20 Fun and Amazing Health Facts.

1 Jan

1.) Women have a better sense of smell than men. 2.) When you take a step, you use up to 200 muscles. 3.) Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid than when you aren’t. 4.) The human brain has the capacity to store everything you experience. 5.) It takes twice as long to lose new muscle if you stop working out than it did to gain it. 6.) The average person’s skin weighs twice as much as their brain. 7.) Every year your body replaces 98% of your atoms. 8.) On average, there are 100 billion neurons in the human brain. 9.) The lifespan of a taste bud is ten days.  10.) Dentists recommend you keep your toothbrush at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles caused by flushing.  11.) Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end. 12.) Your stomach produces a new layer of mucus every two weeks so that it doesn’t digest itself. 13.) It takes about 20 seconds for a red blood cell to circle the whole body. 14.) The pupil of the eye expands as much as 45% when a person looks at something pleasing. 15.) Your heart rate can rise as much as 30% during a yawn. 16.) Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood each day. 17.) Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day. 18.) Your hair grows faster in the morning than at any other time of day.  19.) Your body is creating and killing 15 million red blood cells per second. 20.) You’re born with 300 bones, but when you reach adulthood, you only have 206!

Hip Bursitis and Management Strategies

17 Sep

Hip pain is a common complaint that can arise from many different sources including the spine, pelvis, and the knee. Greater trochanteric bursitis or gluteal tendonitis (GT) is a condition that occurs five-times more often in women than men, affecting one-in-four women over 50 years of age.

Patients with GT experience pain in the region from the side of their hip toward the buttocks, which can make finding a comfortable sleeping position difficult. This condition can be as painful and disabling as an osteoarthritic or a worn-out hip joint.

The traditional medical approach for GT is a cortisone injection. However, the results are not impressive in the medium-term, and the long-term results are similar to patients who took a wait-and-see approach. More recently, a treatment regimen that includes specific exercise programs with load-management and education to reduce the load on the injured tendon during sustained postures and activities has gained attention due to its significant medium- and long-term benefits. Better still, it’s non-invasive.

A 2018 study found that GT patients treated with a combination of exercise with education and load management experienced a higher success rate after one year (78.6%) than those given a cortisone injection (58.3%) and those who received no treatment at all (51.9%).

The education, load management, and exercise treatment protocol consisted of fourteen sessions over eight weeks plus a daily home exercise program that included four to six exercises, while keeping a weekly diary. Advice on tendon care was included and exercises included functional retraining, targeted strengthening (especially the hip abductors), and dynamic control during function. A pain-guided approach was used that allowed up to a 5/10 pain intensity level when exercising, provided the pain promptly stopped if activity ceased.

Exercises included the following (partial list):

Static hip abduction: a) Supine: place a belt around the lower thighs with feet slightly wider than hip width, put a pillow behind the knees and gently and slowly push outward while tightening the belt. b) “Imaginary splits”: stand, feet slightly wider than hip width, and pretend you’re doing the splits (sideways)—again, slowly and gently.  

Supine Bridges: a) Double leg bridge: bend knees, feet flat, draw in the abdominal muscles, press the heels into the floor and lift the buttocks SLIGHTLY—only as high as comfortable. b) Offset Bridge: bring one foot closer to the buttocks and lift buttocks up using mostly that leg slowly (three to four seconds up then, three to four seconds down). Another bridge includes lifting one leg up and straightening the knee. These can be held statically or with movement up/down to the floor. Additional exercises included partial squats, step-ups, and sideways floor slides.

If you have been diagnosed with or suspect you have GT, your doctor of chiropractic can guide you in how to perform these exercises and provide additional care to aid in the recovery process.

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Who Gets Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

14 Sep

Though carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects 4% of the population, some individuals have a much greater risk for the condition, and several factors may need to be addressed to achieve a successful outcome.

Trauma: An acute trauma, such as a bone fracture, can lead to CTS. However, repetitive stress injuries are more commonly associated with the condition.

Anatomy: Not all wrists are equal, and some individuals, especially biological women, may have a narrower carpal tunnel, which increases the chances that the tendons passing through the region will become inflamed and compress the median nerve.

Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can cause spur formations that project into the tunnel and increase pressure on the nerve. Rheumatoid arthritis results in inflammation in the joints of the wrist and the lining around tendons, which can also place pressure on the median nerve as it passes through.

Hormones: Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, diabetes, hypothyroid, kidney disease, lymphedema, etc. can lead to swelling or inflammation in the carpal tunnel, which can place pressure on the median nerve.

Medications: Certain medications can increase the risk for CTS such as anastrozole, a drug used in breast cancer treatment; diphosphonates, a class of medications used to treat osteoporosis; oral anticoagulants; and more. (When non-musculoskeletal causes are present, care may require co-management with the patient’s medical physician.)

Work Environment: Workplace factors that contribute to CTS include a cold environment, vibrating tools, awkward neck/arm/hand positions, no breaks, prolonged computer mouse work, and more. Individuals who work jobs characterized by fast, repetitive, and forceful, grip/pinch-related activities may be up to 2.5 times more likely to develop CTS.

Other Musculoskeletal Conditions: It’s possible for the median nerve to be compressed as it passes through the neck, shoulder, elbow, and forearm, which can stimulate CTS-like symptoms in the hand and wrist, even if there is no compression in the carpal tunnel itself. It’s also common for patients to have median nerve entrapment in one of these locations in addition to compression at the carpal tunnel. A patient’s doctor of chiropractic will need to review the patient’s health history and examine the entire course of the median nerve to identify all the contributing factors in order to achieve an optimal outcome.

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Choose Chiropractic FIRST for Low Back Pain

10 Sep

When it comes to a condition like low back pain, does it matter what type of healthcare provider a patient initially visits for treatment? A study published in 2015 looked at this question and found that the type of healthcare provider a patient initially consulted had a dramatic effect on both their short-term and long-term prognosis.

In the study, researchers monitored 719 patients with low back pain, 403 of whom initially consulted with a medical physician and the rest first sought care from a doctor of chiropractic. The results showed that the patients in the chiropractic care group not only experienced a greater reduction in their low back pain, but they were also more satisfied with their experience. Additionally, the average cost of treatment for the chiropractic patients was $368 (US dollars) lower than the average cost of treatment in the group that received care from their medical doctor. The study clearly favored chiropractic care as the initial treatment choice for patients with low back pain.

In a 2019 study, researchers reviewed medical records from over 216,000 patients without a history of opioid use and who had new-onset back pain to see if initial provider choice influenced future prescription narcotic use. The data showed that 22% of patients received a prescription for an opioid in the short-term; however, patients who consulted with a doctor of chiropractic first were even less likely to require either a short-term or long-term prescription than those who visited a medical doctor initially. The authors of the study concluded, “Incentivizing use of conservative therapists may be a strategy to reduce risks of early and long-term opioid use.”

Another study followed a set of 2,870 acute and chronic low back pain patients for four years. The research team observed that chiropractic care provided more favorable short-term outcomes for patients with chronic back pain, while both acute and chronic low back pain patients reported better outcomes in the long term, especially in chronic patients with leg pain extending below the knee.

Seeing a chiropractor first can also reduce the chances a patient will require a surgical procedure to address their back pain. A 2013 study published in Spine looked at data from Washington state worker’s compensation cases and found that 43% of injured workers with a back injury who initially consulted with a surgeon ended up having surgery while just 1.5% of those who first received chiropractic treatment eventually had a surgical procedure for their back pain—a massive difference.

TAKE-HOME MESSAGE: Seek chiropractic care FIRST to receive the most satisfying, efficient, and cost-effective approach for managing acute or chronic low back pain!

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

The Reason Blood Pressure May Rise in the Winter

24 Aug

A 2009 study that monitored over 8,800 elderly French adults found that an individual’s blood pressure can fluctuate with the seasons. In particular, the researchers observed that as temperatures fell, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure could rise to unhealthy levels, but they were unable to determine why.

However, a study published just five years later may have solved the mystery. The solution has to do with the molecule nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, meaning that it causes the walls of blood vessels to relax and expand, with a resulting reduction in blood pressure.

Researchers have discovered that nitric oxide is stored in the dermal vasculature at levels much greater than are found circulating in the bloodstream. When exposed to long-wave ultraviolet (UVA) rays, the skin releases some of that stored nitric oxide into the bloodstream. Because individuals tend to spend less time in the sun during the winter months, there are fewer opportunities for the skin to release nitric oxide into the blood, dilate blood vessels, and moderate blood pressure. This may also help to explain why stroke and blood vessel rupture (aneurism) are more common in the winter months among the elderly.

How can one maintain healthier levels of nitric oxide in their bloodstream when it’s not convenient to spend time in the sunshine? The answers may be found in diet and exercise.

A 2018 study found that eating leafy greens and root vegetables and drinking beetroot juice effectively increased nitrate plasma (blood) levels for the purpose of enhancing exercise performance.

In 2020, researchers observed that schoolteachers in South Africa with greater physical fitness levels had higher levels of nitric oxide in their blood, as well as lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. The research team concluded, “These results may suggest that even moderate physical activity could increase nitric oxide synthesis capacity, which in turn may mitigate the development of cardiovascular disease in this population.” 

The take home message is that to maintain a healthier blood pressure, consider getting plenty of sunshine, eating leafy green and root vegetables (or drink beetroot juice), and exercising!

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Whiplash Associated Headaches

17 Aug

One of the symptoms commonly associated with whiplash associated disorder (WAD) is headaches. The current research suggests that up to 50% of patients who experience whiplash-associated headaches may continue to suffer from them for up to a year or more, and many of those will continue to have headaches as late as five years following their whiplash injury event. There are many potential causes for WAD-related headaches, which can include cervical injury, jaw dysfunction (TMJ), psychological distress (depression and anxiety), brain structure abnormalities (concussion), and/or overuse of headache medications.

To address these potential causes of whiplash associated headaches, treatment may include the following:

MANUAL THERAPIES: Mobilization and manipulation, which are commonly used by doctors of chiropractic, have been demonstrated to be effective for reducing pain and improving function for many conditions, including WAD and headaches of cervical origin. Treatment may also involve massage and physical therapy modalities, depending on the patient’s needs.

EXERCISE: A review of research published between 1990 and 2015 found that craniocervical, cervicoscapular, and posture correction exercises can be helpful in the treatment of whiplash-related headaches.

STAY ACTIVE: Try to carry on with normal activities within pain tolerances, as movement is needed to keep soft tissues healthy and to ensure a continuous supply of nutrients to the cervical disks. Don’t use a cervical collar to immobilize the neck unless directed to do so by your doctor.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT: There are several vitamins and supplements that have been shown to reduce inflammation and/or reduce pain. These include flavonoids, curcuminoids, omega-3 fatty acids, taurine, and vitamin D. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can also aid in the healing process.

Doctors of chiropractic frequently use a combination of these approaches when managing WAD patients to help reduce pain and disability and assist the patient in returning to their normal activities as soon as possible.

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.

Forward Head Posture and Neck Pain

13 Aug

Neck pain is one of the most common complaints that drive patients to seek chiropractic care. Sometimes the cause of injury is a known traumatic event, but in many cases, neck pain is the result of wear and tear from poor posture—forward head posture in particular.

The head, which weighs 10-11 lbs. (4.5-5 kg), typically rests above the shoulders. When an individual’s head leans forward to look at a computer screen or to look downwards at their smartphone/tablet, the muscles in the rear of the neck and upper back/shoulders need to work harder to keep the head upright.

Experts estimate that for each inch (2.54 cm) of forward head posture, the head feels about 10 lbs. heavier to the muscles that attach to the back of the head and neck. To illustrate this, pick up a 10-pound object like a bowling ball and hold it close to your body. Then, hold it away from your body with your arm outstretched and feel how much heavier it seems and the strain it places on your body to maintain that position for even a short time.

In the short term, forward head posture is something the body can manage, but over time, the muscles can fatigue and the strain can injure the soft tissues in the back of the neck, shoulders, and upper back. To adapt, some muscles may become stronger (and some may atrophy), the shoulders can roll forward, the cervical curve can straighten, etc. Researchers have observed that forward head posture can also reduce neck mobility, especially with rotation and forward flexion movements. While these changes can lead to several negative health issues, neck pain is perhaps the most obvious and common.

When a patient presents for chiropractic care for neck pain, postural deficits will likely need to be addressed to achieve a satisfactory outcome. This can be achieved with manual therapies to restore proper motion in the affected joints and with exercises to retrain the muscles that may have become deconditioned. Additionally, a patient will need to develop better postural habits, especially when interacting with their electronic devices. While the process can take time, the good news is that it’s possible to reduce forward head posture, which can also lower the risk for neck pain recurrence.

This information should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all healthcare concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a healthcare professional who is familiar with your updated medical history.