Category Archives: Chiropractor

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.

 

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 to Make a First Aid Kit – Preparation

Having a good first aid kit is a good way to keep healthcare costs down. I was asked to write a post about how to have a useful first aid kit.  The hard part of that request is the term “useful.”  Items are only useful if you have the knowledge of how to use them.  The most important first aid item is knowledge.  Knowing what to do when someone bumps their head or has a fever may save you a trip to the ER and a lot of money.  Remember you are only providing first aid.  Any bandage or wrap that you put on will be taken off when you are seen in the Emergency Room.

PERSONAL CARRY KIT

IMG_2860I carry emergency supplies with me almost every where I go.  In my back pack I have a small pouch where I keep a ziplock bag containing, a barrier breathing device for CPR, glucose tablets for diabetics, Benedryl for allergic reactions, baby aspirin for heart attacks, butterfly bandage strips for severe cuts, small LED flashlight, pocket knife,  a glow stick, a compass, and a lighter.  The last few are the boy scout in me, but the rest are what I consider my duty because of my knowledge.  All chiropractors go through first aid and emergency courses for health care professionals, and should be able to respond in an emergency.  If you don’t know how or why to use emergency items then it doesn’t help to carry them.   I recommend everyone be willing to do their best in emergencies, nothing more is required.   If you want to learn more I highly recommend it, but remember “with great power comes great responsibility.”

HOME KIT

Sterilite DrawersYour first aid kit should be readily accessible, out of sight of children and the only place that you keep medical items.  If you have things all over they are difficult to keep track of, and hard to direct people to in an emergency.  My home kit is more of a closet.  I have my doc bag with stethoscope, etc. and then a plastic drawer set organized and full.

Most home kits should include: bandages of all sizes (band-aids all the way up to large abdominal pads), surgical tape to hold the bandages in place, wrapping bandages such as rolls and triangle bandages for wrapping or immobilizing, glucose tablets or hard candy for diabetics, self contained burn dressings, antibiotic ointment to reduce infection risk, baby aspirin for a heart attack, emergency blanket, CPR breathing barrier, instant cold compress, non-latex gloves, Benadryl for allergies, scissors, tweezers, a thermometer and any other essential personal health care items that family members may require such as an EpiPen, inhaler, or other prescription medications.

Some extra items that people like to keep in their home kit are: Essential oils, vitamins, an AEDUV-C sterilizer, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, duct tape, superglue, saline/eye solution and water.  There are many more things that you can keep and my closet has most of them.  Any extra items usually require extra knowledge, but it is easy to acquire and often free.  The Red Cross is a great place to start, but many companies, communities and colleges have educational courses that you can also take.  Most modern kits that you purchase come with a first aid instruction booklet that can help you use the kit, but you don’t want to wait until an emergency happens to read the book.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

American Red Cross Smartphone App

Red Cross First Aid Kit, How to guide

Boy Scouts of America First Aid Merit Badge Book

First aid for common household problems – WebMD

The Effects of Drinking Soda on Your Health

Thanks to Dr. Gray for turning me on to this topic.  Let me start this post by saying that I drink soda.  I drink it about 6 times a year.  When I was in high school I ran cross country.  I also drank Mountain Dew as often as I could.  One season I noticed difficulty breathing and decreased energy when I drank soda, so I stopped.  I never really picked it back up.  I still drink it occasionally, but I do not buy it.  My wife puts it in punch for parties at times.  I felt better and ran better when I was not drinking soda.

Now as a health care provider I have a vested interest in topics like this for my patients sake I like to learn as much as possible.  After researching this topic I thought I’d pass on some facts to you.  The links may be dry but I like to back up my statements with research, and they have some good info.  So, here is soda in all it’s glory.

Drinking soda:

As a chiropractor my training includes nutrition and biochemistry.  Though I choose not to focus my practice on it, from time to time I do give nutritional counseling and supplement advice.  My advice for soda drinkers, quit!  It’s not a horrible thing on occasion, as I said, I myself will drink a soda from time to time.  Anything in excess is detrimental to your health.  For those of you who just can’t go a day without your soda.  Think about what that means.

If you want nutritional counseling many chiropractors offer it.  If you want to, you can even come and see me for it, I will likely refer you to a colleague who does that more exclusively, your health comes first, and I want you to get the best care/advice that you can get.  What I don’t want is your bones becoming weak and you falling and fracturing yourself or dying early due to diabetes complications.

Real Preventative Health Care Means Teaching Children

Public Health Nerd Alert: National Public Health Week 2014.

This week is National Public Health Week!  I am a huge supporter of Public/Preventative Health even though I disagree with the way it is usually presented (in the form of vaccinations, screenings, and government legislation or mandates).  I strive daily in my practice to improve the health of the public.  

How do you prevent or reduce obesity, diabetes, the flu, high blood pressure, cavities, STDs, low back pain, cancer, etc…?  The answer is not a vaccine, or early screening.  The real way to prevent most disease, injury and illness is by teaching our children how to live well.  Their bad habits are not as deeply ingrained as adults.  We’ve all tried to change our eating habits or get into shape, quit smoking, strengthen our posture or any number of other bad habits that affect our health.  Most of us have failed more often than succeeded.  I’m not encouraging giving up as adults.  Don’t stop trying to improve your health, but teaching children will also help you.

We may not be able to change the world instantly, but teaching a few children can change the world  in a generation.  Every generation wants to improve life for the next generation.  We want our children to have it better and to be better than we were.  If we worked hard to teach our children behaviors that help reduce health risks, in a few generations obesity and high blood pressure could be rare conditions.  This week I will present some small ideas to teach children that can have a huge impact.  Teach one child and see the difference.

adults-like-childrenGet kids off of the couch.  One way to do this that is beneficial for you is to invite them to play with you.  That means that you have to get off of the couch or out of the computer chair and go show the children how you played as a child.  Build a blanket fort, dig in the sandbox, chase a ball, wrestle in the grass, climb a tree, pull out your old skateboard or bike.  Being active will help prevent everything from obesity and high blood pressure to diabetes and low back pain. Our bodies are designed to move.   We develop painful, and at times, life threatening conditions when that design is inhibited. When you improve your function, your symptoms also improve. Chiropractic is here to facilitate and support that design.  Teach children to move.  Ask your chiropractor for help.

Chiropractors Manage It, But You Didn’t Know – Obesity

IMG_27012Obesity is a gateway condition leading to such heavy hitters as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, various types of cancer, gallstones, and disability. It is within the scope of practice and training for chiropractors, and is a perfect fit for the chiropractic treatment model.  Regular chiropractic appointments allow for follow up, increased accountability, and provide needed structural care for your changing body.

Most people know when they are overweight, but some don’t, and even more don’t know what the term overweight means. The classifications for weight usually involve a screening system such as Body Mass Index (BMI).  BMI attempts to estimate percentage of body fat. The calculation to determine BMI is mass divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2). There are many BMI calculators that will do the math for you. The National Institute of Health has a great one that you can use.

The corresponding classifications are:

Classification BMI Score
Underweight Below 19
Normal 19-25
Overweight 25-30
Obese 30-40
Morbidly Obese Greater than 40

People are overweight for different reasons, and each reason needs to be addressed differently.  The best way to manage weight is the way that works for you. There is no one method that works for everyone. Most diets are safe and work, but usually only lead to temporary weight loss. It is important to choose the method that you want to use so that you have responsibility and accountability.  The most important thing to address is willingness. Most importantly the person must desire to lose weight and be willing to begin the process. Most people know it’s bad to be overweight and know that they should lose weight, but guilt or poor self-image are not helpful motivators for true lifestyle change. You will not be able to lose weight until you really want to and are willing to accept assistance. 

Goal setting should start simple and be written. The more actions that you take (even small ones) the more likely you are to accomplish your goal, so even accomplishing the simple goal of not drinking soda for one meal is a success that you can build on. Some simple suggested goals are: asking 3 people to help you, signing up for a race or event, or even setting a goal to write down some goals. Goals don’t have to be big and the more goals achieved the better you feel about being able to accomplish future goals.  Goals can be as easy as parking at the far end of parking lots whenever going shopping. For more examples of how to increase physical activity visit ChooseMyPlate.gov or see your chiropractor.

In any change of habit or self-improvement it is always a good idea to enlist friends. They are good to be accountable to. They are good support, and may even join in the cause.  If the lifestyle isn’t maintained for long enough or enjoyable enough to make permanent, then the benefits will also be short lived. It is important to make changes permanent. 

Chiropractors may give guidance and suggestions or just provide education to a patient on nutrition or the risks of obesity. All chiropractic schools provide basic nutritional education, but most do not provide the education required to adequately address eating disorders such as Bulimia or Anorexia.

Some great financial news is that most insurance companies recognize weight issues as a health condition and will pay for your treatment.  Some will even provide help with gym memberships.  In an effort to decrease costs one provision of the new health reform law requires insurance companies to cover obesity screening and counseling with no patient cost-sharing. The New year is an excellent time to discover a new you.  Go see how your chiropractor can help.

 

Sitting at a Desk is a Pain

balance-ball-chairWe sit a lot.  Most people sit at work.  We sit for recreation or entertainment.  We sit to drive, and we sit to eat.  Many people ask me the question, “what kind of chair should I get for work?”  Unknowingly they are asking the wrong question.  They really want to take care of their back and they’ve probably heard the fad news of the day that “Sitting is the New Smoking” or that standing or treadmill desks are the way to go.  There are kneeling chairs, exercise balls for sitting.  Balls mounted on chairs, reclining chairs and setups that you can climb inside.  Most of these devices are great, but I haven’t found a single one that you can’t sit poorly in.  You can even slouch on a ball.  The key is not what we sit in, though it can help to get good sitting furniture.

There are really only two ways to avoid the problems that come with sitting, the first way is to sit properly with good posture, however posture is supported by our muscles.  No one, no matter how well trained can sit indefinitely without those muscles getting fatigued.    Most of us are poorly trained and return to poor sitting posture after less than 20 minutes.  I highly recommend core training and exercises to improve our postural endurance, but like the different chairs it is not enough by its self.

tr800-dt7_fullviewThe only method that is manageable and within the reach of almost everyone is to sit for shorter periods of time.  That doesn’t mean to rush out and buy a standing desk or a treadmill work station.  You just have to limit your sitting to the period of time that your muscles and joints can handle at any given time.  For most people that means standing up 2-3 times per hour just to stretch or move.  You could walk to another cubicle to deliver a message, go get a drink, do 5 jumping jacks, or just stretch for 30 seconds and then get back to proper sitting.  Try it for a day.  Set a 20 minute timer and every time it goes off, pause what you’re doing, get up and move for 30 seconds.  You’ll be amazed at how you feel and how much more productive you can be even though you are taking more breaks.

Alternative Medicine or Alternative To Medicine

There are many alternative medicines.  Chiropractic is not one of them.

There are many alternative medicines. Chiropractic is not one of them.

According to the medical community I practice Alternative Medicine.   I don’t use any medicine in my practice at all.  An alternative medicine to Tylenol would be Advil, not chiropractic.  Perhaps if it was said that chiropractic is an alternative to medicine rather than chiropractic is Alternative Medicine then I could accept it.  The medical community is obtaining a monopoly on health care terminology.

It may not have been planned that way originally, but there are now laws being put forward by medical associations to ban non-MDs from using the title doctor or physician.  Below are a few samples of how the medical community refers to other providers of health care:

Here is the (government) MedlinePlus take (emphasis added):

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for MEDICAL products and practices that are not part of standard care. Standard care is what medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, and allied health professionals, such as nurses and physical therapists, practice.The claims that CAM treatment providers make can sound promising. However, researchers do not know how safe many CAM treatments are or how well they work…

They later recommend you discuss it with your “doctor”  implying of course medical doctor. This article leads you to the belief that “alternative medicine” is non-standard and of unknown safety.

This article on Wikipedia makes me want to become a Wikipedia editor.

Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine, but is not based on evidence gathered with the scientific method… Examples include homeopathy, traditional [folk] medicine, chiropractic and acupuncture.

Despite the myriad of medical treatments that are based on tradition rather than on the scientific method, and despite the mountain of scientific research supporting chiropractic treatment this article still exists.  

The Mayo Clinic starts it’s CAM article by saying “You’ve heard the hype about complementary and alternative medicine.  Now get the facts.”  They list chiropractic as CAM, and then proceed to tell us that many medical doctors don’t have any training in CAM.  They state that some CAM treatments have been proven effective (perhaps Wikipedia should cite the Mayo Clinic), but warn that because some aren’t proven you should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of these treatments about which they have no training.

I recommend that you discuss your treatments and possible treatments with all of your providers.  They should all be working as a team and some treatments do interact poorly.  The purpose of this article is not to discourage communication with your medical provider nor to disparage them.  Most of the medical doctors that I have worked with are well trained, intelligent, and work with alternative providers to compliment their own treatments.Conversation-bubble

I would like to bring attention to the fact that words have meaning.  Chiropractors have struggled for years to come up with good terminology in our profession, even skipping the debate on the word “subluxation,” we’re still left saying things like “it went” after a successful treatment.  Chiropractors need to do better producing our terminology, because if we don’t the medical community will.

According to the State of Utah I am a Chiropractic Physician, According to the Department of Education I am a Doctor of Chiropractic.  I am a practitioner that provides an alternative to medicine, but I am not an Alternative Medicine provider.

Phases of Care


Level-1-2-3-Image
There are three phases of treatment that I usually tell to patients.  There are lots of ways to divide phases of recovery/care this is just one way that I explain things to patients.

The first phase is the Acute Phase of Care.  In this phase our goal is to reduce symptoms, such as pain.  Most people feel that if they aren’t in pain they are healthy.  Pain as discussed before is a lousy indicator of health.  For example a cavity in your tooth doesn’t become painful until after it gets to the root, but everyone knows that the cavity was there long before that.  With cancer you always hear about early diagnosis and treatment long before symptoms being the best way to treat the disease.

When you start chiropractic care because of pain you have been unhealthy for a while.  Pain is the first thing to go away, but you are often far from healthy and much of the problem still remains even though you are feeling fine.  This is often when insurance companies will try to stop paying for care, but if you do the chance of recurring injury is significant.

This phase of care can last from 2 weeks to 2 months.

The second phase is the Corrective Phase of Care.  In order to prevent or reduce the risk of recurring injury you need to continue treatment until the problem has been corrected and your body has been strengthened.  This is often long after your symptoms are gone.  You won’t need to receive adjustments as often in the corrective phase, and depending on your condition you may begin exercises and other home care to strengthen your body and provide accelerated healing.

There may be occasional symptom flare-ups in this stage of care. Like a bruise in this phase it doesn’t hurt unless you poke it and then it reminds you in no uncertain terms that yes it is still there.  Your body has not quite finished the healing process.   Imagine a scrape. scraped-knee The pain is gone in hours but the scab remains for weeks, still a reminder that your body isn’t done healing.

This phase of care can last a few months to years in extreme cases.

The third phase of care is Wellness Care.  Just like getting six-pack abs it takes a lot of effort to get them.  Maintaining them takes much less effort but must be done or they disappear a lot quicker than the time it took to get them.  Regular chiropractic care can help keep your body at it’s best and catch problems early.

When you make the effort to be healthy you are not reactionary, but proactive.  You will be able to avoid many of the problems that affect people.  This does not mean that you will never have health problems or injuries, but it does allow you to live your life as full as you are possibly able.  You can live life to the fullest and enjoy more of the activities that you love.