Whiplash and Statins both Cause Pain

Many people are surprised after a car accident to realize that they are sore—that’s because they always thought people with whiplash were faking it. They’re surprised to find out that whiplash is real. There’s an actual mechanism that accounts for it! During trauma, cells are torn and destroyed. Torn parts of the outside fatty layer of the cell enter the pathway that makes inflammatory chemicals (called prostaglandins). That’s why taking over-the-counter pain relievers can give you relief—the drug inhibits the enzyme that makes prostaglandin.

Typically, healing from trauma leads to fibrotic or scarred tissue and this leads to pain and degeneration. Fibrotic tissues are sensitive and weaker; they reduce messages into the spinal cord while opening the pain gate to the brain. So it stands to reason that a person’s body will need nutrients to heal the injured areas.

In addition to physical trauma, people can endure chemical trauma to the cells when they use statin drugs (cholesterol-lowering medications like Lipitor). They have very poor collagen-making abilities. Apparently the medication robs so much CoQ10 (ubiquinone) out of the cells, that there isn’t enough left for making energy (ATP). Tendon and ligament injuries are frequently reported. And new collagen virtually falls apart! A person would have to supplement with 600 micrograms of CoQ10 a day to overcome the depletion from taking statin drugs. The risk of peripheral neuropathy goes up by 1600%! [Neurology May 2002 and Statin Drug Side Effects by Graveline (retired astronaut/physician)]

In our office we can’t accept new patients who are taking statin drugs. Their prognosis would be so poor that it would appear their care would fail, when in fact it is the body’s inability to heal and repair collagen, the stretchy material in muscles, ligaments, tendons and arteries.

The most current research says that cholesterol levels are NOT a true risk of heart/stroke problems. Rather, C-Reactive Protein levels are. To reduce your risk of heart/stroke problems in a healthy way, then take heed of prevalent research that has shown a minimum of 1500mg of Omega 3 fish oils a day for 3 months drastically reduces the risk of a first heart attack. At the same time, Omega 3’s are well-known in the research to decrease pain levels.


What Exercises Will Stop My Pain?

Exercising Strengthens the Existing Misalignments

In our culture it is very common for patients’ primary care doctors to refer them to physical therapy when they have pain. So there is a very ingrained idea with patients that the way to get rid of pain is through exercise.

There appears to be some workability with exercising and stretching because patients may get some relief for a period of time. However, when they discontinue the stretches or exercises, many patients have told me the pain comes back. Other patients find exercising kind of hurts and others barely get relief from stretching or exercising.

When in pain, patients already naturally stretch the tight areas to get relief. So it is interesting that patients want to know what secret exercise might actually finally make them better when I meet with them.

Unfortunately there isn’t any exercise that will fix the problem. When the bones are twisted out of place in a way they cannot realign themselves, stretched muscles will eventually tighten back up because they are connected to misaligned bones. The muscles DON’T pull the bones out of place. Bad alignment twists muscles, causing them to tighten. Exercising your body temporarily changes the positions of the bones and muscles. But due to the mechanics of the spinal column and the inability of a vertebrae to realign itself BACKWARDS, there is limited workability in exercising to fix pain.

For many problems, there ISN’T any exercise that can fix certain misalignments because there’s no muscle that pulls the vertebrae backwards.

Once patients begin ABC care, their spine is realigned in the direction that the spine CANNOT fix on its own. Then they don’t NEED to stretch the muscle to get relief from the tightness or pain. But after beginning a course of care, any exercise they do WILL benefit them tremendously. Stretching will feel more natural and easier. And strengthening exercises will give the postural muscles better tone. Stronger muscles hold the body in place, making it less likely for the spine to misalign. Exercising will also FEEL better to the patient who is under ABC care once they aren’t so twisted up. Exercising a very twisted spine will merely strengthen the misaligned posture that it is already in.

Do you worry you just haven’t exercised ENOUGH to finally get rid of the pain? Don’t beat yourself up. We have treated Pilates instructors, fitness trainers, hard-core exercisers, Cross-fit athletes, triathletes, cyclists, runners and horseback riders who exercise more than you would ever DREAM of exercising. And they have badly misaligned spines that do not just “straighten out” from a lot of exercise. Once these athletes have begun our program, their training enters a whole new realm of possibilities due to improved posture, untwisted bones and looser muscles.

On my Secrets to Good Posture DVD, I demonstrate the most effective stretches and strengthening moves for supporting good posture. But those exercises cannot FIX the actual problem. They can only hold the spine in the existing alignment pattern, good, bad or indifferent. So get the chassis lined up and then take the old girl for a good spin. The drive will be much better and you won’t chew up the tires due to a bad rear-end alignment!

Orthopedic Pillows: Tall on one side, Skinny on the Other

I remember when I was a kid and orthopedic pillows were avant garde items that chiropractors recommended for their patients. My dad had several throughout the years and they always came from his chiropractor’s office. Nowadays, orthopedic pillows are a commodity that are available in every big box store packaged generically as a solution for a good night’s sleep.

While there IS some workability to these pillows they fall short for MOST people. Many times patients stil complain about their arm going numb, the neck being sore in the morning or their back being stiff.

Using a pillow that is taller on one side and skinnier on the other so you can choose whether you want to sleep on your back or your side is a step in the right direction. But the reason it USUALLY fails is the tall side of the pillow isn’t nearly tall enough to give MOST patients enough support to sleep on their sides.

Then the skinny side is usually too THICK for those who sleep on their back. Think about the normal posture when standing—the head should line up over the shoulders. Now look at the posture when lying down on the skinny side of the orthopedic pillow: the pillow pushes the patient’s head forward into the “granny hump” misalignment.

Orthopedic pillows, whether sold by a chiropractor or the knock-off brand at your local big box store, are not “Dr. Erica-approved” as a stand-alone product.

If you already have one though, and you are a side sleeper, try building up your pillow by experimenting with several layers of bath towel underneath your pillow. The towel can be folded and re-folded to make the pillow higher, depending on how wide your shoulders are and how much support you need until you do not twist forwards OR backwards while side sleeping.

Watch get an idea on how to do this effectively to turn a “not-approved” “orthopedic” pillow into a Dr. Erica-approved item.

Dieting to Death

You reach for a diet soft drink in the effort to prevent gaining weight while still enjoying the taste of your favorite cola. The zero calories on the label along with zero fat aligns with keeping your calorie intake lower so you can stay skinnier.

Unfortunately each serving of diet soda with Nutrasweet (aspartame) increases your chances of symptoms like headaches, dizziness, numbness, tingling, sleep problems and even cancer.

Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD explains the chemistry behind aspartame in his book, The Taste That Kills. The chemical known as aspartame which is the artificial sweetener in most name-brand soft drinks, breaks down into aspartic acid and methanol. Methanol is wood alcohol. Methanol further breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde, the latter which is an embalming agent.

Aspartic acid causes injury to neurons due to overstimulation of receptors for amino acids and can lead to stroke, hypoglycemia, epilepsy, Hungtington’s disease, ADD, dementia, Alzheimers and Lou Gherig’s disease. (New England Journal of Medicine Lipton & Rosenberg 330((): 613-622 1994)

Methanol, the other by-product of aspartame in the gut, is wood alcohol. This is used as anti-freeze, solvent and fuel. A well-done study compared the effects of feeding rats aspartame and methanol in the water. Lab rats were fed aspartame over the course of their lives in an amount equivalent to what a human would typically consume, adjusted for the rat’s body size (20 mg/kg of body weight). They were allowed to die a natural death.
Rats who consumed the LOWEST amounts of aspartame had a 62% increased risk of lymphoma and leukemia.
Alarmingly enough, when another group of rats was fed methanol over the course of their lifetimes, their rates of lymphoma and leukemia increased by the same rate as rats which were fed aspartame. European Journal of Oncology (Vol. 10 No. 2 2005)

Dr. Blaylocks explains that because of the way mice and rats in the studies metabolize aspartame compared to humans, humans are actually 2 times more sensitive than rats and 7 times more sensitive than mice to having a seizure from aspartame.
A certain kind of vitamin that boosts your glutathione production can help neutralize the effects of aspartame on your nerves. I accidentally consumed a sugar free coffee drink that was mis-labeled. For the rest of the day, I was in a brain fog and couldn’t think or concentrate. When I got home I took some of that vitamin and within a short time I was back to normal, after struggling for hours.
The bottom line in my office is this: all patients are advised to eliminate products with aspartame. The FDA has reports of 92 different kinds of side effects from consuming aspartame. Patients CANNOT get better on ANY kind of protocol while using this chemical. Think about the extra drugs that people end up using as a result of medicating unknown side effects of aspartame. It is an EXTREMELY easy handling that all patients can do, even before they’ve had a chance to see the doctor. So you can guarantee that aspartame is NOT “Dr. Erica–Approved”.

Mattresses to Avoid


Select Comfort (“Sleep Number”)

Slightly more than half of our patients surveyed through the years love their Select Comfort Air mattresses.  Slightly less than half of them don’t like it.  The air mattress is not a perfect solution—probably because it is not a solid surface.   You should be aware that Select Comfort motors break periodically and there is only a pro-rated amount of warranty coverage.  Like the warranty you get on tire treads—you pay the portion of the repair based on how long you have owned it.  And patients routinely report their mattress naturally loses air throughout the week and they need to re-pump to their desired firmness.  So if the motor breaks, the mattress will become useless unless you fix it.

Another complaint is the center of the bed has a “no-man’s land.”  That is, it’s not part of the air mattress and it’s kind of like a ridge between the two sides of the bed.  Maybe you are long past snuggling with your partner   If that’s the case, then it probably won’t bug you.  Just take note of it when you are in the store.


Tempurpedic mattresses may work well if the mattress is newer.  But after a couple of years, the material breaks down and a firm pillow setup cannot make up for the fact your body is sinking into the mattress.

The fact that Tempurpedic breaks down so soon is why I would really like to veer you away from their products.  I used to be a huge advocate.  The novelty of the memory foam and the firmness worked well in the beginning of the product’s life.  I had several pillows and everyone in my family had bought them as well.  We all loved them, in the beginning.

But everyone began noticing their pillows weren’t supportive after the two year mark (my mom, dad, uncle, grandmother, sister, husband, you get the idea?)  This was so consistent as to become predictable, even with patients who had purchased them, too.

At the time, I was ordering directly from the manufacturer located in Lexington, KY, long before you could find their products at any retail location.  Back then, Tempurpedic was not willing to uphold their warranty on the product, which was stated to be well over 2 years.  I fought with them to get one pillow exchanged.  But for what?  For it to deteriorate again in 2 years?

Tempurpedic products are quite expensive to be replaced every two years.  Back when I was selling them, a typical queen pillow was easily $100.  I think you could spend upwards of $200 on the extra thick, long version.  A $200 pillow better last a LONG time!

Also, I had the Tempurpedic mattress.  It was the SAME story as the pillows.  A little over 2 years after using it nightly, I was consistently waking up with neck pain.  That is not a very good testimonial being a chiropractor who focuses on structural correction.

So I moved the Tempurpedic bed to the guest room and swiped the new, “cheap” firm mattress I had bought to put in there.  It was called Doctor’s Choice by Denver Mattress.  I’ve been happily using that mattress since 2002.  No pillow-top either.


This one point has been a continual point of frustration for patients through the years.  The soft topper has an interesting purpose–to make a firm mattress soft.  The pillow tops wear out so fast though.  If your mattress is less than 10 years old but it is sagging, it is likely because the pillow top has lost its integrity.

pillow top mattresses, sagging mattress, mattress warranty, bad sleep posture, pain while sleeping

Sagging Mattress

I know of some mattress warranties that will replace the mattress if there is greater than 1.5 inch sag. I have seen the 1.5 inch sag wreck a patient’s results after every visit.  I will literally fix the pain in the hip and down the leg and it will stay fixed until the patient wakes up the next morning.  After long enough the patient becomes convinced it is her nerves or she needs an epidural.  But no!  She merely had a sagging mattress!  Fixing that will keep her structure stable between visits so she can finally make the progress that she should.

From a structural standpoint, I would avoid the Intelligel bed for the same reason to avoid the Tempurpedic.  If you give it a try and it helps, then great.

If after attempting the pillow instructions and experimenting with different mattresses your pain is still worse during or after sleeping, you need to see a structural correction expert.  Advanced Biostructural Correction™ is the best method for realigning your structure.  Adjustments relieve inflammation and pain by taking pressure off of joints that aren’t designed to handle it.  That will ultimately allow you to get more comfortable while you are lying down.

Better sleep is a consistent, positive side effect for our patients.  Surveys show that it is one of the most common benefits. 

Dr. Erica–Shoes Not Approved for Atlas Patients


My experience with orthotics is that patients who have used them do not get predictable results.  Orthotics give some people relief from their back or foot pain. Other people’s pain gets worse with orthotics.  And some people must wear their orthotics every minute to maintain their relief– even during a midnight trip to the potty (an actual patient.)

Wearing orthotics to correct only the arch of the foot neglects the misalignments of the whole skeleton.

Arch supports throw off your mechanics and actually give you bad posture.  You’ve probably always heard you should have “support”.  And most shoes you buy have an insole with some bump for the arch.  But many people test poorly with this set-up, as demonstrated on actual testing (see the Standing Movie).

So I find it necessary to remove most factory insoles and replace them with a flat insole that doesn’t have a bump.  Insoles that ride up over the instep of the shoe also have the same problem. The insole needs to be trimmed down so the insole lays flat on the bottom of the shoe.


These brands have a built-in arch in the base of the shoe.  These shoes are not fixable.  When people are frustrated with pain, I know they are more likely to just “try something.”  But I can tell you these shoes throw the mechanics back out of place every time.

It’s possible that your custom orthotics, store-bought orthotics, clogs, or Birks are supporting whatever your current alignment is and actually gives you some pain relief.  And that is fine.  Why mess with something if it is working for you?

So it is possible that changing your arch supports, orthotics or heel height without getting ABC™ adjustments could aggravate your pain.  But why rely on an exact pair of shoes to “fix” your pain?  It’s not really “fixed.”  The tension in your body is merely shifted to another area that hasn’t been twisted long enough to start hurting.

If you are having foot pain, numb feet, plantar fascitis or Morton’s neuromas, try our initial plan of care before resorting to surgery, injections or orthotics.  Most patients have spent anywhere from $400-$800 on orthotics.  Why waste that money when you can spend a little more and not be committed to wearing a clunky orthotic every day for the rest of your life?

Many patients have responded extremely well.  Patients routinely have foot complaints and some patients even neglected to tell us about a foot pain during their consultation because it wasn’t their main complaint.  But within a few adjustments they reported that their foot or ankle stopped hurting and the numbness was going away.  In the absence of diabetes, previous foot surgery or statin drugs, most people have a very good prognosis for relieving the foot pain or numbness associated with bad posture by using the ABC™ protocol.


There certainly is an ideal heel-to-toe ratio for each patient.  Wearing shoes that are too flat or much too tall will equally lead to problems.   High heels are the absolute worst if you are seeking pain relief.

For most women, I’ve noticed that regular use of high heels leads to increased neck pain that can become severe, especially when wearing  high heels right after an adjustment.  That’s not to say you can’t ever wear high heels again.  But when patients are in pain relief mode, I advise against it until things stabilize.


On the “flip” side of the coin, flip flops are just as bad, but for the opposite reason (no pun intended.  Okay maybe it was!)

Flip flops (shower shoes) don’t offer any heel height.  The flimsy nature of the shoe doesn’t support the foot as a whole.  And brands like Teva usually have a built-in “bump” where the arch support would go, making things even worse.  Flip flops enhance your slumped posture.  Want to look more like your grandmother even quicker?  Keep wearing shower shoes!

Slumped posture, which is enhanced by extremely low heels, tugs on the spinal cord and on the nerves as they branch off of the cord, increasing pain and numbness levels.  It also prevents proper unwinding and causes setbacks for patients under ABC care.


The front end is curved up which raises your toes higher than your heels. This foot position is termed a “negative heel”. Unfortunately, if you wear these kinds of shoes without fixing them first it messes with your whole body posture and makes you lean forward, even more than flat heels.  One of the most important things to understand about getting your body fixed is this:  When your body leans forward then it doesn’t work as good or feel as good as when it is upright.

Dr. Jerry Porter, DC, Contributor

High Cholesterol–Fact or Fiction?

Ultraprevention by Mark Hyman
90% of the cholesterol in your body is made out of sugar. Sugar is refined carbs, not just sugary snacks. It comes from alcohol, white bread as well as sweets, pasta and bagels. Statins block Vitamin D and CoQ 10 synthesis. This leads to peripheral neuropathy, loss of deep tendon reflexes and transient global amnesias.

Patients on statin therapy were 1600% more likely to experience peripheral neuropathy (unexplained burning, tingling, numbness in the limbs). Neurology May 2002

Daily consumption of 8 oz. of pomegranate juice resulted in a significant reduction in LDL oxidation that leads to atherosclerosis. This was linked to a 44% reduction in atherosclerosis over those who didn’t consume it.
Clinical Nutrition June 2004

Half of those who suffer sudden cardiac death have no history of cardiac disease. The cause of these deaths is primarily cardiac arrhythmia which is irregular rhythm of the heart. Of the omega 3 oils, fish oils particularly have anti-arrhythmic properties. People with the highest 25% of omega 3’s in their blood had an 81% reduced risk of death from arrhythmia compared to those with the lowest 25% of omega 3’s.
New England Journal of Medicine 4/11/2002

10 mg of policosanol was found to be as effective as Lipitor at reducing cholesterol with an average 25% LDL reduction Cardiovascular J. of S. Africa March/April 2006

High cholesterol is not even in the top 10 list of risk factors for death. Public LIbrary of Science April 2009

Only half of patients with coronary heart disease have high cholesterol.
New England Journal of Medicine 11/14/2002

Omega 3 fish oils are 44% more effective at preventing cardiovascular death than statin therapy, even though they don’t lower the cholesterol measurement. Archives of Internal Medicine April 11, 2005

C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a more reliable indicator of cardiovascular events than high LDL levels. New England Journal of Medicine 11/14/2002

An estimated 10-15% of statin users suffer side effects including muscle pain, cognitive impairments and sexual dysfunction.
The study by Lipitor claims the risk of death was reduced by 50%. In actuality it was a 1% difference. The Lipitor group saw 2 deaths out of 100 compared to 3 deaths out of 100 who didn’t take the statin. Number needed to treat is 100 for 1 person to see a benefit. The accepted value should be well under 50 people treated for one person to see the benefit.
There are no studies that show there is a benefit for women of any age taking statins.
8 out of 9 experts at National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) who recommended lowering targets for bad cholesterol were found to have financial ties to industry.
There are no studies that have shown any benefit for people over 65 years old on statin therapy, no matter how low the cholesterol goes.
There are no studies that have shown there is any benefit to statin therapy when high cholesterol is the only risk factor. Businessweek Jan. 17, 2008

Statin are carcinogens–you won’t die of a heart attack because cancer will get you first. JAMA Jan. 1996

Cholesterol levels below 180 are related to all causes of mortality going up, casting doubt on driving the cholesterol measurement below 180. Lancet August 4, 2001