Understanding, Diagnosing and Treating Ankle Sprains

treating a sprained ankleSprains and strains are the most common sports injuries. More specifically, ankle sprains occur more frequently than any sports injury, according to WebMD, ahead of groin pulls, hamstring strains, shin splints, and ACL tears in the knee.

In the simplest of terms, an ankle sprain is caused by a stretching or tearing of the ankle ligaments. Ankle sprains typically occur after the ankle is twisted, or the foot rolls underneath the ankle.

Although ankle sprains are the most common sports injury, you don’t have to dunk a basketball, catch a touchdown pass, or hit a 300-yard drive to get hurt. In fact, people who don’t get enough exercise and sit around all day are very susceptible to ankle sprains because the ankle hasn’t been conditioned to handle activity.

If you think you’ve sprained your ankle, contact your doctor right away and proceed with the RICE protocol – rest, ice, compression and elevation – to reduce inflammation.

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How Many People Died While the FDA Did Nothing about Trans Fats?

Trans fat banI was in college when I first learned about the health risks associated with trans fat, or partially hydrogenated oils. That was 30 years ago.

Since then, scientific study after scientific study has revealed a direct link between trans fat and obesity, heart disease, cancer memory loss and other illnesses. Advocacy groups have been trying to get trans fat banned for about 25 years.

Yet food manufacturers weren’t even required to include trans fat information on labels until 2006.

And just last week, the U.S. Food and Drug and Administration finally announced that partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of trans fat, are not “generally recognized as safe” and ruled that food manufacturers could no longer include it in food products.

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The Role of Acupuncture in Cancer Care

acupuncture for cancer care

As I’ve said many times on my blog, we have many tools in the Natural Healthcare Center shed that we use to help our patients feel better, function better and live longer. One important tool that can play a critical role in treating and preventing pain and illness is acupuncture.

In recent years, the American healthcare establishment has gradually begun to come around and accept acupuncture as a method for restoring balance in the human body. While acupuncture has been used to treat everything from headaches and sciatica to allergies and infertility, acupuncture is now playing an important role in cancer care.

In fact, a number of major cancer centers have staff acupuncturists, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, MD Anderson in Houston, and Cancer Treatments Centers of America.

To be clear, acupuncture is not treating the cancer. The role of acupuncture in cancer care is to treat the symptoms associated with cancer care and the side effects of treatment. Continue reading

Don’t Assume You’re Being Healthy by Choosing Chicken

organic chickenWhen we go to the grocery store or out to dinner, and we want to purchase something healthy, the natural tendency is to look for chicken. Unfortunately, a deeper look into that chicken will usually show it’s far from healthy.

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the green light for chicken raised in the U.S. to be sent to “certified” Chinese facilities for processing, and then sent back to the U.S. for consumption?

Aside from an awful food safety record in China, where more than $1 million in meat from rats and other small mammals has been sold to the public as lamb, no USDA officials will be onsite to inspect those facilities.

But you’ll avoid that chicken because you can just check the label, right?


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When We Know the Outcome Will Be Bad, We Need to Change

Changing your unhealthy habitsKnowledge of a likely or a guaranteed future outcome does not change present behavior.”

A friend of mine, who is an OB/GYN, recently said this to me when talking about risky sexual behavior and sexually transmitted diseases that she sees every day in private practice. In other words, people know something bad can or will happen when they behave a certain way, but they do it anyway.

This statement can be applied to virtually every aspect of our lives, particularly our health.

We know smoking, at the very least, takes years off of our lives and the lives of those who we subject to secondhand smoke. At worst, a smoker will get lung cancer and die at a very young age. But they keep smoking.

We know fatty foods, processed foods and artificially sweetened foods increase our risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes and other chronic diseases. But we continue to eat food from boxes, cans and fast food drive-thrus.

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A Shining Example of Embracing a Wellness Lifestyle

Citywell success storyOne thing I’m very proud of at Natural Healthcare Center is that we don’t just tell people what to do. We inspire people to make real behavioral changes and embrace a wellness lifestyle.

I bring this philosophy and approach to my role as health educator for the city of Long Branch’s CityWell program, a free educational and clinical resource created to help city employees and their families lead healthier lives. The program goes far beyond your typical wellness program that, frankly, tends to be more about hype than substance.

I provide health education seminars with the goal of educating and motivating people to make healthier choices and identifying what a real wellness lifestyle is. As a result, many employees have made permanent changes and reversed chronic illnesses such as pre-diabetes, type II diabetes, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Others have been able to better control a chronic illness.

By treating chronic illness with a real plan, we become healthier and save money.

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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