Author Archives: Christopher Duncan

Access to Chiropractic for Military Families

The NavyTimes reported on a possible revamping of the military medical system recently

Washington policymakers will soon begin consideration of the biggest overhaul of the military health care system since Tricare replaced CHAMPUS in the early 1990s — changes that would shift millions of beneficiaries to commercial, private-sector health plans.

This plan is purported to save the Pentagon billions of dollars as well as improving access to care for over 9 million military families.

Participants would have to provide the same services now covered by Tricare, including inpatient and outpatient services, medical and surgical care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, maternity care and pediatrics, preventive care and more.

But some plans could offer benefits that the current Tricare program doesn’t — chiropractic care, fertility treatments, acupuncture and more — at various costs.

The commission, whose members included six retired military officers, a Navy reservist and a Medal of Honor recipient, all with legislative and professional expertise in military pay-and-benefits issues, says the program, called Tricare Choice, would give families more choice of doctors, better access and improved treatment.

For the full article visit http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/benefits/health-care/2015/03/16/commission-proposes-tricare-choice/24458697/

chriscapitolstraightTo support improved access to chiropractic for our military and their families you can sign up for alerts about legislation affecting chiropractic athttp://www.chirovoice.org/ or you can visit the legislative action center for the ACA (http://cqrcengage.com/aca/) to find current issues and contact your representative or senator to make your voice heard.  There are currently 3 federal issues that affect chiropractic and the military. Take a look and support our troops.

Low Back Pain, Right Here! – Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Many people suffer from Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction even if they don’t know it by name. Most often people come in complaining of low back pain right along the belt line usually radiating to the glutes. They can usually point to the source of their pain and they point right to the S.I. joint. This is usually Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, and it can cause serious pain. It often affects pregnant women more easily than others because of the hormone-induced relaxation of the pelvis along with increased weight and low back stress.

It is usually caused by trauma such as lifting heavy items while bending and twisting at the same time. It can be exaggerated by the same motion such as loading a dishwasher or front loading clothes dryer, or even vacuuming. SI dysfunction will often produce a functional inequality in leg length (one leg appearing longer than the other). This pain is often one sided and also confused with sciatica. If you have S.I. Dysfunction it can produce pseudo sciatica. S.I. Dysfunction is the cause of about 25% of all low back pain.

What can you do if you have S.I. Dysfunction. Chiropractic is the treatment of choice having about a 75% success rate in research (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804708/). Stretching the hip flexors and gluteal regions can help relieve some of the pain. The best thing to do is to see a chiropractor to restore proper function to those joints. If you have low back pain there is a 1 in 4 chance that it is S.I. Dysfunction.

 

Go to Your Chiropractor for Your High Blood Pressure

IMG_2825Hypertension is the most common primary diagnosis in the country. It is a serious public health issue affecting over 30% of the adult population of the USA. Hypertension and hypertension related conditions are a leading cause of death with nearly 350,000 per year. It is also a very manageable condition. In most cases Chiropractors should be managing these patients in their offices. Chiropractors are trained to make the diagnosis and in the treatment methods required. For some treatments they are the only practitioners trained.

Hypertension is broken into two categories, essential and secondary hypertension. Essential Hypertension is the most common and the one that we know least about. It is linked to lifestyle, genetics, age and so much more. Secondary Hypertension is easier to understand. In these cases the increase in blood pressure (BP) is caused by another condition such as kidney disease, or endocrine problems. Patients with secondary hypertension should be referred for the appropriate medical care.

Diagnosis and classification of hypertension is simple:

Systolic BP (SBP) mmHg Diastolic BP (DBP) mmHg
Normal <120 <80
Prehypertension 120–139 80–89
Hypertension Stage 1 140–159 90–99
Hypertension Stage 2 >160 >100

Blood Pressure will vary a little each time you take it so it is important to take multiple readings in a systematic manner using the same arm and technique each time. Readings over time will give you the best idea of where a BP truly is, and at least 3 readings on separate occasions are suggested.

The following is a small list of common drugs or drug categories that can increase BP:

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • Decongestants, Cough and Cold Medications
  • Headache Medications
  • Weight Loss Medications
  • Corticosteroids such as asthma medications
  • Oral contraceptive hormones
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Adrenal steroid hormones
  • Licorice (including some chewing tobacco)

The home remedy is really the only remedy, if by remedy you mean cure. You see high blood pressure is usually a lifestyle issue. That means the things that you do from day to day are causing your high blood pressure. Change those things and your blood pressure normalizes. If it doesn’t then you’re blood pressure is just a symptom of something else that needs to be addressed medically (small % of the cases). High blood pressure is just a symptom and not a disease in and of its self.

SaladThe recommendations for management of hypertension start with lifestyle modifications such as achieving and maintaining normal body weight, BMI of less than 25. Blood pressure can be reduced between 5-20 mmHg by achieving and maintaining a normal BMI. Weight loss of even 10lbs can show significant reductions in BP. Good diet, specifically the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), has been shown to decrease your BP between 8-14 mmHg. Diet can also help to decrease your weight. Reducing sodium intake as a part of your diet can reduce your SBP by 2-8 mmHg. Exercise, even just brisk walking for 30 min a day, 5 days a week, can reduce SBP by up to 9 mmHg. Limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking also have significant effect on reduction of SBP.

It is not unreasonable to expect a 10-20 mmHg drop in BP with just lifestyle changes. Because all of the lifestyle changes are interrelated you cannot just add the possible reductions from each together to determine how much this treatment should reduce BP. It is important to keep a balance in treatments and utilize all of the lifestyle modifications possible.

The medical recommendations of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection,Ragnar Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure suggest that medication should be used in conjunction with lifestyle modification for Stage 1 and 2 Hypertension.  Lifestyle modification has been shown to be effective at reducing BP even without medication, and so suggests that most cases of hypertension can be brought under control without medication.  Chiropractors can provide benefit in these cases in multiple ways.  The Journal of Human Hypertension and others report that in initial studies chiropractic treatment was found to have the long term effectiveness equivalent to using two medications for reducing hypertension and it had no negative effects.  The results showed an average reduction of 17 mmHg Systolic BP and 10 mmHg Diastolic BP.  The nature and frequency of chiropractic treatments lends to more frequent contact with patients which provides greater opportunity to educate, encourage and to monitor BP levels.
In other words chiropractors use the only remedy/home remedy to treat high blood pressure. You can do it on your own or ask your chiropractor about it.

Winter Blues and Joint Pain

winter-bluesFor many people winter is a time of sadness and pain for no other reason than the season. It some times has to do with the cold, sometimes with the lack of light. During the winter we also decrease our activity and water intake while increasing our calorie intake. All of these things can contribute to winter depression and aching joints. While some winters are mild and some extreme you will likely still hear people lamenting their aching joints. Arthritis in particular is increased with no real known reason. Chiropractic can help.

It is a good thing that Christmas is in winter as positive social interaction is one way we can combat these mental and physical conditions. Other great ways are a good diet and exercise. Often the most difficult part about health conditions is knowing what is causing them. If you are aware of what happens to you in the winter then you may already know exactly what you need to do to feel better. If you know someone having difficulty please check up on them. Just a visit will help, but you can go the extra mile by inviting them to activities and encouraging healthy attitudes. Please let them know that your chiropractor is also there to help and can often provide relief from the pain and lifestyle guidance, as well as positive social interaction.

Remember to move well to be well. Give us a call Dr. Duncan and the Utah Spinal Care Team. 880 E 9400 S. Sandy, UT 84094 (801)523-0073

“Ugly giant bags of mostly water!”

This quote is from Star Trek the Next Generation. It is an alien life form describing humans and Hydrateis very apt. I don’t know about the ugly part, but we are mostly water. While estimates differ, our bodies are made up of 55-75% water. Water affects every aspect of our function. Many of us are not getting enough of it. Some experts feel that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. While working out you can loose 6-10% through sweat, and everyone knows you need water when you exercise, but that is obvious and our body is demanding water at that point.

Chronic mild dehydration has unknown effects. We don’t know what it does to us to be a little dehydrated for years. We do know that as little as 1% dehydration can cause a 5% decrease in cognitive ability and physical performance. This is the first time that our body will start to feel thirsty. You should be drinking before you get thirsty. If you’re thirsty then you’re already having symptoms of dehydration. We also know how important water is for us. Here are some symptoms that you may not associate with dehydration.

Some Lesser known Symptoms of Dehydration:

  • Craving for sugar
  • Headaches
  • Bad breath
  • Irritability
  • Chronic Illness
  • Chronic Pain

Some lesser known benefits of drinking water are:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased cognitive ability
  • Increased physical ability
  • Clearer skin
  • Decreased joint and muscle pain
  • Improved immune system

The next time you get the munchies, or a headache, or feel a little out of control or tired, try a glass of water.

Merry Christmas – He is the Gift

We all know the reason for the season. Somewhere under the layers of stress and commercialism that have been heaped upon us we can still recall. God has given us everything. He gave us our life, and He gave us His Son. We need to take care of the life that he has given us so that we can share that gift with others. Take care of your body, mind and spirit this Christmas. Remember that you are a child of God. Merry Christmas!

National Chiropractic Health Month 2014

October is National Chiropractic Health Month.

Chiropractic is utilized by about 10% of the population of the USA, but 80% of the population will have back pain. With stats like that not to mention all of the other conditions that chiropractic can help with. Many more people should be seeing chiropractors. To help get the word out to people that there is an alternative to simply masking their pain with drugs, I am participating in National Chiropractic Health Month. You can participate too.  This year’s theme is “Conservative Care First.” Take a look and come join in the sharing at it begins next week. 

How Long Does it Take to Heal?

Healing is hard work and you may not even recognize it.

Wound Healing

Some parts of our body heal quicker than others. This usually depends on how complicated they are and how able supplies are to get there, in other words, the blood supply. Parts with more blood supply heal more quickly. This is why a cut in your mouth heals so much faster than one on your hand. This is also why muscle strains heal faster than ligament sprains. Muscles have good blood supply and ligaments have very little.

Four-Stages-of-Wound-HealingWhen you scrape your hand or your elbow you can see part of the healing process and how long it takes. You can see the wound 4-6 weeks later still healing. With even a very mild sprain your body requires 2-4 weeks for you to regain full mobility and for swelling to fully go away. After this time you can return to full activity, but you are still not fully healed. Even though you can’t see the process your body is expending extra energy to heal for months after an injury and it is more vulnerable than usual during this healing time even 6 months after the initial injury.

There are some things that you can do to help your body to heal faster and better no matter the injury.

Things to Avoid

  • Medication. NSAIDS in particular like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. While masking your pain, have also been shown to inhibit the healing process of joints and soft tissue (Some of the research here).
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Things to do

  • Eat right. When you are injured your body has to build a whole new section of you and it needs the proper nutrients to do this. If you are eating healthy things your body will be able to get what it needs faster.
  • Get in shape. This is a preventative healing booster. When you are already healthy your body is better able to handle new injuries and doesn’t have to fight with a sluggish system.
  • Keep moving. When your body is in the inflammatory phase movement will help in transporting waste and nutrients. When in a repair phase movement will help your brain to know what areas need the most support and how to align the fibers for most effective function. You don’t want to over do it, but you want to keep using your injured part as much as is reasonable.
  • Get adjusted. If the communication of your body to and from the brain is inhibited your healing can be poor or slowed
  • Have a positive attitude. People with a positive outlook heal faster and are less likely to re-injure.

New Office Celebration

 

Open HouseCome join us for a celebration of our new office opening. We moved to a new office within the same building. Come ask me questions in person, win prizes, and get a massage.  The more people you bring the more chances you’ll get to win.  You can also share our Facebook event to be entered for raffle prizes.

While your thinking about us like our Facebook page and come visit our website.

Scoliosis

Human-Spine-Picture 2

“Normal” Spine – side view and from the back.

The spine normally has curves that help it to absorb shock. These normal curves can be seen when looking at your spine from the side. It curves back in the neck, forward in the area of the shoulders and ribs, then back again in the low back and then forward at your pelvis. When looking from the front or back there should be no curve in a “normal” spine.

Scoliosis is rated by the size or degree of the curve. The greater the degree the worse the curve. Anything less than 10 degrees is not usually noticed and for an actual diagnosis doctors usually don’t give you one unless the degree is greater than 20.  Your spine will usually stop growing at about age 18-24 and so does the degree of scoliosis unless you are sedentary and spinal degeneration can increase the angle

Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. it is not a disease just as having a small nose is not a disease, but it can predispose you to problems, just like a small nose may make it harder to breath or may cause you to be more likely to have certain nasal problems.

There are a few methods that are used to treat scoliosis.  There is bracing which while most research is inconclusive one recent study shows a decrease in the degree of curvature, but does not address functional improvement in the individual’s quality of life and can have negative impacts on the ribcage. Braces had recently begun to be abandoned as a useful treatment, but new research may change that. Surgery is effective at improving quality of life in some patients, but only in extreme cases and the risks are severe.

Physical Therapy is a treatment option that does emphasize function. It focuses on helping your body to cope with the strain that the scoliosis places on it through exercise and stretching for motion. This is a great start. The treatment with the best outcomes that I’ve seen for scoliosis is chiropractic. Chiropractors can prescribe braces if needed, they also do the physiotherapy work with a patient, but they also focus on joint mobility. The research for chiropractic does show show moderate corrections of 5-10 degrees with chiropractic adjustments. There are cases where chiropractors have seen complete correction, but those are the rare cases most get only moderate improvement. While sometimes the spine cannot be lined up perfectly chiropractors can help it to function better in what ever shape it’s in.  

If you have scoliosis you will always be more predisposed to certain injuries, but that’s just a good excuse to take better care of yourself than most people, and that’s not a bad thing.

More Research on the Topic Here