Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday schedule update

I goofed looking at the days.  We will be closed Christmas Eve day (Thursday) since we are normally only open in the morning.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December News/Holiday Schedule

Happy Holidays from Marty and myself. (In Norwegian, Gladelig Jule and Godt Nytt Ar).

HOLIDAY SCHEDULE:  we will be CLOSED from 12/25/09 to 1/2/10 We will also close at 4:00 PM on Christmas Eve.  We will be taking a week off and visiting my family in Michigan (Marty is obviously not a yankee).

  • Breast Biopsies:  A new test called "Elastography" looks at the flexibility of breast tissue and may reduce the need for biopsies.  Breast ultrasounds spot more cancers.
  • Boost your immune system with the following:  elderberry, button mushrooms, acai berry, oysters, watermellon, cabbage, almonds, grapefruit, wheat germ, low-fat yogurt, garlic, spinach, tea (black or green), sweet potatoe and broccoli.
  • Lung Cancer90% of lung cancers are caused by tobacco use with over 4000 cancer causing chemicals in tobacco smoke.  Other causes:  passive smoke, asbestos, radon gas, air pollution, familial predisposition, lung diseases.  This is a cause close to me since my father died at 46 of lung cancer-he was a lifelong smoker.  What a waste-he never got to see most of his grandkids.  There are two main types of lung cancers:  small cell and non-small cell.  Small cell cancers are about 20%.  Non-small cell (adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma, mixed) make up 80%.  Small cell are aggressive and metastasize readily.  Other types are less common.  What are the symptoms:  chronic cough, blood in the sputum, repeated bronchitis/lung infections, breathing difficulty, unexplained or rapid weight loss and/or fatigue.  IGNORING SUCH SERIOUS SYMPTOMS WON'T MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!  I have heard way too often "I don't want to get checked out because I'm afraid of what they might find."  Early detection is what determines whether you will survive or not.  Quit smoking now and improve your chances of living to see your kids grow up and your grand kids as well.  If you stop soon enough you may not have to drag around an oxygen bottle either.  Brutal?  Yup!  But there are a lot of ways to get help:  medications, hypnosis, acupuncture.  Trying to quit is not quitting.  You must become a non-smoker in your mind or you will always find excuses to light one up.  As to the dippers - the word is leukoplakia-pre-cancerous cells.  Cancer of the mouth or lip is a really unattractive way of dying as well.  I've seen leukoplakia in the mouths of 20-30 year olds.  All I can say is incredible.  The mind set that IT WON'T HAPPEN TO Me means you expect to die young enough that you won't get cancer.  Spare your loved ones the agony of watching you die a horrible death-figure out a way to quit.  If this section upsets or offends you, I apologize for making you aware of the realities of tobacco abuse.
  • DEPRESSION:  That last section probably depressed some of you.  Sorry.  The holiday seasons are often a time when people experience depression.  There could be many reasons:  loss of a loved one who won't be there for the first time, illness, missing family, financial worries (especially in this economy), loss of job, less sunlight, break up of a relationship, stress, to name a few.  There are many things you can do to help lessen depression.  Connect with family and friends-new media like facebook, myspace, twitter, etc., offer social media contact readily.  Find a new interest or hobby.  Avoid environments that are depressive. Get out doors as much as you can.  Don't spend beyond your means.  If times are tough for you, remember "this too will pass."  If your depression becomes overwelming, seek medical help.  There are many anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications that can help you get over tough times.  Some need to be on such medications permanently due to altered brain chemistry.
  • CELL PHONES:  On again, off again.  Another study out now suggests that cell phones don't lead to cancer.  Use an ear piece if you are worried-it will make you a safer driver anyway.
  • STEM CELLS:  stem cells may actually be able to repair damaged hearts.
FROM THE WORLD FUTURE SOCIETY:  Some pressing issues we need to address in the next decade.
  • How do we deliver inexpensive and reliable health care to a rapidly aging population?
  • How does a civilization maintain economic growth and prosperity in the wake of overdevelopment, misuse of wealth, and profligate exploitation of resources?
  • Will the Internet bring democracy and freedom to the people of the world who live under authoritarian rule? Or will nondemocratic regimes appropriate the power of information technology to spy on their own citizens?
  • What’s the best method for educating our children for an ever-more competitive and demanding economic environment?

Monday, November 2, 2009

November Blog

OK.  Some scheduling notes.  I will be closed SATURDAY 11/7/09 and will close early at 5 PM on FRIDAY 11/6/09 to catch a flight to Houston.  Also, I will be closed on the Thanksgiving weekend Thursday, Friday and Saturday as I am going to California to see my grandsons and daughter.  Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.  I will be back the following Monday normal hours.

Alternative Health/Nutrition News:
  • Energy Supplements:  boosting one's energy usually requires different approaches.  You can use stimulants, boost metabolism, or increase calories.  Stimulants in general work.  However, there's the down side of crashing when they wear off.  Many work no better than a cup of coffee or tea.  Metabolism boosters work if you are deficient or in certain conditions.  However, things lkie C0Q10, carnitine, etc. May be of little use to boost metabolism.  They do work in a sense by boosting the energy process.  Increased calories work but only short term.  They can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar.  This can cause your insulin to spike.  Energy drinks as an example are high in carbs especially sugars and  there is the issue of how effective they are vs. the complications (weight gain,  diabetes, etc.).  Several combine caffeine and sugars to really light your fire-then you crash.
  • Future Medicine:  medical tourism is getting noticed.  When one can get an operation by American Doctors for $30K including transportation which would cost $400K here.  It's projected to be a $40 billion business.  Remote devices may be able to monitor your health via the internet.  Nanotechnology will allow us to fix our organs from the inside out by repairing sick cells.  ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE will become mainstream.  37% of US hospitals now integrate complementary and alternative services with conventional procedures.  Video games may be used to improve mental health.  The internet will help put medical specialists within reach (one doctor has already dictated complicated surgery from 3500 miles).  New artificial skin could be rapidly produced.  CENTANARIANS are on the rise.  Us older folks, at least the ones who live to 100 will continue growing quickly and move from 1 in 10K to 1 in 5K of the population.  Professions in general and in healthcare will become hyperspecialized.  The hottest healthcare jobs:  home health aides, personal and home care aides, and veternary techs.
Medical News:
  • Use of ACE inhibitors may cause some liver toxicity (hepatotoxicity).
  • Low doses of naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Naprelan) may increase the risk of upper gastrointestinal uclers.  MY NOTE:  If you are using an NSAID on a regular basis the risk for ulcers is increased signficantly.  I personally think this is under reported due to people taking meds like over the counter prilosec, tums, etc. to mask the stomach complaints.  My alternative is an anti-inflammatory diet (cut out the red meats and complex carbs) plus boswellic acids and fish oils.  To my patients with arthritis I recommend Osteo-biflex (glucosamine + boswellic acids or 5-loxin) and fish oils to control inflammation.
  • From the American Heart Association, "Diabetes tends to lower "good" cholesterol and raise triglyceride and "bad" cholesterol levels, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke."
  • Some Key Health Tests for Women
    • Breast cancer exam
    • Cervical cancer exam
    • Skin cancer exam
    • HIV screening
    • Cholesterol screening
    • Blood pressure
    • Bone density testing
  • Washing your hands.  Men and women react differently to signs suggesting they wash their hands.  Women tend to respond better to signs telling them the risk factors of not doing it.  Men reacted better to be told the disgusting consequences like:  soap it off or eat it later.   Interesting.
  • Complications of Diabetes on the small blood vessels (microvascular):  Diabetes has considerable effects of the small vessel circulation and can cause problems with the kidneys, eyes and extremities due to accelerate atherosclerosis.
    • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a major concern.  This causes loss of sensation in the toes and fingers.  In the feet, it can lead to things like ulcers and gangrene left untreated.  It is the result of a progressive loss of nerve fibers.  It may give a "stocking and glove" appearance.  It can also affect the nerves to internal organs (autonomic nerves) and affect the gastrointestinal tract, bladder and blood vessels.  Symptoms can be sensory or motor related and can affect awareness of touch, temperature, vibration (one of the earliest things to be lost), proprioception (balance or position sense).  Lack of awareness of one's extremities can lead to undetected injuries.  An ingrown toenail for example could become infected and gangrenous.  Loss of nerve supply to a joint can also cause destruction of the joint (Charcot joint).
    • Diabetic vascular complications can also lead to erectile dysfunction.
    • Diabetic retinopathy can lead to progressive loss of vision and blindness.  Microaneurysms occur and fats and protein exudates leak into the retina.  Damage to the macular leading to macular edema also leads to blindness.
    • Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of kidney failure.  These changes occur slowly over time and may show up as increased albumin in the urine, decreased glomerular filtration rates and hypertension.

Going Green
  • compact florescents (CFLs) can save significantly on electrical bills.  They are a bit more expensive upfront than florescent bulbs but will usually pay for themselves in a few months.  
  • Window blankets can be used to keep the heat in during the winter and the cold out during the summer.  Essentially, these are made by getting the foil type insulation that comes in rolls with the bubbles between layers (air barrier).  To make the blanket more attractive you can sew on a covering of cloth.  Velcro can be used to attach the blanket over windows during the day in summer and during the day or at night in winter.  It forms a reflective barrier, reflecting internal heat back in and external cold out.  The blankets can be removed and put on easily with the velcro.
  • Sealing doors and windows with weather stripping will help keep leaks down and cold air and critters out.  It reduces your electric bills.  Sealing leaky areas such as switches and outlets also helps.

Monday, September 28, 2009

October addendum

My office, Alternative Chiropractic Solutions, is a sponsor of Gabriel Tavarez's Midland Fitness 12-week your best body challenge. We have fliers in the office. It begins October 3rd and gives a 12 week nutrition and exercise program to help lose weight. You get a free Best Body Orientation, 10 group fitness training sessions, and a complete 12 week Transformation System including exercise and nutition programs to follow on your own with their help.  They do require a $55 charitable donation to St. Jude's Children's Hospital at Orientation to participate. Go to for more information.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dr. Riggs' October Blog on Health

Chiropractic, Alternative Healthcare, Medical, Nutrition News:

COLON CANCER. As one of the leading causes of deaths (# 2) and striking more than a million people every year, it is important to prevent it. I recently underwent this rather personal experience as a preventative, which I should have done some time ago. Although many thing colonoscopy is highly accurate, a recent study fount a 60-70 percent mortality risk decrease. Prevention is the key. Too many people have advanced forms of cancer by the time it is detected which seriously limits their treatment options. Advanced form survival rates have improved from less than 9 months to about 24 months but the progress is not enough. Some low-cost nutritional options may provide prevention benefits. Plant polyphenols such as resveratrol, curcumin (spice), EGCG, quercetin, fish oils,, vitamins and trace elements (E, D, selenium) may significantly reduce or eliminate cancer changes. Chemoprevention, nutritional supplements and health lifestyle adjustments can help reduce the risk. Foods that help colon health include:
• Plant based: polyphenols-berries, tea, grapes/wine, olive oil, chocolate/cocoa, walnuts, peanuts, pomegranates, and most other fruits and vegetables. Powerful members include-curcumin, Resveratrol, quercetin, green tea, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate).
• Foods fueling colong health: garlic, cruciferous vegetables and sprouts (broccoli).
• Cancer fighting nutrients: Vitamins E, D, calcium, Folate, B6, B12, selenium, omega 3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA).

SCIATICA, NEURITIS, NUMBNESS, TINGLING, ARM PAIN, LEG PAIN, THORACIC OUTLET, CARPAL TUNNEL, and PLANTAR FASCIITS. For Radiating Neck and Back Pain, are drugs and surgery the only solution? It depends. For cases, where herniated discs or bone spurs are pressing on the nerves or spinal cord surgery may be necessary. Given the risks, however, surgery should always be a last resort once non-surgical conservative methods have been tried. Nerve problems can cause pain, weakness and dysfunction.

What are the options? Traditional medical options include medications for pain and inflammation, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections. Conservative options include manipulation therapy (chiropractic), traction, nutritional anti-inflammatory methods, rehab, and where possible release or mobilization of entrapped nerves (nerve mobilization or neurodynamics).

How does nerve release or mobilization work? Determining the cause is important. If certain problems are found such as a herniated disc, degenerative disc, or thoracic outlet syndrome for example, appropriate treatment for the condition is in order as well as specific treatment for the nerve. Isolation of whether the nerve is failing to glide, slide or stretch as needed determines the approach. Nerve tension tests and standard orthopedic and neurological tests and maneuvers to determine the cause help the clinician determine the appropriate method of treatment. Combined treatment methods may be necessary such as exercises, clinician intervention, manipulation, strengthening, and structural correction to achieve the best outcome. Normally, such problems develop gradually and may take some time to resolve. Scar tissue and adhesions may need to be resolved and healed. In my practice, centralization of the pain and symptom relief are key indicators as to patient progress. If we can move the pain, or other radiating symptoms such as numbness and tingling, towards the spine, progress is being made. Treatment progress can be slow and frustrating for the patient in the beginning. Nerves do not heal fast when traumatized. However, the risks are much less and the costs are significantly lower with less invasive methods. If you would like more information, give me a call at 432-570-8792 or e-mail me at and I’ll gladly answer your questions.

Now if the plantar fasciitis/heel spurs threw you as to how that could be nerve pain, here’s an answer. Sometimes it is due to inflammation of the nerves on the inside of the arch and mimics the pain from a spur. Another words, it can be misdiagnosed as due to a spur, even with an x-ray showing a spur. The treatment will fail if the nerve is inflamed.

The top 10 diseases that affect men
• Heart attack and cardiac arrest
• Hypertension
• High cholesterol
• Strokes
• Diabetes
• Lung cancer
• Colorectal cancer
• Prostate disease
• Testicular disease/cancer
• Depression

Other Health and Nutrition News:
  • National cancer institute reports that CoQ10 may slow tumor growth and help in cancer treatment. Animal studies have found it boosts the immune system and helps fight certain infections and cancers; it protects the hearts of animals given anticancer drugs that damage the heart; it may stop cancer cells from growing. It may also help cardiac endurance.
  • Miscellaneous: DHEA helps improve bone density; vitamin D improves brain function; vitamin E lowers prostate cancer risk; magnesium decreases blood pressure.; stroke risk is lower among tea drinkers. green tea extract helps fight leukemia; B vitamins may help autism; high triglycerides are tied to diabetic nerve damage; ginger reduces nausea in cancer patients.
  • Inflammation plays a central role in cardiovascular disease, obesity and metabolic syndrome (LEF).
  • Micronized diosmin may help with lower leg circulatory problems such as chronic venous disease, lymphedema, venous leg ulcers, and improve varicose and spider veins. They also help hemorrhoids.
  • The Mediterranean diet helps control diabetes.
  • A new brain trauma sign appears to be an early indication of brain trauma. It has been noticed in athletes and is a fencer like position. After the person has been knocked out and they hit the ground their hands assume a position as if they are in a fencing stance with one hand forward to the other. This may be more reliable than some of the other neurological examinations.
  • The European Journal of Cardiology recently recommend that low dose aspirin as a primary preventative was not recommended for prevention of cardiovascular events due to potential complications.
  • The CDC is urging vaccination for H1N1 (formerly know as swine flu) due to its continuation throughout the summer and the large number of cases in the southeast. Here’s the website:
To prevent the flu the CDC recommends:
• Cover your cough
• Wash your hands frequently
• If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hrs after that fever has ended
• Get a vaccine when it becomes available

10 Forces Driving Business Futures:
  • China emergence as world's largest economic power
  • Global Demographic and migration shifts
  • Energy and water shortages
  • Managing waste, reusing products
  • Falling Education standards, less-skilled thought leaders
  • Brand relationships intensify
  • Instant gratification shopping
  • On-demand media
  • Customization, personalization, and community experiences
  • Youth rules
Disclaimer:  The above blog is produced purely for information purposes and its not intended for recommendations for treatment.  Please see your health care provider on any health issues.

Monday, August 17, 2009

September Health Blog

Natural Health News:
Optimists live longer. Speaking of living longer-a recent study shows both men and women in the US are now living longer.
  • Foods that help lower cholesterol: fatty fish, walnuts, oatmeal, and oat bran, and foods fortified with plant sterols or stanols. Green tea may also lower your bad cholesterol.
  • Gentle and regular exercise can help fibromyalgia and arthritis patients get their lives back
  • Fibromyalgia symptoms: Muscle aching all over or at specific points (neck, back, knee, shoulder); multiple tender/trigger pints (11/18 locations). Risk factors include other inflammatory diseases (lupus, Sjogren's, rheumatoid arthritis). female (80% women), ages 20-50. No known cause.
  • Vibration may help with muscle stiffness, shaking and sleep in Parkinson's patients. Charcot and later Tourette found that vibration helped many Parkinson's patients but this fact was lost as a possible treatment later. A recent study in Germany found significant positive benefits. Tremor and rigidity scores improved by 25 and 24% with whole body vibration (WBV)
  • Thunder God Vine (Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F) may help with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Mediterraean Diet plus exercise-may help keep Alzheimer's at bay.
  • Psoriasis may be treated at home with Ultraviolet lamps.

10 Things Not to Do with Swine Flu

  1. Don't expect a season flu shot to protect against swine flu.
  2. Don't expect a face mask to protect you.
  3. Don't hold or attend a swine flu party
  4. Don't forget planning
  5. Don't forget to clean with household disinfectants
  6. Don't get complacent
  7. Don't panic
  8. Don't leave home if you have flu like symptoms
  9. Don't rush to the ER. The CDC recommends a trip for any of the following- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, Sudden dizziness, Confusion, Severe or persistent vomiting, Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough. Having a high fever for more than three days is another danger sign, according to the WHO.
  10. If you are a parent, don't forget to teach your kids swine flu protection

Risk Factors For Osteoporosis:

  1. Lactose intolerance
  2. Asthma
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  4. Beast cancer
  5. Anorexia
  6. Diabetes

5 common causes of pelvic pain

  1. Uterine Fibroids
  2. Menorrhagia (vaginal bleeding)
  3. Uterine prolapse
  4. Endometriosis
  5. Chronic Pelvic pain.

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 2009 Blog

Natural Health News:
  • A recent pilot study with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa found chiropractic care helps reduce health care costs and the need for surgery.
  • Obese patients spend 42% more a year on healthcare costs than normal weight counterparts. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, some cancers and cardiovascular disease. Obesity is higher in hispanics and blacks and women have a higher obesity rate. It is more prevalent in the South and Midwest.
  • Biology News Net, July 30, 2009. Resveratrol {found in red wine and supplements} may be harnessable as a treatment for inflammatory diseases, such as appendicitis, peritonitis, and systemic sepsis, and may also lead to new resveratrol-based drugs that are even more effective, experiments by Scientists from Scotland and Singapore with mice suggest. They also found that resveratrol used a one-two punch to stop inflammation in the mice by preventing the body from creating two different molecules known to trigger inflammation, sphingosine kinase and phospholipase D.

News of Medicine:

  • Stopping smoking after surgery greatly reduces complications and lowers mortality risk in postoperative patients.
  • Antidepressants are effective for various types of chronic pain, such as physical pain associated with depression, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia.
  • Now this one is depressing. They actually found an explanation why smokers are lower in body mass index. There is a fat regulating gene that is up regulated in the body. Now that doesn't mean smoking is a valid weight loss approach. Good news. From the University of Wisconsisn: The recent move by the Obama administration to put tobacco regulation under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration was hailed by leading tobacco experts as another step forward in the 100-year march toward eradicating tobacco consumption in the United States. Tobacco use has declined from 42% of the U.S. adult population in 1965 to 20% in 2007, thanks to taxation, restrictions on advertising, and warning labels, according to researchers Michael Fiore and Timothy Baker of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. To accelerate this trend, the researchers urge regulators to increase excise taxes on tobacco, eliminate nicotine in all tobacco products, ban all cigarette advertising (including sponsorships and other promotional activities), and provide counseling and medication for every smoker who wants to quit. "The progress made in reducing tobacco use over the last 50 years should in no way temper our commitment to further reductions," says Fiore. "If appropriate steps are taken, a tobacco-free nation can be achieved within a few decades."
  • Tick season: seveal serious diseases like rocky mountain spotted fever and Lyme's disease can result from tick bites-especially if frequenting wooded areas or rustic areas with deer. West Texas is not too bad but other areas may be risk factors.

Some Future Thoughts:

  • In addition to nanotechnology assisting in health care there are other possibilities for the future. Vitual physicians (holographs), internet connected lab results: your home blood sugar results fed to the internet, your bathroom scale giving your doctor weight information, blue-tooth/WIFI connections providing heart monitoring in real time. The technology is there in many cases and rapidly developing in others-the main obstacle will be people. Now, I'm not sure you'll ever be able to get an adjustment on line. A major social-technological question for me, is what happens to the role of human contact in the health model? As technology has evolved, doctors are interacting and talking with their patients less and less in many cases and my experience. I often get asked by patients to interpret their test results for them or explain them. Over reliance on technology takes the judgment and thinking out of the interaction-seeing the patient has a lot of important information. One patient, I had for example, had an ear infection and dizziness. She told the doctor she thought she had an ear infection, but because of the dizziness the doctor refused to look in the ear-even when asked-and ordered a MRI. I told her to find another doctor-she did. She had to have drains put in her ears and I gave her some exercises to reposition the little inner ear granules and she was fine. Testing should not replace judgment and examination-another case: $40,000 in testing for dizziness and no results. Patient had to stop driving truck. My treatment $90- treated for that same benign vertigo with exercises due to prior ear issues and some upper neck manipulation-3 treatments and he went back to driving truck. And we wonder why medical care is high.

Monday, June 29, 2009

July Blog

July Blog Update
by Dr. John H. Riggs
Alternative Chiropractic Solutions, 570-8792
Cervicogenic Headaches (the migraine mimicker)
  • Migraines are generally considered vascular headaches.
  • A headache that can mimic the migraine is a "cervicogenic headache". Cervicogenic headaches are caused by dysfunction (generally locking) of the spinal joints in the upper neck (generally C1-2 but also the occiput C1 and C2-3 joints as well). This headache can be severe, unilateral and cause auras, dizziness, nausea and light sensitivity. It is characterized by pain starting in the base of the skull and sometimes going up the back of the head to the eyes. There is considerble tenderness under the base of the skull. Other conditions need to be ruled out initially. Treatment consists of manipulation (traditional or low force, soft tissue massage, traction, and therapy modalities of electrical stimulation and ice. Several treatments may be necessary to resolve the headache and home therapy and home traction may also be helpful. Although medications may be helpful with the pain and inflammation (see risks last blog), the headache will return until normal joint motion is restored and the muscle spasms resolved.

Rib Pain (costovertebral pain)

The ribs insert at the junction of the costovertebral joint- vertebra and rib junction-and can cause considerable pain. Motor vehicle accidents, improper sleeping, sports, repetitive stress, among others can result in locking of the ribs. The most common problem areas are between the shoulder blades and can cause a stiff neck and also pain on breathing. It can also cause chest pain as well. If a recent cold or flu was present, pleurisy or pleuritis may need to be ruled out. Patients with scoliosis often have a lot of rib pain due to the stress put on the rib cage from the twisting of the spine.

Treatment: the most effective treatment in my experience is to simply restore the rib motion and treat with ice.

Miscellaneous health news

  • craving sweets can be a sign of depression
  • skipping breakfast can cause you to get fat by tricking your brain into craving higher calorie food.
  • Alternatives to flexeril: Skullcap and valarian root are anti-spasmodic herbs. Bromelain taken between meals and eicosapentaenoic acid (fish oil) are good natural anti-inflammatories. Ice and massage are also beneficial in reducing muscle spasm and inflammation.
  • Tai Chi has been found to help ease pain in many arthritis patients.
  • Vinegar appears to turn on the fat burning gene.
  • FDA is concerned about the overuse of acetaminophen (Tylenol) causing liver damage.
  • Artificial sweeteners are linked to a 2 fold increase in diabetes.

News From Medicine

  • Lower blood pressure without medication. These strategies are not new -- they include weight reduction, increase in physical activity, restriction of sodium, following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, tobacco cessation, and reduction of alcohol intake. Stress management, device-guided therapeutic breathing, patient education.

Friday, May 15, 2009

June Blog

What is Sciatica? Sciatica is pain radiating down the back of the leg. It is frequently described as a deep tooth ache like pain and sometimes burns. It may be accompanied by numbness and tingling and leg weakness.
What Causes Sciatica? Sciatica is the result of irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve. There are a lot of potential problems that can cause sciatic pain: herniated disc, narrowing of the spine, osteoarthritic spurs and joint narrowing, entrapment syndromes (piriformis muscle for example), trauma, lack of proper nerve movement or stretch, cysts/tumors and mechanical joint pain.
How is it Treated? Diagnostic and examination techniques are used to isolate the problem such as x-rays, MRI. If nerve root tension signs are absent, the cause is likely outside the spine.
a. Medical Treatment: surgical intervention, physical therapy, medication, epidural steroids.
b. Chiropractic/Alternative Treatment: manipulation, flexion/distraction, McKenzie exercises, nerve mobilization, physical therapy modalities (electrical pain control, stretching, exercises. deep tissue therapy). Surgical referral for non-responsive cases may be necessary.
Prognosis: guarded. Many people progress to totally pain free in a short time and others may end up with intermittent or permanent residuals.
Caution is always necessary in the case of sciatic pain if progression results in loss of bowel or bladder control, saddle anesthesia, or worsening symptoms.
Restless Leg Syndrome:
What is it? Restless leg syndrome is the sensation of needing to move the legs and may be accompanied by abnormal sensations such as prickling, tingling, crawling sensations.
What causes it? Many conditions can mimic the sensations such as arthritis, varicose veins, interittent claudication, side effects of medications, maintaining uncomfortable positions, and leg cramps. Causes may be linked to kidney failure, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, nerve damage, anemia, and Parkinson's disease.
How is it treated? Medically, treatment consists of medications that are dopamine agonists, anti-convulsives, sedative-hypnotics, opiods. Look for other underlying disease conditions that may mimic RLS (diabetes, anemia).
Are alternative treatments available?
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and comfortable, and use it only for sleeping, not for watching TV.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Massage the leg or the arm, or use heat or ice packs.
NSAIDs. I'm vindicated. Having had previous experience with minor use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) in the form of aspirin and ibuprofen and my wife getting acute gastritis (with at $3,000+ bill for an ER trip) I have been harping on the risks of these medications on the stomach/GI track. The World Health Organization estimated somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of chronic users have problems. It is my opinion that this may even be low as a lot of people don't end up going to the doctor's office and reporting stomach issues that they self medicate with antiacids or OTC medications like prilosec. The guidelines are as follows: "A recent document by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has come out with recommendations that anyone over 75 should not take NSAIDs. They recommended use of NSAIDs and COX-2s only "rarely" and "with extreme caution" in highly selected individuals, such as those for whom safer therapies have failed.
For most seniors, acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin) should be considered as "initial and ongoing pharmacotherapy in the treatment of persistent pain, particularly musculoskeletal pain," they said. They noted that the presence of hepatic insufficiency and/or chronic alcohol use are relative contraindications.
Opioids may be safer than long-term NSAID therapy and should be considered for all patients with moderate-severe or quality-of-life-impacting pain, they added. Breakthrough pain with opioids should be anticipated and treated with short-acting, immediate-release opioids. "

In other words, its safer to take opiods than NSAIDs. Tylenol is a safer way to go if no liver or prior alcholic problems. A recent study even questioned the advisability of regular ingestion of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to keep the blood thin for heart patients. The possible side effects may be worse than the symptoms aspirin is trying to control.

My recommendation: boswellic acids, fish oils. When combined with glucosamine for arthritic joints I have found this helps patients.

Internet Anonymity:

Take care on what you write and post on various internet forums. The anonymity of the internet allows people to write what they want without consequences and without burden of proof. You never know what kind of crackpot you'll run into out there.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

May Blog Nutrition and Health Updates

DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE: Conservative Treatment Methods

Non-surgical treatment methods are available for degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis changes and resulting problems in the neck and back and joints. These treatment protocols are lower cost, non-invasive and therefore of lower risk. Many complications exist out of osteoarthritic/degenerative changes: sciatica, radiating arm pain, numbness/tingling, spinal stenosis, spinal deformity, loss of mobility, chronic pain.

Treatment Goals for patients depends on the nature and severity of the symptoms. Patients with spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal openins) or radiating pain (radiculopathy, sciatica, radiculitis) may require a multi-treatment approach. The following are some of the methods used by doctors of chiropractic to help minimize the need for patient surgery.
  • Manipulation-low force or traditional manual techniques to retore normal spinal joint motion. Flexion-distraction and other traction oriented methods may also be used.
  • Nerve mobilization techniques to release nerves entrapped by adhesions, etc.
  • Physiotherapy modalities (physical medicine) such as interferential current, ultrasound, deep tissue therapy, postural restoration, and temperature therapy, etc. to treat pain and disability complaints.
  • Exercise/rehabilitation protocols to restore strength and function and stabilize core muscles.
  • Nutritional supplementation to reduce inflammation and support disc and cartilage structures.
  • Medical referral for epidurals, surgical consultations in non-responsive cases or cases of severe pain/deterioration.
Medical News:
  • H1N1 virus (swine flu) from Medscape. Persons infected with swine flu may appear similar to those with seasonal influenza, presenting with symptoms of acute respiratory illness. Symptoms include at least 2 of the following: Rhinorrhea or nasal congestion; Sore throat; Cough; and Fever. Most at risk include- those who live in areas in the United States with confirmed human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection. (To find the most up-to-date information on areas with confirmed swine influenza cases, go to . Also those who have traveled recently to Mexico or were in contact with persons who had febrile respiratory illness and were in areas of the United States with confirmed swine influenza cases or Mexico in the 7 days preceding illness onset. Treatment is anti-viral medications depending on age.
  • Aspirin and other platelet medications may increase micro-bleeds in the brain.
  • The first quarter of 2008 saw a large increase in serious injuries and deaths linked to prescription medication. Top drugs causing death/injury: Chantix-a stop smoking drug; warfarin-increased with tainted drugs from China; ibuprofen and acetaminophen-OTC pain killers; and other pain mediations/narcotics. Remember: all medications have the potential for serious side effects.

Guidelines on Female Exams from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

  • <21> No routine exams unless problems.
  • 21-29 routine pelvic examination and cytology. Sexually active less that age 25 should be screened for chlamydia and adolescents for gonorrhea.

  • 30-64 annual pelvic and cytology reduced to every 2-3 years after 3 normal exams.

  • All adolescents and 19-64 sexually active females should be screened for HIV.

  • 64+ annual pelvic. No cytology if 3 negative exams and no relevant history.

Nutrition News:

Nine foods that help keep weight off: green tea, soups, low-cal green salads, yogurt, water, lite die shakes, beans, whole grain/high fiber cereals, grapefruit.

Alternative Health/Chiropractic News:

Consumer Reports says in its May issue that 80% of adults in the U.S. report having been bothered by back pain at some point in their lives. The Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center surveyed 14,000 subscribers who reported experiencing back pain in the past year but who had never undergone back surgery. More than half said the pain severely limited their daily routines for at least a week, and many said it interfered with sex, sleep, and weight control.
It found that:
88% of respondents said back pain recurred through the year.
35% said they’d never consulted a professional to help with lower back pain.
Of those who’d sought help:
58% said chiropractic manipulation had helped a lot.
48% said massage had eased their pain.
46% said physical therapy had benefited them.
The respondents were also asked about their satisfaction with various treatments. Of those reporting they were highly satisfied:
59% had seen chiropractors

55% had seen physical therapists
53% had seen acupuncturists
44% had seen physician specialists
34% had seen primary care doctors

Friday, March 27, 2009

April's Blog on Health Care

April Blog Update

by Dr. John H. Riggs

Alternative Chiropractic Solutions, 570-8792


MRI STUDY OF ARTHRITIS and SCOLIOSIS/CANCER: A 10 year MRI study of neck arthritis showed worsening of the arthritis over time. The major factor seems to be age. Implications: if you have arthritis it gets worse as you get older. Another study of scoliosis showed that curves greater than 25 degrees tended to get worse. Bowel cancer has risen by 120% for under 30 year olds due to obesity and lack of exercise.


The nerves in the body can be sources of considerable pain and disability as a result of inflammation, irritation, compression, or dysfunction. In addition to its impulse transmission characteristics providing feedback to the brain and enabling movement, touch, feeling, etc., the nervous system also has mechanical characteristics. It must respond to tension, sliding and compression forces. Using these principles, a physical therapist in Australia has devised treatment methods for problems with the mechanical aspect of nerves: nerve mobilization or neurodynamics. Chiropractors in the US have been using nerve mobilization techniques as well, however, they have not established as comprehensive methods as Mr. Shaklock.

Although many neurological conditions require surgical intervention (severely herniated disc for example) many of the conditions can be treated manually thus avoiding surgery. Various nerve entrapment and inflammation syndromes for example can be effectively treated with nerve mobilization techniques. Examples are carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis (due to posterior tibial nerve pain), sciatica, radiating pain in the arms, to name a few.

My results with resolving such nerve complaints has been vastly improved using some of the principles of nerve mobilization to treat these serious conditions. Patience and perseverance is necessary for successful treatment, however, this has been one of the most successful methods of treating such things as sciatica and radiating arm pain I have ever used.

GRASTON TECHNIQUE: Also known as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IAST), it is a form of deep tissue therapy designed to reduce and resolve scar tissue, adhesions and fibrosis in previously injured soft tissue. It also helps with inflamed and swollen soft tissue as well. Soft tissue pain is frequently associated with improper healing of soft tissue injuries. GT uses stainless steel instruments to gently break down adhesions in the soft tissue structures (muscles, tendons, ligaments) and coupled with exercises and stretches allows them to heal properly.

GT has been used successfully to treat such conditions as tennis elbow, shoulder problems, tendinitis, bursitis, and strains/sprains to name a few. Typically, treatment consists of 2 sessions a week for 3-6 weeks (allowing 2 days between sessions), followed by home stretches and exercises. The skin is prepped with a lubricant and stroking motions are used to break down adhesions and scar tissue in layers. Exercise is necessary to allow the tissue to reform without adhesions. I find the best results with tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis/bursitis, and shoulder problems.

Dr. Riggs was the first trained and certified practitioner (2003) in West Texas until recently (one other doctor). He has been using GT successfully for years.


RED MEAT AND HEALTH: March 26, 2009 — Eating red and processed meat is associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality rates, according to the results of a large, prospective study reported in the March 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Red meat included all types of beef and pork such as bacon, beef, cold cuts, hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, and meats in pizza, lasagna, and stew. High meat consumption also increases obesity and overall health problems. The key to this study is not to preach a vegetarian diet but to recognize that moderation in one's consumption of read meats will reduce overall health risks. No one knows the long term results of the "bulking" up tactics of the meat industry (steroids, limiting movement, etc) resulting in fatter beef, etc. Red meats also are considered more pro-inflammatory. Omega 3's, on the other hand, found in cold water fish help reduce inflammation.

OVARIAN CANCER SYMPTOMS: NCCN Guidelines. In addition to a suspicious palpable mass in the abdomen, the clinical presentation also includes "symptoms such as bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency) without another obvious source of malignancy." "It's now thought that 90% of women with ovarian cancer will have these symptoms," "All women have these, but the keys are that there is a sudden onset and the frequency is about 12 times a month," he explained.

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer include: family history of ovarian cancer, early onset breast cancers, and colorectal cancer, as well as age. Screen may include: CA-125 assay and transvaginal ultrasound. However, effective screening is a goal that has not been realized.


General symptoms of decreased blood supply to the heart: chest discomfort, pain, heaviness, fullness possibly radiating to the arm, shoulder, back, neck, jaw, epigastrium, or other location. Symptoms are increased with stress or exertion and may be relieved by rest or nitroglycerin. Shortness of breath, sweating, weakness, nausea or vomiting and lightheadedness may also occur. Chest pain is not always present and symptoms may include shortness of breath for no reason, pain in other locations, indigestion, nausea/vomiting, sweating, palpitations, generalized weakness, irregular heartbeats, fainting, fatigue, faintness or dizziness. The "absence" of chest pain or discomfort was found to be more common in women. Increasing age is an important predictor with women experiencing problems at an older age.

Blood Pressure Guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:

Category: Systolic/Diastolic Result

Normal <120/<80>

Prehypertensive 120-139/80-89 Lose weight, increase exercise, change eating

Hypertension 140+/90+ Hypertension, talk to health care professional

Lowering blood pressure naturally. Some of the following can help lower your blood pressure.

  • increase activity

  • decrease sodium intake and what potassium (if too low increases sodium buildup)

  • minimize drinking alcohol

  • Eat healthy-decrease process and fatty foods and increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish , nuts, magnesium and potassium (DASH diet).

  • Stop smoking-it increases stress, depletes oxygen and increases cancer risk. There are no medical benefits to burning trash inches from your face.

  • Nutritional considerations: stevia leaf extract (supports healthy blood pressure), Hawthorne extract (supports heart and balances sodium and fluid levels), Olive leaf extract (supports healthy blood pressure), Dandelion leaf (helps reduce fluid retention), lycopene (supports arteries, circulation and heart health).

NEURONTIN: Medications have a place in health care when used for the right purposes. In a book by Melody Peterson "Our Daily Meds" her reporting on neurontin showed some of the issues of concern with medications in our society. The FDA had concerns over the effectiveness of neurontin and had concerns over its dangers for treating epilepsy. Apparently, research found it ineffective for 10 conditions it was approved for: fibromyalgia, ADD, diabetic neuropathy, chronic pain, mood disorders, migraines, and bi-polar disorder. The side effects of concern include: muscle pain, skin rash and itching, swollen glands, sore throat and fever, aggressiveness, concentration difficulty, depression, nightmares, chills, increases of certain seizures, mood/mental changes, nosebleeds and unusual bleeding or bruising and shortness of breath.

Neurontin sales have been about 2.7 billion. Yet, many of the sales involved off label uses which were apparently promoted by drug sales personnel. This has resulted in lawsuits. In 2004 Pfizer plead guilty to charges of healthcare fraud (DOJ investigation). Corporate executives apparently pushed off label usage seeking increased sales profits. 80-90% of the profits for the drug were off-label. The fine imposed was the second-largest for health care fraud in the U.S. A new lawsuit was filed in October 2008 alleging misdeads beyond the original charges including deception, suppression of scientific truth, manipulating trial designs and making the drug appear more effective than it was.

To me, this is along the lines of other corporate issues of ethics. A focus on profit no matter the cost or result.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Blog Update on Health

March-Chiropractic, Alternative Healthcare, Medical & Nutrition News:
by John H. Riggs, D.C., Alternative Chiropractic Solutions, 432-570-8792
References. Life Extension Magazine

Link to old blogspot in case you want to review any of the old entries:

Andropause: The male equivalent of menopause. Recently Harvard Scientists endorsed testosterone replacement in a book Testosterone for Life. Low testosterone creates andropause. Testosterone peaks about age 20 and then starts a steady decline. The symptoms include:
  • Loss of muscle mass and strength
  • Accumulation of belly fat
  • Low bone density
  • Anemia
  • Increased type II diabetes
  • Gradual erosion of libido and sometimes ED
  • May also be a risk for mental decline.
  • Cancer concerns: testosterone therapy has been thought to to increase or cause new prostate cancer risks. There appears to be little scientific report. What do we know? Low levels of testosterone may increase prostate cancer risk; high levels and treatment with testosterone do not increase the risk of prostate cancer; more physicians are coming around to recognize T therapy. A 2008 article in the Journal of National Cancer Institute found no relationship between prostate cancer and any of the hormones studied.

Reducing the Risk of Prostate Cancer:

  • A study in 2008 showed no reduction in cancer risk with vitamin E and selenium.
  • Supplementing with alpha tocopherol only reduces gamma tocopherol which is protective.
  • Vitamin D can reduce cancer risk by reversing genetic changes.
  • Omega 3 (fish oil) supplements reduces risk whereas omega 6 increases risk.
    [ 5-Loxin may reduce the inflammatory substances in diets with too high omega 6.
  • Many plant foods are protective (broccoli, cauliflower, flaxseed, soy).
  • Low testosterone increases prostate risk according to a Harvard study.

Improving Vitality, Sexual Function, and Prostate Health in Aging Men.

  • Botanicals: maca, muira, puama, chrysin, nettle, ginger, and Norway spruce ligands.
  • They may work by improving free testosterone and blocking conversion to estrogen.

Preventing Macular Degeneration (new theory)-macular degeneration causes cholesterol-containing lesions in the retina and is the leading cause of vision loss after age 65.

  • Studies show low DHEA in those with MD.
  • A hormonal theory has been hypothesized suggesting low hormonal levels allow cholesterol to accumulate with the restoration of hormonal levels and nutrients supporting eye health may help stop or reverse MD.

Maintaining Muscle with age: Being able to stay active and healthy as we age requires healthy muscles. Muscle mass declines with age affecting our ability to stay active. How can we help offset muscle loss?

  • Exercise such as weight lifting helps maintain muscle mass. Staying active also helps.

Nutritional supplements help benefit exercise.o Whey protein helps muscle building
o Creatine helps with strength and lean tissue mass
o Glutamine helps preserve lean tissue and boots growth hormone
o Together the above with exercise help build strong muscles.

Excess Fructose in the Diet: especially HFSC (high fructose corn syrup.)

  • Why is it a problem? Increased use of the produce has accompanied increased obesity and metabolic syndrome (central obesity, diabetes). High triglycerides, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease (non-alcoholic), AGEs (advanced glycation end products. Fructose is linked with insulin resistant diabetes. It also elevates uric acid, gout and kidney stone risks.
  • Where do you find it? Sweetened carbonated soft drinks, packaged foods (cakes, cookies, jams, jellies, crackers), fruit juices, honey, table sugar.
  • Nutritional counter measures: benfotiamine, ALA, carnosine, pyridoxamine, acetyl-L-carnitine, vitamin C and fish oils.
  • Strategies for decreasing excess fructose. Avoid sweetened soft drinks and bottled teas. Stick to water, herbal teas and home brewed teas (green). Cut table sugar increase. Use stevia sweeteners. Read you product labels and avoid high-fructose corn syrup. Eat Mediterranean type diet with grains, fresh veggies, and fish.

Optimizing Bone Strength:

  • Risk factors: female, postmenopausal, older, white or Asian race, diabetic or metabolic syndrome, underweight, sedentary and smoker.
  • What you can do? Collagen calcium chelate and dried plumb improves bone strength. Weight bearing exercise-weights. Reduce controllable risk factors: diabetes/metabolic syndrome, weight, become more active and quit smoking.
    Biphosphate Drugs: widely prescribed but with potentially serious side effects such as bone decay of the jaw, irregular heart rhythm (stroke risk).

Miscellaneous Nutrition News:

  • Black raspberries may reduce risk of cancer.
  • Boswellia (5-Loxin) improves osteoarthritis symptoms (anti-inflammatory). I like the combination of glucosamine, boswellia and fish oils. Some supplements such as osteo-biflex come with boswellia and glucosamine.
  • Green tea extract improves glucose control.
  • Curcumin (tumeric) may improve cold sores.
  • Losing sleep may encourage inflammation related diseases.
  • Vitamin D may help prevent multiple sclerosis. Deficiency raises the risk of hip fractures.
  • Flax seed extract reduces urinary symptoms in males
  • Goji berry enhances energy and well-being.
  • Quercetin may help protect agains the flu.
  • Lower levels of EPA may increase risk of mortality in older people.
  • Resveratrol found in red wine protects against atherosclerosis.
  • Fish oils keep arteries supple.
  • B3 nicotinamide helps offset memory loss.
  • Vitamin E reduces inflammation.
  • L-carnitine decreases LDL in diabetics.
  • Selenium may slash bladder cancer risk in women.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February/March Blog on Aging and Nutrition

It's a bummer getting old. As we age, our body effects many changes, most undesirable. Here are the changes your body goes through as you age and some things you can do to help it.
  • SKIN: Your skin loses its strength and elasticity due to degeneration in the connective tissue (collagen and elastin). This sets the stage for wrinkles, folds and furrows. What can you do: limit exposure to the sun, use sunscreen. If you smoke, quit! Make sure you use lotions to keep your skin moist and lubricated. There are many cosmetics available to help reduce and repair the damage of aging and help reduce wrinkles. Stay hydrated with moisturizers and drinking plenty of water.
  • MIND: mental acuity declines with age. Physical activity and mental activity (reading, puzzles, games, crosswords, etc.) may help offset the decline and decrease the risk of Alzheimer's. Anesthesia for surgery increases the risk for early Alzheimer's. B-vitamins may also offset the risk of Alzheimer's as well.
  • VISION: Acuity deceases in your 40s. Macular degeneration and cataracts may develop as we age. Vitamin supplements such as high levels of anti-oxidants such as Vitamin E and C and beta carotene with zinc may help reduce macular degeneration risks. UV-shielded sunglasses also reduce cataract risk. New treatments are available for wet forms of macular degeneration.
  • BONES: bone mass peaks at age 35. Post menopausal women, andropausal men, inactive individuals, and those having used steroids extensively are all at risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercises can help strengthen bones and increase density. Consider weight lifting, walking type exercises. Nutritionally, make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D. After age 50, 1200 mg of calcium/day and 400 IU of vitamin D (from 51-70, then increase to 600 after 70). We also lose .4 inches every 10 years after age 40, so by 70 you will likely have shrunk over an inch.
  • JOINTS: weight bearing joints and joints we've overworked often become osteoarthritic as we age-knees, spine, hands, etc. Exercises to strengthen the quadriceps will help the knees. Range of motion exercises will also help. Nutritionally, I like to put my patients on Osteo-biflex (glucosamine with boswellic acids which is also know as 5-Loxin) and fish oils. This combination helps with cartilage health and inflammation. I have seen this combination work as good as the prescription NSAIDS. More severe cases may require medical intervention in the form of steroid injections or lubricant injections (Hyalgan or Synivisc) and in the most serious cases, joint replacement. Heat may help some joints while others do better with ice depending on inflammation and swelling.
  • MUSCLES: muscle mass decreases significantly by age 60 and is replaced by fat. Weight lifting and aerobic exercise (walking, treadmill, elliptical, jogging) can help stave off this decline and build muscle. Muscle burns more fat. More muscle also keeps skin more taut.
  • DIGESTION: your stomach produces less acid as you age making B12 absorption more difficult. Digestive enzymes may help. Fiber to improve diminishing intestinal motility is also important-men need 38 grams and women need 25 grams. Supplements, high-fiber cereals, certain vegetables, beans, etc. all help with fiber. Taste buds decrease at age 40 in women and 50 in men. Smell also diminishes, especially after 70.
  • CARDIOVASCULAR: Your heart loses its ability to pump large amounts of blood quickly. B12 to offset anemia (and neurological problems) after 50 and folate to reduce homocysteine levels is necessary. Decrease sodium intake, eat at least 2 servings of fish (preferably cold water) a week (omega 3 FAs), decrease unhealthy trans fatty acids. 30 minutes of daily brisk exercise raising the heart rate. Increase fiber intake such as oatmeal. If you are taking statin drugs (Lipitor, etc.) supplement with CoQ10-100-200 mg/day, chewable.
  • SEXUAL ACTIVITY: hormonal, health and cardiovascular decline may lead to loss of interest or function. Medications may help. Testosterone supplementation may help males.
  • MISCELLANEOUS: hand grip strength decreases, nerve cells mass decreases and the number of nerve cells decrease which may cause spinal cord and brain atrophy. Some loss of nerve coating may occur slowing nerve transmission. Hearing starts declining about age 50.


  • NSAIDs-traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are enzyme inhibitors (Cox 1 and Cox 2). Short-term inhibition of these beneficial enzymes (acute stage) is not dangerous. However, long-term use results in gastric erosions or ulceration and can be dangerous. There are also side effects from long term inhibition of the COX 2 enzyme in the form of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. About 80% of serious stomach problems come without warning, with risk factors if you've had ulcers, consume alcohol regularly, take other medications with NSAIDs, use steroids or blood thinners, take more than the recommended dosage and are over 60 years of age.
  • Inflammation is connected to a lot of health problems: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer's and cancers.
  • NUTRITIONAL SOLUTIONS: Omega 3 fatty acids or fish oils (EPA, DHA). We need a 1:1 to 4:1 range ration for omega 6 FAs to Omega 3 FAs. Consumption of Omega 3 FAs may decrease chronic pain and inflammation without the risks of gastric erosions. Fish, especially cold water, seafood, seaweed and fish oils are good sources. EPA in the Omega 3 has blood thinning characteristics and needs to be taken under supervision if taking blood thinners of any type (warfarin, coumadin, aspirin). Another supplement that seems to work well is Zyflamend which is available at health food stores. Many herbs possess anti-inflammatory properties: tumeric (Alzheimer's, liver problems, cancers), willow bark (effective to twice as effective as Motrin), Boswellia (hits multiple enzyme systems, effective for arthritis and muscle pain).
  • Mediterranean Diet: the diet may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (adult onset) by 83%.
  • Preventing Cognitive Decline: Berries and grapes. blueberry and grape seed extract, vinpocetine, phosphatidylserine, glycophosphocholine (GPC), uridine-5-monophosphate (UMP), ashwagandha, ginger, rosemary, hops, and the hormone prgnenolone may help protect brain tissue. Brain Healthy Diet: abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, lean protein while avoiding high fructose corn syrup, trans and hydrogenated fats, artificial sweeteners, gluten and dairy. Supplement with B vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids, D3, calcium and magnesium.
  • Glucosamine: long term use follow up studies show reduce knee joint replacements.
  • Modified Citrus Pectin: demonstrates properties in blocking cancer cell aggregation, adhesion and metastasis and shows promise in chelating heavy metals.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dr. Riggs' January Blog

Marty and I hope you all had a safe holiday season and we wish you a prosperous new year.

Our country faces many challenges ahead for 2009. Never in my lifetime have I seen so many issues needing to be addressed. As a country, we have risen to such challenges in the past and I have confidence we will do so in the future. As a health care provider, I hope the challenge we face in such and important area will be met with creativity, industriousness and for the betterment of the people and not the special interests. For far too long, they have been allowed to drive the healthcare system benefiting mainly their bottom line. Change is apparently in the wind. What that will be no one knows at this time. We should all hope it is for the better.

As our population continues to gray, prevention rises to the top of the list. Our society must move from a disease treatment mentality to a disease prevention mentality-one where we focus on health, wellness, diet, exercise. Chiropractic health care has always lead the health system with a prevention mindset using nutrition, preventative visits, and periodic monitoring of health issues while encouraging good nutrition and diet and exercise. Although patients often drift away as they start to feel good, many of the progressive conditions we see do better with preventative or maintenance care. I encourage you to maintain your health so you are able to live long and healthy life free of many of the devastating aspects of aging. Most modern health problems are a result of our long term abusive treatment of our bodies. Heart disease, lung disease, arthritis, cancers-all have a connection to inflammation and poor health and dietary habits. Maintain good health by visiting our office more often.

Changing health habits can be a challenge. Here are some goals to consider.
  • If you smoke, consider quitting or cutting down. There are many options and ways to do so.
  • If you eat poorly, restrict calories or change your diet and exercise more.
  • If you are out of shape or weak, exercise your lungs, muscles and bones.
  • If you have arthritis, change your diet, exercise and use supplements that help.
  • If you have heart disease, change your diet, exercise (if you can), lose weight.
  • If you don’t feel well, make it a point to get checked out. Early detection no only cuts health costs but gives you a better chance of recovery.

    Make this a year of personal change. Set goals. Work to achieve them. Social scientists, business managers, and governments all know it is difficult to achieve change. Change cannot happen if everyone fails to make an effort to do better. After taxes are done, I plan to start doing nutrition lectures again at the clinic on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays once a quarter.

    Chiropractic, Alternative Healthcare & Nutrition News:
  • 4.5 servings of cruciferous vegetables/month (broccoli for example) can significantly reduce lung cancer risk.
  • Fish Oils and Dementia: Patients with higher plasma levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid found in fish, had a significant 47% reduction in the risk of all-cause dementia and a 39% reduced risk of Alzheimer's, researchers reported.
  • Diabetes: A study found slashing carbohydrates decreases diabetic medication use and reverses Type 2 Diabetes.
  • FDA has new website on drugs:

    Medical News:
  • Liraglutide, a new drug in the same class as Byetta, cuts blood sugar and lowers weight in a year long study of people with early type 2 diabetes.
  • Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS): a recent analysis of studies shows that anti-depressants help improve the control of pain and quality of life for those with FMS. However, different types of anti-depressants have varying effects. However, effect sizes on pain with different classes of antidepressants varied, with small effect sizes associated with use of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin- and noradrenalin-reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), medium effect sizes with use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and large effect sizes associated with tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
  • More Fibromyalgia News: The FDA approved milnacipran (Savella) for FMS.
  • Offsetting Dementia: Exercising the brain can help slow down the normal mental decline of aging. A recent study by Bender outlines a very comprehensive approach for patients to keep their brains healthy and fit:
    o Use your brain to learn new things and strive for some level of mastery
    o Physical exercise
    o Low fat diet- high in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids
    o Socialization
    o Manage Stress
    o Avoid excess – tobacco, alcohol and calories
    o Utilize your talents for self and others because using talents enhances our brain circuitry
    o Avoid head injuries
    o Meditation
    o Maximize a spiritual life

Yours in health,

Dr. John Riggs, Alternative Chiropractic Solutions 570-8792