Don’t Let the Travel Ruin the Trip!

School is out, the warm weather is finally here, and summer is almost upon us! You have worked so hard to correct your structural alignment with your regular chiropractic care. Let’s not throw all that hard work out the window by sitting improperly for hours on end during a road trip. If you’re about to hit the road on vacation, here are a few quick and easy tips you can use in the car!

When seated at the wheel, the chair should be in an upright position, not reclined. Also, it is important to keep a slight bend in both the elbows and the knees to ensure proper circulation during long drives. Lastly, it is important to keep your head back against the headrest and not positioned forward towards the windshield. These quick tips help maintain proper spinal alignment while cooped up in the car and help prevent blood circulation issues from arising.


Another great way to ensure proper spinal positioning, while decreasing low back pain, is by using a lumbar support. We have natural curves in our spine that must be maintained to keep pressure off our nerves. When we’re driving for long periods of time, it is easy to lose these curves, often causing low back stiffness and sciatic pain. However, using a lumbar support helps maintain the proper structure in our spine and decreases the likeliness of nerve interference.


Finally, it has been said that sitting for too long has become as detrimental to our health as smoking cigarettes. Therefore, we want to make sure we’re taking frequent breaks during the trip. I know this is easier said than done when we’re trying to make great time on our trip, but pulling over for 5 minutes and stretching is an amazing way to improve circulation and prevent a vacation full of stiffness. Below is a great, full-body stretch sequence I love to use on the road. One of the major benefits of this circuit is that all the stretches can be done standing and don’t require you to lay on the floor at a gas station or rest area (yikes!). Try performing each stretch for 15-20 seconds on each side, then repeating the whole sequence 2-3 times. You’ll instantly feel better and more alert without having to down a 5-Hour Energy!


Have a great summer, be safe, and make sure you are taking care of yourself while traveling. The last thing anyone wants is to miss out on a fun trip because of pain. Incorporate these tips to get to and from your destination pain-free and with proper spinal alignment!

3 Mistakes You’ve Been Making at the Grocery Store

Some people love it, some people hate it, but whatever your preference is, grocery shopping is a necessity to healthy eating. However, there are a few mistakes most of us make and easy fixes we can use to ensure a healthy, efficient, and affordable trip to our local grocery stores.

  1. Forgetting to create a shopping list: This usually occurs due to a lack of planning. Without a set grocery list in hand, it is easy to walk every aisle grabbing items you might not necessarily need. Not only does this increase the amount you’re going to spend, but it also leads to emotional buying. What we see is directly linked to our emotions. If we walk down the chips and cookies aisle, our brain releases hormones that reminds us how delicious those cookies are, regardless of their poor nutrients. Avoiding these aisles altogether will help from pointless purchases.
  2. Spending most of your time in the aisles: Going along with our first point about walking the aisles, we tend to avoid the outer perimeter of the grocery store. However, a healthy trip to the grocery store should mainly include walking around the aisles, not through them. This means that you should be shopping at the produce section, meats, seafood, bakery, deli, etc. The refrigerated foods are located around the store, whereas processed foods tend to be in the aisles. These processed foods do not need to be refrigerated because they’re full of preservatives that help the foods survive longer (a longer shelf life). While these preservatives help prevent spoiling without refrigeration, they also are harmful to our bodies when ingested. Stick to the outside of the store to find fresh, healthier foods.
  3. Going grocery shopping when you’re hungry: As we’ve already discussed, we are emotional creatures and tend to make our decisions based on emotion, not logic. Therefore, if we go grocery shopping while we’re hungry, there is a better chance that we skip the nutritious foods and simply buy what sounds good at that moment. Buying the ingredients to make a large, healthy salad at home is not going to satisfy your immediate cravings. The already prepared chicken fingers and French fries in the deli will. Don’t fall for this trap!


Make sure you avoid heading to the grocery store when you’re hungry and stick to your shopping list to ensure buying healthy, affordable groceries instead of quick, impulse buys. In terms of where you shop within the store, try using the 80/20 rule. 80% of you shopping should be along the outside of the store, while only 20% occurs within the aisles. Avoid those processed foods and always try to buy local, organic foods when available!


The Importance of Therapy, with Dr. Lisa Herman

I recently had the extreme pleasure of getting to speak with Dr. Lisa Herman, a licensed clinical psychologist whose company, Synergy eTherapy, helps bring therapy to people via convenient online sessions. We had a great conversation about the importance of therapy, who can benefit from therapy, and how getting help has never been easier due to amazing technological advances in therapeutic care. Check out our conversation below!

Dr. Lisa Herman with Synergy eTherapy

Dr. Lisa Herman with Synergy eTherapy

Dr. Ben Cohen: Good morning, Lisa! Thank you for taking the time to go over the importance of therapy and how you and the other therapists with Synergy are shaping the therapy playing field and helping your patients. Please, tell me a little bit about your background.

Dr. Lisa Herman: It’s so great to speak with you! A little bit about myself—I’m a licensed clinical psychologist with a license in both Minnesota and New York and have worked in several clinical settings, including day treatment, hospital clinics, substance abuse programs, and school programs. I’ve always loved working with teens and families by improving their family bonds and relationships.

BC: That’s great. So, how did you make the shift into eTherapy? It seems so different from the typical approach to a therapy session?

LH: Well, once I moved back to MN from NY, I realized that I could use the advances in technology to increase access to mental health care. A lot of people don’t see their psychologist or therapist solely because it is inconvenient or takes too much time out of their busy day to get away. I figured this would be a great way for someone to get the care they need in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

BC: It is amazing that you’re now able to reach such a vast number of patients and people in need while maintaining one of the most important features: convenience. Tell me a little about therapy and some of the best ways to find the right therapist.

LH: Psychotherapy, or mental health therapy, takes place when a client seeks out a professionally trained, licensed masters or doctorate clinician to help them work through difficulties in their emotional, relational, or physical world. Finding a trusted, empathic, skilled professional can be a process for some people. It’s important to find the best fit for your personality and comfort. A therapist will get to know what you are struggling with at that time and help you learn ways to understand your thoughts, feelings, and help you implement healthier behaviors. Not all therapists are trained in the same therapeutic techniques.

BC: I think that is such an important point you made—the process of finding the right therapist for you. Whenever I talk to someone about chiropractic care, I stress the importance of getting regular chiropractic adjustments. If I’m the right doctor for you, then great! But, if I’m not, that is completely fine as long as you keep shopping and find the one who is right for you. You mentioned that there are different types of therapeutic techniques—which techniques do you implement with your patients?

LH: I focus on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness skill building (which includes relaxation and mindful meditation) to help gain clarity, focus, and to calm our minds and bodies. We all have the tools inside of us to improve our life. Sometimes they are hidden and need an objective ‘teacher’ to help bring them out.

Image from Ellen's OCD Blog

Image from Ellen’s OCD Blog

BC: That’s incredible, and goes hand-in-hand with our Mindfulness Block we’ve been focusing on this month with EXCEL90. Are there certain patients who benefit more from the techniques you use? Who is your ideal client?

LH: Therapy is important for anyone who feels their functioning is impaired by a problem, be it from anxiety, depression, or attention issues. Learning what is “outside of the norm” through an assessment and implementing an appropriate treatment plan can improve your quality of life. In terms of age, I work with anyone 6+ with my wisest client being in their 80’s! You are never too young or too old for therapy.

BC: Unfortunately, there seems to be a stigma associated with therapy and that you must be “broken” to seek therapy or psychological counseling. Is this accurate?

LH: Thankfully, the stigma is lifting with more and more celebrities and well-known folk coming out and speaking about their mental health problems, such as PTSD and depression. However, our mental health system was set up to highlight what is impaired in our emotional world or “broken”–so to speak. Think of it, the manual for diagnosing all mental and psychological conditions, the DSM-V (our bible for diagnoses), talks about impairment, deficiency, problems, etc. It really is set up to be negative in connotation. However, we are all on a continuum with our mental health daily! If we are tired, we may be crankier. If we didn’t grow up in an emotionally rich environment, our dynamic inside of relationships may be more distressed. What I stress and want my clients to know is that they are already amazing just as they are…AND there is always room to learn, grow and improve to make the quality of their mental well-being healthier.

BC: Do you think the use of the DSM-V is hurting how we treat our mental health?

LH: Since the DSM-V is based on diagnosing an issue or condition, it gives an instant impression that something must be wrong with the person. In the medical world, you might have diabetes or high cholesterol. In the mental world, you may have depression or ADHD—something impairing your functioning. But, what if you just want to work through something that is annoying but not impairing? It is still diagnosed as “adjustment.” The entire mental health system is set up so doctors can speak with one another about the problem and how to fix it. However, there is a problem in society with being labeled on medical records that causes issues as well.

BC: Speaking about diagnoses and labels, can someone who is “asymptomatic” still benefit from therapy?

LH: For someone who is not in distress or having significant impairment, therapy can be a wonderful place to learn more about YOU. A therapist can help you explore your childhood, parents, family life, relationship style and communication style. There is so much that a trained clinician can “see” that will help someone gain even more insight and improve their overall well-being. The more we know about ourselves, the more we can be mindful of our thoughts and behaviors. This will drive empathy not only towards others, but also towards ourselves. The world could use a little more empathy.

Image courtesy of Yazz's

Image courtesy of Yazz’s

BC: This has been amazing, Lisa. Last, but not least, I’m sure people may be hesitant about seeking therapy due to finances. Are there affordable options as well so people can get the care they need?

LH: Aside from using insurance, which many have large deductibles and co-pays and the private pay option (many private pay companies should have a sliding scale available), there are not-for-profit clinics that are FREE in certain cities. Most college campuses have free counseling centers, and many large non-profit clinics should have financial aid.

Therapy and your mental health is an investment. You don’t need to continue therapy your entire life; many come in and out of therapy several times throughout their life as things come up and cause interference. Gaining an outside trained perspective can be helpful in getting “unstuck” and feeling a bit more in control. Family and friendship supports are amazing, but they may not be enough to help everyone all the time for every issue. Licensed therapists are trained to hear you differently and help you become your best self, whatever that looks like to you.

BC: That is so true! Therapy should always be used when the tools at hand just aren’t enough to solve the problem. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to discuss this important topic with me!

LH: It was my pleasure! Thank you so much for having me to discuss therapy and the importance of mindfulness with our audiences. This was great!

(Interview concluded)


Remember, our mental health affects our physical health and can cause interference in our nervous system. It is important that we focus on correcting all issues in our lives that are causing nerve interference, both physically and mentally. This is why therapy and psychological counseling is an amazing way to take care of yourself along with your regular chiropractic care!


Want to get a hold of Dr. Lisa Herman? Check out her company, Synergy eTherapy, at Although she can only help patients residing in MN or NY, they will be able to help point you in the right direction, regardless of where you are!

Keep Calm and Meditate

What is it?

Meditation comes from Buddhism and is, simply, the act of controlling the mind so it can become calm and focused. The goal is to stop thoughts from racing and bring peace to the mind and body. There are many ways to meditate, but probably the most well-known is focused-attention meditation. In focused-attention meditation, the practitioner focuses on a single thought or action. Breathing is one of the most common ways this is done. By focusing solely on one’s breathing, the mind can clear and the body can relax. Another common way to practice focused-attention meditation is by reciting a mantra. A mantra can be a single sound, word, or statement. It is repeated over and over throughout meditation to keep the mind focused.


Why do it?

Many studies have shown health benefits of meditation. It has been shown to increase gray matter in the brain which can improve emotional stability and reduce cognitive decline. Meditation also weakens negative connections between our body and brain. This doesn’t mean we don’t connect things happening to our body with our brains, rather it helps with our reactions to scary or painful stimuli. What actually happens is that we can look at the situation more rationally instead of getting anxious right away. This can, in turn, reduce stress!

Meditating has also been shown to improve memory and focus. The “zoning out” done when meditating causes an ability to ignore distractions when not meditating. This can help us better remember things and focus on tasks.





How to do it?

Settle into a quiet, comfortable place, close your eyes, and breathe. Sounds simple, right? Clearing our minds can actually be very difficult. Try doing just a few minutes a day and work your way up to 10 or 20 minute sessions. At first, your mind will probably wander a lot. Just re-focus on your breathing or your mantra and keep at it!

If you want some extra help, there are some great apps that will guide you through the meditation process. Headspace, Buddhify, and Calm are all great ones!



Steps to Getting Your Nutrition on Track

There are many ways to make meaningful changes that will positively impact your diet and health. Focusing on certain areas of life and making simple changes can make a big difference. Here is what we recommend:

  1. At work: Make changes in your work routine that benefit your diet. Taking your lunch to work, keeping a water bottle at your desk, and avoiding the donuts in the breakroom are all great ways to start and keep up a good nutrition regimen.
  2. Social life: This might be the hardest part of life to make changes to, but if you can make better choices when you are out with friends, you will definitely see an improvement in your health! Choose simple, low calorie drinks when you are at the bar, have a date at home and cook a healthy meal instead of eating out, or eat a healthy meal at home before going out to keep you on track.
  3. Think ahead: This is huge in keeping your diet on track in every aspect of life. Whether it is meal prepping, looking at a menu before you head to the restaurant, or just packing some healthy snacks and a water bottle the night before, thinking ahead is vital!

This is definitely not the final word! When it comes to nutrition, the options are endless. There are so many good things you can do with your diet that will have positive effects on your health!

Fact or Fiction: The Juice Cleanse


Every day/month/year brings new nutrition fads—the no carb diet, all carb diet, avoid white foods, only eat superfoods, don’t eat any food! Okay, maybe a couple of those examples were extreme, but you catch my drift. It can be hard to sift out which nutrition tips are beneficial versus merely being the flavor of the month. However, there has been one trend that repeatedly shows its face—the cleanse.

There are several different types of cleanses out there, but today we’re merely focusing on the juice cleanse. Whereas some juice cleanses include various supplements, most only include raw fruits and veggies. The premise behind the juice cleanse is that it will help you shed unwanted pounds and bloat and rejuvenate and rehydrate your cells as a “clean start.” Most juice cleanses last anywhere from 1-5 days.

My Cleanse:

Slightly skeptical, I decided to try a 2-day juice cleanse only made from raw fruits. My cleanse consisted of two one-gallon jugs containing only distilled water, grapefruit juice, orange juice, and lemon juice. Each day you are instructed to drink one of the one-gallon jugs, consuming about 6-8 ounces each hour for best results.

I was nervous at first that I would get pretty hungry throughout the day and miss my cup of coffee to keep me powering through, but neither of those feelings happened. If I started to feel a little hungry, I drank another cup and I was good to go! Also, my energy levels never dropped—I felt great throughout the entire two days. One gallon of liquid might not sound like a lot, but both nights I was left with about 1/3 of a gallon to finish before going to bed.



Did it Actually Work?

To determine if the cleanse truly worked, let’s break down what they claim the cleanse will achieve and see if there are any holes in the process:

  1. You will lose weight. I admit that after the two days of cleansing, I did feel lighter and less bloated from before. However, after diving into the nutrition behind the cleanse, I noticed that each one-gallon jug contained about 1200 calories. On an average day, I consume anywhere from 2500-4000 calories depending on my work out and activity level that day. If I cut back my daily caloric intake by 50-70% it’s guaranteed that I will lose weight, regardless of if it’s through cleansing or portion control when eating.
  2. You will feel energized. As I said before, I felt energized and awake all day, even without my morning coffee. Unfortunately, when checking the nutrition label on the jug again, I saw that each one-gallon jug contained 160 grams of sugar for one day! Now, I know what you may be thinking—if it’s sugar from fruit, it’s not the same as sugar from a Snickers! You’re somewhat right, but not completely. Yes, the natural fructose and sugar from fruit is better than nutrient-void table sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but in your bloodstream, it is still sugar. Sugar in our bloodstream does two things: it is burned to provide energy, but when there is too much, it is then converted and stored in our bodies as fat cells. The problem with sugar from fruit juice as opposed to a normal piece of fruit is that the sugar in juice goes directly into your blood stream causing a quick spike (and possible crash) in your blood sugar and energy. When you eat a piece of fruit, it takes your body more time to break down the fruit to extract the sugar, therefore not spiking your blood sugar as much. Also, when eating whole fruit as opposed to fruit juice, you receive extra benefits, such as fiber, that help aid in digestion. So, yes, I did feel energized throughout the cleanse, but probably only due to a sustained increase in blood sugar levels throughout the 2 days.
  3. You will cleanse and rehydrate your cells. Since my observations were not on a cellular level, I cannot say whether my cells were or were not cleansed and rehydrated. However, grapefruit and lemon have anti-inflammatory properties and can aid in digestion and metabolism. So, it’s not farfetched to assume that consuming such fruits can increase metabolism and weight loss.

The Bottom Line

In my opinion, the 2-day juice cleanse did achieve everything it promised. However, it might not have been achieved in the healthiest of ways. While I did lose weight, and felt energized throughout the day, I think the same could have been achieved by eating the same number of calories in a healthy, whole food based diet. By eating 1200 calories of lean protein and vegetables, as opposed to 1200 calories of fruit juice, not only am I decreasing my caloric intake, but I am also receiving the nutritional benefits and fiber intake of whole foods without the high intake of sugar.

I understand that sometimes you need a quick fix to work off a rough weekend or prepare to squeeze into a suit or dress, but there are healthier ways of achieving this than a quick juice cleanse. The best way to increase your health through nutrition is by maintaining a balanced, nutrient-rich diet including all food groups in moderation.

At Excel Chiropractic, we focus on helping our patients in multiple areas of their life, be it through chiropractic adjustments, physical activity, or nutrition. I hope this article helps you with your own journey to health and proper nutrition!

Sit Less, Move More: Negative Effects of Sedentary Behavior

We all know physical activity is important for our health. It helps us maintain a healthy body weight, keeps muscles and bones strong, and promotes good cardiovascular health. However, we don’t usually hear about the negative aspects of inactivity. A recent study which looked at sedentary (inactive) behavior and cardiovascular health found evidence that “suggests that sedentary behavior could contribute to excess morbidity and mortality,” or a greater chance of illness and death. So, not only is physical activity important for our health, but not being physically active can actually be very harmful.

According to the American Heart Association study, “it is estimated that adults spend 6 to 8 hours per day in sedentary behavior, including sitting, TV viewing, screen time, and computer use.” And that is only an estimate. For many people, the time spent inactive is probably higher than this study suggests. This is concerning since the study found that sedentary behavior could be a risk factor for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also found a strong correlation between all causes of mortality and greater time spent sitting. However, regular physical activity helps reduce these risks.

A study in The Lancet looked at the associations of sedentary behavior and physical activity with mortality. The study found that “high levels of moderate intensity physical activity (i.e., about 60–75 min per day) seem to eliminate the increased risk of death associated with high sitting time.” In other words, those who were more active and spent less time in sedentary positions lived longer than those who were less active and more sedentary.

While there are no concrete guidelines for how to incorporate daily physical activity, a good starting point is making sure you are active for at least 45-60 minutes per day. If hitting the gym for an hour after work every day seems impossible, try finding time throughout the day to be active. For those who work at jobs where they sit most of the time, take a break every hour and walk around for 5 minutes or so, stand up and walk around when taking phone calls, or take a long walk at lunch. The important thing is to sit less and move more!

family walking dog





American Heart Association, Circulation

The Lancet

Are Opioid Drugs the Best Way to Manage your Pain?

America is facing an opioid epidemic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “opioids are medications that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus. Medications that fall within this class include hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, and related drugs.”

These drugs are very effective at masking the pain and convincing our brains that everything is okay. However, merely masking the symptoms does not mean the underlying cause of pain has been treated. Unfortunately, opioid drugs are extremely addictive and come with a slew of side effects, including sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, physical dependence, tolerance, and respiratory depression.

In a randomized control study, Cross-Sectional Analysis of Per Capita Supply of Doctors of Chiropractic and Opioid Use in Younger Medicare Beneficiaries by Weeks and Goertz, the correlation between pain management using chiropractic care versus opioid medications was examined.

While this study did not examine whether chiropractic treatment was more effective in pain management versus opioid medications, it did show a strong inverse correlation between access to chiropractic care and the use of opioids. In other words, the more access a patient in pain had to see a chiropractor, the less likely they were to seek opioid medication for pain management.

According to the study, “preliminary findings suggest that America’s opioid epidemic might be reduced should Medicare consider a clinical trial of chiropractic spinal manipulation prior to conventional medical care for patients with neck or back pain.”


Chiropractic adjustments focus on correcting the underlying cause of nerve pain—the misalignment of bones that are putting pressure on nerves causing interference in the body. While opioid medications focus on masking the pain and “tricking” your brain into thinking the problem is resolved, the chiropractic adjustment actually targets the root cause of pain and provides lasting results.

Avoid Back to School Strain: How Kids Should Be Wearing Their Backpacks

It’s a new year and the kids are heading back to school! Make sure your child is protected and wearing their backpack correctly. Over 5,000 children per year visit the emergency room due to backpack injuries. Check out these 3 tips below to make sure your child is wearing their backpack correctly in order to prevent such injuries:

1.       Fit and Sizing: Choose a backpack that is made for children, which are made with lightweight material as opposed to backpacks made for adults. The backpack should be worn close to the body and should cover the entire torso with the bottom of the backpack two inches below the waist.

2.       Weight: The backpack should only weight 10-15 percent of a kid’s weight. So, if your child weighs 70 lbs., his or her backpack should only weigh 7-10 lbs. Also, make sure the contents of the backpack are evenly distributed, utilizing the multiple compartments.

3.       Support: Make sure your child wears the backpack with both shoulder straps. If the backpack has a waist strap, it should be used to help support the weight.


When getting ready for the new year, make sure you utilize these 3 easy steps to prevent pain and injuries in your children. If you need further information on how to protect your children and ensure they are structurally sound, please contact us at Excel Chiropractic and set up a complimentary consultation!


The Journal of the American Medical Association’s Recommendation for Treating Low Back Pain

If you have not heard or read the case study yet, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published an article comparing medical and chiropractic treatment of acute low back pain in men and women between 18 and 35 years of age. In the article titled, “Adding Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy to Standard Medical Care for Patients with Acute Low Back Pain: Results of a Pragmatic Randomized Comparative Effectiveness Study” by Goertz, et al., the study compared treating low back pain with standard medical care (SMC) versus SMC plus Chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT).

Without diving into all of the details, the study concluded that “73% percent of participants in the standard medical care plus chiropractic manipulative therapy group rated their global improvement as pain completely gone, much better, or moderately better, compared with 17% in the SMC group” (Goertz, et al.).

Now, what does this mean for you? If you are sick of nagging low back pain that you cannot seem to shake off, then chiropractic care may be the answer for you. Standard medical care for low back pain typically involves the use of pharmaceutical and prescription medication. These medications can be very effective, but what are they exactly fixing? The prescribed medications are typically muscle relaxants/relaxers that help decrease muscle spasms.

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The problem is that the muscle spasms are commonly a secondary condition to an underlying, more sinister condition. There are many stressors we face on a daily basis, including physical, chemical, and emotional stressors, that may lead to common low back pain. When the bones in the low back, or the lumbar vertebrae, become misaligned due to these various stressors, pressure is placed on the nerves causing these secondary conditions, or “symptoms” as you may commonly refer to them. By relaxing the muscles in the area, we trick our brain into thinking the issue is resolved, but we have actually only masked the symptoms. The pressure has not been removed from the nerves between the misaligned spinal bones, or the vertebrae.

This is where chiropractic care comes into play. Chiropractic adjustments focus on removing this pressure on the nerves by gently adjusting the vertebrae back into proper alignment. The adjustments are safe, effective, and non-invasive. Therefore, JAMA is suggesting that treating the low back pain with both chiropractic care and standard medical care is the best course of action. By using both modalities together, not only are you treating the secondary conditions with medical care, but you are correcting the underlying cause of pain with chiropractic care.


Every medical professional and treatment has an appropriate time and place. We at Excel Chiropractic hope you now have a better idea of how to manage the low back pain you are experiencing and which steps to take first in correcting the true cause of your pain. Please contact us for further information or to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.