Shot or No Shot: 4 Essentials to Survive Flu Season

Some people will get a flu shot, some won’t, and others torture themselves trying to decide. These tips are designed to invigorate your immune system regardless of your decision. Understand that only about 10% of “flu” is actually influenza and therefore addressed by the flu shot. This is based on CDC reports citing the number of specimens submitted to labs for testing that were confirmed to be influenza, regardless of type. Relying solely on a shot that is only designed to address 10% of the problem is a bad bet if your goal is to stay healthy and happy.

  1. You (may) have between now and Halloween to prepare. Every year, I see the incidence of flu-like sickness explode about a week after Halloween. I suspect it’s related to the immune-suppressing effect of our yearly sugar orgy. Oct 31st is also the start of the yearly holiday marathon that extends through New Year’s. Now is the time to build your defenses.
  2. Your immune system is an engine that needs fuel. Seasonal veggies to make sure you include are kale and collards, black eye or purple hull type peas, winter squash, rutabagas, and sweet potatoes, to name a few. Here in Alabama, there’s no shortage of “tailgate” food around football season, but it’s not going to fuel that engine when you need it, so listen to your momma and eat your veggies.
  3. Your immune system is an engine that needs maintenance. A good balance of rest and exercise is important to keep your immune system (and all the rest of you) well maintained and prepared for the future. If you’ve been letting that slide a little lately, I suggest regular walks outside because the weather is gorgeous and naps. Check out the Birmingham Art Crawl if you need some inspiration to get out!
  4. Your immune system is an engine that needs no interference. Behind the sceneImmunity neuro breakdowns, your immune system is controlled and regulated by your nervous system. The effect of accumulated stresses, not just physical, but also environmental and emotional, on your body, can and do cause interference with the function of your nervous system. This interference, or vertebral subluxation, disturbs your ability to heal and regulate, functions critical to the immune system. If you were going on a long trip, you’d have a mechanic check your car even though it seemed fine. You need to be checked by a chiropractor for vertebral subluxation if you want the best protection.

A chiropractor may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to flu season, but it was our success with helping people overcome the flu during the great flu pandemic of 1918 that helped establish chiropractic as an effective means of getting the sick well and helping the well to stay that way. But that’s a story for another time.


Backs and Packs and Facts

books-484766_1920aThe school year has started. Yesterday, my daughter brought her backpack to me and said, “Feel how heavy this is.” For her body weight, it felt about right. The recommended limit for backpacks is 10 to 15% of a child’s body weight. I said, “That’s good, I think you can manage that just fine.” “That’s just my folders and notebooks.”

Today, my daughter is supposed to receive and probably bring home her 6th grade textbooks. In addition to all of the “required” notebooks and folders, even one decent sized textbook is going to put her over the limit, never mind 6 of them!

As a parent and a chiropractor, how do I solve this dilemma? I don’t want her to get injured. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 14,000 children are seen by doctors for backpack injuries and 5,000 of those are ER visits. I see kids with backpack related issues and injuries. Based on what I see in my practice, I wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers represented significant under-reporting and were actually much higher!

While solutions like digital textbooks and cloud-based access are still not being implemented widely, there are a few DIY things that you can do to protect your child. Good suggestions can be found here .

Unfortunately, even these measures do not solve the fundamental issue of too much weight in the packs. Paying attention to how the weight is carried is helpful and necessary to reduce risk, but it ignores the structure responsible for actually carrying the weight. Let me ask you this. Is your child active? Do they run and play and engage in activities of physical development? Have they fallen or run in to another child or been jerked around, even when it was fun? Did they ride a roller coaster, or get pulled behind a boat this summer?

If the answer is yes, then they may actually have a structural/functional issue in their spine. It may not show up during normal activities, but when you add another 20 or 40% of their body weight, that stress alone may reveal, aggravate, or even cause additional injury to a structural and functional spinal problem called vertebral subluxation.
If the answer is no, then your child may be even more at risk for injury due to under-developed strength and balance. Until they develop these aspects, making sure that they are not growing into injuries is a smart move.
Regardless, they need to be in prime shape to try and manage that much additional weight. As a chiropractor, I can’t think of a profession more qualified to help in this regard. Do not dismiss complaints of pain or discomfort as “normal”. Schedule an appointment to have your child assessed for spinal subluxation that may not be readily apparent.

As a parent, I know you want to give your child the best start to the new school year. I also know that this time of year puts more demands on your budget. From now until the end of September, I have a special offer. I will give your child a special spinal screening to check for evidence of vertebral subluxation for a special price of $50. PLUS, if you bring in the child’s loaded backpack, I will include a backpack fitting at no charge. These will be available on Saturdays from 11am until I’m done.Backpack Fitting

I’ll be checking my daughter regularly, just like I’ve done her entire life. Depending on what I see in the days and weeks ahead, I may be making more inquiries with the intention of keeping her safe and hopefully all the children safer.

The Title Game

american-football-220047_1280As we watch the first ever college football championship game tonight, let’s pause to reflect on what the two groups of young men did to get there. They trained every day. Not just for the last couple of weeks, but all year. And most of them for most of their lives as individuals. Hours and months of sacrifice dedicated to one goal: becoming champions.

One team will claim the victory. The other will compete, hopefully, with their all and fall just short.

We pay attention to high level team sports, because we admire the human will it takes to compete at that level. In some ways, fan loyalty is a way to pay homage to the competitors, the tradition, and the fight.

Watching the game also allows us to set aside our own fights for a while and gives us a chance to recharge for our own struggles ahead.

If you live long enough, one day you will be an old person. So I say this to you: future old people, you are on your way to a distant showdown. The field is going to be uphill and the course is anything but straight. There are no referees to make it fair. There are no guarantees. But, the training and dedication that you deliver to yourself in the present has the potential to stack the deck in your future favor.

I have set aside some of my time to help you start to develop a strategy now, so you can face the future with hope, strength and – most importantly – a plan. Join me at Anytime Fitness in Chelsea on Monday January 19th, 6:30 pm. I want to help you become the best future old person you can be.

RSVP to reserve your spot at 205.502.7791.Anytime1

Peace, Love, and Chiropractic

Window Nativity

Birth of the Savior, artist -Tabitha Maples

If you’ve been a fan of our window art in the past, you’ll be pleased to know that we are picking up where we left off last year. This season’s nativity scene was crafted by Tabitha Maples (pictured), who has been providing our window art of 4 years.

Come by and see this for yourself; it looks amazing in person! Join with us as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. One more week until we start the Christmas music!


IMAG0075AIt’s Halloween again. The season of all things horrifying and disgusting is upon us. Runny noses, coughing, fever, flu, and this year, Enterovirus and Ebola! People walking around looking like zombies on stuffy head medicine and who knows what else. Certainly miserable for those caught in the thick of it.

Hopefully, you read my last blog and have been preparing for this season. Like Christmas it rolls around every single year at about this time. If you want the best chance to NOT feel like one of the walking wounded or the living dead, take heed:

Limit the indulgence. Have fun, but don’t get carried away. Help your kids with this too.

Keep doing the things you’d normally do to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Make sure your brain is connected to your body. We can help with that.

Brain + body = good

Brain @#*&% body = not so good.

Even zombies know, the more brains, the better!

Preparing For War

Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.

                                                   -Sun Tsu, The Art of War


Disclaimer: The conflict in the Middle East is serious business. This post is in no way an attempt to compare or capitalize on that engagement. This post is a metaphor about the very personal challenges we can expect to see in the coming months.

Later this year, my family will be enjoying an active Halloween celebration. After that, we will probably travel with three small children to Tuscaloosa or Wetumpka for Thanksgiving, making a few extra stops to visit along the way. And once that’s done, preparations for Christmas will begin with shopping and travel (or hosting) times with loved ones. All along there will be sugary sweets, rich food, long travel times, disrupted schedules, strange beds, very little rest, and lots and lots of stress.

Maybe this sounds a bit familiar. You may travel farther or host bigger. Or perhaps you struggle with being alone. Maybe your loved ones are not getting along, which can add to your own anxiety.

Here in Alabama, we can also add nearly every Saturday in between to the list. We tend to get worked up over some college boys in ridiculous outfits trying to steal a $10 torpedo-shaped ball from another equally silly looking group. Part of this ritual includes sausage, chicken wings, cheez curlz. And of course, smack talk. Roll Tide/War Eagle.

Fall is football season, holiday season, and flu season. It’s no wonder that people struggle with their health throughout. Every year I see people start dropping like flies the week after Halloween (and the requisite sugar overload). As people get sick, they tend to turn to any and every thing they can to try to maintain some semblance of function in the midst of so much activity. To make matters worse, even if you follow the strategy revealed in this article, the sheer volume of people in your environment that are actively sick and contagious will further tax your ability to resist.

It is a war you prepare for. The battle is for your health and happiness. Fighting this war will, and I emphasize, WILL, sap your strength and ability to resist. It is not hopeless though. You have the luxury of time right now to prepare for this war, to store up reserves, and give yourself every advantage to resist, bounce back, and most importantly enjoy the festivities of life!

Here is the strategy: your immune system is a defensive system. It must be well prepared if you expect it to perform well. How do you prepare an immune system?

Do the things you would ordinarily do to bounce back from an illness. I trust you have found strategies that work for you. This can be as simple as mindful eating. When we get colds, we profit from nutrient rich foods, like chicken soup. Healthy or sick, we benefit when we ensure adequate rest and hydration. Another huge component is an attitude of hope and faith. Individually, each of these strategies will help. Together these components synergize to even greater effect.

Tying these strategies all together is the ability of your body to receive, process, and assimilate their yield effectively. All of this happens through and by the nervous system. Interference at this level (via vertebral subluxation) will handicap all of your other efforts, even if you aren’t aware of it at the time. The structural and functional relationships between the central nervous system and the spine are well established. You cannot experience optimum performance at any endeavor, including immunity and resistance with vertebral subluxation affecting your master control system. For those who want the best opportunity to survive, thrive, and enjoy this upcoming season, a chiropractic check-up is in order.


Let me touch on the flu shot for a moment. Whether you choose to get one or you choose to decline, the strategy above will benefit you. The flu shot, if it’s to be effective, relies on a healthy immune system. If you are like me, and choose to forego the shot, you will also be relying on a healthy immune system.

My hope is that everyone spends this the time between now and Halloween making sure that you’ve done all you can do to ensure a healthy, happy holiday season and set yourself up to step into the new year on a high note. Does it seem a little early to be thinking that far ahead?

Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.

Be the victorious General. Be Your Best!


Science for Sale?

“Let the researchers do the research,” explained a friend whom I consider to be both educated and intelligent. This was in response to all the “soccer moms” doing their own research about vaccines. I vehemently disagree because I’ve learned a thing or two about how research gets reported and applied. Still, it got me to thinking about how critically important research, and our ability to trust research is.

After all, parents research everything from prenatal vitamins to strollers to find the option that best suits their needs. Why not vaccines? If you truly believe that the case for vaccines has been settled, then how do you explain the sheer volume of people not accepting the vaccine story? Most of these people tend to be intelligent, well-educated, and wealthy, and their ranks include doctors, pediatricians, PhD’s, and immunologists, not to mention folks with enough study under their belts to qualify for a degree. I mean, even asking the question is enough to get you publicly hammered. Right, Katie Couric?

Among the many, many reasons to carefully research before you choose to force a cocktail of potent poisons into your child’s flesh is the fact that you cannot unvaccinate a child. Also, you the parents, and no one else, will be responsible for whatever the outcome is. Those two things alone are motivation enough to research. All that is required of researchers is the ability to read and critically think. And maybe Google. That’s it.

It’s important to research, because you find very interesting things. For example, Hooker, et al., released a review article in Biomed Research International titled, “Methodological Issues and Evidence of Malfeasance in Research Purporting to Show Thimerosal in Vaccines Is Safe.”

Basically, this paper refutes the SIX studies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses to calm people’s fears about thimerosal as bad science and using 165 studies to demonstrate a link between Mercury and Autism. The CDC can’t find a link, but Hooker finds 165 of them.Mercury

If the CDC, your State Health Department, and your doctor all tell you that vaccines are safe and that they have not been shown to cause autism (which is not exactly the same as “do not cause autism”) but 165 studies show the opposite, what’s a parent/researcher to think? Who can you trust? The charge of “malfeasance” should be more than troubling. And it certainly isn’t going to make people like me less inclined to question.

At the heart of this matter is not whether to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. And frankly, getting distracted in a senseless debate is destructive, no matter what side you find yourself on. The heart of the matter is informed consent. People without accurate information cannot render informed consent. Informed consent is necessary, whether convenient or not, and speaks to the core of individual liberty.

The science of vaccine safety isn’t settled. Neither is the science of vaccine effectiveness. Not when vaccine researchers, the ones paid to do the primary research, lie and fake data.  Not when vaccines like the DTaP fail to protect.  Not when the concept of “herd immunity” or “cocooning” is bastardized and falsely attributed to a vaccinated state.

Misinforming people and then performing procedures isn’t just fraud; it doesn’t just damage the public trust; it is assault. To assault masses of people is to declare war on them. The Nuremberg Trials punished war criminals and the Nuremberg Code was established to protect free peoples from War Crimes.

Am I reaching here? Overblowing it just a bit? This is bigger than vaccines. Parents are having their children confiscated, based on conflicting medical opinions.  An otherwise healthy baby was taken from its mother because she questioned a vaccine.

Not all of this is happening based on science and research, but there is a clear trend of assault and bullying of the individual by hospital staff, Child Protection authorities, the news media and federal agencies, like the CDC and the FDA. Scientific studies are used as the common link of evidence-based practice, as they should be. But if we can’t trust the science, what then?

Ben Goldacre has a popular video on TedTalks that highlights some additional failings, faults, and fixes of our current research and publish model.


The more emphasis we put on science, especially in healthcare, the more we need real assurance that the science is impeccable. Currently, profitable science is promoted, and even “doctored” to make it more profitable. Science should never be for sale.arm-wrestling