Author Archives: Peter Braglia, D.C.

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Why I May NOT Tell You To Stop Exercising

When you love your sport or exercise routine, there’s a sense that you would rather die than to be forced to give it up. When you see a doctor who only sees pain relief as the only outcome, then the inevitable outcome is to give up the activity that caused the injury.

However, this post is to let you know that may not be the best advice.

In fact, a recent study suggests that runners don’t suffer more long term damage to their knee joints than non-runners. The study of more than 2,600 middle aged participants found that people who ran more actually experienced less knee pain over time. In addition, the people who currently ran enjoyed less knee pain than former runners.

If you’re an athlete, sometimes the best opinion you can get is from a doctor who understands the drive, demand, and benefit of staying strong and fit. The last thing I would want to tell someone is to give up an activity that is so beneficial for their overall well-being.

Exercise is like a whole-body health tonic, impacting you down to the cellular level.

A doctor that has been physically active for years knows what the common injuries are and what can be done to address them. They know what doctors would be best to address their injuries, and can refer people to go down the same path. They can also differentiate between injuries that can be rehabbed, and things that would force them to take time off.

A doctor who exercises is also someone who probably knows what you can do to stay active while injured. I take care of numerous patients with injuries after overtraining in the gym.

Often times I can make recommendations for substitute exercises that can be performed – as opposed to stopping lifting completely. Bottom line – the next time you’re faced with a choice of reducing your activity, make sure you talk to a doctors who is active in the fitness community.

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The True Health Manifesto

Simply put, a manifesto is a statement of ideals and intentions. The Declaration of Independence is a manifesto. So is Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” The idea behind me writing the True Health manifesto was to challenge assumptions people have about their health, foster commitment to improving their health, and (most importantly) to provoke change.

This is why the picture below hangs in my office, serving as a reminder as I meet and consult with new patients.

After all, we are designed to be extraordinary. Every cell in your body is hardwired to be healthy. Unfortunately, in America the expectation is that we are supposed to be sick, and that there is always a solution (usually found in a bottle).

I hope this manifesto serves as a reminder for the untapped potential for true health and vitality available for your body.

The goal in our office is to maintain the integrity of your spine and nervous system. Instead of focusing on the health lost, deterioration created, energy decrease, immune system suppression and all the negative effects of nerve interference and not fulfilling all your health requirements, we choose to focus on the untapped potential for true health and vitality available for your body.

Normal structural alignment coupled with a healthy lifestyle means that body is the best it can be to throw off potential illness. So, we incorporate practical help and education about “how we live, how we work, what we eat” and how we exercise. That’s prevention, pure and simple.

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Your Baby’s Curve

When a baby is first born, their spine will have a convex curve in the shape of the letter C. This is called the primary curve and develops in utero. Therefore it would make sense that the ONLY “natural” position for a newborn is flexion. This is why if you lay an infant on their back (extension) their arms will flail and they think that they are falling (this is the Moro reflex).

In fact, at this stage, the baby will naturally tuck their legs into a frog leg position, thighs pulling up toward the chest, while laying on her belly or when you picked up. This fetal tuck allows your baby to maintain her primary curve alignment, reducing the pressure on the spine and hips. The fetal tuck is also the most calming position for your baby, helping them digest food better and regulate body temperature.

With all that being said, my next statement should make perfect sense – babies NEED tummy time. Not only because it is their natural position but because it is VITAL to properly develop the secondary and final curves of the spine (neck and lower back curves), a nicely rounded head, and flexible legs that move in and out of various sitting positions. Unfortunately, more and more frequently we see babies with a lack of time on their tummy and the OVERUSE of “baby containers” such as bouncy seats, swings, and (most frequently) car seat carriers that go from car to grocery store to restaurant.

While these containers can provide your baby with a safe place to lay while you tend to other day-to-day tasks, avoid overusing them and try to balance this time spent in them with the same amount of tummy time. The end result of overuse of these containers can be a flat skull, failure to develop a cervical and lumbar curve in the spine preventing them from getting on hands and knees to crawl, and tightened hips/legs.

It’s important to note that tummy time does not have to be on the floor – it can be on your chest, supported over your lap, or on a nursing pillow for younger babies. The flexion tummy time provides is very safe and natural.

If your baby struggles with and/or does not tolerate tummy time – a consultation and examination with a chiropractor trained and specializing in pediatric care can help correct any structural issues before they become a chronic problem.

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Chiropractic & Infertility

As a Certified Webster Practitioner, I see a lot of pregnant patients in order to support easier labors and optimal fetal positioning, BUT did you know the Webster Technique is also used to support women trying to conceive.

According to the CDC, there are over 6 million women in the United States who are infertile. Current medical care which can be successful for infertility, is extremely expensive, and it involves potentially significant negative side effects. The average cost of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle is $12,400 – not including the costs of the medications that accompany it.

The good news is that there are countless cases in which specific chiropractic adjustments have led to conception success in couples with a history of infertility.

In fact, chiropractic is one of many healthy lifestyle habits that can assist couples to strengthen their reproductive integrity naturally.

A study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research looked at the effectiveness of chiropractic for infertility.  It followed 15 women who ranged in age from 22 – 65 with a history of infertility.  14 of the 15 subjects became pregnant within 2 – 20 months of starting chiropractic care.  The 65-year-old did not get pregnant, but after a lifetime with no menstrual periods, she began menstruating 4 weeks after beginning chiropractic adjustments.  While not conclusive, the results of this study are definitely compelling warrant further research.

To be clear, chiropractic care is not a cure  or treatment for infertility. Chiropractic care simply restores & optimizes your body’s inborn ability to create the miracle of life. If there are any structural shifts, particularly in the vertebrae of the lower back, these can obstruct the nerve communication between the reproductive organs & the nervous system. I urge all women, before considering medical intervention, to first try to get their body working optimally by addressing nervous system function, looking at nutrition, stress management and lifestyle habits first. I have seen, first hand, the amazing results that are possible.

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Bulletproof Your Core

The sacroiliac joint is where the upper body meets the lower body. It is the center of motion, the center of shock absorption, and the center of power transfer between the upper and lower body.  When we talk about core, this is what we are talking about, the sacroiliac joint, not the lumbar spine.

Given its structure, the sacroiliac joint is designed to relieve stress and forces.  It acts as a buffer between the hip and lumbar spine.

If your SI joint is not working properly that force has to go somewhere – which is going to mean pain and injury for you. Anyone who has suffered from SI joint pain knows that it can be a real pain – in the back, in the hip, and even down the leg. It can make day-to-day activities such as rolling over, standing from a seated position, or getting in and out of a car difficult.

This is one of the most common structural shifts I see in my patients. I see it in those who workout AND those who sit too much. Just like any other area in your spine – the SI joint can shift and when it does it becomes stuck. Rather than constantly masking the problem, at True Health Chiropractic, we’ve chosen to fix the foundation through specific chiropractic adjustments of the shifted SI joint.

Once the foundation has been fixed, we then teach you how to keep it that way through customized recommendations designed for your spine, so the problem does not come back.

As chiropractors, we understand the human body is better able to deal with these stressors when there is balance in the spine – allowing the nerve system to work free of any structural interference. The focus chiropractic care is to keep the bones of the spine (vertebrae) in their proper relationships with each other, which enhances the function of the spine and nerve system in order to allow the body to fully express its maximum potential and work optimally.

Besides correcting any structural shifts in the sacrum or lower lumbar spine, by improving the strength of the gluteals, hamstrings and lats – you can help maintain the correction and prevent further flare-ups.

Rather than wait for a complete breakdown, chiropractic is about keeping the body in check and doing a correction only when necessary. Remember – Normal Structure allows your body to operate smoothly and at its best.

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