Infinity Spine Center Blog

Summer Things You May Want to Avoid– Part 2

YOU’RE INVITED!!!

Summer is coming! 

Peaches are in season!

Mark your calendar for May 31st for
Infinity Spine Center’s Peaches ‘n Cream party! 

More details to come next week!

Sure, they cute too.

Are your sunglasses protecting your eyes or are they just a fashion statement jacking up your sleep and hormones?

WIN A BIDETHow awesome would it be if you didn’t have to jump in the shower to freshen up? 

Or what happens when it’s a Sunday afternoon and Infinity Spine Center isn’t open till morning? You can’t hold it!

Here’s your chance to win your very own aftermarket toilet swag for your house!

“You got designer shades just to hide your face
And you wear ’em around like you’re cooler than me
And you never say hey, or remember my name
And it’s probably ’cause you think you’re cooler than me”

Here’s how you enter to WIN 1. Go to Infinity Spine Center’s Facebook page. Find “Summer Things You May Want to Avoid–Part 2” post and type in the comments section:

  1. Name of the artist who sings the song’s lyrics above
  2. “#spritzer”

2. Then, sing the next verse of the song. You can post your video on Instagram OR you can just sing it with your windows down in your car. If you post on the Gram be sure to tag @infinityspine!

Do steps #1 and #2 and you’ll be entered to win your own bum spritzer!

There’s only 1 winner so head over to Infinity Spine Center’s Facebook page now!

What do eye doctors say about sunglasses? 

What’s the number 1 recommendation to protect your eyes?

Many eye doctors will tell you to wear sunglasses.

Because…

Sunglasses block out the sun’s harmful UV rays, which cause damage to your eyes as well as your skin. And not wearing sunglasses puts you at risk for eye disease later in life like:

  • Cataracts
  • Macular degeneration
  • Eyeitis

But what’s the other half of the story?

Why sunglasses may be a bad idea

While sunglasses do filter some UV wavelengths, your cells, especially the cells in your eyes, rely on input from the sun for circadian rhythm (day and night activities and sleeping). This rhythm influence when you sleep by changing the action of your brain and hormones. When you wear sunglasses you block certain wavelengths of light from reaching your eye. Wearing sunglasses at noon is like telling your brain that the sun has set and it’s night time so go to sleep. This is one way to jack up your circadian rhythms.

Nearsighted?

Along with keeping your cells in sync with the sun, sunlight has also been shown to be beneficial in decreasing nearsightedness. I’ve struggled with nearsightedness since 5 years old but in recent years have began reversing the nearsightedness (see more below).

Times of the Day and Types of Light

Before Sunrise

Wavelengths of light before sunrise. Shortwave length light (left side of graph) functions to increase your cortisol in the morning to wake you up so you can find food for the day.

Mid morning

Wavelengths of light around 10 am. Your cells love all that red!!!

See all that red? Red = repair

Afternoon

Wavelengths of light at midday. Midday sun exposure, when there’s more UV-B, is the best time to make vitamin d and endorphins.

Major players in light and darkness

You are programmed to be outdoors while the sun is shining and home in bed at night. That’s what humans did before our boy Tommy Edison’s invention.

Vitamin D

You’ve heard about this a million times.

You tired but wired?

Another hormone that you’ve likely heard plenty about when it comes to light is melatonin.  Melatonin production is dependent on lightness and darkness. Melatonin is made from serotonin which is made from sunlight. After sunset and darkness sets in, your body converts serotonin to melatonin which puts you to sleep at night as well as has a powerful detoxifying role.

One way to increase melatonin at night

One of the best ways to increase your production of melatonin at night is to expose your eyes to morning sunlight. Morning sunlight exposure causes melatonin release earlier in the evening allowing you to fall asleep easier at night. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, catch sunrise every day to help tune your brain for better sleep. In addition to helping with sleep and insomnia issues, morning sunlight exposure is effective for premenstrual syndrome and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

You grumpy? 

Serotonin is another major player in the light game. It is increased when your eyes and skin are exposed to sunlight. It’s also needed to make melatonin. So if you have low serotonin you probably have low levels of melatonin and you’ll sleep like crap. Get some sun to help you sleep! During exposure to sunlight during the day you’ll make serotonin and then at night when it’s dark you’ll convert your serotonin to melatonin.

When you expose your eyes and skin to the sun you improve your serotonin levels decreasing pissy moods and increasing your calmness and laser focus.

Your immune system and the sun

UVA and UVB (the rays that also cause “damage” to your DNA) decrease immune system activity. You may be thinking, “Cornerman, I want my immune system rockin’!” Overactive immune function is at the root of autoimmune diseases. This is why many functional medicine doctors are talkin’ sun exposure and getting out in nature. If you have autoimmune dis and dat, you’ll likely benefit from some sun exposure.

The times you may want to wear sunglasses

If you’re downhill skiing or out on the water where there are greater amounts of light reflection, sunglasses can help to shield your eyes from the intense sunlight.

How’s your Cornerman protect himself from intense sunlight?

I don’t wear sunglasses. If I think I’m getting too much exposure I’ll put on a hat to shade my eyes and face.

It’s really an all year deal though. Even in the winter months, I get at least an hour of sunlight so when spring and summer roll in my skin and eyes aren’t sensitive to the more intense sun.

If you live in Arizona there’s no excuse for a little sun exposure year-round!

The worst times to wear sunglasses?

Probably two of the worst times to wear sunglasses are near sunrise and sunset when there are more abrupt changes in wavelengths. The sudden changes in wavelengths of light are major signals to your brain to tell your body what time of day it is. Without these powerful clues at sunrise and sunset, you’ll jack up your hormones and neurotransmitters and increase your risk of autoimmune dis and dat, have crappy sleep, eat two dozen cookies but call it “cheat day,” have a lower sex drive, lack motivation, lack energy to be present in the moment, and eat 3 pints of Van Leeuwen ice cream.

Rich is so jacked up about the Peaches ‘n Cream party! Rich and I wore the same sunglasses until 2013 when I tossed my cool Oakleys.

How my eyes have changed in the last 8 years

When I moved to Arizona in 2011, I had an eye exam and found my contact strength had again gotten worse. I was nearsighted at -2.75 (the higher the number the more you can’t see). From the time of the 2011 eye exam to winter 2016, I threw away my cool Oakleys, stopped wearing contacts, started getting sun on my eyes and managing artificial lights at night. In February 2016, my nearsightedness had improved to -2.00 in both eyes.

Again, for my friends that don’t wear contacts…the closer the number to zero the better.

Nine months ago, my last eye exam showed further improvement to -1.25 in both eyes. One major change that I’ve made between the winter of 2016 and my last eye exam is the addition of regular red and near infrared therapy which has also been a game changer for my Hashimoto’s, anemia, and low testosterone.

How I protect my eyes from light

In 2013, I threw away my cool Oakleys for some of these sexy reds that I wear after sunset. This has been one of the greatest game-changers for improving my sleep, brain fog and LIFE!

Here’s what I wear every night once the sun has set:Click here to get your reds!

They HOT and they good for your hormones.

When your eyes are exposed to low-light conditions, they become more sensitive to BLUE (and GREEN light). This why protecting your eyes from blue light after sunset is so important if you want optimal melatonin levels and pep in your step the next day.

Your eyes sensitivity to RED light in low-light conditions is greatly reduced. This is why I recommend wearing the sexy reds to cover your eyes in the evening.

5 Actionable Steps to Eye and Hormone Mojo

1. During intense sun exposure, instead of wearing sunglasses, wear a hat to shade your eyes and face.

2. Avoid wearing sunglasses at sunrise and sunset. Your brain and body need to know what time it is to produce appropriate levels of hormones. At sunrise and sunset there’s a more sudden change in wavelengths of light that clue your body into what hormones to make and release.

3. If your eyes are sensitive to the sun, start exposing yourself for a short period of time (1-5 minutes daily) in the shade. Then move out of the shade once you’ve adapted over time.

4. If you have hormone, sleep, or mood issues get outside during the times of greatest changes in light frequency from the sun (sunrise and sunset).

5. Avoid artificial light after sunset. Cornerman 101. Low intense lights and the sexy reds are how you roll in the evening.

Have an awesome weekend!

Can’t wait to see you at Peaches n’ Cream May 31st!

Your Cornerman with love,

Dr. Thoma


Summer Things You May Want to Avoid– Part 1 of 2

Sure, they cute.

They convenient.

But are flip flops jacking up your mojo?
The annual return of the flip flop is upon us. But you may want to consider your alternatives for summer footwear especially if you have any of the following:

1. Plantar fascitis 
2. Metatarsalgia or Morten’s Neuroma
3. Knee pain (patellar tendon pain, chondromalacia, meniscus pain) 
4. Hip pain
5. Low or mid back pain
6. Turf toe (big toe pain when walking or running)
7. Footitis dis
8. Footitis dat

When you change the mechanics of the foot, you change everything upstream. 
Here’s why flip flops aren’t your best choice for your summer footwear

They jack up the mechanics of your toes, feet, and ankles.

To keep your flip flop on your foot, you have to grip (plantarflexion or downward movement of toes) with your toes. When you grip with your toes, you don’t allow them to bend (dorsiflex or come upward) which is a part of normal walking.

Toe gripping also decreases pronation or flattening of the arch which is also a part of normal walking. Orthotics that provide arch support will prevent pronation of the foot as well. This is why orthotics are not the fix to the issue. They keep your foot in a more rigid supinated (arched) position as you walk.

The lack of pronation (flattening) of your foot leads to decreased movement of your ankle bones which decreases ankle bending (or dorsiflexion).

See the train wreck coming?!!!

The decreased ankle bending and flattening of the foot causes the knee to have more tension leading to knee issues (and hip issues and back issues and neck issues and headache issues).

Does your brain talk to your feet?
Get yo feet to work with these 3 exercises!
If you can’t shorten your foot and your toes are out of control, arch support and flip flops are no bueno.
Here’s what you want in your summer footwear

One of the best ways to allow the foot to function better with footwear is to wear ones with a heel strap. The heel strap keeps the sole closer to your foot preventing the need for you to scrunch up your toes to hold the footwear on your foot.

“Yo, Cornerman!” Those heel straps dorky, bruh!”
Another thing to look out for when shopping for your summer footwear is minimal to no arch support. Yup! MINIMAL to NO ARCH SUPPORT.

“But Cornerman, my doctor says I have high arches, so I need arch support.”

“But Cornerman, my doctor says that my arch is collapsed, so I need arch support.”

What?!!!!

So everyone needs arch support???

Why arch support is bad news for your brain

1. It prevents NORMAL pronation (arch flattening). It is normal for the arch of your foot to flatten during certain phases of walking.

2. Arch support acts as a “crutch” to prevent your brain and nervous system from communicating with your foot. Your brain and spinal cord send messages to your foot to make your foot function the way it’s designed to.

Here are some alternatives to flip flops

1. Xero sandals

2. Luna sandals

3. Earth Runners

4. Bedrock Sandals

5. Shamma Sandals

Your 3 Step Foot Program

Step 1: Do each exercise in the video above (small foot, toe raises, toe splaying).

Step 2: Identify which one is the most challenging for you.

Step 3: Do the most challenging one for a total of 5 minutes per day for two weeks.

Have an awesome weekend!

Your Cornerman with love,

Dr. Thoma

Resource:
A comparison of gait biomechanics of flip-flops, sandals, barefoot and shoes
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3907140/

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