Category Archives: Chiropractic

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.

“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. 

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.

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

Getting Healthcare While On a Budget

How can you get healthcare if you’re on a tight budget? The first thing to realize is that you are talking about your health. Don’t fool around if you think something is serious.

I know how you feel. I was in the same situation for the first 10 years of my marriage. You worry that you or your family could get sick because you can’t afford to take them to the doctor, and going to the emergency room would destroy you financially. In this kind of situation people are looking for ways that they can make their dollars go farther.

Part I – Prevention

The first way to spend less is PREVENTION. Eating right and exercise costs no more than eating poorly and doing nothing. Go for a walk, eat a carrot, don’t buy soda, wash your hands, know your blood pressure. Chiropractic is also an excellent way to keep in prime condition. If you can keep your body in good condition or improve it you are better able to avoid illness and recover quicker from injury.

apple pillsIf you can’t prevent it from happening and sometimes we can’t; the next best thing is to catch it early and keep it from getting worse. Many people just ignore symptoms and put off that doctors visit thinking that they’ll probably get better on their own. The reality is if you head things off early you’ll prevent the bigger things down the road. To use a dental example, a filling is much cheaper than a root canal. Don’t put off those relatively cheap preventative checkups. They are probably the cheapest office visits and if they identify something early you’ll spend much less than you would if you wait.

With chiropractic the longer you wait to come in the more visits it will take to get you back into good condition.  When our joints aren’t moving they can slip into a degenerative cycle.  So that pain in the neck, if not taken care of, could turn into a pain down the arm and back as well.

I’m not saying you should see a doctor for every little thing,  but if it’s not getting better on it’s own or it’s getting worse don’t wait weeks before getting help.  Tune in next time for part II of this discussion…

Your Commute and Your Spine

With modern transportation people have opted to live far away from their jobs.   This has it’s advantages.  It is also causing problems for commuters.  Most sources agree that the average American spends about 30 min in their car to get to work.  That’s an hour a day, and more time each year than you spend on vacation.

Your back is taking a beating from all this driving.  Car seats are designed for looks not usually for support, and even when we have a good one we rarely use it properly.  But let’s not dwell on the bad.  Here are some ideas to help with this problem.

  • If you can, move closer to work, bike, walk or run to work.  You get your exercise and you avoid the car.  You might be surprised at how easy it is to bike to work at least some days.
  • Keep yourself fit.  Diet and exercise can help your body handle a lot. Chiropractic can help you keep your body in peak condition.
  • Take your wallet out of your back pocket.  I’ve seen some huge wallets.  At least take it out for your commute.
  • Relax.  Leave early so traffic doesn’t stress you.  Listen to relaxing music while driving, and avoid stressors in general.
  • Park far away.  This is especially important for those who sit in offices all day.  This will get your legs and back moving a little before you have to sit again.
  • Use proper posture in the car.  Sit upright and relax your shoulders.  If it helps you get a lumbar support from a store like relax the back.  Adjust your seat to help you sit properly.  Men usually sit to far back with their legs fully extended, and women usually sit to close.  Keep as much of your thighs on the seat as possible.
  • Adjust the seat when you get uncomfortable rather than shifting yourself.

These ideas can reduce the chance of you having to come see me, but if you do find your self with back pain from driving see your chiropractor.  The sooner you come in the less damage is done and the less time it takes to correct it.

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.