Learning Central



Chiropractic care is not just about fixing the problem, but also about learning and understanding the kinetics of your body to help prevent its return. Miller Chiropractic Wellness encourages you to be an informed patient to help aid and speed your recovery process.

Use the left navigation to search articles by topic or find our most recent articles below.



No individuals, including those under our active care, should use the information, resources or tools contained within to self-diagnose or self-treat any health-related condition. Diagnosis and treatment of all health conditions should only be performed by the doctor or other licensed health care professional.

Posted by: admin in Articles on November 7th, 2012

Wellness” has become a buzzword among the public, health care practitioners, and legislators alike.  But what exactly does it mean, and how can people benefit from it?  The Amerian Chiropractic Association (ACA) defines wellness as “an active process that promotes health and enhances quality of life.”

“With the enactment of health care reform legislation this year, the public is going to hear more and more about the importance of wellness, staying healthy and ultimately reducing health care costs caused by chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes,” says ACA President Dr. Rick McMichael.  “It’s time for people to undertand that they have the power to take charge of their health and be well enough to do the activities they enjoy.”

Dr. Scott Bautch, a doctor of chiropractic from Wausau, Wisconsin, explains wellness further.  “We consider wellness the act of adding potential to peoples’ lives.  Whether that potential is the ability to avoid cholesterol problems, quit smoking, or exercise more, it’s all individual to each person.  In other words, wellness is about giving people specific skills that will help them flourish in life.”

Finding a Wellness Coach

“If you’re interested in health and wellness, a good place to begin is by talking about it with a doctor of chiropractic.  They are well-known for their expert care of back pain, neck pain and headaches, but they also offer patients a variety of conservative recommendations and counseling on general health and wellness,” says Dr. McMichael, “while medical doctors screen you for diseases with lab tests and by examination.”  Your chiropractor will screen you for diseases, but he or she will also ask you about your lifestye and behaviors that may put you at risk for injury or illness.  The chiropractic approach is drug-free, instead of writing a prescritption, and offer spinal adjustments, rehabilitative exercises, nutritional counseling and lifestyle modifications to move patients toward optimum function and wellness.

Typically, when a new patient visits a DC, one of the first things the doctor will assess is functional capacity.  The DC will focus on decreasing pain and returning the patient to normal daily activities, including exercise.  In the intermediate stage, a chiropractor will continue therapeutic care, but also begin to address factors that may have led to the patient’s pain by recommending lifestyle modifications.  An example of intermediate care might include managing the patient’s obesity with counseling on diet and exercise.  In the final stage of wellness care, a DC will help the patient take responsibility for his or her own health through patient education, enabling the person to independently maintain and even advance the level of wellness achieved.

Adjust Your Attitude

Learn coping skills to deal with life’s ups and downs.  The way you deal with stress can be a huge factor in whether or not someone is well.  You can boost your attitude in a variety of ways:  enjoying nature, looking for humor in life’s mishaps, listening to relaxing music, and creating a support system of people who you can turn to in times of trouble and stress.  Taking a yoga or a Tai Chi class may also be helpful.

Start Moving

Increase daily movements by walking more.  Take the stairs when possible.  Adding more motion to your life can be a huge step toward living well.

Food For Fuel

Once the first two components of wellness are addressed, the doctor of chiropractic will address a patient’s diet.  It’s surprising for some to learn that making even a few simple changes, such as eating more raw or organically grown foods, drinking more water and consuming 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, can positively impact your health and help prevent a variety of adverse health issues in the future.*

*(Reprinted with the permission of the American Chiropractic Association)

Posted by: admin in Monthly Newsletter on October 10th, 2012

Dear Friends and Patients:

October is National Chiropractic Health Month! Your most valuable asset is good health.  Chiropractic is the choice of millions of families throughout the world for restoring and maintaining health and vitality.  People everywhere who practice good chiropractic health on a regular basis have learned that good health is gained and maintained only when normal nerve energy flows from the brain, down the spinal cord, and out between important spinal vertebrae to vital body organs and tissues.

Your friends and acquaintances are perhaps suffering needlessly simply because they don’t know what you know about chiropractic care.  A word from you about what chiropractic has done for you could very well prove to be the greatest act of kindness you could give them.  Urging them to seek counsel from a Doctor of Chiropractic may improve their overall physical well-being.

Yours for better health naturally,

Dr. William A. Miller

Help Us Help Others By Spreading the Word About the Benefits of Chiropractic Care!

Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

  • Start small. If you are able, manage a five-minute walk every day at first.  Eventually, you’ll be able to work your way up to 30 minutes or more, and you’ll be taking a big step toward maintaining the flexibility and mobility of your joints and burning calories at the same time.
  • For those on a time crunch, take short breaks from work.  Simply getting up from your desk and walking around the office or the parking lot or going up and down the stairs a few times is enough to get your blood flowing and trigger feel-good endorphins to get you through the rest of your day.
  • As for your diet, choose foods high in fiber, i.e.:  fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, as fiber curbs hunger.  Also reduce your simple carbohydrates like candy, pizza, cookies, and bread that is not made from whole grains.  In some people, simple carbohydrates can trigger overeating, as well as blood-glucose slumps, which can lead to fatigue, headaches, craving sweets, depression, irritability and a host of other symptoms.
  • Keep a good variety of low-calorie snacks available to satisfy cravings.  Having carrot sticks, apple slices, whole-grain granola, fruit and raisins on hand can prevent you from running to the snack machine or picking up fast food.*

Yardwork

Before you pick up your rake this fall, consider the possible consequences of back strain, neck strain, and pain in the shoulders.  The twisting, turning,  bending, and reaching while raking your yard can cause injury if your body is not prepared.  Follow these tips to avoid injury:

  • Stretch, without bouncing, for 10 to 15 minutes prior to tackling your yard.  Do knee-chest pulls, trunk rotations and side bends with hands above your head and fingers locked.
  • Stand as straight as possible and keep your head up.  Use a “scissors’ stance” with right foot forward and left foot back.  Reverse after a few finutes, putting your left forward and your right foot back.
  • Bend at the knees, not the waist, as you pick up piles of leaves or grass.  Make the piles small to decrease the possiblity of back strain.
  • Drink plenty of water and wear protective gear such as long pants and gloves.

If you feel soreness or stiffness in your back, use ice to soothe the discomfort.  If there is no improvement in two or three days, see your Doctor of Chiropractic!*

Chiropractic – the Wise Way to Good Health!

*(reprinted in part with permission of the American Chiropractic Association)

Posted by: admin in Monthly Newsletter on October 10th, 2012

Dear Friends and Patients:

Many people can’t be their best or enjoy life due to acute or chronic back pain.  With many, it has become almost a fact of life and looked upon as just one more thing to have to live with.  Aside from headache, backache is America’s most common health complaint.  Are you one of these people?  Know that back pain is not normal and not something to be endured.  Unexpected, awkward and off-balance movements of any kind can cause back pain and sciatica.  The back pain may be the symptom of a spinal disorder compounded by structural weakness.

Pain of mysterious origin may be caused by unknown spinal injuries.  Sometimes the symptoms of the back problem appear immediately, showing obvious cause and effect.  However, sometimes days or even months pass before pain appears causing you to seek treatment for conditions other than the causative spinal disorder.  Persistent or recurring aches in the lower back and limbs may suggest a possible lower spinal or pelvic problem.  This often requires a structural correction of the cause in order to relieve the condition.

If you suffer from back pain, it would be wise to seek chiropractic care.  A Doctor of Chiropractic seeks to not only locate the problem and give relief from symptoms, but also to correct the fundamental cause and offer prevention, rehabilitation and maintenance counsel.  A natural health method that doesn’t rely on drugs, Chiropractic has a high record of success with back problems.

Yours for better health naturally,

Dr. William A. Miller

A pain in the back is definitely not normal.  See your Chiropractor  today!

What Causes Back Pain

The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles.  You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate  joints, all of which can lead to back pain.  While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements like picking up a pencil from the floor can have painful results.  In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain.  Back pain can also directly result from disease of the internal organs.

Treatment for Back Pain

Used primarily by Doctors of Chiropractic for the last century, manipulation has been largely ignored by most others in the health care community until recently.  Now, with today’s growing emphasis on treatment and cost effectiveness, manipulation is receiving more widespread attention.  It is a safe and effective spine pain treatment.  It reduces pain, decreases medication use, rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment such as bed rest.  In fact, after an extensive study of all currently available care for low back problems, the Federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research recommended that low back pain sufferers choose the most conservative care first.  It recommended spinal manipulation as the only safe and effective, drugless form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems.

Tips to Relieve Back Pain

  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
  • Remain active.
  • Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
  • Warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activity.
  • Maintain proper posture.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curvature of your spine.
  • Lift with your knees and keep the object close to your body and do not twist.
  • Quit smoking.  It impairs blood flow resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
  • Maintain an ergonomically correct computer workstation.*

Ergonomics for Mouse-Intensive Jobs

Workers such as data entry personnel, architects, graphic designers, animators and computer-aided design users spend countless hours in front of computers rarely ever changing position.  Does this sound familiar?  If your job keeps you planted at your desk all day, consider the following factors to help prevent injuries:

  • Prevent forearm overuse-Find a mouse that fits your hand, and then slide your palm up to rest on the mouse and use your whole arm to move the mouse when possible.  If you rest your wrist on the desk for extended periods, consider using a soft gel pad to minimize pressure on the carpal tunnel.  The best solution is to invest in a graphic tablet that will allow you to use a digital pen with a more relaxed and neutral position of the fingers, hand, wrist and forearm.
  • Prevent neck pain-You should be able to use your mouse with your elbow at your side and your hand directly in front of you.  Try a keyboard that has a separate number pad or one that is on the left of the keyboard, which will free up space on the right for the mouse.
  • Choose a specialty chair-Recently, more chairs have been designed with a pear-shaped back, particularly with mouse-intensive users in mind.  This type of chair supports the spine, but frees the scapula to move, encouraging whole-arm use rather than  motion only from the wrist.*

Chiropractic is the Wise Way to Good Health!

*(reprinted in part with permission of the American Chiropractic Association)

Posted by: admin in Monthly Newsletter on August 16th, 2012

Dear Friends and Patients,

August is a time when summer begins to wind down and parents are preparing for their children to go back to school. Along with needing new clothes and school supplies, parents need to be sure their children are feeling their best. Health problems can be a major factor in under-achievement as well as lack of proper rest and diet.

Watch for signs of moodiness, lowered energy level, lethargy, or a change in normal posture. Every child needs to have a health check-up to be sure he/she is at optimum physical condition to participate in sport activities as well as the daily stresses of school studies and classroom participation. Regular chiropractic care can detect problems early and correct them before serious effects are able to set in.

Remember that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” and just because summer ends, children still need to go out and play and maintain healthy exercise. Encouraging them to go out for some fresh air and a ride on their bike or a game of tag with their friends after being confined in school all day will make them more inclined to sit down to do homework later on.

Take your child to your chiropractor to be sure he or she is physically ready for the new school year.

Yours for better health naturally,
Dr. William A. Miller

Backpack Misuse Can Lead to Chronic Back Pain

A new and disturbing trend is emerging. Young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contibuting factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

This new back pain trend among youngsters isn’t surprising when you consider the disproportionate amounts of weight they carry in their backpacks, often slung over one shoulder. A recent study conducted in Italy found that the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound burden for a 176-pound man, or a 29-pound load for a 132-pound woman. Of these children carrying heavy backpacks to school, 60 percent had experienced back pain as a result. Another study showed that the longer a child wears a backpack, the longer it takes for a curvature or deformity of the spine to correct itself. The results of these studies are especially important as more school districts are removing lockers from the premises, forcing students to carry their books with them all day long. The ACA believes that limiting the backpack’s weight to no more than 10 percent of the child’s body weight and urging the use of ergonomically correct backpacks are possible solutions.

What You Can Do

The ACA offers the following tips to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household:

1. Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back rather than on the shoulders.
2. The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders causing your child to lean forward when walking.
3. A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
4. Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry and the heavier the backpack will be.
5. Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight from side side,  leading to neck and muscle spasms as well as low-back pain.
6. Wide, padded shoulder straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
7. The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.

Chiropractic Care Can Help

If you or your child experiences any pain or discomfort resulting from backpack use, call your Doctor of Chiropractic. Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children.*

Kids and Sports

Playing sports is an important rite of passage for children, but highly competitive sports such as football, gymnastics and wrestling involve rigorous training schedules that can be potentially dangerous to an adolescent or teenager. Following are tips parents can use to help their young athletes prepare their bodies and protect themselves from sports-related injuries before they happen:

1.  Encourage your child to wear the necessary equipment and make sure it fits properly.
2.  Eat healthy meals that are high in fruits, vegetables and proteins.
3.  Drink plenty of water and avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated or carbonated drinks.
4.  Drink milk. It is essential for healthy bones and reduces the risk of joint and muscle-related injuries.
5.  Follow warm-up routines that include stretching before every practice, game or meet.
6.  Get plenty of rest. Sluggishness, irritability and loss of interest could indicate that your child is fatigued.*

School Children Work and Play Better With Radiant Health–See Your Chiropractor!

(*reprinted in part with permission of the American Chiropractic Association)

Posted by: admin in Monthly Newsletter on June 30th, 2012

Dear Patients and Friends,

As a chiropractor, my job is restoring your health–Getting You Well–and maintaining your good health after it is restored.  Your participation is the key to success in reaching that goal.  At Miller Chiropractic, we want to upgrade your health, that is, add life to your years and years to your life.

 One purpose of chiropractic is to teach people how to stay well.  The chiropractor adjusts misaligned spines and relieves interference to nerves.  Illness and disease don’t “just happen.”  They accumulate.  Therefore, regular spinal adjustments should be part of your regular routine for maintaining good health.   Our efforts are designed not only to help you gain health, but to hold that gain.  I urge you to take care of your health by having regular chiropractic adjustments.  Under normal conditions, once your health has been restored, some patients prefer a once-a-month visit to the chiropractor, while others, such as those who have been rehabing a sports injury or other trauma, call for a visit when necessary or else don’t see the need to visit again for an adjustment.

It has always been our goal to give our patients the finest chiropractic care available anywhere.  Meanwhile, I want you to know how much I appreciate the confidence all of you have shown in my office by referring your friends and loved ones to us.

Yours for better health naturally,

                            Dr. William A. Miller

Chiropractic Works!  It Gets Results…And That’s What Counts!

INSOMNIA

     One of the most important functions of the human body is the ability to sleep.  Sleep is just as important to the body as air, water, and food.  An old Chinese proverb states, “Only when one cannot sleep does one know how long the night is.”  Almost everyone can relate to those words at some point in life.  In younger people, stress and worry commonly cause insomnia.  Older people suffer from a natural decrease in melatonin–a sleep inducing hormone.  Pressures from job and family, illness, side effects of some medications, and aches and pains caused by uncomfortable beds or pillows can also rob us of sleep.  For most people, the average duration of sleep is between six and eight hours.  The inability to sleep over a prolonged period of time would result in sheer exhaustion for most people.  In short, your body cannot do without sleep. 

     Chiropractic science has found that many cases of recurring nights of sleeplessness result from an overly tense nervous system that prevents the body from relaxing into a state of sleep.  This “extra-excitability” of the nerves needs correction.  Chiropractic spinal adjustments will usually normalize the overly tense nervous system inducing a relaxed, normal sleep.  At the same time, your Doctor of Chiropractic can apply his technical knowledge and skill to correcting physical conditions that may be contributing to the state of your ill health and sleeplessness.

Chiropractic Relieves Pain, Restores Health, and Prolongs Life

SUGGESTIONS FOR BETTER SLEEP NATURALLY

     As wellness experts, Doctors of Chiropractic provide patients with a different approach to their sleeping problems without the use of sleeping pills.  To start, here are a few helpful tips they would recommend for the sleepless:

  • Exercise regularly–exercising in the morning is best, but if you must exercise in the evening, do so at least two or three hours before bedtime.  Any later, and your increased heart rate can interfere with your sleep.
  • Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, colas and tea.  Try to avoid them altogether late in the day and near bedtime.  In addition, for each cup of caffeinated beverages you drink each day, drink an equal amount of water.
  • If you have trouble sleeping and then get thirsty, drink tap water at room temperature (cold water may disturb the digestive system).
  • Eat an early dinner.  Eating after 6 p.m. may interfere with sleep as your body works to digest the food you’ve eaten.
  • Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.  The routine will help your body know when it is time to rest.
  • Keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature and try to make it as dark as possible when you’re ready for bed.

Creating a comfortable place to sleep by choosing the correct mattress and pillow is also essential to getting the quality sleep that your body needs to function at its best.*

USEFUL MATTRESS FACTS:

  • A mattress should provide uniform support from head to toe.
  • If you do have back pain and your mattress is too soft, you might want to firm up the support of your mattress by placing a board underneath it.  But do this just until the pain goes away.  Such firmness is not good for “routine” sleeping.
  • Every few months, turn your mattress clockwise, or upside down, so that body indentations are kept at a minumum.
  • If you’re waking up uncomfortable, it may be time for a new mattress.
  • Be aware that changes in your life can signal the need for a new mattress.   For example, if you’ve lost or gained a lot of weight, if a medical condition has changed the way you sleep, or even if you have changed partners, it could mean that it’s time to find a new mattress that will accommodate those changes and help you sleep more soundly.
  • If you’re not in the market for a new mattress, and your current mattress is too firm, you can soften it up by putting a 1- to 2- inch-thick padding on top of it, usually available at mattress and bedding stores.*

Chiropractic…It’s The Wise Way To Good Health!

*(reprinted in part with permission of The American Chiropractic Association)

 

 

Posted by: admin in Articles on June 5th, 2012

While some fitness enthusiasts relentlessly seek out the latest, trendiest exercise crazes, many others are returning to good, old-fashioned walking to help them feel great and get into shape.  Whether enjoying the wonder of nature, or simply the company of a friend, walking can be a healthy invigorating experience.  And thanks to its convenience and simplicity, walking just might be right for you, too.

Benefits of Walking

You don’t need to become a member of an expensive gym to go walking.  Except for a good pair of walking shoes, it requires virtually no equipment.  A sedentary lifestyle has a debilitating influence on people’s health as they age, therefore, exercise is imperative.  Walking accomplishes all of the following and more:

  • Improves cardiovascular endurance
  • Tones muscles of the lower body
  • Burns calories-about 80 if walking 2 miles per hour, and about 107 if walking 4.5 miles per hour
  • Reduces risk of heart diease

Selecting Shoes

Too many people choose fashion over function when purchasing their shoes for walking, not realizing that poor-fitting shoes not designed for the purpose of walking can do more than hurt their stride and may lead to pain throughout the body.

  • Make sure our shoes fit properly.  The balls if your feet should rest exactly at the point where the toe end of the shoe bends during walking.
  • Select shoes with plenty of cushioning in the soles to absorb the impact.
  • Shop at the end of the day or after a workout when your feet are generally at their largest.  Be sure to wear the type of socks you usually wear during exercise.

Once purchased, don’t walk your shoes into the ground.  While estimates vary as to when is the best time to replace old shoes, most experts agree that between 300 and 500 miles is optimal.

Getting Started

Walking just 12 minutes every other day can offer important health benefits.  But in order to increase your longevity, try to eventually work up to 30 minutes five days a week.  Experts agree that to be considered “active,” adults should try to take 10,000 steps each day.  Wearing a pedometer is an easy way to track your progress.

Tips to help you get started on your walking program:

  • Move your arms freely in coordination with the opposite leg.
  • Don’t stoop your head or look down as you walk.  This will challenge the normal forward curve of your neck, which in turn will cause you to carry your weight improperly.
  • Don’t carry weights.  They’re better used as a separate part of your exercise regimen.
  • Expect a little soreness in the thighs and calves for the first week or two.  If you experience more than a little soreness, check with your doctor of chiropractic.
  • Walk briskly, with “purpose.”  Simply sauntering, while relaxing and enjoyable, is not an effective form of cardiovascular exercise.

Walking Surfaces

Some walking surfaces are better than others on your musculoskeletal system.  Walking on a cushioned or rubberized track is ideal because it absorbs most of the impact of your walking.  Most recreation centers offer this type of track free of charge.  Grass is another good surface, but watch out for hidden dips or holes in the ground.  Walking on a surface with no give, such as concrete or on a mall floor, is not your best choice because this type of surface will not absorb much of the impact your body will experience.  If you do choose to walk on such a surface, be extra careful to select highly-cushioned shoes.

Pain and Injury

If you experience pain or injury in a particular area, such as a knee or a hip, the root of the problem may lie somewhere else.  Injuries of this nature are usually not regional, or isolated, but systemic.  A problem in the foot or ankle can create an imbalance in every step, leading to discomfort or injury that moves to the knees, hips, low back, or elsewhere.  If you suffer from pain beyond typical muscle soreness, your doctor of chiropractic can diagnose and treat your pain or injury and get you back into the swing of your walking routine.  Your doctor of chiropractic may also help customize a wellness program that is right for you and has the expertise to help keep you in the mainstream of life.*

*(reprinted in part with the permission of the American Chiropractic Association)

Posted by: admin in Monthly Newsletter on June 5th, 2012

Dear Patients and Friends,

It’s wonderful to wake up on a summer morning with that healthy, happy feeling.  Do you have it?  Does every member of your family have it?  If not, summer is a perfect time to adopt a routine to help enhance your fitness.

You  might start with a walk everyday.  If you think you don’t have time to walk, try parking your car a good distance away from work and walking the rest of the way.  When you are shopping, park farther away from the store and walk.  Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator.  If you have stairs at home, start walking up and down several times a day, increasing the number of times every few weeks.

The best way to ensure that the whole family is in good shape for summer fun and vacation activities is to schedule regular chiropractic visits.  You’ll find that nothing will prove more vital to your vacation plans.  Also don’t overlook the children.  Not only do adults need to be checked, but the little ones do, too.

Yours for better health naturally,

Dr. William A. Miller

CHIROPRACTIC–YOUR NATURAL WAY TO GOOD HEALTH!

Walking for Health

Whether enjoying the wonder of nature or simply the company of a friend, walking can be a healthful, invigorating experience.  It requires virtually no equipment, tones muscles and burns calories.  The American Chiropratic Association offers the following tips to help your walk be an effective, pain-free workout:

  • Move your arms freely, in coordination with the opposite leg.
  • Don’t stoop your head or look down as you walk.
  • Don’t carry weights or dumbbells, which are better used as a separate part of your exercise regimen.
  • Walk briskly, with purpose.

If following your walk you experience more than a little soreness in your thighs and calves, consult your doctor of chiropractic.*

HAVE REGULAR SPINAL CHECKUPS TO MAINTAIN MAXIMUM HEALTH YEAR-ROUND!

Back Pain and Statistics

     Although chiropractors treat for more than just back pain, many patients visit chiropractors looking for relief from this pervasive condition.  In fact, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.  One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.  Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.  It is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.  Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic, meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.

Tips to Prevent Back Pain

  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
  • Remain active-under the supervision of your doctor of chiropractic.
  • Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
  • Warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activites.
  • Maintain proper posture.
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
  • Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
  • Lift with your knees, keeping objects close to your body, and do not twist when lifting.
  • Quit smoking.  Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
  • Work with your doctor of chiropractic to ensure that your computer workstation is ergonomically correct.*

THINK…CHIROPRACTIC!

*(reprinted in part with the permission of the American Chiropractic Association)

 

Posted by: admin in Chiropractic Insights on April 7th, 2012

     The answer to how long it will take to feel well again after a spinal misalignment and treatment to correct it depends on the severity of the problem, your posture habits, your age, and whether or not you have experienced a fall or accident of some sort.  So, for your health’s sake, give yourself time even if it seems to take longer than hoped.  It will be worth it in the long run to have regained good health in which your days are happy and pain-free.

     As time goes by, not only does the original problem become more firmly entrenched, but more often than not secondary problems develop.  For instance, when a vertebra moves out of place, the body, in an attmept to balance itself, may gradually adapt so that one or more veterbrae are forced out of place in some other part of the spine.  This is called conpensatory “subluxation.”

     Since nature has programmed the muscles and ligaments to hold vertebrae in position, either in a normal or abnormal way, it is likely they have built up a firm resistance to change.  It takes time and regular chiropractic care  to re-educate them after they have been holding a vertebra in an abmormal positon.  Healing time for any disorder differs for each individual.  There are so many factors involved like general physical condition, age, mental attitude, elasticity of muscles and ligaments, that healing is almost as individual as fingerprints.  Complete healing just takes time.

     To help restore your health more quickly your doctor of chiropratic may recommend helpful exercises along with regualr spinal adjustments for a limited period of time.  Follow instructions carefully and diligently.  Your doctor of chiropractic will probably put you on a specific program of corrective care with follow-up examinations to determine your rate of improvement.

Posted by: admin in Articles on April 7th, 2012

Don’t Take Arthritis Lying Down!  Years ago, doctors hardly ever told rheumatoid arthritis patients to “go take a hike” or “go for a swim.”  Arthritis was considered an inherent part of the aging process and a signal to the patient that it was time to slow down.  But not so anymore.  Recent research and clinical findings show that there is much more to life for the arthritis patient than the traditional recommendation of bed rest and drug thereapy.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?  The word “arthritis” means “joint inflammation” and is often used in reference to rheumatic diseases.  Rheumatic diseases include more than 100 conditions, including gout, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and many more.  Rheumatoid arthritis is also a rheumatic disease, affecting about 1 percent of the U.S. population (about 2.1 million people).  Although  rheumatoid arthritis often begins in middle age and is more frequent in the older generation, it can aso start at a young age.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints.  Several features distinguish it from other kinds of arthritis:

  • Tender, warm, and swollen joints.
  • Fatigue, soemtimes fever, and a general sense of not feeling well.
  • Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes after a long rest.
  • The condition is symmetrical.  If one hand is affected, the other one is also.
  • The wrist and finger joints closest to the hand are most frequently affected.  Neck, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle, and feet joints can also be affected.
  • The disease can last for years and can affect other parts of the body, not only in the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is highly individual.  Some people suffer from mild arthritis that lasts from a few months to a few years and then goes away.  Mild or moderate arthritis has periods of worsening symptoms (flares) and periods of remissions, when the the patient feels better.  People with severe arthritis feel pain most of the time.  The pain lasts for many years and can cause serious joint damage and disability.

Should Arthritis Patients Exercise?  Exercise is critical in successful arthritis management.  It helps maintain healthy and strong muscles, joint mobility, flexibility, endurance, and helps control weight.  Rest, on the other hand, helps to decrease active inflammation, pain, and fatigue.  For best results, arthritis patients need a good balance between the two:  more rest during the active phase of arthritis, and more exercise during remission.  During the acute systematic flares or local joint flares, patients should put joints through their full range of motion once a day, with periods of rest.  To see how much rest is best during flares, patients should talk to their health care providers.

The following exercises are most frequently recommended for patients with arthritis:

  • Range of motion exercises-stretching and dance help maintain normal joint movement and increase joint flexibility.   These can be done daily and should be done at least every other day.
  • Strengthening exercises-weight lifting will help improve muscle strength which is important to support and protect joints affected by arthritis.  Should be done every other day unless pain and swelling are severe.
  • Aerobic or endurance exercises-walking, bicycle riding, and swimming will help improve the cardiovascular system and muscle tone and control weight.  Swimming is especially valuable because of its minimal risk of stress injuries and low impact on the body.  Should be done for 20-30 minutes three times a week unless pain and swelling are severe.

If the patient experiences unusual or persistent fatigue, increased weakness, decreased range of motion, increased joint swelling, or pain that lasts more than one hour after exercising, they need to talk to their health care provider.  Doctors of chiropractic will help patients develop exercise programs to achieve maximum health benefits with minimal discomfort and will identify the activities that are off limits for this particular arthritis patient.

Nutrition for the Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient:    Arthritis medications help suppress the immune system and slow the progression of the disease, but for those who prefer an alternative approach, nutrition may provide complementary support.  Evidence shows that nutrition may play a role in controlling the inflammation and possibly slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis.  Some foods and nutritional supplements may be helpful in managing arthritis:

  • Fatty-acid supplements
  • Deep-sea fish such as salmon tuna, herring, halibut
  • Tumeric-a spice that is used to make curry dishes may also be helpful.  A 95% curcuminoid extract has been shown to significantly inhibit the inflammatory cascade and provide relief of joint inflammation and pain.
  • Ginger extract-shown to be beneficial in terms of inflammation.
  • Nettle leaf extract-may inhibit some inflammatory pathways.
  • A vegetarian or low-allergen diet.

Always consult your health care provider for advice in beginning a diet regimen for your condition.

What Can Your Chiropractor Do?  If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor of chiropractic may help you plan an individualized exercise program the may help you restore the lost range of motion to your joints, improve your flexiility and endurance, and increase your muscle tone and strength.  Doctors of chiropractic may also give you nutrition and supplementation advice that may be helpful in controlling and reducing joint inflammation.*

*(reprinted in part with the permission of The American Chiropractic Association).

 

Posted by: admin in Articles on March 16th, 2012

     Scoliosis affects 5 to 7 million people in the United States.  More than a half million visits are made to doctors’ offices each year for evaluation and treatment of scoliosis.  Although scoliosis can begin at any age, it most often develops in adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15.  Girls are more commonly affected than boys.  Because scoliosis can be inherited, children whose parents or siblings are affected by it should definitely be evaluated by a trained professional.

What is scoliosis?

     Because we walk upright on 2 feet, the human nervous system constantly works through reflexes and postural contol to keep our spine in a straight line from side to side.  Occasionally, a lateral or sideways curve develops.  If the curvature is larger than 10 degrees, it is called scoliosis.  Curves less than 10 degrees are often just postural changes.  Scoliosis can also be accompanied by lordosis (abnormal curvature toward the front) or kyphosis (abnormal curvature toward the back).  In most cases, the verterae are also rotated.

     In more than 80% of the cases, the cause of scoliotic curvatures is unknown.  We call this condition idiopathic scoliosis.  In other cases, trauma, neurological disease, tumors, and the like are responsible.  Functional scoliosis is often caused by some postural problem, muscle spasm, or leg-length inequality, which can often be addressed.  Structural scoliosis does not reduce with postural maneuvers.  Either type can be idiopathic or have an underlying cause.

What are the symptoms of scoliosis?

     Scoliosis can significantly affect the quality of life by limiting activity by causing pain, limiting lung function, or affecting  heart function.  Diminished self-esteem and other psyshological problems are also seen.  Because scoliosis occurs most commonly during adolescence, teens with extreme spinal deviations from the norm are often teased by their peers.  Fortunately, 4 out of 5 people with scoliosis have curves of less than 20 degrees, which are usually not detectable by the untrained eye.  These small curves are typically no cause for great concern provided there are no signs of further progression.  In growing children and adolescents, however, mild curvatures can worsen quite rapidly–by 10 degrees or more–in just a few months.  Therefore, frequent checkups are often necessary for this age group.

How is scoliosis evaluated?

     Evaluation begins with a thorough history and physical examination, including postural analysis.  If a scoliotic curvature is discovered, a more in-depth evaluation is needed.  This might include a search for birth defects, trauma and other factors than can cause structural curves.  Patients with substantial spinal curvatures very often require an xray evaluation of the spine.  This procedure helps determine the location and magnitude of the scoliosis, along with an underlying cause not evident on physical examination, other associated curvatures, and the health of other organ systems that might be affected by the scoliosis.  In addition, xrays of the wrist are often performed.  These films help determine the skeletal age of the person to see if it matches an accepted standard, which helps the doctor determine the likelihood of progression.  Depending on the scoliosis severity, xrays may need to be repeated as often as every 3 or 4 months to as little as once every few years.

     Other tests, including evaluation by a Scoliometer might also be ordered by the doctor.  This device measures the size, by angle, of the rib hump associated with the scoliosis.  It is a non-invasive, painless, procedure requiring no special procedures.  A Scoliometer is best used as a guide concerning progression in a person with a known scoliosis, not as a screeing device.

Is scoliosis always progressive?

     Generally, no.  In fact, the vast majority of cases remain mild, non-progressive, and require little treatment, if any.  In one group of patients, however, scoliosis is often more progressive.  This group is made up of young girls who have scolioses of 25 degrees or larger, but who have not yet had their first menstrual period.  Girls generally grow quite quickly during the 12 months before their first period and if they have scolioses, the curvatures tend to progress rapidly.  In girls who have already had their first periods, the rate of growth is slower, so their curves tend to progress more slowly.

What is the treatment for scoliosis?

     There are generally three treatment options for scoliosis–careful observation, bracing, and surgery.  Careful observation is the most common treatment, as most mild scolioses do not progress and cause few, if any, physical problems.  Bracing is generally reserved for children who have not reached skeletal maturity (the time when the skeleton stops growing), and who have curves between 25 and 45 degrees.  Surgery is generally used in the few cases where the curves are greater than 45 degrees and are progressive, and/or when the scoliosis may affect the function of the heart, lungs, or other vital organs.

     With help from your doctor of chiropractic,  spinal manipulation, therapeutic exercise, wearing of a heal lift to compensate for uneven hip and/or leg length, and electrical muscle stimulation have been advocated in the treatment of scoliosis.  None of these therapies alone have been shown to consistently reduce scoliosis or make it worse.  For patients with back pain along with the scoliosis, manipulation and exercise may be of help.  Most people with scoliosis lead normal, happy, and productive lives.  Physical activity including exercise is generally well-tolerated and should be encouraged in most cases.*

*(reprinted with permission of The American Chiropractic Association)

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »