blog

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.

Rather watch or listen than read?

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.

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

Other things that may interest you:

IS YOUR GUT PREVENTING YOUR WEIGHT LOSS?

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.

Rather watch or listen than read?

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.

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

Other things that may interest you:

IS YOUR GUT PREVENTING YOUR WEIGHT LOSS?

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.

Rather watch or listen than read?

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.

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

Other things that may interest you:

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.

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.

Rather watch or listen? 

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.

Rather watch or listen? 

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.

Other things that might interest you:

Liver and brain connection | vagus nerve

Pelvic floor–Gut Connection

Find Out Which Foods Are Contributing to Your Health Issues

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?

Rather watch or listen? 

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.

Other things that might interest you:

Optimize all 3 brains

3 ways to treat your acute low back pain

Pelvic floor–Gut Connection

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.

Rather watch or listen? 

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.

If this is 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. If you need our help, whether virtual or in person, please reach out; we would love to help you.

Schedule your 15-minute discovery session here: https://p.bttr.to/3qHXz8i

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

Other things that might interest you:

What your pelvic floor has to do with your tight hips

Vagus Nerve Hack | Pelvic Floor Relaxation

Peeing yourself during heavy lifting is not okay

Pelvic floor–Gut Connection

Did you know that your pelvic floor is directly linked to your gut health? Let’s talk about that important connection today.

Rather watch or listen? 

The connection between the gut and pelvic floor

Our gut is the opening from the mouth to the anus. Whether you are experiencing chronic constipation, diarrhea, or even a specific condition, like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), leaky gut, SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth), or large intestinal fungal overgrowth—all of these conditions are going to have a direct influence on your pelvic floor function. Conversely, any type of pelvic floor dysfunction will influence your gut health.

For example, if you have a tight pelvic floor, otherwise known as a hypertonic pelvic floor, it will likely contribute to chronic constipation. There are three key connections:

Ways the gut and pelvic floor are connected

1. Sphincters

The first connection includes the pelvic floor sphincters, an internal sphincter and external sphincter.

Think of the internal sphincter as our communication system, which signals to the brain that it is time to have a bowel movement. When we have chronic constipation, for instance, it affects the sphincter and thus disrupts this communication system. Therefore, we ultimately have to retrain our bowel habits to improve this communication.

We also have an external sphincter, which can be stimulated by mere wiping. If we are having excessive wiping when having a bowel movement, it will stimulate that sphincter to drop stool down through the rectum. The more that we do this, the more we are creating miscommunication and ultimately having to wipe more. This can commonly be associated with someone who has looser stools, potentially has dysbiosis or leaky gut, and is chronically wiping when they’re going to the bathroom to ensure they’re clean.

2. Pressure management

The next connection is essentially pushing, or we can also call this poor pressure management.

We want to think about pressure management for everything related to bowel movement and the pelvic floor. If you’ve ever gone to the bathroom, whether it was looser stools or firmer stools, and you are pushing or bearing down to release, you know exactly what I am referring to.  Unfortunately, this involves poor pressure management in our core and definitely within our pelvic floor. This can cause pelvic floor dysfunction.

It is important to manage pressure properly, and the exercise you can do is called “Belly big, belly hard.” When you feel like you’re about to have a bowel movement and you have the desire to push, try making a closed fist, breath in, and then blow into your fist with your cheeks puffing out for three seconds. Now, pull your fist away and keep breathing. You should feel like you’re able to excrete in a very natural and relaxed manner. We need the pelvic floor to relax to have a bowel movement.

3. Bowel mechanics

Finally, the last pelvic floor-gut connection is your bowel mechanics. This will go hand in hand with pressure management, so the Squatty Potty, for example, is a great way to improve your squat mechanics. You can also just elevate your feet, which will allow the stool to move easily into the rectum to be ultimately evacuated.

It’s important to optimize squat mechanics and biomechanics, to optimize pressure management, and to think about the role of your sphincter’s communication with your brain to positively influence your bowel habits and pelvic floor function.

This is just scratching the surface of all of the different connections between these two, but hopefully, it gives you an appreciation that if you have any kind of bowel issue, you absolutely need to address your pelvic floor and vice versa.

They go hand in hand, so if you really want to take the time to work with a professional, please make sure you reach out to us. We’d be more than happy to help you in your journey virtually or in person and really begin to uncover what issues may be affecting you on either side of things.

So, if you found this helpful, give it a like, give it a share. 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/3Qu7wRd.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on

mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Other things that might interest you:

What your pelvic floor has to do with your tight hips

Vagus Nerve Hack | Pelvic Floor Relaxation

Peeing yourself during heavy lifting is not okay

Heal Your Migraines

Did you know that 7 in 10 people globally suffer from migraines and most of them are middle-aged women, and 1 in 6 Americans suffer from severe headaches or migraines? This makes it an issue that we definitely want to address, begin to uncover some of the root causes and provide hope for people that are suffering from this debilitating condition.

Rather watch or listen? 

What causes migraines?

There are many things that can potentially contribute to migraines. These can include:

  • Cranial or cervical vascular disorder;
  • Trauma—not just physical trauma, such as, for example, a concussion—but also emotional trauma;
  • Infections or substance abuse;
  • Some disorders of the cranium (jaw or cranial issues that might be contributing structurally to migraines;
  • Psychiatric disorders; and
  • Hormonal changes.

Other key things associated with migraines

Food sensitivities

Food sensitivities can contribute to pro-inflammatory and pro-algesic mediators, perpetuating an inflammatory cycle. This can not only contribute to the cause of the migraines, but it can also make the migraines more frequent, more painful, and more intense.

Nutrient deficiency

Let’s not forget nutrient deficiencies which can be a huge driver for migraines and chronic headaches. Things like vitamin D, B12, B2, CoQ10, magnesium, and zinc are all very common nutrient deficiencies, which when addressed, can make huge shifts in the frequency and intensity of migraines.

Mitochondrial dysfunction

Another thing that’s important to remember about migraines is that it is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. The mitochondrion is the powerhouse of our cells. It has very specific processes to produce energy, and so when we have toxins and infections, poor gut health, inadequate nutrients, and lack of exercise, this can contribute to poor mitochondrial function and neural inflammation. Also, dysregulated blood sugar can affect our mitochondrial health.  

What can you do to manage your migraines?

What are some of the things you can do?

1. Get evaluated by a practitioner

First, make sure you get evaluated by a practitioner that can really look beyond just simply medications—looking at your GI Health, how you are assimilating food and nutrients, and how you are eliminating and detoxifying, immune health, mitochondrial health, and hormones.

For example, looking at a specific nutrient analysis, which could be a combination of lab testing as well as performing a very simple nutrient analysis on your own, can determine possible nutrient deficiencies. Every reaction in the body requires nutrients. If you are deficient, there’s a really good chance that it’s going to be very difficult to resolve your migraines, which absolutely can be resolved when you really try to unpack this.

2. Address gut issues

The other thing that you can consider is determining what is going on in your gut. If you have SIBO, leaky gut, candida, or so on, these need to be treated. As Hippocrates once said, everything starts in the gut.

3. Create a food plan

Moving towards  mitochondrial food plan, essentially a healthy ketogenic plan can also help. This can be an effective plan for the short-term or even long-term depending on the severity of your migraines, to be able to optimize mitochondria health. And it could be life-changing for some people.

4. Exercise

Graded exercise is one of your key things to do to improve your mitochondrial health is exercise. Now that doesn’t mean you should go out and do high-intensity exercise starting tomorrow, but things like walking, integrating more movement into your routine on a daily basis, and moving more frequently throughout the day, are all extremely valuable.

5. Address specific nutrient deficiency

Once you’ve done that, then you want to really address specific nutrient deficiencies. If there are some, begin to target those through food first, of course. Supplementation can also be really valuable. You can also consider things like botanicals, such as butterbur, otherwise known as Petasites, can be very effective for decreasing the frequency of migraines. However, make sure to discuss the safety of that with your health professional.

6. Find the right professional for you

Lastly, make sure you find the right professional for you who’s going to help work through this process. As a reminder to all of you that are suffering from migraines or severe chronic headaches, there is hope, and you can get better.

I know sometimes it doesn’t feel that way, and I’ve worked with many patients over the years that I know feel that way initially. I just want you to know that you can get to the bottom of it by being patient and making sure you find the right practitioner.

We, of course, are happy to help and would love the opportunity. So, if you found this helpful, give it a like, give it a share. 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.

Other things that might interest you:

Vagus Nerve Hack | Salivate

4 ways to improve your shoulder stability and symmetry

Root causes of eczema

Vagus Nerve Hack | Salivate

Because of the anatomy of the vagus nerve, salivating can be an extremely effective technique for calming the nervous system.

Rather watch or listen? 

Anatomy

The vagus nerve exits the brainstem and as it exits, it branches into the ear and into the throat—the pharyngeal branch of the vagus nerve.

Why perform this exercise?

Ultimately, we are stimulating the pharyngeal branch of the vagus nerve. There are three types of salivary glands—the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual. When you are able to generate a copious amount of saliva, you are, in fact, stimulating the vagus nerve and in a parasympathetic state.

If you’re not able to do that, then that might be indicative that you are not in a parasympathetic state; perhaps you’re in a fight/flight or freeze state. Whether you are actually salivating or bathing your tongue in your saliva, you will ultimately bring yourself to a parasympathetic state.

How to perform the exercise

To perform this exercise, think of something that will stimulate saliva. For example, you can think of a juicy lemon. Then, you can begin to bathe your tongue in the saliva.

Once you do that, wait patiently until whatever response you may have—that could come in a swallow, which is a response of your nervous system of relaxation. You could also simply feel relaxed and calm.

Everyone may have a unique response, but this can be an effective technique to bring yourself to a parasympathetic response.

If this was helpful, make sure you give it a like, give it a share. Please check out all the other vagus nerve hacks that may be able to help you self-regulate so to be able to take control of your nervous system.

If you are ready to take action now, schedule here.  https://p.bttr.to/351vvVU

Other things that might interest you:

How Your Vagus Nerve Affects Your Gut Health

Top 5 Vagus Nerve Hacks to Help You Relax and Restore

Why You Should Track Your HRV

4 ways to improve your shoulder stability and symmetry

Are you struggling with a strength deficit or you keep getting injured? Well, it’s really important to address your shoulder stability and symmetry to be able to optimize your overall strength, performance, and movement longevity.

Rather watch or listen? 

What is stability?

Stability is defined as sequencing, timing, and coordination, also referred to as “motor control.” It is different from strength which is defined as how much force we can generate. The best way to improve stability is through isometric contractions that create fascial tensioning— tension around the joint. Think of our stabilizers as muscles that are close to the joint. If we’re referring to the shoulder specifically, the rotator cuff close to the joint.

What is symmetry?

The first thing to recognize is that we are asymmetrical beings because of all the placements of our organs. However, asymmetry in movement can be a predictor of injury. For example, if we can move our right shoulder in a certain range of motion and we are very limited on the left, that could be a huge predictor of injury. As you are working through a proper training program, you want to try to create symmetry. The exception to that rule is high level athletes, like golfers, who whose asymmetry can contribute to their peak performance. To do that, it’s great to do unilateral exercises to see how the right shoulder compares to the left shoulder and vice versa, for example.

4 ways to improve your shoulder stability and symmetry

Although there are many exercises that you could do as well as assessments, I would suggest these few exercises that I think can be very valuable in assessing as well as treating your shoulder symmetry and stability. Now, if any of these progressions are too hard for you, please do what feels appropriate.

Here are four ways to improve your shoulder stability and symmetry:

1. Kettlebell screwdriver

Start with a kettlebell hold. You want to think about packing the shoulder, bringing the shoulder blade down towards the ground and down towards your hips, maintaining that tension in the shoulder while you slowly rotate it in and out. From there, you can move towards a kettlebell arm bar.

Link to Video

2. Kettlebell arm bar

For this, drive from the hips, while keeping the shoulder stable the whole time, moving into your arm bar position where you’re gazing up at the bell. Hold that position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then come back to your start position while initiating the movement from the thoracic spine.

Link to video

3. Side kick through and crab

Based on animal flow, start from a beast position and drive the ground away and you reach one leg through. Then you can also move into a crab, maintaining strong shoulder integrity.

Link to Video

4. Halo

Lastly is the halo to bring it all together, integrating your core. From a tall kneeling or half kneeling position, while using a kettlebell, bringing it around the head while maintaining a strong foundation.

Link to Video

If these exercises were helpful, please make sure you give it a like, share it with a friend or family member who might need this, and of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

If you need help with your shoulder, please make sure you reach out. We can see you virtually or in person and would love the opportunity to help you on your journey.

Other things that may interest you:

Why You Should Track Your HRV

A neck exercise that really works

Optimize all 3 brains

Root causes of eczema

Are you experiencing eczema, or you know someone who is? Do you know how intimately connected the microbiome is to eczema and how you can begin to look at the root causes of eczema instead of just treating the symptoms?

Rather watch or listen? 

What is eczema?

If you have it, you know it all too well, but essentially, it’s atopic dermatitis. It can contribute to dry, itchy, red, bumpy, and scaly skin patches.

What causes eczema?

1. Altered microbiome

Research shows that there is a link with an altered microbiome in infancy that contributes to eczema. This can be dysbiosis, an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, as well as leaky gut, i.e., intestinal permeability, that can contribute to this inflammatory condition.

What are some things that could cause an altered microbiome early on? Were you born via C-section or vaginally, breastfed or bottle-fed? Now, of course, those things you can’t change, but you want to know if that contributed to an altered microbiome right from the beginning. How was your mother’s overall microbiome? Were you exposed to antibiotics early on? When you were introduced to complementary foods? Also, did you have any other illnesses, antibiotics, or medications that could have contributed to that early on in life?

2. Food allergies

About 30 percent of children with eczema have food allergies. This could be things like soy, eggs, cow’s milk, nuts, shellfish, or gluten — all of these things can potentially be food allergies. It’s worth testing for those to really understand if that could be a root cause.

3. Nutrient deficiencies

Another root cause is nutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies. Deficiencies in essential fatty acids, zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D, and E can contribute to eczema.

4. Other conditions

Other conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, celiac disease, and secondary infections, can be associated conditions. It’s worth exploring if there’s something else other than leaky gut and nutrient deficiencies that are contributing to this inflammatory condition.

What are the other triggers of dry skin?

We can think about things like low humidity, UV radiation, chlorine, detergents, and other skin products that might be irritants. There are a lot of other things that could contribute. Let’s not forget emotional stress, too!

Emotional stress is one of the biggest inflammatory drivers. In working with patients, although I’m still trying to get to the root cause of what might be happening in their gut and microbiome, I am also absolutely addressing the stress component, which tends to exacerbate symptoms.

In summary, if you or someone you know is experiencing eczema, instead of focusing on topical solutions, it is imperative that you really begin to dive into the root cause(s).

If this is you or it’s somebody you know and love, make sure that you share this information with them. Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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

Other things that may interest you:

How Your Vagus Nerve Affects Your Gut Health

Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

Optimize all 3 brains