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The Daily Sprout

Your guide to healthier living.

By: Dr. Eric Richards

Field with fall plants
Seasonal allergies

If you’re like me, you love autumn but loathe the seasonal allergies that accompany it, generally stemming from ragweed. The congestion, the itchy eyes, the minor headaches, the “allergic shiners”. All these symptoms add up to a pretty miserable experience despite the glorious foliage and beautiful weather.

There are thousands of articles out there about seasonal allergies and home remedies to alleviate the symptoms. We aren’t going to rehash the same tired protocols here. Some of these treatments have anecdotal evidence of their efficacy, but at the end of the day, the best treatments for seasonal allergies are antihistamines, reducing inflammation, and self-care.

This is where chiropractic and massage can benefit you.

What Are Seasonal Allergies, Anyway?

Allergies occur when the body's immune system overreacts to generally harmless substances, such as pollen, bee venom, pet dander, or certain foods. In response, the immune system produces antibodies that mistakenly identify these substances as dangerous. When exposed to these allergens, the immune system's reaction can cause inflammation in various body systems, such as the skin, sinuses, airways, or digestive system.

The severity of allergic reactions varies greatly among individuals and can range from mild discomfort to a life-threatening emergency called anaphylaxis. In layman’s terms, allergies are caused by the body’s response to a foreign substance. If you are allergic to that substance, inflammation occurs.

This is where a good chiropractor can help.

Seasonal allergies, and more importantly environmental allergies, can cause significant inflammation and negatively affect your health. When allergens are combined with inflammation caused by other chronic conditions, it can affect your health and quality of life. This makes you more susceptible to other illnesses because it weakens your immune system.

Chiropractic Care and Allergies

Chiropractic care has the potential to alleviate symptoms associated with chronic inflammation and alleviate stress that contributes to the condition. A health study revealed that 9 chiropractic lower back manipulations resulted in the normalization of inflammation mediators.

Chiropractors can offer manual adjustments to the spine to release tension, relieve pinched or irritated spinal nerves, and potentially reduce the production of neuropeptides and cytokines. By influencing cytokines, which are proteins that regulate the immune system's cells and can trigger severe inflammation, spinal adjustments promote better nerve signaling and communication in the body. This, in turn, supports the overall health of the immune system, reducing the likelihood of chronic inflammation.

Chiropractic care offers benefits in terms of immune system functioning by ensuring proper communication throughout the body. Chiropractors can pinpoint elements that may disrupt bodily functions and correct misalignments, creating clearer communication pathways and restoring balance to the immune system.

In addition to enhancing immune system performance, chiropractic adjustments can also regulate the release of histamines, which tend to increase during allergy season. Cortisol, a hormone produced in the adrenal gland, is responsible for counteracting the effects of excessive histamine levels. However, misaligned or blocked nerves in the spine that connect the adrenal gland and the brain can disrupt the production of cortisol, throwing this hormonal balance askew.

How Healthsprout Can Help

Our role goes beyond mere alignment and communication restoration. We can offer lifestyle recommendations and provide nutrition advice, addressing all these aspects comprehensively. We’ll help you devise solutions that consider the interplay of these factors, offering a holistic approach to healthcare.

There is no cure for allergies, unfortunately. Nonetheless, some common sense and good housekeeping practices can alleviate some symptoms. Add chiropractic care to help relieve inflammation and you can get through this allergy season with minimal effects.

At Healthsprout, our commitment is your holistic wellness. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

HealthSprout is teaming up with Collaborate Coworking and Adair Park to bring you Party in The Park on 9/9. This "midday" event from 10am to 2pm will have some fun going on in the front of HealthSprout, as well as the Adair Park plaza and inside of the Collaborate Coworking space. Come check it out and bring some friends!

If you would like to participate in Dr. Amanda's Breathwork and Movement Class at 10am, please RSVP here... NOW!

We look forward to seeing you Saturday the 9th!

- Dr. Eric

By Dr. Amanda

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by how much information there is on how to be well? Lost on who you should listen to, what diet you should prescribe to, what supplements you should take, what exercises you should do?

While we each have a unique thumb print, the truth of the matter is that as human beings, we are all quite similar in biological demand. With that said, I think we can all agree that there are few things we need to survive but how is it exactly that each of us can thrive?

If you are in our office, you have heard us say that your nervous system cannot be in growth mode and protection mode at the same time, or in other words, if you are surviving you are not thriving and vice versa. If you’re reading this, you’re obviously surviving so how do we ensure that we thrive? Let’s begin with the fundamentals. First and foremost is sleep. Although, for optimal hormone health, women do need 1-2 more hours of sleep on average than men, everybody on the planet needs sleep. So many recovery and growth processes occur during sleep that without it, our entire system is excessively overtaxed.

We have all experienced extended periods with little to no sleep, and every time, like clockwork, you noticed neurological slowdowns. Recall is more difficult, focusing for long periods is nearly impossible, and everything is slightly irritating. So how much sleep do we need? While there is some variety as sleep requirements vary depending on gender, age, and other factors, research has found that despite the variables, humans need between 6-9 hours of sleep. How do you find out what works best for you? Begin studying your sleep. A very important thing here is to set a specific bedtime. To really optimize your sleep, your nervous system, circadian rhythm, and hormones, sticking to a bedtime is HUGE. By simply establishing a bedtime, you can then begin to figure out how much sleep you need to function optimally. Nowadays there are also some interesting technologies, like the Oura ring, that help you discover this.

Now some of you may be thinking, I’ve done this, my issue isn’t not having a bedtime or sleep schedule, my issue is falling asleep or staying asleep. So, without going into the deep end of sleep talk, if you are having trouble falling asleep, that is a tell-tale sign that your body is indeed stuck in survival mode or protection mode. If you have trouble staying asleep, is it very likely that there is significant discord amongst and between your bodily systems—all of which originate from a dysregulated nervous system.

Now you may be wondering, if my body is so incredible, why is my nervous system dysregulated and how do I regulate it? Let’s start with the first question. What dysregulates my nervous system? In today’s world, there are so many factors. One is technology. Have you noticed that every app that you can “accidentally” spend a ton of time on has you scrolling through the content vertically? This is to stimulate your sympathetic nervous system, that’s right, the portion of the nervous system that is primarily dedicated to surviving. This overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system down regulates your parasympathetic nervous system which is primarily dedicated to growth and repair which allows us to thrive. Two, too much screen time and blue light upon waking and before bed. I will save the brain wave conversation for another Daily Sprout but know that there is very different brain activity happening here and what we do during this time is important.

To regulate our circadian rhythms and influence our sleep positively, it is a great idea to get 2-3 minutes or more of sunlight upon awakening. It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy, just step outside and breath in the fresh air. It is also good to step outside for a few minutes at sunset. Now if you’re like me you’re thinking, well the sun sets at 5 o’clock now what do I do for the rest of the hours? Continue your evening as usual, just try to make it outside during sunset and commit to cutting artificial light an hour before bed. This is TOUGH. Start slow. This means no cell phones or TV and hour before bed, and perhaps even stop using overhead lights and move to lamps and nightlights. Maybe upon beginning you make it 30 minutes before bed until you find a routine that supports you to make it an hour without screen time before bed. This will work wonders on your mental health and your sleep performance as you are now giving your nervous system time and space to upregulate the parasympathetic nervous system allowing your body to continue to grow and repair so that you can thrive.

Lastly, it is important to note that you could be perfect with morning and bedtime routine and still have difficulties falling or staying asleep. If this is you, then it is very likely that you endured an experience that your body perceived as very traumatic and a threat to your safety and/or existence. These experiences can literally shock the system into “getting stuck” in fight or flight and survival mode. It is okay, you don’t have to be “stuck” forever. At HealthSprout, we deliver neurologically focused adjustments to break these patterns so that your nervous system literally becomes unstuck or free. This takes time and can be supported in more ways than one. I often recommend breathwork and meditation to my patients. And while those are extremely potent practices, there is nothing more efficient at regulating and harmonizing the nervous system than a free nervous system—which is granted by the chiropractic adjustment. It is for this reason that the great majority of our patients under chiropractic care report better sleep and increased energy without practicing breathwork or meditation. We are designed naturally to be vibrant, energetic beings, we must simply come back to the basics and set our nervous system free. Many more parts coming soon.

With love,

Dr. Amanda

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