Tag Archives: Chiropractic Research

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The 5 Most Common Chiropractic Questions

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The 5 Most Common Chiropractic Questions

As a structural chiropractor – there are certain questions that I’m asked several times a week, every week – either by patients in the office, or by email, or at a party/function on the weekend. This post aims to answer the 5 most common questions I get, along with some sources when applicable so you can do some further research of your own.

1. “What kind of mattress should I be sleeping on?”

This is one I hear all of the time, and as much as I wish that there was ONE perfect mattress that worked for everyone – there just isn’t. However, what we do know is that a mattress that is more on the firm side is best. Any sagging often undermines mattress comfort and structural support. In fact, results of a recent systematic review show that a medium-firm mattress is optimal for promoting sleep comfort, quality, and spinal alignment.

2. “Once you start getting adjusted, do you have to keep going for the rest of your life?”

In our office, when it comes to the correction of your structural abnormalities – once we have reached our goal, you’re given a couple of options in terms of protecting what we have worked so hard to accomplish. While the structural corrective exercises that were prescribed will continue to help, most of our patients opt to come in once in a while, get checked, and if need be – receive a structural corrective chiropractic adjustment. There is no obligation to continue care, BUT to most patients, it makes sense to keep things in check with periodic visits.

3. “Is It bad to crack your own __________ (neck,back, hip, etc…)?”

Yes. It amazes me that someone would think it’s a good idea to self adjust it. It’s not the sound that is the problem (which comes from tiny gas bubbles within the fluid that lubricates your joints), it’s the way the thrust affects your spine. Self-manipulation, while a temporary rush and feel-good sensation, can create hypermobility and long-term structural problems.

In addition, people who self-manipulate tend to do it several times a day, every day. This causes ligaments to stretch and eventually become less stable – not a good thing when it comes to movement. This instability not only affects the mechanics of the spine, but also can predispose you to an injury.

4. ” Why would a baby/toddler/child need an adjustment?”

The primary reason is that the birth process is physically demanding for babies. A typical birth can place 60-90 lbs of force onto an infant’s head and neck. While most children are okay, these shifts have been associated with colic, constipation, sleep issues and trouble feeding. Early check ups can help prevent structural shifts from becoming a chronic problem.

In our office, we’re fortunate to have referrals from some excellent pediatricians and midwives who pick up on these symptoms and choose to recommend a safe, non-drug approach. We use very gentle corrections which help the child be more comfortable, typically after a handful of visits. It’s our experience that children who get adjusted often nurse better, are more comfortable, have regular bowel movements, sleep better, and have a stronger immune system.

5. “Are neck adjustments dangerous?”

In the past 10 years, you may have heard or seen billboards, ads, or words from doctors talking about the relationship between “spinal manipulation and stroke”. The truth is that chiropractors DO NOT cause strokes. People have strokes, are in pain, and end up seeing a doctor or chiropractor. This is not my opinion, a well designed study 5 years ago helped put this concern to rest. It showed NO ASSOCIATION between a visit to a chiropractor and a stroke. It studied thousands of people making over one million visits the offices of both chiropractors and medical doctors.

In a study of 19,700 patients and 50,000 adjustments, the most common reactions have been mild soreness, light headedness, and a minor tension headache after the first adjustment. More intense reactions were very rare and not specifically tied to the adjustment. Of course it can be easy to fall into the trap of what you might see in an article online or hearsay from someone who may not know any better (and may have ulterior motives). However, given the facts and applying a little common sense, I think you can see that chiropractic might be one of the safest forms of healthcare you may ever have the chance to experience.


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Is Gluten Really That Bad?

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Gluten

By now, we’ve all seen the countless articles on the dangers of gluten and the ever increasing shelves of gluten-free items at every store. You have probably asked yourself – is gluten really that bad for you?

Lets start at the beginning. What is gluten? Gluten, latin for “glue,” is the group of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, triticale, malt, brewer’s yeast, wheat starch, and wheat derivatives like wheat berries, durum, semolina, spelt, and farina.

Why Is It Bad?

We know that the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine of those who suffer from celiac disease. However, gluten is capable of causing illness even in people who do not have celiac disease.

Gluten causes gut inflammation in the majority of the population. This inflammation can cause the pores in the small intestine to expand – causing leaky gut syndrome. These expanded pores allow bacterial proteins and other toxic compounds to get in the blood stream, which can also lead to autoimmune attacks on the body. Another problem which may occur is that food may not be digested properly and nutrients are not absorbed fully, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

There is also evidence that links gluten sensitivity to a variety of health problems that include type 1 diabetes, allergies, schizophrenia, and autism spectrum disorders.

So, now you may be thinking – “I get it, I’ll just look for ‘gluten-free’ items in the grocery store.” – NOT so fast. Read on.

“Gluten Free” Does NOT Equal Healthy

While it’s true that many people will notice a significant improvement in their health by going “gluten-free”, it’s wise to point out that just because something is labeled as gluten free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.

Gluten-free eating is an extremely healthy way to eat when you rely on fruits, vegetables, pasture raised proteins and gluten-free whole grains AND avoid the overly processed gluten-free snack foods, pastas, breads and desserts. This is because the majority of gluten-free versions of traditional wheat-based foods are actually just junk food without gluten.

The Bottom Line

There is no denying the risk of gluten causing damage, regardless of the research or your personal feelings. There is also no risk to removing it from your diet –  BUT there may be a large reward from doing so. So why not aim to eat as little gluten as possible? After all, most foods that contain gluten are not very nutrient dense and should not be eaten on a regular basis anyway.


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6 Ways To Get More Movement Into Your Day

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time-to-move

As a society, we need to stop thinking of exercise as something that requires a change of clothes and a warm-up – after all, you wouldn’t do either of those things in an emergency. Life is busy, and fitting in exercise can be tough – but it doesn’t have to be that hard. By making a few simple changes to your life, you’ll be in better shape in weeks. It’s worth the effort – as well as making you happier, there’s evidence that regular physical activity can protect you from everything from obesity to Alzheimer’s. To help, here are 6 ways to move more every day:

1. Always Take the Stairs

Simple, and yet so easy to avoid. It’s easy to rationalize taking the easy way – elevator, escalator, that cool motorized walkway thing at airports – because you’ve had a long day, or you’ve got a heavy bag, or because it barely burns any calories anyway, right? But that misses the point. There’s evidence that even minimal amounts of resistance exercise can increase your body’s levels of a substance called GLUT4, which encourages calories from food to be stored in muscle cells rather than as body fat – so even a single flight of stairs helps.

2. Walk More

You’ve heard this one before, but it’s worth looking at the numbers to get the full picture. According to a 2012 study, participants who ran one mile burned 112 calories, but those walking a mile still burned 88. While running means preparation, getting changed, finding a shower and – depending on how fast you go – a level of unpleasantness that can be tough to get psyched up for. Walking is just walking. Get off the bus a stop earlier, or park a little farther away and enjoy your exercise – without any need for equipment.

3. Break Up Your Sitting

We’ve addressed this over on over on this blog. Sitting down puts your body in neutral – it constricts circulation, slows your metabolism, shuts off muscles and tightens your connective tissues (fascia). Even exercising for an hour a day can’t do much to compensate for the 10 hours you spend slumping in a variety of chairs. But fortunately there’s a solution: just stand up. Take small breaks as frequently as possible. Go to the bathroom. Use a smaller water cup so you have to refill it more often. Do a lap around the office. Ask for a stand-up desk. Step outside for a minute to get some fresh air. Stand while you’re talking on the phone.

4. Sit on the Floor at Home

Yes, like a child. Here’s why: modern sofa technology has advanced to the point where you can remain essentially motionless through an entire Netflix streaming session, but if you sit on the floor for exactly the same amount of time  you’ll be squirming, stretching, essentially changing position the entire time. If you’re feeling really motivated, this would also be an ideal opportunity to foam-roll away some of the aches and pains of everyday life – there’s a brief guide to that here.

5. Do the 10-minute Squat Every Day

In most countries, the deep squat is still part of everyday life – it’s just how you sit, relax, or go to the toilet. For many Americans, user of chairs and western toilets –  – we probably haven’t done one in years. But you should – it’ll help enormously with your hip and ankle mobility, as well as providing you with a jolt of isometric exercise. Mobility expert Kelly Starrett suggests that you should be able to hold the position for 10 minutes, but if you can’t, just start with a minute at a time – it all counts, and it all adds up.

6. Get a Pull-up Bar

If you’re doing a lot of sitting – as in hunching over your desk or driving in a car all day – you should be doing pull-ups. They’ll counteract the computer-hunch, improve the health of your spine, build your arms and work your core muscles better than weighted crunches. Get a bar that clips over your door frame and aim to do one or two reps each time you pass through it during the day. Can’t do a pull-up? Try this: “Jump” to the top position, then lower yourself as slowly as you can – just for a rep or two. You’ll get there eventually.


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5 Reasons to See a Chiropractor During Pregnancy

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Chiropractic-Care-During-Pregnancy

Did you know that structural shifts in the spine can happen during pregnancy? When the pelvis is shifted it affects the uterus and the position of the growing baby. However, a well functioning nervous system enables a mother to easily combat many of the hurdles of pregnancy. Often women learn to just accept pregnancy discomforts such as nausea, heartburn, constipation, pubic pain etc, when in fact they don’t need to.

Chiropractic care is extremely important before, during and after pregnancy. Studies show that having your spine checked regularly may result in a less stressful pregnancy and a less uncomfortable delivery. To shed more light on this subject, here are 5 reasons to receive chiropractic care during your pregnancy:

1. Shorter Labor Time

First time moms who received regular chiropractic care experienced on average, a 25% shorter labor time. As for seasoned moms who received chiropractic care; labor time was on average, 31% shorter. Vaginal delivery is strongly dependent on the alignment and relationship between the mother’s pelvis and baby. If there are misalignments, it can interfere with effective labor and delivery, thus prolonging it.

2.  Enhance Fetal Positioning

The Webster Technique  is a technique that is used to correct structural shifts in the sacrum to allow the baby to get into the best possible position for birth. A Webster Certified Chiropractor has advanced training in prenatal chiropractic care. It balances the pelvis, eliminating undue tension to muscles and ligaments and enhances optimal fetal positioning.

This highly effective technique is safe and gentle and should be a first approach before considering more invasive methods. As a Webster Certified Doctor, I have seen countless situations where a baby has changed position and a mother was able to avoid a C-section or medical intervention.

3. Less Painful Labor

In a hospital study that incorporated chiropractic adjustments during the patient’s pregnancy, the results indicated that there was a 50% decrease in the need for painkillers during delivery, attributable to pre-delivery adjustments.

4. Better Chance of a Natural Birth

Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. A misaligned pelvis may make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery. This can affect the mother’s ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth. Better positioning and proper nerve system function improve the mother’s ability to birth naturally.

5. Better Recovery After Delivery

Often after birth, whether vaginally or via c-section, the mother’s pelvic biomechanics change – these changes can bring discomfort with walking, nursing and sleeping. Receiving regular chiropractic care during your pregnancy gives you a better chance at recovering faster after delivery. After all, specific adjustments can eliminate the cause of stress in the spine and pelvis – and improve your body’s ability to function naturally.


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Infantile Colic? What You Can Do

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child colic

Infantile colic can be very stressful for parents whose baby is inconsolable during crying episodes. Colic is often defined by the “rule of three”: crying for more than three hours per day, for more than three days per week, and for longer than three weeks in an infant who is well-fed and otherwise healthy.

Medications available in the United States have not been proved effective in the treatment of colic, and most behavior interventions have not been proved to be more effective than placebo.  So what options do parents have?

Pediatric Chiropractic

A recent systemic review published in the Cochrane Library, evaluated the results of studies designed to address the efficacy of hands on therapies (specifically, chiropractic, osteopathy and cranial manipulation) for infantile colic in infants less than six months of age.

The authors concluded that majority of clinical trials seemed to indicate parents of infants using this type of care for colic reported fewer hours of crying per day and was statistically significant. The trials also indicate that a greater proportion of those parents reported improvements that were clinically significant.

George Lewith, MA, DM, FRCP, MRCGP, professor of health research at the University of Southampton commented “the majority of the included trials indicate that the parents of infants receiving manipulative therapies reported fewer hours crying per day than parents whose infants did not. This difference is statistically significant and important for those families who experience this condition. These studies show that in this small sample there were no adverse effects from using these treatments.”

Few parents understand the importance of the brain’s control over the digestive system in their child. The brain controls digestion, along with many other functions, through the Autonomic Nervous System. However, the messages have to travel unimpeded from the head to the body. As a Structural Chiropractor, I know that stressful births (even C-sections) can strain the head and neck (a typical birth can place 60-90 lbs of force onto an infant’s head and neck), causing subtle shifts in the spine leading to interference in the nerve signals between the brain and the digestive system. Early check ups can help prevent structural shifts from becoming a chronic problem.

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