Step Up Your Tennis Game with Chiropractic Care

Common injuries tennis players suffer are in the lower extremities, especially the knees and calf muscles. Tennis elbow, rotator cuff injuries, rolled/twisted ankles and lower back pain can also be problematic areas for both competitive and social players. Timely Chiropractic treatments for players can help avoid time off the court, expensive surgery, and consequently months of rehabilitation. Three of the fundamental causes of tennis injuries I see are: poor posture and balance, lack of flexibility, and improperly functioning muscles.

The Doctors at The Winchester Institute are trained to identify stiff or improperly functioning joints that may be restricting access to power and movement. Regular Chiropractic treatment to both spinal and extremity joints can often result in noticeable and immediate improvements to a patient’s game. For example, a stiff thoracic spine, once adjusted, will allow serve speed to increase. Restoring full range of motion to the thoracic spine can maximize thoracic rotation and extension as well as increase general shoulder range of motion. Essentially, the increased motion in these degrees of freedom will grant the server more access to power and spin.

Simple tips I give to my patients:

  • Ensure you are playing with the correct racquet size and grip.
  • Wear orthotics. Custom made orthotic inserts support your arch, absorb shock and increase coordination.
  • Strength training, especially in the shoulder, can help prevent injuries.
  • Get adjusted regularly, leading up to and during tennis season, to increase motion and reduce risk of injury.

I find that recreational tennis players often do not consider the stress put on the joints and muscles from playing. Many players seek out Chiropractic Care only after an injury. We want patients to consider seeing a Chiropractor before an injury occurs. Not only will this help patients avoid painful injuries, Chiropractic Care will also allow your body to play at 100%.

 “Chiropractic Care gives me the flexibility I need to keep in the game.”  - Venus Williams

Kick Colds and Flu This Season

The weather is changing and cold and flu season is upon us. While it may be impossible to avoid exposure, it is possible to minimize your chances of letting those nasty bugs take hold.

People ask me all the time what suggestions I can offer to help them fight colds and flu. One thing I always emphasize is frequent handwashing; this is your first line of defense. Bacteria can be transferred through people coughing, sneezing, talking and touching surfaces with contaminated hands. Washing with warm, soapy water for 15-20 seconds is the best defense against catching or transferring bacteria.

I also cannot over emphasize the importance of Chiropractic Care. Studies show Chiropractic patients are found to have a 200% greater immune-competence than those not getting adjusted regularly (-Pero, R. PhD, Chief of Cancer Prevention Research at NY’s Prevention Medicine Institute). In another study of 4,600 cases of upper respiratory tract infections, only 5% of cases treated with Chiropractic Care developed secondary complications. These results are superior to those obtained by antimicrobial therapy or symptom therapy alone (-Purse FM J AM Osteopath Assoc). These studies clearly show Chiropractic Care will help keep you healthy, so be sure to get adjusted regularly to help minimize your risk of illness this season.

Other important suggestions I give to my patients:

  • Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of fluids is necessary for maintaining good health and keeping your nasal and respiratory passage moist and best equipped to reject viruses. Good hydration will also keep everything moving through your body including toxins. 
  • Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep inhibits your body’s ability to fight colds. 
  • Boost your immune system with supplements.
    • Vitamin C helps support your immune system health and acts as a powerful antioxidant and natural antihistamine. I recommend taking 1000 mg/day. 
    • We now carry Zinc and Vitamin C in a great tasting lozenge formula. These two key ingredients can help to fight off infections and boost immunity. Controlled studies show that when zinc gluconate is slowly dissolved in the mouth, the duration time of seasonal symptoms may be significantly reduced. Zinc is intimately involved in immune system function and has been shown to inhibit replication of viruses. I would always recommend these lozenges for sore throats and colds over store bought brands. I typically suggest patients take four lozenges throughout the day. 
    • Increasing your Vitamin D levels helps your body’s immune response fight off the common cold virus. Living in the Midwest in the winter time, we have less than preferred Vitamin D levels due to inadequate sun exposure. Make sure you increase your Vitamin D intake to at least 1000 to 5000 IUs of Vitamin D per day. 
    • Omega 3 is a natural anti-inflammatory, reducing cellular and immune system stress. Reducing inflammation is the best defense for your total health and wellness. I recommend 3000 mg/day. 
    • Finally, make sure you are taking a Probiotic. Probiotic bacteria help your body’s immune fighting ability by absorbing the necessary nutrients from the foods you eat. It’s best to take 5000-20000 CFUs of a probiotic per day.

Protecting yourself this season with a few easy suggestions will make for a healthier you!

 

 

Adjusting the Spine Changes the Brain

Many of my patients initially come to The Winchester Institute in pain and with loss of function.  In the initial phases of care, my focus is on pain reduction and restoring function.  Once the patient is feeling better, I often get the question, “Doctor, if I’m no longer in pain, why do you still want to see me?”

There are many reasons why regular Chiropractic Care is important for a patient’s overall health and wellness, but one of the effects of Chiropractic adjustments I find particularly amazing is that adjusting the spine changes the brain.

A recently published study in the Journal of Plasticity documents these changes. This was an independent study with data collected and analyzed by scientists who had no preconceived ideas about Chiropractic. Heidi Haavik, DC, Ph.D., one of the researchers behind the study, said about the findings, “We do know that spinal function does affect brain function. There’s now solid evidence that adjusting the spine changes brain function. This is the fourth time that the effect of adjusting the spine has on the brain has been studied. This last time it was studied and confirmed by an independent medical researcher.”

What is particularly exciting about this study is it indicates Chiropractic adjustments impact the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain located behind the forehead that is responsible for executive function, meaning it acts like a conductor communicating, guiding, and coordinating the functions of the different parts of the brain. It is the area where higher learning and cognition happen. The study showed a change in brain function by almost 20%. Haavik explains: “An effect on the function of the prefrontal cortex could explain many previous research results, such as improvements in sensorimotor function relevant to falls-prevention; better joint-position sense in both the upper limb and the lower limb; improved muscle strength in lower limb muscles; better pelvic floor control; and better ability to carry out mental rotation of objects.”

My patients often comment of feeling better, having better focus, and improved movement and coordination early on in their treatment. I also have a number of patients whose parents claim regular adjustments help their child with ADHD symptoms such as, inability to focus, behavioral issues and retention at school. This study helps us to understand why patients notice these improvements. Haavik and her team are excited about the evidence regarding the location of changes post-adjustment. “This is solid scientific evidence that adjusting the spine changes the way the prefrontal cortex of the brain is processing information from the arm. It demonstrates we change the way the brain works and shows that spinal function impacts brain function. One of the most interesting things about the changes we observed was that the prefrontal cortex is responsible for behavior, goal directed tasks, decision making, memory and attention, intelligence, processing of pain and emotional response to it, autonomic function, motor control, eye movements and spatial awareness.”

What does this mean for my patients?  It means every time they are adjusted, it actually improves the way their brain communicates with their body, and a brain that’s functioning differently and conducting its activities better is sure to have a positive effect on the body. It also means that everyone needs Chiropractic Care. It is not merely about neck and back pain.

References

[1] Lelic, D, Niazi, IK, Holt, K, Jochumsen, M, Dremstrup, K, Yielder, P, Murphy, B, Drewes, A and Haavik, H (2016), “Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensorimotor integration in the pre-frontal cortex: A brain source localization study,” Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016 (2016). Online. [2] Haavik, H (2016), correspondence with Spinal Research via Nimrod Weiner

Spinal Research, April 12, 2016

 

Chiropractic Care Can Improve Your Golf Game

As the weather gets warmer, many people are spending more time on the golf course. Golf and Chiropractic are a perfect combination. Regular Chiropractic adjustments, in conjunction with a good golf instructor, can help patients correct and treat problems and ultimately elevate their golf game. When treating patients who golf, I evaluate the body in balance from head to toe; the essence of the golf swing. Three of the fundamental causes of golf injuries and related aches and pains I see when treating patients are: poor posture, lack of flexibility, and improperly functioning muscles.

By working with a patient’s spinal range of motion, I can help correct golf injuries, maintain performance, and improve the posture needed to perform a good golf swing. With Chiropractic Care, the spine can move better, meaning your body is able communicate with itself without interference. An individualized treatment plan including Chiropractic adjustments, specific rehabilitative exercises and soft tissue techniques may make a significant difference in a golfer’s overall performance and enjoyment of the sport. A few simple tips that I give to patients:

  • Purchase equipment that fits. Don’t try to adjust to the height of your golf clubs. Make sure you purchase the correct clubs for your height.
  • Wear orthotics. Custom orthotic inserts support your arch, absorb shock and increase coordination.
  • Get adjusted regularly, leading up to and during your golf season, to allow for an unrestricted swing and a reduced risk of injury.

Often golfers do not consider the damage the sport’s repetitive, torquing movements inflict on their hips, backs, necks and shoulders. Many recreational golfers are not proactive about preventing injuries to these areas. The Doctors at The Winchester Institute have been helping area golfers realize the full potential of their game. While many golfers see a Chiropractor after an injury, we want patients to discover that seeing a chiropractor before an injury is the key to improving one’s game and avoiding injury.

Chiropractic Care and Ear Infections

If you are a parent, you have likely experienced the helplessness and frustration of your little one suffering from an ear infection. You’re not alone; ear infection or otitis media (OM) is the most common reason for visits to the pediatrician's office. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, about 62% of children will have their first ear infection by age one and more than 80% by the age of three. 

A common treatment for ear infections is antibiotics, usually amoxicillin. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (December, 1991), amoxicillin with and without decongestant anti-histamine combination is NOT effective for persistent asymptomatic middle ear effusions (fluid) in infant and children. In fact, occurrence of fluid in the ear was two to six times greater after the administration of amoxicillin! Additionally, the over use and over prescription of antibiotics has led to antibiotic resistant bacteria. I certainly support the use of antibiotics when absolutely necessary, but my recommendation is to always try the least invasive, drug free approach first. 

Luckily, there are non-drug treatments for this common condition. Developing research and studies do indicate a connection between Chiropractic Care and ear infections. Many parents are finding Chiropractic Care not only helps to speed the recovery time of an ear infection, Chiropractic Care can prevent them all together! Popular pediatric doctor, William Sears, MD, highly recommends using Chiropractic Care for improving middle ear drainage and decreasing ear infections. 

Exactly how does Chiropractic Care help ear infections? There is a direct link between the nerves in the neck, the muscles of the Eustachian tubes and the middle ear. The middle ear drains through the Eustachian tubes and is controlled by a nerve. When not functioning properly, muscles spasm, constricting the tube and constricting drainage. Chiropractic Adjustments restore function to the spine and take pressure off the nerve that supplies the tubes. The result is a free flowing and draining middle ear!

 

Chiropractic Care or Pain Killers?

You may not believe this but pain can actually be your friend. Don’t hide what your body is trying to tell you by masking it with long term use of pain killers. Pain is the body’s way of telling us something needs attention and care. This is one of the basic philosophies held by Chiropractors.

There is a danger in medicating pain away, especially over a long period of time. This “band aid” approach can create a false sense of security - you tell yourself, “Oh, the pain is gone, so I must be all right.” Additionally, there is the danger of damaging our bodies with the use of pain medications.

Even over-the-counter pain medications that are perceived as being very mild and safe are not taken without side effects, and they are certainly not meant to be taken over a long period of time. If we overuse them, we may introduce a whole new dangerous health issue into our lives.

The primary problem with treating an ongoing condition with pain medication is that the underlying cause of the pain is never addressed.  Over time, use of these medications can even result in an inability to tolerate pain and the need for higher doses. Although effective at elevating your pain tolerance, acetaminophen, for example, is not an anti-inflammatory and, if consumed too often, can cause serious liver damage. As a Gonstead doctor, I work to address chronic pain through spinal manipulation, trigger point therapy and rehabilitation. In numerous studies chiropractic treatments proved to be far more effective than consuming acetaminophen and other medications. These studies have shown that patients who received chiropractic adjustments reported less pain, and an increase in range of motion, strength, and functional capacity.

Chiropractic adjustments can provide longer, more stable results thus improving the overall function of your body. This is achieved without any of the potentially hazardous risks associated with consuming pain-relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Be kind to your body and the next time you start to experience some aches and pains, call your chiropractor before you reach for that pain killer! Better yet, call now… PREVENTION IS THE KEY TO HEALTH AND WELLNESS.

 

It's never too early for your baby to see a Chiropractor

Some people are always surprised to hear that we take care of such young patients.  However, the truth is whether you have a large spine or a little one, if there is improper or hindered communication throughout the nervous system then our body is unable to function at 100%.

Our body’s nervous system is the controller. When communication channels become aggravated, distorted or damaged we may experience significant or subtle communication errors. In babies, this ineffective communication may present as colic, irritability, poor breast feeding and poor sleep habits. In toddlers and children, poor nerve communication may result in developmental delays, lack of concentration, behavioral problems, digestive issues and asthma to name a few in a long list of possibilities.

As a Gonstead Chiropractor, my job is not to be the band-aid of health issues, but to work with the patient to get to the root cause of a problem.  My focus is ensuring the nervous system has every opportunity to communicate clearly and effectively. Nerve irritations occur as a part of normal daily life and can occur in utero from awkward positioning, restriction of movement in the womb and exposure to maternal toxins. In addition, nerve irritation can occur from birth complications such as long labor, fast labor, forceps or caesarean delivery.

I like to check babies soon after their birth to assess their spine and nervous system.  This gives me the time needed with the parents to discuss and encourage tips for good brain, spinal and nerve development. Additionally, it may help to strengthen the child’s immune system, aid in proper drainage from the ear canal as well as address any breast feeding or colic issues.

Your children’s health is their greatest asset. Chiropractic has been shown to be gentle, safe and effective. Ask my patients! They will tell you that chiropractic care helps their children stay healthy!!

 

Stress and the Effect on your Health

Stress comes in many forms. It can be emotional. It can make you feel anxious, worried or fearful. Stress can also be chemical. Many Americans deal with chemically induced physiological stress by taking drugs or alcohol. And, stress can be physical. It can cause muscle tension, neck pain, backaches, stomach ulcers and heart attacks. No matter how it enters our lives, stress has the ability to lower your body’s immune system and put you on an unhealthy path.

The most common symptoms of stress include headaches, fatigue, neck pain, shoulder or lower back pain, irritability, digestive problems and sleeping problems to name a few. In fact, many people misinterpret stress for a chronic disease or illness. This can be a constant battle. I help many patients understand the stressors in their lives and work with them to reduce the effects of those stresses on their body.  Here are some of the key tips I often discuss with my patients to help them manage their stress:

- Take time each night to organize what you need to do the next day. It helps you to plot out what needs to get done and to plan your time accordingly.

- Stays focused on tasks and go through your day addressing items of priority first. Tackling one task at a time helps you feel a sense of accomplishment.

- Know your “hot buttons” or what causes you to feel “stressed”. Often, we cannot avoid them but learn to manage them and see them in a different light.

The negative effect of stress on your body is real. You need to arm yourself with the proper tools to keep them in control. What are the tools you can use?

- Regular chiropractic adjustments restore motion to the spine, allowing the vertebrae the space needed for your nerves to flow properly. In addition, chiropractic adjustments have a direct effect on the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems and can explain the improvements in respiratory function, digestion, and blood pressure levels in patients.

- Practice relaxed breathing at least twice a day, every day and whenever you feel tense.

- Listen to soothing sounds. It allows you to take a mental vacation 10 minutes a day.

- Exercise! Exercise is a great way to deal with stress and help you to relieve pent-up energy and tension.

Consistent stress causes more damage than you might think. Exercise, get your regular chiropractic adjustment and take a deep breath!

An Easier Pregnancy with Chiropractic Care

I can attest to the fact, the muscle strains of pregnancy are very real and can be more than just a nuisance. A woman gains an average of 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. This weight gain, combined with the increased stress on the body by the baby, may result in severe discomfort.

During the stages of pregnancy, a woman’s center of gravity shifts forward to the front of her pelvis causing stress on her joints and low back. As the baby grows in size, a woman’s abdomen is pushed even further forward increasing the curvature of the low back and placing extra stress on the spinal discs.

Chiropractic care can help a woman before, during and after her pregnancy.  As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I can detect any imbalances in the pelvis and elsewhere in your body prior to getting pregnant to ensure proper spinal motion and balance is present. While pregnant, many women find chiropractic adjustments provide relief from the increased low back pain brought on by the ever changing process of pregnancy. Chiropractic adjustments are safe for both the pregnant woman and the baby. In fact, many women found chiropractic care to be the best option when trying to handle pain and discomfort without medication. I can also offer advice on nutrition, ergonomics and exercise during your pregnancy in an effort to reduce inflammation and keep you healthy. After childbirth, a woman’s ligaments that have loosened begin to tighten up. Treating any joint problems as soon as possible before they return to their pre-pregnancy state may help to prevent muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort and shoulder problems.

There are many things you can do to prepare your body for pregnancy:  exercise, diet, and proper ergonomics are just a few. Chiropractic care should be added to the top of that list! Being in optimal health helps make this most wonderful time of your life much more enjoyable.

Inflammation is the Root of all Evil

I tell my patients everyday inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses including heart disease, cancer, arthritis and auto-immune disease to name a few.  But do they really understand what inflammation is and how it affects their body.

Inflammation is the body’s healing response to damage. Inflammation becomes a problem when it is persistent. If you have an injury or infection, inflammation helps to protect and heal the body through nourishment thus repairing the cells. Difficulty occurs when inflammation becomes chronic, often silently damaging your tissues.

Chronic inflammation is a result of an unhealthy lifestyle. I like my patients to understand what causes inflammation in their bodies and discuss ways to help them reduce it. The 3 major causes of inflammation stem from our food choices, the stressors in our life and the minor traumatic injuries over time.

Lifestyle changes will go a long way towards reducing chronic inflammation. Focus on a healthy, colorful diet. Include good sources of omega 3 fatty acids such as wild caught fish, flax seed and walnuts. These can act as natural anti-inflammatories.

Stress is one of the hardest to deal with and control. Simple changes in your life can benefit in reducing stress and promoting health. Regular exercise is important. It helps your body work at its best thus reducing inflammation. Getting plenty of vitamin D is important as well, especially in the fall and winter due to the lack of sunlight which helps produce vitamin D.

Daily “wear and tear” on our bodies is a major source of inflammation. Simple tasks during the day such as texting, sitting at your desk without getting up and moving and poor posture put undue stress on our bodies and in turn promote inflammation.  There are plenty of things you can do during a work day to stay active. Opt for taking the stairs in place of the elevator. Get out of your seat at work and walk around the block during lunch. And, bring your smart phones and tablets to eye level instead of hunching over.

Chiropractic adjustments restore motion to the spine and allow the vertebrae and your nervous system the space it needs for your nerves to flow properly to your organs. Consider adding chiropractic to your health and wellness routine along with the above suggestions to be the healthiest you!