Thursday, April 12, 2012

There's Always a Silver Lining....

They say that even in disaster you should look for the positive in everything.  Last year, Bob, the manager of Bally’s and a longtime friend called me.  In classic Bob-style - he said that he had the most amazing dream for us both.  He thought if we came to Bally’s again - we could bring a renewal to the gym and we would be even more wildly  successful and Bally’s would be amazing and revitalized.
I politely told him that we were doing awesome on our own - and just moved into our own building.  He persisted relentlessly.  And the rest was history.
We moved in June and things were great.  Until Bob died suddenly a month later. 
Devastated, I wondered what to make of Bob’s dream.   What it meant.  Why we were called back to Bally’s?  We pondered closing.  I mean - without Bob, why were we there?
We went on and did extremely well at Bally’s.  Maybe it was Bob’s vision for the gym and for us.  We still felt we were meant to be there.  And it was great.
And then in December, LA Fitness took over Bally’s and out we went.  No notice.  Nothing.
We were so lucky in a sense that it wasn’t our main office - as it had been for many chiropractic centers and physical therapists.  
People asked how we handled the financial devastation of opening an office in June.  Investing in it.   Staffing it.   And having it shut down in a matter of 5 months.
And I say to them this.....
The cost of Bally’s pales in comparison to the friendships we have made and one in particular.
Robby Schwartz.
When I came back to Bally’s it had been 10 years since I had my old office there.  I had been 29.  I was young, vibrant, and energetic.  
Over 10 years - it wore hard on me - despite our office being a success - but over the years - I stopped taking care of myself.  We had another child and the business was booming.   The 80lbs. I lost prior to starting practice at Gold’s and Bally’s started to creep back on - and I found myself not recognizing myself.  I was tired.  I was weak.
I found myself gravitating more and more away from a love of sports chiropractic - because I wasn’t congruent.  I mean - how do you answer a patient that asks you, “Hey Dr. Brandie - what exercise do you, uh I mean, would you do if you did exercise?”  Ouch.
So Robby.  Robby offered to train me.  I thought he was nuts.  Me?  Despite my feeling that I was washed up - I took to him.   I trusted him.  I can’t afford to be hurt.  I can’t afford a lot of time and he worked with me.  I told him I couldn’t do it.  He said I could.
From September to December - I trained twice a week with Robby.   It was amazing.  He helped me understand what I was doing in my life that was not helping me get to where I want.  In October - I started texting and emailing him what I ate, exactly as he taught me - and I dropped 25 lbs. in 10 weeks.  Boom.  But it wasn’t about the weight.
I started feeling alive again.  
I started feeling strong again.
I started feeling not only like the old me - but a new me.  
He helped me understand that putting myself last served no one.  
And he was right.
After the hiatus to see the future of what was to come with the gym - I picked right back up with him.   The first session was tough - but quickly I got back up to speed.
He urged me to try HYPE.  I was terrified.  I think if you asked me to go on a cliff dive - I would have been less scared.  
And I did it.  And it was amazing.
There is something deeply spiritual about HYPE-ing.
I couldn’t put my finger on what it was that drew so many people and the enormous energy - but I think it comes down to this.
Robby Schwartz is THE BEST trainer who walks this Earth.
It is not the moves that he makes us do.
It isn’t the soundtrack.
It is this.  Robby puts his soul into his class.  Pours it.  Dumps it.  All over you.
He believes in every person in that room and sees them for what they CAN be - not where they are....even if they can’t see it themselves.
A coach once told me in my practice - that if I was on fire - people would come from all around - just to watch me burn.  People come to HYPE to watch Robby burn - and he does.
Robby took me - someone who thought they were a far gone, old washed up doctor, and mom to a teenaged girl (who also loves HYPE) to someone who feels so damn strong, vibrant, and alive!   I didn’t think it was possible.  He knew it was.  And he was right.

He gave my kids a happier, stronger, more energetic mom.
He gave my husband someone to finally workout with, instead of sitting at home.
He gave my patients a role model who is showing them it isn’t too late and it is possible to turn back time.
It has affected all facets of my life.
And no one can take that away from me.  
So yeah, despite all the perceived loss from the Bally’s experience and the whole emotional toll from Bob and losing the office - it was hard.  I’m not gonna lie.
But our office is doing better than ever, I made friends for life, and Robby Schwartz gave me back me.  What else is there?

 Dr. Brandie 

P.S.  If anyone is interested in hearing about HYPE or having Robby train them - there is NO one I would trust more than he with our patients or friends.   If you are interested in changing your life and getting YOU back - let me know and I'll pass along his info. or "like" his Facebook page at

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Similarities from the Dentist

So I have a confession to make.  I hadn't been to the dentist in 5 years.

Why would any sane individual with a great dental plan stay away.

Plain unadulterated fear.

To be brief - I had a dentist do something accidently 5 years ago that resulted in me becoming deathly ill and I missed a month of work and to this day still have pain every time it rains.

GOING TO THE DENTIST has been on my to-do list for the last 2  years.  I decided with the New Year coming - it was smart to get checked out.  I chose my new dentist off my insurance plan and by internet reviews.  I called the staff at his office to "feel" them out.  They were super nice and supportive when I confessed my absence and explained why.

The dentist's staff told me that they would only do what I wanted and if I was uncomfortable, tell them, and they would stop.  My staff tells patients that all the time.  We never force you to do anything that doesn't feel right.  There are always other things we can do to get the results you want.

When I went into the dentist's office, I was greeted politely, and saw the dentist going back and forth hugging patients and bantering with them.  I got a good feeling because he was "normal" with his patients.  He spoke their language and wasn't stiff or pompous.  Old school blues music was playing and I tried to relax.

I was taken back to the chair and was met by the EFDA (assistant to the dentist) who started to clean my teeth.  I hadn't had any pain in starting the exam - but she identified some sore spots.   Sometimes, when patients come in for their exam, they comment that areas I examine they didn't even know were sore.  Places that are sore and stuck in the back are much like cavities.  They are areas that are stuck and fixed.  As a result, the spine that loves to move and bend, becomes less mobile and that makes the muscles mad.

Eventually, your body, much like a cavity, will deform or erode the bone and make it jaggedy (arthritis).

In this case, I had two bad areas.

And then she started the scraping.  Darn, I forgot my earphones!  There is not a sound that drives me more nuts that that!  Ask my brothers who used to scrap those stone plates with a fork.  My hair is on end just thinking about it.   Had to do some self-hypnosis to get through that.  Deep breaths.  Why did I let her do something that clearly made me crazy?  I know the benefit of it.  Some of our patients do not like the popping from an adjustment - so we use devices like the Arthro-Stim or Activator.  I wish dental assistants could come up with that but I knew my teeth needed it.

It was uncomfortable but tolerable and my hygenist was receptive to my pain.

When she was done - she shot some x-rays.   Dentists have the ability to "see" cavities, and yet, they still do x-rays.  We order x-rays in the office to see things we can't see in the spine.  We can generally guess from feeling the motion in your spine or how pliable (squooshy) it is - but ultimately x-rays are a good idea.

So I got those.

The doctor came in - introduced himself and explained what was wrong with me.  It turns out I have to go to an endodontist for a root canal for one tooth and the other he would fix within the next 6 months. I am to see him every six months for "maintenance."  We recommend wellness in our office because "cavities" can develop with activities, holding kids, or just working at a desk repetitively for hours, day after day.

With a high-five - I was out the door, happy that I went.  Who knew you could have a great time at the dentist?  I'm sold!

If you haven't been adjusted in a long time, maybe its time.  Call us today to make an appointment today.  You'll be happy that you did!

BTW - My dentist was Dr. Joseph Spina and staff in Wayne, Pa.  They rock!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Have You Ever Had an Amazing Dream?

Have you ever had an amazing dream?

Here is Dr. Arthur’s secret dream…. We want to make this happen for him for
his birthday and 10 years in practice anniversary this week – shh, it’s a HUGE

For those who have known Dr. Arthur Nemchenko for any period of time – you
know he is one of the most humble, quiet, and gentle people on this Earth. Many
don’t know the struggles Dr. Arthur has endured. He rarely talks about them and
is very private.

So why share this? We are asking for help in making a personal dream come true.
Dr. Arthur came to America in 1992 from Russia. In Russia, he was a medical
doctor for 7 years. To get here – he had to work in factories and chicken farms in

When he arrived in the US as a tourist, he arrived through Boston and
immediately went to New York. To support himself, he lived with a family friend
and began work on the Birge. For those who don’t know what that is – Dr. Arthur
would show up on the streets of Seagate in Brighton Beach around 5am with
other men. People would drive by looking for very strong men. They were paid
minimal cash for the day and had to do such back-breaking jobs as painting,
lifting, or moving furniture. In doing this job, he had many jobs that he moved
people into Park Avenue homes. He was inspired by the beauty of New York, and
has always loved the city. It was the kind of life beyond his wildest dreams.

Ah, but Dr. Arthur met Dr. Brandie – who is a self- described city-phobe - so King
of Prussia is where they made their home after Dr. Brandie was stationed here
for a job. If you ask Dr. Arthur about New York – his face lights up. He loves the
lights, Park Avenue, and the museums.

Many of you do know that after an inspiring professional seminar in Vegas (Parker) he began running last January with our first running club put together by our intern, Cordelia.  

 A Pop-Tart addict with his most strenuous sporting activity being chess, to
say he was not athletic was an understatement. But then running bit him badly

– he was hooked. In a year – he competed in 3 races and finished the year with
the Philadelphia Marathon - more amazing that he was 48 and just started running!

He now co-manages a class through Upper Merion Township to help others feel the joy of running and finishing races.

At the beginning of this year he saw an ad for the New York Marathon. He
contacted a charity, Team for Kids, and offered to run on their behalf. For Dr.
Arthur – this race means so much to him. It is where he got his first job – and
started all over. To return here after almost 20 years is deeply spiritual and has
incredible meaning to him.

He has committed to running the marathon and raising $2500. Here’s how you
can help...

If Dr. Arthur has touched your life over the years of knowing him,
whether it be through the office or as a friend in the community, please feel
inclined to donate anything in honor of his birthday which is this Friday, July 15.
Ideally, we would like to surprise him on Friday with a showing of your support of
his secret and deeply personal dream.

Please remember – This is a complete surprise to him so please don’t say a word
to him at all!!!!!

Here is the link to Dr. Arthur’s personal page:

We all think it would make his day!

Team KOP Wellness

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nomination for BEST Philadelphia Chiropractor! MyFoxPhilly Awards has informed us of our nomination based on our positive customer reviews! Help us attain this honor and vote by July 2nd! Just click the link below. Thank you so much!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So Maybe it Wasn't Daily...and That's Not Ok

Anyone who has known me since at least the beginning of the year - has seen our office make literal leaps and bounds.  I'm just hanging on for the ride, making things happen - choosing the best options for our business - moving our office to its own gorgeous building and then having the opportunity to open at Bally's King of Prussia.  A lot of work goes into that, organizing, decorating, and the admin.  Our office as a whole has been working to make it all happen - and we did, but not without a detrimental effect on my health.

It was insidious.  I had been doing Boot Camp up until February and began to have cardiac symptoms.  Chest pain.  High blood pressure.  I'm a pretty calm and happy person - but the stress of moving and getting everything done obviously was getting to me.  First warning sign:  IGNORED.

I could blame that - and quit.  And that's what I did.  It was uncomfortable to workout without getting chest pain.  Because I stopped exercising consistently - my choices of foods swayed towards things that weren't good for me - and resultantly my kids.

When we talked in the office about health - I began to make excuses about how I had no time to eat right.  In defense of myself - and everyone else - when you don't exercise, or eat foods that are in harmony with your body, you crave pure crap.  Carbs.  Processed foods.   Even Diet Soda (gasp!)  When you start to crave crap 24/7: Warning!  Warning!  IGNORED.

I didn't gain weight (probably because all the muscle I put on over the last few months atropied - but I started to "look" different.  I started to feel different.  And it wasn't just physical.

When I'd look in the mirror - which I don't do a lot - I noticed I looked tired all.the.time.  I had bags under my eyes for the first time in my life.  My skin was dull.  Makeup wouldn't cover it.  I was tired all day.  I justified it by saying - I'm 38, what do you expect?  My 20 year reunion is this year.  When I was 18 - I thought my parents were old when they went to theirs.

By 8:30 at night, I was exhausted - my 4 year old would be running around the yard shrieking, "Play with me, mama!" and knowing what's ahead with my 13 year old not doing that anymore - I wanted desperately to have the energy to savor these moments with her because who knows when it's gone.  I bought comfy chairs to park my butt - so I didn't have to "play with her" but instead watch.  I would drink a glass of wine and read - and thought, "I'm out here with her - that should make her happy!"  I honestly didn't have the energy to get up and run around kicking a ball or even make chalk drawings on the driveway.  HUGE WARNING:  IGNORED!!!!!

In my office, I talk a lot about divine intervention.  Sometimes your body plays into that - and in it's wisdom - will shut you down if you are on a road that isn't good for you.  I have seen time after time - people who refuse to heed the lessons from their body and in return - after time - their body rebels and shuts down saying, "I warned you if you didn't stop - I'd stop you" - whether that be popping out a rib that feels like it is stabbing you to the point where nothing else matters, your back going out - or for me - feeling like I was dying.

For the last month - Dr. Arthur and I have been working our office hours and on top of that - working at Bally's 6-8 in the morning and night.  It has been fun, but exhausting.  The weekends we usually recoup - but had a busy Saturday seeing patients and then Julie and I were invited by the o.m.g. most beautiful clothes I've ever seen, Piazza Sempione at the King of Prussia Mall to talk about Stress.  My talk was about not just the stress that one thinks of immediately, which is psychological - it was about the stress we put our bodies through nutritionally. (How IRONIC! :) )    They served Godiva truffles and champagne.  Due to the nature of the event and how gracious the staff was - we stayed longer - and drank more champagne than I would ever drink along with a ratio of about 2 truffles an hour.

I worked out at Bally's to compensate for that after it - and came home to my husband making steaks, with crusty Italian bread.  I was starving for real food - and slathered my bread with butter and salt.  From a suggestion from a patient on how to make steak - I put a tablespoon of butter on my steaming steak to make it "more flavorful."  And what is steak without wine?

This combination awoke me at 4am with searing stomach pain like I've never experienced.  While I never had the classic food poisoning sequelae - I felt like I had been poisoned.  And I had.

I poisoned myself. Day after day after day for the last few months.

It was like some of my patients - who wail, "Why now?  Why me?" when something that didn't bother them for so long and then **SNAP** it is now a problem.

I felt like I could die.  Other than seeing an emergency patient in the office that morning - where I felt slightly sick - I came home and collapsed -  sleeping the entire day.  My joints ached.  I had a fever.   I felt like someone stole all my energy.  My eyes burned.  I was absolutely incapacitated.  It was sheer, scary hell. And I did it to myself.  It made me mad at myself.

I get one body and I feed it complete junk.  I stress it out.  It is all I have and I made it crash.

I have the power to heal or hurt.  And I'm done with hurting me.  My health is one of the most precious things and I took it for granted - that my body would cover for me and take the abuse. No more.

For the next two days - I decided all that I would feed my body was things from the Earth.  I dug out our juicer.  Made myself salads with no cheese or dressing - just veggies.

And you know what - I feel better.  I look better.  I was awake last night at 9pm after getting home from work and a board meeting - easily having the energy to chase a shrieking giggling imp and her little pup.  I feel like me again.

So - over the next few days - I'll be progressing to our First Line Therapy detox - with a similar vein.  Its a  whole food medical grade detox to heal my liver from all the damage I've done.  I hadn't realized how sick I had gotten and out of control - and I'm taking the control back.

I'm amazed how good and clear minded I feel.  It's almost like someone who didn't realize their vision had slipped so badly - until you put on glasses and see the world perfectly clear.

It is easy to get off course - but it only matters if you get back on the horse.

You can heal yourself with food.  What do you have to lose?  Do it - before you have a wake up call like me.  Now, who is with me?! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Exercising: Long-term.

Exercising Long Term
by: Dr. Brandie Nemchenko
Many of us will be out walking the streets after the mountains of snow melt to get exercise - walking or running.  Ever experience pain after your power walk or run to the point you just can't continue, thwarting your plans overall of not being able to exercise at all?

Let's make this year different! 

Wrong Intention

We've all been there.  It's a gorgeous day, the birds are singing, the wind is gently blowing, and you think - "Hey, I can take on one more hill - I haven't been out all winter and I've already run a mile, let's jog up one of the General's hills."  The next day, you can't walk.  Hobbling around - you wonder "Why do I always get hurt every.time.I.exercise.?"  

Research before going out.  Running seems simple, but it is a science.  Get a game plan of how to train.  I recommend the Couch to 5K program to my patients ( which is a series of walking/running intervals to slowly and safely get you moving.  This provides a plan of attack with getting in shape, not only cardiovascularly, but also on your muscles and tendons.  

So how do you know what is the difference between the strain of getting back in the saddle an hurting yourself?  Sharp pain that hits and and reproduces consistently after when you "push it" means you are pushing your body past what it can take, leading to microtears or stress reactions in the bone leading to stress fractures.  If you have such pain - stop.  RICE when you get home.  If it happens consistently, seek out a sports medicine specialist chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedic.

A great way to ice your shins is to prepare by taking your kid's Dixie cups and filling them 3/4 of the way.  Freeze them and when you get back from a run - peel them around the top, and viola! You have a deep chill for your aching shins!  (Use only less than 5 minutes moving quickly up and down the shin.)

Wrong Equipment

Did you know there are three types of sneakers?  And it is not Nike, Adidas, and New Balance!
Shoe manufacturers make different types of sneakers to address different foot types. ( The majority of people are pronators, which means your foot is flatter, or rolls in.  This puts tremendous stress on the middle of your shin, knee and hip.   This stress may be ok when you are just walking around - but add a little jog - and your feet and  knees start to scream.  

The opposite foot type is a supinator - or someone who has high arches.  That type of foot has it's own shoe type as well.

I used to buy shoes because I liked the color or design and wonder why they had no arch support.  If you plan on running more than just around your neighborhood and entering a 5K of more - seek a running store out to get fitted.  At least then you will know your foot type and can get the appropriate type of shoe for your foot type.

In going with that - be very careful shopping for sneakers in an outlet.  I used to buy my sneakers in Lancaster at the Nike outlet - and would be thrilled getting a cute pair for $39.  The material they make the shoes out of degrades over time.  If the shoes have sat and now are at an outlet - you could have one shoe degrade faster or they are in an outlet because they are slightly defective.

Before purchasing the shoes - put them up on a counter and get eye-level with them.  Look to see that the back of the shoe is the same height - or you may inadvertently buy one with a virtual heel lift on one - making your foundation off-balance.

Wrong Foundation

If you get hurt every time you exercise, it is a good thing to get evaluated by a sports-focused and trained PT or chiro who takes a structural approach.  Because just like your car, if you are unbalanced, you will wear down unevenly and that is what leads to injury.  How many of you have heard of a parent or friend needing a knee replacement because of "old age?" 

Here's a old is the other knee and why is nothing wrong with it?

Our arches are held together by ligaments, the plantar fascia.  Over time (and kids!), these arches stretch.  Ligaments are like plastic fruit bags.  If you stretch a plastic bag - it doesn't rebound, like a rubber band (which is more like a muscle).  Most times, these arches stretch inconsistently - leading you to have one flatter foot on one side. 

This leads to having an unbalanced foundation without you even knowing it!  If any of you have been to chiropractors, they may talk about one leg being shorter (which is caused by either a prior break in that leg or a misalignment of their pelvis which causes their gluteal muscles to be too tight - drawing the leg up and making it "appear" shorter.  If your chiropractor is not checking your feet to see if that is that is making your one hip lower - they are missing the boat.  If something is wrong with your feet and they just adjust your pelvis - as soon as you step away from the table, the pelvis is not supported and your adjustment doesn't last.

Some of my patients upon learning they have a short leg exclaim, "I knew it!  My pants never fit right - one side was always longer." or "I always feel as though I was putting more pressure on my right leg."  

A balanced body has less injury and less stress than one that is unbalanced. 
Getting outside and getting active are great ways to improve your health.  Think more longterm instead of quick fix this year - and your longevity with a program will expand.  You'll be less injury-prone and be able to reach the goals you set, pain-free.

Are You Skinny Fat?


Ah, spring time…time to clean up your closet, clean up your diet, and most importantly clean up your health. For many of my patients, I see them launch into a crash diet.  To be honest, I did the same.  But what happens when you are done?  You gain it back….but why?
Perhaps  you’ve gained weight from eating more of what you didn’t before.  But it goes deeper than that.  For those that have lost over 20 lbs. and put it back on quickly, it has more to do with how you took it off.
In 2001, I weighed 265.  I blamed it on having a baby – but I had her in 1998.  Admittedly, I’m tall – but 265 is pushing it.  My body hurt.  I wore a size 22.  After Christmas of 2000, my sister got cute little workout clothes, and I got kitchen equipment and mumu’s.   I had had enough!  Nearing the clinic in chiropractic school, I didn’t see any overweight chiropractors and said, “I don’t want to be the only overweight chiropractor.”  (Since then, I’ve seen many :) – but I used that as a mantra.  
Using Weight Watchers, over the course of a year, I lost 80lbs.  Sometimes I would fast if I ate too many points and eat a head of broccoli for dinner or their Cheese Soup that was 1 point.  I didn’t really change what I ate – only the amount.
When I lost the 80th pound, I stood up and bragged how I never had exercised ONCE.  Not one single time in the entire year and I still lost weight.  How stupid I was.
After keeping the weight off – I looked great.  I wore a size 12 (I’m 5’11) so that was great for me!  
My first job was at Gold’s gym in King of Prussia.  People thought I looked fit and invited me to the circuit class.  
Again – thinking because I’m thinner – I am in shape, right?  The circuit class was held in the middle of the floor for all to see working out.  Within 2 stations, I was ready to puke.  With sheer embarrassment, I shook off to the bathroom and could not get out of the stall for an hour!
So embarrassing!
So here is what happened.  I lost 80 lbs. in 7 months.  I burned off the fat, along with lean muscle.  Lean muscle is an indicator of health and vitality. Because I burned off my lean muscle, lack of exercise resulted in rapid weight gain.  When you crash diet you take away the bad and the good.  Even if you exercise and diet – if you do it too fast (which is what everyone wants!)you‘re setting yourself up for future failure.
When you diet to lose weight, your goal should be to maintain your lean muscle while losing the fat.  How do you monitor this?  We use a device called a Bioimpedance Analysis . A BIA evaluates your body fat, lean body mass, and calculates your fat content.  This is the most accurate, short of a DEXA scan.  People think the underwater body testing is accurate, but the BIA is just as effective, as you cannot express the oxygen out of your lungs which occupies mass and space.
How should you do it?
1.    Incorporate an exercise program, even if it is just walking.  For us women over 35, you should include a weight-bearing exercise program with weights.  Women will NOT bulk up using this.  If you need help, ask your sports medicine doc, chiro, or PT.  Perhaps you have a trainer at the gym and have never used your free sessions.

2.    Don’t push it.  It took time to put the weight on, and long-term, do you want to just lose it now, only to gain it back?

3.    Make sure you are eating whole foods that are nutrient-dense.  The more ingredients something has – typically the less healthy it is. 

If you ever have any questions, please ask.  I took off 18lbs. last year – and I know each one of them is off for good!  Losing weight is simple science, but it is important to understand the why’s to gain long-term weight loss.