How Texting Damages Your Spine

how texting damages your spine

Staring down at your phone to read text messages exerts stress on your neck equal to tying a 60-pound bowling ball around your head, says Kenneth Hansraj, a New York Back Surgeon. The good doctor arrived this number by looking at computer models of how gravity affects the human spine, using equations that assumed the average weight of the human head to be twelve pounds.

The calculation appeared in the journal Surgical Technology International and Hanraj recommends training yourself to lift your phone up if you want to check email, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.

According to Nielsen, the average American spends about an hour on their smartphone each day.

To save your spine and alleviate stress, it might be wise to put the phone down for a little while. Schedule a Chiropractic Care appointment with Dr. Taras Odulak today to ensure your spine and neck aren’t enduring unnecessary aches and pains.

 

New Studies Explain Teens’ Risky Behavior

NeuroFeedback Treatment NYC

It’s common knowledge that teenage boys appear to be prone to risky behaviors. Now, a series of new studies is revealing specific brain mechanisms that help to explain what might be happening inside young male brains.

Florida State University College of Medicine Neuroscientist Pradeep Bhide brought together some of the world’s foremost researchers in a quest to explain why teenagers — boys, in particular — often behave erratically.

The result is a series of 19 studies that approached the question from multiple scientific domains, including psychology, neurochemistry, brain imaging, clinical neuroscience and neurobiology. The studies are published in a special volume of Developmental Neuroscience, “Teenage Brains: Think Different?”

“Psychologists, psychiatrists, educators, neuroscientists, criminal justice professionals and parents are engaged in a daily struggle to understand and solve the enigma of teenage risky behaviors,” Bhide said. “Such behaviors impact not only the teenagers who obviously put themselves at serious and lasting risk but also families and societies in general.

“The emotional and economic burdens of such behaviors are quite huge. The research described in this book offers clues to what may cause such maladaptive behaviors and how one may be able to devise methods of countering, avoiding or modifying these behaviors.”

An example of findings published in the book that provide new insights about the inner workings of a teenage boy’s brain:

  • Unlike children or adults, teenage boys show enhanced activity in the part of the brain that controls emotions when confronted with a threat. Magnetic resonance scanner readings in one study revealed that the level of activity in the limbic brain of adolescent males reacting to threat, even when they’ve been told not to respond to it, was strikingly different from that in adult men.
  • Using brain activity measurements, another team of researchers found that teenage boys were mostly immune to the threat of punishment but hypersensitive to the possibility of large gains from gambling. The results question the effectiveness of punishment as a deterrent for risky or deviant behavior in adolescent boys.
  • Another study demonstrated that a molecule known to be vital in developing fear of dangerous situations is less active in adolescent male brains. These findings point towards neurochemical differences between teenage and adult brains, which may underlie the complex behaviors exhibited by teenagers.

“The new studies illustrate the neurobiological basis of some of the more unusual but well-known behaviors exhibited by our teenagers,” Bhide said. “Stress, hormonal changes, complexities of psycho-social environment and peer-pressure all contribute to the challenges of assimilation faced by teenagers.

“These studies attempt to isolate, examine and understand some of these potential causes of a teenager’s complex conundrum. The research sheds light on how we may be able to better interact with teenagers at home or outside the home, how to design educational strategies and how best to treat or modify a teenager’s maladaptive behavior.”

Neurofeedback Treatment

Dr. Taras Odulak uses Neurofeedback Treatment to zero in on the limbic system of the brain. Over time, the brain can be trained to avoid inappropriate behavior.

Neurofeedback Benefits

East Village Chiropractic has developed a comprehensive Neurofeedback Assessment Questionnaire to assist Dr. Taras Odulak in establishing a comprehensive treatment plan for new patients.

Dr. Taras Odulak treats Learning, Focus, Attention and/or Anxiety Problems, Fibromyalgia, Insomnia, or Migraines.

Complete our Neurofeedback Assessment Questionnaire and discover how East Village Chiropractic can help you feel your best with Neurofeedback.

Meditation Offers Relief for Migraines

meditation provides relief for Migraines

According to a new study published in the journal Headache, meditation may deliver relief for individuals suffering from Migraines.

“Stress is a well-known trigger for Headaches and research supports the general benefits of mind/body interventions for Migraines, but there hasn’t been much research to evaluate specific standardized meditation interventions,” said Rebecca Erwin Wells, assistant professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study.

The study was developed to assess the safety, feasibility and effects of a standardized meditation and yoga intervention called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in adults with Migraines.

Nineteen adults were randomly assigned to two groups with 10 receiving the MBSR intervention and nine receiving standard medical care.

The participants attended eight weekly classes to learn MBSR techniques and were instructed to practice 45 minutes on their own at least five additional days per week.

Study participants were evaluated before and after the trial period using objective measures of disability, self-efficacy and mindfulness.

They also kept Headache logs for the duration of the trial to capture the frequency, severity and duration of their Migraines.

“We found that the MBSR participants had trends of fewer Migraines that were less severe,” Wells said.

“Secondary effects included Headaches that were shorter in duration and less disabling, and participants had increases in mindfulness and self-efficacy — a sense of personal control over their Migraines. In addition, there were no adverse events and excellent adherence,” Wells added.

Notably, the MBSR participants experienced 1.4 fewer Migraines per month that were less severe, effects that did not reach statistical significance.

The participants’ Headaches were significantly shorter as compared to the control group.

Based on these findings, the research team concluded that MBSR is a safe and feasible therapy for adults with Migraines.

If you are suffering from debilitating Migraines, fill out our Migraine Questionnaire to learn how we can help.

Pink Noise Will Lull You to Sleep

There’s a good chance you’ve never been envious of an elephant, but that’s about to change. Elephants need only three to four hours of sleep per night in order to be their happy elephant selves during the day. So what’s Dumbo’s secret? Deeper, more stable sleep—and new research may have found the secret to helping you achieve elephantine-levels of repose each night: Pink noise.

The Power of Pink Noise

Pink Nose for deep sleepYou’ve likely heard of “white noise,” says study author Jue Zhang, Ph.D., an associate professor at China’s Peking University, which is generated when the sounds of different frequencies blend. Pink noise, on the other hand, is a type of sound in which every octave carries the same power, or a perfectly consistent frequency, Zhang explains. “Think of rain falling on pavement, or wind rustling the leaves on a tree,” It’s called pink noise because light with a similar power spectrum would appear pink, he says.

To see how pink noise would affect human sleepers, Zhang and his team recruited 50 people and exposed them to either pink noise or no noise during nighttime sleep and daytime naps while monitoring their brain activity. The results: An impressive 75% of study participants reported more restful sleep when exposed to pink noise. When it came to brain activity, the amount of “stable sleep”—the most restful kind—increased 23% among the nighttime sleepers exposed to pink noise, and more than 45% among nappers, says Zhang.

What’s going on here? Sound plays a big role in brain activity and brain wave synchronization even while you’re sleeping, Zhang explains. The steady drone of pink noise slows and regulates your brain waves, which is an attribute of extremely restful sleep.

To experience the benefits of pink noise in your own bedroom, Zhang recommends fans or noisemakers that produce steady, uninterrupted sound or that imitate falling rain or wind. You could also download an application that will play pink noise through computer speakers or your cell phone, such as the Perfect Sleep application. Just don’t wear headphones, which can disrupt sleep, he says.

If you’re troubled by restless sleep night after night, make an appointment for Neurofeedback Treatment in New York City with Dr. Taras Odulak, so you can get a good night’s sleep and wake feeling refreshed, ready to greet the day.

Beta Training Typically Alleviates Drug-resistant Depression

In a recent study published in the Journal of Neurotherapy, one hundred eighty-three patients with drug resistant depression were trained with 6 Neurofeedback Treatment Sessions to reduce 2-7 Hz and increase 15-18 Hz at FP02 (the right fronto-polar orbital location). Remission or significant improvement, (greater than 50%) transpired in 84% of subjects, as judged by the Rush Quick Self-Rated Depression Inventory. An additional 9% of patients experienced partial improvement. Improvement was maintained for 1 year or longer in all but 3 patients (1% of the entire group). These results designate good effectiveness in a reduction of drug-resistant depression and maintenance of the reductions in most patients.

Neurofeedback Treats Depression

If you’re feeling effects of depression, scheduling Neurofeedback Treatment can help you feel better in no time.

Neuroscience Behind Typos

Science Behind Typos

You have finally finished writing your article. You’ve stressed over your word choice and worried about the best way to arrange them to effectively convey your point. You comb for errors, and by the time you publish you are absolutely certain that not a single typo survived your eagle-eyed glare. But, the first thing your readers notice isn’t your carefully crafted message, it’s that misspelled word in the fourth sentence.

Typos are the worst. They are saboteurs, undermining your intent, causing your resume to land in the “pass” pile, or providing sustenance for an army of pedantic critics. Frustratingly, they are usually words you know how to spell, but somehow skimmed over in your rounds of editing. If we are our own harshest critics, why do we miss those annoying little details?

The reason typos seep through isn’t because we’re stupid or careless, it’s because what we’re doing is actually very smart, explains psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos of the University of Sheffield in the U.K. “When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high level task,” he said.

As with all high-level tasks, your brain simplifies basic, component parts (like turning letters into words and words into sentences) so it can focus on more complex tasks (like combining sentences into complex ideas).

“We don’t catch every detail, we’re not like computers or NSA databases,” said Stafford. “Rather, we take in sensory information and combine it with what we expect, and we extract meaning.” When we’re reading other peoples’ work, this helps us arrive at meaning faster by using less brainpower. When we’re proof reading our own work, we know the meaning we want to convey. Because we expect that meaning to be there, it’s easier for us to miss when parts (or all) of it are absent. The reason we don’t see our own typos is because what we see on the screen is competing with the version that exists in our heads.

This can be something as trivial as transposing the letters in “the” to “hte,” or something as significant as omitting the core explanation of your article.

Generalization is the hallmark of all higher-level brain functions. It’s similar to how our brains build maps of familiar places, compiling the sights, smells, and feel of a route. That mental map frees your brain up to think about other things. Sometimes this works against you, like when you accidentally drive to work on your way to a barbecue, because the route to your friend’s house includes a section of your daily commute. We can become blind to details because our brain is operating on instinct. By the time you proofread your own work, your brain already knows the destination.

This explains why your readers are more likely to pick up on your errors. Even if you are using words and concepts that they are also familiar with, their brains are on this journey for the first time, so they are paying more attention to the details along the way and not anticipating the final destination.

But even if familiarization handicaps your ability to pick out mistakes in the long run, we’re actually pretty awesome at catching ourselves in the act. (According to Microsoft, backspace is the third-most used button on the keyboard.) In fact, touch typists—people who can type without looking at their fingers—know they’ve made a mistake even before it shows up on the screen. Their brain is so used to turning thoughts into letters that it alerts them when they make even minor mistakes, like hitting the wrong key or transposing two characters. In a study published earlier this year, Stafford and a colleague covered both the screen and keyboard of typists and monitored their word rate. These “blind” typists slowed down their word rate just before they made a mistake.

Touch typists are working off a subconscious map of the keyboard. As they type, their brains are instinctually preparing for their next move. “But, there’s a lag between the signal to hit the key and the actual hitting of the key,” Stafford said. In that split second, your brain has time to run the signal it sent your finger through a simulation telling it what the correct response will feel like. When it senses an error, it sends a signal to the fingers, slowing them down so they have more time to adjust.

As any typist knows, hitting keys happens too fast to divert a finger when it’s in the process of making a mistake. But, Stafford says this evolved from the same mental mechanism that helped our ancestors’ brains make micro adjustments when they were throwing spears.

Unfortunately, that kind of instinctual feedback doesn’t exist in the editing process. When you’re proof reading, you are trying to trick your brain into pretending that it’s reading the thing for the first time. Stafford suggests that if you want to catch your own errors, you should try to make your work as unfamiliar as possible. Change the font or background color, or print it out and edit by hand. “Once you’ve learned something in a particular way, it’s hard to see the details without changing the visual form,” he said.

Benefits of Neurofeedback Treatment

Neurofeedback Treatment enables the brain to enhance your intellectual performance. This is achieved with Neurotherapy that influences the physical connections in the brain. Neurotherapy trains your brain to remain in the present even after you make an error, thereby increasing your ability to focus on the task at hand.

Neurofeedback Treatment for Migraines

During a Neurofeedback Treatment Session, the patient sits in a comfortable chair, promoting relaxation, facing a computer screen, while a clinician attaches electrodes to the individual’s scalp with a viscous goop that takes several showers to remove completely. Wires from the sensors connect to a computer programmed to respond to the brain’s activity.

Neurofeedback Gradually Diminishes Migraine Frequency

Manhattan Neurofeedback for MigrainesIndividuals using medication for Migraines, who are also worried about medication side effects, are also good candidates for Manhattan Neurofeedback Treatments. As the brain becomes healthier and more balanced through Neurofeedback Training, Migraine and headache drugs can often be reduced or eliminated completely. It’s a safe, effective alternative to medications.

New Study Published on Migraines: Significant reduction (70%) in Migraines with Neurofeedback

The study on Migraines, published recently in The Journal Behavioral and Brain Function, is entitled: “Neurofeedback and Biofeedback with 37 Migraineurs: a clinical outcome study”, by Deborah Stokes, Ph.D. and Martha Lappin.

Participants still had Migraines even on medications.

Based on the study, most patients had long histories of Migraines and had tried multiple pharmaceutical treatments prior to trying Neurofeedback. Most were on medications during the study. Participants did an average of 40 sessions over 6 months.

Results – 62% of those benefiting reported major improvement.

70% of the 37 participants showed a 50% or greater reduction in the frequency of their Migraines, and only 16% failed to improve at all. Of those improved, 62% reported major or total improvement in their Migraines.

What’s significant, all patients in the study had been on medications for years but still suffered from significant Migraines. So the Migraines these patients were experiencing were some of the toughest to resolve.

Based on these results – and on clinical experience from clinicians around the country – Neurofeedback offers the potential for significant relief for anyone still suffering from Migraines. In addition to Migraine improvement, many of these patients also experienced improvements in over 50% of non-targeted symptoms such as in anxiety, depression, focus and sleep.

The goal is to minimize, on an ongoing basis, the number and intensity of Migraines. Many clinicians have reported that Neurofeedback Training helps patients learn to become more stable and reduce the number of headaches and intensity of headaches.

If you’re ready to leave your Migraines behind, contact the office to schedule an NYC Neurofeedback appointment today.

What’s On Your Mind?

Neurofeedback is a fascinating field of study.

Historically, is goes back to 1924 and psychiatrist Hans Berger. But it wasn’t until the late 60’s that things really started getting interesting. Barry Sterman taught his lab cats how to change their Electroencephalography (EEG) with operant conditioning, yet few could have foreseen it would improve brain regulation and inhibit seizures.

sherman_cat

Using advanced technological equipment, Neurofeedback assesses brainwaves to help children and adults control their brainwave activities. We became more interested in neurofeedback over the last few years, primarily because of the success in treating conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy, addiction, anxiety and sleep disorders. After we considered its other uses, such as Autism and Asperger’s, Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), Brain Fog, ChronicPpain, Depression, fears/phobias, Fibromyalgia, Headaches and Migraines, insomnia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Stress, and Stroke Recovery — it became clear to us that Neurofeedback was a natural extension of our practice. Its focus on the central nervous system’s “pilot” and being completely non-invasive is a perfect complement to chiropractic care.

Electrodes are applied to the scalp to monitor brainwave activity. The signals are filtered and processed by our new BrainMaster processors (yes, that’s what it’s called), and relevant information concerning certain key brainwave frequencies are logged and categorized. With quick, half-hour sessions twice weekly, clients learn how to inhibit “slow” brain waves and produce a greater number of “fast” waves associated with being calm, alert and focused. What’s next is somewhat entertaining. The information is presented to the patient in the form of a video game. The learner (patient) is effectively playing the video game with his or her brain. Eventually the brainwave activity is shaped toward a more desirable and more regulated performance.

 

brainmaster500

Neurofeedback is a scientifically proven way to change how you feel and function by improving how your brain operates.

In more than 20 years on East 7th Street, we’ve rarely been more excited about adding a new practice area (generally, we’re even-keeled in our excitement toward everything). Please call us to discuss your special needs and how our new Neurofeedback can help move you into optimal brain states. We’ll also be hosting informal seminars periodically in May and June, 2014, in our office. Please call (212) 260-2213 to learn more. We’re always happy to hear from you.

Pharma for Two

acetaminophen
Many, many years ago, people used to smoke quite a bit. Ash trays were de rigueur for dinner guests at most homes 50+ years ago. Second-hand smoke wasn’t a concern, and not many raised an eyebrow when pregnant women smoked.

Today you wouldn’t think of doing anything like that if you were pregnant. Maybe a glass of wine, but never smoking.

Instead, both parents now actively participate in adjusting their behavior and diets to assure themselves of a healthier baby. We hear it all the time: “she’s eating for two, you know!”

The same goes for medication. Typically, the OB/GYN asks about what prescription medicine is taken — and whether it should or not be during pregnancy. What about over-the-counter drugs? Many have said it’s OK to take an occasional Tylenol, an acetaminophen, to relieve headache pain.

That’s about to change.

JAMA Pediatrics published a study entitled “Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy, Behavioral Problems, and Hyperkinetic Disorders” that concluded:

Maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk for hyperkinetic disorders (HKDs) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-like behaviors in children. Because the exposure and outcome are frequent, these results are of public health relevance but further investigations are needed.

It’s a good study and JAMA seldom sounds such an alarm unnecessarily. In our opinion, headaches can be addressed by the right chiropractic care and the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress did the right thing in jumping all over this issue, citing these highlights:

According to the report, children whose mothers used acetaminophen were:

  • 13 percent more likely to show ADHD-like behaviors
  • 37 percent more likely to be diagnosed with HKDs
  • 29 percent more likely to be prescribed ADHD medications

We’ve even gone so far as to advocate that parents take the drug-free path for treating ADHD. With the results of this study in mind, expectant mothers will think twice about taking an acetaminophen to relieve headache or other pain.

In more than twenty years of practice on East 7th Street, we’ve provided quality chiropractic care for hundreds of expectant mothers. We’ve found them to be more than receptive of non-invasive, drug-free options during a very important part of their life. Check with the American Pregnancy Association for more information on this topic — it mentions the adaptable table you’ll find in our office, too.

If you’re having second thoughts about taking OTC or prescription drugs during pregnancy, call us (212) 260-2213 and we’ll be happy to discuss your options with Chiropractic Care.