5 Most Common Causes of Back Pain

Many people I see don’t know where their back or neck pain comes from.

Fortunately, they still chose to do something about it.

But even more people mistakenly think because the pain came on unexpectedly,
it will leave unexpectedly too.

Rarely the case…

Everything has a cause.
When we ignore it, it often resurfaces continually because it was never addressed.
The longer it does, the harder to treat later on.

Just waiting, or masking with pain killers or muscle relaxers rarely corrects the true underlying issue.

The smart choice is to get it corrected as soon as possible so it doesn’t effect you for years to come.

So you have a better idea of what to look for,
here are the 5 most common causes of back pain:

1. An acute accident or injury.  A slip and fall, muscle strain, vehicle accident, sprain from lifting or similar event often causes immediate pain.

2. Sub acute accident or injury. A relatively mild injury a day or so before the pain began. In many situations the event was so mild you did not even notice the injury.  Then sleeping and sitting incorrectly further emphasizes the issue.

3. Chronic pain from ongoing mechanical stress. Perfect example is a desk job that involves hours of sitting each day. Even if they have ergonomic furniture, the prolonged sitting and leaning forward causes back or neck pain.

4. Degenerative discs or joints. This is usually the result of disc and joint deterioration as a result of an injury long ago.  And in some cases a patient is simply more prone to early spinal degeneration as a result of genetics.

Degenerative joint conditions often develop silently for years and are not revealed until the patient realizes that their back pain is getting worse over time.

Degenerative disc processes also include bulging or herniated discs that can result in pinched nerves.

5. Other disease processes such as arthritis. Although patients are often told this, true arthritic conditions are not often the correct diagnosis. In many cases patients with degenerative disc conditions are misdiagnosed as having arthritis. It is important to get the diagnosis correct to make the best decisions about treatment.

Always Looking Out For You,
Dr Josh Wagner

Unsuspecting Causes of Obesity

When I was a student at NYU, I began listening to 50′s music.

I don’t know how it happened, but I was definitely the only one I knew with a doo-wop mix in my car.

Just the other weekend I took my mom to see Jersey Boys too.

While walking through Times Square, I wanted to grab a quick bite so I wasn’t hungry during the show.

Do you know how hard it is to find anything relatively healthy around Times Square?

I thought of the recent decision passed by the AMA (American Medical Association)….
Obesity is now considered a disease.

We’re surrounded by food options that are horrible for our bodies or just relatively unhealthy but we often don’t even know it.

Did you know?

  • Science suggests that one can of soft drink per day increases your chances of diabetes by 22%. (And Diet Soda isn’t ANY better for you)
  • Extra calories from drinking sugar-filled beverages don’t register with your brain for satiety – so you’ll go on to eat the same amount of food in addition.
  • Of the 600,000 food items in the American grocery store, 80 percent have been spiked with added sugar; and the industry uses 56 other names for sugar on the label.
  • Think you don’t have a sweet tooth, but crave bagels, chips, or French fries?  These starchy foods are complex carbs the body breaks down into simple sugars. White rice, white flour, and potatoes do this. Highly refined starches like white bread, pretzels, crackers, and pasta are the worst.
  • Think you don’t eat that much sugar?  ”The average American consumes up to 31 pounds of sugar a year. Our excess intake of sugar, from the white stuff on the table to the high-fructose corn syrup hidden in packaged foods, is not only making us sick, it’s making us fat and aging our skin,” says Brooke Alpert, MS RD.

Want to learn how to better ween off sugar, to see a change not only in your weight and body, but your skin, energy, and sleep?

Check out the newly written book: The Sugar Detox
written by expert Brooke Alpert, MS RD who has a great private practice on the upper east side and was featured on The Dr Oz Show just last week!

Always looking out for you,

Dr Josh Wagner

Cortisone Injections

Two weeks ago I visited a renowned doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

He had pictures everywhere of himself beside presidents, celebrities, and top athletes.

Interestingly though, he declined my offer of a picture together…

Anyway, as peculiar as some of his treatments were, I couldn’t imagine negative side effects occurring from his approach.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case in most western models of treatment.

I thought you’d be interested in the latest WebMD study…
Click Here

Often I hear people succumbing to cortisone injections for their back pain, BEFORE doing anything else possible.

Spinal injections are often the quickest route to an eventual back surgery.

But now studies are showing correlations with cortisone injections leading to bone fractures…

A cortisone injection is an extremely powerful but unnatural anti-inflammatory.

Yes, it often provides pain relief.  But it is the same pain the body produced to limit harmful movement.

After an injection the patient feels able to move in ways he/she shouldn’t move…making the back issue worse.

The results of a spinal surgery are often permanent, and the success statistics are usually poor too.

Moral of the story; do all you can, as naturally as possible, before submitting to invasive injections.

Low force chiropractic care is a great way to start.

So many people avoid injections and eventual surgeries from proper, non-invasive spinal care.

If you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to call my practice.
I’m here for you.

Always looking out for you,

Dr Josh Wagner

Vitamin D

I’ve always felt the most natural way something can be done is the most effective.

Over the past year, numerous studies have confirmed the same thing in a controversial area.

And it flies in the face of what most people have been taught to believe.

These studies have ALL found that nothing takes the place of healthy exposure to the sun to increase Vit D in your body.
In fact, supplementation does NOT lead to increased Vit. D overall.  

Do you ever notice how much better you feel in the summer time?
Do you know why?

Exposing skin to peak sunshine ultra-violet B rays for a 1/2 hour 3-4 times a week is the healthiest way to boost your vitamin D levels. 

The summer sun also increases your serotonin levels.

Of course it’s possible to get sunburned from the sun’s UVA rays, but impossible to overdose on vitamin D3 from UVB exposure.
Just be smart about your exposure time.

Summertime is the time to ditch the skin cancer paranoia and get plenty of reasonable direct sunlight to the skin.

You’ll notice your elevated mood and your increased energy after just the first day in the sun. 

After all, the sun is what gives life to everything on this planet.
It is far more beneficial for you than negative, when you respect it.
So give yourself the gift of a few minutes in direct sunlight.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Always looking out for you,

Dr Josh Wagner

Got Allergies?

Throughout my youth before attending NYU, I could eat anything without consequence.

Not only didn’t I gain weight, but never had allergies, food sensitivities, or any of the food reactions so common today.

That has certainly changed.

Now, I know when I eat foods that disagree with my system.  For instance, after heavy carbs, gluten, dairy and low quality meats, I experience a drop in energy and even mental sluggishness.

So I try to avoid eating these foods, especially during practice days.

To satisfy my curiosity, I recently took one of the most recommended food sensitivity tests – the ALCAT.

I was very surprised by the results I just got back.

For example, turns out I am VERY sensitive to coconut and egg yolk – 2 foods I love and value nutritionally.

Maybe because over the last 5 years I’ve had a spoonful of coconut oil almost every morning and my body is saying “That’s enough…”

I get to have a 30 min consult with an ALCAT rep, so I look forward to finding out why and how these results showed up?

Whether out of curiosity, or you know you have sensitivities but cannot pinpoint which foods, I recommend trying one of the ALCAT tests for yourself.
It could be a factor in weight loss resistance, skin issues, hormones, and even your energy levels.

Even if you’ve not a patient of mine, I can approve the test for you since it needs to be ordered through a practitioner.

It’s super simple, and provides valuable information that lasts a lifetime.

Click HERE to choose a test that fits your interest.

Always looking out for you,

Dr Josh Wagner

PS – A nurse from their company will come to your location to do the blood draw in 15 minutes – it’s so convenient.

Best Alarm Clock for Sleep Quality

The “Sleep Cycle” App

I was turned on to this .99 cent App for my iPhone a month ago.
I rarely download Apps, let alone purchase them.

Yet this made sense to me so I gave it a try.
I now recommend it enthusiastically.

Check it out for yourself.  http://www.sleepcycle.com/

If awakes you during a time span you allot in the morning
during your lightest phase of sleep.

It also has the most soothing alarms I’ve heard from the iPhone.

Meaning you don’t get woken up in the middle of a deep sleep or REM,
rather rested and relaxed.

Always looking out for you,

Dr Josh Wagner

6 Question You Should Ask About the Flu (shot)

The fall weather is fast approaching and the notorious “flu season” is upon us. Just like every year we’re advised to get the flu vaccine or suffer terrible consequences…

The CDC wants almost everyone to be vaccinated. So should you get the shot – or not?

Did you know the Flu vaccine actually weakens your immune system and many times makes you more predisposed to illnesses, even the flu itself? The vaccine can put one’s health at great risk – from immune system complications such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, and ear infections to toxicity issues with many of the vaccines given today still containing mercury and formaldehyde. Ultimately, the statistics between those who get the flu after receiving the shot and those who don’t are rather similar… Isn’t that interesting?!

Why does 1 person get the flu, while another living in the exact environment, does not?

This question is a hallmark for understanding health and how our body works. You see, whether it is cancer, allergies, the flu, or a fever, the underlying factor is always ourselves, not the disease. What this means is that it is our body’s inability to fight off an outside invader (or internal disease) that ultimately causes us to get sick, not the outside bacteria, virus, or “disease” itself. How could 2 people living in the same exact environment not be exposed to the exact same elements? It’s impossible, they always are. Yes, some bacteria are harder to fend off than others, but it always comes down to the strength of the immune system’s ability to protect itself, before the strength of the outside pathogen.

That is why the first priority in all matters of health is to build ourselves up strongest 1st before attempting to attack everything else, because there is a never ending supply of outside invaders!


Who Should Get the Flu Shot?

It’s nobody’s job to tell you to get a flu shot (or not get one) and that includes your own primary care physician. Informed consent and an individual making a knowledgeable decision based upon unbiased information they have been provided and researched themselves are my best advice. Unfortunately, most people don’t know much about the flu vaccine other than what the media, their friend, or their doctor tells them, so they think there is nothing wrong with receiving it. They’re told it will prevent the flu and comes without any risk; or the ever-popular claim that “catching the flu will be much, much worse than getting sick from the shot.”

So How Accurate is This Year’s Vaccine?

Each year, federal health agency officials try to guess which three flu strains are most likely to be prevalent in the U.S. the following year to determine which strains will be included in the next year’s flu vaccine. Funny thing is, it can only be based on the previous year’s strain. Did you know there are thousands of strains of flu that adapt, change, and evolve every single season? So if we are basing this coming season’s vaccine on last season’s strain, will we ever get it accurate? No wonder people who get vaccinated get the flu just as often as those who do not. This is the question I posed to a CDC MD. He didn’t have a response.

What If You Are Nursing…?

The drug companies also note that it is not known whether their vaccine is excreted in human milk. Since many drugs are excreted in human milk, they advise caution when administering the vaccine to a nursing mother. It is also not known whether the drugs can cause fetal harm or how they affect reproduction capacity in women. Furthermore, the vaccines have not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or for impairment of fertility. Yet, the CDC continues to recommend all pregnant women get the flu shot since they too are “high risk.” Confused yet?

How About Tamiflu For Your Flu?

That is the drug available if you get the flu to prevent new virus particles from being released, thus slowing or stopping the spread of the virus. On average, a person recovers 30% faster on Tamiflu. Common adverse drug reactions associated with Tamiflu include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache , which are all symptoms of the flu…Yes? Rare reactions even include hepatitis and elevated liver enzymes.
I believe in maintaining a strong immune system through living a healthy life and taking natural preventive measures, and making choices which promote health and well-being.

The flu shot is not part of this plan.

How to Best Avoid the Flu? 9 Best Practices

1. Avoid refined foods such as white sugars, (especially high fructose corn syrup), and flour which suppress the immune system
2. ALWAYS avoid fake sweeteners like Splenda and NutraSweet
3. Avoid “bad” fats – partially hydrogenated oils
4. Reduce the amount of omega 6 fats in your diet which are in many packaged, baked, and fast foods. They’re the corn, soy, safflower, peanut, and yes even canola oil.
5. Eat organic vegetables and lots of them
6. Drink plenty of pure filtered water
7. Limit caffeine intake (coffee, tea, chocolate, & sodas)
8. Exercise daily…break a sweat! It is wonderful for your skin health too.
9. Get plenty of high quality sleep (and correct your sleep problems)
10. Make sure your nervous system is balanced. Specific chiropractic adjustments balance the nervous system and increase your immune  response.


Exhausting or Invigorating? Tips to Optimize Your Summer Getaway

“A vacation creates an opportunity to detach from our fixed, unconscious and often unhealthy ways of being and doing, and start fresh, rather than continue stressing your body through overextended schedules, overeating and overindulging.”

A recent survey showed than Americans would rather save money for a big vacation than put it away for their kids’ college education. But have you ever returned home from one of those long-awaited, expensive vacations even more exhausted than when you left?

BUT, summer vacations can be an opportunity to break out of those unhealthy daily routines, revitalize yourself and rejuvenate your health.

Wagner suggests these proactive steps to creating a memorable, health-focused – and perhaps even life-changing – summer vacation that will actually enhance your life when you return home.

*Go Unplugged: Has your IPhone or laptop become permanently attached to your body? Make the commitment to reduce your online time to 15 minutes a day, in the late afternoon or early evening or before dinner (so you cannot get hooked into your work/emails because you already have scheduled plans). Or better yet, how about not checking your computer/email at all? “Make this time an exercise in delegation/outsourcing your business needs,” says Wagner.

*Let THEM Do the Work: Is walking around a big city with a map in your hands the whole time really all that relaxing? By booking a trip that is all-inclusive — not just your meals, but your itinerary as well – can up your pleasure and reduce your stress. “Don’t try to figure it out ALL on your own,” says Wagner. “Have someone plan it or take you on it for you.”

*Choose Smart Destinations: This year, why not schedule vacations that ensure you actually get to rest and rejuvenate your body, rather than being constantly on the run, or be tempted to overindulge in too much food and drink. If you usually opt for overcrowded amusements parks or tourist destinations, go to a resort with a pool, spa and great views instead.

*Break Old Habits: When you’re outside of your daily routine and environment, its easier to change your habits: For starters, take on a new healthy dietary change, such as opting for a healthy breakfast without any dairy, soy, carbs, sugars, caffeine. “Experiment with breaking one unhealthy habit, and you’ll be amazed how easily you’re able to live without it,” says Wagner.

*Go Within: Bring a journal. Call family/friends who seem to get lost during the day-to-day stress and routines and have a meaningful conversation. Or simply enjoy your spouse, or traveling companions, without the daily distractions getting in the way.

So make a commitment this year to find ways to invigorate, rather than exhaust, yourself, on your vacation, and see what a difference it makes to your overall wellness.  Albert Einstein used to take the entire summer off every year to go sailing. No math or physics whatsoever. This was his way of letting his mind rest, to start anew the following year. If he can do it, so can you.

Tilapia: What You Need To Know…


Fish may not always be good for you. Fish can either be incredibly healthy or detrimental to our health, depending on where it’s sourced. There’s a world of difference between fish caught in the wild, and farm bred or farm-raised fish.

The most common offenders of farm raised fish are:

Sea bass
Why is Farm Raised Fish So Bad for You?

1. Causes Inflammation

Farm raised Tilapia has always been a popular source for fish because it’s widely available and also very inexpensive.  Tilapia is the perfect factory fish; it happily eats pellets made largely of corn and soy to gain weight rapidly, easily converting a diet that resembles cheap chicken feed into low-cost seafood. 

Tilapia can increase the body’s inflammatory response, leading to serious health problems. People who have started eating more fish as a way to get their dose of omega-3-fatty-acids and lessen their risk of heart attacks should avoid Tilapia. In fact, scientists have found that the inflammatory potential of Tilapia is greater than that of a hamburger or even bacon!

2. Contains Cancer Causing Pollutants

Farm bred fish may have at least 10 times the cancer causing pollutants compared to their wild counter parts. This is most likely be attributed to the feeds used on farm-raised fish. Did you know chicken feces is one of the main ingredients in farm fish feed. 

3. Contains Antibiotics and Pesticides

Where do farm bred fish get their antibiotics? The crowded conditions of fish farms cause the fish to be more susceptible to disease. To keep them alive, farm owners give massive amounts of antibiotics to the fish to fend off disease. Farm bred fish are also treated with pesticides to combat sea lice. The pesticides used to treat these fish are so deadly that they have been found to kill wild salmon that are accidentally exposed to them. 

4. Low Levels of Nutrients

Many of us consume fish, hoping to reap the omega-3 fatty acid benefits that come with it. However, did you know that the omega-3-acids found in farm raised fish are less usable to our bodies compared to wild bred fish, and they also have a lower protein content?  Not only that, because farm raised fish are kept in cages, they have the tendency to contain more fat, and can have a higher concentration of omega-6 acids. The problem with getting too much omega 6 acids is that they it causes inflammation to the body

5. Contains Toxic Chemicals

Dibutylin levels (toxic chemical used in PVC plastics) is said to be 6 times higher in farm raised mussels compared to wild ones. Dibutylin is toxic and can impair immune system function while also contributing to inflammation.

6. Contains Even MORE Toxic Chemicals

Dioxin levels (toxic chemical) are 11 times higher in farm bred salmon compared to wild salmon. Dioxin is actually a very toxic chemical that can contribute to cancer and other complications. The problem with dioxin is that once it enters our system, it can take a very long time until it is let out.

This is why I recommend eating Wild Caught fish like Wild Sockeye Salmon. Wild caught salmon is loaded with Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, and has incredible health benefits. 

Where to Get Wild Caught Fish

1. Local Health Food Stores, Whole Foods. Be careful though, because “wild caught” can be a loosely used term, so ask.  This means that the fish could be farm raised, then released into a lake, and then “caught” back up.  Seriously, labeling is that absurd.

2. Online.  I trust Vital Choice, it’s where I order my wild caught Salmon.


Why I Don’t Recommend Pasteurized Dairy Consumption

Many people are fooled into believing if the label reads “Organic”, then the product is 100% healthy. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Why do I not recommend pasteurized dairy consumption?  Because it’s not providing you with any nutrients for your health.  Pasteurization is a process to heat milk to a specific temperature for a set time to kill potentially bad bacteria that may have found its way into the milk supply. The problem with pasteurization is that it kills ALL the beneficial bacteria we refer to as probiotics, as well as damaging the vitamins, minerals and denaturing the proteins.  Not only does this leave you with no nutrients in the product, but this can lead to health issues when consistently consuming denatured proteins.  Just as the microwave harms the nutrients in your food, pasteurization does the same exact thing.

So even if you are purchasing organic dairy products, chances are you’re just consuming empty calories.  All of the nutritional value has been destroyed.  The only real positive is that you’re avoiding the unhealthy antibiotics and hormones that are not added to the organic products, so it is clearly more beneficial than non-organic dairy.

What to look for: Low-Temp Pasteurization – Milk is only heated to 145º. This is significant because it’s below the temperature that kills most of the beneficial enzymes and the proteins remain in-tact. The main downside to low-temp pasteurization is that some of the enzymes and probiotics can be damaged. Low-temp is the closest to raw milk products most of us in the US can get and I believe Whole Foods carries some of these products.

Lastly, for New Yorkers who are interested in non-pasteurized (raw) dairy products, check out www.uddermilk.com for farm to home free delivery service of a variety of products.

Enjoy the longest day of the year, and hottest!  (Drink extra water)

Dr Josh


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