Cascadia Chiropractic and Massage

Providing Superior Health and Life Balance Through Chiropractic

Our mission is to provide a regional, multidisciplinary resource for those seeking a holistic approach to relief of pain and the restoration and maintenance of well being. We are passionate, caring and experienced practitioners, serving individuals of all ages to meet their health challenges. Our focus is on the spine and nerve system----since it only has one job.....EVERYTHING! We also utilize nutritional and rehabilitational methods to enhance the natural, inherent recuperative powers of the body. Visit our new clinic located in Marysville, WA serving Arlington, Stanwood, Lakewood, Camano Island and all surrounding communities.


Monday 9:30AM–6PM

Tuesday 9:30AM–6PM

Wednesday 9:30AM–6PM

Thursday 9:30AM–6PM

Friday 9:30AM–6PM

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed

Filtering by Category: Chiropractic

The Shocking Science Behind Why We Recommend Ice!

       How many times in your life has someone suggested that you need to ice something? Our parents, spouses, coaches and chiropractors seem to flippantly tell us that we better get some ice on that! So we go home and put a bag of frozen peas on our neck and it's kind of painful but it kind of feels better and overall we are left wondering if all of this is really worth the trouble... sound familiar? Well, during this short article I hope to explain the science behind why cryotherapy can be an UNBELIEVABLE tool to hack your health. Cold will not only improve your PAIN but recent studies show that it has the potential to improve your depression, anxiety, joint and muscle health and general well-being!

    For thousands of years humans have been in a battle with the cold... think of it as frequent "THERMAL EXERCISE."  When our bodies are exposed to a short term stress a biological process called HORMESIS takes place. Sometimes a small stress on our body will trigger a cellular response that goes above and beyond this short term insult and creates a net gain in benefits. In our society today we are so scared of being cold that we have lost touch with our primal ability to adapt. Really think about it... when was the last time you had any thermal exercise?

Wim Hof is a famous bio-hacker  who can tap into and control his nervous and immune systems through cryotherapy, breathing exercises and meditation.

Wim Hof is a famous bio-hacker who can tap into and control his nervous and immune systems through cryotherapy, breathing exercises and meditation.

     When we are exposed to extreme cold in the form of an ice pack, ice bath, cold showers or even whole body cryochambers (the latest trend sweeping the country) some pretty incredible cellular and hormonal processes take place. 

  • Cryotherapy and NOREPINEPHRINE     

     When we decrease the temperature of our skin we naturally fire local cold sensing receptors in our skin causing vasoconstriction sending blood to our core and brain. Since the density of the cold receptors in the skin are thought to be 3-10 times higher than warm receptors the simultaneous barrage of these signals into the spinal cord and brain increases focus, attention and even mood! This process is mediated by the neurotransmitter NOREPINEPHRINE which is released into the bloodstream and brain after cold exposure. In fact... Cymbalta is a drug used for depression and anxiety and it's mechanism is classified as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Norepinephrine also DECREASES the powerful inflammatory molecules tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP) which can help reduce PAIN.

  • The Incredible COLD SHOCK PROTEIN

      While studying how hibernating animals are able to survive their extended slumber a fascinating discovery was recently made that applies to humans as well! It turns out cold exposure causes a marked increase in a protein called RNA Binding Motif 3 (RBM3) or the COLD SHOCK PROTEIN. RBM3 is active in the brain, heart, liver, and skeletal muscle and increases in activity greatly upon even mild cold exposure. Studies have shown that RBM3 can help us to regain lost neuronal synapses and make our muscles more resistant to wasting away. This is very new science and the human implications aren't completely understood yet but it is thought that this protein could lead to new treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's, dementia, muscle wasting diseases and age-related sarcopenia!

  • Cryotherapy and Arthritis (joint inflammation)

      In a randomized controlled trial patients with arthritis who underwent whole ­body cryotherapy and localized cryotherapy both had a significant reduction in pain. This reduction in joint pain is surely explained by the decrease of inflammatory cytokines that we discussed earlier. There is also a short term analgesic (numbing) effect due to slowing of nerve impulses. However, there seems to be a lasting effect on joint health due to cryotherapy. Localized cryotherapy (cooling just the affected tissue) has been shown to INHIBIT harmful collagenase activity on collagen. So in other words it keeps the collagenase enzyme from breaking down our cartilage! 

  •  Cryotherapy and the Autonomic Nervous System

        If you have ever been to a chiropractor chances are that you have heard us mention how your autonomic nervous system works. In general terms, if your body were a race car there is a constant balance between the gas pedal (sympathetic) and the brakes (parasympathetic). So many of us are driving around with the pedal stuck to the floor and we need to teach our bodies to pump the brakes! Spinal dysfunction will send a stress signal into your nervous system and a sympathetic (fight or flight) reaction will occur. When we resolve this stress your body will have a higher parasympathetic "tone" that will allow you to better heal, rest, digest and thrive. Well, it turns out that ice acts much in the same way. Ice therapy will put you into a temporary state of fight or flight which will train your parasympathetic nervous system to take over. If you are a person who wants to look into HOW this happens check out the baroreflex and vagal tone... for the rest of you just know that regular chiropractic adjustments and cryotherapy are great tools to better help your nervous system function at your 100%.

  • Icing Instructions

      Icing should be a part of your regular routine. I take an ice pack with me to bed almost every night. Place it on any part of your body that is feeling pain or any part of your body that you would like to keep healthy as possible. Studies show that even 10 minutes of icing is sufficient. At our office we suggest 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off 4-5 times in succession. This creates a tidal flow of blood in and out of the tissue and speeds healing. We suggest and sell Core Products ice packs in our office because it is a more "civilized" ice. They are very soft with the ability to mold to whatever area you need it to, similar to a clay feeling. They also don't get so cold that they give you freezer burn. Just remember not to ice before you work out and don't leave ice on for more than 20 minutes if you are using a conventional ice bag. I hope this information is helpful to everyone and I really appreciate you all taking the time to read and share our Wellness Wisdom!

How Your Sleep Could be Causing Your Pain... and Possibly Alzheimers!?

       Hello everyone! Dr. Shea back for another edition of Wellness Wisdom and today we are addressing a common problem that we see in our practice... bad SLEEP HABITS and how it is affecting your health. How many of you out there are only able to fall asleep while laying on your stomach? Maybe with a pillow under your arm, your torso twisted, your neck completely turned to the side and your hips locked up? For some of us this is the only position that is comfortable...but LONG-TERM it can be a nightmare.       

       When you sleep on your stomach your neck is forced to be twisted for extended periods of time straining muscles and eventually locking joints.  Long-term twisting and rotation of the torso and pelvis can lead to radiating pain into the arms and legs, constant stiffness and frequent headaches. These long term patterns that we set for ourselves show up on x-rays in our office every day in the form of abnormal curvatures, rotations and degeneration. But new research has just came out that indicates that the way that we are sleeping can have even more serious long-term affects... on our BRAINS!                                                                      

       According to a recent study in the Journal of Neuroscience sleeping on our side rather than our stomach will allow the brain to most efficiently discard dangerous WASTE products (amyloid and tau proteins), therefore reducing the chance of ALZHEIMER'S, DEMENTIA and other neurological diseases! We have known for years of the recuperative powers of sleep but we are just now figuring out HOW our body is doing this. Researchers are starting to better understand a pathway called the GLYMPHATIC system where cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) filters through the brain and exchanges with interstitial fluid (ISF) to clear waste. This is similar to how the bodies lymphatic system clears waste from organs.                                           

     "It is interesting that the lateral sleep position is already the most popular in humans and most animals — even in the wild — and it appears that we have adapted the lateral sleep position to most efficiently clear our brain of the metabolic waste products that built up while we are awake."                                                

                                                                                       - Dr. Maiken Nedergaard                         

       Sleeping on your stomach is a habit that is extremely hard to break but hopefully once you are more aware of the negative consequences you can start to make some positive changes in your sleep habits. Here are some other tips or "hacks" that can make a world of difference in your quality of sleep! Hope this helps everyone... sleep well!

  • If you must sleep on your stomach... put a pillow under your pelvis to take some pressure off of your low back and use a very thin pillow for your neck.
  • If you sleep on your back (a very good option as well) place a pillow under your knees to take some pressure off of your low back and use a quality cervical pillow to increase your cervical curve.
  • Side sleeping can actually have some drawbacks too if your bed is too stiff it can cause some shoulder discomfort and if your pillow is too high or too low it can cause neck discomfort so be aware of your body position. Always use an extra pillow between your knees to keep your pelvis neutral.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping melatonin supplements can be a great short term solution. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your circadian sleep/wake rhythm. 
  • A lot of people also aren't aware that light (specifically the blue wavelengths) suppress your natural release of melatonin. Any LED light bulbs, cell phone screens, iPads and TV's create a blast of artificial blue light to your pineal gland. Look for apps such as Flux that is a blue light filter that works with Windows, Mac OS, Linux and iOS. Twilight is the app that I am currently using for my Android phone. 
  • Don't forget to breathe! So many times we are laying in bed motionless... and that includes very shallow almost nonexistent breathing. But think about how a person who is in deep sleep breathes (or snores!). Prep your body for deep sleep by doing this quick breathing exercise. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds. Hold your breath for 5 seconds. Slowly exhale for 6 seconds. Repeat this 3 times and you are on your way to a deep sleep!