Viscerosomatic reactions are essential to understanding how the body is interconnected. Viscero means organ, and somatic refers to the body or muscular system. A viscerosomatic reaction happens when a pain signal from an organ enters the spinal cord where interconnecting neurons relating to peripheral motor (muscles, blood vessels, skin) structures also reside. What this means is that both the muscular system and your organs are linked. Simple examples of this are the Heimlich maneuver and CPR chest compressions because these life-saving techniques physically impact the body or soma.
Everyone has healthy bacteria in their gut, but it can become out of balance, with the "bad" bacteria taking over. Things like stress, illness, and antibiotics can disrupt the levels of good bacteria. The bacterial balance (called your microbiome) in our intestines is a pivotal factor in our wellness. Our guts are responsible for producing most serotonin, a primary feel-good chemical needed for emotional wellbeing. The link between wellness and our intestines is irrefutable for physical and emotional health.
In my book The Good Sh*t, I have emphasized the importance of consuming foods made with high-quality ingredients. Simply put, a turkey sandwich made from fresh bread and real turkey can be very different than a turkey sandwich that is filled with preservatives.
So many of us think poop is not important. But our poop actually is the greatest indicator of gut health and is the key to discovering which foods help our own unique digestive system operate optimally. Instead of touting bullsh*t fad diets, my new book out this October, The Good Sh*t teachers us what a good sh*t is, what it should look like, and how to have a good one regularly so that we can start looking and feeling better.
Are you suffering from back pain? The cause could be your love of spicy foods. There is much debate regarding whether spicy foods are helpful or harmful, and the consensus is that it’s a bit of both. Many of my patients are shocked to hear that their back pain could be from spicy food. As you may know from my previous post, Is Your Diet Causing Your Back Pain, there is a direct link between digestive function and back pain. I even wrote an entire book on the subject called The Back Pain Relief Diet.
Celebrities like Kristen Bell, Anne Hathaway, and Liam Hemsworth have all ditched their vegan diets (some due to health complications!). Even some popular vegan bloggers, including Yovana, who at one point had over a million Instagram followers, have stopped preaching veganism. And, many vegan bloggers have faced backlash after dropping their vegan diets. Yovana quickly learned this after she was seen eating fish in a now-viral video posted by a fellow vlogger, which resulted in a huge outcry from her followers. “I was in shock and felt confused and ashamed at the response,” she says.
One Saturday afternoon, I received a call from a Grammy-winning recording artist, who was suffering from severe upper back and neck pain. She was concerned that she wasn’t going to be able to make it through her performance on Saturday Night Live the following day. Her pain was so bad that she could not turn her head. I examined her and noticed that her whole muscular system was tight. I could also tell she was suffering from severe gas pains and she told me that her on-the-road diet consisted of primarily fast foods and processed foods. After further assessment, I determined the root of her back pain was an inflamed digestive system.
If you've tried every remedy and can't find the cause of your back pain, you may have DDD. What is DDD? It's a diagnosis that I created called Degenerative Dietary Disease, and it's the most overlooked cause of back pain.
I have learned that I have to listen to patients’ structural, emotional, and digestive issues to get to the truth of back pain. While there are thousands of studies on how nutrition impacts muscular function, very few health professionals have connected the dots from digestive function and nutrition back to back pain. In one study published by the Asian Spine Journal in 2014, 31% of women and 24.6% of men who were suffering from back pain also suffered from gastrointestinal complaints such as abdominal pain or food intolerance.