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What a great opportunity we all have to start our new year and new decade on a healthier note!

2020 is the year that you can actually take the steps to become healthier than ever.  It really is. Here are five easy steps to becoming healthier this year than ever:

1. Call for an appointment for chiropractic or acupuncture care. Seriously. This is one of the very best things you can do to become healthier. Let me share a real patient story to explain why. 

This is a recap of a conversation I had with a new patient last recently: “I am here because I am tired of hurting, tired of taking pills and tired of not being able to do the things I really want to do in life. I don’t have the energy I know I should for my age. I am taking drugs that I have read about and am concerned about the side effects. In spite of continuing to take the drugs, I have not gotten any better. I just keep taking the pills and nothing changes. I still don’t feel well and the drugs make my fatigue worse.”

I asked the new patient how long they had thought about coming to see me.

“Actually, for a couple of years. But I put it off. I guess I just kept thinking something would change and I would feel better or get better. But I finally realized that unless I actually try something new, nothing will change. My friends all told me to come see you and see if you could help me get healthier without the pills. They said you could help me improve and get rid of my pain without drugs.”

I agree completely with this patient’s very smart decision to finally take a step to find real relief without drugs that mask symptoms and to seek positive health changes that are lasting. I am very glad that their friends reached out to them to be supportive and encouraging to try something new.

2. Actually read the information about any side effects of the drugs that you have been taking. We all would rather pretend that side effects don’t exist or won’t affect us. But that is really wishful thinking.  Side effects of common drugs are very real and can be very serious or possibly deadly.

As an example, I had a patient recently that had been in the hospital for nearly a week due to a bleeding ulcer — from taking ibuprofen for back pain for months. Ibuprofen is the drug in Motrin, Advil and dozens of other common pain relievers. She was taking it as recommended on the label. Her doctors told her to immediately stop taking the ibuprofen and call me for help with her back pain. Fortunately, she was able to recover from the bleeding ulcer.

Did you realize that ibuprofen is associated with a significant increase in risk of heart attack after only taking it a few days? Heart attack, strokes, bleeding ulcer are only a few of the risks associated with this very common pain drug. Increased blood pressure, kidney and liver problems are significant concerns.

Acetaminophen as in Tylenol is much safer, right? At least that is what the ads say. According to a recent article in the medical journal “Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases”, side effects of acetaminophen (paracetamol) have been “underestimated.” Recent studies have found incidences of cardiovascular and renal (kidney) failure related to taking acetaminophen at standard doses.



Take side effects seriously. Read about the safety and side effects potential for every drug you take.

3. Take a serious look at the way you eat. Think about this. More people are overweight now than at any point in our history. That is the direct result of change in our eating habits during the past 20 years as well as our more sedentary lifestyle. Are you willing to actually admit that your habits are destructive to your health? If you are gaining weight each year, you are going in the wrong direction. Are you willing to take positive steps to reverse this trend? If the answer is a serious yes, let us know and we will help you.

4. Take a walk. Did you know that simply adding a walk to your daily routine can improve your health?  It’s true. You don’t have to start training for a marathon to see a noticeable change in your health. A daily walk of half an hour can start real positive changes.

5. Stop drinking any soda (regular and diet). Switch to water. You will see positive changes within four weeks. There is not enough space here to discuss the details, but you will be very happy a month from now if you ditch the sodas.

See how easy that was? These are possibly the easiest and yet most powerful changes you can start immediately to improve your health this year. The best thing is the benefits you gain will only get better over the rest of your life.

Dr. Mark Kestner is a licensed chiropractic physician in Murfreesboro. His office is at 1435 NW Broad St. Contact him at mkestner@DrKestner.com

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