Case Study January 2014

Picture you are walking down the street and all of a sudden what’s up is down and what’s down is up.

This is what it is like for people with Vertigo.

Recently I had a woman come in, let’s call her Gertrude. Gertrude was incapacitated to the point where walking down the street was a chore, forget about driving.

Gertrude had been to every doctor under the sun, had every exam done, and felt she was at wits end.

Upon exam I noted that Gertrude had significant restrictions in her upper neck. The muscles were very tight and the spine was not moving near the way it should. In addition when I looked at Gertrude’s posture I noted that she was carrying her head quite far in front of her shoulders.

After explaining why I thought chiropractic care might, and the key word here is might, help her, we set out a plan of care. Give it a one week trial and if we both don’t agree there is progress then we would refer her out for further testing., although to be quite honest, I didn’t know what else she could have done.

After the first visit, Gertrude reported that her neck moved better than it had in years….good start!

After the second visit, Gertrude reported that not only was her neck better but she also went for a walk today with no dizzyness! I’m starting to like this as I am also feeling her neck loosen up.

After the third visit, Gertrude, came into the office with a big smile on her face. As she sees I am puzzled she brings me over to the window and points out into the parking lot. Sitting in her car was her husband….in the passenger seat! Her dizzyness was so much better that she was driving again.

How cool is that!!!

Did we fix her dizzyness? No. Important point here. Her dizzyness got better when we got the neck moving and allowed the body to express itself the way that it knew how. See she got herself all twisted up in the neck and we simply removed the interference and allowed the body to function at the highest level it could.

Needless to say Gertrude and I are thrilled!

Shameless plug here…if you know someone that needs help, please let us know. We don’t care if they are next door or across the country. Heck, I was on the phone with a woman from Canada last week helping her pick a chiropractor in her hometown.

We will work hard to help them, or get them someone that can help them.

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6 Things You Must Do During a Snow Storm

Winter wonderlandAs crazy as this sounds, I love the winter. I just don’t like what the winter can do to our bodies.

The naturist in me, loves the snow, it blankets everything in white and is beautiful to look at. The chiropractor in me sees a lot of opportunity for people to hurt themselves.

Here are the six things you need to do to not spend the next 3 days in my office

1. Stretch. Make sure that your back, legs shoulders and arms are warmed up before heading outside.

2. Layers. You are going to work up a sweat, dress in layers to keep yourself warm without overheating.

3. Take your time. Their is no prize for first place. Going zero to 100 in terms of exertion is very dangerous for most people

4. Practice good technique. Remember that bending and twisting is the worst position you can put your spine in. Push snow whenever possible, use a snow blower or better yet, hire a plow guy

5. Hydrate. Yes I know it is cold out, however, shoveling can work up a sweat. Get dehydrated and the chance you hurt you back goes way up.

6. Build an outdoor rink and skate or play hockey! One of the best things about living in the Northeast. Outdoor skating and hockey!

If you do something crazy and ending up hurting yourself, call, text, or email me, I will be happy to help you through what you have done

Enjoy being outside, we don’t do it enough!

 

 

 

 

Momentum

For those of you that may not know, when I am not chiropracting (new word!) I am a hockey coach in my spare time. I coach the Concord Carlisle High School boys team and a girls team out of Bedford, called the East Coast Wizards.

One of the main points that I am constantly stressing to my teams is the concept of momentum. Either we have it and are trying to keep it or the other team has it and we are trying to take it from them.

Wait, this isn’t a hockey blog!

Believe it or not, momentum is huge when it comes to health. Have you ever noticed that one good decision tends to lead to another good decision? We work out on Monday, work out on Tuesday and boom next thing we know we have worked out 4 days in a row…momentum!

Conversely, bad decisions tend to lead to more bad decisions. The first person that hasn’t taken a couple of days off that morphed into 4 months off can go ahead and sit down.

Momentum is very powerful and very real.

Let’s take a look at back pain, a common symptom that leads people into my office.

In the first couple of visits, a person is hurting and will literally do almost anything to get out of the pain they are in. I tell them to drink water, stay active and ice a couple of times a day and it gets done like clockwork.

Then a funny thing happens…they start to feel better. That is great news right? Well, mostly yes, however, this is where I see people lose all the momentum that they had.

See when people start to feel better they think the problem is gone and more often than not they go back to doing the bad things that got them so out of whack in the first place.

While someone wouldn’t dream of scrubbing the floor when their back hurt, the second they feel better they are carrying a double load of laundry up the stairs while balancing a baby on their hip!

I have said a million times, “it is easier to stay well than to get well.” For reasons that I cannot explain, the message has fallen on deaf ears. People will wait until they are in unbearable pain before they will do something about it.

Well going forward my new message is one of momentum.

Whether it be exercise, diet, mental attitude or taking care of yourself through chiropractic, once you get momentum going, do everything you can to keep it.

Your body will not just thank you for it…it will reward you with energy, vitality and radiance and I think that is pretty cool.

 

Breech Babies

I do not know what is in the water here at the office! The pregnant women are coming out of the woodwork!

Are you aware that chiropractic is tremendously helpful for pregnant women? In one study 75% of women treated claimed they had less pain with chiropractic care. The average number of visits for substantial relief? 1.8! That’s pretty cool.

While it may seem like common sense that chiropractic would help, it was not until I went to school that I learned how effective chiropractic was with helping breech babies get into the head down position. What does breech mean? A typical baby will present with their head down by the moms pelvis. A breech baby has their head up by the moms chest.

As the pregnancy gets closer to term, around 40 weeks, most babies will turn into the head down position, somewhere around 97%. If, however, you are around week 36 or higher and the baby is still breech, it is unlikely turning will occur without some help.

Webster Technique

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Larry Webster on many occasions while studying at Life University in Marietta GA. We were at a conference and I asked him how he discovered his adjustments were allowing babies to turn. What he told me was fascinating.

Dr. Webster noticed in the late 70’s that his adjustments were helping women have easier pregnancies. While refining his technique, he noted that most of the women that were breech when they started his care, had their babies turn into the head down position after a few visits. After many years of refinement, Dr. Webster started teaching his technique to chiropractors all over the world.

English: The sacroiliac joint

His main theory, and it has stood the test of time, was that that the cause of a persistent malpositioned fetus beyond 32 weeks could be due to misalignment of the bones in the moms pelvis. A subluxation of the sacrum or sacroiliac joints has the potential to create asymmetry of the pelvic opening and increased tension on the ligaments that support the uterus. By correcting the misaligned sacrum and releasing trigger points in a stomach muscle, the bony structure of the pelvis and related soft tissue is in a state where there is less constriction on the pelvic cavity. This affords the fetus the opportunity to move into a more ideal position for the upcoming delivery. Got all that!

Is It Effective?

Yes, both in my office and through literature that I have read. The latest survey that I saw stated of the 112 cases presented throughout the country, 102 of the babies had turned. 10 were still unresolved at press time.

Is It Safe?

As chiropractors, we are not actually turning the baby. What we are doing is removing the imbalances in the sacrum and abdominal muscles and reducing the constriction in the uterus. When this restriction is relieved, the baby has more room to turn. So yes, it is very safe.

In conclusion, if you know someone that is expecting, encourage them to visit their chiropractor, especially if their baby is in the breech position. They will definitely thank you for it!

Any questions on Webster technique or chiropractic in general, feel free to leave a comment or email us. We will be happy to get back to you.

(Picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

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Sunburns and Sunscreen

As someone whom is, shall we say, pigment challenged I am fairly close to an expert on sunscreens. Nothing and I truly mean nothing ruins my day more than not having sunscreen on and feeling my skin burn.

This is the first summer that new federal rules require the sunscreen companies to include more information on their labels. If a company wants to say their sunscreen is “broad spectrum”, they must block both UVA and UVB, two of the more harmul types of rays the sun produces. In order to be considered broad sprectrum the SPF must be at least 15.

If a sunblock is not “broad spectrum” it will only prevent sunburns, it will not provide protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Products that boast high SPF levels — claims critics contend are misleading and dangerous — will still be allowed. The FDA says it has no evidence that sunscreens with an SPF above 50 provide any greater protection than those with a lower SPF, but declined to ban the higher ratings, saying more study is needed.

The issue with the higher ratings is that people are more likely to no reapply the sunscreen often enough. A study also showed that people thought they could stay in the sun for longer periods of time if they used the higher SPF. This is a huge mistake!

Apparently Europe has different chemicals in their sunscreens that are much more effective than the American ones. Unfortunately the FDA has not approved these chemicals and appears to be dragging it’s feet in the approval process.

The agency’s new rules for sunscreen labeling prohibit manufacturers from claiming sunscreens are waterproof or sweatproof — claims not backed by science. If a sunblock is water resistant it must state when you need to re-apply for max protection. Currently there are only two options; 40 minutes of 80 minutes.

 

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Vegetables and Quitting Smoking!

Well color me surprised.

There is a study in Nicotine & Tobacco Research that surveyed smokers whom had recently quit smoking. It turns out that those who consumed the most fruits and vegetables were significantly more likely to have quit smoking for at least 30 days at a 14 month follow-up. 3.05 times more likely!

As I was looking into this, it turns out that fruit and vegetable consumption (FVC) is inversely related to how much one will smoke. The higher the FVC, the fewer the cigarettes were smoked per day and the longer time it was to first cigarette of the day (TTFC).

While most of us know that fewer cigarettes is good, I was intrigued by time to first cigarette measurement. According to researchers, the longer you can go before having your first cigarette the less dependent you are on nicotine.

I must admit I never even considered there would be a relationship between vegetables and nicotine.

There is not a single person I know smoking that does not wish they could quit. If you are trying to quit or know someone that is trying to quit, contact me and I will get this study to them. Quitting smoking is a total lifestyle change and people will need all the support they can get.

 

Auto Insurance Fraud

As a chiropractor part of my job is taking care of people whom have been in auto accidents. As I have written about before, being in a car accident  is one of the most damaging events you can put your spine through and people whom have been in one legitimately need care.

There is a dark underside to these accidents that a lot of people are not aware of.  Let’s say you are the driver of a car that rear ends the car in front of you.  That person could sue you for injuries sustained in this accident. How bad do they have to be hurt to sue you? Much less than you may think.

Here is where it gets ugly.

The possibility of financial gain has led people to staging accidents. How does this work? You put 6-8 people in a car and pay someone to hit it. The “victims” go to a doctor like myself and run up bills of at least $2,000. That triggers a threshold that allows them to sue the person that hit them. The “victims” ask for a small enough amount that the insurance company settles with them in order to avoid long term litigation.

You may ask, “If it is a small enough amount who really cares?”  Not a bad question if it was occasional, however, when this happens hundreds and thousands of  times a day, the money becomes very real, very quick.

Here in Massachusetts, a 65 year old woman died in a stage auto accident in 2003 in Lawrence which at that time was known as the auto insurance fraud capital of Massachusetts.

The Lawrence police joined forces with a fraud bureau and went to work on steadily reducing auto insurance losses with the thought being they would be able to reduce the amount of insurance premiums that you and I pay.

Were they successful? Were they ever! The crackdown led to charges being filed against 488 people in Lawrence. 488 in Lawrence alone!! That is crazy!

Here is where it gets good. The average auto insurance premium in Lawrence was $1613 in 2003. Today it is $1260! Collectively across the state there has been a $266 million reduction in claims dollars statewide.

Why This is So Important

When there is a lot of fraud, the innocent people get swept up in the mess. The patients that were hurt in legitimate accidents were being treated as if they were guilty of fraud.  The honest doctors and lawyers were getting hammered trying to help people that actually needed it.

As these task forces continue to do their work of reducing fraud, the honest people are going to benefit by getting both the health and legal help that they need.

Winter Blues

Here in the Northeast, the days have gotten short awfully quickly.  It is not unusual to go to work in the dark and come home in the dark.  Mix that in with gray skies and no green/leaves on the trees and it is easy to slide into a funk.

Here are a couple of tips to help avoid the winter blues:

  • Accept winter for what it is and get out there and do something fun…the big thing around here is paddle…me I am dying to try curling.
  • Dress in bright colors.  Who said we have to go all drab?  Bust out the pastels, but please do us all a favor…those white pants weren’t working before Labor Day, nevermind after it…:)
  • Exercise, Exercise, Exercise…you simply can’t do enough of it.  Get out, get in, get moving.  Like to skiing, walking with snow shoes or hitting the elliptical will help fight off the blues.
  • Have friends over the house….nothing beats the blues like socializing.  Try this, get an outdoor fire pit, start a fire and invite people over to make smores…trust me there will be smiles everywhere.
  • Consider getting a chiropractic adjustment, what did you think I was going to recommend???  There are promising case studies out there linking the adjustment to better moods.

Lastly, make sure you are supplementing with Vitamin D.  The chief source of vitamin D is sunlight and when that goes away we can become deficient very quickly.

How do you fight the winter blues, please comment below.

Case of the Month June 2010

I got a frantic phone call last month from a patient we will call Mary.  Mary had been in an auto accident and was in severe pain.  Mary was stopped at a light when she got rear ended from behind.  The impact was so hard Mary hit the car in front of her.  Luckily Mary was wearing her seatbelt.

When Mary came into the office she reported neck pain, shoulder pain, and right arm pain.  On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being severe, Mary rated all three pains a 9.  Upon exam Mary presented with tightness in the neck and shoulders as well as diminshed reflexes in her arms.

Mary had been x-rayed at the hospital and luckily had no fractures.  She did have an extremely reduced curve in her neck.  This lack of curve was putting a lot of tension on the muscles and nerves in her neck and in my opinion was the source of a lot of her pain.

We began treating Mary with gentle adjustments, ice, traction and exercise.  The going was real slow for the first week. I wish I could tell you Mary jumped off the table after one visit telling me how awesome I was…didn’t happen.

The second week of care was when we really started to see some results.  The muscle tension and spasm started to really clear up and most importantly Mary was really starting to feel better.

It was by week 6 when Mary was really able to get through the day without pain.  Needless to say Mary was thrilled. When she reported to the office she was a 9, with 10 being the worst, and now she was in the 1-2 range.

The key to Mary’s recovery was her dedication to getting better.  In 8 weeks Mary missed one appointment, did her home exercise and most importantly kept her chin up when the going got tough.

I am proud of Mary and so happy to be able to take a part in helping her.

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What Do You Mean You Don’t Take Appointments?

Concord MA Chiropractor
Look close for your appointment time

Imagine you are working and your neck is killing you.  You call my office and make an appointment for 11:00.  Of course at 10:50 one of your customers calls and you run a few minutes late taking care of your business.  You hurry off the phone and set a land speed record getting to the office.  You run it at 11:07, out of breath and apologizing for being late.  Is this anyway to start a visit where I am going to ask you to relax and let me do some work on you?  Of course not!

After a few years of having set appointments I noticed people were coming into the office a few minutes late and were stressed about it.  Now I gotta tell you, stressed out patients are not ready to receive adjustments, they are in a word…stressed. It is no way to to get your spine worked on.

After a couple of years of this, I decided to radically change my office and we took out the appointment book.  Gone are the phone calls if you are running 10 minutes late.  Who isn’t running 10 minutes late from time to time?

In oder to better serve our clients, we now give them times when we are in the office.  If I am in from 8-noon on a Monday, why do I care if you come in at 8:11 or 9:02?

Well Doc, what happens if there are a few people in front of me? The reality is, the initial office procedure, the adjustment, doesn’t take that long.  99% of our patients are seen within 10 minutes.  10 minutes!!  People almost can’t believe it.

Are there times when we are busier than others?  No doubt, but it really seems to work out.  If you have ever seen our office, it is an open environment where people actually, GASP, talk to each other.  As a matter of fact, one of my stated goals is that 2 people who meet in my office will get married.  It hasn’t happened yet, but we are working on it!!!

If you have ever sat in a doctors office stressed that you were 10 minutes late, then they make you wait another 20 minutes, I want you to remember what we are doing here…stress free, little waiting, people having fun, chiropractic.

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