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!

Chiropractic Care for Whiplash Injuries

24 Feb

Whiplash associated disorders (WAD) describes a constellation of symptoms that can arise following a motor vehicle collision (MVC), sports collision, or slip and fall. The typical initial treatment approach for WAD is non-surgical care, but what does the research say is the best non-surgical approach?

To start, most (if not all) studies on WAD center around the concept of preventing chronicity of WAD. In other words, the GOAL of care is to restore function and get the patient back to their normal lifestyle (work and play), which has been emphasized as being most important, even more so than pain resolution, though the two often go hand-in-hand. What are the best treatments in the initial stages—acute (less than two weeks) and sub-acute (two to twelve weeks)—of healing that can best reduce the risk of a patient developing chronic WAD (over twelve weeks)?

To answer the question, researchers reviewed studies from a 30-year time frame (1980-2009) and published their findings in a five-part series.

The first article in the series offered an overview and summary of the entire work. The second focused on the acute stage which included 23 studies that met the inclusion criteria. The researchers concluded that EXERCISE and MOBILIZATION treatment approaches had the strongest research support—two services STRONGLY EMBRACED by chiropractic.

The third article in the series focused on the subacute stage (2-12 weeks), which included 13 studies. The authors described research support for “the use of interdisciplinary interventions and chiropractic manipulation” but stated that the level of evidence was not strong for ANY treatment approach in the sub-acute stage. Investigators concluded that more research was needed with respect to this stage of care.

The fourth article in the series centered on the chronic stage (more than three months), of which 22 studies were included. Here, EXERCISE programs were reported to offer relief, at least over the short-term, while nine studies supported effectiveness for an interdisciplinary approach. Manual joint manipulation and myofeedback training were also reported as useful for pain relief.

The authors also stated that there was strong evidence to suggest that immobilization with a soft collar was not only ineffective but may impede recovery.

Do you see the “theme” of this research series? Services offered by chiropractic (exercise training, manipulation, and mobilization) are recommended at each stage of WAD recovery!

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.

Myofascial Trigger Points and Headaches

20 Feb

A myofascial trigger point (TP) is a hyper-irritable area in skeletal muscle that is commonly detected by palpating (feeling with the fingers). Although more sophisticated ways exist for locating TPs—ultrasound, microdialysis, electromyography, infrared thermography, and MRI—palpation remains the most utilized due to its simplicity, efficiency, and low cost. For patients with migraine and tension-type headaches, TPs are commonly found at the base of the skull/upper neck, paraspinal neck muscles, the upper trapezius, and/or the levator scapulae musculature.

In one study that included 34 headaches sufferers (20 had migraine headaches without aura and 14 had tension-type headaches) and 34 non-headache controls, researchers looked at what happened when they used a specific technique to recreate the effect of a trigger point on muscles in the upper neck and in the arm.

When the researchers stimulated the upper neck, 8 of the 14 (57%) members of the non-headache control group, all 14 TTH subjects, and 19 of the 20 migraine sufferers reported headache-related symptoms. On the other hand, when the same technique was used on the arm of each participant, none reported headache-like symptoms.

The authors concluded that the high incidence and accuracy of headache reproduction from upper neck stimulation supports the importance of evaluation and treatment of trigger points in the upper neck region in those with TTH and migraine headaches. Doctors of chiropractic commonly perform manual techniques to the upper neck region and train their headache patients in identifying and self-managing TPs located in the upper neck muscles.

Several methods can be used to self-treat TPs in the upper neck region. Perhaps the easiest approach is to reach back with your thumb to the muscle attachments along the base of the skull and apply deep (but tolerated) pressure, feeling for areas that are most sensitive and sliding the thumb up/down and across the sore TP until it becomes less tender. Work the left side with the left thumb and vice versa. Doing the same with small head movements—up/down, left/right rotations, etc. helps.

Another method is to sit in a straight-back chair, slide down so that you cradle your upper neck over the top edge of chair back and then roll your head left to right. When you find a sore TP, add a nodding type of head motion while “digging in” over the chair-back edge (within tolerance) until it loosens and hurts less. If you suffer from headaches, your doctor of chiropractic can train you in these and other effective exercises and render treatment to improve cervical function that can be highly effective at reducing both the frequency and intensity of headaches.

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.

Non-Surgical Care for Rotator Cuff Tears

17 Feb

While the anatomy of the shoulder allows for a wide range of motion and movement, it comes at the cost of a less stable joint, especially for those who routinely perform activities that require lifting the arms. This is likely why shoulder pain is one of the leading reasons patients seek chiropractic care, trailing behind low back and neck pain. The most common cause of shoulder pain is from tearing of the rotator cuff muscles (RCMs), particularly muscles that rotate the shoulder outward.

The “typical” rotator cuff tear patient is typically over 50 years of age with shoulder pain that has slowly worsened over time. A 2018 study found that as many as 96% of people over age 50 have RCM abnormalities, of which MANY are asymptomatic or non-painful. The study also reported that 24% of a random sample of 46 young people with an average age of 23 years old with no symptoms and no history of past injury, had degenerative changes in the RCMs. This finding supports the notion that rotator cuff injuries may occur early in adulthood and progress slowly until the symptoms drive a patient to seek care.

In a study involving 167 patients with rotator cuff tears, researchers observed no difference in outcomes one year after participants received either conservative care or surgery. This led the authors to recommend that non-surgical care, such as chiropractic care, should be considered as the PRIMARY method of treatment for rotator cuff tears of non-traumatic origin.

One study looked at impingement syndrome in a case series of four patients who received multimodal chiropractic care that included shoulder manipulation, shoulder girdle exercises, and ultrasound. In all four cases, the patients reported complete resolution of their shoulder pain and disability with five treatments. When researchers followed up with the patients four to eight weeks later, the participant’s symptoms had not returned.

A systematic review of data from 200 articles found evidence for the following non-surgical treatment options—which are commonly provided in chiropractic clinics—for shoulder pain: exercise training (specific favored over general), manual therapy, laser, extracorporeal shockwave, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), myofascial trigger point therapy, acupuncture, and microwave and light therapy. For a patient with a rotator cuff tear, conservative chiropractic care is an excellent option for reducing pain and improving function in the affected shoulder!

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.

Manual Therapy vs. Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

13 Feb

When people suspect they have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), it’s typical that their first thought is that their condition will require surgery and a lengthy recovery. While surgery may be warranted in emergency situations, treatment guidelines encourage patients to seek non-surgical options first. So how do non-surgical approaches like manual therapy interventions —provided in a chiropractic setting—compare with surgery to treat CTS?

In 2018, a team of European researchers reviewed data from ten studies that compared the effectiveness of surgery vs. non-surgical care for the treatment of CTS. While the results favored non-surgical approaches at three months and surgery at six months, the available data show no difference in outcome one year later. Thus, the research team concluded that conservative treatment should be preferred unless otherwise indicated.

If both surgery and non-surgical options produce similar outcomes at the one-year mark, can CTS improve on its own?

In one study that involved 22 patients (19 of whom had CTS in both hand), researchers incorporated a twelve-week waiting period into the experiment to see if symptoms worsened, stayed the same, or improved. Questionnaires completed by the participants who abstained from manual therapy interventions showed that their symptoms worsened during the twelve-week non-treatment period.

The treatment phase of the study involved six sessions twice a week for three weeks and incorporated manual therapies to address the soft tissues of the hand and wrist and the carpal bones. The patients reported that treatment resulted in improvements with respect to both pain and function. This led the researchers to recommend manual therapy interventions as a valid non-surgical treatment approach for CTS. Doctors of chiropractic specialize in manual therapy techniques and employ these regularly for many neuromusculoskeletal conditions, including CTS and related conditions that may contribute to a patient’s hand and wrist symptoms—something that a carpal tunnel release procedure cannot address. To achieve optimal results, it’s important to seek PROMPT assessment and non-surgical treatment for CTS.

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.

Low Back Pain and Directional Preference for Exercises

10 Feb

Several studies have found that a treatment approach that combines specific exercises with spinal manipulation, mobilization, and nutrition is often ideal for reducing pain and improving function in patients with low back pain. But how does your doctor of chiropractic know which low back exercises to recommend and which to avoid? The answer: it depends.

Because each patient is unique (age, health status, fitness), it’s clear that exercise prescriptions need to be individually tailored to be safe and to avoid injury. Perhaps one of the most important tools your doctor will take into consideration is the concept of directional preference. That is, which position helps your back feel good or bad? From a sitting position, first slump and slouch and then ask yourself, “Does this feel good, bad, or no different?”

Next, sit up straight and arch your lower back and ask the same question. Do you prefer one over the other? If so, the position in which you feel BEST is YOUR directional preference.

Using that concept, let’s say you feel best slumped and slouched, which is quite common. What are the “BEST” exercises for this flexion directional preference (FDP)?

  • While laying down and facing upward, pull one knee to the chest followed by the other, repeating five to ten times each (staying within reasonable pain boundaries).
  • While laying down and facing upward, flatten and “push” the arch of your lower back into the floor by rocking your pelvis forward and hold three to five seconds, repeating five to ten times.
  • While sitting, bend forward and try to touch your toes. Repeat multiple times a day as needed.

If you feel best in the arched sitting posture, then the ideal exercises for you may be those that utilize the extension directional preference (EDP):

  • While sitting or standing, place your hands behind your back, and arch your back over your hands (as far as comfortably allowed). Hold for three to five seconds, repeat five to ten times.
  • Sit up as arched as your can and try to hold that position as long as possible when doing sitting tasks (computing, driving, etc.).
  • Do a “saggy push-up” (also called a “Cobra,” or prone press-up) by keeping your hips on the floor while doing a push-up, arching the low back.

You can improvise and make up your own exercises using this concept, but while some discomfort is to be expected, avoid sharp lancinating pain. If you don’t have a directional preference and feel good in both positions, do ALL of the above! Your doctor of chiropractic can help monitor and train you in these and many more exercises as part of your treatment plan to reduce back pain and improve back function.

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.

Reasons to Eat More Blueberries

27 Jan

Not only are blueberries delicious and easily attainable at the supermarket but they are also incredibly good for you. But don’t take our word for it, let’s look at what researchers say…

A 2019 review looked at findings from eleven studies that involved blueberry interventions. The researchers found that blueberries benefit memory and executive function in both children and adults, and blueberries can improve psychomotor function in seniors, including those with mild-cognitive impairment. The authors also reported that blueberry intake reduces risks for developing metabolic syndrome (heart disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes), cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline.

In a 2018 study involving 215 older adults, researchers observed that those with the greatest cognitive impairments who consumed a daily 600mg polyphenol-rich grape and blueberry extract for six months experienced significant improvements with respect to episodic memory.

Not only are blueberries low in calories (only 84 calories per cup) but just one cup of blueberries contains four grams of fiber, 24% of the recommended daily allowance (RDI) of vitamin C, 36% of the RDI of vitamin K, and 25% of the RDI of manganese.

Blueberries are antioxidant rich, which can protect the body from the free radicals that are known to damage cells and contribute to aging and diseases, like cancer. These antioxidants can also reduce oxidization of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

There is research that suggests regular blueberry intake is associated with lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for heart attack.

Blueberries can improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism—both of which can reduce the risk for diabetes and may even benefit diabetics.

Much like cranberries, blueberries contain anti-adhesive substances that can help keep bacteria from sticking around in the bladder and causing a urinary tract infection.

If you regularly exercise (you do, don’t you?), then the good news is that blueberries may reduce soreness and aid in muscle recovery following a strenuous workout.

BOTTOM LINE: Eat blueberries!

 

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.