The latest from the Alternative Family Medicine team.

November 12, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

In Chiropractic philosophy, the goal of treatment is to help the body heal naturally. We help create an environment that removes stresses or triggers to allow the body to do its own healing. Providing Chiropractic manipulations takes stress off of the nervous system and realigns the body to help it perform with more coordination, relieve strain on joints, and decrease pain. We do soft tissue techniques to stimulate healing and balance musculature and fascia. We prescribe dietary supplements to support immune, digestive, lymphatic, and energy producing pathways. We help people pinpoint dietary triggers, overwhelming stresses and often refer to different practitioners to help dial in the areas we don’t specialize. All of what we do is to help the body optimize itself, because the body has the ability to do that.


November 7, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

We get calls every day at our Longmont and Denver, Colorado practices from those assessing their health care options trying to decide whether alternative medicine is right for themselves and their families. Perhaps as alternative medicine practitioners we’re a little bias but we’d like to shed some light on the question all the same.

First, let’s dispel a few myths.

Myth #1 – Practitioner education seems to come up a lot. Many Alternative and Functional Medicine providers are Chiropractors. The Doctor of Chiropractic designation is a Doctorate level degree obtained after completing a Bachelor’s degree (much like MD’s.). Many of today’s Chiropractic schools focus heavily on Functional Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, so likely (like in our practice) your chiropractor will have as many or more hours in the classroom as an MD. Many often then go on to focus on specific specialities, therefore additional classroom hours and accreditations are necessary.


November 1, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

You’ve got questions about natural treatments for IBS, and we have answers.

We treat a lot of IBS cases in practice in our Longmont and Denver, CO offices. Often, we see patients who have run the gauntlet with chronic GI pain, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea (or a combination of all of these), who have seen every doctor and taken all the prescription medications they’ve been recommended, and yet, they still feel miserable and their symptoms have not subsided. Or, they get some temporary relief, only to find new and (uncomfortable) triggers resulting in more flare ups.


October 9, 2018 Ann BarterPosts1

In both our Longmont and Denver, Colorado offices we are often asked how and why functional blood chemistry differs from more traditional readings of blood tests. The easiest answer relies on the examination of reference ranges (what is considered low, high or normal) and viewing this information through the lense of evidence-based research that helps us parse this data.

When a patient comes in with a complaint that could be considered more of a “metabolic complaint,” we like to analyze lab work to get an entire picture of what could be going on with them.  Some examples of metabolic complaints can be fatigue, inability to lose weight and constipation. Patients will often have one or two primary complaints but often secondary complaints, as well. For example, the inability to lose weight might be the primary complaint that brings a patient in to see us, but as we gather more information they may also suffer from bloating, constipation, brain fog, inability to complete tasks, or trouble falling/staying asleep at night, for example.  


September 25, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

We hear this question fairly regularly in our day to day interactions. Though Chiropractic is a very powerful treatment for injury, it is a preventative medicine as well. Oftentimes, before someone develops a repetitive overuse injury, arthritis, even acute injury, there are typically warning signs. For instance, with low back injuries, a person may be struggling with chronic low back tightness, achiness in the upper back, stiffness with bending forward or back, stiffness that is worse in the morning or evening for several months, headache, etc. Then suddenly one morning they bend over to tie their shoe and their low back seizes!

Another common injury is repetitive ankle sprain. These patients have some instability in their ankle from repeated injury, which leads to some form of instability in the knee and hip. These two issues can perpetuate one another, making them easier to re-injure.

How can Chiropractic help avoid these scenarios? For lack of a better analogy, I am going to use a car (your body is much more complex than a car, of course). When the alignment is off in your car, this can cause premature wear and tear on very important, expensive parts. So what do you do? You get the alignment fixed! When you have a restricted joint in your body, whether from joint fixation, muscle tightness, instability, scar tissue, nerve impingement, etc, this leads to wear and tear to other joints and tissues in the body. Even more so, this can lead to things like chronic pain, lack of flexibility, arthritis and the eventual need for surgical joint replacements. So what and how can you do about this?


May 24, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

We get asked about detoxification side-effects often. Whether you may be embarking on a Metabolic Cleanse or dissolving biofilms, you may experience some brief, but not-so-pleasant side effects. This isn’t unusual, but can make our patients nervous if they don’t know exactly what they may feel during the process.

Metabolic cleanses are designed to get your system running optimally again. They include active ingredients to help heal the liver and pancreas and to get bile and toxins moving in the right direction (well, technically, the bile starts doing its job correctly again, and the toxins are permanently evicted from your system).

Biofilms, in brief, are gelatinous, protective coverings that are developed by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, yeasts and even fungus and parasites, in order for them to successfully thwart the effectiveness of medications and supplementation meant to destroy them. Fairly nifty example of evolution at work, although, not much fun for their human hosts! In patients where low-grade pathogenic infections are preventing wellness we seek to dissolve these coverings in order to better battle the pathogens themselves. It’s nearly impossible for supplements, and even prescription antivirals and antibiotics, to be fully effective against these nasties until their protective coverings are dissolved. Enter stage right: Monolaurin (we recommend Lauricidin brand in our practice), which is a proteolytic enzyme that helps break down these films, and Serrapeptase, a derivative harvested from silkworms (we know, wild stuff, right?)! Needless to say, the pathogens that have found their way into human bodies really like their accommodations, they don’t want to be evicted or killed off. They will put up a fight! They will eventually die off as the medications and supplements we take begin to work and as these pathogen die they release toxins which the body must filter.


May 10, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is much more than just a gut disorder. It causes chronic discomfort, anxiety, social limitations (especially where food and drink is involved), and a decrease in quality of life. There are  a variety of contributory factors leading to IBS including but not limited to altered bacterial microbes in the gut, inflammation from the immune system, inflammation of the bowels, stress: emotional and physical, food sensitivities, and chronic microbial infections (viral, bacterial, protozoan, etc).

Are you struggling with:

  • Chronic bloating, even when you eat a seemingly healthy diet?
  • Are you chronically constipated without the help of fiber supplementation or laxatives?
  • Do you have pain and cramping in your stomach after eating?
  • Are you chronically fatigued even after getting a “good night’s rest”?
  • Do you suffer from anxiety and/or depression?
  • Struggle with social eating, not knowing how your body will react to food?

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a gastrointestinal motility disorder of the intestines. IBS is defined as a widespread condition involving recurrent abdominal pain and diarrhea or constipation, often associated with stress, depression, anxiety, or previous intestinal infection.  Common symptoms of IBS include: recurrent abdominal pain, change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea, or both), indigestion, bloating, weight gain/loss, nausea, chronic foul smelling gas, urgency of needing to empty the bowels, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression.


April 20, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

A common complaint we see in our practice is upper back and neck pain associated with working a desk job or long hours of sitting. This type of dysfunction is called Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS). If you are not familiar with what Upper Crossed Syndrome is, it is a postural syndrome associated with long periods of sitting, looking at smartphones and/or computer work.

Upper Crossed Syndrome generally results in the following symptoms:

  • Forward head carriage
  • Forward rounded shoulders
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Back pain

And will usually present as:

  • Tightness in the tops of the shoulders (upper trapezius and levator scapula muscles)
  • Tightness of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles
  • Tightness of the pectoralis major and minor muscles
  • Weakness of the deep neck flexors
  • Weakness of the back muscles between the shoulder blades (rhomboids and mid and lower traps)

Patients with this pattern of muscle imbalance commonly complain that practicing good posture or sitting up straight is physically difficult, fatiguing and feels very forced or unnatural for more than a few minutes. Many try taking preventative measures such as adding a lumbar support to their chairs, making sure their desk and computer monitor are at a good height with their arm supported, etc. Others, who do not take any particular preventative measure will often have the same issues, regardless.


March 13, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

If you are reading this blog than you probably suspect you have, or were diagnosed with, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  You are likely looking for answers because you can’t figure out why you feel so bad. Hopefully, this blog offers you some answers that give you hope that treatment is accessible, and that your symptoms can be managed, thyroid blood work numbers can be improved (even the autoimmune markers!) and you can get your life back!

Patients often seek treatment for one of two reasons. Firstly, they are currently being treated with a thyroid medication but still feel terrible with worsening symptoms of anxiety, sleep problems, brain fog, constipation, acid re-flux, sweating, weight gain, fatigue, racing heart, the list goes on and on.  The patient can’t figure out why they have worsening thyroid symptoms but their primary care tells them their labs are normal and their thyroid looks fine. Most of these patients have had their thyroid medication dose adjusted multiple times but still don’t feel well, or only have a slight reprieve in symptoms. These patients have only had their low functioning thyroid identified, yet no identification of a potentially lingering autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  


March 7, 2018 Ann BarterPosts

There is truly nothing to fear when it comes to changing your diet, if you’re open to the help of a little technology. Changing one’s diet can be extremely stressful for many. Particularly when they don’t feel that they have control over it, like when they’ve been told they must follow a specific protocol to help manage a chronic disease, or they resent the disruption to their normal routine. Admittedly, the initial changes can be an adjustment but thankfully, many enterprising chefs have decided you can take the guesswork out of your new protocol by letting them do the cooking at your place, (sort of). Meal and meal kit delivery is becoming increasingly popular among many. From time-crunched students, to busy families, to people needing to keep strict dietary compliance, these services are brilliant!