Tag Archives: Chiropractic

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From Birth and Beyond

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In today’s world of infant carriers, sitting for hours at school, hunched forward on tablets and cell phones, television watching and driving in cars, kids are breaking down their spines faster than ever.

Postural patterns can begin in the womb, especially towards the end of pregnancy when there is less space to move. This reveals itself in the way a baby may keep their head turned, or legs crossed one way. If left uncorrected, this can turned into a stuck or locked posture. However, if we can correct these learned patterns at a young age it requires much less time and effort to make a change. When a child is only months old as opposed to years – we do not see the muscle memory and learned behaviors/postures that work against what we do in the office. This means that something that would take 3-4 months to correct on a 10 year old could potentially be corrected in 3-4 weeks on a 10 month old. Sounds better, right?

In addition, when there is strain, tension, pulling and stress placed on the child’s head and neck during the birth process, it very commonly leads to a structural shift in the spine. This will often times lead to secondary conditions (colic, constipation, difficulty feeding) that we see resolve when these misalignments are corrected in infants.

We’ve talked previously about the safety of chiropractic care (A 2011 literature review found that no serious adverse events have been reported in the scientific literature in the last 20 years) – given the research, it’s quite reasonable to conclude that modern pediatric chiropractic care is safe. But does it work?

Data from the ICPA’s ground breaking study, The Safety and Effectiveness of Pediatric Chiropractic: A Survey of Chiropractors and Parents in a Practice-Based Research Network, was recently published  in the biomedical journal, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. The most common reasons for parents seeking symptom relief care were muscles conditions, ear, nose, and throat, respiratory and digestive disorders. Both parents and doctors indicated a high rate of improvement with respect to the children’s presenting complaints. In addition to these improvements, respondents reported better sleeping patterns, improvements in behavior and, improved immune system function while under chiropractic care.

In our office, kids who get adjusted tend to be more comfortable, have stronger immune systems, and reach developmental milestones appropriately…and they love getting adjusted.

As a reminder, those who receive advanced training and are active members of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) are the most qualified to examine and care for children and pregnant patients. NOT all chiropractors adjust kids (nor should they). If you need help finding a chiropractor in your area, check http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/


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Does Common = Normal?

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When it comes to health, what has become “normal” in our society is not necessarily the way our body is intended to be. Let’s face it – the world is getting sicker. Many people neglect their health, paying attention to it only when their symptoms become unmanageable. By then, problems can become severe, often becoming irreversible.

All you have to do is look around on your next shopping trip and you’ll see people are more overweight, diseased, and stressed out than ever before. I encounter people on a daily basis whose health is suffering in one way or another, and whose quality of life is suffering due to sickness. Somehow, this commonality has altered our belief of what is normal; we have forgotten that healthy is “normal”.

We have to realize that no one is coming to save us – this is our life, our responsibility. We are the product of our lifestyle choices. As you’ve heard me say time and time again, we are designed to heal – that is our default state. However, due to our current nutrition, movement (or lack thereof) and alignment habits – we’re seeing a huge increase in certain ailments (headaches, forward head posture, poor digestion, etc…).

Pain is not normal. Headaches are not normal. Poor posture, poor digestion, difficulty sleeping are not normal.

The main reason to understand that these things are common but not normal is so that you can get help. If we see them as normal, that infers that we need to suck it up and live with it. When we understand that it is common, but not at all optimal functionally, we can then decide to do something about it.

So, what can you do about it?

Your spine is the foundation of your body, and all of the organs, muscles, and connective tissue are built around it. Therefore, it is easy to understand the critical nature of maintaining structural alignment throughout your life. That is why I sometimes sound like a broken record, constantly suggesting preventive and wellness visits, instead of coming in only when pain is present. I realize that not everyone can afford to due that (side note: as we’ve discussed before – Chiropractic saves you money in the long term.)

Normal structural alignment coupled with a healthy lifestyle means that body is the best it can be to perform optimally. So, at True Health we we focus on the relationship between the nervous system and the spine, as we as incorporating practical help and education about “how we live, how we work, what we eat” and how we exercise. That’s prevention, pure and simple.

It is time to begin expecting health.


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Hardwired to Heal

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Every cell in your body is hardwired to be healthy.

The human body has self regulating and self healing mechanisms. In fact, it is always working to maintain a state of balanced function. For example, blood pressure, blood sugar and the heart rate are actively kept within a normal range. To put it another way, you are designed to function, heal and re-create from the inside out.

Unfortunately, in America the expectation is that we are supposed to be sick, and that there is always a solution (usually found in a bottle). To top it off – our lifestyle choices are pointing us directly to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune, inflammatory and neurological diseases.

The truth is – you’re simply the culmination of your body’s inability to adapt to the stressors placed upon it on a regular basis. When you come to this realization, it leaves you with 2 choices: remove the stress OR increase your body’s ability to adapt to it.

So, how do we improve our body’s ability to adapt? Well, stressors (aka your life) cause spinal shifts within the inner framework of your body. Which means one way in which we can help is when our body’s self-healing forces become impaired or impeded by this structural imbalance. This leads to an impaired nervous system – which can reduce immune function, concentration, recovery from illness and injury; it could lessen athletic performance and digestive function. It could even alter behavior.

When we look at the nervous system, any structural imbalance that occurs becomes part of your pattern as you get older. This cartilage system, this spine, if it’s shifted, altered or distorted, it’s automatically creating an inhibition or interference in the neurological system. That pattern becomes yours as you get older, and it’s much more difficult to correct or to set right. The goal in our office is to maintain the integrity of your spine and nervous system (the earlier you start – the better). By applying precise and accurate adjustments to your spine – we help your body get back to normal structure, where it heals best.

Instead of focusing on the health lost, deterioration created, energy decrease, immune system suppression and all the negative effects of nerve interference and not fulfilling all your requirements, at True Health Family Chiropractic, we choose to focus on the untapped potential for health and vitality available for your body.

While important, no matter what other steps you add – diet, exercise, meditation – without a proper nerve supply, you can never be at your full potential. If you want to be healthy, you have to have a healthy nervous system.


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Simplify Your Family’s Health

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Life is not complex.  We are complex.  Life is simple,
and the simple thing is the right thing.
– Oscar Wilde

Minimalism can provide many benefits to your life, be it less stress, more money or more time. What many people don’t realize is that it also applies to your family’s health and well-being. We are often told we couldn’t possibly figure out how to improve our health on our own, that it is a very complicated process. The truth is – it isnt.

If you follow these simple yet essentials tips your family’s health will improve, without leaving you overwhelmed (or broke!).

Move your body in a way you enjoy.

Traditional “exercise” is not mandatory. Sure, you can join a gym if you’d like but it’s not necessary – and the downside is your children can’t exercise with you. So, instead – why not walk more?

It’s that simple. Move your body way more than you currently are and your health will improve. Walking is a refreshing alternative to complicated aerobic routines and overpriced gym memberships –  it’s free, enjoyable and already a part of your everyday life. Plus, the whole family can be involved – even the dog!

The benefits of walking are endless – so let’s just name a few: it helps prevent and reduce the severity of chronic disease (like high blood pressure and diabetes), it also improves mood and mobility. The best part about these benefits is that it doesn’t take much time from your day to achieve them. Thirty minutes a day is where we see start to see great health benefits.

Besides these health benefits – there’s also quality and uninterrupted time as a family: Being outdoors and breathing fresh air promotes a sense of calmness that can lead to bonding time and better conversations. In addition, you’re leading by example -setting a great example by modeling good healthy exercise habits that can reap future benefits in a child’s attitude towards exercise and fitness.

If walking isn’t your thing – do something else. Hiking, pillow fights, dancing to music, bike rides, jumping on the bed, whatever your kids enjoy – anything to get your family moving.

Eat Clean

This one truly is simple – research has proven what matters most: make sure your diet consists mostly of real, minimally processed foods.

To successfully implement this into your life remember we often eat what’s convenient, and if you buy it and keep it in the house, you’ll eat it – so don’t buy it in the first place. The following are some basic ground rules to follow when eating clean. Eat more organic and/or local fruits and vegetables, and remember the fresher the food, the more potent the nutrients. Drink more pure filtered water (Divide your weight by 2, aim to drink that number in ounces). Eat a handful of raw nuts/seeds everyday. When it comes to meat and dairy – choose products where animals live as close to their natural state as possible -free-range, cage-free, grass-fed, raw milk etc.). Lower your intake of inflammatory/mucus producing foods (dairy, sugar, wheat) and instead aim to eat more raw foods that contain powerful enzymes and phytonutrients (try juicing).

You can even involve your children by letting them help make a green smoothie; this can be any combination of several greens, avocado, coconut oil, and a little fruit. They deliver great nutrient-dense antioxidants and phytonutrients from vegetables with the fruit added to sweeten and lessen any bitterness from the chard, kale and spinach. They taste great and your children will learn about new foods and become more comfortable in the kitchen. Just remember the 3 main ingredients should be plants, fat, and protein (not all fruit/sugar).

Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep is often the single most undervalued behavior in our lives—and yet it is the one with the most immediate power to improve our lives in every waking moment. Getting a good night of sleep is one of the cornerstones of health, your body needs this time to repair and heal. Research shows that inadequate sleep can have disastrous effects on your weight loss efforts, impair your concentration, and weaken your immune system.

When it comes to bedtimes – the earlier is truly the better. Now, I know early bedtimes may not be possible with some families’ schedules, which is totally understandable. But for those who can do it – I strongly urge you to try.

Research consistently shows that putting kids to bed early is beneficial for their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Not only do kids tend to sleep more when the lights go out sooner, but they also may get a greater proportion of restorative sleep, too. Early kid bedtimes are also great for parental sanity. Sipping a glass of wine in silence? Snuggling up with your spouse to watch a grown-up movie for once? It’s really quite lovely.

In addition- sleep that happens earlier in the night tends to be more restorative than sleep that takes place later at night and in the early morning. So putting your kid to bed early may ensure that a higher proportion of her sleep is the extra-restful kind. And well-rested kids behave quite differently than sleep-deprived kids.

When kids (and adults) are sleep-deprived, their bodies release hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, which give them a second wind at bedtime and also make it harder for them go back to sleep early in the morning.

If sleep is an issue it’s worth noting – if you follow the other tips we mention here (walking more, eating cleaner, and getting adjusted) – your sleep will most definitely improve.

Remove Interference

Chiropractic care can literally change your family’s life, and enable you to live a pain-free life full of energy and vitality. That’s because chiropractic adjustments help reduce or eliminate pressure on your nerves—the same ones responsible for your everyday bodily functions. Chiropractic will help eliminate pain and inflammation, reduce fatigue, and restore normal balance and nerve flow to all your organs, giving you the energy, drive and peace of mind to go out there and live life the way it was meant to be lived.

Your child’s spine is affected by a multitude of things: starting with birth, leading to crawling/walking and slips and falls, to backpacks, texting, and computers as they grow older. If statistics are what motivates you – consider this – in the US alone, over 200,000 children are taken to hospital each year to have playground injuries assessed. Other likely times that our children will become misaligned include learning to ride a bike, sporting activities or hobbies, and minor or major car accidents.

The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function therefore affecting overall body function. By removing the interference to the nerves, many of these conditions can improve and/or resolve naturally – without drugs or surgery. Regular chiropractic check ups are a key component in growing healthy kids.

Focus on the lifestyle, not the goals.

Strive to make eating well and moving your body in an enjoyable way part of your family’s daily life. Enjoy the journey and do these things for the right reasons – and you’ll improve your health, fitness and quality of life.


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What To Look For in a Pillow

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Nothing starts your day off better than getting a good night’s sleep. And sleeping with the right pillow is key.

But think about it – when you bought your mattress, you probably put a considerable amount of thought into the purchase. Things like size, material, comfort and cost were considered – and it most likely was not an easy decision. But when was the last time you gave your pillow the same thought?

While comfort plays a big role in how we choose the perfect pillow, there’s more to consider, especially when coming from someone like myself – namely support and alignment of your neck and spine. A lot of people think pillows are designed just for your head, but really a pillow needs to be designed to support your neck. Just like sleeping in the wrong position – if you’re on the wrong pillow, you can actually end up with an injury (like a pinched nerve).

The following four tips will help you get the right pillow and a  great night of sleep:

1. Thickness

You always want your neck to be in a neutral position when you are lying on your pillow. If it is not in a neutral position it can irritate the muscles and nerves in your neck causing you to wake up with a possibly sore neck, headaches, numbness and tingling, and worse. No matter what avoid buying a pillow that is too big or too small for you. So how do you do that?

First, when you lie down in your favorite sleeping position, you’ll want that pillow to fill the gap between your head and your shoulders. Then, you’ll want to take a look at your posture. If you’re lying on your back with your head on the pillow, your ear should be in line with your shoulder, not in front or behind it. If you’re lying on your side, your spine should be close to horizontal; your head shouldn’t dip down or be propped up too much. If you’re stomach sleeping (TIP: Don’t) – you really don’t need to use a pillow.

2. Material

Because comfort is highly subjective, the material of your pillow is largely up to you. The key here is the right material that works with you that keeps you comfortable but also in proper alignment. Whatever you choose be sure the pillow is firm enough to stay a consistent shape. With some materials you will often wake up with the side you generally sleep on becoming almost flat. With the pillow being consistent in shape it allows you to retain a proper sleeping and neck position all night long.

No matter the material,  a pillow is likely to begin losing it’s shape and support within about two years, when it’s a good idea to purchase a replacement. And considering the dirt, oil, dead skin cells and dust mites that can accumulate in your pillow, you might want to replace it even more regularly, anyway.

3. Shape

There are many different shapes of pillows, from your classic that looks fluffy, to the more complex and contoured. The truth again is that it really depends on your sleep position as to what shape you need your pillow to be. If you sleep on your back, you’ll need a thinner pillow, so your head and neck remain neutral and isn’t thrown too far forward. A cervical curve in the lower portion of the pillow would also be beneficial to promote the normal curve of your neck. If you sleep on your side you’ll need a firmer pillow to fill in the distance between the ear and outside shoulder – and a cervical curve would not be necessary.

Side Note: At True Health, we offer the Proper Pillow to our patients because it is the only pillow that I’ve found that allows you to sleep in proper alignment for both back and side sleepers.

4. Cost

Just because a pillow has a million features does not mean it is the right pillow for you. With that being said, when it comes to the price tag, anything $20 or under is probably cutting corners somewhere. A mid-range pillow is more than sufficient – and will probably run you $40 to $80, while anything over that mark is high-end luxury and you’re probably paying for marketing and packaging more than comfort.

 


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