Chiropractics and the Importance of a Proper Diet

57925008_7e7ef4dda4_oAmong the many things that a chiropractor recommends to a patient, a healthy diet is most important. A proper diet is essential to heal the spinal cord, along with prevention of further damage.

According to a study conducted in the state of New York, chiropractors were asked if they used any nutritional counseling in their treatments, which not just includes back problems, but also obesity, artery diseases, diabetes and a variety of other diseases affecting the human body.

Around 80 percent of those surveyed stated that they did use some form of nutritional counseling in their treatments, which gives an overview of the importance of proper diet in chiropractic. 50 percent of those who used nutritional counseling considered it to be a very important part of the chiropractic therapy.

The Link between Chiropractics and Diet

Chiropractic therapy treats numerous ailments, such as inflammation in the lower back or autoimmune anomalies like arthritis, scoliosis, neuritis or osteoarthritis. Research suggests that dietary changes can affect inflammation, which in turn can reduce the symptoms and pain caused by it. Also, most chiropractic patients are women, other symptoms that they may suffer from, such as menopause and premenstrual syndromes, can also be cured by proper diet and nutrition.

Not only that, but a proper diet can also help prevent spinal diseases from developing. As obesity is one of the most common causes of back problems, eating healthy non-fat foods can make a person less prone to spinal diseases like Sciatica.

There are numerous benefits in keeping a healthy diet, including increased energy, lower blood pressure and improved cognition, which result in a speedy recovery. Health foods such as low sugar whole grains, fruits and vegetables also reduce the risk of spinal tumors and cancer.

Improper nutrition, such as an excess of salts in the diet, can result in several other diseases as well, including high blood pressure. There is a direct link established between diabetes and excess Carbohydrates in the diet.

As dietary needs differ from individual to individual, you can ask your chiropractor to make a nutritional plan for you to follow according to your needs. A chiropractor could assess the nature of your ailment and devise a dietary schedule specifically suited to treat your condition.

 

Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Fruit & Vegetable Box by Ali Karimian

The 3 most Common Sports Injuries and How to reduce their Risk

images (20)Over 200 million Americans participating in a sport at any given time, so there are bound to be sports injuries. Every year, up to 5% of the American population incurs a sports injury and has to rest at home while the injury heals. Chiropractors know that this number can be reduced significantly. Here is a closer look at the 3 most common sports injuries and how the risk of attainment can be reduced.

1 – Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic sports injuries are probably the most common types of injuries in sports. They are frequently seen in a variety of contact sports such as rugby, football and ice hockey. Possibly the most common of traumatic sports injuries, the main reason why people see chiropractors, are sprains.

When muscles are stretched beyond their limits, they cause pain. Stretched too far and they can tear. Chiropractors work with people to not only help treat these injuries but reduce their frequency. Using a variety of techniques, they help improve the joints, ensuring they can withstand more stress and perform better as well.

2 – Repetitive Stress Injuries

In many sports such as cricket, table tennis, football, running and weightlifting, players repeat a number of movements and stress the same area of their body. As such, these people are prone to a number of injuries classified as repetitive stress/motion sports injuries. In part, considering the nature of these sports, these injuries are inevitable. However, their frequency can be reduced.

Chiropractors work with athletes of such sports and help them reduce their risk of injury. How? Chiropractors simply use a number of techniques to help strengthen their joints. As a result, a stronger joint is less prone to injury.

3 – Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue sports injuries are regarded as a separate type of injury as they usually occur when a severe sprain has been incurred, usually coupled with a contusion. Such an injury involves localized swelling and the production of a lot of heat. However, chiropractors know that if left untreated for too long, it takes quite a while to heal.

As such, chiropractors work to reduce the swelling as fast as possible, allowing them to properly manipulate the affected area and help reduce pain and enable faster recovery.

In many cases, sports injuries are inevitable. However, according to many medical experts, including chiropractors, their frequency can be significantly reduced.

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How Lack of Exercise Affects Health

The_'weigh'_he_was_--_weightloss_at_GuantanamoA lack of exercise results in numerous health problems, starting from seemingly harmless weight gain to cardiovascular diseases and a much higher chance of suffering a stroke.  Research has concluded that as many people die because of the effects of lack of exercise as the number that die from smoking.

This is why chiropractic exercises are strongly recommended to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle and avoid all complications that can lead up to a stroke.

The following problems can occur due to lack of exercise:

1. Obesity

Obesity is one of the major effects of a lack of exercise.  Various health problems can surface due to obesity such as diabetes, breathing issues, high blood pressure and a far greater risk of suffering a heart attack.

Besides the physical effects, many psychological effects also accompany obese people.  Low self-esteem that leads to depression can be a devastating experience.

It is no doubt that obesity can result from genetic factors, but a lack of exercise is usually a major reason.

2. High Blood Pressure

Being overweight can lead to hypertension.  The blood vessels clog up which restricts blood flow.  Hypertension exposes a person to various other risks, such as heart attack, kidney failure and many other ailments.  A hypertensive individual is more likely to develop diabetes.

3. Decline in Brain Function

Exercise helps in increasing the flow of blood to the brain, while lack of exercise does the opposite.  A brain that is deprived of blood cannot function normally as it would otherwise.  The brain can also physically shrink due to the lack of blood supply – a research states that this ‘shrinkage’ can be avoided and mental abilities can be enhanced by regular exercise.

4. Reduction in Strength of Bones and Muscles

A sedentary lifestyle can weaken the bones and muscles, thus exposing an individual to a greater chance of injury as well as diseases such as arthritis.  Lack of exercise can make a person more prone to fractures in case of a fall along with knee-joint and hip problems later on.

5. Increased Chances of Developing Cancer

Research was carried over several years and the results show an increased chance of cancer from a lack of exercise.  Also, people who were physically fit when they developed cancer had a far greater chance of survival than those who had led a sedentary lifestyle.

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Avoiding Germs While Traveling

traveling-1347023780Kh2There is a new secret weapon when it comes to traveling and keeping healthy. No, it isn’t a canister of disinfectant wipes. It’s plain old alcohol. Put about two ounces in a small spray-bottle and back it for every trip.

Once you reach your hotel room, pull out your bottle of alcohol (you can use either isopropyl alcohol, or just plain old vodka. I use vodka, it’s easier to use, and keeps my eye-glasses totally spotless. Rubbing alcohol has other ingredients in it and can sometimes leave a haze or streaks.

Once inside your hotel room, wipe down every surface you can possibly touch, starting with the television remote control. I know, they’ve started placing the remote in a little blue and white cardboard holder that suggests by its color that it is clean.

It isn’t. Don’t trust it.

Next hit all the light switches, the ones by the bed, by the door, by the chair and table, and in the bathroom. Then hit all doorknobs, inside and outside all doors, closet, bathroom, and the main room.

If there is a refrigerator and/or microwave, wipe these down inside and out before pulling out any of your food. They may look clean, but a study from 2012 found that the average hotel room remote had more than 65 colony-forming bacteria units per square centimeter, while the typical hospital standard is five. If the remote is that dirty, don’t trust the food area.

Some people are not willing to even try to clean the remote. They just put it inside a plastic bag and control it through the plastic, not even touching it.

Lastly, if your hotel room has glasses with cardboard covers on them indicating that they are clean, do not drink from them. When was the last time you saw a rack of drinking glasses attached to a hotel cleaning cart? Usually, the glasses are wiped down (sometimes with the same rag that was just used to clean the bathroom) and a new cardboard cover put over the top. Only drink from sealed disposable cups or from your own cup that you brought with you.

Not all hotels have equal problems with germs. But the difficulty with germs is that they are invisible. While it would be nice to trust that everyone does their job with your best interests at heart, I’m still of the opinion that it is best to look out for yourself.

Traveling by George Hodan

Treatment and Prevention of Muscle Cramps during Exercise

6253806401_9a9cd9a555Muscle cramps that are caused by exercise can be very painful and can cause athletes to drop out of competitions.  Muscle cramps can happen in any types of sports and are usually a result of muscle fatigue, a loss of electrolytes or dehydration.

Cramps are not limited to sports, they can happen even to people who are not involved in any type of sports.  Repetitive cramps can be healed by a chiropractor by aligning the vertebrae correctly in the spine using various techniques.

Causes of Cramps

The American College of Sports Medicine published a review on the causes of muscle cramps during exercise – two possible causes were identified that lead to muscle cramps.

The first was credited to muscle fatigue.  Neuromuscular systems are embedded into muscles to allow control of contraction of the muscles. When this system malfunctions, contraction of muscle takes place and then causes the cramps.

Muscles that are regularly used, such as those of an athlete or a person with a very active lifestyle, are at a higher risk of experiencing cramps or spasms.

The second major cause is a result of an excessive fluid loss from the body (sweat), which decreases the body’s electrolytes level.  This depletes the body of sodium.

Body’s Natural Cooling System

The body is designed to cool itself by sweating when body temperature starts to rise beyond normal levels.   The loss of electrolytes due to sweating can cause depletion of body’s electrolytes and if it is not replenished properly, it will cause cramps.

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals including sodium, chloride, magnesium and potassium. They are dissolved in the body and directly control the required muscle contractions and nerve conductions.

Consuming bananas to treat muscle cramps has no solid ground and there is no evidence to support such a remedy.

Treating Muscle Cramps

– Fatigued Muscles

Treatment of muscle cramps depends upon the initial cause.  For those people who experience a muscle cramp due to a strenuous workload such as exercise or sports, chiropractors recommend treatments such as a massage, application of cold packs to the affected muscles and passive stretching.

Proper rest must be given to those muscles which have experienced an overload due to stress.

– Cramps due to Loss of Electrolytes

For those people who suffer from cramps as a result of excessive sweating and a deficit of sodium, the same methods of treatment can be used besides replenishing the lost fluid levels.

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Risks of Leaving the Sciatica Untreated

9605942387_6e2293b844Sciatica is very painful medical condition in which the patient experiences extreme pain and tingling sensations in his back, hip, legs and thighs. The pain is caused as a result of pressure exerted on the nerves, either due to any inflammation in the vertebra or the narrowing of the spinal canal. Piriformis syndrome, lumber spinal stenosis and spinal disc herniation are common causes of sciatica pain in individuals. Chiropractic treatment is highly effective for relieving the patients of the painful condition.

Why Is Prompt Identification And Treatment Important?

It is very important for patients to recognize the symptoms and seek professional medical assistance for their sciatica condition. The doctor takes prompt prescribed tests to identify the cause of the sciatica pain in order to focus his attention on the specific treatment required for the condition.

If a patient does not seek medical assistance for his sciatica problem, it may result in exaggerating his condition with the period of time. A number of possible problems can arise for the patient besides the continuous pain in the back and the hip region.

Permanent Nerve Damage

Patients who do not seek prompt medical help for their sciatica run a high risk of suffering from permanent nerve damage. In case of a permanent damage to the sciatica nerve, the patient will experience excruciating pain in the back and legs, which will not be alleviated to a satisfactory level, even with the use of pain relieving medication.

The different treatment methods like water and physical therapy become extremely painful for the patient because of his severe nerve damage.

Paralysis in the Affected Limb

The patient experiences a loss of feeling in the affected limb, which in some cases also leads to difficulty in movement, and ultimately paralysis. The affected leg becomes devoid of all sensation and movement, hampering the patient already troubled with the excruciating pain.

Loss of Bladder Control

Patients who do not get medical treatment for their sciatica problem can experience a loss of control in their bladder and bowels. This adds to the problems already faced by the patient while dealing with his sciatica condition.

A pressurized sciatica nerve causes severe pain, tingling and numbing sensations in the legs and thighs, and cramps along with fever. Patients should seek prompt medical assistance for the correct identification and treatment of sciatica before the condition becomes incurable. Chiropractic treatment is considered as very effective for the treatment of sciatica pain in individuals.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: Leg pain by The Clear Communication People

Ergonomic Essentials – Tips on Improving and Maintaining Good Posture

images (6)As the years pile on, poor posture can be brought about due to a number of reasons – sitting in office chairs and looking at computer screens, driving, or standing for extended periods at a time. Even sleeping in a mattress that’s too hard, too soft, or uneven can lead to postural problems.

Luckily, these prime suspects that affect posture as a result of poor ergonomics are indeed within your control and you can turn things around. It’s never too late. Let’s take a brief look at how we can accomplish this. You might even come across some of these tips at chiropractic clinics.

Poor Ergonomics and Back Discomfort

In most cases, poor ergonomics and posture can be the cause of chronic back pain. Over the course of the day, your muscles tend to tire as you slouch and slump over your desk, pushing the limits to keep up with your respective deadlines. If this goes on for too long, you’re most likely going to experience undue stress in your neck and back. Change positions from time to time to maintain a relaxed but proper posture. Take a break from your desk every hour or so. Stretch a little, stand up and walk around. 2 to 3 minutes is all you need.

Make Use of Posture-friendly Props and Ergonomic Chairs   

Ergonomic-friendly “props” can really help take the load off your spine. In case ergonomic office chairs are in short supply, use footrests, portable lumbar back rests, or even a small pillow that supports the natural lumbar curve of your spine a bit better. Wearing the right spectacles that support your vision and keeping them clean in addition to positioning your computer screen properly, will prevent you from leaning or straining the neck just to view the contents properly. Avoid tilting your head forward.

Be Aware of Ergonomics in Every Setting Not Just Work 

One ought to be aware of ergonomics in every environmental setting, not just work. Instilling good posture in everyday activities is paramount. Try to establish a connection between episodes of pain and fatigue and certain situations where bad posture or ergonomics have been largely to blame. Make changes accordingly.

Exercising Promotes Good Posture 

Regular strength or cardio training really strengthens the core muscles – the abdominal and lower back region. Keep these running like a well-oiled machine, and you’re quite likely to never experience postural problems. A lot of therapeutic and chiropractic methods revolve around strengthening the core, while improving flexibility. This protects your entire spine, as that’s your “postural hub”.

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Workplace No-No’s

7163587645_14a21ba237_zMost of us have a pretty good idea what is expected of us at work in terms of behavior. And yet, there are a few habits that sometimes slip through without our noticing.

Are you guilty of any of these workplace no-no’s?

Just Say Yes. Years ago I had a friend, a very good friend, who commented, “Every time you get busy and stressed, you take on more work.” At first I denied the allegation. Really? How is that even possible? And why would I do that?

My friend had a very good point and over the years I’ve said thank-you more times than I can count. My response to being overwhelmed was to take on more work, more tasks. And I’m not alone. This is one is the biggest time-killers in the work-force industry.

But if we look busy, we also feel we look important. “OK, I’ll squeeze your meeting in this afternoon, but I hope you know I’m skipping another one to accommodate you.”

You think people will buy this? Stop fooling yourself. No one is that important. If you want people to respect you, say yes when there is benefit to you. Say no when you need time, space, or room.

Carry That Digital Leash. Right, this one goes hand in hand with the previous one. Again, it used to be having your pager go off during a social event, church, or even a work meeting was supposed to give an indication to everyone else there that you are important.

Sadly, we all feel sorry for you. You can’t disconnect from work even long enough to go to church? To your kid’s birthday party? Happy hour on Friday night? Unless you’re some kind of orthopedic surgeon on call, you can disconnect.

That means when you get home, take off that electronic leash. There are other ways to feel needed or important.

Email Superhero. You’re that person who checks email before your eyes are even open in the morning, then before your first cup of coffee, during that cup of coffee, after that cup of coffee. Good, you’re getting the picture.

If you can’t batch your emails and attend to them once or twice a day, you’re both fooling yourself about how important you are, and you’re wasting time. Email was supposed to be a convenient way of communicating. “Get to this when you have a moment,” type of communication. By answering within seconds of receiving an email the message you send is that you’re not working, but waiting for the next electronic summons. If it’s really that important, your phone will ring. Trust me on this one.

80-20 Rule. You all know what this is. 80% of your clients give you 20% of your income and the other 20% of your clients give you 80% of your income. Where do you think you should expend your energy?

Yes, clients should be kept happy. But at what cost? A client who rarely pays, or rarely pays on time should be put at the bottom of your list of priorities. Not everything on your plate rates a top priority in terms of your time.

Change just a couple of your behaviors and your work days might just become easier to handle.

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Round Table on the Belize/Guatemala border dispute
from Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Flickr

Chiropractors – Helping Alleviate Back Pain, One Treatment at a Time

download (2)Back pain is a problem that affects 15-20% of all Americans every year. From the general rigors of every day work to the excess weight many carry around on their body, back pain gets to us all. However, there is an easy and non-invasive way to that very pain. Chiropractors have worked for over a hundred years, perfecting their art and liberate people from their back pain.

Causes of Back Pain

For most people, back pain is usually moderate to severe. For most, the cause of pain is simply the rigors of a busy life. For others, it is a consequence of obesity. However, depending on the weight of the person and the extent of their current back pain, the pain can naturally vanish or may become worse.

Techniques

Most chiropractors use a range of techniques such as spinal manipulation and mobilization to help the joints in the spinal column enjoy a greater degree of freedom, alleviating back pain. For example, many spinal manipulation techniques help realign the spinal column and bring it back into its original form. However, this requires multiple treatments. Then again, spinal mobilization is a gentler technique many chiropractors use to treat patients.

Reasons for Preference

Possibly the most important reason why over 40 million Americans prefer their chiropractors to regular physicians is the fact that they use non-invasive techniques to alleviate pain. Without using drugs and surgery, the risk of side effects and infection is virtually zero.

Another reason why most people prefer chiropractors to regular physicians is due to the fear of pain. Regular medication may prove to be discomforting or painful, as in the case of surgery. Fortunately, the alternative is not.

Chiropractors use their hands at certain points to help your body not only relax but adjust itself to a better spinal position. By combining adjunctive therapy with spinal mobilization, not only are they able to ‘work out the kinks’ but ensure that the pain does not happen again, at least for a while. You need to remember that most long-lasting effects are obtained through constant periodic treatment.

Chiropractors have spent over a century trying to perfect their art and help people without ever having to make an incision or provide harmful drugs. Using their hands and the body itself, they are able to not only help alleviate back pain but also prevent it – one treatment at a time.

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