Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot
On Fridays I like to share some of the experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant in some way. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
Something I’m looking forward to? Normally I like to have some type of race or event on my calendar to train for. It keeps me focused, gives the training itself more purpose and helps me unload any mental baggage I may be carrying. Quite simply, training for and then running races makes me better in the other aspects of my life. Unfortunately, with COVID there aren’t as many races to sign up for or the restrictions make it not worth participating in. The other day I came up with the idea that I would run my own ultramarathon on my late brother in law’s birthday in February. I am still working on some details but plan to run a minimum of 34 miles up to a maximum of 100. My older sons are excited to join me at some point during the “race” as well.
Having something to train for instantly got me excited again and I always enjoy the process of preparing for something like this. More importantly, on the actual day of the race it will serve an important purpose for me – helping me to deal with the loss of a best friend. When I run such long distances, my body breaks down, but my mind sharpens, and I can think more clearly than at any other time. I am excited to have that time lost in thought and know it will help me let go of certain things and cling tighter to others. In the words of Forest Gump about his running, “My mama always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on. And I think that’s what my running was all about.”
I hear popping when I move my neck/back but it doesn’t hurt, is that bad? If you experience superficial popping in your spine that is not painful it is often a sign of spinal misalignment. When your spine is misaligned, instinctively your body knows this is the case and tries to put things back in proper alignment. That is why you may notice these pops when turning, bending, etc. You’ll likely notice that after an adjustment that some or most of this will go away. If you experience a grinding sensation in your neck or back that is different and can be indicative of advance arthritis though I usually only see that in elderly patients.
Any advice for leg cramps? I am often asked about leg cramps and a big part of my advice depends on when the cramps tend to occur. If the legs are cramping frequently during the day, it is likely a nerve issue. Cases such as these usually react well to chiropractic adjustments because they are often indicative that a lower back nerve (that feeds into the sciatic nerve) is aggravated, often even by a simple spinal misalignment. Re-aligning the lower back decreases nerve pressure and thus the leg cramps.
If the issue is more common at night (especially late at night when sleeping or attempting to sleep), this tends to be more of a nutritional issue. In these instances, sodium, potassium and/or water balances are often off balance and causing involuntary cramping. For this I recommend increasing water intake by a couple glasses per day, eating a banana/avocado or something with potassium in it, and sprinkling a good salt (sea salt, not table salt) on your food once a day or so. I’ve had hundreds of patients over the years with this issue that get relief with these simple changes.
An inexpensive supplement I often recommend? Vitamin B is like fuel to your nerves just as gas is to your vehicle. A lot of the nutritional habits common within the standard American diet tend to decrease vitamin B within our bodies. This can cause symptoms such as fatigue, numbness/tingling and more. As a chiropractor I often see this contributing to or worsening pain syndromes, sciatica, radicular pains, fibromyalgia and more. To help prevent this, I recommend simply taking a quality Vitamin B complex supplement. B-complex will provide all the b-vitamins your body requires and will make a major difference in your nerves and energy level for less than $10 a bottle. To begin with, double your dosage for 7 days to try and build up a surplus of B and then take as directed thereafter. Avoid taking near bedtime as the b-vitamins increase ATP production and thus increase energy.
Some quotes I love?
“The lowest valley leads to the highest peak.” – Marcus Luttrell
“Comfort is a slow death.”
“If winning or losing is going to define your life, you’re on a rough road.” – Bud Grant
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