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February 12, 2013

What is Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis?

Functional blood chemistry analysis is an extremely effective tool used by functional medicine practitioners to comprehensively evaluate the status of a patient’s health . A comprehensive blood chemistry panel can give your doctor insight into the function of nearly all the major systems of the body:

            • Blood-Gastrointestinal and Digestive Health
            • Adrenal Function
            • Blood Sugar Regulation
            • Thyroid Health
            • Blood and Immune System Health
            • Liver and Gall Bladder Health
            • Kidney Health
            • Acid/Base Balance
            • Toxicity and Inflammation
            • Nutrient Deficiencies

 

Because functional medicine is based on an in-depth knowledge of human physiology and how various systems of the body work together, functional medicine practitioners look at a blood test for patterns instead of just looking at individual markers. By doing this, we can see how these different systems influence one another.

Unfortunately, in the current healthcare model the primary focus is on disease management, not early detection or prevention. You may have had blood work done, but your provider may have been focusing on the absence of disease instead of looking for patterns that could indicate metabolic imbalances that will eventually lead to a disease state if not addressed from the perspective of prevention. Alternatively, your provider may have not have ordered a comprehensive blood chemistry panel due to the restrictions imposed by HMO systems and insurance companies.

Blood chemistry should be considered with all new patients, especially those that have not had a comprehensive evaluation in recent years. Fortunately, doctors now have access to comprehensive blood chemistry panels at very affordable prices; making a complete blood chemistry evaluation accessible to virtually everyone. Please call our office today for a consultation with our functional medicine practitioner, Dr. Vaughn if you are interested in learning more about the state of your health with a comprehensive blood chemistry evaluation.

January 31, 2013

The Importance of Ergonomics in the Office

Overuse injuries occur by performing a single task over and over until your body can no longer handle it, and you don’t have to be an athlete to sustain an overuse injury; you don’t even need to go outside. You can injure yourself sitting in front of your computer all day long. Poor posture, a poorly organized work environment and lack of time away from your desk can all attribute to overuse injuries.

What is Ergonomics?

Your body always seeks to put itself in the most natural, least-strenuous position possible; it works smarter, not harder, and those who study ergonomics study the natural positions and movements of the body. With the data, scientists and product designers can develop tools and environments that are tailored to the body’s natural forms.

Some of the most well-known ergonomic office supplies include: angled keyboards that allow you to rest your hands at a more natural position, office chairs with lower back support and adjustable arms and seats and mice with the buttons on the side that allow you to rest your and on its edge as opposed to palm-down.

Making Your Desk Ergonomic

Aside from buying new office equipment, or having your boss order you more, there are less expensive ways to reduce bodily fatigue at your work station. They involve making sure everything is arranged and adjusted properly.

  • Maintain proper seated posture. For proper seated posture, your feet should be flat on the floor, thighs parallel to the floor, knees bent at a 90° angle, shoulders relaxed but not slouching, back straight and head facing straight forward but looking down slightly.
  • Adjust your monitor height. If your computer monitor is too high or too low, it can cause you to strain your neck and upper back. As mentioned before, proper head posture has you facing straight forward and slightly down. The top of your computer monitor should be even with the top of your head to achieve this position.
  • Reduce glares and flickering. Monitor glares, sun glares, flickering lights, all of these environmental stressors can cause eye fatigue and headaches. If your office has a window, face your computer towards it or pull the blinds during the brightest parts of the day to reduce glare from the sun. You can also place a special film on your monitor screen to eliminate glare, and prying eyes. Flickering monitors or lights also need to be replaced to reduce strain and fatigue.
  • Keep important items within arm’s reach. If you have to lean, twist or stretch to reach something in or around your desk, it’s too far away and could cause you to hyper-extend muscles and tendons, especially if you are constantly doing this maneuver. Since you can’t put everything directly in front of you, organize your work space based on frequency of use, keeping the most important items within arm’s reach.
  • Put a potted plant on your desk. Conditioned and re-circulated building air isn’t as healthy as you’d think, especially if the ventilation system is dirty. A potted plant or two around your desk brightens up the entire space, and plants add fresh air to your environment.

As a final tip, be sure to occasionally look away from your monitor and focus on something on the other side of the room. This helps reduce eye fatigue. Also, take mini breaks away from your desk. Get up and walk around for a few minutes every couple of hours. This allows you to clear your head and come back to a task more refreshed.

January 30, 2013

Case of the Week: IT Band Syndrome in a Triathlete

A 35-year-old triathlete presents with right lateral knee pain after his last race that is aggravated when walking down stairs.  He doesn’t experience the pain whilst swimming or cycling.  He will feel the pain with higher mileage during running and for 1-2 days after.  His pain is located over the distal IT Band attachment point.  Although he has been stretching and foam rolling, he is not getting much relief.  He received 2 sessions of ART on the hip rotators, glutes, ITB, Peroneals, and the QL on the affected side.  He was also given stretching advise on the piriformis and QLs and taught the “four point ITB stretch”.  He was pain free at his second session and was advised to only return to the office once he started to ramp his mileage again as a preventative measure.

January 25, 2013

Case of the week

A 40-year-old female presents complaining of pain and numbness in the wrist and hand, as well as pain in the neck on the same side. She stated that it was worse in the morning and after work, she sits at a desk for 8 hours a day. The pain is sometimes better with stretching and ibuprofen. Examination reveals a positive Tinel’s sign of the median nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel and a positive Phalens sign. Her cervical spine exam reveals tight and tender scalenes, levator scap, and trap muscles.

Treatment consisted of cervical spine adjusting and ART to the forearm and wrist as well as the neck and upper back muscles. She reported less pain after treatment.

The diagnosis was Carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the median nerve. Also present was a phenomenon called double crush syndrome. Double crush is defined by two areas of nerve compression making the second area more symptomatic due to the nerve compression upstream. In this case, the primary site of nerve compression was in the neck in between the scalenes and the second site at the carpal tunnel. If you have further questions about this condition please give our office a call. We are here to help! 303-863-8330

January 20, 2013

Treating Chronic Pain

It is estimated that about one-third of Americans suffer from chronic pain (Source). Chronic pain is just what the name suggests, pain – often unbearable – that does not go away. By definition, in order to be considered chronic, the pain has to last for several months and negatively affect a person’s daily life. The pain can be either localized to specific areas of the body (headaches, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome) or it can be widespread, like fibromyalgia. Chronic pain can be the result of an injury, or it can just come out of nowhere for no apparent reason.

In short, virtually any part of your body can be affected by chronic pain, and the underlying cause may be a mystery. It can lead to severe depression, reduced physical ability and a slew of other negative life affects. Fortunately, there are a number of coping mechanisms and treatment regimens to improve a chronic-pain-sufferers quality of life.

Treatments for Chronic Pain

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill to cure chronic pain. Sometimes the root cause is difficult to determine, so it’s hard to devise the right treatment to alleviate the pain. Fortunately, there are multiple treatment methods being employed today. You no longer have to “just deal with it.” Listed below are some of the most common chronic pain treatments:

  • Pain Killers. Painkillers are the first thing prescribed to chronic pain patients. They dull the pain and allow you to continue with your regular activities. However, pain killers are kind of a double-edged sword. They dull the pain, but if there’s a treatable underlying cause, they don’t cure that. Plus, if the pain persists or worsens, you’ll need more, stronger painkillers which can lead to chemical dependency. So, it’s best to not rely solely on pain killers if you suffer from chronic pain. Explore other options, too.
  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that is very popular for treating chronic pain. The 2,000 year old form of Chinese Medicine is used to activate specific parts of your body – called meridians – in an effort to bring about natural healing. Massage is another form of alternative medicine that can have positive effects on chronic pain. Both acupuncture and massage are offered by Accelerate Health.
  • Psychological Treatment. As stated before, chronic pain affects the body as much as the mind. You can become stressed and depressed when suffering from chronic pain, and these psychological maladies can negatively affect your daily life and relationships. Furthermore, in some cases, there can be a psychological cause for chronic pain (stress for one). A psychologist who specializes in pain management can teach you the relaxation techniques and other skills to cope with your pain and reduce it affects your day-to-day life.
  • Support Groups. Support groups are another form of psychological treatment. There are support groups for all types of chronic pain, so you can talk to people suffering from the same pain as you. Knowing you’re not alone in your struggle with the pain can actually help reduce it. The American Chronic Pain Association has more in-depth information on chronic pain as well as tools to locate support groups in your area.
  • Light Exercise. Even though your pain can severely limit your physical activity, light exercise, like stretching, yoga, strength training and cardio can improve the overall strength and fitness of your body which, in turn, can help reduce chronic pain. Also, exercise is a stress reliever.
  • Surgery and Technology. In some cases, chronic pain can be caused by a tumor or other physical malady. Proper diagnosis and surgery can alleviate the pain. Also, there are emerging technologies, like pain pacemakers that block pain signals from reaching the brain or nerve-deadening narcotics, that can be used to treat extreme cases of chronic pain.

Chronic pain can be devastating to your quality of life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you seek treatment, beyond painkillers, and learn how to combat and cope with your pain, you can return to a normal or near-normal quality of life.

January 15, 2013

Case of the Week: Wheat-Dependent, Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis

A 29 year old female presents to our office complaining multiple symptoms that arose after a 10 mile run. Her symptoms included hives and itching behind her knees and on her neck, abdominal bloating and feeling a slight constriction of her airways making it difficult to take a deep breath. Symptoms lasted for 6-8 hours and then spontaneously resolved. She reported eating toast and having a cup of coffee in the morning before her run. She reported that these symptoms had occurred in the past after exercising, but less intensely which prompted her to have food allergy testing performed earlier in the year by her medical doctor. The blood tests were negative for any food allergy.

Wheat-dependent, exercise-induced anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening response to gluten that occurs when gluten is ingested in conjunction with exercise. The gut barrier system usually prevents toxic particles from being absorbed into the blood stream. However, increased levels of cortisol released during exercise cause the gut to become more permeable, allowing gluten and other toxic substances to enter the blood stream and cause a reaction. Additionally, gluten itself is known to increase gut permeability, so in conjunction with exercise, the potential for a negative reaction to gluten is heightened. 70% of endurance athletes are affected by at least one gastrointestinal symptom. When you add gluten to the mix, the prevalence is even higher.

My recommendation to this patient was for her to discontinue eating gluten before exercise and preferentially to adhere to a gluten-free diet all of the time. She opted to do the 100% gluten-free diet and has not had a re-occurrence of any of her symptoms in the past year since she has been gluten-free.

December 31, 2012

Goal Setting Tips

The eve of the new year is again upon us, and if you’re like most people, you are making a resolution, setting a goal of something you want to achieve in the next year. Maybe you want to lose weight, get in shape, run your first marathon or complete your first triathlon.

We set goals go challenge and better ourselves, and it’s hard work; that’s why they’re called goals. It’s easy to become discouraged or put off our aspirations until a later date, but the reward and self-fulfillment that comes with achievement is unmatched. No matter how large or small the goal, achieving it takes focus and determination. Here are a couple of ways to keep your goals on track:

  • Write your goal down. Writing your goal down on a piece of paper helps gives you something to look at every day to remind you what you are trying to achieve. You can write it down on several pieces of paper and tape those up throughout your house, so everywhere you look, there are reminders. If you have several goals, you can even make a checklist. Imagine how fulfilling it will be when you can put a checkmark by everything.
  • Set mini-goals if necessary. Depending on the scope and loftiness of your goal, it could take weeks or months to accomplish. That’s why it helps to set mini-goals or benchmarks that will gauge your progress to achieving your major goal. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds, don’t try to lose it all at once. Instead work towards shedding five pounds, then another five pounds, then another five and so on until you reach that magic number.
  • Advertise your goal. Telling others about your goal makes it all the more real, and now that you have an audience, you’re more accountable and less likely to quit when the going gets tough.
  • Seek help from your support group. Your support group is anyone who is a positive influence in your life, whether they be friends, family, co-workers, coaches or a significant other. Your support group are the people who root for you no matter what and are the people who won’t let you quit pursuing your goal, no matter what.
  • Keep your goals away from the trolls. The sad truth is, not everyone will support you in your goals. Indeed, you may find that more people tell you your goal is impossible or try to otherwise discourage you. On the internet they’re called trolls; in real life, there are any number of colorful four-letter words that will suffice. Not listening to the naysayers is easier said than done, so it’s best to just avoid people who bring you down.

Good luck with your goals this year, and remember to stay strong and determined, especially when the going gets tough.

December 21, 2012

New Year, New You!

As we look ahead to 2013 what better way to start the year than with some good, old fashioned New Year’s Resolutions? One of the most common resolutions for the New Year is to get healthy, lose weight, and start exercising.

Many embark upon this journey with zeal only to find themselves right back where they started within a few weeks. Maybe you tried exercising only to find that you weren’t getting the results you wanted or that you didn’t have enough energy to keep it up. Maybe you went on a diet and didn’t lose weight, so you gave up. That’s where we can help. At Accelerate Health we offer comprehensive detoxification programs designed to get lasting results and to offer you the support you need to succeed in achieving your goals.

Our detoxification programs are custom designed by Dr. Lindy Vaughn for your individual needs. These programs are not for the person looking for a magic pill. They require hard work and dedication, but in the end will give you lasting and meaningful results that go far beyond weight-loss.

Below is a list of some of the benefits you can expect to achieve from one of our detox programs:

  • Improved Body Composition (Increased lean muscle mass and decreased fat).
  • Improved Immune Function
  • Decreased Inflammation
  • Improved Intestinal Health
  • Elimination of Toxins and Excess Hormones
  • Increased Energy
  • Anti-Aging
  • Increased Exercise Performance
  • Improved Cardiovascular Health
  • Improved Antioxidant Status and Resistance to Oxidative Stress

Call our office at 303-863-8330 to schedule a complimentary consult with Dr. Vaughn. She will put together a custom detoxification program that is just right for you!

December 17, 2012

Gluten-Free Eating and Athletic Performance

There are many people who have an intolerance or allergy to gluten and cannot digest this protein, but many athletes who do not have any diagnosed issues with gluten are cutting it from their diets in an attempt to gain a competitive edge.

A Brief Explanation of Gluten

Gluten is a combination of two proteins (gliaden and glutenin) and is found in wheat, barley and rye, and it is used in everything from baked goods, to pasta, to salad dressing. Gluten-based flours are inexpensive and easy to work with. Gluten gives bread its elasticity and fluffiness and is also added to sauces and dressings as a thickener. The grains and pastas made from gluten-based ingredients are a staple to many athletes’ diets because gluten is also a complex carbohydrate that is used to fuel our athletic endeavors.

Why Athletes are Going Gluten Free

As mentioned before, some people simply cannot digest gluten, and this intolerance weakens their digestive system, making it difficult for their bodies to absorb any nutrients. The only remedy is to stop eating gluten and allow the body to heal itself. The belief among some athletes and coaches is that all people have difficulty digesting gluten – regardless of a diagnosed intolerance, and eating foods with wheat, barley or rye ingredients limits nutrient absorption which can hamper athletic performance. So, many athletes are going gluten-free during their competitive season. This theoretically reduces stress on their digestive systems, allowing it to operate at peak performance.

Does Gluten-Free Eating Improve Athletic Performance?

Athletes who go gluten-free reportedly have fewer digestive issues during competitions and training and feel stronger all around. They attribute this to the lack of wheat-based pastas and breads, so there may be something to this practice. However, there is no research to back up the claims; if you don’t have a diagnosed gluten intolerance or allergy, your body shouldn’t suffer an adverse affects from the protein. Any digestive or athletic improvement can be attributed to the placebo effect and simply eating healthier. Gluten is found in a lot of overly-processed foods that provide quick energy and recovery, and going gluten-free forces athletes to eat more natural foods.

The Availability of Gluten-Free Food

It is estimated that 1 in 133 people have some sort of gluten intolerance or allergy, making it a relatively prevalent condition. This also makes finding gluten-free alternatives to food rather easy; there are gluten-free alternatives to virtually every food nowadays, even bread and pasta. Fresh fruits and vegetables, potatoes, nuts, vinaigrette dressings, beans, rice and quinoa are some of the staples of a gluten-free diet, and some of these alternatives provide more carbohydrates per serving than their wheat-containing counterparts.

The easiest way to tell if a food contains gluten is to read the packaging. If it doesn’t say “Gluten Free” on the front of the box, the ingredients will indicate if wheat, barley or rye is present. If you do decide to see if gluten-free eating helps, give it a trial period of three months. This will give your body enough time to adapt and heal any real or imagined damage to the digestive system.

December 13, 2012

Bring us your Blood Work for a Complimentary Blood Chemistry Analysis and Report.

Blood chemistry analysis is an extremely effective tool to identify imbalances in body metabolism. A comprehensive blood chemistry panel can give your doctor insight into the function of nearly all the major systems of the body:

  • Gastrointestinal and Digestive Health
  • Adrenal Function
  • Blood Sugar Regulation
  • Thyroid Health
  • Blood and Immune System Health
  • Liver and Gall Bladder Health
  • Kidney Health
  • Acid/Base Balance
  • Toxicity and Inflammation
  • Nutrient Deficiencies

Unfortunately, in the current healthcare model the primary focus is on disease management, not early detection or prevention. You may have had blood work done, but your provider may have been focusing on the absence of disease instead of looking for patterns that could indicate metabolic imbalances that will eventually lead to a disease state if not addressed from the perspective of prevention. Alternatively, your provider may have not have ordered a comprehensive blood chemistry panel due to the restrictions imposed by HMO systems and insurance companies.

Blood chemistry should be considered with all new patients, especially those that have not had a comprehensive evaluation in recent years. Fortunately, doctors now have access to comprehensive blood chemistry panels at very affordable prices; making a complete blood chemistry evaluation accessible to virtually everyone. Please call our office today for a consultation if you are interested in obtaining a comprehensive blood chemistry analysis. If you already have blood work from another provider you are welcome to bring it in for a complimentary blood chemistry analysis and report from Dr. Vaughn. Call us at 303-863-8330 to schedule a complimentary consult with Dr. Vaughn. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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