promotes good vascular health. In essence, salt is good for you.

What research says about salt

For decades salt has been demonized as being one of the biggest contributors to heart disease. For example, one study in the Journal of Hypertension showed that in over 6,000 subjects, reducing salt intake made no difference in the risk of heart disease or in people with normal blood pressure and high blood pressure.

In 2003, a Cochrane review of over 53 studies showed that reducing salt intake really had little to no benefit on health outcomes. Another review of over 11 studies showed that reducing salt intake can reduce the systolic number by one and diastolic number by 0.6; that would be like going from 120 over 80 to 119 over 79.

What types of salt should you consume, or should you not consume?

As you can see, the research on salt intake does not prove that high salt intake contributes to heart disease or hypertension. We really need to shift our focus and identify more of the root causes of why someone might have those issues, which often may be associated with inflammation or underlying issues, toxins, gut issues, etc., as opposed to blaming salt.

Most often, we consume processed foods and packaged foods. In fact, all of them contain a large amount of salt, but it has been shown that these forms of salt can contain microplastics.

When possible, aim for more sea salt. It is okay to even add salt to your food, especially if you’re exercising, when you wake up in the morning, and when you’re dehydrated. Many people can feel so much better when they begin to add salt to their diet.

Now here’s what I always say, it is individualized to you. You need to understand your medical conditions and what you feel best about. Explore it, and you can see how you feel. Sometimes, people feel worlds different.

The take-home is that we don’t need to put so much emphasis and energy into decreasing salt in our diet. There are plenty of other things we can focus our time on because at this point, the research does not prove for this to have a negative impact on our health.

Check out some of our other videos on gut health, vagus nerve, and movement.

I hope this was helpful. If it was, give it a like, give it a share, and of course, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset nutrition and movement.

If you need help with your nutrition plan, or if you really want to look and feel better this year, please reach out to us; we would love to help you. Reach out for a free discovery session so we can figure out if we’re a good fit for you.

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3 reasons you may have jaw pain

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3 reasons you may have jaw pain

Are you experiencing jaw pain, and you continue to seek solutions, but you just can’t seem to get to the bottom of it? Here are three reasons why you may have jaw pain.

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What You Need To Know About Paw Pain

The most common thing you may be aware of is that you’ve been clenching or grinding, whether at night or during the day. Perhaps your dentist has told you that you’ve been grinding?

Here are three primary causes that will help you to uncover the underlying causes of your pain.

Causes of Jaw Pain

1. Stress

Stress can contribute to clenching and/or grinding. This can also be associated with poor vagal tone or poor parasympathetic activity.

Often, these are associated, and there’s a correlation with the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve can specifically act as a sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve.

The trigeminal nerve actually innervates the skin of the face, the mucosa, and the nasal cavity, and so it has a very deep connection with the vagus nerve. Therefore, it actually produces specific neurotransmitters, so when there’s a dysfunction of the trigeminal nerve, it can be associated with some mood issues and neuropsychiatric disorders.

When there’s a miscommunication between these two nerves, often influenced by stress or trauma, then this can contribute to clenching and grinding.

2. Airway dysfunction

One of the biggest causes of jaw pain, and often overlooked, is an overbite, underbite, poor tongue posture, tonsil issues, small nasal valves, or a deviated septum. There are so many potential airway dysfunctions that could be contributing to your jaw pain, so it is very important that if you’ve had chronic jaw pain, you have your airway evaluated by a specialist. That can help you breathe, move and sleep better.

3. Lack of stability in the body

Finally, one of the reasons why you may have jaw pain is compensation for lack of stability somewhere else in the body. Most commonly, there’s a deep connection to the pelvic floor. When the pelvic floor is very overactive, and is not sequencing, relaxing, and contracting the way it should, there can often be associations with the clenching and grinding within the jaw.

And so, let’s take the example of you standing on one leg. If you’re trying to stand on one leg and you’re really out of balance, your body is going to figure out some mechanism to be safe.

When you have jaw pain, or any other pain for that matter, you really want to dig deeper and find out why so that you can treat the underlying cause. Identifying the root cause will help you become pain-free, live an active lifestyle, breathe better, sleep better, eat better, and do all the wonderful things you deserve.

If this was helpful, please give it a like and a share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

If you need help on your journey, we would love the opportunity to help, so please reach out to us for a discovery session, and we can help you get on the right path.

​​If you are ready to take action now, schedule here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd

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10 Best Biohacks for 2023

Biohacking is all the rage right now. But what’s it really about? Essentially, biohackers are people who are interested in the best ways to live healthier, happier, and more productive and purposeful lives.

Here are ten of my favorite biohacks that you should consider using for the new year 2023 to help you gain greater health, vitality, longevity, and well-being.

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If you’ve watched my videos, you know that these are some of my favorite things, but not only are they my favorites, these are things that are evidence-based and proven over and over again to be effective for your overall mental, emotional, and physical health and longevity.

So yes, you may want to look better and feel better, but ultimately you want to be able to do the things in your life that you want to do, right? You don’t want to be held back, and therefore, we cannot take our health for granted. All of the things that I’m going to mention today are so easy to integrate that there’s really no excuse not to do them.

I’m not asking to spend hours a day, rather, focus on these simple strategies that you can easily integrate into your life and make huge improvements in your health.

10 biohacks you should try this 2023

1. Track your heart rate variability

Track your heart rate variability. Essentially, this you’re tracking your vagal tone. There are many options: Whoop, Oura, Fitbit, or an Apple Watch, just to name a few.

One of my favorites is the app Elite HRV, which I use along with a chest monitor. When you wake up in the morning, you can assess your heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and readiness for the day. This allows you to make very intentional changes in your life. Did I sleep well? Did I eat well? How much stress am I under?  You can track the trends of your overall health and how it is affecting your resiliency day to day. This is one of the best objective measures that we can use to assess vagal tone, track your overall health, and be able to ultimately make changes accordingly.

2. Optimizing your sleep

Sleep should be a non-negotiable, but I’m going to give you my quick tips for optimizing your sleep.

  • Number one, get blue light blockers. You want to wear them after 7 PM because, realistically, you’re going to be using your phone or your TV, so get blue light blockers to eliminate the blue light at night. The blue light is ultimately stimulating the receptors in your eye to signal that it is morning.
  • Number two, when you wake up in the morning, you either want to get 20 minutes of natural sunlight within the first 20 minutes or if you can’t do that and that’s not realistic, get a SAD  light that has at least 10,000 lux and set it up as you’re getting ready in the morning or brushing your teeth. You want to optimize your natural cortisol peak in the morning and, ultimately, your melatonin production that night.

This is really important for sleep optimization, and of course, there are many other sleep tips, but these are critical.

3. Vagus nerve stimulation

When it comes to vagus nerve stimulation, you can look at all of my different videos. I have over 50 different vagus nerve exercises, but I will perhaps come back to my favorite — the one and only diaphragmatic breathing.

When we are breathing diaphragmatically, we are stimulating the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve runs right through the diaphragm, and we release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, creating a relaxation response.

You can tap into breathing anywhere, anytime, and for most people, it is a very effective tool in regulating your nervous system. However, please check out all my other videos on vagus nerve exercises because there are countless exercises that you can do that are extremely effective. Nonetheless, you want to think about how you can regulate your nervous system in the New Year.

4. Lymphatic drainage

This is one of the easiest things you can do because you can basically do it anywhere, including in the shower. You can do it right before or after you get out of the shower. It’s such a gentle and quick technique.

You can check my other lymph blogs or videos for more specific details on how to do that.

5. Strength training

This is something that I will say repeatedly; strength training is the best aging-gracefully strategy you can do. We want to think about how our muscles are influencing our longevity because as we get older, we lose muscle mass; that’s called sarcopenia.

Strength training and optimal protein intake are what allows us to maintain that muscle mass, optimize bone density, and be able to generate force, and adapt to life’s demands without injury. It is one of the most important things that I suggest and doing so in a safe program that includes mobility, strength, and stability all wrapped up in one so it doesn’t take a lot of extra time.

6. Walking

Walking always gets overlooked. It is one of the best forms of exercise that we can do. It is a low-intensity exercise that is great for fat loss, aerobic capacity, and emotional regulation because of its rhythmical nature. It’s what we’re designed to do from a movement perspective.

Work towards a movement mindset. Figure out how many steps you’re taking a day right now. Get your baseline and try to work towards getting 8,000–10,000 steps a day.

If you’re working out of the gym in between sets, take a few laps. If you are parking at the grocery store, park farther away. There are many ways to increase your steps, movement, and overall activity and stimulate your fascial tissue.

There are so many amazing things about walking. It’s often overlooked, but it is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body.

7. Xlear

This is one of the best things that you can have in your toolbox, especially if you’ve suffered from more immune issues this year. This is such a great preventative and treatment that you could use.

I recommend the Daily Rinse, which you would do twice daily. If you are exposed to someone that’s sick, you’re in larger crowds, or if there’s some for a particular reason why you may need a little bit more of a boost — you’re at an airplane or you get sick, then you want to use the Rescue. Saline alone can actually dry out the nasal cavity so where the xylitol helps to kill bacteria and moisten the nasal passages.

Mutes

I also recommend Mutes. They are fantastic for opening the airway; they can open the airway up to 38 percent to improve nasal breathing, which of course, we know is so important for everything in your body: your core function, nervous system, and your sleep. You can get a trial pack to determine the best size for you.

8. Naboso

Naboso is a specific technology designed to stimulate the small nerves in your hands and feet. It helps to improve balance, gait, and movement efficiency. We need sensory information to create optimal movement.

You can use the ball, the splay, recovery socks, or the mats. I highly recommend this, so please make sure you incorporate this into your life so that you can enjoy improved movement.

9. Protein

I talk about this all the time, but it is so important to have the optimal amount of protein per day, to increase muscle mass, prevent sarcopenia, help with bone density, and help with lean body composition.

We want lean muscle versus increased fat tissue because fat tissue is actually inflammatory. Almost every patient I’ve ever worked with is undereating protein.

We want to think about getting that protein from ethically sourced animal sources that contain all of your essential amino acids. To calculate your protein goal on your own, you would use your ideal body weight.

  • For women, the ideal body weight is a hundred pounds for the first five feet and five pounds per every inch after that. So if you were 5’3”, it would be 115 pounds. (115 g Protein/day)
  • For men, it’s 106 pounds for the first five feet and six pounds per inch after that. So, if you were 5’10” as a male, your ideal body weight would be 166. (166 g Protein/day)

This will vary among people depending on their goals and their activity, but this is a really good start.

10. 1st Phorm Micro Factor

Most often, of course, people need supplementation because we’re not getting the nutrients from our food as we once did. Additionally, most people aren’t consuming all the nutrients they need on a regular basis.

So Micro Factor has been awesome for me and for my patients. Essentially, it has a multivitamin, antioxidant, CoQ10, fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids, and probiotics, and it comes in a handy little packet. It makes it easy to travel and to be able to grab everything you need without having tons of bottles of supplements.

This can be a great addition to your routine. If this is appropriate, sometimes I have people take the probiotic out if they’re having certain gut issues, and they might have to use a specific probiotic strain, but if you’re just looking for general wellness and health, this is a great pick. You can check it out here.

I hope you found at least one tip that you can apply in the New Year.

Follow us at The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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What if vagus nerve hacks aren’t working

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What if vagus nerve hacks aren’t working

Have you been trying all of these different vagus nerve hacks, and they just don’t seem to be doing the trick? You’ve tried breathing, meditation, humming and cold showers, but you still feel like you’re dysregulated?

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How vagus nerve issues present

As many of you know, vagus nerve issues can present very differently for each person.

For one person, it may present as heart rate and blood pressure dysregulation. Another person may experience dizziness, headaches, or digestive issues, even something such as gastroparesis. Some may have increased anxiety or depression.

Even if you’ve tested your vagus nerve, such as the uvula or gag reflex test, and it’s shown that there has been some dysfunction of the vagus nerve, it is important to ask why there is vagus nerve dysfunction.

Why you may be having vagus nerve issues and how to address them

Although vagus nerve dysfunction may cause a whole host of different symptoms for each person, it is really imperative to figure out why that is happening. I know that many of you have heard, “getting to the root of the issue.” Many times, there is more than one underlying cause.

You may have had a predisposition in addition to a triggering event such as an infection, toxin exposure, vaccine, or even a stressful event.

And we also have some kind of, you know, triggering event or perpetuating factors that might be contributing to this ongoing process. So it’s really important to look at all of those.

If, for example, you have a gut issue like Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), leaky gut, candida, or even a parasite, this will largely impact your gut-brain connection. Your gut and brain are connected via the vagus nerve.

Eighty percent of the information from the vagus nerve goes to the brain from the viscera. Conversely, if there is any type of structural pathology, such as airway dysfunction (deviated septums, small nasal valves, enlarged turbinates, jaw issues, tongue tie, etc.), these will influence the vagus nerve, as the vagus nerve passes through the diaphragm.

If we are breathing from our neck and shoulders 25,000 times a day, that will affect how that nerve functions.

The last is a lymphatic issue. Our nerves are bathed in our lymph system. If there’s any congestion from systemic inflammation, perhaps stemming from the gut originally,  or myofascial restrictions, these will impact the vagus nerve. Our vagus nerve passes right through the left supraclavicular region, where we have the majority of our lymph draining here. If it’s congested, it will affect the rest of the system.

I hope you can appreciate that there are many reasons to delve into to be able to understand why you have vagus nerve dysregulation.

We offer integrative vagus nerve therapy to be able to help you, through this journey to be able to identify what these causes are and really help you take the next step forward, It’s important to continue to do all of the suggested vagus nerve hacks, all while determining the underlying causes of why you have it in the first place, emotionally and physically.

If you are ready to take action now, schedule here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd

If it was helpful, give it a like, give it a share, and of course, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset nutrition and movement thank you as always.

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5 inflammatory triggers

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5 inflammatory triggers

Have you been dealing with some type of chronic health condition, autoimmune disease, skin issues, or even sinus issues that just don’t seem to be resolving? Here are five different categories of inflammatory triggers that you should consider exploring if you’re experiencing any or all of these things.

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What do you need to know about inflammation?

We want to remember that ninety percent of all chronic health conditions are associated with excessive or persistent inflammation.

What is inflammation?

We want to think of inflammation as our normal defense and repair mechanism.

Let’s take, for example, an acute injury such as an ankle sprain. We may have swelling, redness, pain, loss of motion—this is exactly what’s supposed to happen in the first four to five days of your inflammatory process.

White blood cells infiltrate to help the area heal. However, if, for example, we have poor sleep, stress, and we’re eating inflammatory foods, then this could lead to more systemic inflammation. It could lead to a loss of tolerance where the ankle just doesn’t seem to improve.

Of now, all of a sudden, you experience shoulder pain or get a cold. When things keep jumping around from one to the next and it just seems like you have bad luck, that’s a perfect example of systemic inflammation. That’s when you want to look deeper to figure out what those things are.

If we want to simplify this in terms of your exploration, you can look at five different categories of potentially inflammatory triggers.

What triggers inflammation?

1. Food

This is one of the most common areas, and it’s also the easiest to explore.

We have essentially 14 different potentially inflammatory foods that are more common such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, etc. We also have different foods and food properties that you could be sensitive to as well—something like histamines, oxalates, or nightshades.

There are a lot of different categories of foods that could be potentially inflammatory, but I always like to start with some of the basics. The two most common inflammatory foods for people potentially inflammatory can be gluten and dairy.

It’s always a good starting point for assessing. We do want to remember with food that there are three different types of adverse food reactions—allergy, food sensitivity, and food intolerance. Any or all of these can contribute to essentially some type of inflammatory process in the body, so it’s important to investigate what those are for you.

2. Bugs

This could be something like a tick—a tick-borne illness, or a parasite, which we can see on a stool test.

If there is some kind of underlying infection that you are unaware of, this could exacerbate many of your potential symptoms. If you are evaluating all the things causing your inflammation, you definitely want to at least keep this in mind as a possibility. Also, if you’ve been traveling overseas, to other countries, and so on, you’ll want to factor that into a potential root cause.

3. Toxins

We have internal and external toxins. We are exposed to an exorbitant amount of toxins on a daily basis—that could be things from clean chemicals to plastic water bottles to mold exposure; the list is endless.

Internal toxins, like yeast or bacterial infections, can also act as toxins in our bodies. Of course, things that we might be injected with, like alcohol, are also toxins.

In this category, we can assume that we are all exposed to them. It may be to a different level for each person, and everyone’s ability to detoxify is unique. This is going to be based on a genetic predisposition, early childhood exposure, or their lifetime exposure to toxins.

We want to keep in mind that one person may be surrounded by smoke and mold their whole life but not have an issue and another person might have cancer and autoimmune disease and be unable to get out of bed. We want to really respect and appreciate the differences the individual differences between people.

4. Trauma

As it relates to trauma, we can have previous childhood trauma, emotional trauma, physical trauma, chemical trauma, or simply ongoing stress. All of these things can be explored, and really this is, to me, one of the most important aspects of addressing inflammation.

We know that ongoing stress, for example, can shift the colonization of the bacteria in the gut. This can cause dysbiosis or ongoing inflammation. We want to remember that our gut is 70 percent of our immune system. When we’re talking about immune health and inflammation, we have to talk about gut health.

5. Hormones

This can range from a whole host of issues, from thyroid issues to sex steroid issues (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.) to insulin, ghrelin, leptin, and much more.

For example, if we have a thyroid issue, eating inflammatory foods, have chronic stress, and are exposed to toxins, then we will likely have a greater inflammatory response.

The more of these things that you are experiencing, the greater the likelihood that something (or some symptoms) will become worse.

As you begin to explore your own health, try to consider these factors. This is not an end-all-be-all list, but this helps to get an idea of what might be driving some of your symptoms and also where to begin to explore so you can feel your best.

If you would like to make an appointment with us, we see people all over the world, so please make sure to reach out. We would love to set up a discovery session so that we can help you feel your best. If you are ready to take action now, schedule here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd

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Vagus nerve test | Gag reflex

You know I love to hack the nervous system, and here is another way to explore your vagus nerve.

The gag reflex is innervated by cranial nerves, cranial nerve IV, the glossopharyngeal nerve, as well as cranial nerve X, the vagus nerve. Here is another way to assess your vagal nerve function, amongst other things.

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What you should expect from physical therapy

1. Thorough evaluation

You deserve a thorough evaluation, no matter what you are reaching out to physical therapists for, whether that’s movement issues, chronic pain, acute pain, vestibular, balance issues, post-surgery, pre-surgery, or any other reason.

That means not only a physical therapist should be looking at your current symptom (s), but they are looking to figure out why they happened in the first place, even during post-surgical cases. A thorough evaluation includes looking at a detailed movement assessment, where your compensation patterns lie, what might be driving some of the issues you’ve had, and all of your modifiable lifestyle factors. How is your sleep? Your nutrition? How are your relationships? How is your stress management? If your therapist is missing these details, they are missing a huge element of helping you heal.

2.  Practicing what they preach

You deserve a physical therapist who practices what they preach, whether that’s movement, balance, or exercise. They should be a health leader, educator, and movement specialist, and because of that, they have an obligation to be able to do the things that they are recommending that you should do.

3. 1-on-1 care

It is hard to find 1-on-1 care in today’s healthcare environment. I worked in the outpatient practice for eight years, so I understand a busy outpatient setting, and unfortunately, the demands of insurance companies are dictating this. However, you deserve to be able to be the only person in the room, to be listened to, and to have your therapist understand your diagnosis, prognosis, underlying causes, current concerns, goals, and plan of care without being pulled in a million directions. One-on-one care is extremely important, whether that’s 30-minute sessions or 60-minute sessions.

4. Someone who will look at you as a whole person

You should expect someone who listens to your story and understands that you are not a “shoulder problem,” you are not a “hip injury,” and that you are a person; you are human with a story and emotions and thoughts and all the things that make you wonderful. So, make sure that someone is looking at you as a human with a beautiful story, not just an injury.

5. Mindful and intentional movement

You should expect a therapist to help you perform mindful, intentional movement to help guide you to move with interoception, internal awareness of self, and to be able to understand movement quality, as opposed to high-volume exercises with poor form.  As movement educators, one of the greatest gifts we can share with you is to help you move your body the way it was intended to so that you can continue to do the things you love.

What you shouldn’t expect from physical therapy

What are some of the things that you should not expect from physical therapy? This is equally as important.

1. You should not be on things that will not help you get well

You should not be on hot packs, cold packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasounds, or other modalities that aren’t helping you get well. They are sometimes time-savers for the therapist, but they are not actually creating better movement in your body. They’re not getting to the root of your issue. They are not moving you forward, and you want to be able to maximize your time spent in physical therapy.

2. You shouldn’t be warming up on machines

You don’t want to get to physical therapy and go on the treadmill or bike to warm up for 10 or 15 minutes—you want to learn how to move your body. Every minute counts!

3. You shouldn’t be on tons of band exercises

You should not be going through tons and tons of band exercises with poor form without guidance. Especially when you feel like you are going through the motions and you could do this at home.

If you feel like you could do that at home, that’s your first sign that this is not a good fit.

I want everyone to believe in physical therapy. We have an amazing opportunity to share with you the gift of movement.

In summary, when you think physical therapy is a waste of time, you’re put on machines and lots of modalities, and you feel like you are competing for your PT’s attention, you deserve better.

Please make sure to find a great physical therapist in your area who does one-on-one care, looks at you as the whole person, that addresses potential root causes of your injury or your pain or any other issue that you might be experiencing.

If you need help, please reach out to us, we do virtual and in-person care, and we perform holistic physical therapy. Schedule your evaluation here: https://p.bttr.to/3qHXz8i

If it was helpful, give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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3 ways to treat your acute low back pain

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What to expect and not to expect from physical therapy

Are you wondering what you should expect from physical therapy? Or maybe what you should not expect? As a physical therapist for the past 12 years and as a movement specialist for the past 24 years, I can confidently share what you deserve in physical therapy.

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What you should expect from physical therapy

1. Thorough evaluation

You deserve a thorough evaluation, no matter what you are reaching out to physical therapists for, whether that’s movement issues, chronic pain, acute pain, vestibular, balance issues, post surgery, pre surgery, or any other reason.

That means not only a physical therapist should be looking at your current symptom (s), but they are looking to figure out why they happened in the first place, even during post-surgical cases. A thorough evaluation includes looking at a detailed movement assessment, where your compensation patterns lie, what might be driving some of the issues you’ve had, and all of your modifiable lifestyle factors. How is your sleep? How is your nutrition? How are your relationships? How is your stress management? If your therapist is missing these details, they are missing a huge element of helping you heal.

2.  Practicing what they preach

You deserve a physical therapist who practices what they preach, whether that’s movement, balance, or exercise. They should be a health leader, educator, and movement specialist, and because of that, they have an obligation to be able to do the things that they are recommending that you should do.

3. 1-on-1 care

It is hard to find 1-on-1 care in today’s healthcare environment. I worked in the outpatient practice for eight years, so I understand a busy outpatient setting, and unfortunately, the demands of insurance companies are dictating this. However, you deserve to be able to be the only person in the room, to be listened to, and to have your therapist understand your diagnosis, prognosis, underlying causes, current concerns, goals, and plan of care without being pulled in a million directions. One-on-one care is extremely important, whether that’s 30-minute sessions or 60-minute sessions.

4. Someone who will look at you as a whole person

You should expect someone who listens to your story and understands that you are not a “shoulder problem,” you are not a “hip injury,” and that you are a person; you are human with a story and emotions and thoughts and all the things that make you wonderful. So, make sure that someone is looking at you as a human with a beautiful story, not just an injury.

5. Mindful and intentional movement

You should expect a therapist to help you perform mindful, intentional movement to help guide you to move with interoception, internal awareness of self, to be able to understand movement quality, as opposed to high-volume exercises with poor form.  As movement educators, one of the greatest gifts we can share with you is to help you move your body the way it was intended to so that you can continue to do the things you love.

What you shouldn’t expect from physical therapy

What are some of the things that you should not expect from physical therapy? This is equally as important.

1. You should not be on things that will not help you get well

You should not be on hot packs, cold packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasounds, or other modalities that aren’t helping you get well. They are sometimes time-savers for the therapist, but they are not actually creating better movement in your body. They’re not getting to the root of your issue. They are not moving you forward, and you want to be able to maximize your time spent in physical therapy.

2. You shouldn’t be warming up on machines

You don’t want to get to physical therapy and go on the treadmill or bike to warm up for 10 or 15 minutes. You want to learn how to move your body. Every minute counts!

3. You shouldn’t be on tons of band exercises

You should not be going through tons and tons of band exercises with poor form without guidance. Especially when you feel like you are going through the motions and you could do this at home.

If you feel like you could do that at home, that’s your first sign that this is not a good fit.

I want everyone to believe in physical therapy. We have an amazing opportunity to share with you the gift of movement.

In summary, when you think physical therapy is a waste of time, you’re put on machines and lots of modalities, and you feel like you are competing for your PT’s attention, you deserve better.

Please make sure to find a great physical therapist in your area who does one-on-one care, that looks at you as the whole person, that addresses potential root causes of your injury or your pain or any other issue that you might be experiencing.

If you need help, please reach out to us, we do virtual and in-person care, and we perform holistic physical therapy. Schedule your evaluation here: https://p.bttr.to/3qHXz8i

If it was helpful, give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Other things that might interest you:

3 ways to treat your acute low back pain

Pelvic floor–Gut Connection

A neck exercise that really works

All About Vitamin B12

Are you curious about your vitamin B12 status? Learn why you may have a deficiency, how to evaluate it, and why vitamin B12 is so important in your body.

Vitamin B12, i.e., cobalamin, is essential in nutrient metabolism and energy production. If you are somebody that’s experiencing mood issues or chronic fatigue, this is something you absolutely want to evaluate.

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Why is vitamin b12 important?

B12 is essential for metabolizing homocysteine (an amino acid), DNA synthesis, and preventing anemia. Without enough red blood cells, you don’t have enough oxygen and so what can happen is your heart rate may increase, you can have neurological symptoms, you can have chronic fatigue, and have trouble walking.

Why understanding the digestion of b12 is important?

Understanding the digestion of B12 is very important because that can be one of the drivers of vitamin B12 deficiency.

First, we want to understand that when we’re breaking down foods that contain B12, such as meats or higher protein foods, that digestion begins in the stomach—we have hydrochloric acid and pepsin to help break down vitamin B12. Then that moves into the small intestine, and it will bind to an intrinsic factor, which is a glycoprotein. As that continues to move down into the intestine, where we have the absorption of our vitamin B12.

You can appreciate that if you have any kind of maldigestion, perhaps low stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, or you have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), or leaky gut, they all can impair digestion and absorption of B12.

Diagnosing vitamin b12 deficiency

It can be difficult to diagnose a B12 deficiency, so it is very important to look at a lot of different factors. We can’t simply look at serum B12 alone because, unfortunately, that will not be the best marker. We have to actually assess homocysteine and, ideally, methylmalonic acid, as well, when we’re looking for B12 status.

If either one of those is elevated and you see a low vitamin B12 status, then it will be more indicative of a deficiency. When we’re looking for a general range of the serum value, we’re looking for around 800, but again we want to ensure that we’re looking at a full picture, not simply the serum value. You also want to look for other signs, such as anemia, paleness, shortness of breath, and other factors indicative of a potential deficiency.

It’s important, as always, to look at the full clinical picture; you want to match your testing with how you’re your symptoms. Make sure that you have a qualified professional to be able to help you navigate that process and to be able to make sure that you’re making the best decisions for your own health.

If you need help, please make sure to reach out to us. We would love the opportunity to help you on your journey.

Are you interested in seeing how we can help you with your gut health, hormones, toxins, etc.? Schedule your evaluation here: https://p.bttr.to/351vvVU

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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Liver and brain connection | vagus nerve

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Liver and brain connection | vagus nerve

Our livers can become deeply affected by stress, inflammation, toxins, alcohol, and other pollutants in the environment. Did you know there’s a deep connection to the brain?

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What you need to know about the liver

In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for all other organs and for moving Qi throughout the body (i.e., energy). It also stores blood and other essential bodily fluids, and it helps cleanse the blood, especially while we sleep. Even from a spiritual perspective in Traditional Chinese medicine, it is really the seat of the soul and can help provide our life purpose. So, in essence, the liver is one of our most powerful organs; It’s also one of our most powerful detoxification organs.

Unfortunately, however, in modern society, we are eating inflammatory foods, drinking alcohol, and being exposed to an exorbitant amount of toxins—internal and external toxins—and our livers can become deeply affected. This has a direct connection to the central nervous system, which is also connected via the autonomic nervous system, i.e., a vagus nerve.

The connection between the liver and the brain

The vagus nerve innervates the liver via the hepatic branch, and what’s interesting is that 80% of the information from the vagus nerve is going TO the brain. So that means that what we are doing to our livers, putting in our body, and how hard we’re making our livers work can cause stress on this amazing detoxification organ. In turn, that can influence our brain, especially as it relates to neuroinflammation.

We want to appreciate this deep connection between the liver and the brain because the brain can also affect the liver. The vagus nerve sends 20% of information from the brain to the liver. Because of that, we also want to respect that our thought, beliefs, and emotions can influence our liver health.

Whether we’re looking at this from a Traditional Chinese medicine or Western medicine standpoint, we really want to appreciate this deep connection and recognize that what we eat and the stresses that we put on our body will affect the relationship between the liver and the brain.

If you’d like to reach out to us for an appointment, please do that as well. Schedule your appointment here: https://p.bttr.to/3MvopdB.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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3 ways to treat your acute low back pain

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3 ways to treat your acute low back pain

Do you have acute low back pain, and you’re not sure what to do? Maybe you keep stretching over and over again without any relief? Whether you have pain with forward bending or backward bending, here are some things that you may want to consider to allow you to feel better quickly.

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What you need to know about lower back pain

One in four people will experience low back pain, and approximately 80 percent of Americans will have low back pain at some point in their lives.  

Let’s say that you bend over to simply pick up a pencil, and suddenly, you have excruciating low back pain. You feel like you can’t stand up. You don’t really know what to do. Well, oftentimes, people will ice, stretch, and rest. Sometimes they keep stretching, thinking that their back is tight and that, unfortunately, will just continue to make things worse.

Conversely, let’s say that you bend back, and you realize that you get this jabbing pain in your low back. Once again, you perform stretches, perhaps in back bending or side bending. Unfortunately, that will make things worse.

What’s the number one thing you want to do when you have low back pain?

1. Movement

It is not rest; it is movement. You want to perform, at the minimum, light walking or movement around your home or office. Any prolonged position, like sitting or standing in one place, will increase your pain. Movement is number one, not rest—no lying on your back for a long time, no lying on your stomach for a long time, and no sitting for a long time.

2. Diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is a must regardless of how your back pain is presenting. Diaphragmatic breathing means you’re breathing in through the nose with the tongue resting at the roof of the mouth, gently touching the top teeth. The pressure that builds up from diaphragmatic breath goes all the way down to the base of the pelvic floor to create 360 degrees of pressure. Your vagus nerve runs right through the diaphragm. When you’re breathing diaphragmatically, this will stimulate the vagus nerve and release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, creating a relaxation response. This will ultimately decrease your pain. Try breathing with intention throughout the day. Taking at least three to ten deep breaths will be very effective in decreasing your overall pain.

3. Movement bias

Now, of course, there are always outliers to this rule. However, if you have pain with forward bending—you’ve reached down to touch your toes and feel excruciating pain—then you do not want to do any forward bending motions. For example, things like a child’s pose, a cat stretch, or sitting for a long time.

You want to think about doing most extension-based movements—lying on your stomach, crocodile breathing, or propping yourself up to a sphinx position onto your elbows.

If that feels comfortable, then go into a small press-up. Repeat and check out your painful pattern afterward to see if the pain has decreased. So, for example, re-test your toe touch, see if it feels less painful. If so, then you could continue those exercises throughout the day, especially with the acute low back pain.

Now, if you have pain with back bending and you feel good with forward bending, focus on forward bending. For example, you could start off in a child’s pose position. Then move to a cat position, rounding the spine, tucking from the pelvis, and breathing in that position. Lastly, you could even go into a standing forward fold.

Essentially, this works great for acute low back pain. Put simply, move towards what feels better and away from what’s causing pain. If you continue to move in a painful range, motor control is distorted, which affects timing, sequencing, and coordination of muscles.

When to do these exercises

Now, of course, this can apply to all low back pain if it seems appropriate, but these recommendations are specifically for acute pain.  

If you’ve watched our videos or followed our blogs, you know that I’m going to encourage you to find the root cause of your pain. But in the short term, it’s really important to be able to treat it, manage it, and move on so that it does not turn into chronic low back pain.

Acute back pain is very easy to treat and can resolve quickly. You want to begin immediately, whether doing things like this yourself and/or seeing a qualified health professional to treat you.

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