Keeping Your Balance

Balance through movementLet’s be honest, how often have you given your sense of balance any thought? If you are like most of us, never right?

Did you know that falling is the number one source of injuries for people over 65? Every 17 seconds someone is seen in the ER for a fall. Every 30 minutes, someone will die from injuries caused by a fall.

I have to be honest, I didn’t know that until a doctor I know brought it up.

Want to know the good news? Chiropractic helps with balance. Please let me explain.

A region of the brain, called the cerebellum, controls balance by coordinating three systems: vision, inner ear and where you sense your body is, also called propriocepetion.

It also works with the spinal cord, for as we know, the nerves control the whole body and spinal cord is where the nerves for the body originate.

What does Chiropractic influence? That’s right the spinal nerves.

If you would be interested in a case of vertigo that we helped please read our January 2014 Case of the Month.

Let’s discuss some other things you can do to improve your sense of balance.

Get Moving
As you perceive that you are getting a little shaky, people start to get nervous and become sedentary. That is the worst thing you can do.

Go for a walk in a park. Alternate between pavement, trails and grass as the different surfaces will force your muscles to work harder.

Create Unstable Surfaces
Try standing on a couple of pillows at home. Once comfortable, stand on one leg while swinging the other leg in the air.

Once that gets easy, try closing your eyes. Add in upper body in by swinging your right arm and your left leg for 15 seconds, then switch to your left arm and right leg for 15 seconds. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

Strengthen Your Core
People often mistake the core for being your abs only. Your core actually consists of you abdominal muscles, your legs, both front and back, and your low back.

If you are looking for core work a quick Google search will give you more than you could ever want. Hiring a personal trainer is never wasted money!

Yoga
It is well known that yoga can boost balance ability as it increases flexibility as well as strengthening tons of different muscles.

The key to yoga, however, is the emotional component. Studies have shown that people are more confident in their body when they have done yoga.

If you or someone you know is having a hard time with their balance, have them give me a call. We may be able to help them more than they realized.

Rotating Your Running Sneakers

JoggerI am always asking my patients that are serious runners if they change their shoes out every six months or so.

It turns out I should be asking them a different question…are you rotating between two pairs of shoes all the time?

In a groundbreaking study, researchers in Luxembourg looked at a variety of different things with shoe usage being the most interesting.The study consisted of 264 adult recreational runners.

Of the 264 runners, 116 were classified as single-shoe wearers; runners in this group did 91% of their mileage in the same shoe, and ran in an average of 1.3 pairs of shoes during the study. The other 148 were classified as multiple-shoe wearers; runners in this group tended to have a main shoe, which they wore for an average of 58% of their mileage, but they rotated among an average of 3.6 pairs of shoes for their training during the study.

After processing the data, the researchers found the shoe rotating group had 39% less injuries. 39%!!! That’s huge!

The researchers wrote that this could well be because different shoes distribute the impact forces of running differently, thereby lessening the strain on any given tissue.

When I asked some of the runners that are shoe rotators why they thought this was, they consistently echoed what the researchers thought… midsole height and midsole firmness create differences in gait components such as stride length and ground reaction time.

As the researchers put it, “the concomitant use of different pairs of running shoes will provide alternation in the running pattern and vary external and active forces  on the lower legs during running activity. Whether the reduced [injury] risk can be ascribed to alternation of different shoe characteristics, such as midsole densities, structures or geometries cannot be determined from these results and warrants future research.”

Supporting this idea of reducing injury risk by varying tissue loads, the researchers also found that runners who reported more cross-training had a lower incidence of injury.

“Multiple shoe use and participation in other sporting activities are strategies leading to a variation of external and internal loads applied to the musculoskeletal system that could have a beneficial effect on [running injuries]. Although speculative, it could be that any training paradigm that limits excess repetitions will decrease the risk of [running injuries], especially overuse injuries,” the researchers wrote.

I will add in one more thought, however, this one is mine alone and not backed up by research yet. Wearing multiple pairs of shoes allows the shoes you are wearing a longer time to dry out. This makes for a lighter shoe.

No matter what the reasons are, if you are serious about running, get yourself multiple pairs of shoes and make sure that you are rotating them consistently!

Shameless plug time…the runners who keep up with their chiropractic care tell me they run faster, further and with greater ease. If you haven’t had your spine checked in a while, drop in and we will help keep you in top running shape.

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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Another Nail in the Soda Coffin

20 oz soda sugar content
20 oz soda sugar content

As anyone that has come into my office in the last few years will attest, I am a nut for making sure you are drinking enough water.

Water to your body, is like oil to your car engine. It makes everything run much more smoothly.

With that said, the opposite of water in terms of health benefits is soda. Soda is evil! Empty calories that wreak havoc with your body.

Diet soda you say? Take a look at the chemicals they put in diet soda to make it taste even remotely drinkable. UGH!

In the most recent version of JAMA Internal Medicine lead author Quanhe Yang states “A higher percentage of calories from added sugar is associated with significantly increased risk of CVD mortality.” CVD is short for Cardiovascular Disease.

The researchers analyzed national health and diet surveys between 1988 and 2010 of more than 30,000 Americans with an average age of 44. They found the fatal heart risk became elevated once added sugar intake surpassed 15 per cent of total calories.

15%!!! That’s not a lot of sugar, when you consider how pervasive sugar is in prepared foods and especially soda.

Ever wonder how much sugar is really in something? Take the number of grams of sugar on a package and divide by four to get the number of teaspoons.

Let’s look at a couple of popular products and see what the sugar content really looks like.

  • Average Soda…20 oz. bottle…65 grams…thats 16 teaspoons of sugar!
  • A small slice of pie with a small bit of ice cream…39 grams…almost 10 teaspoons of sugar
  • BBQ Sauce…13 grams… over 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookie (and let’s be honest does anyone eat just one?)…18 grams…4.5 teaspoons of sugar

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams a day or six teaspoons of sugar for women (five per cent of a 2,000-calorie a day diet) and 38 grams or nine teaspoons a day for men (7.5 per cent of daily calories).

As a chiropractor, I see a variety of different things that damage peoples spines. Excess weight due to high sugar intake is at the very top of the list. Please be more diligent in looking at labels.

If you need any help with this, please feel free to call or email us. We are here to help!

 

 

5 Reasons Your Weight Loss Resolution is Failing

Did you know that January 17th is the most common day that people break their New Years Resolution? Where did I get that date? Well the internet of course, so it must be true!

What we do know if that approximately 62% of people will make New Years Resolutions. The bummer is that only 8% will ever achieve their resolution.

Want to take a guess at the number one resolution? Yes, losing weight.

With that said, let’s look at some reasons that people start out with the best of intentions and end up failing.

Which Diet is for Me?

Atkins Diet, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Juicing…those are what has been talked about in the office, just this week!

My opinion is I don’t think that there isn’t one diet for everyone, you have to pick which one feels right for you, if you feel you need a structured plan.

Try this first, take two or three things you know you are doing wrong and swap them out for healthier choices. Add color to plate, shop the outer supermarket aisles and by all means GET RID OF SODA!!!

Start with those, build some momentum then look at the structured plans and see which one, if any, feel right for you.

Results are too Slow

Everyone wants to step on the scale and see the pounds melting off. Everyone. The hard truth is it doesn’t work that way, and if it does, you may be at risk for putting it all back on later. Plus some!

In this case, slow and steady wins the race. 1 pound a week is 52 pounds in a year! Take the long view on this, the weight is much more likely to stay off.

Instead of using the scale, see how your clothes fit, how your energy level is, even how your skin looks. Those are much better indicators.

Bloating

Remember all those empty calories you were eating? They don’t contain any fiber. The fruits and veggies that you eat now…lots of fiber. Guess what fiber can do to you? Bloat you a little in the beginning. Don’t worry, drink lots of water and this feeling will subside.

Surrounding Yourself With Bad Peeps

You have your bag packed to go to the gym after work. You run into your co-worker that tells you the group is going out for drinks and appetizers after work. What do you do?

Two solutions.

  1. Do all exercise in morning, especially on days when your co-workers or friends are likely to want to go out after work
  2. Become a leader. Convince friends and co-workers to go to gym BEFORE going out. Make the gym your social place to go after work

Slipping and Checking

Are you going to slip up? No question, we all do.

As I tell my hockey players all the time. We expect mistakes, that’s part of life. What we don’t want is compounding of mistakes.

OK so you went out after work Thursday and had an extra potato skin or 6. Double down on Friday. Spend a little longer in the gym. Eat a little cleaner. Get back on track.

Conclusion

At end of the day, weight loss takes consistent effort. None of us are perfect. Set a plan and stick to it. When you fall off the plan, dust yourself off, get up, and get back on it. Need help, don’t even hesitate to ask.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Fitness Apps

As the entire world seems to be going mobile, if you are looking to lose weight, get in better shape or keep track of your diet; do not despair. There is an app for that!

As new apps are constantly being introduced I would like to cover a few of the most popular ones when it comes to your health. Best part of all? These apps are all free!

 Jillian Michaels Fitness Motivation

If any of you have ever seen The Biggest Loser, you know that Jillian Michaels is a popular trainer with a great track record of getting people motivated to work out. Her app has easy to use videos that include stretching, calisthenics and free weights. There is also a section for running and tracking calories.

My Fitness Pal Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker

One of the cool things about this app is that it is Canadian Based. Not sure how many calories are in that Tim Horton breakfast sandwich? This app has an extensive database that you can search. This app works best when you use it as a food diary, exercise tracker and diet coach. It currently boasts a database of over 425,000 food. If you are looking to lose weight, this app will flag how many calories you have remaining in order to meet your daily goal.

7 Minute Workout by Bytesize

This app offers a high intensity workout anytime, anywhere for free! This app will have you moving with 12 30 second long exercises with 10 second breaks between them. The only requirements are you, a wall and a chair. Perfect for anyone traveling that wants to stay in shape.

 Map My Fitness

Congrats that you are out running, walking or hiking. Ever wonder how far you went? This fitness app uses your phones GPS and maps out all of your fitness activities. It can calculate distance, pace, speed, duration, elevation and more.

Sit Up Straight and Drink More Water App

OK so I haven’t created this app yet, however, I should! Poor posture is one of the underlying biggest reasons people end up in pain. Sitting too long slouched over your laptop is no way to treat your spine. And don’t even get me started with text neck! A perfect break from sitting? Walk to the water cooler and do one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself…drink water!

With all of the information available today, there really is no excuse for not working out and watching your diet. As smartphone technology gets better and better, the only thing holding you back is you.

Take some action today, and get the ball rolling!!

Football and Concussions

As a father of two football playing boys and a chiropractor, I have always been nervous about how much impact the boys were receiving to their heads when playing football. After looking at a bunch of different helmets I concluded that Xenith Football helmets offered superior protection to everything else on the market.

Apparently WGBH agrees with me as well.

League of Denial is a recently released documentary that Frontline produced and PBS released. In this documentary Frontline takes a look at what the NFL knew and when they knew it in terms of concussions. Frontline produced a document that in 1999 shows the NFL knew that football and dementia are linked.

Located in Lowell Ma, Xenith has developed a football helmet that is on the cutting edge of shock absorption based on an adaptive energy system that utilizes shock absorbers.

Please take a look at the video below and if your son is considering playing football or is already playing football, please consider having him use a Xenith helmet.

Lastly, if your son or daughter has had a concussion have them see their chiropractor. In my 16 years of practice, I have seen hundreds of kids post concussion and just about every one of them has said they felt significantly better after getting adjusted.

5 Things Successful People Do Before 8 AM

I have to admit, I am a sucker for lists…27 ways to workout better…the 3 things you must know about the President…8 ways to save for retirement.

I don’t know what it is about them but if you write a list I am probably going to read it!

With that said, I came across one of my favorite list articles and thought I would share it with you, with my twist on it.

The 5 Things Successful People Do Before 8 AM:

1. Exercise. This is a no brainer. Honestly, short of your doctor telling you not to do it, there is no reason you aren’t doing something everyday. Do it in the morning…you are MUCH less likely to blow it off.

2. Map Out Your Day. Another way to say this is; begin with the end in mind. What do you want to accomplish today and map it out. Hint: start with excericse!

3. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. I am not a huge eater in the morning. If and when I eat in the morning it is always protein based. That bagel, donut or danish will spike your blood pressure up, however, what goes up must come down. To avoid the 10am sugar crash, eat more protein in the morning.

4. Visualize. Much like #2, mental time in the morning is critically important. Add in a minute or two of meditation and see how much your mood improves

5. Make Your Day Top Heavy. Take a look at your list, and do the most unpleasant task first! Trust me, you will be empowered by this. Plus it won’t be hanging over your head all day, sapping energy from you

Bonus!

6. Drink Water. Get in the habit of drinking water by starting first thing in the morning. Two glasses before 8am gets everything lubricated and helps control hunger.

7. Go see your favorite chiropractor. What did you expect me to say?

If You Are a Doctor, Don’t Do This!

A woman in Tennessee went to the doctor complaining of lower back pain. You’ll never believe what the doctor said was wrong.

Apparently the woman had been to the office on multiple occasions, however, she had never seen this particular doctor before.

The doctor took her history, performed an exam, ordered x-rays and came back with a rather astonishing diagnosis….

Ghetto Booty!

The doctor, in a follow up letter once he found out the patient was very upset, explained to the patient that he wanted to take a technical conversation and make it less technical.

The technical conversation was going to go something like this, “You have a larger than normal curve in your low back which is making your buttocks protrude.”

Apparently the doctor felt that was too much for the patient. When asked to interviewed on camera he declined, however, he did leave us with this doozy…”I think I do understand why her feelings were hurt but I don’t understand what’s offensive about it.”

Doc, it might be time for a sensitivity class or two.