Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Taking Care During the Holidays

It is that time again.  The never ending list of things to do, the baking, the shopping, the pleasing of those you love and never enough time to get everything in.  All of this can result in stress.  Lots of stress! Stress can manifest as neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, increased irritability, and decreased immunity.  All of which can take its toll not only on your body but your mind.
In order to help yourself and those you love, try a few things to help decrease the chaos.

1. Make a realistic list of things you need to accomplish.  Put the list together so the things that are essential to your well-being and those around you are at the top of the list.

2. Keep a calendar for all your projects and events this time of year.  Once you can put things in perspective they do not seem so overwhelming. 

3. Exercise if you can.  Even if it seems like everything else takes priority, remember that if you take a few minutes out of your day to take care of yourself, it is easier to accomplish whatever else is required of you.

4. Try to eat the foods that will not kick you mentally the next day.  Before going to a party, try to eat a little bit so the hunger bug does not take over your mind when you get to the party.  A good rule of thumb is to look for the foods that contain more water.  The more dense the food usually the higher in calories.  Try to think about what will really satisfy your “eye”, your mind and your belly!

5. Nurture yourself with acupuncture, massage or keeping yourself in alignment with chiropractic care.  The body reacts to stress in many ways.  I always say that we put our stress back into our bodies in many different forms.  I believe we all have a weak point in our physical body that can play havoc with our center.  When your spine is aligned, it is easier to think clearer and to physically be able to accomplish what is on that list!

Take care of yourself.  Surround yourself with the Ones you love! And, Enjoy the Holidays.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Shoes of Summer

As many of you know, I usually look at your shoes when you come in. As the summer finally comes to us the footwear of choice seems to be flip flops. They can be just fine for short spurts of time but as your everyday summer shoe they can cause problems for a long time to come.

Thinking about shoes when I was talking to a patient the other day made me reflect back to chiropractic school. The analogy that was always used was one of the foundation of a house is the same as our bodies. If the base/basement is off so is everything above it so that eventually it will result in disrepair, whether it is your house or your body.

Flip flops when worn for long periods of time have a biomechanical effect on everything from your foot/ankle to your hip and lower back. And as Logan stated, if your low back is off so is the rest of your spine. Your center of gravity changes and your body adapts and you alter the way that you walk.

A normal gait consists of heel strike, foot flat loading, mid stance, heel rise, toe off and swing phase. When you wear flip flops you are grabbing the thong with your toes and changing your gait so as the pressure is mainly placed on the mid-foot. Your gait is changed in that you take shorter steps because you can't lift your leg up as far as in a normal step with a standard shoe. This is the reason you see so many people in flip flops doing a sort of "shuffle".

The negative effects of wearing flip flops for long periods of time:
-They don't absorb the shock when you walk.
-There is a lack of support.
-They do not hold the foot so you use the tendons and muscles to hold the shoe on. This increases the stress up the leg.
-Those that are diabetic may have a decrease in circulation and a decrease of feeling in their feet and legs. Wearing flip flops exposes those with diabetes to a greater risk of injury and infection.
-Those who pack on the extra pounds are increasing the stress on the feet and ankles that are already overstressed due to the extra weight.

There is a positive side to wearing flip flops in the locker room to help protect against fungus and wart causing viruses. It is also okay to wear them at the pool, the beach and for short periods of time. The main thing is just don't "overwear" them!

As Dr. Andrew Weil states "Our feet are our connection to the earth". Wear good shoes, think about your body and your joints. Your body is your physical house so keep it healthy and centered.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Creating a Healthy & Ergonomically Correct Workspace

For many of my patients the workday is in front of a monitor and at a keyboard. It is important to look at your workspace to make sure it is working for you and not against you.  The amount of stress and pressure from an incorrect work environment can only lead to problems down the road. Please take a moment and look to see what you can do to help yourself.
Dr. Nancy

Creating a Healthy & Ergonomically Correct Workspace
1. Adjust your chair height so that your feet are placed flat on the floor. If your chair or desk does not allow you to make the adjustment, place a footrest on the floor and then adjust your seat height. Your hips should be on the same level as your knees. Optimum incline in your seat is between 100 and 110 degrees.
2. Allow your elbows to form a 90-degree angle with your hands on your keyboard. Your forearms should be parallel to the ground and your wrists in a neutral position (in alignment with your arms). Your keyboard should be directly in front of you. Ergonomic split keyboards are beneficial for proper wrist alignment.

3. Do not rest your wrists on the mouse. An increase in the angle puts an extra strain on the wrist. Do not wear a watch while working the keyboard. It can restrict the tendons in your arm. A mouse pad can help support your wrist by keeping it in a neutral position.

4. Place your monitor at direct eye level about 20 inches away or your arms length. The larger your screen, the further away. The screen should be slightly tilted back at 10 to 20 degrees. If you wear bifocals, lower your monitor below eye level and turn the screen upward , tilting it back 30 to 40 degrees.

5. Your work area should be in a V from your body. So that any activity that you do with repetition is not putting a strain on your back, neck or shoulders.

6. Armrests are great to help you get in and out of your chair. Do not rest your arms on the armrests while mousing or typing. This can compress the tendons and may also compress the nerve (ulnar) that goes down the back of your arm.

7. Try to move around every 20 minutes or so. Even get up and walk around your desk. It changes the circulation gives you and your muscles a break.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

There are days that I wonder what people do that don’t go for chiropractic care. I help people everyday, not only with their musculo-skeletal problems but their overall health. In a great many instances, I am the first health care provider to see a patient no matter what their problem. I refer my patients out to other health care providers according to their health care needs. We are trained to diagnose and help. That is what we as chiropractors do. So when your senator or representative wonders if chiropractic should be included in the new HealthNet in Missouri or in the healthcare laws that are being established…..The answer is YES!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-Its Causes & Treatment

I had lunch with a friend the other day.  He asked me what I thought were the main causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).  I have been working with CTS since the mid 90's when I was part of the control group for cold laser therapy prior to its approval from the FDA in 2002.  At that time there was much discussion about the effects of computer work and its correlation to CTS.  As of 2012, the National Institute of Health reports the most likely cause is due to a congenital predisposition which means that the carpal tunnel is simply smaller in some individuals than others.   There are metabolic problems such as pregnancy, diabetes and arthritis which may contribute to CTS or mechanical problems such as a fracture of the wrist or a sprain.  Studies also show that working with vibrating tools or work on an assembly line that requires prolonged or repetitive flexing, may put excess pressure on the median nerve.  It was shown that CTS is 3 time more common in assembly line workers than those that work at a computer station for up to 7 hours per day.
CTS is caused by compression of the median nerve which runs down the arm, through the tunnel and into the hand on the thumb side.   There can be  pain, burning, tingling and/or numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers and the palm of the hand.  These symptoms may occur while sleeping, driving, or performing any task that requires the fingers and wrist. 

The best approach to relieving the symptoms and cause of the pain is to seek early diagnosis and treatment thereby avoiding permanent damage to the median nerve.  The examination consists of a number of orthopedic and neurological tests.  Upon diagnosis there are a few different approaches to treatment.  The cold laser therapy has been shown to treat CTS over a period of time given that it has not progressed too far.  The National Institute of Health has stated that acupuncture and chiropractic have benefited some patients. 

Here at Young Chiropractic, I use all three procedures to help with the treatment of CTS.  I discuss your extracurricular activities, the tasks performed daily as related to your job and many everyday activities that you perform.  I find that with a good treatment regime, a stretching program, adaptations to your home and work activities, and possibly a night splint, the CTS can be relieved or at least kept at bay. If you do not respond to treatment, then I recommend that you seek a medical doctor that specializes in CTS.