Some of the best life lessons can come from children’s stories. I was reminded of this when recently reading my son “The 3 Little Pigs”. You may remember the plot-3 little pigs each venture off to build their own house-2 quickly go up, made of straw and sticks, respectively, and are blown down effortlessly by the Big Bad Wolf. The third pig spends a little more time and effort building his house out of bricks, but it ends up being worth it when it proves to hold strong when tested by the wolf. This parallels our health, as when we have a strong foundation of health built up, we are less likely to be “knocked down” by injuries and illnesses. Weak foundations (or no foundation at all) are built of poor dietary choices, minimal activity, and ultimately waiting until there are apparent issues (symptoms) to act and cover up the symptoms. In order to build a solid foundation, one must persist to strive towards healthy choices on a regular basis. Consume whole, REAL foods on a regular basis, maintain an active lifestyle, and keep your body moving, functioning, and ADAPTING well with regular chiropractic adjustments. This helps lead to prevention of many issues and a quicker recovery when challenged. Being sick isn’t bad; however, being sick frequently and having trouble overcoming it is a concern with your immune function. Having an occasional injury happens; however, being laid up with soreness on a regular basis or lacking energy to get out and do the things you enjoy on a regular basis is not the way to live. It is not about the challenges you face (aka the big bad wolves), but rather how you are able to prepare yourself to ADAPT and withstand or bounce back from the challenges when they arise. Build a strong foundation now before you’re forced to go seek shelter (emergency care and medications) from someone else-you will thank yourself for putting in the effort to maintain control over your health.
Headaches are a common complaint that chiropractors see in their offices on a daily basis. Headaches may be chronic and debilitating for the individuals that deal with them. There are a few different types of headaches, all of which chiropractic can have a key role in helping to relieve.
The three main types of headaches are tension, migraines, and cluster headaches. They all have their own specific symptoms, but at times can overlap. Tension headaches are one of the most common headaches and may be caused by stress and poor posture. Often times the “band” like tension headache is caused by poor positioning while performing office work and holding tightness due to stress in their upper back and neck. Cluster headaches typically come in attacks that may last every day for a few weeks. They typically are in the front of the face and may come with a runny nose and other symptoms associated with allergies. Migraine headaches have a typical pattern that usually is strong in one localized area and may come with sensitivity to light, nausea, and vomiting. Migraines may have many different triggers including foods, stress, and hormonal causes.
Chiropractic can help with all three types of headaches with adjustments of the spine. Several specific areas we look at when someone is experiencing a headache is the neck and upper back. The poor posture associated with these headaches can be improved with adjusting those areas as well as through corrective exercises to strengthen weak muscles and stretches for areas of tightness. Daily ergonomics and patterns are examined and corrected as necessary to prevent further issues down the road. Triggers for the headaches may also be caused by specific foods or hormones. Chiropractors can help alleviate those symptoms by helping the patient with their diet to try and determine what the trigger may be and how to avoid it.
If you or someone you know suffers from any of these headaches, feel free to set up an appointment with our office and Drs. Zak and Emily will look at your specific situation and give you a plan to help with your headaches.
Just because something is COMMON does not mean it is NORMAL. Common, by definition, is something that is “occurring, found, or done often; prevalent”. Normal is “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected”. In health, this holds true as many people truly have no idea how good their bodies are designed to feel. By this definition, you may find some symptoms to be “normal” for you as you expect certain things over time. However, what does human physiology say is “normal”? You don’t get to create a new normal. Normal is what our bodies were designed to do. It may be portrayed to be common nowadays for individuals to be held back by their health and not feeling they are reaching their true potential. These thoughts and feelings are confirmed by commercials that tout the countless individuals who have suffered from x and received relief from y treatment. Be it a headache, muscle and joint pain, discomfort related to pregnancy, constipation or other GI disturbance, lifestyle induced chronic disease, or a myriad of other diagnoses, you are portrayed to simply be one of many with this common issue. Rather than accepting this and finding “strength in numbers”, do something about improving your health. Seek the answer to what is going on and address the cause, rather than the symptom or effect. It may be common to hear of headaches, but it is not normal to have them and is not something you have to put up with, or routinely cover-up. You may think waking up sore is normal because your co-worker down the hall complains of the same thing every morning, or that you shouldn’t be able to get out and hike at the lake because “you’re getting old” and it’s normal to be in pain as you age. Hollywood may enjoy showing the misery of pregnancy, labor, and delivery, but I can personally attest that a truly normal physiological labor and delivery, while intense at times, is not something women should be afraid of as depicted when they have the proper preparation and support. When you seek answers for your health concerns, what are you really getting at? What will make the symptom “go away”? Or what is going on here and how can I address the CAUSE and take control of my health, truly striving to thrive in my health and life? Be it getting your body adapting and functioning better through chiropractic adjustments, regular movement, dietary modifications, other lifestyle changes, or a combination of all of the above, you deserve to live the life you want free of “common” ailments and anything else holding you back. Remember, just because it’s common does not mean it’s normal, or has to be your story. Be the one to create a new “normal” for others and inspire them to get “uncommon” by today’s standards, truly finding and feeling their optimum potential.
Similarly to maintaining your car’s health with regular oil changes by an auto mechanic and keeping up your oral health with visits to the dentist on a regular basis, it is wise to keep your spine and nervous system in good working order with regular trips to the chiropractor for an examination and adjustment.
A quote in a recent article featured in Women’s Health Magazine summed it up best. “To focus only on your back health when you are in pain is like only exercising when you gain 10 lbs or only eating healthy when your cholesterol is high, and then going back to your old habits shorty thereafter.” Back pain leads to a significantly high amount of days of work missed, money spent on various treatments (including surgeries and injections), and general reduction in our daily functioning and well-being. Our suggestion? Be proactive, such as we are in the situations listed above. By having regular oil changes and check-ups on our cars we are able to avoid major issues while on the road, as well as maximize the lifespan of our vehicles and their important parts, like the engine, that are required to be in good working order for its function. By having our teeth regularly checked on and cleaned, we are able to have any issues such as decay noticed and addressed early on, extending the health and function of our teeth as long as we possibly can. Our spine is literally our “backbone”, forming the main structure for all of our movement, as well as housing our spinal cord, which carries information from our brain out to literally every part and function of our body through the nerves branching off of it. With such an important job, it is absolutely vital that we take good care of our spines.
How often should regular adjustments occur? Everyone is different based on their age, history of stressors (accidents, pre-existing conditions) and lifestyle and their time between adjustments may vary. On average, every 3-4 weeks is ideal to keep up regular maintenance, with more frequent visits as necessary. Aside from avoiding pesky aches and pains, being proactive in regularly caring for our spines can aid in maximizing our body’s functioning directly by removing any restrictions getting in the way of our nervous system functioning, and indirectly by allowing us to stay active as well as aid in getting adequate sleep at night that we need to allow our bodies to rest and replenish as needed.
In addition to being adjusted on a regular basis by a chiropractor, aim to drink plenty of water (all cells, organs, and tissues depend on being adequately hydrated for proper function), work on eating an anti-inflammatory diet (cut back on processed foods and added sugars as you’re able, getting in lots of fresh produce), and get regular movement into your daily routine (both actively with walking or jogging, as well as relaxation such as yoga or stretching routines).
By taking care of your most important asset, your health, you can not only minimize the risks of having larger flare-ups and issues down the road, but you can focus on getting the most out of life.
“Health is like money; We never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.” -Josh Billings
Give us a call today to get working on how you can take charge of your health!
Eldora Family Chiropractic & Wellness Center
Pregnancy is such an exciting time! Nothing can quite compare to the wonder and miracle of growing and nurturing a tiny baby who relies on you solely to develop into a human being who will eventually thrive on the outside, breathing and functioning on their own. While it is an amazingly exciting time, it is also a big responsibility to take on. This is pressed upon new parents in terms of the financial responsibility and “settling down” to be good role models for their child, but what seems to be forgotten or under-emphasized at times is the importance of mom’s health prior to conceiving her child and throughout her pregnancy. This goes beyond the well-known avoidance of toxic substances such as alcohol and tobacco products (though it is imperative that this advice is followed). What are you nourishing your body with on a regular basis, and therefore nourishing your growing baby with? What movement are you getting in on a regular basis both to promote a healthy functioning body for yourself as well as getting your body into shape to withstand the trials of your upcoming labor, delivery, and subsequent motherhood to your child? How are you preparing yourself and learning all about what you’re about to undertake, both during your pregnancy and during labor and delivery, as well as making good decisions that you are confident in throughout?
“Women need to take charge of their birth process and become informed, evaluate the data, and make authentic decisions regarding all aspects of pregnancy and the birth process. Women also need to invest at least as much time (and, preferably, more) in this endeavor as they spend evaluating and choosing the furnishings for the baby’s room, the best developmental toys, the highest quality stroller, and even maternity clothes. Now more than ever, it is essential that women use the information age to their advantage and arm themselves with the knowledge they need to make an authentically informed decision that will affect their lives and that of their babies.
In order to make an authentic decision related to birth, women need to speak candidly with their practitioners while simultaneously taking the initiative to develop an evidence-based fund of information about pregnancy and birthing that is available and accessible through a variety of educational resources. It is critically important to seek out the information that is available about birth versus solely relying on practitioner opinion. The concept of taking charge of your own health by actively learning about health maintenance and illness and disease prevention is encouraged in various aspects of healthcare today; it is often absent in maternity care.” -Alyssa Benedict (Pathways Magazine Issue 39)
As stated above, it is so important for women who are pregnant or even considering having children to know their options throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery. “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.” (Diana Korte, co-author of “A Good Birth, A Safe Birth”) How do you “know your options”? Research. Ask questions. You can start with talking to a trusted friend or healthcare professional for guidance on where to begin, or by looking into reading materials. Search scholarly journal articles online. Arm yourself with data from multiple sources, as to avoid biases. Take birth classes. These extend beyond the hospital as well. Find a class that provides good information on prenatal nutrition and exercises, newborn care, breastfeeding, and general education on what happens during your pregnancy, labor and delivery, as well as options you have throughout the process. Many classes are out there, covering all sorts of trains of thought and wishes for expectant mothers. Ask around, do some research, and find the best fit for you. Also, be sure to choose a birth care provider who is on the same page with you. Choose someone with whom you can form a mutual patient-doctor relationship of respect and openness. Form a solid support team to back you up and help you along the way, whether it consists of a significant other, chiropractor, doula, family members, or trusted friends.
What are your goals with your pregnancy and delivery, as well as with raising your baby and giving them the best start you can in life? The choices you make for yourself and your baby are a big deal, as one of the most important things after securing the physical health of your baby and yourself is your emotional well-being and readiness to take on motherhood with confidence, feeling in charge of your choices and health as you move forward in this exciting new adventure.
As chiropractors, a common phrase we hear in the office is that someone believes they have “pinched a nerve”. Usually, they believe this because when they move in a certain direction they feel a pinching sensation in a localized area and that leads to pain. The patient usually experiences a loss in their range of motion and cannot function at 100% in their daily life. What that person has described is most likely not a pinched nerve by the true definition. A pinched nerve typically has very different symptoms than the one described. The condition that was described above is typically inflammation in the spinal joints that leads to a loss of movement. Chiropractic adjustments can help restore the normal movement for that joint and promote resolution of the inflammation.
In order to have a truly “pinched nerve”, the patient would be suffering from an impingement of the nerve. That means that much like stepping on a water hose and preventing the water from reaching the opening; your nerve flow has been interrupted. The symptoms that come with this are typically numbness/tingling, radiating pain and/or weakness of either the arm or leg muscles. If the nerve is getting pinched in your neck, that will typically affect the arm and if the nerve is in your low back, that will typically affect your legs. The nerve can be impinged by a variety of causes. Several common causes are disc herniation, arthritis that has narrowed the opening for the nerve, or tight muscles that affect the nerve. Each of these causes will present differently and the treatment may vary. The severity of the impingement will also change what the patient experiences. The order of progression typically goes from first a vague numbness or tingling sensation that will eventually progress to more of a true painful feeling. The last step in the progression is typically to have loss of strength. Depending on where the nerve is getting impinged and at what level in the spine, different areas will go numb and different muscles will lose their strength.
Each of these differences will help the chiropractor decide what form of treatment is best and where to apply the treatment. It may be determined that a lighter force adjustment with more traction applied will help in order to take the pressure off of a herniated disc or that a more traditional manual adjustment will be best to reintroduce proper movement and adaptability to the joint, allowing it to move freely and take the pressure off of the nerve. If it is tight muscles that are impinging on the nerve, which may happen, for example, in the elbow, frequently soft tissue techniques (varying from massage type of pressure to instrument assisted techniques) work well to help loosen up the muscle and eliminate scar tissue that may be causing problems. Soft tissue techniques often work well in the wrist as well for issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Hopefully this helps you learn a little more on what exactly a “pinched nerve” is and how chiropractors can help.
“Our health is within our power to take charge of through the little choices we make every day“. What better time to be reminded of this than at the start of a new year? Just as we like to sit down around this time each year and figure out trips that will be taken throughout the year and evaluate our current financial situation and goals, take a moment to sit down and evaluate the state of your own health. Don’t just think about what procedures you may or may not have had to have done in the past year or what medications you are or aren’t currently taking, but how are you really doing?
Physically, how do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Do you feel well rested and ready for the day? Do you have the energy to go to work and give it your best and come home and enjoy playing with your kids? Are you able to get some regular activity in and enjoy the sweat, or do you drag yourself through a tired half effort? Do you have enough energy to brighten someone else’s day through volunteering, whether it be donating your time or a friendly, sincere smile?
Mentally, how do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Do you feel clarity in your mind and a clear focus on the tasks that lie ahead of you? Are you able to complete tasks on hand with a sharp mind, or do you feel you spend much of the day in a fog? Does a new challenge have you looking forward to the opportunity, or do you dread the obligation to put forth a greater effort?
Emotionally, how do you feel when you awake each day? Are you excited to take on the challenges of a new day, or are you dreading “another Monday” or “another week”? Do you enjoy each encounter during the day and week, giving it your present focus, or are you frequently looking ahead to the weekend/next paycheck/next vacation/next big event?
How did you do? Are you happy with where you are, or do you have work to do? If you are happy with your answers that is fantastic. Keep up the great work! If you have one or more areas that need some further attention, please don’t let it slip by. We often have no idea how good we are supposed to feel-physically, mentally, or emotionally. We often have some areas of our lives that need work, but rather choose to ignore them as other things take importance.
Remember, the better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of those you love and care for. Whether it be a significant other, children, parents, siblings, good friends, employees, coworkers, or customers, those counting on you will be better served by you at your best. When you fly on an airplane and they give the pre-flight instructions on what to do in an emergency, they always tell you to put oxygen on yourself first prior to helping anyone else. This is the reason. You are much better equipped to care for others when you have remembered to first take care of yourself.
Take action steps today to put your health first this year-not only for you, but for those counting on you. The path to a healthier you begins with little choices that you can get started on now. Small, positive changes will add up over the course of a year to have big results on you and your overall quality of life, as well as those who interact with you.
Wishing you a healthy and happy new year from all of us at Eldora Family Chiropractic & Wellness Center!
A lot of people talk about (and hear others talking about) having “arthritis” in their spine. It is certainly a statement that we, as chiropractors, hear quite often. There are a lot of times that arthritis is used as a “catch-all” phrase when people are experiencing back discomfort. In fact, arthritis of the spine is a specific group of conditions, with some of these conditions being very common and some of them less common, acting in a certain manner. The most common form of arthritis of the spine is called osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis usually happens alongside another common spinal condition called degenerative disc disease, or degenerative joint disease of the spine.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that can affect every joint in a human’s body. It most commonly affects joints in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. The most common location of osteoarthritis in the spine is in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions. There are many causes of arthritis, with the most common including previous injury, abnormal development, and overuse. In each of these scenarios, the way the spine moves is altered and stressed to a degree that it begins to physically change as an adaptation to this stress.
Most commonly, the first step to arthritis of the spine is degeneration of the discs that are between every vertebra. The discs begin to dehydrate and breakdown. As the discs dehydrate, they shrink and no longer have the same amount of volume to help take on the forces as they did before. The action of breaking down happens because our spinal discs do not have an active blood supply. They receive their nutrients through movement, which causes a vacuum-like effect where the discs bring in the important nutrients through a negative pressure gradient. If the spinal column does not move properly, you will not receive the proper nutrients because your body cannot produce the necessary negative pressure gradient. When the discs begin to breakdown your body will begin to replace the disc material with bone, commonly leading to osteophytes (bone spurs) pointing out from the front and back of the spine. Bone gets laid down by the body as a protective mechanism in order to take on the forces that the discs no longer can. Bone spurs are one of two major signs of arthritis that can be seen on an x-ray. The other sign is the shrinking of the heights of the disc spaces.
As degeneration in the spine develops, it is not something that can be reversed. However, it can be slowed down or prevented from occurring or progressing. Chiropractic’s role in the management of arthritis is in helping to prevent it, or slow/stop its progression. We do that by making sure that the spine is able to move in a healthy manner, properly adapting to the stresses it faces throughout the day. That movement will keep the discs healthy and able to absorb the forces they need to absorb. Keeping the discs healthy and allowing the spine and nervous system to adapt to daily life stressors is one reason why many people choose to get adjusted on a regular basis, not just when they are in pain. Maintenance adjustments help keep your spine healthy in much the same way that getting your teeth cleaned regularly at the dentist prevents the degeneration of your teeth, also known as tooth decay.
To conclude, arthritis is not something that you should just attribute to “old age” or your job and write off as being a hopeless cause with nothing you can do about it. Rather, listen to your body as it is telling you something is going on, get examined by a health care provider with knowledge of the spine, and develop a plan that will actively restore healthy movement and adaptation into your spine, including regular care by the provider as they deem necessary, and complete with proper movements and exercises that you can do on your own to live life at the highest quality you can. Take charge of YOUR health today!
Backpacks are a very popular and effective way to haul around school supplies and books. They have grown to double as a fashion item to show off your child’s favorite colors, sports team, or animated characters. However, care must be taken to keep in mind the stress it is causing on your child’s spine when worn improperly. Following some simple guidelines can both make your child more comfortable, as well as take stress off of their growing spine and nervous system.
Often times people think of injuries being caused by major events, or big traumas that occur with a significant force. In adults, this is often thought of in times of car accidents or run-ins with heavy machinery. In kids, this may be a bike accident or falling off of the swing set. However, injuries also commonly occur as a result of many smaller forces applied repetitively over time. For example, adults with desk jobs that require utilizing a computer can often relate. Similarly, kids may be exposed to repeated stress carrying items too heavy for them or inappropriately worn, such as backpacks and their contents.
One of the biggest concerns of improper backpack usage is the postural imbalance created, and the stress placed on your child’s spine while trying to compensate for this imbalance. These postural distortions may lead to back soreness and/or injury, but more importantly are putting undue stress on their growing nervous system, adversely affecting how the body functions. The school-age years are a vital time for development, as the body is rapidly growing. Just as kids often will see their pediatrician and dentist for regular check-ups, it is wise to take them to a chiropractor to get their spine examined.
Another thing to consider is the amount of physical activity your child is getting. In this age of technology (TV, computers, video games, etc), less time seems to be allotted towards playing outside and being active, leaving our youth less conditioned. Encouraging your children to stay active and move in a variety of ways, along with instilling a desire to enjoy doing so when young, will go a long ways in preparing your child to better handle physical stresses as they age, both normal and abnormal.
Making sure your kids are practicing proper backpack usage, in addition to keeping them active and getting their spine regularly checked by a chiropractor, can help their bodies grow and function properly.
Here are some simple tips for safe backpack use, as stated by Jeanne Ohm, D.C., the Executive Coordinator of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, in a Pathways article:
- Wear both straps and avoid the one-strap styled back packs. Uneven distribution of the load causes postural compensations and spinal stress.
- When putting on and removing backpacks, bend at the knees or have the pack at a higher level such as on a desk or table. Sudden twisting motion adds to the potential of injury.
- Arrange the backpack so it rests evenly in the middle of the back. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to allow the child to put on and take off the backpack without difficulty and permit free movement of the arms. Straps should not be too loose, and the backpack should not extend below the lower back.
- Keep the load at 10-15% or less of the student’s body weight.
- Carry only those items that are required for the day. Request additional textbooks to be kept at home instead of hauling heavy books to and from school.
- Organize the contents of the backpack by placing the heaviest items closest to the back.
If you have any further questions on back pack safety, or would like your child’s spine and back pack wearing habits checked, feel free to contact us here at Eldora Family Chiropractic & Wellness Center. Have a healthy school year!
Dr. Zak and Dr. Emily recently finished their 10 day Healthy Inflammation Response Program through Standard Process. The program is designed to help jump-start your body’s normal natural inflammation response process, with the intention of putting habits into place that will put you on track to leading a healthier, more active life.
They followed eating guidelines that avoided refined carbs, artificial sweeteners, sugar, chemical additives, processed meats, fried foods, caffeine, and soft drinks, and focused on including whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. They also consumed supplement shakes with whole food ingredients and took a simple protocol of supplements throughout the day.
In addition to the dietary guidelines, they continued to get their regular weekly chiropractic adjustments and made simple lifestyle changes including making it a priority to get more sleep at night and drinking more water throughout the day, as well as keeping active throughout the duration of the program.
Here is what they have to say about taking part in the program:
Dr. Emily: The saying really is true-“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.” My main goal of doing this program was to cut my body some slack and treat it nicely for 10 days, allowing it to better absorb the good vitamins and nutrients I consume in my diet. Although I feel I try to eat a “clean” diet most of the time, following a stricter set of guidelines made me realize all of the inflammatory foods I tend to gravitate towards when I’m really feeling hungry. The biggest challenge in doing this was being at social events focused on eating or consuming beverages not included in the plan, as well as not consuming fruits outside of the shakes. I’d recommend planning to do something like this around a time frame not including any events that you’d feel rude or uncomfortable having to be a little more picky (weddings, birthday parties, etc). One plus side to this program is that it’s only 10 days, making it easier to set aside a shorter time for it while still getting to see big changes, as well as getting yourself jump started on the path to healthier habits. I’d also encourage you to do it with a family member or friend, preferably someone you live with or see on a regular basis. It makes it much easier to prepare meals together and keep motivated, even if they’re just working on the eating guidelines portion. One of the biggest things I noticed was how good my digestive system felt with the focus on whole, fresh, REAL foods and totally cutting out all of the foods that tend to inflame us. Not once did I feel bloated or regret eating anything…I also didn’t regret missing out on any “junk” foods that I temporarily craved. There certainly are occasions that call for some celebratory eating, but restricting yourself from some of these foods for a period of time makes you appreciate being able to eat them more, requiring less to satisfy your sweet/salty tooth. Programs like this help us get closer to eating along the 80/20 rule, rather than the 60/40 or 50/50 that many tend to lean more towards. ; )
Dr. Zak: Dr. Emily and I like to help “clean out our system” at least once or twice a year. We noticed a new program from one of our favorite supplement companies and decided to try it out. This one was a 10 day program aimed to help limit excess inflammation in our bodies as described above. I thought that since this program allowed us to eat meat throughout the whole 1o days that it would be much easier than the previous programs that we have done. This program I found to be a little more challenging because we were very limited in the amount of fruit we could and with no other carbohydrates allowed it did leave me a little sluggish at times. However, overall I enjoy doing these programs because by the end of them my digestive system always feels great and I end up feeling more energized. One of the reasons for the increased energy is because without all of the processed food being consumed our bodies do not have to work as hard to process all of the extras that come with out food. Another bonus is that since we are eating clean there will often times be weight loss. Some of the weight that you will lose is water weight from the excess sodium that comes in processed foods, but it is a great way to train you how to eat and learn to make healthy choices. The programs are a great way to kick-start your weight loss and learn how to eat so you can continue on that journey if that is a goal of yours. You will likely feel hungry and have desires to cheat, but with a little will power and determination the 10 days will fly by.
For more information or any questions you may have on the 10 Day Healthy Inflammation Response Program, the Standard Process 21 Day Purification Program, or in starting a program of your own following similar guidelines, feel free to contact us at Eldora Family Chiropractic.
Yours in Health,
The team at Eldora Family Chiropractic