What is “Minimal Effective Dose” and How Can You Use it to Help Solve Your Chronic Pain?
We live in a society where if a little is good, more must be better. And if more is better, pile it on, with every area of life proving this out time and time again. This is the antithesis of the principle of Minimal Effective Dose.
- WORK: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. However, all of us know people — probably many people — who are connected to their work like a Siamese twin.
- RECREATION: Likewise, too much time doing “nothing” can be a huge problem as well. Even the CURRENT RIVER might get old if you were on it every single day (notice I said “might“).
- VEHICLE: We have lots of excesses when it comes to vehicles. While certainly cool, who really needs a car that will go 180 mph?
- HOUSE: I always get a kick out of looking at other people’s mansions. But let’s be real; is there any practical purpose to owning a 40,000 square foot home (HERE), when for many of us, 1,000 square feet would be more than enough (HERE)?
Which brings me to a principle known as MED (Minimal Effective Dose). Wikipedia tells us that an “Effective Dose” in the field of pharmacology is “the lowest amount of drug that produces a therapeutic response or desired effect.” Because DRUGS ARE SO TOXIC, a “dose” of whatever drug being taken should not be more potent than that which would be the least amount to cause the the drug’s desired effect — i.e. the minimal Effective Dose.
As you would guess, any amount over the MED is potentially TOXIC. Although a drug may not be immediately toxic, remember that toxicity is accumulative; especially when speaking of pharmaceutical drugs (toxicity can also build up at less than “effective doses” as well). As you might imagine, this principle applies to numerous other areas of life.
- SEX: Having studied and been certified in Chinese Acupuncture back in 1991, the best example of what too much sex does comes from their method of health and healing (a quick Google search will show you what I mean). Not surprisingly this can be as source of health problems in a HYPER-SEXUALIZED & ADDICTED society.
- SUNSHINE: Sunshine is awesome on many different levels. And while much of the medical community tells people to all but totally avoid exposure, we know that a certain amount of sunshine turns CHOLESTEROL into Vitamin D (one of the single most important hormones / hormone precursors in our bodies). However, any amount over the minimal effective dose, will not only potentially use more Vitamin D than it creates, it damages the skin.
- NUTRITION: American nutrition is built around the more-is-better philosophy. It’s obvious that as a nation we consume way too many CALORIES. But bear in mind that the same thing can be said of things like VITAMINS & PROBIOTICS as well. And while MEGADOSES of certain nutrients might be great to create a targeted short-term drug-like effect (VITAMIN C, for instance), just remember that too much of a good thing can easily become a bad thing. The brilliant ROYAL LEE was talking about minimal effective dose as related to nutrition back in the 1920’s.
- EXERCISE: Exercise is great stuff. It induces scientifically proven physiological changes, which, if I had the ability to bottle, would be worth a trillion dollars. The problem is, those thinking that more is better when it comes to exercise and training frequently become “over-trained,” which can lead to a myriad of health problems. For instance, how many of you were aware that there are studies linking hardcore cardio training to a LEAKY GUT or even ADRENAL FATIGUE? And on the weightlifting side of things, too many sets leaves you vulnerable to a host of REPETITIVE INJURIES to the MUSCLES, FASCIA, and especially TENDONS. Inventor of Nautalis gym equipment, Arthur Jones, developed his equipment on the premise that one maximal-effort set per body part is all that is needed to stimulate serious muscle growth, then proving it in the famous “Colorado Experiment” with professional bodybuilder, Casey Viator. Clarence “Ripped” Bass said of this principle, “The secret, if there is one, is high-intensity; and when you are actually training with high-intensity, you don’t need a large amount of training.“
- TISSUE DEFORMATION: Tissue Deformation refers to the amount of mechanical loading needed to physically change the structure and mechanical function of living tissues (HERE). While tissue deformation is a principle used in exercise (particularly resistance training), it also happens to be the chief principle of TISSUE REMODELING. Just remember that an important part of MED is the “E” (effective). This is why treatment, while holding to the principle of minimal effective dose, is like playing a CARNIVAL GAME. In other words, treatment that is not intense enough is just as ineffective as too much or too intense treatment. The bell must be rung in order to get results (click the link to grasp what I mean). This is why if you have serious amounts of SCAR TISSUE / FIBROSIS built up from either traumatic or repetitive injuries, without breaking it down first, lots of CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS or THERAPY aren’t going to cut it.
Why do I bring all of this up? JJ first contacted me the first of the year concerning an injury that has severely affected his shoulder and neck (he is from the KC area) to the point it’s AFFECTING EVERY AREA OF HIS LIFE. He had done lots of therapy, been to specialists of all sorts, had all the same tests you’ve had (HERE), and during the course of the past year, had between 80 and 90 CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS — the only thing that seemed to help, although the relief was very short-lived — a common theme in my profession (HERE). This is JJ’s follow up email one week after his first treatment.
Minimal Effective Dose: A VIDEO TESTIMONIAL
Hello Dr. Russ!
This is JJ. I hope you had a great weekend! I just wanted to follow up with you since my visit last Thursday. I have definitely seen a significant improvement. My flexibility has dramatically increased. Further, my shoulder pain is practically gone. My headaches have improved as well. I have been using the Dakota wedge every morning and night as well. I think it is working. I could barely stand to be on the wedge for a minute when I started, and I can do about 5-6 minutes now. Overall, I think I’m moving in the right direction!
I’m going to keep doing the stretches and the Dakota wedge, and I have been reading your blog on ways that I can address the trigger points. I just wanted to keep in touch and keep you in the loop. Everything has healed nicely, and I think in a couple weeks I’ll make another appointment to come down and get another treatment. Thanks for everything!
-JJ JJ came for a second treatment a month ago, emailing me this a couple weeks afterwards….
I hope you are well. I have seen huge improvements in my range of motion since my last visit, but I still feel a bit “tethered” in some areas in my neck and back. I think that another round would likely be beneficial. Also, I’ve been doing a lot of research on your website and came across an article on losing the lordotic “c-shaped” curve in the neck. My doctor told me I lost the normal curve in my neck.
From what I can tell, the Dakota traction device is a good way to address this. I have been using mine when I wake up and before I go to sleep, and I can almost go for 5 minutes now. How long does it take for the curve to come back on average? Is this something that takes years or will I start to see some improvement in a few months?
Bringing the curve back can take some time, which is why THE GUIDELINES CREATED BY DR. PAYNE say that people need to work up to 20 minutes a day on the Dakota in order to create enough mechanical force to overcome the immense amount of BIOMECHANICAL FORCE created by tissue restriction (“TISSUE DEFORMATION“). By the way, the “TETHERING” that JJ mentioned is exactly what many of you are feeling regarding your CERVICAL FASCIA.
Probably the coolest thing about my method of assessing and treating patients is that, herniated discs aside, you are going to know whether it’s helpful after a single visit (HERE). Notice that I am not suggesting that you will necessarily be “cured” after a single treatment, but that you will see real change — the sort of changes you have not previously experienced (if you had, you would not be looking at this at 3:00 am —- HERE).
And for those of you who are interested, I’ve provided a completely free generic template for starting the process of reducing your levels of systemic inflammation and taking your life back (HERE). Oh, and feel free to spread the wealth by sharing this with your friends or loved ones. Honestly, the easiest way to reach the people you love and care about most is by liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK.