Monday, January 8, 2018


Detective Story


When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes applied himself to a difficult case, he famously utilized his powers of deduction. Holmes assembled and examined the facts before him and employed a scientific method of analysis to arrive at a solution that took into account of all the elements of the case. The great fictional detectives who followed in his wake including Agatha Christie's Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot, and G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown, all utilized Holmes's painstaking attention to detail and his inimitable, relentless logic.
Your chiropractor, as well, employs methods similar to Holmes’ in their search for the causes of your health issues and the keys that will provide access to abundant wellness and well-being. On the first office visit with a new patient, your chiropractor obtains a thorough health history, including current and past problems, past surgeries, medications, and everything else that is important to understanding your present health circumstances. Next is the physical examination, in which your chiropractor gathers objective findings such as the ranges of motion of your neck, lower back, and various extremities. The strength of key muscle groups is determined, reflexes are tested, and sensory patterns in your arms and legs are assessed.
Additionally, your chiropractor examines the mobility and overall function of the joints of your spine, especially in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions, to identify locations of spinal joint dysfunction and nerve interference. Finally, based on your health history and the physical examination findings, as well as information derived from X-rays and other special tests, if needed, your chiropractor deduces the likely source of your health complaints and devises a program of treatment that will help restore and maintain good health.
By utilizing a comprehensive process of deduction, your chiropractor ascertains the primary spinal regions of joint dysfunction and nerve irritation that are interfering with your ability to express optimal health and well-being. Treatment is directed at correcting these biomechanical problem areas by use of manual chiropractic methods and instruction in rehabilitative exercise routines. Your chiropractor may also help you to set-up a healthy eating program that works for you, as well as provide information on establishing nighttime habits to consistently obtain sound, restful sleep.
Regular chiropractic care is important for all of us, from the youngest members of our families to the oldest. By detecting and correcting sources of nerve interference, our chiropractors help us to demonstrate high levels of health and wellness, now and into the future. Habits of good health can spread throughout a neighborhood and a community. As a result, in the long run, everyone benefits.
Sources:
  1. Goncalves G, et al: Primary prevention in chiropractic practice: a systematic review. Chiropr Man Therap 2017 Mar 20;25:9. doi: 10.1186/s12998-017-0140-4. eCollection 2017
  2. Clijsters M, et al: Chiropractic treatment approaches for spinal musculoskeletal conditions: a cross-sectional survey. Chiropr Man Therap 2014 Oct 1;22(1):33. doi: 10.1186/s12998-014-0033-8. eCollection 2014
  3. Gorrell LM, et al: Manual and Instrument Applied Cervical Manipulation for Mechanical Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 39(5):319-329, 2016



Friday, December 1, 2017

Making the Grade

The recent school year has long been over, but the echoes of learning, striving, and achieving persist. We may, if we choose, apply these remembrances of ourselves when we were in school to the circumstances of our health and well-being. We all want good health for ourselves and the members of our families, but most of us are uncertain as to the actions we need to take to attain this goal. For example, it's easy to get caught up in the notion of "perfect health." Such a misconception may have dire consequences, as the image of being "slim and trim" or being able to sport a set of "washboard abs" may actually prevent us from getting started on developing healthy lifestyles. The impossibility of obtaining an idealized result is discouraging and actually prevents us from taking any action. If we perceive the road to climb as too steep, we may never even begin the journey.
But as in school, although achieving an "A" is the highest goal, those who earn other passing marks are able to continue on to the next grade as well. If students stopped themselves from persisting in their educational programs owing to failure to obtain top marks, they would have failed to observe that they had gained substantial benefit via their efforts in reading, studying, and doing assignments. Plenty of learning can be accomplished even though the student doesn't earn an "A." The real benefits are not so much in earning top grades but rather in participating in the process. Ultimately, the grades you earn matter less than the results you obtain by having applied what you've learned.
Similarly, our goals when we initiate a new healthy eating program or a new program of regular vigorous exercise are not to achieve an ideal weight or an ideal "look." Being "skinny" or even "slim" may not be possible for many people with certain genetic predispositions. "Packing on muscle" or developing a "six-pack," as well, requires specific predispositions of metabolism and genetic makeup. For everyone else, appropriate and effective goals consist of simply becoming healthier than we are at present. For example, losing 5 pounds by maintaining a new healthy diet is a significant accomplishment. Having done that, we might be able to lose 5 pounds more. Walking 15 minutes a day, too, represents progress toward improved health if we haven't done any form of exercise for a while. Having done that, we could progress to walking 30 minutes a day and even begin going to the gym and lifting some light weights.
Any efforts one makes in the direction of achieving optimum health and well-being will be supported by regular chiropractic care. Whether you're designing a new exercise program, enhancing your healthy nutrition plan, engaging in a new mindfulness activity, or all of the above, regular chiropractic care helps provide your body with the means and tools to derive the most benefit from your upgraded healthy lifestyle choices.
Limitations to the gains we can make are often caused by nerve interference and spinal dysfunction, two physiological roadblocks to achieving high levels of health and wellness. By analyzing, detecting, and correcting the sources of nerve irritation and altered spinal mechanics, regular chiropractic care frees your body and enables your cells, tissues, and organ systems to become revitalized as a result of your new lifestyle activities.  In this way, regular chiropractic care itself becomes an important healthy lifestyle choice.
By becoming healthier, many other aspects of our lives improve. We begin to notice that we're sleeping more restfully and have more energy during the day. We may even find that new ideas are coming to us regarding our work and other projects that are important to us. Overall, we begin to find that we're happier and deriving greater satisfaction from our daily tasks and interactions with friends and family. By beginning the various processes of improving our health and well-being, we find that we are winning. What we are actually able to accomplish is what counts.
  1. Schuch FB, et al: Exercise improves physical and psychological quality of life in people with depression: A meta-analysis including the evaluation of control group response. Psychiatr Res 241:47-54, 2016
  2. Cramer H, et al: Yoga for improving health-related quality of life, mental health and cancer-related symptoms in women diagnosed with breast cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2017 Jan 3;1:CD010802. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010802.pub2
  3. Veronese N, et al: Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with better quality of life: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Am J Clin Nutr 104(5):1403-1409, 2016

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Your Spine 101

An adult human spine typically consists of 26 moveable segments: seven cervical vertebras, twelve thoracic vertebras, five lumbar vertebras, one sacrum, and one coccyx (tailbone). Intervertebral discs separate the segments from the second cervical vertebra down to the sacrum and a thinner disc is present between the sacrum and coccyx. Intervertebral discs comprise about 25% of the height of an adult spine. Intervertebral joints connect vertebras and these joints are lined by lubricating synovial membranes. All of these structures are designed and built to last a lifetime.
Intervertebral discs, which are gel-like colloids, begin to lose their water content at about age 2. This slow resorption is perfectly normal. Nothing lasts forever, and all living structures degrade and deteriorate over time. With this in mind, we can understand how it is that x-rays of older persons show various degrees of degeneration or arthritis of the spinal joints and intervertebral discs. These physiological changes are ominously or portentously referred to as "degenerative disc disease" by certain specialists, but it is important to remember that these structures deteriorate naturally. Degeneration or breakdown of spinal joints and intervertebral discs is not a disease, but rather a standard process that occurs over time, more rapidly in some persons than in others.
There are measures we can employ to resist the effects of spinal degenerative changes and possibly even slow the process of degeneration itself. Spinal degenerative changes are problematic as they result in loss of resilience, flexibility, and mobility of the spine as a whole. The overall result is degradation of spinal function and increased possibility for strains, sprains, and other injuries. Solutions are available, as research studies have consistently demonstrated that regular vigorous exercise and healthy nutrition provide significant benefit in maintaining spinal structure and function.
Regular vigorous exercise such as walking, running, bike riding, and strength training provide consistent weight bearing stress to spinal joints and intervertebral discs. Such mechanical stresses are required for these structures to retain their physiological integrity. For example, exercise pumps fluid back into intervertebral discs and increases lubrication of spinal joints. Healthy eating provides the nutrients required to support efficient repair and replacement of the cells and tissues of spinal structural components. Thus, by choosing to implement healthy lifestyles, we help keep our spines in peak physical condition and become better able to withstand the negative effects of natural physiological forces occurring over time.
Having a healthy spine also depends on getting regular chiropractic care. Exercise, good nutrition, and sufficient rest are the primary requirements for spinal health, but there may be limitations and restrictions in the form of spinal joint dysfunction and nerve interference. These limitations prevent your spine from achieving optimal function and may lead to stiffness, loss of mobility, ongoing pain, and even injury.
By detecting and correcting spinal joint dysfunction, regular chiropractic care helps eliminate sources of nerve interference and enables your spine to do its job, which includes handling heavy mechanical loads and moving you around during all your activities throughout the day. Regular chiropractic care partners with your other healthy lifestyle choices to help you achieve high levels of health and well-being now and into the future.
  1. Geusens PP, van den Bergh JP: Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: shared mechanisms and epidemiology. Curr Opin Rheumatol 28(2):97-103, 2016
  2. Falla D, Hodges PW: Individualized Exercise Interventions for Spinal Pain. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 45(2):105-115, 2017
  3. Teraguchi M, Yoshimura N, Hashizume H, et al: Metabolic Syndrome Components Are Associated with Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: The Wakayama Spine Study. PLoS One. 2016 Feb 3;11(2):e0147565. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147565. eCollection 2016

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Find Inspiration in Walden

In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of the United States' greatest writers, naturalists, and philosophers, not only walked the length and breadth of Concord, his beloved hometown in Massachusetts, but also walked and hiked far and wide across farms, riverbeds, parklands, and mountains all over Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
In Thoreau's time, the early and middle decades of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution was just beginning to impact daily life. In those days, men and women still engaged in substantial quantities of physical labor, and exercise as such was never conceived as necessary. At present, in marked contrast, regular exercise is a key requirement for a healthy life. We need to break away, for at least 30 minutes every day, from our computer monitors and our mobile device screens. Thoreau would not recognize the sprawling urbanity of our cramped cities and their satellite suburbs, but he would likely strongly encourage us to get out there, walk as much as we can, and enjoy as much green space as possible.
For Thoreau, being outdoors was imperative. In his revered essay, "Walking," he informed his readers that he could not stay in his "chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust." Admittedly, our mode of living is quite different from his. For many of us, getting to some green space requires a bit of effort. However, in the 21st century, we need to make sure we're doing sufficient vigorous exercise, and walking on city streets and avenues counts as much as does walking along a tree-lined lane.
For those of us who haven't done any regular exercise for some time, walking is an optimal way to get back in shape. Regardless of one's age, renewing one's acquaintance with the process of exercise should be a gradual process. Start slowly, beginning with a 15-minute walk at a slow pace. Increase your pace over time until you're able to do a brisk 15-minute walk. Then increase your duration in small increments, decreasing your pace if needed. Within, typically, four to six weeks, you've become able to do a brisk 30-minute walk. Longer durations may be appropriate, whenever possible. The federal government recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous exercise five times a week to achieve and maintain good health.
Regular chiropractic care helps us achieve our exercise goals and is an important component of our overall health and well-being strategy. Regular chiropractic care helps our spines maintain their balance, flexibility, and mechanical integrity, and a well-functioning spinal column helps ensure optimal activity of our nerve system. When the nerve system, our body's master system, is functioning properly, all our other physiological systems are able to do their jobs more effectively. In this way, regular chiropractic care helps us get the most out of our exercise activities and helps us obtain high levels of health and wellness.
  1. Shanahan DF, et al: The Benefits of Natural Environments for Physical Activity. Sports Med 46(7):989-995, 2016
  2. Ulmer JM1, et al: Multiple health benefits of urban tree canopy: The mounting evidence for a green prescription Health Place 42:54-62, 2016
  3. Cox DTC, et al; Doses of Neighborhood Nature: The Benefits for Mental Health of Living with Nature BioScience 67(2):147-155, 2017
  4. Click here to learn more

Monday, October 16, 2017

Hip and Knee pain.


Hip and Knee Security

Everyone knows someone who has undergone hip or knee replacement. These surgeries are no longer exclusively performed on older persons and are now not uncommon procedures for many patients with persistent, significant hip or knee pain. Problems that lead people to be willing to undergo joint replacement surgery include ongoing intolerable pain and loss of mobility. Good outcomes are generally associated with these procedures, but it is reasonable that most of us would far prefer to prevent the progression of a degenerative joint disorder and avoid the need for surgery.
Hip or knee joint replacement surgery is typically prescribed for osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). Osteoarthritis involves thinning of protective joint cartilage, loss of sufficient lubrication of the joint by its synovial membrane, and painful inflammation. Osteoarthritis may occur years or decades after a significant joint injury, or osteoarthritis may be a long-term result of disuse, limited use, or otherwise insufficient physical activity.
As with most physical ailments, prevention is generally much more effective than is treatment. Prevention takes time, but the expenditure of time may be worth it compared to the amount of time expended later on in terms of visits to specialist physicians, laboratory tests and MRI studies, possible surgical procedures, and extensive recovery and rehabilitation. Prevention of osteoarthritis is the best policy from every point of view.
Some things just happen, of course, and a minority of osteoarthritis cases will get worse regardless of the measures taken. But, overall, various forms of exercise as well as visits to the chiropractor’s office have been consistently shown to substantially benefit people with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. Effective exercise programs include walking, running, and biking. Any or all of these are appropriate in most circumstances. Aquatic exercise, such as swimming or water aerobics, is also of great benefit in the treatment of knee or hip osteoarthritis.
Additionally, core exercises are an important part of any comprehensive exercise program, especially when a primary objective is to slow or prevent osteoarthritis. Core exercises help stabilize and strengthen weight-bearing structures such as your lower back and pelvis, removing significant mechanical loads from other weight-bearing joints such as the hip and knee. Redistributing mechanical stresses away from your hips and knees through exercise and regular chiropractic care helps these joints to function more optimally and retain peak levels of performance, hopefully, far into the future.
Although these preventive activities take time, the return on investment is high. The benefits extend far beyond protection of your hips and knees. Your exercise routines improve cardiovascular fitness, increase restful sleep, enhance your posture, and add an extra bounce to your step. By engaging in a consistent program of vigorous physical activity, you're helping to increase your long-term health and well-being, and by extension, that of your family as well.
Click here for more information. www.chiropracticfamilyclinic.net

  1. Fransen M, et al: Exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jan 9;1:CD004376. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004376.pub3
  2. Bartels EM, et al: Aquatic exercise for the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Mar 23;3:CD005523. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD005523.pub3
  3. Rivera CE: Core and Lumbopelvic Stabilization in Runners. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am 27(1):319-337, 2016

Friday, September 15, 2017

Healthy Life Style

The Four Seasons

exercise important at any age
Lifestyle Upgrades and Regular Chiropractic Care
When we read about the national epidemics of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, or listen to news reports, programs, or podcasts discussing these health problems, the solutions most frequently proposed include regular vigorous exercise (begun gradually, of course) and a healthy nutritious diet. These action steps are essential for the long-term well-being of us all, regardless of our current health status. Importantly, we gain critical support for these activities by going for regular chiropractic care.
In fact, regular chiropractic care is a difference-maker when it comes to enhancing and upgrading our health and well-being and that of our family. By identifying sources of nerve interference and correcting spinal misalignments, regular chiropractic care helps ensure optimal functioning and performance of all our body's systems. As a result, we're better able to get the most out of our lifestyle activities. Regular chiropractic care provides the secret ingredient that helps us to fulfill our ongoing quest to obtain better health.
Change is an undeniable force that impacts everything. Nothing in the physical world, either on Earth or in the Universe itself, is able to resist change and ultimate decay. Supernovas, for example, are the final explosive moments of massive stars. Our own changes through life are not as dramatic, but nonetheless, they are just as meaningful, often profoundly so.
Some life cycles such as that of a leaf or butterfly are studied and appreciated as symbols of change. Yet, the physical changes we go through over the years and decades are often lamented instead of revered. We could mourn for our youthful selves, regretting our losses and wishing we could have retained what used to be, or we could return our perspective to the forces of life proceeding in and around us. In doing so, we come to realize we are not required to passively accept the march of time. In the context of physical health, we may focus our attention on the things we are capable of doing to resist the impact of the passing years and maintain and even upgrade our levels of fitness, health and well-being.
Realistically, physical structures do break down. For example, our intervertebral discs, the gelatinous shock-absorbers situated between pairs of spinal vertebras, begin to lose their maximum water content shortly after birth, owing to the ongoing effects of gravity. Thus, intervertebral disc degeneration is inevitable. But we can resist the process and slow the progression or loss, by pumping physiologic fluids back into the disc via physical activity and regular vigorous exercise. In this way, we rehydrate our intervertebral discs to the available maximum, improving our flexibility, agility and mobility as we do so.
Overall, lifestyle upgrades such as ensuring a healthy nutritious diet1,2 and engaging in regular vigorous exercise five times a week3 help us be proactive against the effects of the passage of time. We may not be able to run a six-minute mile at age 60, but that's not the point. What we can do is become much fitter and much healthier than we have been. We can lose weight and add pounds of lean muscle mass, sleep more restfully, have more energy throughout the day, upgrade our musculoskeletal adaptability, and improve our long-term health and well-being. We have the time that is ours to have.
 
  1. Mangano KM, et al: Dietary protein is associated with musculoskeletal health independently of dietary pattern: the Framingham Third Generation Study. Am J Clin Nutr  2017 Feb 8. pii: ajcn136762. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.136762. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Via MA, Mechanick JI: Nutrition in Type 2 Diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome. Med Clin North Am 100(6):1285-1302, 2016
  3. Buscemi S, Giordano C: Physical activity and cardiovascular prevention: Is healthy urban living a possible reality or utopia? Eur J Intern Med 017 Feb 16. pii: S0953-6205(17)30069-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2017.02.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Monday, August 21, 2017

Chiropractic Care: An Ounce of Prevention



An Ounce of Prevention

Everyone knows the old adage that declares "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." This time-honored wisdom certainly makes sense. We wouldn't wait until we were riding on the wheel rim before we repaired a leaking automobile tire. We wouldn't wait until there were obvious signs of termite damage to our home before calling in the pest control experts. But, in contrast, many of us fail to implement the same kinds of straightforward preventive measures to help ensure appropriate levels of physical fitness and ongoing good health.
The main problem with preventive measures is that they consume time. The adage, however, implies that much more time will be spent, as well as financial resources that could be better directed toward other projects, in trying to cure damage, illness, or disease that would likely have been prevented by consistently taking a few necessary steps. In the case of achieving wellness, most people are aware of the need for good nutrition and regular exercise. But even with this awareness, many people persist in avoiding taking the time to do the things they need to do to retain and maintain robust good health.
What is missing is the commitment to be the person who accomplishes such goals. Change comes from within, as is asserted by another well-known aphorism. In order to take on meaningful change, despite the implication that there is going to be a certain expenditure of time and some inconvenience, the value of the activity needs to outweigh the costs. This means a person needs to be willing to authentically choose to take long-term actions in the areas of healthy eating and exercise. Sometimes it takes a wake-up call to get going, but it's much better, in the context of "an ounce of prevention," to start to make things happen before a real problem develops.
Many people will persist in their habits and resist the self-creation of more healthy lifestyles, as demonstrated by the ongoing worldwide epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. But many others will one day get out of bed in the morning and experience the sensation of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. On that day, such a person will have the immediate realization of the great value to be obtained in taking care of oneself, despite the short-term costs of time and effort. These "aha moments" are the inspiration for many to adopt and maintain a range of healthy lifestyles, with the result of long-term health, happiness, and well-being.
Regular Chiropractic Care and Healthy Lifestyles
Another well-worn yet still meaningful adage is "If it's going to be, it's up to me." Although friends may tell us what they think we should do, and loved ones may attempt to instruct us in hopes of bettering our welfare, most of us have a fairly ingrained resistance to following the recommendations of others if those recommendations didn't match up with our own already developed plans.
It may be that many friends and loved ones have recommended regular chiropractic care to us over months or even years, with the intention of helping us obtain better overall health. When the time comes when we begin to realize how valuable good health actually is, we will discover for ourselves the value and importance of regular chiropractic care. We will then want to sure that we're getting the most out of our good nutritional practices and the time spent engaging in regular exercise, and we will find that regular chiropractic care helps us do so. By detecting and correcting spinal misalignments and optimizing functioning of the nerve system, our body's master system, regular chiropractic care helps us achieve our goals of long-term health and wellness.
  1. Kang DW, Lee J, Suh SH, et al: Effects of Exercise on Insulin, IGF-axis, Adipocytokines, and Inflammatory Markers in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 26(3):355-365, 2016
  2. Hayes BD, Brady L, Pollak M, et al: Exercise and Prostate Cancer: Evidence and Proposed Mechanisms for Disease Modification Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 25(9):1281-1288, 2016
  3. Micha R, PeƱalvo JL, Cudhea F, et al: Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality from Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States JAMA 317(9):912-924, 2017 Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (CRPS) (ICD9 337.2):26 visits over 16 weeks Arthritis (ICD9 715): 9 visits over 8 weeks