Wow! January 1, 2009!? Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting here writing the very first "Weekly Well-Being." 52 weeks later and I'm sitting here writing the 53rd edition. I hope this newsletter goes to show that it's possible to make a worthwhile New Year's resolution and actually stick to it. Next week, I'm going to talk about New Year's resolutions and tips to get you to stick with them. Perhaps that should've been this week's topic, but time flew...and I had the following on my mind...

On deck as this week's topic is an issue that concerns about half of all adults. ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz. Snoring occurs when the muscles of the tongue relax and narrow the air passages, creating for a vibration that leads to a potentially nasty sound. While half of adults snore occasionally, about 1/4 will snore habitually...some of them all night...and all kinds of loud. I can remember thinking that the issue would never affect me. When I was younger, I recall going on road trips for soccer games and sharing rooms with my folks. A particular member of the family, who shall remain unnamed, often ensured that I would be all, but well rested when I took the field the following morning. A few years later, a good friend of mine's snoring would keep up an entire dorm room during road trips to UNC-Chapel Hill. Think of what it might be like to shove knives down the garbage disposal and you might get an idea of the sounds that this guy would make.

Then one day, I started to snore. Luckily, I was told that I snored for almost exactly ten-minutes while on my back, before rolling over to my side and sleeping quietly for the rest of the night. And now those days are gone...I, like so many others, have become a habitual snorer. And I, just like the rest of them, really don't want to be and certainly don't mean to be.

Let's first clear up the details of the definition of snoring. The definition in the opening paragraph of today's newsletter came from an MSNBC article written in 2007. That pretty much nailed it on the head, but I want to clarify that it isn't just the muscles of the tongue creating airway interference, it's really anything that creates airway resistance. So, things like nasal congestion can be big contributing factors and amplify snoring habits. Take me, for instance...I've now broken my nose twice in the last 4 years. I still crave competition and my competitive outlets of choice are the soccer pitch and the basketball court, where each of my two reasons for rhinoplasty have occurred. Because the structure of my nose is no longer conducive to proper air flow, I am often a little stopped up. It's often mistaken as a "head cold" but I haven't had a head cold that last more than a day or two since I started upper cervical care a year and a half ago. For people like me, the only way to ever hope to get that snoring to stop is going to be having surgery to fix the nose and restore proper air flow.

Luckily, not everyone is like me. If you snore and you don't have any structural damage, that you are aware of, to your nose, then correcting the subluxation by making a simple correction in the upper cervical spine will assuredly give you a great chance of decreasing your snoring. That slight misalignment of the head as it sits on the neck immediately restricts the airway. This is why sinus surgeries don't always fix sinus congestion. Put quite simply, the root of the problem was not sinus congestion, but rather a subluxation that was causing the sinus congestion. When removed, the sinuses cleared and spouses suddenly found themselves migrating back to their rooms from the guest quarters.

Speaking of spouses moving to other rooms to get away from the snoring, I want to stress the effect that snoring can have on a relationship. I cannot stress to you enough the importance of mental health and well-being and how stress is the absolute worst thing in the world for your body. Stress is one of the main detriments of snoring. In regards to relationships, snoring ultimately causes resentment. The snorer justly feels that he/she cannot help it and that the other should learn to deal with it. The person that has to listen to the snoring isn't getting any sleep, is often not well rested, and struggles to get through the day having not gotten his/her 6-8 necessary hours. Then, the snorer may start waking up in the night to make sure that the other is asleep. He/she feels bad for causing the other's poor night of sleep. It's a vicious cycle.

I urge you to not separate to different rooms. Wear ear plugs. Do what you must, but studies have shown that couples do some of their best communicating right before bed. I will back up that notion. I 100% agree with those studies. Life is about establishing positive habits, and if you aren't spending that quality time with your loved one, I would certainly call that the establishment of a negative habit. Negative habits are contagious, particularly in relationships. Avoid them at all costs. Sleep is important. It's unbelievably important. So, is it not worth simply going to get your spine checked? That's a very simple solution to snoring. If that doesn't work (for as I said, the nose may just be in need of a little procedure), is it not worth it to fix the problem? Just something to think about...

I wanted to mention something that happened to a friend of mine recently. She went into labor early in the morning. By the early afternoon, the nurses were concerned about infection developing. She and her husband had planned not to have any drugs. This was to be a natural birth. To that point, everything was going according to their plan. She was being a real champ through the whole thing. However, the hospital insisted on giving her medication to speed along the process. In the next few hours, she dilated just short of the optimum for going forward with full-on delivery. Also during that time, she experienced contractions that hurt her so badly that she began getting sick to her stomach. As the hours passed, she decided she couldn't take the pain anymore and asked for more drugs. They gave her an epidural and she calmed down, just in time for them to alert her that she'd likely need a C-section. So much for the natural birth, eh?

Now, things go wrong and not everything happens according to plan. I simply take issue with the manner, in which this scenario was handled. The body was doing what it needed to do to get her ready to deliver, but the decision was taken out of her hands. Medication was all but forced on her. The meds sped up her contractions and dilation too fast, and her body couldn't handle it. She felt that she needed the epidural at that point. The couple's plans for a natural birth were dashed with the "by the book" decision to give a woman meds if she isn't progressing as fast they'd like. Now, I've not spent a great deal of time in hospitals recently, but I spent 5 summers following around medical doctors. I know one when I see one. It wasn't until she had been in labor for nearly 22 hours that I finally saw a medical doctor come in. Her decisions were being made by nurses following a protocol. That protocol stripped my friend of her right to choose how she wanted to give birth. I really resent that. I am disgusted with what I witnessed.

Furthermore, since I was at the hospital for the better part of 24 hours, I had a chance to talk with a lot of people. I learned that, on the previous day, 5 newborns were delivered via C-section. On the day of my friend's delivery, 2 more were born by C-section. As it would turn out, only one of the last nine births at this hospital were from vaginal delivery.

Could be a coincidence...probably is a coincidence...but I'm no less upset and disappointed that my friends didn't get to do this the way that they wanted and had planned for the last 9 months. The father would go on to tell me that they were invited to their Bradley class to share their story. After their experience, they aren't very excited about sharing.

Well, that's it for this week...I hope you have a phenomenal New Year and I'm thinking good things for you as always...

Dr. Chad McIntyre
Upper Cervical Chiropractor

"If we all did the things that we are capable of, we would astound ourselves" - Thomas Edison

"Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it" - Lou Holtz