balance chiropractic san rafael
880 Las Gallinas Ave Ste. 6 San Rafael
Call to schedule 24/7 @ 415-499-3399    or    online

Resources

Ordering Supplements

Several people have asked if they could come in and purchase supplements they usually buy from me or for recommendations to improve their immune response. To meet that need, I have set up an online service that you can use to purchase pharmaceutical grade supplements from home. I am currently offering all supplements through this site at 20% off retail price.

You can log on here: https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/balance

Because some of the supplements are only sold through doctors, you may need a prescription. If so, simply email me and I will set it up.

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Safety at Balance Chiropractic

Keeping you safe at Balance Chiropractic

As an essential service, I have stayed open during the Shelter in Place order to serve those needing immediate care. Now that restrictions are slowly being lifted I expect those of you who would like to return to regular self-care through chiropractic treatment will start to schedule. Please know that I am taking the following steps to insure your health and safety:

1. Providing high quality chiropractic adjustments so you may have the most vibrant, responsive nervous and immune systems possible.

2. Providing complementary cranial treatment through the end of May so that you may switch from the fight flight stress response of the nervous system into the rest and restore response.

3. Allowing 10 minutes between each appointment for social distancing and cleaning.

4. Washing hands mid-treatment after I put you on the orthopedic blocks.

5. Wiping down the table, door knobs, and desk with disinfectant after each treatment.

6. Using an air purifier with ultraviolet light.

7. Wearing a mask.

8. Keeping myself very healthy.

9. Laughing once in a while. 🙂

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Is it Safe?

This is the underlying question. You know it has been on your mind, driving every other question you have had about what you should do, what others should do and what the government should do. I’d like to give you a new way of answering this question.

At this point, we know what we know and what we need to discover about Covid-19 aka the Corona virus. We have some directives. The key for both personal and community health, I believe, is not just in what we do, but in our personal response to this crisis. Let’s say you are in a burning building with no means of escape. You could either despair or prepare. It’s a situation you have never been in, but with a cool head, you would figure something out. Then you would hope for outside help knowing that you had done all you could. Your chance of survival would be much greater than if you had panicked.

The same is true with the pandemic. It’s a new situation. There has been a lot of conflicting information and there is much we do not know. Nevertheless, in most places in the world, the response has slowed the spread of the virus and lessened the loss of life. We are doing everything we can and we are hoping for outside help in the form of medicines, immunity or the natural demise of the virus with no clear idea if any of those will come to pass.

So now, we need to remain calm. When one sick person gets on a cruise ship with 5,000 other people, not everyone gets sick. Why? You know the answer. Maybe they weren’t exposed. Maybe they were exposed, but they were healthy enough that the virus could not infect them. We are all on that cruise ship now, avoiding the other passengers. As those who were sick, get well and the rate of infection goes down, we will start opening our doors and move about the boat. Some of us will get exposed. I would argue that all of us will be exposed eventually. The question is how to minimize the effect of that exposure on both a personal, community and world basis.

The answer is to be as healthy as you can be before you are exposed. One of the greatest challenges to health is stress. Stress happens when you are in a fight flight mode with no one to fight and no where to flee aka Shelter in Place. The chemical reactions that take place in the body when stressed just blow out both the immune and nervous systems of the body. Stress makes us vulnerable.

So, if you really want to do everything you can to make yourself, your family and your world safe, you need to look at how you are handling the stress that is naturally coming from this situation. Are you despairing or preparing? Despair is staying up late worrying. Despair is overeating. Despair is drinking, smoking, coffee, fear and anger.

The absolute best thing you can be doing for yourself is to get a lot of sleep. Your immune and nervous systems will thank you. Then you can look at your other habits. Are you loading up on high carb comfort food? Have you been drinking? Are you listening to or reading every bit of virus media that is being blasted at you? I’ve noticed that even though there are few cars on the road, people are driving like maniacs. Are you panicking? It’s time to take a step back. Look at yourself and how you are reacting. Change your habits. Stay informed, but not obsessed. Connect with people in healthy ways. Take a walk in nature. Slow down. Eat well. Sleep. Meditate or pray. Exercise. Then, know that you have truly done everything you can and relax with that. Outside help may arrive and even if it does not arrive soon, you will have made yourself, your family and your world as safe as possible.

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Can Chiropractic cure Arthritis?

Can you Heal Arthritis

As a chiropractor, a week doesn’t go by without someone asking if Arthritis can heal. Maybe they’ve been to their GP and gotten an x-ray and the report says “degenerative changes” of this joint or that joint. Or maybe they have a sore knee or back and their doctor just declares that they are old and that’s the end of the story!

I am always amazed at the responsive nature of the body. Arthritis starts with joint dysfunction. That means a joint is either not moving well or is out of alignment. This causes inflammation and additional wear and tear on the joint. Over time the smooth cartilage on the joint surfaces gets roughed up. Does it ever sound like you have sand in the joints of your neck? That’s called crepitus and it means your cartilage is getting worn.

Eventually the cartilage can get so worn that the bones come in contact with each other. Bones respond to pressure by laying down more bone. This is called Wolf’s Law. Poor Dr. Wolf, I bet he had terrible arthritis! This new bone forms spurs. If this continues the bones can fuse. While this is happening there is constant irritation and inflammation around the joint. Any nearby nerves will be irritated causing pain, muscle tension, or numbness all along the course of the nerve. Fusion is really an adaptive process because once the joint fuses, it doesn’t hurt anymore. You may have heard of back surgery where they fuse two or more vertebrae together. The problem is, that joint can no longer move. This causes more pressure on surrounding joints and the process continues.

So what is a better solution? If the problem starts with a joint not moving well or being out of alignment, the obvious solution would be to restore movement and alignment. That is the goal of all chiropractic adjusting!

Bone spurring does not go away. So that cannot be fixed. However, when function is restored to a joint, it should decrease the pain and slow the degeneration. Cartilage can rebuild as long as there is some cartilage between the joint surfaces. This is a war of attrition. The cells in the cartilage that make more cartilage have to outpace the destruction of cartilage and its fellow cells.

This is the really cool part about the body. The body is responsive. That means, when given a challenge the body will rise to that challenge even on a cellular level. If you put motion back into a joint that was not moving well and use it. Starting slowly with rehab type exercises. And you give those cells that make cartilage the nutrition they need to make more; glucosamine, chondroitin, gelatin, or collagen, you will get new cartilage growth!

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Fish Oil on the Brain

Basic Fish

Considering how good fish oil is for the brain, you would think fish would be a lot smarter. Good fish oil is comprised of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are what we call essential fatty acids because the body cannot produce enough for its own needs so we have to either eat foods containing them or supplement.

There are 4 Omega-3s that we need EPA, DHA, DPA and ALA. They have very long names. EPA has gotten a lot of attention because it is very good at reducing systemic inflammation and cardiovascular health. Most of the supplements you find on the shelf of health food stores will be either all EPA or a blend of EPA, DHA, and maybe ALA.

DPA is getting more attention in research. It is an intermediary between EPA and DHA which means the body can convert it into either one. It has some of the benefits of both EPA and DHA for cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, may be related to depression and schizophrenia and oxidative damage to the brain. Taking DPA with EPA and DHA actually increases the absorption of EPA and DHA and helps balance the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. Currently DPA is available as a supplement and is found in some Omega-3 blends, but I think we will be seeing more and more of it as research continues.

Brain Fish

The brain is about 60% fat. DHA makes up about 40% of that as one of the main ingredients of the cell walls or membranes. It is about 97% of the Omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. When we consider diseases or degeneration of the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, MS, dementia or even mild cognitive decline and memory loss, they are all a function of nerves not communicating with each other properly. This failed communication most often has brain inflammation at its root cause. DHA is anti-inflammatory within the brain so it is neuroprotective. Supplementing with DHA has been shown to lessen all of the above issues.

 If you are deficient in DHA and the brain needs it to control inflammation, the brain will start pulling it from the cell walls of neurons. This makes those neurons less responsive and resilient and can even kill them, which leads to more inflammation.

Increasing DHA levels in the brain have many benefits. For example, with concussion aka mild traumatic brain injury, a very sudden cause of brain inflammation, studies have shown that supplementing before a mTBI[1] with DHA or right after mTBI[2] lessens the damage to neurons and neuron death. It helps restore levels of chemicals that help neurons connect, so head injured rats recovered their able to learn and remember better than those without DHA. It lessens microglial activation[3], a type of brain cell that when activated makes the brain more susceptible to becoming inflamed.  Even 30 days after injury DHA helps restore energy production in the neurons lessening ongoing damage. If you think of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases as traumatic brain injury over a long period of time, you can see how using DHA preventatively would be very beneficial.

How much Fish

So you may be asking yourself, “Why don’t you tell me how much of each Omega-3 I should be taking?” And the answer is, “Because I do not know.” And here is why I don’t know.

There really is no established dosage. Most of the titles of studies on head injury and fatty acids end in the words, “in rats”. Recommendations for general health usually recommend a 1:1 or 2:1 EPA to DHA ratio and range anywhere from 500 to 5000mg total Omega-3s per day. EPA is more important for general inflammation, but if you care more about brain health, the focus should be on DHA. For general maintenance and well-being I like to recommend a formula that has 650mg of EPA and 450mg of DHA. In cases where there is brain inflammation, I like to add 1200mg or more of a liquid form of DHA.

Of course, a lot depends on quality. When you purchase your Omega-3 fatty acids, do make sure that you get them from a reputable company. Studies have shown that some Fish Oil supplements have other fats in them or oxidized, aka rotten fats. One of the main functions of the fish oil is as an anti-oxidant. You can see how they wouldn’t work well if already oxydized.[4]

If you take a high dose of Fish Oils and get crampy or have a lot of fish tasting burps, it could mean that the oil is spoiled or your digestive system is not able to digest fat well. This could mean an issue with your pancreas or gall bladder or the connection between your brain and digestive system the Vagus nerve. Keeping your fish oils in the fridge may help and always take them with food. You may need a new bottle or different brand of oils or a liquid form. If that doesn’t work, reduce what you are taking. Still having trouble? Try gargling and singing, it stimulates the Vagus nerve. I guess fish are gargling pretty much all the time. Maybe they are smarter than we think after all.


[1]
Aiguo Wu, Zhe Ying, and Fernando Gomez-Pinilla Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids Normalize BDNF Levels, Reduce Oxidative Damage, and Counteract Learning Disability after Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats, Journal of Neurotrauma 2004 21:10, 1457-1467.

James D. Mills, Kevin Hadley, Julian E. Bailes, Dietary Supplementation With the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Docosahexaenoic Acid in Traumatic Brain Injury, Neurosurgery, Volume 68, Issue 2, February 2011, Pages 474–481, https://doi.org/10.1227/NEU.0b013e3181ff692b

[2]
Aiguo Wu, Zhe Ying, and Fernando Gomez-Pinilla The Salutary Effects of DHA Dietary Supplementation on Cognition, Neuroplasticity, and Membrane Homeostasis after Brain Trauma, Journal of Neurotrauma 2011 28:10, 2113-2122.

[3]
Lloyd D. Harvey, Yan Yin, Insiya Y. Attarwala Administration of DHA Reduces Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Associated Inflammation and Alters Microglial or Macrophage Activation in Traumatic Brain Injury. https://doi.org/10.1177/1759091415618969

[4]
R. Preston Mason,Samuel C.R. Sherratt Omega-3 fatty acid fish oil dietary supplements contain saturated fats and oxidized lipids that may interfere with their intended biological benefits. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Elsevier, 29 January 2017.

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The Single Most Important Thing for Health

The Single Most Important Thing for Health

What if there was one word, one concept that embodied the most significant quality of health and well-being? What do you think that word would be. Well you know I’m a chiropractor, so you might guess that I would say something related to the nervous system, or maybe the alignment of the spine. Maybe preventing Tech Neck. You would warm, but in my mind the single most important thing for health is…

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To Bean or not to Bean – Coffee?

To Bean or not to Bean – Coffee?

Can Coffee Make You Tired?

Caffeine is the most common psychotropic drug in use. It’s legal and it is oh so good. We drink coffee to battle fatigue, a quick energy boost, and oddly, to relax. But does it really do what we think it does? There is information coming out praising coffee and caffeine in general as being helpful against Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease, but does that really mean that it’s healthy?

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Why It’s Important to Make Time for Your Nerves

Why It’s Important to Make Time for Your Nerves

The Power of a Healthy Nervous System

Why is it important to make time for your Nerves?  You may come home from work every day completely exhausted.You may spend most of your day taking care of your family with precious little time for yourself. Or you could be a single parent who does it all: makes breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone, works at a high-pressure job, and rarely has a spare minute to savor anything. Or perhaps you’re an über-busy executive, laser-focused on your business from early morning to late at night, five to seven days a week.

No matter what your situation, if you don’t make time for yourself to see your chiropractor, you’re not being proactive in maintaining good back and neck health. Your nervous system is suffering and you are missing out on having a higher level of energy and vitality.

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Can Jaw Problems Be Causing My Headaches?

Can Jaw Problems Be Causing My Headaches?

Jaw Problems and Headaches Are Often Interrelated

Do you ever wonder if jaw problems aka tmj cause headaches? Do you ever wake up in the morning, yawn or chew, and hear your jaw click? Do you think your jaw issues and your headaches could be connected to each other?

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How to know if You Have a Concussion and What To Do

How to know if You Have a Concussion and What To Do

Concussion can be sneaky. It happens when your brain hits the inside of your skull. You don’t even need to hit your head. Whiplash injuries, that are common in car accidents and sports, jar the head forcefully and can cause just as much damage as being struck.

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6 Reasons Why Your Head Might Be Hurting

6 Reasons Why Your Head Might Be Hurting

Advice from a Chiropractor

Do you have a series of head pain that just won’t go away and are affecting you at work or while playing sports? Does the pain of migraines stop you in your tracks? Do your sinuses ache? Is stress bothering you? Do you have intermittent dizzy spells?

Don’t you wish there was a way to have someone prevent you from having to yell, “Why does my head hurt?’

In this article, I discuss the types of headaches that my patients have –– and how I resolve their problems with chiropractic care.

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High School Sports Injuries and Concussions

High School Sports Injuries and Concussions

How often do you think high school sports injuries and concussions occur? Whether you have a child who plays in a team sport or not, sports injuries, especially concussions, are a lot more common than you might think.

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How a Chiropractor Treats a Herniated Disc

How a Chiropractor Treats a Herniated Disc

Clayton Kershaw. Andrew Bogut. Tony Romo. Tiger Woods. Peyton Manning. What do all of these different athletes have in common?  A herniated disc.

They’ve all been in the news over the last few years because of disc herniations in their backs, which can be very painful, even excruciating.

In fact, Clayton Kershaw, the L.A. Dodgers’ pitching ace, was first diagnosed with a disc herniation in his back in June, and was just moved to a 60-day disabled list, meaning he can’t throw, catch or even pick up a baseball until at least late August.

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Why Does a Chiropractor Need to Crack My Neck?

Why Does a Chiropractor Need to Crack My Neck?

In my most recent article, “Does a Chiropractor Need to Crack My Back?”, I discussed the pros and cons of twisting the body to crack your back.  It’s not always the best way to relieve pain and pressure on the facet joints connecting each of your 33 vertebrae.

In this article, I’ll move up your spine a bit and discuss the practice of cracking your neck.

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High School Football and Concussions

High School Football and Concussions

Concussions are an everyday occurrence in a wide range of sports. Many of my patients are sports enthusiasts and it is not uncommon to hear that they have had one or multiple concussions over their lifetimes.

You might have heard about or seen the movie Concussion, where accomplished pathologist, Dr. Bennett Omalu, uncovers the truth about brain damage among Pittsburgh Steelers and other football players who had suffered from repeated head trauma. The truth is, a concussion head injury isn’t limited to professional athletes.

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Does a Chiropractor Need to Crack My Back?

Does a Chiropractor Need to Crack My Back?

If you were to stop and ask someone on the street, “What does a chiropractor do?” you might hear them say that a “chiropractor cracks peoples’ backs.” But is that really the truth? Is cracking your back all a chiropractor does?

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How Can We Stretch When We are Sitting All the Time?

How Can We Stretch When We are Sitting All the Time?

Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk

Going from the bed to the car to the desk to the sofa, many of my patients feel the need to stretch, but just don’t take the time. When you are sitting all day, you need to stretch to avoid the aches and pains that come with a stiff body. You may not have an hour a day to do a stretch or yoga class, but, it’s important to stretch a little bit frequently to really stay flexible. A good stretch begins from a position of good posture. When stretching at your desk, make sure you have your ergonomics set up first to minimize stress on the body. When you are sitting properly, it will be easier to stretch at your desk or even in your car.

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5 Myths About Back Pain

5 Myths About Back Pain

“Oh, my aching back!” Why does your back hurt today and not yesterday? Did you pick something up that was too heavy without bending your legs? Did you sleep with your neck off the side of the pillow? Or did you just wake up and your back suddenly hurt? If you were to ask these questions to my patients, you would hear all sorts of answers. It’s amazing how many myths about back pain there are. To help you understand exactly why your back might be hurting, here are the 5 most common myths that I discuss with my patients and the answers you need to know.

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Top 5 Causes Why Your Back is Hurting

Top 5 Causes Why Your Back is Hurting

San Rafael Chiropractor Shares Advice

According to the Arthritis Foundation, an estimated 50 to 80% of American adults will experience back pain. When your back hurts, you want to know the cause so you can do something about it.

But, reasons vary and they are often hard to figure out. We all have 24 vertebrae that can get knocked out of line, strained, twisted, or compressed and that can happen in many different ways leading to pain.

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How Do I Avoid Neck and Back Pain from Sitting

How Do I Avoid Neck and Back Pain from Sitting

5 Proven Techniques from a Chiropractor

Many people realize that their neck or back pain becomes worse after sitting for extended or sometimes even short period of times. In our culture, most of us spend much of our day seated, whether it’s on the drive to work, at a desk in front of a computer , eating and even relaxing on the sofa after a long day. No matter where you are sitting, the same posture and ergonomic concerns apply. The more you are able to apply the following guidelines, the less stress you will have on your spine and the less likely you will be to experience back or neck pain.

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How to Strengthen Your Neck

How to Strengthen Your Neck

You probably haven’t actively thought about how to strengthen your neck, but you wake up after you “slept funny” and you’ve got a crick. Then that crick turns into a lot of pain in and around your neck that just won’t go away by itself. At this point most people start to wonder if a Chiropractor would be good solution or if this is “just” neck pain they will have to live with. The good news, a chiropractor can help you with neck issues.

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Headache Help in San Rafael

Headache Help in San Rafael

Do you have headaches more than a few times a week? Are they tension headaches? Or are they migraines? At Balance Chiropractic, many of my patients seek headache help in San Rafael, because their pain can be caused by a wide variety of problems.

In this article I’ll be discussing how you can be treated with chiropractic techniques and cranial therapies to ease your headache pain. I offer a variety of therapies to analyze and correct most issues that address the needs of headache suffers.

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Chiropractic Treatment for Head Issues

Chiropractic Treatment for Head Issues

What is Causing My Constant Headache?

If you’ve found this page, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from headache. In fact, you may already know that a severe headache is the #1 reason for missing work. So, if you’re one of those folks who’s tired of missing work or loosing quality time with friends and family, because your head throbs or bright lights hurt your eyes, this article is for you.

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Chiropractic for Weekend Warriors to full time Athletes

Chiropractic for Weekend Warriors to full time Athletes

Chiropractic Solutions for Athletes

When you think about it, Marin is like a giant park, with all kinds of wonderful and easily accessible indoor and outdoor activities to keep you fit, trim and in great shape. It’s our own slice of paradise.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, training for a triathlon, the Dipsea Race or the Double Dipsea (for you masochists out there), it’s fairly common to tweak a muscle or joint.

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Chiropractic Treatment for Back and Leg Issues

Chiropractic Treatment for Back and Leg Issues

How Chiropractic Helps Backs Feel Better
“Oh my aching back,” is a phase I’ve heard all too often in my chiropractic office and it’s not surprising as back pain is one of the most common issues I treat. The fact that you found this article tells me that you most likely have some kind of back pain.

In this article, I’ll outline some of the common causes for lower and upper back ailments, then I’ll describe how I treat them.

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Balance Chiropractic
880 Las Gallinas Ave. Ste. 6
San Rafael, CA 94903
Phone: 415-499-3399

The chiropractic office of Dr. Jonathan Smith of Balance Chiropractic in San Rafael, Marin County, 94903 , specializes in gentle, effective chiropractic methods that bring your body to its highest level of health creating infinite possibilities.

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