Category Archives: Chiropractic in General

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.

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.

“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.

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. 

Drivers Need Chiropractic

Let’s talk about drivers.  Truck drivers, couriers, commuters and more.  Anyone who spends a significant portion of time driving in a vehicle knows that it can cause problems for your body.  You don’t need to wait till an accident happens for you to benefit from chiropractic.

If you look at a car seat particularly the driver’s seat you will notice that the seat has been designed to fit a spine, with curves in all the right places.  That design is a great idea with many flaws.  First of all we are all different sizes and shapes, and many of us do not fit that seat’s design.  Secondly even if we did match the design, most of us don’t sit in the chair properly to take advantage of it’s ergonomic design.

Our bodies are not designed to be stationary.  We are designed to move.  Movement improves circulation and overall health.  Sitting in a car for an extended period of time is uncomfortable, and doing it repetitively (every day) can lead to improper posture, weak or at risk joints, muscles and ligaments.

There are things you can do to reduce your risk.  Sit back in your seat, and prop it upright so you aren’t slouching.  Use a towel or other support device to fit your seat to you if you don’t fit it.  Adjust your headrest properly.  Plan stops into your travel so that you can get out and stretch.  When it is safe to do so move the parts of your body that you can, don’t keep them in the same position for longer than is necessary.  As always, eat right get a good nights sleep and exercise.  Your body will heal it’s self and protect it’s self if you give it what it needs.

The most common complaints of drivers are by far low back issues, but shoulder and neck issues are high on the list as well due to the unmoving positions that are required for driving safely.  If you drive, and have any of these, or other aches and pains, contact your chiropractor for help.

Road Trip Tips

Road trips are hard on the body.Sitting still for long periods causes some problems for your back.These problems can normally be repaired with a good nights sleep.However, you rarely get a good night’s sleep on road trips.When you’re sleeping on a strange bed, no matter what kind of bed it is, it’s not yours.But not to worry as long as you eat right, you’re body will be able to cope with these difficulties.Oh, that’s right; when you’re traveling you will probably be eating out, and unable to control a vast majority of your food preparation.

Honestly though, even if you are in good condition road trips will take a toll on your body. Here are some tips from your chiropractor to make your next road trip a little better. First and foremost get adjusted before you go if you are able. You know these trips are going to be hard on your body. It is good to give your self the best start possible. Sitting for a long period will be much easier if you are aligned properly.

Try to sit in a good posture. There are many posture aids for your car, and I recommend a few of them, but if time and money don’t permit, a good thick towel will mold to just about any position that you need.Putting something at the small of your back will help you to remember to sit properly.

From: Road Trip America

Take healthy snacks. I know it’s so much easier to grab some prepackaged junk or candy to eat in the car, but with a little preparation time you can be more awake, alert and pleasant. Try sliced vegetables or fruit. With your body sitting still so much you don’t need a whole lot of calories, but you still need energy. Vegetables will give you that energy without making you feel sluggish. Additionally, if you have children traveling with you, you can avoid the wild sugar induced mood swings. The same goes for drinks; water is what your body needs.

You’re not going to be able to take your bed with you, but there are some things that you can do to get a better nights sleep.Most hotels have a gym of some kind, and if you’re going to be watching TV before bed anyway you might as well do it on the treadmill, or bike.I prefer being outside.This will tire you out as well as giving your joints a chance to get the nutrients they need.You don’t need to go all out but even a short 15 minute stroll is going to be better than nothing.

When you get home from your trip make sure that you have an appointment scheduled with your chiropractor, and massage therapist. You want to be back in pre-trip shape or better as soon as possible, and these people are the ones to make it happen.

Chiropractic Humor Page

Necks

Here is my chiropractic humor page.

I always believe that people should get credit for their work. So I have linked or cited the source of everything I can. I would love to create a larger collection of chiropractic humor, so as you submit things for inclusion please try to keep in mind these rules: give credit, keep it clean, and if at all possible make sure it’s at least slightly funny. Thanks and enjoy.

Prevention of RSIs

As I have discussed previously our bodies are designed to move. The topic under scrutiny is not called repetitive motion injuries. Moving properly is not only not going to injure you, but it is also essential to good health. So, the first and best way to avoid repetitive stress injuries is to MOVE IN A WAY THAT AVOIDS REPEATEDLY STRESSING YOUR BODY.

If you are new to doing something ask others what they do to make a task less stressful for the body. Most workplaces can benefit financially by having ergonomics lectures or posters or education for their employees. If you don’t have them, discuss this with your company. There are additional benefits to moving properly. You are less tired, work more efficiently, and you are better able to cope with mental stresses. We are more productive workers and cost less in health care if we prevent injury through proper education.

carpal-tunnel-wrist-braceIf you have been doing something wrong for too long, you develop a bad habit. Breaking that habit can be uncomfortable. Have you ever tried sitting up straight at your computer for a whole day. At the end of the day your muscles are sore. They aren’t used to doing things the right way. Your body has adapted to your poor posture and lost good functionality. As with getting in shape you can’t have the perfect body in one day. Start slow, and be consistent with your attempts to change your bad habits.

The second way to prevent RSIs is to allow your self RECOVERY TIME. There is a physics principle called creep – to slip or gradually shift position or to change shape permanently from prolonged stress. This principle is in effect with our ligaments and tendons. Within 20 min. of staying in the same position our ligaments begin to accept the stretch placed on them as normal. To counter creep we should move periodically. After all we were designed to move. So recovery time, every 20-30 min. get up, do something different. Stretches are a easy to do at this time. It doesn’t have to be long especially if you weren’t doing anything too strenuous. Ninety seconds should be adequate recovery time.

Another part of recovery time is your sleep. Sleep is when your body spends its energy recuperating from previous damage you have done to it. So, to avoid RSIs get plenty of sleep.

Third, your body can’t repair its self with out the building blocks it needs. A GOOD DIET is key to preventing RSIs. Some key foods in not only prevention but also recovery from RSI’s are: Vitamin C, fish and greens such as spinach. I should get my nutritionist friends to write a proper diet for connective tissue health, but if you are eating a variety of food, and not a lot of junk, you should be fine.

The last two things to do are common sense. EXERCISE with the goal to improve in the three areas of: strength, endurance, and flexibility. Last, DON’T OVER DO IT.

IN SUMMARY … To prevent RSIs:

1 Use Proper Motion

2 Get Proper Recovery Time

3 Eat Right

4 Exercise and Stretch

5 Don’t Over Do It

Who’s at risk for RSI

Most vocations are at risk for RSI. That really is the truth. In just about everything that we do there is risk. If you compiled a list of all the scary media stories out there you’d find that just about everything can cause cancer, and everything you do could kill you, but doing nothing could kill you too. It’s important when discussing who is at risk to remember that life is worth living, and we should not stop that which we enjoy or that which supports us merely because there is risk.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising everytime we fall.”- Nelson Mandella

So, yes, YOU are at risk of getting a repetitive stress/strain injury, if you don’t already have one. Most people will injure themselves in this way at some point. In fact, though most people don’t realize it most back aches are RSIs. Probably the most common cause for people to visit the chiropractor is facet syndrome (sprain/strain) due to repetitive stress. We use the joints in our back more than any other joint in our body they are constantly under stress, and if one of those joints is not moving properly over and over again, the body will try to compensate, but unless the dysfunction is addressed you guessed it, RSI!

Chiropractors just like medical doctors tend to get into a niche of treatment. Myself I like the niches of pregnant patients and performance artists. I see the upper back and elbow RSIs of violinists, trumpeters, and other musicians. I see the lower back RSIs of dancers, and artists just like I see the carpal tunnel patient who types on their computer 8 hours a day. Just like any other chiropractor I can usually treat anything that walks through my door, but if you’ve had a longstanding condition that you just haven’t been able to rid yourself of you may want to seek out someone with experience. It can be hard to find the right one, because we don’t “specialize” in any particular treatment it’s just what we usually see more of. Ask around and you’ll find the right doc for you. Beyond special cases most chiropractors will be able to treat any RSI you have. The musculoskeletal and nervous systems, after all, are what our training focuses on.

So, if you’re wondering who’s at risk, it’s you. Don’t quit your job or stop playing golf, just be aware, and treat your body with the respect it deserves. I’ll tell you some things you can do to prevent RSIs in my next post. Just be warned, most of it you already know, you’ve just been too lazy to do it.

Carpal Tunnel or Double Crush Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is an over diagnosed and often misdiagnosed condition.  Research has indicated that surgery or wrist supports for carpal tunnel syndrome are not very effective when additional compression of the nerves is occurring in either the shoulder or neck.  In order to treat a condition you must find the root cause.  For CTS like symptoms, the cause is often at the nerve root.

Image from: American Chiropractic Clinic Vietnam website

When a nerve is compressed only a little bit there are sometimes no noticed symptoms.  However, when you compress a nerve a little bit in multiple locations the results don’t just add up they can multiply.  This is termed Double Crush Syndrome (DCS).  For the nerves in our arms this means if you have a little neck problem and a little shoulder problem, then that minuscule problem at the wrist may be exaggerated.  The nerves to our hands run a gamut.  They come out from the neck joints, travel through the often tight scalene muscles, between the collarbone and the first rib, through the armpit, down the arm and through the carpal tunnel.  At all of these choke points nerves can be compressed.  It is therefore very important to find where the cause or causes of the injury are to determine whether you truly do have CTS or if it’s a DCS.  Especially before slit your wrists (with a surgery). The standard of care for carpal tunnel treatment is, conservative care first.  Chiropractic is conservative care, and chiropractors are trained in diagnosis and treatment of percisely these neuromusculoskeletal conditions. Chiropractors will usually treat these symptoms by manipulating the wrist, elbow and neck as well as utilizing massage, ultrasound therapy, wrist supports, and other modalities.   According to The University of Maryland Medical Center:

“…studies support the use of chiropractic treatment for CTS. In the first study, 25 individuals diagnosed with CTS reported significant improvements in several measures of strength, range of motion, and pain after receiving chiropractic treatment. Most of these improvements were maintained for at least 6 months. A second study compared the effects of chiropractic care with conservative medical care (wrist supports and ibuprofen) among 91 people with CTS. Both groups experienced significant improvement in nerve function, finger sensation, and comfort. The researchers concluded that chiropractic treatment and conservative medical care are equally effective for people with CTS”

If chiropractic is equally effective, and has less side effects, shouldn’t you go visit your chiropractor for that hand pain and numbness you’ve been feeling.