Pathways to Healing Blog page 3


By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

All of us have experienced a craving for a specific food, whether it be for salty potato chips, creamy peanut butter or sweets like ice cream and chocolate. A craving is a signal from the body that something is needed. Cravings can be driven by physical, emotional or biochemical factors.   For example, pregnant women might experience strong cravings due to hormonal changes that disrupt and change their sense of taste and smell. When we’re feeling emotionally stressed, we might crave “comfort” foods.

When a craving hits, you’re faced with a few options: You can give in to it; you can find out what your body really needs; or you can find an alternative distraction like taking a walk, phoning a friend or jumping into your bath tub, hot tub or pool. Some cravings only last 3 to 5 minutes, so finding a distraction does not always have to be a long, drawn out affair.

Below are a few common cravings and some thoughts on what your body might really need instead.

Potato Chips
A potato chip craving could be an indication you’re low in sodium. Sodium, more commonly known as salt, is an essential electrolyte needed in large amounts — especially for normal nerve and muscle function.

We obtain sodium through food and drink, and we lose it when we sweat and urinate. When we sweat in the heat, we actually sweat minerals, not water. After excessive sweating, or long periods outside, the body needs more than just water to replenish what is lost. (Certain medications can also make the body excrete excess fluid.) Conversely, too much sodium can lead to heart issues like high blood pressure.

The recommended daily intake of sodium is around 2,300 milligrams. Instead of satisfying this need with processed food like potato chips, reach for healthy whole foods instead. Beets, spinach and chard are a great source of sodium and packed with disease fighting antioxidants. Raw cashews and walnuts can be a good replacement in moderation — keep the serving size to one ounce (about 18 cashews and 15 walnuts). Popcorn drizzled with a butter-flavored olive oil (sold locally at the Plantation Olive Oil Company) is another healthier option. My favorite salty, satisfying snack is ‘crunchy seasoned peas’ made by BHUJA, which can be found in the gluten free section at Publix (often hanging on an end display).

Ice Cream
If you find yourself craving the cool, sweet taste of ice cream, it could be an indication you are low on sleep. The amino acid tryptophan (also found in your Thanksgiving turkey) is found in high-fat dairy products. Tryptophan assists in the production of melatonin and serotonin to help you feel sleepy and relaxed. Instead of caving to a late-night bowl of ice cream, try getting to bed an hour earlier, incorporating an afternoon power nap, or enjoying some quiet time for 20-30 minutes. Naps help improve immune function, boost your mood and increase alertness. Adults should limit a nap to 30 minutes or less. If you are sleep deprived, a 90 minute to 2-hour snooze can be beneficial. Instead of ice cream, try snacking on frozen blueberries for a sweet, refreshing snack.

Peanut Butter
A peanut butter craving could be an indication you are low in healthy fats, which are essential for survival. Contrary to popular belief, eating fat does not make you fat. Healthy fats, such as omega-3s, help protect the nervous system and brain. Omega-3 fats can be found in oily fish like sockeye salmon. Calories from fat are more nutrient dense than calories from carbohydrates and protein, and can help you feel fuller faster. Try reaching for an avocado sprinkled with lemon pepper.

Some people get hooked on the boost that chocolate can give, which then leads to compulsive habits. However, a chocolate craving can also indicate a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is required for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include irritability, anxiety, extreme fatigue combined with insomnia, lack of concentration and muscle spasms. Before grabbing that candy bar, reach for magnesium-rich foods such as almonds. If nothing but chocolate will do, opt for quality dark chocolate, preferably organic and above 70% cocoa. A magnesium supplement may also help.

Baked Goods and Pastries
If you are feeling anxious or stressed, baked goods and pastries can provide a temporary calming feeling. That’s because the sugar triggers a quick dopamine rush, also known as the “feel good” hormone. But that sugar rush soon turns into a blood sugar crash, which fuels inflammation and will leave you feeling sluggish. The naturally occurring sugars in fruits such as peaches, berries and apples are a healthier choice. You could also try a small amount of dried fruit, such as prunes or raisins.

Sparkling water, with a squeeze of lime or slice of orange, delivers the carbonation found in soda, minus all the excess sugar.

The next time a craving hits, dig deeper to uncover the real reason behind it. If anything, try making a lateral move and reaching for a healthier choice.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

One in three adults over the age of 65 has a serious fall each year. About 20 percent of women who fracture a hip become permanently disabled and another 20 percent die within a year.

While the elderly population is more prone to falls that can lead to serious complications, balance is important for all ages. Balance training can benefit everyone – whether you are older and want to improve basic day-to-day function or an athlete wanting to enhance performance and prevent injuries. With balance, it’s always best to be proactive. If we work on enhancing our balance and stability now, we can help prevent serious falls and injuries later.

The key to maintaining our balance is staying active. By staying active and continuing to challenge our balance, we can improve our overall stability. While improving balance will certainly help protect you from falls, it also can help improve overall mobility and fitness, while also allowing you to maintain independence and complete daily activities with ease.

Below are six strategies you can begin incorporating into your daily routine to help strengthen the muscles that keep you steady on your feet.*

1. Incorporate simple exercises. The following exercises help strengthen the core and lower-body muscles, which are critical for stability.

* Exercise 1: This move helps improve one-legged balance. With feet together, pick up one foot with the knee facing forward or to the side. (Be sure to keep a stable chair or wall within arm’s reach for safety.) Hold the position with eyes open, then closed. Switch feet and repeat for four reps on each foot. You can also try to do this while you are washing the dishes. Once you can hold the pose for 30 seconds on each side, stand on a less stable surface, such as a couch cushion. To increase the challenge even more, do it with your eyes closed.

* Exercise 2: The same sobriety field test cops give drunk drivers also improves balance. Take 20 steps forward, heel to toe. Then walk backward, with toe to heel, in a straight line.

  1. Strengthen those knees. Knee strengthening exercises,like leg presses and lateral movements with the arms, can help build strength. As knee strength builds, it helps improve proprioception awareness with the mind and body, and also allows you to continue a movement or action in place far longer with proper form.
  2. Consider Tai Chi or Yoga. Studies show Tai Chi participants were less likely to fall than those who took part in basic stretching programs or made lifestyle changes. Yoga works, too: According to Temple University research, women 65 and older who took twice-weekly yoga classes for 9 weeks increased ankle flexibility and showed more confidence in walking. That last part is important, says lead researcher Jinsup Song, PhD, “because when people are fearful of losing balance, they tend to do less to challenge themselves.”
  3. Work your core. This table top exercise increases core strength, which is directly linked to your balance. Using a mat to protect your knees, get on all fours on the floor in table top position. Make sure the back is flat and the neck is aligned with the spine. While looking at the floor, raise and extend your right arm and your left leg at the same time. Keep a tight core. Hold for 3–5 seconds and repeat on the other side. Perform 10 reps on each side.
  4. Focus on the legs. Sturdy legs can help prevent a stumble from turning into a fall. To build quads, start with a simple squat: With feet hip-width apart, bend knees and hips and slowly lower yourself as if sitting in a chair behind you. Keep arms straight out, abs tight, back straight, and knees above shoelaces. Stop when thighs are parallel to the floor or as close as you can get, then contract the gluteal muscles in your buttocks as you stand back up. Aim for three sets of 10, with a one minute break after each set.
  5. Sleep more than seven hours a night. A study at the California Pacific Medical Center showed how sleep deprivation reaction time is directly related to falls. Researchers tracked nearly 3,000 older women and found that those who typically slept between five and seven hours each night were 40 percent more likely to fall than those who slept longer.

By incorporating these techniques, you should notice improvements in your balance, coordination, posture, core strength and agility. Most importantly, you’ll help prevent future falls and be able to maintain your independence for years to come.

*It is always important to seek expert training and support when possible. Work with a physical therapist or licensed trainer to ensure you are selecting the right exercises to help you reach your goals safely and effectively. If you have severe balance problems or an orthopedic condition, get your doctor’s clearance before doing balance exercises.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.



By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


Being from the Great White North, a.k.a. Alaska, I have encountered numerous people affected by the “winter blues.” As we head into winter, cooler weather combines with shorter periods of daylight and sunshine. Some people welcome this seasonal change, but others may experience something more serious — a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of clinical depression that comes and goes based on a specific seasonal pattern, hitting around the same time each year. Studies show about half a million Americans are affected by SAD.


SAD symptoms vary from person to person. Symptoms can start out mild and become more severe in peak winter months. People suffering from SAD may experience a loss of interest in activities or decrease in motivation to socialize with friends and family.  Other common symptoms include trouble sleeping, decrease in energy, weight gain, irritability, and appetite changes — especially cravings for foods high in sugar and carbohydrates.


Unsurprisingly, location makes a difference in the occurrence of this condition since sunlight and temperature play a major role. SAD is more common among people who live far north or south of the equator due to abbreviated daylight hours. For example, in my hometown in Fairbanks, Alaska on December 21 (the shortest day of the year) there is about 3 to 4 hours of daylight and temperatures are often below zero. You can imagine the effect this has on the brain and body! In Georgia, the shortest day of the year still has 9 to 10 hours of daylight and is not as cold.


It can be challenging to differentiate if a person is suffering from “traditional” depression or seasonal depression, but the main difference is the duration.  With SAD, feelings will begin in September, be the worst in peak winter months, and ease up once spring rolls around in March or April. Health professionals typically wait to see if symptoms persist over two or three consecutive winter seasons before making an official diagnosis, however, no one should have to wait that long to start feeling better! There are several natural remedies that can provide relief.


Vitamin D is known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” because the body produces it when exposed to the sun. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to depression. Check with your doctor to make sure your vitamin D levels are up to par. Adding a supplement could help you feel better, while also improving bone health and boosting your immune system.


It can be challenging to get to the gym or go outside when you are not feeling great, but regular exercise has been proven to help with all types of depression. Staying active increases the production of endorphins – those feel-good chemicals that help ease depressive feelings and clear brain fog. One study showed just 20-30 minutes of walking for 10 consecutive days was enough to significantly reduce depression.


Research also has shown consistency and frequency of exercise has more positive effects then duration or intensity. You do not need to run a marathon or lift massively heavy weights in order to reap the benefits of exercise. Join a group fitness class, walking club or practice yoga. Also, when there is a ray of sunshine or the temperature is tolerable, take advantage! Get as much natural light as possible — your brain and body will thank you for it later. If you can squeeze in a workout outside, great! But even playing fetch with the dog outside will boost your body’s ability to make proper hormones and regulate your circadian rhythm.


Talking it out is another option. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps people change unhealthy habits of thinking, feeling and behaving into positive solutions. Reach out to friends and family, and establish a support network to help ease feelings of isolation.


Finally, be sure to eat a healthy diet. People with SAD tend to crave sweet treats and sugary carbs, which make them look and feel worse. Try to focus on lean protein, leafy greens and fish, which will keep hormones in check and boost serotonin.


These simple lifestyle changes can greatly impact overall mood and health – and help minimize the “winter blues,” should they come knocking on your door this winter.


Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


Chair Yoga

Why should I participate in chair yoga?

By Renee Brown


Yoga is a form of exercise that has been shown to improve core strength and balance, increase flexibility, promote mobility, improve mental health, increase oxygen intake, reduce stress, and help control weight. However, age and injury can often pose a problem for the aspiring yoga student, who may have trouble getting up and down from the floor repeatedly.

Fortunately, there is an effective form of yoga that encourages healthy movement, healing, strength, and joint mobility — regardless of age and fitness level: chair yoga.

Chair yoga allows individuals to experience all the benefits of traditional yoga with the added stability of a chair. In chair yoga, all exercises are performed from a seated position. Chair yoga is a beneficial for people of any fitness level, from active seniors to those recovering from an injury. It integrates the best of flexibility and balance training, with the added benefit of being easy on the joints. Chair yoga also brings the additional benefits of providing movement and stretching to help with chronic pain and symptoms of arthritis, depression, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and a variety of autoimmune conditions.

Before participating in chair yoga, be sure to check with your primary care physician – especially if you have been living a sedentary lifestyle. Let your doctor know you would like to begin chair yoga and explain what it will entail, namely breath work, seated sun salutations lifting your arms and legs, movements to keep your joints lubricated, standing behind your chair for a few poses at the end, and then relaxation.

Once you gain approval from your doctor, check out your local programs. Exhale offers weekly chair yoga classes. You can also check your Silver Sneakers program for other locations, find televised yoga classes on channels such as PBS, or buy a DVD. You could also begin with a private chair yoga class if you have anxiety about being with others. There are added health benefits to participating in group activities and socializing with others but begin wherever you feel comfortable.

Though chair yoga is a low-risk and low-impact form of exercise, you should make sure you have the right equipment to prevent injuries and to get the most out of your workout. Essential chair yoga equipment includes an armless, stable chair (no wobbling!); a flat, level surface for your chair with a yoga mat underneath so it doesn’t slip; flexible, comfortable clothing that isn’t too tight or baggy; space to fully extend your limbs; and an experienced instructor or friend for safety. It’s also best to not eat a heavy meal two hours before yoga.

Once you’re set up and safe, you can begin by trying this overhead stretch:

Begin in a seated position with your feet planted on the floor, facing forward with your arms down by your sides. Take a long, deep breath in and slowly stretch your arms up toward the ceiling. Hold this position for a moment and bring your arms back down with a long exhale. Throughout this exercise, make sure your core is engaged and your back is as straight as possible. Nice slow deep breath in, slow exhale. Notice how your body feels before and then afterwards.

The most important thing when beginning any exercise program is to listen to your body. You may find a little soreness or discomfort when you first begin, but never move towards pain. Let go of the idea of “no pain no gain.” You can make big changes listening to your body and finding joy moving your body with your breath. It’s never too late to reap the benefits of taking care of your health and your body. The first step is to begin.


Renee Brown is the owner of Exhale, which offers a variety of yoga classes, including chair, low back care, restorative, yin, slow flow, mindful flow, meditation and power yoga. Exhale also offers Thai Bodywork, Reiki, and Reflexology. The studio is located at 921 Harmony Road, Suite C, Eatonton (next to Southern Laser Salon & Spa) and can be reached at (706)818-1725. Visit to find a schedule, workshops, and upcoming yoga teacher training.


Benefits of Cilantro

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


Sometimes called Chinese or Mexican parsley, cilantro is both an herb and a spice. The plant bears aromatic seeds, coriander seeds, as well as the common green leaf used to enhance flavor in a food dish.  But cilantro isn’t just good for spicing up your favorite meal, it provides many health benefits, as well.

Cilantro has been proven to have antifungal, antiseptic, antioxidant, disinfectant and antibacterial properties. It can help reduce swelling caused by arthritis and rheumatic diseases because of its polyphenol content. Cilantro helps dissolve cholesterol build up in the arteries, protecting you from heart disease.  It is also a potent chelator, able to remove heavy metals and toxins from the body.

Cilantro has been used around the world for thousands of years to settle nausea, prevent gas and bloating, ease stomach cramps and relieve indigestion. Fresh cilantro often accompanies a spicy dish because of its cooling effects. Fresh cilantro blended with coconut oil can be used topically to soothe sunburn, poison ivy, dry skin and hives. It has natural antihistamines that help calm the immune system response against aggravating allergens.

Cilantro essential oil can also be used at home for anxiety and insomnia. Cilantro benefits your natural sleep cycle through its sedative effects and ability to calm nerves. A recent study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found high levels of cilantro extract produce the same anti-anxiety effect as the drug Valium.

Cilantro is easy to grow at home. Buy organic seeds online and grow in containers at least 8-10 inches deep. It likes bright sun and thrives with some shade. Indoors, cilantro does best in east or southwest windows.  It takes six to twelve weeks for cilantro to grow. You can plant small patches of the herb every two to three weeks throughout the growing season if you would like a steady supply. When the cilantro reaches 6 inches tall, it is time to harvest!

Keep in mind fresh cilantro leaves lose their pungent strength and health benefits when introduced to heat. It is best to add fresh chopped cilantro leaves just prior to serving a hot dish, whether it is hot in temperature or hot in spice level. For raw, cold preparations like guacamole and salsa, cilantro can be added at any point.

Fresh cilantro should be rinsed and then stored upright in a jar in the refrigerator with an inch or two of water in the bottom, and covered with a plastic bag. Remove any slimy or wilted leaves as they present, and your cilantro should remain beautiful and crisp for up to 10 days.

If you want to preserve your cilantro even longer you can prepare cilantro oil. Take one bunch of fresh cilantro and quickly blanch it by dipping it in boiling water, then pat dry. Put the cilantro into the blender, including the stems, add olive oil or ghee, and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. The following morning, remove the mixture from the trays and store in a bag or glass jar in the freezer for whenever you would like to boost your flavor and nutrient content while cooking.

Here are a couple other delicious ways to incorporate cilantro into your diet:

Super Cilantro Guacamole

3 ripe avocadoes

¾ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1 tomato, chopped & gutted

½ medium red onion, chopped

1 jalapeno without seeds, chopped

Juice of one lime

1 tsp of each: garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika

Cut avocados in half. Scoop pulp into a bowl, and mash with a potato masher or fork until slightly chunky. Stir in chopped cilantro and add remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap (allowing wrap to touch mixture to prevent browning) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Serve guacamole with tortilla chips.

Cilantro Jalapeno Aioli

 This aioli is lick-the-spoon good and is a versatile topper for just about anything. Use it as a cole slaw dressing, burger or fish taco condiment, or even a dip for other Mexican-inspired dishes.

¾ cup avocado oil mayonnaise

½ cup firmly packed cilantro leaves

1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, diced

1 ½ garlic cloves, halved

½ lime, juiced

¾ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. salt, or to taste

Blend mayonnaise, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, garlic, lime juice, cumin and salt together in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the flavors blend, at least one hour.


Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


Reduce Holiday Stress

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


Did you know the average food shopper wastes 61 percent of the food he or she purchases? The hallmark of Thanksgiving is a dinner table covered with more food than you can possibly eat in one sitting. But the downside is that this holiday can also be top of the list when it comes to food waste. When it comes to meals, if you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail. To avoid facing a mountain of leftovers this holiday season try some of these tips and tricks to help reduce waste and use your leftovers wisely.


Buy only what you need.

Go to the store prepared with a list of the food items you need. Try to make an accurate prediction of how much food you will need so you are not left with unnecessary amounts of leftovers that you cannot use.


Use the whole vegetable.

If you will be eating carrots, beets or turnips for example, you can eat both the root and the green. Rather than peeling veggies, leave the skin on. You will get more nutrients and reduce waste.


Compost your food scraps.

Many holiday leftovers can be turned into compost (with the exception of nuts, grains or meat). Composting benefits your own plants, the soil, and the environment. It improves the health of your plants, while also reducing pollution.


Freeze your leftovers.

If you cannot finish all of your food in a timely manner, freeze it for later use. A FoodSaver can package items so they can be kept frozen for longer periods, without the risk of freezer burn. Roasted turkey can be frozen for up to three months, but be sure to remove the meat from the bones first. Unlike other forms of cooked potatoes, mashed potatoes can be frozen for many months. However, the mashed potatoes should be well coated with a fat like butter (mashed potatoes made with just broth will not hold up well in the freezer).


Keep in mind that gravy is quite perishable and will only last about two days in the refrigerator. Flour-based turkey gravy can be frozen in ice cube trays for up to four months (milk-based gravies should not be frozen, as they will separate when thawed). Stuffing can be frozen for up to one month. In general, dishes made with pumpkin, sweet potato or squash should hold up in the freezer — especially if they have been pureed first. Rolls and bread will last for months in the freezer. Make sure to separate the rolls and freeze them individually.


Send your leftovers to someone in need.

If you have prepared foods that were not served, or packaged foods you did not eat, there are certain organizations that will distribute them to people in need. If your kids or grandkids are within driving distance, they can always take a goody bag home and take some leftovers off your hands.


Create new meals.

Get creative with your leftovers, repurposing them as soup, salad or healthy casseroles. Turkey is a lean meat that is low in fat and an excellent source of protein, so do not let it go to waste! Turkey provides tryptophan that helps the body make niacin and serotonin, which helps your mood.


Some recipes to consider are sweet potato hash browns, turkey pot pie with stuffing crust, turkey shepherd’s pie, leftover turkey quiche, turkey tortilla soup, southwest turkey lettuce wraps, curry turkey salad, sweet potato pancakes and next day turkey primavera.


Here are two simple leftover recipes you can add to this year’s post-Thanksgiving Day menu:


Muffin Cup Stuffing “Scotch Eggs”

Simply press left over stuffing into muffin cups and make a nest for a cracked egg. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix stuffing with some stock until well saturated. Spray muffin cups with oil, press 1/3 cup stuffing mixture into each cup. Use a shot glass to pack stuffing into the cup along the sides. Crack 1 egg into each hole. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until yolk is set. Sprinkle with pepper and hot sauce.


Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup

1 picked over turkey carcass

1 ½ half cups left over stuffing

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 bay leaves

2 ½ quarts chicken broth

2 cups uncooked rice

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

garlic salt and pepper to taste


Place the turkey carcass in a large, deep pot and add the stuffing, celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, poultry seasoning and chicken broth. Pour in additional water if needed to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce to medium and simmer for about 1 hour, skimming off any foam. Remove the carcass and any bones. Pick off any meat and return to the pot, discarding bones and skin. Season to taste with garlic salt and pepper. Stir in the rice and return to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes until rice is tender. Adjust seasoning to taste.


Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care.  Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting.  In addition, the practice is committed to being a valuable source of information so that people can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent future illness.  Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro.  The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most common nerve compression disorder of the upper extremity. One reason it is so common is because many daily activities require fast, repetitive use of the arms, hands and fingers.

The reoccurring friction on the muscle and tendons causes swelling and inflammation. When there is less available space within the carpal tunnel (due to inflamed tendons, for example) the added pressure can compress the median nerve as it passes through the small tunnel in the wrist. (The median nerve gives sensation to the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger.) The result is pain, numbness, tingling and loss of grip strength. The pain can range from a mild tingling to severely crippling.

Gender plays a role in the development of CTS as women have a greater risk of developing it than men. This is due in part to women having smaller wrists, which causes reduced tunnel space. CTS is also more prevalent in pregnant women and more likely to worsen in the second half of pregnancy. This is because fluid retention can increase the pressure in the narrow, inflexible space in the wrist.

To help relieve pain and swelling, freeze water in a small cup and use as an ice massage by rubbing it on the palm side of the wrist for 3-5 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times a day. Rest, compression and elevation can also help decrease inflammation and discomfort. Symptoms in pregnant women usually go away gradually after birth, as the swelling and fluid retention from pregnancy subsides.

People with occupations requiring fast, repetitive movements or firm grips, with little rest, have a higher likelihood of developing CTS. Some people may even notice symptoms when performing hobbies such as playing piano, writing or crocheting and knitting.

For those who work in an office, ergonomic workstation modifications can be helpful:


  • Use correct posture by sitting up straight, elbows about 90°, and forearms parallel with the desk.
  • Place computer monitors at eye level.
  • Use a headset or “hands free” option when on the phone to avoid a prolonged head/neck posture that is not in the neutral position.
  • Avoid extended amounts of time with the wrist in flexion or extension by using a wrist rest for the keyboard and mouse.

When performing repetitive motion tasks, be sure to incorporate rest periods. You can set an alarm to go off every 20 minutes or so.  Use your “micro break” to:


  • Shake the fingers and hands out to increase blood flow and circulation to the area to prevent swelling.
  • Stretch the neck by performing rotational movements, side-to side-bending and chin tucks.
  • Bend the hand/wrist by using the opposite hand to stretch the fingers and palm back in order to lengthen the forearm muscles.
  • Perform deep tissue release of the forearm and hand muscles by pinning the tight muscle with your finger and moving it through its full range of motion.


If your job requires repetitive firm grips, try to choose a tool that allows the wrist to remain in a neutral position. Minimize vibration from power tools by wearing shock-absorbing gloves. Avoid frigid work environments and cold tools.

Obesity can contribute to CTS due to fatty deposits or extra fluid that can build up within the carpal tunnel. An anti-inflammatory diet with whole fruits and vegetables is helpful. Other anti-inflammatory measures include increasing omega-3 intake (flax/chia seeds, fish oil) or nutrients such as ginger, boswellia and turmeric. Avoid foods high in saturated fats such as cheese and processed meats, as they can slow down circulation. Limit sodium, which can cause fluid retention and increase swelling. Sugar, alcohol and processed grains like gluten can also increase inflammation, making the pain worse.

Unfortunately, because there are many factors associated with CTS, there is no “one size fits all” treatment or prevention. However, it’s important to note, the median nerve starts in the neck, travels through the shoulder, the muscular areas of the upper arm and forearm, and finally through the carpal tunnel of the wrist. That means there are several places where the median nerve can become compressed, aside from the wrist. In order to achieve successful, long-lasting results, the compression of the nerve at any point along its path must be relieved. A pinched nerve in the neck or shoulder can alter median nerve function and exacerbate CTS symptoms.

Pathways to healing offers helpful natural therapies using instruments to align the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers, as well as soft tissue therapy techniques for the forearm. A multi-modal approach generally works best, so we educate our patients on self-management and at-home treatments — including corrective exercises, joint range of motion, muscle stretching techniques and diet modifications – to help achieve lasting results.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Benefits of Bone Broth

The Benefits of Bone Broth

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


Bone broth dates back to the Stone Age, when it was cooked in turtle shells over the fire to promote healing. Now, this ancient food is experiencing a 21st century resurgence, thanks to its many health benefits – including protecting joints, promoting gut health, supporting the immune system, fighting cold symptoms and maintaining healthy skin.

Bone broth businesses can now be found in health-conscious cities across America. Medea’s Real Food Café in Arden, NC sells bone broth from local bones, served hot in house or available frozen to take home. In New York City, there is a bone broth subscription service called Bone Deep & Harmony and a restaurant called Brodo where they serve warm broth by the cup with numerous add ins for nutritional boosts.

Former Los Angeles Lakers NBA player Kobe Bryant is among many top-level athletes who swear by bone broth to keep their body in tip-top shape. Bryant reports, “I’ve been having bone broth as a pre-game meal for a while now. I find it is great for my energy and inflammation!”

So, how exactly does drinking bone broth improve our overall health?

As we age, our cartilage diminishes and joints experience natural wear and tear. The result is a decrease in flexibility and sometimes pain. Bone broth is an excellent source of natural collagen, glucosamines and amino acids that assist the human body in forming connective tissue that covers our bony structures and seals the protective lining of our gastrointestinal tract. As bone broth simmers, the collagen from the animal bones leaches into the broth and becomes easily absorbable. Consuming these nutrients helps restore and support aging joints. Collagen also helps maintain skin’s youthful tone by reducing the visible signs of wrinkles. The amino acids assist digestion by helping the production of bile salts and regulating the secretion of gastric acids.

You’ve likely heard the old adage that chicken soup will help cure a cold. As it turns out, there is scientific proof to support that claim. According to medical doctor and UCLA professor Irwin Ziment, bone broth naturally contains the amino acid cysteine, which chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine. In 2000, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians studied bone broth and found it helpful in clearing mucus, opening respiratory pathways and providing anti-inflammatory benefits. Drinking homemade bone broth during cold and flu season can help speed recuperation and relieve symptoms.

Bone broth is low in calories and high in minerals, making it a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Homemade bone broth is the most nutrient dense, and simple to make. Since you are extracting minerals from bones and drinking them in concentrated form, be sure the animal source is as healthy as possible. Only use high-quality bones from grass-fed cattle, bison, lamb, pastured poultry, wild caught fish or locally hunted deer. There are several places to find good bones for stock from local butchers and farmers. You can save leftovers when you roast chicken, duck, goose or this year’s Thanksgiving turkey. There are also online companies that sell high-quality bones for good prices, such as Tropical Traditions, US Wellness Meats and Thrive Market.

Broth ingredients:

-2 pounds or more of bones from a healthy source

-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

-3 celery stalks, chopped

-2 carrots, chopped

-1 onion, quartered

-sea salt



-If you are using raw bones (especially beef bones) I have found it improves the flavor to roast them in the oven before boiling them. Place bones on a pan and roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

-Place bones in a large stockpot or crockpot. Cover with filtered water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.

-Let bones sit for 30 minutes in the cool water with the vinegar to leach the minerals out of the bones. (The acid in the vinegar makes the nutrients from the bones more available.)

-Add vegetables to the pot and turn on the heat. Bring broth to a boil, then cover and simmer for 8 to 48 hours. If you have to leave home while it is cooking, a crockpot is recommended. Set it on low for 12-24 hours.

-Skim the “scum” (frothy/foamy layer) with a big spoon as it simmers the first few hours.

-Remove from heat and let the broth cool slightly, strain it to remove the bits of bones and vegetables.

-Store in glass jars in the fridge (up to a week) or freezer (up to 6 months).

-Drink the broth like a hot cup of tea. You can add sea salt or cayenne pepper for additional flavor, or use in soups or stews.

-Consume eight ounces daily upon waking or before bed as a health boost. Some restaurants whisk in an egg until cooked as a soup.


Fill your mug this fall with a savory bone broth, and reap the benefit of valuable nutrients that will nourish your body throughout the winter season.


Pumpkin: It’s not just for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin: It’s not just for Thanksgiving
By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Chances are, if someone mentions pumpkins this time of year, your first thought will be pie at Thanksgiving or carving jack-o-lanterns. But pumpkins are also a wonderful, nutrient-dense ingredient that can be added to soups, salads, casseroles, breads and even dog treats!

Pumpkins belong to the cucumber family and are related to cantaloupes. They come in large and small varieties, as well as different colors and shapes. Pumpkins pack a significant nutritional punch by providing a healthy dose of vitamin C, potassium, copper and manganese. The bright orange color of most pumpkins is caused by high levels of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a plant carotenoid that converts to vitamin A in the body. Carotenoids act as an antioxidant in the body by tackling harmful free radicals and stimulate the immune system to work properly. Pumpkins also provide vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, B6, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. All combined, these vitamins and minerals have a dramatic effect on your health. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana!

The seeds from pumpkins are also a concentrated source of minerals, vitamins, protein and fiber. Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid tryptophan, which relaxes the body, calms nerves and improves sleep. Roasted pumpkin seeds are an easy, transportable snack. To roast pumpkin seeds, wash them thoroughly in cold water after extracting them from the pumpkin. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 225 degrees for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adding a sprinkle of natural salt helps bring out their nutty flavor.
When buying pumpkins to cook with, be sure to find one that is fully ripe. You can check this by tapping on the outside. Your tap should produce a dense, hollow “thump.” Pass on pumpkins that have cuts, wrinkled surface skin, or blemishes. Store your pumpkin in a cool, dry place and it should be good for several weeks.

This Pumpkin Cauliflower Soup is a healthy way to get your pumpkin fix this fall. The soup is vegetarian and vegan friendly, hearty and comforting, and the ginger gives it a little zing!

Pumpkin and Cauliflower Soup with Ginger
-1 medium onion, diced
-2 stalks of celery, chopped
-1 large carrot, chopped
-2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 (10 ounce) cans vegetable or chicken broth
-1 (27 ounce) can pumpkin purée
-1 cup water
-1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
-1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 head cauliflower

1. Sauté onion, celery, and carrot in large pot on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
2. Add the ginger and garlic to the pot and stir until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, pumpkin purée, water, thyme, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower (can use your hands to break it down into smaller florets).
3. With a lid slightly ajar, simmer the soup on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes or until vegetable have softened.
4. Purée the soup using a blender.
5. The soup will be thick, you can add water to thin it out and enjoy!

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. In addition, the practice is committed to being a valuable source of information so that people can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent future illness. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


Pain in the Shoulder

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

The shoulder is the most complex joint in the human body. Studies show nearly 90 percent of the population will tear or damage their rotator cuff, labrum and/or shoulder capsule at some point in their lives. Most of us are unaware how important the shoulder is until we injure it. Shoulder pain of any sort can make daily activities like combing your hair, brushing your teeth, sleeping and getting dressed complicated and painful.

The reason for the high prevalence of shoulder injury is due to the anatomy and structure of the shoulder. The human shoulder is made up of a complicated system of bones, joints, connective tissue and muscles. The shoulder’s ball and socket joint allows for excellent mobility, but unfortunately a joint cannot be both highly stable and highly mobile. In the case of the shoulder, mobility comes at the expense of stability.

There are many ways we can injure the shoulder, such as falling, throwing, lifting, painting, cleaning, swinging a tennis racket or golf club. Problems can also occur from natural wear and tear over time. One of the biggest challenges in managing shoulder pain is finding the origin. Shoulder pain can be musculoskeletal in nature, it can be referred pain from a visceral organ, it can result from overuse (as in the cases of bursitis or tendonitis), there can be tears in the connective tissue, bone spurs or muscle imbalance.

What’s more, the shoulder is slow to recover from injury. Some research shows only about half of all new shoulder pain episodes achieve complete recovery within six months. Factor in aging, chronic health conditions that slow healing (like diabetes), and hobbies or jobs that are repetitive in nature and increase the risk of re-injury, and it is easy to see why many don’t fully recover from shoulder pain.

Chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists and orthopedists are just a few specialists who can help ease shoulder pain. The use of manipulation, mobilization, magnetic field therapy, TENS unit and modalities like cold lasers can help tremendously, but some shoulder injuries do require surgery. If your shoulder pain has not resolved on its own by resting 1 to 2 weeks, you should check with your doctor. However, that does NOT mean you should wait two weeks before seeing someone about your shoulder. The sooner you see a doctor the quicker you can begin treatment and resolve the issue before surgery becomes the only option.

When it comes to keeping our shoulders healthy, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.  Here are a few ways to protect your shoulders on a daily basis:

  1. When working with your arms overhead, take small breaks to let the shoulder recover.
  2. Do not reach in the back seat and lift a heavy purse, bag or briefcase at an awkward angle in order to get it to the front seat.
  3. If you are facing a challenging task, request a helping hand. Do not feel insecure about asking for help. It is better to be safe than sorry!
  4. Follow an exercise program that maintains strength in your shoulders and contains opposition exercises to keep the shoulder muscles balanced. For example, if you are going to do push-ups, make sure you also do pull-ups. In this way, both sides of the body are strengthened for optimal balance and pain-free function.

The following stretches can be done at home to help further balance the shoulder joint and prevent simple injuries:

Pendulum exercise
Bend at your waist with one hand hanging down and your other arm supporting your upper body on a table or chair. Relax your hanging arm completely and swing it gently and slowly in a figure 8 direction in both clockwise and counter clockwise. You can grasp a light weight, such as a soup can, while smoothly swinging the arm. Circle 10-15 times each direction, do 1-2 sets per day.

Finger wall walks
Face a wall. Using one arm at a time, slowly walk your fingers up the wall, moving your arm upward as far as you can reach comfortably. Then walk your fingers gradually back down the wall (STOP if there is any point of pain). Repeat 10-20 times.

Cross-body reach
Lift one arm at the elbow and bring it up and across your body and hold a stretch for 20-30 seconds. Each day try working on reaching further across your body in order to increase mobility.

Towel stretch
Take a small towel that is about 3 feet long and hold each side with your hand. Bring the towel behind your back and grab the opposite end with the other hand. Pull the top arm upward while also pulling the other lower arm downward to stretch your shoulders. You can also hold the towel on both ends while pulling with both arms to keep the towel tight and raise your arms in front of you and above your head, keeping elbows straight at all times.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.