Archive for the ‘2009’ Category

2009 – December Newsletter

Posted on: December 1st, 2009

Dr. Brian Baker

Dr. Brian C. Baker
133 Reef Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Healthy Living
 December 10, 2009

Patient Questions About Chiropractic

This month I thought I’d address some common questions about chiropractic.  These were limited to the most typical questions, so if you don’t see your question, please ask when you’re in or respond at the bottom of this newsletter.
How Does Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic works because you are a self-healing, self-regulating organism controlled by your nervous system. Millions of instructions flow from your brain, down the spinal cord and out to every organ and tissue.  Signals sent back to the brain confirm if your body is working right.  Improper motion or alignment of the vertebra of the spine can interfere with this vital exchange by irritating the nerves and compromising their function.  Specific spinal adjustments can help improve this interference eliminating pain, restoring function and optimizing health.
Do I Have A Slipped Disc?
The discs are soft pulpy shock absorbers between the spinal vertebrae.  They have a fibrous cartilaginous outer ring which holds a jelly-like material in it’s center.  A slipped disc is a common way to refer to a wide variety of disc problems.  However, a disc cannot slip because of the way it attaches to the spinal bones above and below it.  A disc can bulge.  It can tear.  It can herniate.  It can thin.  It can dry out.  And it can collapse.  Disc problems can be very well managed with chiropractic care.  The majority of our disc patients never go to surgery.
Do I Have A Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is rare.  It is more likely that an adjacent spinal joint has become inflamed and swollen which irritates, stretches, rubs or chafes a nerve.  These problems are called subluxations and they can distort the nerve function between the brain and the body.  This can produce abnormal function to other parts of the body causing referred pain down the legs, arms and hands.  One of the most common causes of headaches involves an irritation of nerves between the skull and the fist cervical vertebra.
How Do You Get Subluxations?
There are three basic causes of subluxations.  Physical causes could include slips and falls, accidents, sports injuries, repetitive motions and improper lifting.  Emotions such as grief, anger and fear can cause subluxations.  Chemical causes could include alcohol, drugs, pollutions and poor diet.  Sometimes these subluxations can clear up on their own because our body has the ability to self-correct.  When they don’t resolve you may need a spinal adjustment.
What’s An Adjustment?
Chiropractic adjustments usually involve a quick thrust that helps add motion to spinal joints that aren’t moving right.  Some methods use the doctors hands, an instrument, a special table or the force of gravity. There are many ways to adjust the spine.
Is Chiropractic Safe?
By avoiding drugs and risky surgery, cchiropractic enjoys a excellent safety record.  A thorough exam and screening can identify the rare person for whom chiropractic care might be unsuited.  Statistically, adjustments are about 100 times safer than taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. 
What Makes The Sound During An Adjustment?
Lubrication between the spinal joints is called synovial fluid.  Some adjusting methods can produce a sound when carbon dioxide gas is released from the fluid when the pressure in the joint is reduced.  It’s much like opening a bottle of champagne or soda.  This immediate release of pressure may aid in loosening the restriction of motion in the spinal joint.
Is It OK To Adjust Myself?
No.  Some people can make their joints “pop”.  I have had new patients demonstrate taking their head in their hands and twisting.  More common are some who will habitually “crack” their neck all day long.  Eventually their head
will fall off.  That’s hard to fix.
….OK. Not really.  What can happen is damage by mobilizing a joint with weakened muscles and ligaments.  Typically this makes spinal joints that are already loose even more unstable.  Specific adjustments are focused on joints that are not moving correctly. Consider that even I consult a colleague to get my spine adjusted.
How Many Adjustments Will I Need?
The number and frequency of adjustments varies with each patient and their individual health goals.  Many patients sense progress within a week or two of frequent visits.  Visits become less often as your spine stabilizes.  In chronic cases, complete healing can take months or even years.

How Long Will I Need Chiropractic Care?
After patients get the relief they want, many choose to continue with some type of periodic care.  These patients show up for their visits feeling great.  These visits can help support the final stages of healing and can help detect and resolve new problems before they become serious.  My policy is to offer the very best care and let you decide how much of it you want.
Can I Have Chiropractic Care After Surgery?
Yes.  Rest assured that I will avoid the surgically modified areas of your spine.  Surgery often causes instability above or below the involved level.  These areas will be the focus of your chiropractic care.
Can Patients With Osteoporosis Get Chiropractic Care?
Of course.  When developing a care plan, consideration of each patient’s unique circumstance is taken.  There are many ways to adjust the spine.  The method selected will be best suited to your age, size and condition.
Will I Receive Any Medication For My Pain?
No.  Chiropractic physicians don’t dispense drugs.  Chiropractic was developed and designed to be a natural, drug-less, non-surgical healing art.  Because we rely on natural methods, we can show you how to use heat, ice or natural anti-inflammatory nutrients to control painful symptoms.  We also use bracing and home traction during the acute phase of injury.
Why Don’t Medical Doctors and Chiropractic Doctors Get Along?
That’s changing.  In my experience years of prejudice and bias are giving way to research showing the benefits of chiropractic care.  Sometimes attitudes are slow to change.  However, as the public demands alternatives to drugs and surgery, more and more medical doctors are referring patients to our office.  We always send reports to patient’s primary care doctors and take pride in our office reputation within the medical community.
If you have questions I haven’t answered here please call.  The more you learn about chiropractic, the more confidence you’ll have that it will work for you.  It’s safe.  It’s natural.  And it works.  It’s a simple idea that has stood the test of time and helped millions enjoy relief and better health.

Tempurpedic Neck Pillows

Lately, patient requests for Tempurpedic NeckPillows to give as X-mas gifts have come in. 

Our office has a medical account with Tempur-pedic and
we are able to order their products at savings that we pass on to our practice

We offer the pillows for at least 10% off SRP, and
when a cervical pillow is prescribed there is no sales tax.  I have placed an order for a dozen pillows that should be arriving early next week.  If you’re interested for your personal use or as a gift, please let us know.



  • Bad decisions make good stories.
  • How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
  • I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2
    trips to bring my groceries in.

  • A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of
    mono and the flu. Yeah, if you stink at it.
  • Was learning cursive really necessary?

  • Whenever someone says “I’m not book smart, but I’m street smart”, all
    I hear is “I’m not real smart, but I’m imaginary smart”.
  • What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

  • MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how
    to get out of my neighborhood.

  • Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and
    say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? I know my
    name, I know where I’m from, this shouldn’t be a problem….

  • You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when
    you’ve made up your mind that you just aren’t doing anything productive for the
    rest of the day.

  • There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going to die
    after leaning your chair back a little too far.

  • I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want
    to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make
    any changes to.

  • I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone
    of importance the entire day. What a waste.

  • Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know
    what time it is.

Thanks for reading.  Please be sure to forward to any friends or family.  Know what would really make me happy?  Feedback!  Let me know what you think.  Drop me a line!!

2009 – November Newsletter

Posted on: November 1st, 2009

Dr. Brian Baker

Your Referrals Matter
Whole Health Prescription to Fight Swine Flu

Dr. Brian C. Baker
133 Reef Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

Healthy Living
November 5, 2009

Your Referrals Matter

Do you know someone who is suffering with headaches or neck
pain or back pain?  Or someone
who’s on a steady diet of Advil or Motrin or Alleve?  How about someone who’s so stressed his or her neck has
disappeared?  Just a head, with earlobes
touching the shoulders?  Have a co-worker who, when getting up from a chair, walks like that picture of
the evolution of man?  You know,
a slightly stooped caveman progressing to fully upright office worker after the
first ten steps.  Does your spouse struggle every morning getting out of bed or while putting on their socks?  Recognize people like these?  What these folks all have in common is you,
an educated and aware friend or family member, who knows there is a better way to

My practice relies almost entirely on your referrals.  I feel no greater compliment than the
trust and confidence placed in me when you refer your friends and family.  So thank you very, very much!  I always do my best to make you look
good for putting your reputation on the line when you recommend me.  I’m so appreciative, that lately
I’ve been sending out checks for referring patients.  Let me mail one out to you. 


One consideration though, please, send only nice people like


Whole Health Prescription to Fight Swine Flu

Do headlines about swine flu frighten you? Are you hesitant
about flu vaccinations due to allergy or safety concerns?  There are several ways you can boost your
immune system naturally and healthfully with or without vaccination.


Conventional advice recommends:

  • Washing your hands frequently;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Staying home if you are sick; and 

  • Avoiding crowded public places if the swine flu is prevalent
    in your area. 

NUHS National’s Whole Health Center physicians also advise:

  • Making sure your diet is healthy and rich in fruits and

  • Reducing your intake of sugar, since sugar suppresses immune

  • Staying hydrated and drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day; 

  • Taking a vitamin D supplement of 5,000 IU per day; 

  • Taking a good multiple vitamin and mineral supplement daily;

  • Taking vitamin C supplements of 1,000-1,500 mg per day; 

  • Using a probiotic (healthy bacteria supplements) to keep
    your digestive tract and its immune defenses healthy;

  • Being sure to get adequate sleep and rest; 

  • Maintaining a positive attitude and mental outlook, as this
    has proven to improve overall health and boost immune activity;

  • Keeping active since even moderate exercise keeps your
    immune system in top shape; and 

  • Wearing a surgical mask when going out in public during a
    local surge of infections, although not foolproof, can prevent contact with
    micro-droplets of moisture in the air that may contain the virus.


  • You can also take herbal preparations that have proven
    anti-viral or immune building effects. 

If you have special health concerns, or a history of
catching “every bug that goes around,” it can pay to have a comprehensive
evaluation. Together, we can build
a treatment plan to restore your health and immune function through natural
means and lifestyle changes to give you a better chance of staying healthy all
year round.


Source: National
University of Health Sciences

Tennis Elbow Anyone?  A New Twist
I’ve treated quite a few cases of tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.  The cause is an overuse of the extensor muscles of the forearm and is typical with activities requiring repetitive gripping or straining while sustaining prolonged gripping.  It starts as a mild sore elbow and often the symptoms resolve with rest.  However a number of these injuries worsen over time to the point that simply picking up a coffee cup or turning a door knob causes sharp pain.  It’s not uncommen to see patients who have been in pain for 6 months or more.
The conventional medical approach has always been oral anti-inflammatory medication, rest, ice and eventually a cortisone injection.  I tend to see the people who fail to respond to this.
My approach has been ultrasound and deep friction massage to the common extensor tendon in the forearm.  I also include home stretching and regular application of ice and the use of a support called a Band-It.
Recently I’ve been adding a new therapy called the Tyler Twist.  Using a rubber bar, I have patients do a twisting exercise with the muscle under a load.  These “eccentric” exercises have shown great results in accelerating the recovery rate for chronic epicondylitis sufferers.  It’s easy to do and can be done at home every day. 
Having any elbow issues?  Tennis game on hold?  You might want to add this new twist to your treatment.

Quote of the day:
  “”Aahhh chiropractor… Hurts so good
🙂 you lug these around and see if your back don’t hurt!” 

-Dolly Parton posted
to Twitter


Case of the Day: 


What’s your diagnosis?

Thanks for reading.  Please be sure to forward to any friends or family.  Know what would really make me happy?  Feedback!  Let me know what you think.  Drop me a line!!

2009 – October Newsletter

Posted on: October 1st, 2009

Dr. Brian Baker
Dr. Brian C. Baker
133 Reef Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

Healthy Living
October 7, 2009

Swine Flu: Crisis du jour?
I’m a wise guy.  I kid around a lot.  When I cough or sneeze in the office I’ll say “just a touch of Bubonic or Eboli” and lean in for the adjustment.  Now I simply say “H1N1”.  Who’d of thought a lowly influenza strain could become so popular?

Lately I’ve been asked for my opinion regarding the swine flu vaccine as well as the seasonal influenza vaccine.  As a chiropractor the conventional wisdom suggests I’m likely to be anti-vaccine.  Yet I don’t subscribe to conventional wisdom.  I strive to be a practitioner of evidence based medicine and when it comes to vaccination I am decidedly not anti ALL vaccines.  Rather I am PRO vaccine effectiveness and freedom of choice.
When it comes to this year’s swine flu issue, the available evidence suggests that this has and will be a relatively benign epidemic.  While infection rates are beginning to climb, pneumonia and influenza death rates are low.  In fact the mortality rates are on the low side of what is typically reported this time of year WITHOUT the H1N1 new strain.  Simply stated, the H1N1 appears no more dangerous than any other seasonal influenza. 
If you have been getting yearly flu shots than I see no reason why you would not include the new one.  Well, except if there was a question of its effectiveness.  There are some compelling studies that question the effectiveness of the yearly influenza vaccine and the new H1N1 vaccine is too new to measure it’s effectiveness.  I found this interview, Why the swine flu virus is not a major threat, with one of the world’s leading authorities on the quality of the evidence supporting seasonal influenza vaccines, to be very interesting.   The article references the Cochrane Collaboration which is a leader in evidence based medicine.  Their reviews are worth a look.
In the public health arena there have been calls for mandated or forced vaccination and I find this troubling.  I believe an individual should have the freedom to choose what is put into their body.  I’ve asked myself, if this were the great influenza pandemic of 1918 would I still take a stand against forced vaccinations?  I hope so, but make no mistake, you would find me in line getting my family and myself vaccinated.  Fortunately, this swine flu outbreak is more bark than bite.
Want to do something less invasive to boost your resistance during the fall and winter months?  Try taking 2000 IU/day of vitamin D.  There has been intriguing evidence to suggest a connection between seasonal flu incidence and lowered serum vitamin D levels.  Get over to Grassroots Health and sign up to get your D levels checked!
Prescription Drugs Leading Cause of Fatal Overdose
This should not come as any big surprise, but prescription drug use has risen dramatically and now is the leading cause of fatal overdoses.  The prime leader is opioid pain medication for chronic pain.  Often chronic back pain is the driver of pain prescriptions.  Could regular chiropractic care be a safe drug free alternative for sufferers of chronic low back pain?  Of course.  Unfortunately not all patients get complete relief with chiropractic or any treatments.  Yet if temporary relief with a safe non-drug approach is achievable, doesn’t it make sense to continue care, even if it’s only palliative?  I’m dumbfounded when supportive chiropractic care is questioned, yet conventional medicine is comfortable with never ending, expensive and quite risky pharmacological pain management.  Here is the entire article on prescription overdoses.
Health Care Reform;: ChiroVoice
I’m not letting go of this issue!  Will chiropractic be included in a government option?  My biggest fear is that chiropractic will be left out of any government option.  I’ve been writing my congressmen about maintaining provider equality and protecting individual state laws providing insurance equality.  I’m reminding you to join ChiroVoice and lend your support.  A heartfelt thank you, thank you to the many people who have joined and written letters.  I really appreciate you! 

You think English is easy?  Read on
  1. The bandage was wound around the
  2. The farm was used to produce  produce.
  3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse
    more refuse.
  4. We must polish the Polish
  5. He could lead if he would get the lead
  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert
    in the desert.
  7. Since there is no time like the present, he
    thought it was time to present the
  8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass
  9. When shot at, the dove dove into the
  10. I did not object
    to the object.
  11. The insurance was invalid for the
  12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how
    to row…
  13. They were too close to the door to close
  14. The buck does funny things when the does
    are present.
  15. A seamstress and
    a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  16. To help with planting, the farmer taught
    his son to sow.
  17. The wind was too strong to wind the
  18. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed
    a tear.
  19. I had to subject the subject to a series of
  20. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Thanks for reading.  Please be sure to forward to any friends or family.  Know what would really make me happy?  Feedback!  Let me know what you think.  Drop me a line!!

2009 – September Newsletter

Posted on: September 1st, 2009

Dr. Brian Baker
Dr. Brian C. Baker
133 Reef Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

Healthy Living
September 15, 2009

Osteoporosis: Disease or selling opportunity?
If you’re a female patient over 50, then you’ve probably heard me express concern that a significant amount of the recommendations for prescribing biophosphate medications  (Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, etc.) for osteoporosis is just plain bad medicine. I have relied on the World Health Organization’s fracture risk calculator (FRAX) for basing my opinion about drug therapy and I’ve printed the numbers for quite a few patients to share with any doctor who may be recommending medication. Often the evidence shows that drug therapy is not appropriate. If you have concerns about your bone density test or your risk of hip fracture let me know and we’ll use the FRAX assessment tool to determine your risk status.  If you have not had your vitamin D level checked, let’s get it done.

Here is a must read article in the American Journal of Nursing that discusses the business of Osteoporosis. How a risk factor has now become a disease. The Marketing of Osteoporosis

Regular Chiropractic Care
Could regular chiropractic adjustments keep you healthier?
I’ve always advocated that patients get regular chiropractic adjustments. But, if you know me, you know that my style is low pressure.  I value my relationships with patients and never want to give the impression that I’m putting my interests before yours.

The downside is that there may be a missed opportunity to improve your overall health.  Here are some reports that are worth your consideration:

“Individuals with musculoskeletal disorders who received
chiropractic care or physical therapy had lower health care costs and
were less likely to have surgery than employees who did not receive
those services, according to a recent report.”
The findings come from a one-year pilot program designed by Wellmark
Blue Cross and Blue Shield to measure patient quality of care.
Researchers concluded that significant clinical outcomes and health
care cost reductions were attributable to the use of chiropractic and
other physical medicine services.
Or a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine that concluded: Access to managed chiropractic care may reduce overall health care expenditures through several effects, including (1) positive risk selection; (2) substitution of chiropractic for traditional medical care,
particularly for spine conditions; (3) more conservative, less invasive
treatment profiles; and (4) lower health service costs associated with
managed chiropractic care. Systematic access to managed
chiropractic care not only may prove to be clinically beneficial but
also may reduce overall health care costs
Another study used Chiropractors as primary care physicians.  The results were interesting.

The AMI Study

In this study, a chiropractic network in which DCs
performed all patient examinations, treatments, and procedures at
their own discretion was constructed. Recommended follow-up visits,
choice of appropriate treatment, and ancillary therapies utilized did
not require approval from an MD. The original study, which focused on
the years 1999-2002, found decreases of: 43 percent in- hospital
admissions per 1,000; 58.4 percent in hospital days per 1,000; 43.2
percent in outpatient surgeries and procedures per 1,000; and, 51.8
percent in pharmaceutical costs. It noted that: “The AMI experience
seems to indicate that a non-pharmaceutical/nonsurgical orientation can
reduce overall health care costs significantly and yet deliver high
quality care.”
This study was updated in 2007, covering the years
2003-2005. The results of the original study were confirmed, with
demonstrated decreases of 60.2 percent in in-hospital admissions, 59
percent in hospital days, 62 percent in outpatient surgeries and
procedures, and 85 percent in pharmaceutical costs.

So why aren’t you getting regular chiropractic care?

Chiropractic in Health Care Reform
Will chiropractic be included in a government option?
I’ll go on record stating that I believe a government insurance option is a good idea. Am I fearful of the government running something as big as healthcare insurance? You bet I am. But, I’ve seen the mess that private insurers made of things. I’ve been doing battle with insurers just to get paid for my professional services as well as doing battle with the insurance industry testifying in Hartford while I was president of the Connecticut Chiropractic Association. I’ve watched reimbursements drop while patients pay more copays and premiums every year. 
Check out this Bill Moyers interview with Wendall Potter. My impression of the health insurance industry is so bad that I truly believe the government needs to step in.

My biggest fear though, is that chiropractic will be left out of any government option. I’ve been writing my congressmen about maintaining provider equality and protecting individual state laws providing insurance equality.  I’ll remind you to join ChiroVoice and lend your support.  A heartfelt thank you, thank you to the many people who have joined and written letters.  I really appreciate you! 
Great Music Site
Want to see and hear some incredible music?  I’ve spent hours listening and watching the performances on this website: LiveFromDarylsHouse
Sometime today they should be uploading legend Todd Rundgren’s visit with Daryl and his great band.  I came across the site when I was doing a YouTube search for guitar genius Monty Montgomery.  Watch his episode to see what I’m talking about.  Thanks to Karen and Ed Bassett for turning me on to Monty!

2009 – July Newsletter

Posted on: July 1st, 2009



Eliminate Pain.  Restore Function.  Optimize Health.  Achieve Wellness.

FYI July 2009

Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Last month I wrote about how healthy lifestyles are on the decline.  Let’s talk about making healthy lifestyle choices.  How many of the following choices do you include in your current lifestyle?  Ready?
Choose to improve. You are worth it. Maintain a positive perspective. Take small steps at first; set specific measurable health goals and achieve them. Celebrate your health successes; learn from temporary setbacks and move on.  Keep learning for a lifetime.
Choose to enjoy healthy, invigorating activity at least 30 minutes daily when possible. Begin slowly, making gradual improvements. Keep an activity log or calendar. If you buy a pedometer, you can count and track your steps. Choosing active hobbies will add variety and spice to your life. Exercise for flexibility, balance, strength and endurance.
Choose to live tobacco free for your personal health and for your loved ones. Tobacco has detrimental effects on your nervous system and skeletal structures, as well as on your lungs and heart.
Choose healthy foods. Eat naturally. Enjoy whole grain breads and cereals. Choose several daily servings of fresh fruit and vegetables rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Calcium and magnesium rich foods help to build strong spinal columns. Avoid saturated and trans fats found in fast, fried foods. Instead eat more omega 3 fats from flax products, walnuts and  ocean fish for healthy spinal joints. Choose high quality protein foods. Avoid refined sweets, such such as sodas, cookies and candy. When supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals, make quality choices. We can help with Pure Encapsulations and Thorne Research products.  Eating in a relaxed atmosphere enhances digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
Choose good posture while sitting, standing or lifting. Hold your head high; keep your shoulders back. Lift by bending your legs with objects held  close to your torso. This helps to prevent injury. Take frequent  mini breaks.  Change work positions often. Do Brugger postural exercises (May 09)

Choose a balanced supportive book bag/back pack for school, work or recreation. Carry less weight at one time. Use a bag with broad, padded straps securely positioned on both shoulder.
Choose a comfortable supportive mattress. For optimal spinal health sleep on your side in a semi-fetal position or on your back, not face down. Consider using a cervical pillow if you have issues with neck pain.  Plan for sufficient restful sleep.

Choose to be quiet. The stress of life impacts your health and your posture. Take time for relaxation and renewal. Practice thankfulness and positive thinking. Reflect, pray or meditate daily. Read uplifting writings.
Choose to serve others. Volunteerism and service enhance the quality of our lives and our relationships.
Choose to be kind to your spine. Regular spinal health check-ups, care and exercises help to ensure that your spine is balanced, aligned and well-adjusted. A healthy spine and nervous system add balance and harmony to life.


Ready for Health Care Reform?

As a chiropractor and as chiropractic patients we need to be concerned about provider discrimination in any upcoming healthcare bills.  Fortunately there is a voice to share our concerns.  Please take a minute to visit ChiroVoice and sign up



Share this newsletter with friends and family, make healthy lifestyle choices and start by getting in for an adjustment.
© Dr. Brian C. Baker
133 Reef Road
Fairfield, CT  06824

This message was sent to from:

Dr. Brian Baker | | Reef Chiropractic Care | 133 Reef Road | Fairfield, CT 06824

2009 – June Newsletter

Posted on: June 1st, 2009



Eliminate Pain.  Restore Function.  Optimize Health.  Achieve Wellness.

FYI June 2009

Healthy Lifestyles on the Decline
Far fewer Americans are engaging in healthy lifestyles than there were just two decades ago, researchers say. Only
8% of today’s patients engage in all five healthy behaviors —
maintaining a healthy weight, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking
alcohol in moderation, exercising, and not smoking — compared with 15%
in 1988. The findings have implications for the overall future risk of cardiovascular disease in adults, they said.


compared rates of healthy lifestyle habits in patients ages 40 to 74
who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey in 1988-1994 and 2001-2006.  They found that over the last 18 years, the percentage of adults
ages 40 to 74 with a BMI greater than 30 has increased from 28% to 36%. The proportion who engage in physical activity 12 times a month or more has decreased from 53% to 43%. Smoking rates have not changed, remaining constant at about 26.5%. The proportion who eat five or more fruits and vegetables a day has decreased from 42% to 26%.  And moderate alcohol use has increased from 40% to 51%.

American Journal of Medicine

What’s your BMI? 
Want to know  your Body Mass Index and what it means? Check out Calculate Your Body Mass Index
Older Adults and Pain Medication
New guidelines recently released said that nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include ibuprofin and Alleve, and COX-2 inhibitors like Celebrex, should be virtually
eliminated as analgesics in older adults’ medicine cabinets under
updated geriatric pain management guidelines.  Although the American
Geriatrics Society once recommended these agents before consideration
of opioids for patients 75 and older with persistent pain, it now calls
this strategy too risky.

Persistent pain is common
among seniors, and if
ignored or incorrectly treated, pain may cause falls, functional
impairment, disruptions in sleep, depression and anxiety, and increased
healthcare costs. However, the
cardiovascular risk and gastrointestinal toxicity of NSAIDs usually
outweigh the benefits of using them.

For most seniors,
acetaminophen (Tylenol, Excedrin) should be considered as “initial and
ongoing pharmacotherapy in the treatment of persistent pain,
particularly musculoskeletal pain,” the guidelines said. They noted that the
presence of liver disease and/or chronic alcohol use can be contraindications to these drugs.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Spinal Degeneration: an aging process?

By age 30, about one-third of the population will show osteoarthritic
changes on spinal X-rays, and by 70 years of age degenerative joint
disease is almost universal. 
However, the process of spinal degeneration may not be an inevitable part of
aging. This is evident from the fact many older people have healthy,
well-preserved discs and no sign of disc or joint degeneration. Yet
severe degenerative change can be seen in young adults if there has
been trauma or prolonged, abnormal spinal stress, such as the result of
postural distortion and misalignment.
In most individuals, spinal degeneration is still considered largely a “wear and tear”
In simplest terms, the spine is comprised of vertebra separated from
one another by discs (analogous to cushions or sponges). As we age,
these discs undergo subtle biochemical changes resulting in a loss of
thickness and cushioning ability.

Evidence suggests these alterations in the disc may be the result of chronic
undernourishment due to faulty spinal mechanics, rather than an
inevitable part of the aging phenomenon.  Faulty spinal mechanics
is primarily the result of accidents, microtrauma and postural
distortions. Trauma and abnormal posture produces misalignment of the
spine, further contributing to spinal wear and tear.
Chiropractic care can
significantly benefit osteoarthritis sufferers by gradually improving
movement in dysfunctional joints and through restoring normal spinal
curves and alignment.  In addition to pain relief, chiropractic care
may also assist in preventing further degeneration from occurring. The most important contribution chiropractic care can have to spinal health, however, may lie in prevention.  Through
maintaining optimum joint movement and spinal alignment, regular
chiropractic care can help prevent spinal degeneration from starting in
the first place.

Rolfing anyone?

Rolfing, or
Structural Integration, is a form of soft tissue manipulation and
movement education, which has the ability to dramatically change your posture
and structure. It aims to align and balance all the components of your body by
addressing the soft tissue, known as the fascia, within the context of how your
body relates to gravity.  If your interested in learning more or have always wanted to try Rolfing, I suggest Cody Smolik


practices in Black Rock
Physical Therapy/Pilates on 2889 Fairfield Avenue.  Her numbers are 917-544-4412 or 203-345-7573.  She is available to work with specific issues or introduce
you to the series that Structural Integration has to offer. 

Sign up: your voice is needed

I still encourage you to join ChiroVoice



Please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and family. 
© Dr. Brian C. Baker
133 Reef Road
Fairfield, CT  06824

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Dr. Brian Baker | | Reef Chiropractic Care | 133 Reef Road | Fairfield, CT 06824

2009 – May Newsletter

Posted on: May 1st, 2009



Eliminate Pain.  Restore Function.  Optimize Health.  Achieve Wellness.

FYI April 2009

Chiropractic and Neck Pain: Conservative Care of Cervical Pain, Injury

Your neck, also called the cervical spine, begins
at the base of the skull and contains seven small vertebrae. 
Incredibly, the cervical spine supports the full weight of your head,
which is on average about 12 pounds.  While the cervical spine can move
your head in nearly every direction, this flexibility makes the neck
very susceptible to pain and injury.
The neck’s susceptibility to injury is due in
part to biomechanics.  Activities and events that affect cervical
biomechanics include extended sitting, repetitive movement, accidents,
falls and blows to the body or head, normal aging, and everyday wear
and tear.  Neck pain can be very bothersome, and it can have a variety
of causes.
Here are some of the most typical causes of neck pain:

Injury and Accidents: A sudden forced movement of the
head or neck in any direction and the resulting “rebound” in the
opposite direction is known as whiplash.  The sudden “whipping” motion
injures the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head. 
Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue,
which can result in pain and stiffness.  Severe whiplash can also be
associated with injury to the intervertebral joints, discs, ligaments,
muscles, and nerve roots. Car accidents are the most common cause of

Growing Older: Degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease directly affect the spine.
  • Osteoarthritis, a common joint
    disorder, causes progressive deterioration of cartilage.  The body
    reacts by forming bone spurs that affect joint motion.
  • Spinal
    stenosis causes the small nerve passageways in the vertebrae to narrow,
    compressing and trapping nerve roots.  Stenosis may cause neck,
    shoulder, and arm pain, as well as numbness, when these nerves are
    unable to function normally.
  • Degenerative
    disc disease can cause reduction in the elasticity and height of
    intervertebral discs.  Over time, a disc may bulge or herniate, causing
    tingling, numbness, and pain that runs into the arm.
Daily Life: Poor posture,
obesity, and weak abdominal muscles often disrupt spinal balance,
causing the neck to bend forward to compensate.  Stress and emotional
tension can cause muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain
and stiffness.  Postural stress can contribute to chronic neck pain with
symptoms extending into the upper back and the arms.
Chiropractic Care of Neck Pain
During your visit, I will perform exams to
locate the source of your pain and will ask you questions about your
current symptoms and remedies you may have already tried. For example:
  • When did the pain start?
  • What have you done for your neck pain?
  • Does the pain radiate or travel to other parts of your body?
  • Does anything reduce the pain or make it worse?
Especially with new patients or patients with new episodes, I will do physical
and neurological exams.  In the physical exam, I will observe
your posture, range of motion, and physical condition, noting movement
that causes pain.  I’ll feel your spine, note its curvature
and alignment, and feel for muscle spasm.  A check of your shoulder area
is also in order.  During the neurological exam, I’m testing
your reflexes, muscle strength, other nerve changes, and pain spread.
In some instances, I may order
tests to help diagnose your condition.  An x-ray can show narrowed disc
space, fractures, bone spurs, or arthritis.  A computerized axial
tomography scan (a CT or CAT scan) or a magnetic resonance imaging test
(an MRI) can show bulging discs and herniations.  If nerve damage is
suspected, I may order a special test called electromyography
(an EMG) to measure how quickly your nerves respond.
Chiropractors are conservative care doctors; our scope of practice does not include the use of drugs or surgery. 
If I diagnose a condition outside of this conservative
scope, such as a neck fracture or an indication of an organic disease,
I’ll refer you to the appropriate medical physician or
specialist.  I always ask for permission to inform your family
physician of the care you are receiving to ensure that your
chiropractic care and medical care are properly coordinated.
Neck Adjustments
A neck adjustment (also known as a cervical manipulation) is a precise
procedure applied to the joints of the neck, usually by hand.  A neck
adjustment works to improve the mobility of the spine and to restore
range of motion; it can also increase movement of the adjoining
muscles. Patients typically notice an improved ability to turn and tilt
the head, and a reduction of pain, soreness, and stiffness.
Of course, I will develop a
program of care that may combine more than one type of treatment,
depending on your personal needs.  In addition to adjustments, the
treatment plan may include muscle stim, moist heat, ultrasound, mobilization, massage or rehabilitative
exercises, or something else.
Research Supporting Chiropractic Care
One of the most recent reviews of scientific literature found evidence
that patients with chronic neck pain enrolled in clinical trials
reported significant improvement following chiropractic spinal
As part of the literature review, published in the March/April 2007 issue of the Journal of
Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
the researchers reviewed nine previously published trials and found
“high-quality evidence” that patients with chronic neck pain showed
significant pain-level improvements following spinal manipulation. No
trial group was reported as having remained unchanged, and all groups
showed positive changes up to 12 weeks post-treatment.

Why choose a chiropractor?
Please feel free to forward this e-mail to friends and family who are suffering from back or neck problems. 
© Dr. Brian C. Baker
133 Reef Road
Fairfield, CT  06824

This message was sent to from:

Dr. Brian Baker | | Reef Chiropractic Care | 133 Reef Road | Fairfield, CT 06824

2009 – April Newsletter

Posted on: April 1st, 2009



Eliminate Pain.  Restore Function.  Optimize Health.  Achieve Wellness.

FYI April 2009

Consumer Reports rates Chiropractors number 1!

About 80 percent of U.S. adults have at some point been
bothered by back pain. The Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center
recently surveyed more than 14,000 subscribers who had lower-back pain
in the past year but had never had back surgery. More than half said
pain severely limited their daily routine for a week or longer, and 88
percent said it recurred through the year. Many said the pain
interfered with sleep, sex, and efforts to maintain a healthy weight.
Hands-on therapies were among the top-rated. Fifty-eight
percent of those who tried chiropractic manipulation said it helped a
lot, and 59 percent were “completely” or “very” satisfied with their
chiropractor. Massage and physical therapy were close runners-up.

Who helped the most?

The percent of people highly (completely or very) satisfied with their back-pain treatments and advice varied by practitioner

Highly satisfied

Physical therapist


Physician, specialist

Physician, primary care



Consumer Reports May 2009

Vitamin D deficiency 

For some time now I have been telling patients about the developing research on Vitamin D and the impact it has on bone health as well as joint and muscle pain. Well, what’s emerging is just how common vitamin D deficiency is in the population. A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that three out of every four Americans don’t get adequate amounts of vitamin D!

I have been ordering serum vitamin D levels for patients as well as using Thorne Research vitamin D supplements.   If you want to order the test on your own or learn more, then check out this website:

Next time you’re in for a tune-up, let me know if you have any questions about your levels or what type of D to take.


ChiroVoice needs YOU! 

National health care reform is quickly gaining momentum and, as a chiropractic patient, your voice needs to be heard.  I am asking everyone I know to join a national chiropractic advocacy group called ChiroVoice .

Through the chiropractic advocacy network, patients and chiropractic
supporters can stay informed about important health care issues and
help ensure that:

  • Congress does not restrict your ability to access essential chiropractic services.
  • Congress does not limit – but instead expands – coverage for services provided by Doctors of Chiropractic within Medicare.
  • Insurance and managed care companies do not deny patients’ access to the essential chiropractic services they need.

I need your help and urge you to join ChiroVoice .  Click on ChiroVoice and learn more about how to protect your ability to choose chiropractic and please sign up. 

Thanks in advance!

Exercises for People over 50

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of
room at each side. With a 5lb potato sack in each hand, extend your arms
straight out from your sides and hold them there along as you can. Try to reach
a full minute, and then relax. Each day you’ll find that you can hold this
position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10lb potato sacks. Then try 50lb
potato sacks and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a
100lb potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more
than a full minute. (I’m at this level.)

After you feel confident at that
level, put a potato in each of the sacks.
Have a great day and feel free to forward this newsletter.    
© Dr. Brian C. Baker
133 Reef Road
Fairfield, CT  06824

This message was sent to from:

Dr. Brian Baker | | Reef Chiropractic Care | 133 Reef Road | Fairfield, CT 06824

2009 – March Newsletter

Posted on: March 1st, 2009



Eliminate Pain.  Restore Function.  Optimize Health.  Achieve Wellness.

FYI March 2009

Chronic neck and shoulder pain? Feels like a knife in the shoulder blade? Its not all because of the economy. Maybe you should stop slouching!


It appears that our parents were right when they constantly reminded us to sit up straight. Good posture is key to maintaining proper head alignment and reducing the constant tension in the large neck and upper back muscles. It improves breathing, aids smoother shoulder and arm movement, and it makes you look better as well.


Consider this; The most common headaches are chronic tension-type headaches. The description has more to do with muscle tension than mental tension. Improving posture can help reduce tension type headaches as well as relieving your neck and back pain. Lately I have been showing patients an exercise called a Brugger that I’d like to share in this newsletter.



Brugger Postural Correction Exercise


Starting position:

  • Perch at the very edge of a chair 
  • Feet wider than your hips and turned out slightly
  • Chin tucked in slightly


The exercise:

  • Breathe into your abdomen (so that it pouches out)  
  • Exhale slowly while;

a) turning palms out with extended fingers, 

b) raising your breastbone slightly, 

c) squeezing your shoulder blades together while

d) keeping your shoulders down


Hold posture for 10 seconds.  Repeat once per hour, especially if you’re working at a computer.

If you find your spine resisting when your sitting up straight, you’re due for an adjustment.  I’ll get the spine moving, but then it’s up to you to keep it moving!


Check out this perspective on going to the chiropractor:
© Dr. Brian C. Baker
133 Reef Road
Fairfield, CT  06824

This message was sent to from:

Dr. Brian Baker | | Reef Chiropractic Care | 133 Reef Road | Fairfield, CT 06824