STRESSED? Take care of your adrenal glands!

This time of year seems to be a stressful season for my patients. Between kids finishing up with school, seasonal allergies, spring cleaning, and the tremendous amount of rain Washington, DC has endured- many of my patients seem to be under the weather and exhausted. I’ve been checking in with my patients and discussing a tiny paired endocrine gland, that may need a little extra love when they are stressed.

The Adrenal Glands.

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The Adrenal Glands are endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys. These glands, though tiny, have some pretty big responsibilities. There are two areas we think about with the Adrenal Glands: the cortex and the medulla.

The Adrenal Cortex

  • Produces mineralcorticoids (adolesterone) which helps to regulate blood pressure

  • Produces glucocorticoids (cortisol) which is helpful in the body’s response to illness and regulating metabolism

  • Produces androgens (DHEA and testosterone)

The Adrenal Medulla

  • Produces catecholamines (adrenaline) which is responsible for your “flight or fight” response to stress, meaning- how you physically respond to a stressful environment

A solution I have to give your adrenal glands some extra TLC if you’re feeling stressed is:

Standard Process’ DRENAMIN


Standard Process’ website boasts the following:

Drenamin supports adrenal function and helps maintain emotional balance.*

  • Promotes healthy adrenal gland function

  • Encourages a healthy response to everyday environmental stresses and supports immune system response function

  • Maintains energy production

  • Supports a balanced mood

  • Good source of antioxidant vitamin C

  • Contains a combination of key ingredients from Cataplex® C, Cataplex® G, and Drenatrophin® PMG*

and I couldn’t agree more!

The main vitamins and minerals in Drenamin include Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Vitamin B6. And, for less than $15 a bottle- how could you go wrong? Mention this blog for an extra 25% discount!

Your chiropractor always has your back- from musculoskeletal problems, stress, or a good pizza recommendation. Let me help you become complete again.

Upper Crossed Syndrome

Many patients that I see come in with neck and mid-back pain from working on the computer or sitting at a desk all day. They have tightness in their neck, feel generally uncomfortable, and have pain throughout the day. The reason for this? Upper Crossed Syndrome.

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Upper Crossed Syndrome is a postural condition that refers to overlapping overactive and underactive muscle groups. This image demonstrates tight pectoral and neck/mid-back musculature (suboccipitals, upper trapezius, levator scapulae) and weak cervical neck flexors, rhomboids, and lower trapezius muscles. This combination of tight and weak musculature increases the stress on the neck and the cervical discs.

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As you can see, even slight forward head carriage can significantly increase the weight of your head on the cervical discs. Don’t let this happen to you!

Your chiropractor can help by alleviating muscle tightness and re-aligning vertebrae that may be out of place. At the office, I can give you stretches and exercises that you can do at home/work to re-train those muscles and correct your posture. Stretching tight musculature and strengthening weak muscles will help you maintain a healthier posture so that you don’t get stuck in a slump.

Upper crossed syndrome is something that affects many people today. Remember, you don’t have to live in pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you there is something wrong. If you are having tightness in your neck or mid back, or if you’re feeling like you’re constantly rubbing your shoulders or trying to stretch your neck throughout the day because everything feels so tight- call me today. I do my best to accommodate same day appointments and can help you start living pain free!

Safe Shoveling Tips

Let it Snow!

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Who doesn’t love a little bit of snow during the winter months? Hailing from western New York, I know my way around a good snow storm and have had years of experience to develop proper shoveling techniques. Here are a few tips to keep you safe this winter. If you have pain after shoveling, be sure to call the office so you can heal properly. Muscular injuries can take time to heal and we can help speed up that process to get you back to your every day activities!

  • S T R E T C H before and after shoveling! Stretching is important and should be part of your daily routine- but when shoveling, it is extra important that your muscles are prepared for the workout, and that they have time to recover after your driveway is cleared

  • Do NOT lift the snow! If you can- push the snow to the sides, or use a small shovel so you do not overload

  • Lift with your LEGS not your back! This is a great way to get squats in without going to the gym. Your legs are strong and can support the weight of the snow much better than your back.

  • Do NOT TWIST and lift. This puts extra stress on your discs. Perform motions in a linear fashion- you are not an amusement park ride… don’t bend, twist, lift, and shimmy all around. It’s the perfect recipe for injury.

  • HYDRATE! If you are a current patient of mine, you know I am constantly telling you to drink extra water. Shoveling is hard work and will certainly cause to sweat. Make sure you properly hydrate and drink water. (Hot chocolate is okay too… but then you have to add in another glass of water!)

  • Take frequent breaks. I would often shovel a small area, take a break (to drink water and stretch!) and then go back to shoveling. It may take longer but your back will thank you.

Be careful of ICE too. Stay safe out there- but we’re here if slip/fall occurs or if you wake up the next day with pain. Remember, pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Don’t ignore the pain and push through it. We can help you. Chiropractic care can make you complete again.

- Dr. Kern

Minestrone Soup Recipe

Hello! It’s that time of year again where the leaves start to change, cooler weather arrives, and we start to prepare for … SNOW! Being raised in Western NY, I’m no stranger to snowy weather. Last year, I was surprised that Maryland had barely any snow. Either way- here’s a delicious Minestrone Soup recipe for those cozy evenings at home. I’ve made this recipe twice in the past two weeks! It is easy, easy to make (once you chop your vegetables) and it is delicious. I will admit- my mother’s side of the family is Italian and we don’t always measure all of our seasonings according to the recipe… a little dash here, a sprinkle here… you get the picture. I did try to follow the recipe as closely as I could. Enjoy!

This recipe was taken from:




  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2 medium ribs celery, chopped

  • 1/4 cup of tomato paste (TIP: I froze the extra tomato paste for next time)

  • 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (I used yellow squash and frozen green beans- you can use butternut squash, potatoes, peas… anything you want)

  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced (TIP: I use a small cheese grater to mince my garlic, it’s much easier)

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes with their liquid

  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth (I used chicken broth)

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 bay leaves

  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (I used a couple of good shakes in mine to give it a little kick)

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup small pasta or orcchiette (I used elbow macaroni)

  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans (Rinsing the beans is important to remove excess sodium. One time I made it with the beans, one time I made it without- your preference)

  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped kale, or chopped collard greens

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnishing


  • Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat

  • Add ONION, CARROT, CELERY, TOMATO PASTE, and a pinch of SALT. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and onions are turning translucent (7 to 10 MINUTES)

  • Add SEASONAL VEGETABLES, GARLIC, OREGANO, and THYME. Cook until fragrant, about two minutes


  • Raise heat to MEDIUM HIGH and bring mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot with the lid, leaving about a 1” gap for steam to escape. REDUCE HEAT as necessary to maintain a GENTLE SIMMER

  • Cook for 15 MINUTES, then remove lid and add PASTA, BEANS, and GREENS. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 20 MINUTES until the pasta is al dente and greens are tender

  • Remove pot from heat and remove bay leaves. Stir in LEMON JUICE and remaining OLIVE OIL. Taste and season.

  • Serve HOT with PARMESAN garnish

I tasted the soup throughout the cooking process adding salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, etc. where I thought I needed it. I hope you enjoy- this makes enough for my husband and I to have soup for the week! The first time we froze half of it… but took it out of the freezer two days later because it was so good!

Dr. ZK

How long does it take to feel better?

This is a question that every patient asks. How many treatments do I need? When will I start to feel better? How often do I need to come? Truth is- I don’t know! Every body responds differently to care. On average, I’d say that patients involved in a serious injury (motor vehicle accident, accident at work, sports injury) can take up to two or three months to fully recover. Injuring soft tissue structures (ligaments and muscles) can be extremely painful, and make take some time to heal. It’s important to stick with your treatment plan and be patient.


A good analogy I like to use with my patients is going to the gym/dieting. Something we can all relate to in one way or another, right? Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds. If you go to the gym once… you certainly won’t reach your goal. Or, if you only change your breakfast from an Egg McMuffin to plain yogurt with fresh fruit… you won’t reach your goal. If you start to incorporate going to the gym regularly and make dietary changes, chances are- you will reach your goal eventually! How soon? We don’t know! It depends on how your body responds to the new foods you are eating and the added on physical activity. Some people may drop 10 pounds in the blink of an eye. Some people may work hard at it for months. Chiropractic care can be similar.

The patients I see with the best responses come regularly- whether they are feeling pain or not. Regularly, for some, means once a month, every other week, every week… it depends on how you feel. I’ve had a patient before that insisted on coming 3x a week because she loved the way she felt. She experienced normal muscle tightness, and was consistent with her gym routine. No significant injuries- just absolutely loved coming in for hydrobed, combo, and an adjustment. I also have patients that come every month- just for maintenance care. Patients that come routinely often suffer from less injuries because they are staying on top of their wellness.

Patients who suffered from minor injury (strained their back gardening over the weekend, woke up with a stiff neck) are recommended to come 2 -3x the first week and slowly taper off. It’s best to tackle the injury immediately and start to decrease inflammation and swelling. I promise to work with you and together, we can determine the right treatment plan.

I know that we have busy lives full of work, kids, meetings, household chores, errands to run…. but your health needs to be your number one priority. Imagine if that tightness in your neck or pain in your low back was gone…! For some, it seems impossible, right? Decreased pain or increased range of motion would certainly make preparing dinner, picking the kids up from school, and sitting through that weekly meeting a lot easier. MAKE TIME FOR YOUR SPINE. MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF!!! Chiropractic care is great preventative medicine. By keeping your nervous and musculoskeletal system functioning at it’s fullest potential, it’s like you are always running on a full tank of gas, 8 hours of sleep, and a constant IV of water and nutrients. Seriously.

I’d love to be a part of your wellness goals or help you recover after an injury. Call us today. Same day appointments- we want to get you out of pain!!

-Dr. ZK

Our First Post!!

Hello! This is my very first blog post. (Today is also Chiropractic’s 123rd birthday- so it’s an appropriate day to start blogging!) Be sure to check our blog for different tips and tricks to help you stay healthy! I’ll post recipes, stretches, research, and more that focus on chiropractic and wellness. Leave comments to let me know what you’re looking to see, or if you have a question.

For my first post, I’m going to provide a little introduction to the office and myself, so you can get to know who I am, and what I’m all about! Ready?

My name is Dr. Tara Zempel Kern. I relocated to Maryland from Rochester, NY about a year ago. Maryland has been fun so far! Rochester is cold and snowy… it was definitely time for a change. My passion is chiropractic. I love everything about it. I love treating patients and seeing them get better. I love helping athletes achieve their fitness goals. I love hearing my high school athletes tell me that they won their game or received a sports scholarship to college. There is nothing that makes me smile more than making my patients healthier and happier. I believe in treating the body as a whole and customizing care to each patient. Everyone’s body is different and responds differently to the techniques used. I am constantly expanding my knowledge and technique- if there is something you’re not comfortable with- tell me! I can use another method to treat you so we can still achieve your goals.

In my spare time, I’ve been busy exploring the DMV area. I’ve hiked Sugar Loaf and part of the Shenendoah Valley. I’ve found a Buffalo Bills bar in DC so I can root for my home team. I’ve been trying to meet as many people as possible. This city is full of life- I love meeting people from all different professions and cultural backgrounds. It has been so much fun for me.

If you are considering chiropractic care, please call and come by. I’d love to discuss what I do and how chiropractic can be helpful for you. If you like what we have done, the best thing you can do is tell your family and friends!

I look forward to providing excellent care to you, and the rest of my community.

(I was recently married and changed my last name- but for years, all of my patients referred to me as Dr. Z. Now… I’ve updated it to be Dr. ZK. It will take some time to get used to!)

-Dr. ZK