Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When Are Simple Headaches Not So Simple?



High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (HBP) is a common unrecognized cause of headaches. And, HBP itself is very common - according to the American Heart Association, approximately one-third of American adults have HBP. And nearly one-third of these people don't know they have HBP. This is a big problem.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health has recommended the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). This diet has been shown to reduce high blood pressure within two weeks. Daily recommendations include

•  7 to 8 servings of grains
•  4 to 5 servings of vegetables
•  4 to 5 servings of fruit
•  2 to 3 servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy
•  2 to 3 servings of fats and oils
•  4 to 5 servings per week of nuts, seeds, and dry beans
Headaches are big business. For the drug companies, that is.

Approximately 10 million Americans suffer daily headaches, and 50 million have headaches often enough to seek medical care.  Approximately 23 million Americans suffer from migraines.  Billions of dollars are spent each year on Aleve and Motrin for tension headaches and Imitrex for migraines.

But all that money might just as well be poured down a hole in the ground, because the statistics haven't changed in almost 20 years.  Approximately one out of every six Americans suffers from headaches.

Tension headaches are most common, caused by muscle spasm in the neck and shoulders, stress, and even eye strain. The dull, pounding pain may be severe, and there may be nausea. Migraines are even more debilitating, and may be preceded by an "aura" - visual symptoms such as flashing lights or loss of portions of a visual field.

Headaches, although common, should never be taken for granted. People suffering headaches should, at some point, have a physical examination to rule out underlying problems such as high blood pressure.

Importantly, an unusual headache, accompanied by brand-new symptoms, should be evaluated by a physician immediately. A sudden, severe headache, "like nothing I ever had before", needs immediate attention. If you've never thrown up as a result of a headache, and suddenly you are, you need to see a physician. An unusual, unexpected level in the increase of headache pain needs immediate attention. Any of these situations could be caused by a serious underlying problem, and an MRI is usually necessary.

Chiropractic treatment may be of benefit for many people suffering with tension headaches and even migraines. A chiropractic physician will perform a complete physical examination, which may include x-rays. Underlying causes of headaches are ruled out. If a medical condition is suspected, the patient may be referred to the appropriate specialist.

Chiropractic spinal manipulation is a gentle procedure that reduces muscle tension and increases spinal mobility. Neck and shoulder muscles are freed from being held in fixed positions, resulting in increased circulation, improved nutrition, and more efficient muscle activity. The frequency and intensity of tension headaches may improve noticeably. Migraine headaches may improve as well.

Regular exercise and a balanced diet are very important in the treatment of headaches. Exercise improves all aspects of muscle function and improves circulation. Improved cardiovascular function means more blood is flowing to neck and shoulder muscles, bringing oxygen and nutrients and removing irritants such as lactic acid.

A balanced diet ensures that neck and shoulder muscles are getting the energy sources, vitamins, and minerals they need to work properly. A balanced diet in combination with regular exercise also results in weight loss, removing unnecessary mechanical stress in the form of excess pounds.

Headaches are usually a symptom of being out-of-balance. Exercise, balanced nutrition, and chiropractic care can help restore balance to our highly stressed lives.
http://www.lakewoodchiropracticjax.com/

1"Hospital Treats Headache Suffers". The New York Times, 12/25/88.
2Source: National Headache Foundation - www.headaches.org
3Source: Yale Medical Group - www.ymghealthinfo.org

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Dealing with Arthritis


Arthritis Prehabilitation
The best way to deal with arthritis is not to get it in the first place. Osteoarthritis (OA) is not really a disease, it's much more of a condition. And in many cases, OA is a lifestyle-related condition. It is associated both with a long-term lack of activity and with being overweight.

In the sense of "use it or lose it", people who spend most of their day sitting at a desk and/or working on a computer are at risk for developing OA of the neck, lower back, hips, and knees. These same people are at even increased risk if they're overweight.

Supple joints that go through an entire range of motion are doing what they're designed to do. Given the structure of modern life, we need to intentionally work our bodies to keep them healthy and well. This means regular exercise and it means eating smart to maintain our weight at a healthy level.

What kind of exercise? Do what you like, do what you're interested in doing. Just be consistent and exercise three, four, or five days every week. And, every so often, vary what you're doing. Your body will let you know when it's getting bored.
We've all seen the TV ads ─ nice-looking woman in her fifties, sitting on a nice sofa in a nice living room, rubbing her hands, in obvious pain. Of course, she's not Lady Macbeth, trying to rub off the imagined blood of her murdered husband. She's a woman with arthritis.

According to the Center for Disease Control, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States.1  Approximately 47 million people have doctor-diagnosed arthritis and 17 million have arthritis-attributable activity limitations.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is a degenerative condition affecting the joints and the soft tissues around the joints ─ the associated cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. The most commonly affected areas are the spine, the hands, and the shoulders, hips, and knees. The pain of arthritis, the reduced mobility, and the lifestyle accommodations needed for pain avoidance are discouraging and may even lead to depression.

Many anti-inflammatory drugs are available for the treatment of arthritis, and in recent years many of these have been found to cause severe side effects. Vioxx is the most notorious of these ─ cardiovascular complications caused a worldwide recall of the drug. Celebrex, another well-known arthritis medication, was also found to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke at high doses.

The very good news is there are several wellness-based treatment alternatives to long-term medication. These include exercise, diet, and in many cases, chiropractic treatment.

Exercise is critical in restoring mobility and, over time, in reducing pain.2,3  Persons with osteoarthritis often experience a vicious cycle of deteriorating symptoms. Pain causes reduced mobility (pain avoidance), which (paradoxically) actually causes more pain, which causes further reductions of mobility . . . . Activities of daily living ─ getting out of a chair, opening a jar, bending and lifting ─ become a real challenge as the person struggles to avoid further pain.

So, restoring mobility is key. Exercise ─ very gently at first ─ is the answer. Range-of-motion activities to get the joints moving again are very beneficial, including
•    Arm circles
•    Wrist circles
•    Shoulder shrugs
•    Side-to-side bending for the lower back
•    Gentle knee bends
•    Ankle circles
•    Flexing and pointing the feet

Walking is a perfect exercise for treatment of arthritis. Begin by walking one block, then two, then around the block. Walk five minutes daily for a week, then increase by a minute or two each day. Get up to 15 minutes of gentle walking, then begin to gradually increase your pace. The increased mobility will not only reduce pain, but also provide a cardiovascular benefit and improve one's ability to perform activities of daily living.

Chiropractic treatment, in combination with an exercise program, may assist in restoring joint mobility and reducing pain. Gentle chiropractic manipulative therapy is designed to improve mobility of spinal joints. As spinal joint motion improves, pain lessens, and a positive cycle of return-to-function begins.
http://www.lakewoodchiropracticjax.com/

1"Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation." CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report  55(40);1089-1092, 2006.
2Huang MH, et al: A comparison of various therapeutic exercises on the functional status of patients with knee osteoarthritis. Semin Arthritis Rheum 32(6):398-406, 2003.
3Suomi R, Collier, D: Effects of arthritis exercise programs on functional fitness and perceived activities of daily living measures in older adults with arthritis. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 84(11):1589-94, 2003.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Senior Fitness


SAMPLE WORKOUT ROUTINES
UPPER BODY
  • Bench Press (Chest)
  • Lat Pulldown (Back)
  • Seated Shoulder Press (Deltoids)
  • Incline Dumbbell Curls (Biceps)
  • Triceps Pressdown
Lower Body
  • Machine Leg Press (Quadriceps)
  • Hamstring Curls
  • Standing Calf Raise
CORE
  • Abdominal Press
  • Prone cross-raise (opposite arm/leg)
  • Plank (2 x 15 sec)
  • Lunges (50-foot course)
Bob Barker, beloved host of The Price Is Right, recently made headlines by announcing his retirement after 35 years. "Barker irreplaceable!" blared the entertainment tabloids. And yet, Mr. Barker celebrated his 82nd birthday a few months ago.

Eighty-two! Who really are the "seniors" among us? And what does "senior" mean in today's world? Certainly, America's population is aging by the minute. Baby boomers are rapidly closing in on their 60th birthdays. But most of those in this huge group (more than 76 million)1 are resisting the concept of "getting older" and searching for ways to stay healthy and fit and well.

Fitness programs provide a major answer to these challenges. Yet, there are many questions. What to do? How to get started? What if I have health issues - can I still get fit?

Before we dive in, some special concerns need attention. Baby boomers and those even older must address decreased flexibility and possibly - temporarily - decreased stamina. Medical issues, including osteoporosis2, high blood pressure3, and diabetes, as well as overweight/obesity, must be considered when beginning a new fitness plan.

The bottom line - have a complete physical exam with your chiropractic physician and/or family physician, and make sure you're good to go. Start slowly and easily, making gradual progress, and adding intensity and duration over the first several months.

Begin a walking-for-fitness program. Walking is fantastic exercise! Do 10 minutes at an easy pace the first day, build up to walking around the block, gradually building up over a 12-week period to a brisk 30-minute walk.

Also, begin lifting weights. Many helpful books are available, or ask a friend who knows what they're doing to show you the ropes. Start slowly, carefully, gradually. Train your upper body and lower body on separate days. Make sure you're focusing, paying attention, and working within yourself!

Nutrition is just as important as exercise in regaining the level of fitness we need to live healthy, long lives. Eating right requires some mental toughness, and it may take a while to build new habits. The payoff comes quickly, though, and is tremendously empowering.

We want to be fit for the rest of our lives. How to keep it all going? Here are a few tips from the fitness front lines -
•    Writing down a weekly plan. This keeps your workout and nutritional goals fresh. They're right there, on your desk or refrigerator, where you see them every day.
•    Vary your routines. Change your workouts every few weeks. Ride a bike if you've been walking. Use dumbbells instead of machines. Vary your fruits and vegetables, and vary your sources of protein.
•    Set up a buddy system or join a fitness club. The support of a group of friends who share your lifestyle goals, can make a big difference.

And, most importantly, have fun!
http://www.lakewoodchiropracticjax.com/
  1MetLife Mature Market Institute Analysis, U.S. Census Bureau, 2000.
  2Carter ND, et al: Community-based exercise program reduces risk factors for falls in 65- to 75-year-old women with osteoporosis: randomized controlled trial. Canadian Medical Association Journal 67(9): 997-1004, 2002.
  3Staessen JA et al: Life style as a blood pressure determinant. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 89(9): 484-489, 1996.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When Bad Things Happen to Good Exercisers


Visualization - The Zen of Exercises
Visualization - inner seeing - is a powerful tool for creating the life you want. Remarkably, visualization is also the secret ingredient in powerfully effective exercise.

Visualization enhances the mind-body connection. When you "see" your muscles working in your "mind's eye", the "wiring" between your brain and your muscles grows. More nerve-muscle connections are made, and your muscles get smarter and stronger. It's a remarkable process.

And it doesn't take any extra effort. Just think about it! :-)
"There I am," a very fit patient is saying, "out on my five-mile run, motoring my way up a steep incline. Suddenly, I feel a throbbing pain in the middle of my right shin. Oh, no,  I think, not again."

As things turned out, the patient recovered from the shin splints1 quickly, but he knew he'd dodged a bullet. "Why did I get hurt?" he wanted to know. "I wasn't doing anything wrong.…What can I do to make sure this doesn't happen again?"
All very good questions. One answer is - basically − we need a plan for exercise. A powerful strategy that helps us train smart and train safe. When you're working this way − training smart and safe − then you can also train hard.

Training safe and smart means paying attention to what's happening in your body as you do your workout. "Paying attention" is a learned skill. It requires focus and repetition. Visualization is an important part of focus ─ and, if you're working on visualization, you're definitely paying attention!

You can visualize when you're running, too.
•    Visualize an erect, fluid spine and strong abdominal muscles.
•    Your head is upright, you're looking forward and slightly down, and your chest is open.
•    Your arms are active yet relaxed, and your shoulders sit comfortably on your rib cage.
•    Visualize a long stride, a soft landing, and a strong push off, with your leg kicking straight behind you.
Training smart means trusting your instincts, rather than listening to your ego. This is a tough one. At the time, it seems so important to do that last rep. Now, you can do that last rep if you maintain your form. Form is everything. If you have to sacrifice form in order to do those last few reps, you may get an unexpected, unwelcome result.

Likewise in running. When your form breaks down, that's a signal to slow down and recover your good mechanics. If your training is done with attention to proper, effective form, you'll be more likely, when the time comes, to run a good race at a good pace.

And, of course, we want to do these things to be healthy and well. The American College of Sports Medicine2 states, "Resistance training, particularly when incorporated into a comprehensive fitness program, reduces the risk factors associated with coronary heart disease and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, prevents osteoporosis, promotes weight loss and maintenance, improves dynamic stability and preserves functional capacity, and fosters psychological well-being."

As in much of life, there's a fine line between training hard and over training. Remember, the benefit of training is for the long term.
http://www.lakewoodchiropracticjax.com/

1Couture CJ, Karlson KA: Tibial Stress Injuries: Decisive Diagnosis and Treatment of "Shin Splints". Physician and Sportsmedicine 36(6):29-36, 2002
2Kraemer WJ, et al: Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults. Med Sci Sports Exercise 34(2):364-380, 2002

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Neck Pain: Chiropractic Can Help


Who hasn't had neck pain at one time or another? What's more, many of us have experienced on-going neck troubles at some point during our lives. Looking at human anatomy, it's no wonder pain strikes us so often in this vulnerable area. While the neck structure gives us an amazing range of movement with which to see our environment, it also leaves us prone to injury of the muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. But by making regular visits to the chiropractor, paying attention to posture and doing regular stretching and strengthening exercises, our necks can be pain-free.
Frequent chiropractic adjustments help prevent neck pain from occurring in the first place, but some everyday activities such as poor posture during watching TV, using a computer, reading a book or talking on the phone can easily trigger neck pain. Here are a few tips for avoiding neck pain throughout your day:
  • Pay attention to your posture. Check with your chiropractor for guidelines to help improve your everyday posture.
  • Do not read hunched over a desk or table. Prop reading material at eye level.
  • If you spend long periods on the phone at work or home, consider using a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and shoulder.
  • Don't crane your neck to see a poorly placed computer monitor. Place the monitor at eye level, square to your shoulders if possible.
  • Ask your chiropractor to show you neck exercises to strengthen weak areas or relax tight muscles.
Neck pain that won't go away or keeps coming back can signal a more serious underlying problem such as a subluxation or degeneration in the joints (such as what occurs with arthritis). If you experience neck pain that doesn't abate within 24 hours, seek the advice of your chiropractor for diagnosis and treatment.
http://www.lakewoodchiropracticjax.com/

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sleep Apnea and Weight Gain


Is a lack of sleep thwarting your best weight loss efforts? There is much evidence to suggest that a lack of sleep goes hand-in-hand with weight gain. But first, it is important to address why you aren't sleeping well. Is your stress level or caffeine intake to blame? Or is your sleeplessness due to a common but very serious condition called sleep apnea?  Sleep apnea can affect weight loss, hunger and hormone activity in a number of ways, thwarting your best efforts to maintain a healthy weight.
Simply put, sleep apnea happens when breathing is obstructed or ceases altogether while sleeping. Symptoms of the condition range from light snoring to waking up several times during the night, gasping for air. The most common form of sleep apnea - obstructive sleep apnea - affects approximately six percent of the population. But this number is expected to rise along with the increasing rate of obesity, because obesity is a chief cause of obstructive sleep apnea.
To make matters worse, those who are already overweight may gain weight more easily if they aren't getting adequate sleep, fueling a vicious cycle. Several theories attempt to explain why a lack of sleep may encourage us to pack on the pounds. Some say that a sleep-deprived person simply doesn't have the energy to be active during the day. They're too tired to get to the gym or even take the stairs, burning far fewer calories than a well-rested individual would. Others believe the sleep-deprived attempt to make up for a lack of energy by consuming a greater number of calories. Additional evidence surrounding sleep deprivation and weight gain suggests the problem may be hormonal. 
Hormone function is largely responsible for the way in which fat cells respond to the food we eat. Cortisol is a hormone that is usually released in response to emotional and physical stress. When we don't get enough sleep, cortisol is released at an increased rate, making us feel hungry even if we've eaten enough.
And just because sleep apnea is most common among adults, do not assume that children are exempt from the problem. It's no secret that the number of obese children is rising steadily; and it's no stretch to imagine that some of these children will develop sleep apnea.
If you're having trouble sleeping on a regular basis, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Otherwise, a few simple tips and tricks just might help get you back on a regular sleep schedule. If you are already obese and suffering from sleep apnea, your chiropractor can discuss a sensible dieting plan with you, helping you return to a healthy weight and enjoy more restful, unobstructed sleep. And of course, never underestimate the importance of exercise.  Exercising three to four times per week is crucial for restful sleep. And getting your workout in long before bedtime is helpful, leaving ample time for your heart rate and hormone levels to return to a resting state. Make sure your room is dark and the temperature of the room will remain comfortable throughout the night. If you're one of those people trying to squeeze extra tasks and activities into your day, leave more for tomorrow and get some sleep. Adequate sleep will increase your productivity during waking hours.
http://www.lakewoodchiropracticjax.com/

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Chiropractic: The drugless solution to headaches




Cancer-Kicking Foods
Broccoli
Throw a cup of this veggie into your salad and fight lung, breast and bladder cancer. Broccoli contains a cancer-fighting chemical compound called sulforaphane, also found in cauliflower, watercress and brussels sprouts.
Kiwi
This fun fruit is vitamin C, also an antioxidant, protecting your DNA from cancer-causing mutations. Also enjoy papaya and peppers, other colorful sources of C.
Avocado
This fruit is packed with folate which, studies show, has a preventive effect against colon, breast and cervical cancers. Spinach and asparagus are also great sources of folate.
Chickpeas
Like some other legumes, chickpeas are among the leading sources of phytoestrogens. These are plant-based compounds that disrupt estrogen's role in promoting breast, endometrial and lung cancers. Throw some chickpeas in your salad or have a scoop of hummus, Or try tofu, prepared any way, for a phytoestrogen boost.
Source: "Foods that fight cancer" Shape November 2006;26(3):100.
Headaches are an unfortunate and painful part of life for many Americans. In fact, an estimated five percent of adults in this country suffer from chronic migraines or severe headache pain. We spend billions of dollars each year on over-the-counter and prescription pain medication for relief from those nagging headaches. But these drugs have the potential to cause even more pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a type of medication including OTC brands such as Advil, Motrin, and Excedrin, have been associated with side effects like stomach bleeding and ulcers, and even liver failure. In fact, one possible side effect of many NSAIDs is a headache!
And if you manage to avoid the side effects, these medications really only mask or diminish symptoms. But it's the cause that counts and that's where chiropractic comes in. Here's how: The nervous system is the "master system" in the body, controlling and coordinating all other systems - respiratory, immune, circulatory, etc. Sometimes, there are areas in the spine where one or more of the vertebrae may have experienced a loss of function, creating pressure on, or otherwise irritating, spinal nerves. This irritation interferes with the signals, or "communication," traveling over those nerves, which can compromise the health and proper function of every system in the body. Regular adjustments by your chiropractor can positively affect the nervous system, aid nerve transmission and thus, the body's ability to heal itself.
Still a skeptic? Scientific research indicates chiropractic is an effective, natural answer to headache pain. During a major 1995 study comparing several weeks of drug therapy to several weeks of chiropractic care, 82 percent of patients given drug therapy reported side effects including drowsiness, weight gain and dry mouth. Heart-related problems and glaucoma also were associated with the drug therapy. On the other hand, chiropractic patients reported no side effects. And after four weeks of treatment, patients who used drugs began having headaches again, while members of the chiropractic group continued to express headache relief, as well as higher levels of energy as compared to the drug therapy group.
So put down the pain-relief medications, talk to your chiropractor about your chronic headaches, and experience a natural, drug-free approach to headache relief, today!
http://www.lakewoodchiropracticjax.com/