How to Make Your Commute Less of a Pain

easing the effects of a long commuteAccording to the Census Bureau, the average commute time in New Jersey is 30 minutes, which is 20 percent longer than the national average. Portions of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties reported average commute times of more than 45 minutes.

Long commutes do more than take up an hour or more of our day and cause aggravation. They can be physically and mentally painful.

Last summer, I wrote a post that explained why sitting can be more damaging to the human body than smoking. The human body was designed to be in motion, not to sit on the couch or behind the wheel of a car.

When we sit for extended periods of time, the discs in the spine become compressed. You could have the most comfortable seat in the most expensive luxury car, but you’ll still get aches and pains in the back, neck, shoulders and hips when you spend too much time sitting in that seat.

Sitting also makes it difficult for the body to burn calories and convert bad cholesterol into good cholesterol. Then we get fat, which increases the risk of a number of chronic illnesses. Continue reading

Sunscreen Does Not Make You Immune to Skin Cancer

skin cancer and sunscreenWhen you get a fever, that’s not the work of a virus. Your body is raising its temperature to burn out an infection.

But what do we do?

We take medication to suppress the fever so we can go to work. Instead of fighting the body’s natural mechanism for dealing with a fever, we should stay home, drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of sleep and let the body do what it was designed to do.

So what the heck does that have to do with sunscreen?

When we spend too much time in the sun, our skin burns. It hurts. That’s the body’s way of telling us to get out of the sun.

But what do we do?

We slap on sunscreen to block rays that burn from hitting our skin. But we’re not blocking all of the rays that cause cancer.

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Don’t Overlook Acupuncture as a Seasonal Allergy Treatment

acupunture and allergiesThe blooming trees and flower of spring may put smiles on our faces, but the pollen and mold spores can make us feel like we’re reliving our worst winter cold. Seasonal allergies bring congestion, sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes.

Seasonal allergies, which affect one in six Americans, occur when the body mistakes pollen and mold spores as harmful substances and attempts to fight them by releasing histamine and other chemicals. This causes inflammation that leads to discomfort and irritation.

How do most people deal with allergies? We load up on over-the-counter medications that provide temporary relief from allergy symptoms but do nothing to treat the problem.

One natural treatment option for seasonal allergies that’s often overlooked is acupuncture. The main reason acupuncture is overlooked is because our healthcare system focuses on treating symptoms with medicine instead of attacking the cause of illness and preventing disease through a wellness lifestyle.

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Want to Get into a Bikini by Memorial Day? Read This First.

warning again crash dietsEvery year, as people make resolutions to dive into the latest, greatest weight loss gimmick for the New Year, I remind them that this is a terrible idea. I guess you could call me the wet blanket of reality. It’s a title I wear proudly because that annual reminder always stops a few people from doing things that are unhealthy.

Of course, most of those New Year’s resolutions are abandoned after two weeks. Any weight lost during a crash diet quickly returns.

Fast forward to spring. A new flurry of resolutions emerge as everyone becomes obsessed with looking great at the beach. All it takes is a crash diet and a discounted gym membership to get shredded abs in eight weeks and turn heads in your bikini!


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Hammers Are Swinging at Natural Healthcare Center. Here’s Why.

Natural Healthcare Center 2nd Floor Renovations

The newly designed Physical Therapy and Nutrition offices on our second floor.

You may have noticed construction here at Natural Healthcare Center during the past few months. Rest assured that this is far more than a simple remodeling project. This is another investment in my 30-year journey that’s been dedicated to doing something different in healthcare.

It would be very easy for me to move to a small medical office, have a staff of three or four employees, work 20 fewer hours per week, treat fewer patients, and offer fewer services. But that would mean bailing on a 30-year journey, and I have no desire to do that. I started Proodian Healthcare because I wanted to do something beyond the norm. I didn’t want to take the safe route.

My goal is and always has been to create a new layer of healthcare. The layer between traumatic medical care and the horrific management of chronic conditions. This involves a great deal of risk and responsibility. It’s not easy. But it continues to be an incredibly rewarding journey.

I’ve very proud of the fact that I graduated from chiropractic school with 62 other people. I obviously wanted to be a chiropractor like everyone else, but I also saw the need for change that others may not have seen. I’m very proud of the fact that most people who come to Natural Healthcare Center, both as patients and as visitors, are enamored with our facility. What started as notebook doodle when I was a pre-med student in college has evolved into a true wellness facility.

Acupuncture, chiropractic care and other forms of healthcare are typically fragmented, but we’ve integrated them under one roof.

Not everything we do here makes money. But everything we do is based on a certain code and core values. Everything we do is driven by the desire to change healthcare. That’s what Proodian Healthcare, Wellness At Work and Natural Healthcare Center stand for.

We’re trying to change how healthcare works in this country and make things easier for our patients. That’s why the construction has been happening.

We’re welcoming a neurosurgeon, an interventional pain management doctor and a physician’s assistant for two reasons. First, we want to minimize the number of places our patients have to visit. Second, we want our patients to receive care in a truly integrated health and wellness center.

All business owners, not just in healthcare, should reinvest in their clients.

I respect my patients. I want them to have a clean bathroom. I want them to enjoy fresh fruit in the lobby. I want to be involved in my community. I want to provide them with everything they need under one roof.

The construction, the new specialists who will be seeing Natural Healthcare Center patients, the little details that make your visit an enjoyable experience – these are all part of a 30-year journey to do something different and change healthcare.

I hope you’ll join the Proodian Healthcare family and me as we continue our mission to help people feel better, function better and live longer.


How a Chiropractic Neurologist Diagnoses and Treats Vertigo

vertigoIn a previous post, I discussed how chiropractic neurology treats the body according to how the nervous system is performing. Dr. Kurt Hostnik, a board certified chiropractic neurologist, is uniquely trained to diagnose various conditions through a functional neurology exam, and then develop a conservative treatment plan based on what that exam reveals.

Vertigo is one of many conditions that can be correctly identified and treated by a chiropractic neurologist.

Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness, imbalance, lightheadedness or a spinning sensation in an otherwise stable environment.

There are two general types of vertigo. Central vertigo involves strokes, tumors, trauma and other conditions in the central nervous system. Peripheral vertigo is more common and primarily originates in the inner ear. Peripheral vertigo can be associated with tumors, trauma, infections, migraines and allergies.

Vertigo is typically a short-term problem, although one issue in the nervous system can lead to other issues. For example, a chronic issue on one side of your brain or body can create problems on the other side of your body or brain. Continue reading

What is Chiropractic Neurology?

Chiropractic NeurologyA lot of doctors try to sound smart or prove their worth by using big words and medical jargon. What they really end up doing is confusing their patients.

At Natural Healthcare Center, we try to keep it simple. Instead of using big words that require a medical dictionary to understand, we explain complex concepts in laymen’s terms. One of those concepts is chiropractic neurology.

Chiropractic neurology is a discipline of chiropractic care that treats the body based on how the nervous system is performing. Neurons process and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals in the human body. When you use a neuron, it sends a message to itself to make more protein and become stronger.

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Omelets, Google and Shortcuts: What the Heck Is Wrong with Healthcare?

healthcareLast week, I went out to breakfast with some friends. We’ve all gotten used to spending $15 for a good omelet. But here’s the problem. When the omelet isn’t made the right way, the table is dirty and the waitress is rude, I can’t justify a $15 price tag, much less a tip on top of it.

I saw a patient recently who went to a clinic because she had an outbreak on her face. She saw a nurse practitioner who brought her into a room, looked at her face, and instructed her to sit in front of a computer. The nurse practitioner sat down next to this woman and basically said, “We’re going to try to find a picture of your condition on Google so we can figure out what it is.”

Realizing that you don’t have to be a doctor or nurse practitioner to diagnose a condition by matching pictures on Google, this woman got up and left.

I had another patient with severe bowel distress who came to me after spending months going to see other doctors. They put her on Prevacid, which is designed to treat a variety of stomach issues by breaking down excess stomach acid. Continue reading

Probiotics: The Good Bacteria

probiotics Digestion conceptWe’ve all heard of antibiotics. The doctor prescribes an antibiotic to help us fight off a bacterial infection. The antibiotic either kills the bacteria or stops it from reproducing so the body’s natural defenses can take over.

Bacteria, of course, are those microscopic, living critters – or microorganisms – that exist virtually everywhere.

Not all bacteria are bad. In fact, trillions of bacteria from more than 400 species exist in the average adult’s intestinal tract. These bacteria perform countless functions that are very beneficial to the human body.

The problem is that we as a society have destroyed our guts with bad food and high stress levels, and we consume far more bad bacteria than good bacteria.

Probiotics are the good bacteria that help keep your gut healthy and promote good digestion. Babies pick up probiotics and other bacteria as they pass through the birth canal during delivery, and the probiotics multiply from there.

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What You Should Know about New Dietary Guidelines for Cholesterol

new cholesterol guidelinesThe Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a federal panel run by the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture, recently changed its 40-year guidelines related to the consumption of cholesterol.

More specifically, the government is no longer warning people that consuming food with too much cholesterol – excess dietary cholesterol – is a bad idea. Previously, this was thought to increase the amount of cholesterol in blood.

The folks in Washington are finally listening to doctors who understand the human body.

The panel now sees no direct relationship between dietary cholesterol consumption and blood cholesterol. Of course, evidence that has existed since the 1950s contradicts the claim that cholesterol found in food has a significant effect on blood cholesterol levels.

Dietary cholesterol comes from animal-based foods, like meat, eggs, dairy and seafood. Plant-based food has no cholesterol. However, the human body produces all of the cholesterol it needs.

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Why Magnesium Is So Important to Our Health

magnesium is importantWhen most people think of important vitamins, minerals and nutrients, some of the ones that come to mind most often are iron, calcium, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin D. However, magnesium plays an enormous role in our health.

In fact, after oxygen, water and basic food, you could argue that magnesium is the most important element in the human body.

Magnesium is a mineral needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions that keep the human body functioning properly. Magnesium supports proper nerve and muscle function, the immune system, a regular heartbeat, bone strength and growth, strong cell structure, energy and protein production, and the regulation of blood glucose levels.

An important electrolyte, Magnesuim helps to keep the body’s fluids balanced in order to maintain normal muscle, nerve, and enzyme function. Magnesium also helps the body move other electrolytes in and out of cells.

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Healthy Mother, Healthy Child, Part 4

healthy pregnancy In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of our Healthy Mother, Healthy Child series, I focused on the nutritional component of pregnancy – essential nutrients, the importance of moderation, foods to avoid and the importance of breastfeeding.

Now I want to shift to the physical component. Many pregnant women deal with musculoskeletal pain. Chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage can do wonders to prevent and relieve pain during and after pregnancy.

These are passive modalities that require the mother to do nothing. Mommy is working hard enough. These treatments can prevent and relieve physical pain and keep the body’s systems in balance.

We can get more aggressive with lingering musculoskeletal pain after pregnancy, using x-ray, MRI and more intense physical therapy to diagnose and treat pain. Of course, you want to take it easy with exercise at first. Start with walking and light stretching to elevate the heart rate and improve the production of breast milk. Exercise can quickly turn into stress if you overdo it.

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Healthy Mother, Healthy Child, Part 3

eating healthy during pregnancyIn Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I discussed the essential nutrients during pregnancy and the recommended daily allowance of these nutrients, as well as the importance of water, fiber and pre-natal vitamins.

With any nutritional program, but especially during pregnancy, moderation is critical. If a pregnant woman has a craving for a hot fudge sundae in the middle of the night, will the baby be harmed if mom gives in to this craving?

Of course not. Just use common sense and follow that late night snack with healthy meals and snacks the next day.

However, there are certain types of foods and beverages that you need to closely monitor or eliminate during pregnancy. Continue reading

Healthy Mother, Healthy Child, Part 2

Pregnant Woman Eating A Fresh Passion FruitIn a previous post, I began a discussion about the keys to proper nutrition during pregnancy, including consuming the proper amounts of folic acid, iron and calcium. This is obviously important to the developing baby, but also to the mother, who needs to produce a supply of healthy breast milk for feeding the baby.

Protein intake is another critical factor for pregnant women, especially during the second and third trimesters when the baby’s growth rate increases. The amino acids in protein serve as the foundation for many kinds of body tissue.

The recommended daily allowance for protein varies for different age groups. Women ages 25 and older should consume 45 to 50 grams of protein, but during pregnancy, consumption should increase to 70 grams per day. Organic chicken and eggs, grass-fed beef, fish (never farm-raised), plain yogurt, beans, peas, nuts and seeds are good sources of protein.

One essential ingredient during pregnancy that is often overlooked is water. Water not only keeps the body hydrated, but it also helps to relieve constipation, reduces the risk of hemorrhoids, and prevents bladder infections, which are common among pregnant women. Continue reading

Healthy Mother, Healthy Child, Part 1

healthy pregnancy tipsThere are a million reasons why I respect my wife, Stacy, more than any person on the face of the earth. The five biggest reasons are our five children who, along with Stacy, make me the luckiest father and husband in the world.

There is no greater joy than having a family. As for those nine months leading up to the birth of each child – well, you’ll have to ask Stacy.

As a doctor, one of the most common questions I’m asked by a pregnant woman is, “Am I doing the right thing?” That motherly instinct kicks in as moms want to make sure they’re doing everything possible to protect their children.

For a nutritional perspective, there are certain things expecting moms should know that can help keep mother and child healthy.

Cravings are natural because a woman’s appetite typically increases quite a bit during pregnancy. The developing baby is consuming vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the mother, especially between weeks 20 and 30. Also, the mother’s body is working to produce milk reserves for feeding the newborn baby. Continue reading

Another Super Shameful Money Grab

American FLag Football Helmet on Grass with Dollar Symbol CloudsSuper Bowl 49 is in the books. Tom Brady and the Patriots are champions again. Seattle coach Pete Carroll will spend his offseason being second-guessed for his play call at the end of the game.

And the NFL, its top players, NBC and many celebrities continue to make money off of products that make people sick.

Pepsi returned to sponsor the halftime show. Coca Cola talks about making people happy and glosses over the fact that soda has been directly connected to chronic diseases that obviously make people unhappy.

McDonalds took a similar approach by offering free food to people in exchange for kind or happy acts. I must say that it’s refreshing to see that more and more people are passing over McDonalds and sodas in favor of healthier alternatives.

Leading up to the Super Bowl, I heard about Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter attending a 50th anniversary party for Gatorade, a sports drink that’s loaded with sugar, sodium and other harmful substances. Taylor Swift is now shilling Diet Coke. Continue reading

Understanding the Basics of Knee Pain

Knee painThe knee is the largest joint in the human body, a complex combination of ligaments, tendons and muscles that hold together the femur (upper leg bone) and the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones). It’s also one of the most common sources of pain in the human body.

When you think about the physical burden and stress we place on our knees each day, it’s no surprise that the knee is extremely vulnerable to injury and degeneration.

This vulnerability is increased because the knee is a hinge joint, not like the shoulder or hip, which are ball-and-socket joints. The knee is designed to bend in one direction, while the shoulder and hip can rotate and move in circular motions.

I’m sure everyone over the age of 50 knows someone who has had a knee replacement as a result of an injury or gradual wear and tear. Conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis also increase our chances of experiencing knee pain. Continue reading

Simple Things You Can Do to Avoid Neck Pain

avoiding neck painWe have this 10– to 12-pound bowling ball, called the head, on the top of our bodies. This bowling ball is held up by a weak structure, called the neck, that isn’t designed to handle heavy strain.

It’s no wonder that so many people suffer from neck pain.

Neck pain is most commonly caused by the gradual weakening of the intrinsic muscles in the neck area. Intrinsic muscles are the ones that you don’t see in the mirror but they have a very important purpose – stabilizing the spine.

As I discussed in a previous post, these muscles are often weakened by forward head posture, which happens when the head drifts forward as we stare at computer monitors, look down at our mobile devices or hunch over the steering wheel. Continue reading

Plantar Fasciitis: A Real Pain in the Foot

Plantar Fasciitis: A Real Pain in the FootPlantar fasciitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a thick, flat ligament that connects the heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. When the plantar fascia is strained, small tears can develop, causing it to become weak, swollen and inflamed.

The end result is a sharp, stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot. That’s plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is usually most painful after you’ve been sitting, standing or lying down for long periods of time. For example, those first steps when you get out of bed in the morning are a killer. Climbing stairs can also be painful. Once you’ve loosened up your foot, the pain of plantar fasciitis isn’t as intense in most cases.

Although plantar fasciitis is most common in middle-aged people, younger people who spend a lot of time on their feet doing repetitive movements often develop plantar fasciitis. Athletes, especially runners, and even soldiers who spend a lot of time marching are susceptible.

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Keep Your Head Up! It’s Good for Your Health

good posture, sitting up straightFour natural curves can be found in the human spine. The curve in your neck is appropriately called the arc of life because those cervical vertebrae protect the brain stem and spinal nerves that affect the entire body. When we fail to maintain the correct curvature in our spine, we can lose half of our spinal strength.

A common cause of improper curvature in the spine is forward head posture, which occurs when the head is held forward.

I speak all the time about the importance of maintaining balance in the nutritional, physical and psychological components of the Triad of Health. I’ve discussed the consequences of hormonal imbalance. I’ve discussed how basic functional tests can help us assess our balance, stability, flexibility and strength.

We also need to balance our noggins above our bodies.

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