Its that time of the year again in Washington! Now that the sun has finally come out again its time to get back in to the garden. Bending, twisting, pulling, and stooping are a big part of gardening, yet rarely do we think of gardening as a physical activity. “Many people think gardening as an innocuous activity, but it puts the body in positions it hasn’t been in for months-bending, sitting on the ground, stooping, working on all fours,” says Dr. Hancock, DC of Chicago.
To prevent gardening injuries, Dr. Hancock recommends thinking about gardening as you would going to the gym. “To warm up, walk for five to 10 minutes to get your heart rate up While you garden, divide your activity into thirds- (movements affecting the body) below the waist, between the waist and shoulders, and above the shoulders, doing each for 10 to 15 minutes,” he says.
Before and after your gardening activities, Kathi Casey, ERYT, CPI, a health coach and trainer recommends a routine of short stretches for the spine. “Sit tall in a straight chair with your feet on the floor. Inhale deeply as you slowly arch your spine; then exhale slowly as you curl. Avoid straining your neck,” she says.
Last week I had a patient who injured his back while moving a heavy boulder out of his yard. For those bigger yard projects, Debbie Mandel, MA, a fitness and stress management expert and author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life, recommends doing some strength training to prepare. “To strengthen upper extremities, she prefers triceps extensions and wrist curls with dumbbells. To strengthen shoulders for overhead movements, use two dumbbells in a military press and shoulder raises. “Remember to hold your abdominals in tightly to support your back and recruit core strength, and to exhale on exertion,” she adds.
All in all, make sure that you are physically prepared to garden this summer. I have seen far too many gardening injuries and would like you to stay strong and healthy this gardening season.
One of the places that I frequent on regular basis to stay current on the ever changing world of health is Mercola.com. I came across this great article today by Dr. Ben Lerner on the importance of getting your childrens spines checked and thought you would enjoy it. Dr. Ben Lerner, along with Dr. Greg Loman, owns Teach The World About Chiropractic, a Chiropractic training company. They have helped build the largest spinal correction clinics in the history of Chiropractic. Their new book, One Minute Wellness, shows people how to overcome their frustrations with life and health without the use of dangerous medications. It's already a dramatic, runaway bestseller.By Dr. Ben Lerner
Birth is a normal, natural process that's been around since almost the beginning of humanity. As with any other task the body was created to perform, when you support normal functioning, you have your best chance at success.
The road down the birth canal and out into the world can be a trying one, particularly in the case of medical intervention and high-tech births. (You may recall a JAMA study showing the United States ranked last in neonatal mortality, infant mortality and for the health of newborns.) As a result, there has been an ever-increasing occurrence of traumatic birth syndrome.
Traumatic birth syndrome describes the presence of trauma-induced skull and spinal damage and spinal misalignment as a result of the birth process. As tough as birth is, going through it with the woman lying on her back, working against gravity, on medications to increase the intensity of labor, numb to the delivery muscles, and often accompanied by surgical interventions, makes it exponentially more traumatic.
When you think about this, it's no surprise vertebral subluxation in infants is so common.
How the Birthing Process Injures Spines
"Doctor, is it normal for people after a whiplash injury to notice problems with memory. I can’t seem to remember things I just recently did since my car accident?”
This is a common complaint occurring as a result of a whiplash injury, but it’s not commonly known, leaving those who are suffering wondering, “…what’s wrong with me?” Whiplash is an injury that classically occurs as a result of a car crash at any speed, even at low speed! This is because at low speed, there is little to no damage to the car, and the forces from the crash are not absorbed by the crushing metal. As a result, those forces are transferred to the contents inside the car – that is, the passengers. This sometimes results in a significantly greater injury compared to crashes that occur at twice the speed because the latter results in crushing metal. The actual injury that occurs in whiplash is caused by the sudden, rapid movement of the head resulting in varying degrees of injury to the neck, as well as to the contents inside the skull – that is, the brain. The brain literally “bangs” into the inside walls of the skull when the head is rapidly accelerated during a car crash. The resulting injury is a concussion. What’s interesting is that most patients injured in a car crash often don’t mention a concussion nor is it usually asked about at the doctor’s office as other, more obvious injuries are dwelt with. The condition is usually referred to by one of two names: post-concussive syndrome or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).
"Doctor, when I’m reading a book or magazine, sometimes I have to re-read the passage several times before it sinks in. It’s as though I lose my concentration and I can’t focus on what I just read. The other day, I was talking to a group of co-workers and I lost my place in the middle of the discussion and had to ask, ‘…now where was I?’ I notice this is happening a lot since the car accident.”
This can be very embarrassing, frustrating, and scary for patients suffering with MTBI. Other symptoms associated with this include difficulty in focusing (blurred vision), headaches, having difficulty in pronouncing certain words (“tongue twisted”), having difficulty in understanding what was said, difficulty remembering numbers or groups of numbers like phone numbers, addresses, birthdates, and so on. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can be very disruptive, making work and everyday tasks challenging.
How long does it last? MTBI can completely clear up in 2 to 6 months without problems or, it can hang on for 2 years or longer, and may even become a permanent residual from the car crash. In one study, continued problems after a 2 year time frame were reported in close to 20% of those injured 2 years earlier. This study suggests that about 1 out of 5 may continue to suffer with MTBI and the associated brain-related problems for at least 2 years following a car crash. However, another study reported the long term “higher cognitive function” (such as the ability to communicate through written or spoken language) is usually not affected by whiplash injuries. However, they preface that with by reporting that a more commonly injured group with more mild brain problems was found.
As a chiropractor, I am trained to do a thorough history, orthopedic and neurological examination, and ask specific questions about mild traumatic brain injury. It is important to discuss this information with those suffering from whiplash injuries as frequently, MTBI patients think something is “…seriously wrong” and harbor unnecessary anxiety.
We realize that you have a choice in where you choose for your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for whiplash, chiropractic care is a logical first choice and we would be honored to offer our services to you.
YOU MAY BE A CANDIDATE FOR CHIROPRACTIC CARE FOR WHIPLASH! IF YOU LIVE IN THE BELLEVUE AREA CALL US TODAY FOR A FREE NO-OBLIGATION CONSULTATION. 425-635-0495
I came across this article on Mercola.com, one of my favorite natural health web sites. Once again another study that shows we need to have alternatives to dangerous medications, even if they OTC (over the counter).
Drugs commonly taken for a variety of common medical conditions negatively affect your brain, causing long term cognitive impairment. These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter.
They include such common over-the-counter brands as Benadryl, Dramamine, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Sominex, Tylenol PM, and Unisom.
Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol and Elavil are available only by prescription.
"Researchers ... conducted a six-year observational study, evaluating 1,652 Indianapolis area African-Americans over the age of 70 who had normal cognitive function when the study began ... '[T]aking one anticholinergic significantly increased an individual's risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and taking two of these drugs doubled this risk.'"
Sources: Physorg July 13, 2010 Neurology July 13, 2010; 75(2):152-9
Bellevue Car Accidents
If you do any driving in a big or medium size city such as Bellevue WA, which is were I practice, you know that seeing a car accident on the highway is almost a daily norm. This is kind of scary when you consider the impact that a car accident has on your body. As a matter of fact a whiplash injury to the neck causes wide spread consequences to your health. “Whiplash injuries not only increase the incidence of chronic neck and shoulder pain, it also significantly increases the incidence of other systemic ill health effects. In other words,whiplash injuries cause more than neck pain and headache, it hurts the health of the entire body.”(Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 2001)
If you have been in a car accident of any kind in Bellevue you need to be seeing a Bellevue Chiropractor. Car accidents can, and usually do cause injury to the neck and even the low back that, if left untreated can lead to worse problems in the future and even degeneration of the spine.
“It is estimated that 15-40% of those who are injured in a motor vehicle collision will suffer from ongoing chronic pain.”(Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 2007)
Recent research suggests that even low impact (or fender benders of even 5MPH) can cause damage to the spine, and especially the bones of the neck. It has been documented in both medical and scientific studies that the damage to your vehicle is not related to the whiplash injuries suffered by you, the passenger of the vehicle.
A Bellevue Chiropractor will evaluate your spine by doing specific tests as well as take x-rays to look for any damage to the bones and motion x-rays to look for any damage to the ligaments (the things holding the bones together), and joints.
“Chiropractic spinal adjusting can essentially fix 81% of disabled patients suffering from chronic low back and leg pain, even when other treatment approaches had failed.” (Canadian Family Physician, 1985)
“93% of patients with chronic whiplash pain who have failed medical and physical therapy care improve significantly with chiropractic adjustments.” (Injury, 1996)
If you have been in a recent car accident in Bellevue call us today. The sooner you can catch a problem the easier it is to fix!
Cervicogenic Headaches are complications in which the pain originates in the neck and cervical spine. It is medically outlined as discomfort which is existing in the head but originates in cervical backbone region. Neck ache and pain generally take place together. This kind of complications are often the end result of neck injury, whiplash, or due to weak postural muscles.
Car accidents are one of the major causes of cervicogenic headaches. You have 20 tiny muscles, 8 nerves, and 7 bones in your neck and in a whiplash injury from a car crash all of these small structures are thrown every which way creating a ton of damage! All this damage creates pain, and if it happens just right it will shoot the pain into your head, creating a headache.
Typically when you get a cervicogenic headache you also get other signs and symptoms. Nausea, a throbbing ache, stiffness in the neck, discomfort in the backs of your eyes, etc. Depending on who you are, how long the problem has been going on and how severe the damage is will depend on how severe these headaches will be. Most of my patients note that their pain is generally worsened when they move their necks into certain positions.
Treating Cervicogenic Headaches:
I always tell my patients that if there is something that can be done to eliminate their pain you why would you not do it? So we are going to look at a few ways to help you get rid of your headache symptoms.
1. Chiropractic Care- As a Bellevue chiropractor Im specialize in diagnosing and helping neck dysfunction. Headaches that originate in the neck are one of the conditions that I get the best results with. Research over the last 20 years has proven over and over that chiropractic care is one of the best treatments for headaches that there is.
2. Therapeutic Massage- I have found that massage therapy is one of the best ways to help relax spasmed, tight muscles. Knowing that muscles spasms are a big part of causing cervicogenic headaches, it is imperative to relax those muscles! Not only does it help deal with your headaches, massage feels good too!
3. Posture- A study was done recently that showed that if you keep your body in a certain position for 40 minutes it will stay in that bad position. Guess what? You may be doing this every single day at your job, while on your computer. Most people have very poor posture while sitting at the computer, and this can be one of the big causes of cervicogenic headaches! Your bellevue chiropractor can advise you on how to fix these issues.
Aside from the already mentioned remedy techniques, you will need sufficient rest. There are several workouts to strengthen neck muscle tissue. Doing this kind of workout routines often can be beneficial in getting rid of cervicogenic headaches as very well as preventing them from re-occurring in future. However you require to consider the suggestions of an skilled ahead of starting such exercises.
Benefits of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine) is another of the water-soluble B-complex vitamins, involved in a number of important functions, including the body's metabolic activity. It metabolizes sugars, fats and amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Another important function is its role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, and in the creation of DNA, heme (part of red blood cells) and the phospholipids that make up our cell membranes.
Without sufficient B6 we would not be able to process carbohydrates properly. B6 also helps our muscles produce energy! This can be especially important for athletes who require increased strength and endurance. Vitamin B6 also helps athletes as it repairs tissues. Another of the benefits of vitamin B6 is that it helps control excessive inflammation.
Because of its use in healthy brain and nerve function, it also helps to regulate mood. It plays a role in the production of hormones that protect against depression, and has been used to treat patients with Alzheimer's.
Vitamin B6 works in conjunction with folic acid and vitamin B12 to help keep homocysteine levels low. Elevated homocysteine is linked to a number of diseases, including heart disease, osteoporosis, and stroke. It has been successfully used in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome and premenstrual syndrome, and has been shown to help prevent attacks of asthma by lowering histamine levels in the blood.
The major dietary sources of B6 are meat, eggs, liver, fish, whole grains, legumes (peas and beans), potatoes, brewer's yeast, avocados and dairy foods. Because it is a water soluble vitamin it can not be stored in the fat cells, so it is important to get B6 on a regular basis. And as B6 is necessary in order to break down proteins, the more protein you eat, the more B6 you need.
Although a deficiency in vitamin B6 is not common, it can lead to anemia, feelings of numbness or pins-and-needles in hands and feet, a sore red tongue, and confusion, depression and irritability. This deficiency is most often found in alcoholics and those with chronic fatigue syndrome or women who use oral contraceptives.
It is recommended that adults get 1.6 mg per day of vitamin B6 for optimal functioning. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding require more, about 2 mg per day. Because it naturally occurs in a wide range of foods it's not likely you will need a supplement if you eat well. However, it may be useful if you suffer from one of the conditions noted above, for which a doctor can give you a recommended dosage.
Chiropractic Or Surgery For Sciatica?
Pain coming from compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve is called sciatica. Sciatica - which can include pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness - is really a symptom indicating an underlying problem, not a diagnosis in and of itself. This article will explore in detail the findings of a recent controlled study comparing spinal manipulation (chiropractic) and surgery for people whose sciatica did not respond to traditional medical treatment approaches.
The study discussed here was conducted by the National Spine Center in Alberta Canada and published in October of 2010 in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics . The 40 study participants all had sciatica lasting over 3 months which had not responded to treatment with pain medications, lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, massage therapy or acupuncture. They had all been referred by their primary care physicians to spinal surgeons who had deemed them appropriate surgery candidates.
Instead of having all the patient proceed with surgery, they were split into two groups - one group to undergo a surgical microdiscectomy and the other group to be treated with standardized chiropractic spinal manipulation by a single chiropractor. (If not satisfied with the results they obtained from their assigned method, the patients were allowed to switch to the other treatment plan after 3 months.)
There is one paragraph in the results section of this study that is easy to overlook, but incredibly important. There were originally 120 candidates of which 60 met the study criteria and were asked to participate. Of these 60, 20 refused. Why? Because they had never been offered spinal manipulation as an alternative to surgery! They didn't want to participate in the study and be randomly placed in the surgery group without first trying the spinal manipulation! This is incredibly telling. Not only does it demonstrate that there is still a lot of education about chiropractic that needs to happen among the public and among primary care providers, it also demonstrates that people understand the risks and costs of surgery and want to exhaust other possibilities first.
You can benefit from chiropractic care at any age. Because the birthing process - even with natural childbirth methods - can cause subtle injuries to the clavicle, collarbone, spine and neck, parents often bring their infants to their chiropractors for a checkup soon after they are born. Many chiropractors have received specialized training in pediatric care, and have been trained in how to assess these subtle problems and imbalances in ways that medical doctors and pediatricians have not.
Chiropractic care can also benefit children as they continue to grow. Spinal problems may result as the result of falls, or from long periods of time spent in cramped or uncomfortable positions, such as riding in car seats. This can result in many common disorders in children, such as persistent earaches, bed-wetting, colic, or headaches. These conditions have often been successfully treated via chiropractic care. In 2007, nearly 3% of American children were treated with chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, making it one of the most common forms of complementary or alternative medicine used for children.
Chiropractic has been proven for decades to be one of the safest alternative health care methods, and of course safety is even more important when dealing with children. Spinal adjustments, when performed on infants or young children, involve very light, finger-tip movements. One or two pounds of pressure is all that is necessary to correct spinal structures that have become misaligned, because although it is easy for children's spines to shift out of alignment, it is also easy to ease them back into place. The "popping" sound that is often heard when spinal joints are manipulated in adults is not always heard in children. There is rarely any pain or discomfort, and many children enjoy their visits to the chiropractor and look forward to subsequent visits.
So there is no reason why, as a parent, you should not consider chiropractic care for your infant or child, and there are many reasons why it may be wise to do so. The focus of chiropractic is, after all, to treat the "whole person" and, by keeping the spine and nervous system healthy, keeping the whole body healthy. This is as important in children as it is in adults.
It is important to note, however, that a chiropractor is not a replacement for your pediatrician, who is there to provide your children with medications and care in case of serious illness or injury. The chiropractor provides complementary care, focusing on wellness, integrity of the spine and the nervous system, and the development of a healthy immune system. You would not expect your medical doctor or pediatrician to perform a checkup on your children's teeth; instead you'd take them to a dentist, who has had more specialized training. Similarly, chiropractors have had more specialized training that enables them to diagnose subtle imbalances in children's spinal structures and restore them to balance with subtle, non-invasive adjustments.
What Is Sciatica?
To answer the question, 'what is sciatica' it is helpful to explain some of the relevant anatomical structures. The sciatic nerve is both the longest and the widest nerve in your body. It begins in the lower back as five separate nerves that extend from five different vertebrae - L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3. These nerves meet up to form one large bundle which runs through the buttocks and down the entire length of the leg. The sciatica nerve is responsible (directly or indirectly) for nearly all the sensation in your leg including the skin of the thigh and gluts.
Sciatica occurs when there is compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain is felt in the low back and leg, but the site of the pain isn't always the site of the underlying issue. Since the sciatica nerve is so long and travels around or through the large muscles of the buttocks, it takes an expert to determine if the pain is coming from disc compression, from muscle spasms or from something else. Again, sciatica is a symptom, not a diagnosis.
Dr. Michael Weir