Exercise Your Way Out of Boredom

Bored with your daily routine? Sick of the same, monotonous schedule? Switch it up & add some exercise into the mix! Exercise is beneficial for your mind and body. Incorporating just 30 minutes of exercise into your day can lift your energy and boost your mood. You can do anything from taking a quick walk around your work premises, some light exercises at the gym, a bike ride around the neighborhood, or even meditation & yoga. Maybe you always wanted to get into a certain sport – this would be the perfect opportunity! Find something you’re interested in or passionate about & it will help cure your boredom.

Studies show that boredom also leads to weight gain. This is due to emotional eating, often triggered by boredom. We reach for unnecessary snacks, which pack on unwanted calories. Instead of reaching for that pack of cookies or bag of chips along with your remote control, stand up and exercise instead. Your mind…and body…will thank you.

by Gina Stallone

What is ART (Active Release Technique)?

ART, which stands for “Active Release Technique” is a type of soft tissue massage that was created and patented by P. Michael Leahy. It treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and fascia. It focuses on relieving nerve trigger points and tight muscles. By manipulating the soft tissue, less stress will be placed on the joints and nerves, which can help relieve a wide range of chronic pains and injuries.

The goal of ART is to restore the mobility to the muscles so they can move easier around nerves. It also stimulates the lymphatic system and lowers inflammation by moving joint fluid around the body. Many times, overused muscles can develop scar tissue, tears, pulls, strains and inflammation.  Specifically, when a muscle is overused, the tissue can transform by either not getting enough oxygen, accumulating small micro-tears, or through an acute condition, such as a pull or tear. All of these can cause the production of scar tissue, which binds the tissue and prohibits it from moving freely. As a result, the muscle is weaker and shorter, which may entrap nerves or cause tendonitis. This results in pain and reduced range of motion. Some possible symptoms of scar tissue in the body are neck stiffness, stiffness in the elbow, hands, knees or back, increased pain when exercising, loss of muscle strength, inflamed or painful joints, reduced flexibility, and signs of nerve damage, such as tingling or numbness.

During an ART session, the therapist will use tension combined with patient movements to treat the affected areas. There are over 500 treatment protocols used to correct the issues of the individual clients. The protocols use precise, targeted movements, and each treatment is individualized for the patient. ART works to actively release and break up the scar tissue to restore range of motion, increase flexibility, improve performance, and prevent running injuries. Some of the conditions that can be alleviated by ART are lower back pain, tension headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, frozen shoulder, bursitis, and sciatica. ART is different from a massage because a massage may decrease pain by utilizing pressure points, but it won’t break up the scar tissue in your body.

ART is an aggressive therapy, and it may feel painful during the treatment. The amount of sessions needed will vary by condition and range in the frequency needed. Make sure that the practitioner is a certified ART provider, and they can be found on the ART website.

 

by Denise Groothuis

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a disorder in which there is a sideways curvature to the spine. The curves are often s-shaped or c-shaped. While there is no known cause and people of any age can have this disorder, the most common form of scoliosis (idiopathic) occurs in children during the growth spurt just before puberty. There are several signs & symptoms you should look out for with your child and/or loved ones.  Look for uneven shoulders, one shoulder blade that appears more prominent than the other, an uneven waist, or one hip being higher than the other. If a scoliosis curve gets worse, the spine will also rotate or twist, in addition to curving side to side which can cause the ribs on one side of the body to stick out farther than the other.

Mild curves can develop without the parent or child knowing it because they appear gradually and usually don’t cause pain. Most cases of scoliosis are mild, but some children develop spine deformities that continue to get more severe as they grow. Severe scoliosis can be disabling. An especially severe spinal curve can reduce the amount of space within the chest, making it difficult for the lungs to function properly. Seek medical attention if you notice signs or symptoms of scoliosis in your child.

 

by Gina Stallone

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is always important, no matter what time of year. However, as more people are spending time outside and exercising outdoors, we perspire more and lose more fluids. It is imperative to drink fluids to make sure your body systems are functioning properly. Our body is roughly 55-60 percent water, and water is found inside and in between our cells to maintain blood volume, to regulate body temperature, to allow for proper circulation, and to act as a shock absorber for the joints and brain.

We lose water through sweat, urine, breath and stool, and replenish it by drinking fluids. Dehydration occurs when we do not ingest enough fluid, when we excrete too much fluid, or a combination of both. It also may occur due to diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, diabetes, burns, and frequent urination.

Early symptoms of dehydration include thirst and decreased and darker urine production. However, some people do not feel thirsty when they are dehydrated, especially as we get older, so adequate fluids should always be consumed. As dehydration progresses, people experience dry mouth dizziness, lethargy, headaches, and weakness. If symptoms become severe, people can suffer delirium, unconsciousness, low blood pressure, sunken eyes, and lack of sweating.

To avoid dehydration, be cautious doing activities during the hottest part of the day or in extreme heat. Also, when exercising, replenish fluids regularly. Drink before, during, and after you exercise to improve performance to improve endurance and to reduce the risk of dehydration.

A good formula to determine adequate hydration is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. It is important to make sure your electrolytes stay in balance as well. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will help increase your hydration status while simultaneously maintaining the electrolyte balance because they contain a high water content plus vital electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium.

Water is vital to life, so make sure you drink enough fluids to keep yourself healthy. If you stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep, find methods to destress and exercise regularly this summer, you will be in good shape!

Get Outside and Walk!

Walking is an underrated, under-utilized form of exercise. It is low-impact and easily accessible to anyone. For optimal health, we all know we must move. Exercise can be intimidating for some, especially in a gym setting. However, if you get outside and walk for a few minutes each day, you will see great results. The longer you walk, the more benefits you will see.

Regular walking can help with losing/maintaining weight, preventing/managing various conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, and it can be an excellent way to reduce stress. For those who suffer from knee, ankle, or back problems, it can also serve as a lower impact exercise that can be done multiple times per week for longer periods of time.

Studies show that group nature walks are often associated with a whole host of mental health benefits including decreased depression, improved well-being & mental health, and lower stress levels. In addition, the positive effects on one’s mood are especially strong among people who recently experience a traumatic life event, such as a serious illness, death of a loved one, or divorce.

Walking is often underrated as a form of exercise but the fact is it can be as good of a workout, if not better, than running. In fact, people who walk outdoors have been known to cover more distance in a faster time, noting that they feel less exertion on their body. Regardless of how old you are or what fitness level you may be at, get outside and walk! Your body will thank you for it.

 

by Gina Stallone

Kick the Sugar Habit

By now, we’ve all heard how bad sugar is for us yet most of us still eat it. The average American consumes about 20 teaspoons of added sugar per day! That’s not counting the sugar naturally found in fruits & milk either. Sugar, regardless of its form, can have negative impact on your entire body.

Too much sugar can not only lead to excess weight gain, it can also lead to inflammation of joints, kidney damage, type 2 diabetes or heart disease. So, how much is too much? Everyone’s tolerance is different however, it is recommended that adults & children consume no more than 5% or 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar daily, for a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

by Gina Stallone

Osteoporosis and Exercise

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. Over 53 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or are at risk for osteoporosis due to low bone mass.   Osteoporosis is defined as a disease which weakens the bones so they become fragile and break easily. It is especially prevalent in the bones of the hip, spine, and wrist. Often, osteoporosis is a “silent” disease because the person does not exhibit symptoms or knows he/she has it until a bone is broken or the vertebrae in the spine collapse.

While anyone is susceptible to osteoporosis, it is more common in older women, especially non-Hispanic white women and Asian women. Other risk factors include being small and thin, having low bone density, taking certain medications, and having a family history of osteoporosis. Bone mass can be tested with a bone mineral test.

There are a few ways you can prevent osteoporosis and keep your bones strong, such as consuming a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercising, not smoking, and not drinking alcohol excessively. Falls are the number one cause of broken bones, so weight bearing exercise and balance are extremely important to prevent falls and to increase bone density. If bones become extremely fragile, fractures can also occur through normal daily activities, such as bending, lifting, coughing, or from minor bumps or stresses.

Exercise improves bone health, muscle strength, coordination, balance, and overall health, and it is vital for treating and preventing osteoporosis. Weight-bearing and strength training exercises are both recommended for peak bone mass because you are working against gravity. Weight-bearing exercises include weight training, hiking, jogging, walking, stair climbing, dancing, and tennis. They can be either low impact or high impact. Strength training is also known as resistance exercise, and it includes lifting weights, using bands and balls, and utilizing your own body weight. Yoga and pilates are also great options since they improve flexibility, balance, and strength, but certain positions will need to be avoided to avoid spinal injury.

Consult a doctor before beginning any type of exercise program, especially if you have osteoporosis. You may have to avoid bending, twisting, and flexing to protect your spine if your bone mass is low. Additionally, high-intensity exercises should be avoided to avoid fractures. It is important to stretch and strengthen the muscles properly and to improve posture. It is good idea to consult with a personal trainer to learn how to perform exercises properly and how to progress your activities and routines.

 

By Denise Groothuis MS RD CPT

 

Sources:

The National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseaseshttps://www.nof.org/patients/fracturesfall-prevention/exercisesafe-movement/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/ (National Osteoprosis Foundation)

What is Mobility?

Mobility is defined as the ability to move freely and easily. Mobility is very important, especially as we age, and it is critical aspect of being healthy. Mobility is an important aspect of any exercise routine, since you must be able to move a joint freely through a full range of motion to decrease the risk of injury, to increase strength, and to ensure you are getting the most out of your exercise routine. If you do not have proper mobility and flexibility, other joints will compensate for the lack of range of motion, which will decrease strength gains and increase risk of injury. Mobility and flexibility are not the same, since flexibility is dependent upon the range of motion of our muscles. Mobility will increase the range of motion and stabilization of the muscles around each joint, which will enable you to be more flexible.

By training mobility, we can improve the range of motion of our joints and muscles, improve posture, increase body awareness, and decrease daily aches and pains.  It is a good idea to engage in mobility exercises as a warm up. Some ways to train mobility are foam rolling, ball rolling, dynamic stretches, and body-weight movements, like squatting. Activate the muscles you will be using during your workout in a slow and deliberate fashion. You will feel better and reach your goals more quickly as your mobility increases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Common Chiropractic Myths Busted

Myth 1: Chiropractic Care is Dangerous

Myths BustedA study from Johns Hopkins showed that there are over 250,000 deaths a year from medical errors, with numbers even estimated to be much higher. So over a quarter million deaths alone are from medical errors. This is actually the THIRD leading cause of death in the U.S. behind heart disease and cancer. Scary.

The numbers of adverse effects as a result of chiropractic treatments is nearly non-existent compared to the above statistic.

The greatest indicator, though, of the safety of chiropractic care malpractice insurance premiums. No one that knows risks better then malpractice insurance companies – it’s their business. They are the front lines, seeing the claims first hand and they are the ones paying out on the claims. So they certainly do their homework when it comes to the risks involved with these procedures.

The malpractice insurance premium for a primary care physician or general practitioner medical doctor starts at around $10,000 per year and that is on the lower end. Malpractice insurance for a chiropractor is around $2000 a year and that is on the high end. This alone is clearly a huge difference.

Of course medical malpractice only goes up from there as you get in to specialties and surgeries, even into the hundreds of thousands per year in premiums! So if you do the math, where is the risk?

If chiropractic were dangerous our malpractice insurance premium would be much higher. The rates are astronomical for medical malpractice insurance whereas compared to chiropractic. So according to a malpractice insurance company who knows risk better than anyone, it’s a lot more dangerous to go to a medical doctor then it is to go to a chiropractor.

There are risks with any treatment or procedure. And in some cases, chiropractic care, or specific treatment options within chiropractic, would not be appropriate, also known as contraindicated. Proper evaluation of a patient by a chiropractor will determine what treatment is appropriate, if any, or if the patient should be referred to another practitioner.

When practicing in accordance with clinical guidelines, there is no comparison between the risks of medical interventions (drugs and surgery) and chiropractic care.

Myth 2: Chiropractic Care is Addictive

This is a common concern and a common question I’m asked. People often think that if they go to a chiropractor once they will need to go back for the rest of their lives because they will become addicted.  This usually pertains to the the spinal adjustment, which is what most people think of when thinking of chiropractic. This is false.

You will not become physically addicted to chiropractic treatments or adjustments.

You are far more likely to be addicted to medical/pharmaceutical interventions that can actually kill you than to chiropractic. Tens of thousands of people are dying every year from actual medical addictions.  There is no comparison. So even if chiropractic was addictive (and it’s not), we know it’s safe and is good for you!

Now let’s examine some factors that may cause people to think that they may become addicted to chiropractic. The world we live in is extremely unhealthy and there are a lot of things working against us. People have terrible posture, are sitting for hours over computers, staring down at smart phones and not moving as much as they should.  Diets are poor, stress is high and exposure to toxins is unprecedented. So we are developing health problems as a result including tension, restrictions and musculoskeletal problems.

Most chiropractic treatments are based on restoring movement to joints and soft tissues that not moving properly. This allows better communication in the nervous system and fascia, and also improves circulation.  So think about this – would feel good if you’ve been “unstuck” after being “stuck” for a while? If your body has been restricted, stiff or in pain, and now you can move better and your pain is gone, would it feel good? Of course! And naturally you would want more. Restoring health feels good. It doesn’t mean you’re addicted to chiropractic.

In a perfect world, humans would be moving correctly, have perfect posture, eating correctly, have normal stress loads and are not burdened with toxic chemicals. The body would not have as much working against it. It could more easily maintain good health and there would probably be less need for chiropractic treatments.

The main responsibility as a health professional should be to educate patients on how to be healthy so they won’t need us as often. How can you minimize the negative forces of the modern world working against you, how can you eat better, sleep better, think better, move better and allow you body to better repair itself?

So no, chiropractic care is not addictive but you might want more because your body will feel better after experiencing it. Better movement and function is always something to look forward to and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Myth 3: There is No Evidence that Chiropractic Care Works

Did you know that it is estimated by researchers that less than 20% of what physicians do have solid evidence to support it? Think about that for a moment. Less than 20% has solid evidence to support it! That is a small number when we think of “evidence based care.” If less than 20% of procedures have solid evidence behind them, can we truly call it evidence based care?

If someone tells you chiropractic has no evidence to support it, ask what are they actually comparing it to? A different system that does not have significant evidence to support it and furthermore kills a quarter of a million people per year just from errors alone?

There is plenty of scientific research in major peer-reviewed medical journals that demonstrates that chiropractic has positive effects on health and physiology. Spinal adjustments alone have been shown to be effective as a treatment for lower back pain, neck pain and headaches compared to other treatment options. Spinal manipulation has been included in the FDA guidelines for the treatment of pain before the use of opioids.

There is evidence that shows spinal manipulation has neurophysiological effects in the central (brain and spinal cord), peripheral (nerves in arms and legs, and autonomic (organ function and stress response) sections of the nervous system. It has been shown to affect muscle activation and even associated with strength increase in athletes. And this is only the spinal adjustment.

While most chiropractors focus on spinal adjustments, there are many different styles and techniques of chiropractic care. Some of these other specialties include soft tissue therapy, functional rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation and nutrition. Stecco Fascial Manipulation, for example, is a soft tissue technique practiced by some chiropractors and has the most scientific research supporting it of any soft tissue technique.

I’ve heard people say that their medical doctor told them not to see a chiropractor because there is no evidence to support it or because it was dangerous. Anyone who says this is giving you bad information and is clearly not current with the research. I personally would not want to go to a practitioner who was ignorant of the current literature and closed minded to safe, effective options.

Myth 4: Chiropractic Care is Only for Back Pain

Neuromusculoskeletal issues such as shoulder problems, ankle injuries, tennis elbow, knee pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, jaw pain can be helped by chiropractic. Even ear infections and sinus conditions can benefit from chiropractic care. Some chiropractors specialize in pediatric care while others focus on sports injuries and athletic performance optimization.

Most chiropractors do focus on the spine but there are many other styles of practice. Some focus on extremities, some focus on the soft tissues such as muscles and fascia, some focus on neurological function, others focus on nutrition. Even though you don’t have back pain, chiropractic can play a significant role in keeping you healthy.

Think of the body as a functional unit – everything is connected and works together. Everything affects everything else, and if we’re not looking at the body as a whole then we are certainly missing out on a big part of the puzzle. A good chiropractor will see body in this way, look for the imbalances and treat accordingly.

Other popular techniques used by chiropractors use you may not have heard of are soft tissue therapies such as Stecco Facial Manipulation, Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.) and Graston Technique, Applied Kinesiology, functional rehabilitation, neurological rehabilitation, and functional medicine.

Final Thoughts

I hope this helped to shed light the fact that these common myths about chiropractors are in fact myths and are false.

Keep in mind that some of the reasons for these myths have been perpetuated by the chiropractic profession itself. There are unethical chiropractors as there are, unfortunately, unethical practitioners in every field. There are practices that have given the profession a bad name. There are practitioners who do not examine their patients properly and use a one-size-fits-all for everybody, which clearly is not an effective approach and can lead to problems. There are people who have had negative experiences with a chiropractor and have had a bad taste left behind.

But there are many people, if not more, that have had negative experiences with mainstream medical practitioners. But because it’s mainstream, the whole profession doesn’t get a bad name. It’s simply thought of as a negative experience with that particular doctor, and they’ll move on and find another doctor.

Mainstream media seems to emphasize negative chiropractic experiences because it is against the grain. If one person has an adverse reaction to a chiropractic treatment it will get mainstream press that will create much fear and doubt. But again, the well over 250,000 people who die every year from medical mistakes typically will not get mainstream press.

Of course there is a time and a place for the mainstream medical model. Modern medicine saves lives in many cases and we are fortunate to have it. This is not an anti-medicine article by any means. But given the risks involved and the availability of natural, safe and effective options such as chiropractic, there needs to be more awareness and a change in perception. Why not go from least invasive/least risk to more invasive/more risk when considering treatments?

When choosing a chiropractor here are some things to consider:

  • Do they properly examine their patients?
  • Do they explain treatment options and develop a plan based on your needs and goals?
  • Do they educate their patients?
  • Are they trying to minimize dependency on care and empowering patients to stay healthy on their own?
  • What techniques do they use?

Chiropractic is an amazing profession that can truly help you feeling better. You can avoid harmful medications and risky procedures that down the road can cause more problems.

If one style of chiropractic does not work for you consider trying something different, as again, there are many different approaches. But you can be confident that chiropractic care is safe, non-addictive, supported by evidence and effective in helping with many different health conditions!

Dr. Robert Inesta DC, L.Ac, CFMP, CCSP

Protect Yourself!

April is Sexual Assault awareness month. Many people remain quiet about this month, we shine light on this taboo topic. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network there is another victim of sexual assault every two minutes in the United States. Another alarming statistic – 44% of those victims will be under 18 and approximately 80% will be under 30.

It’s important to have a basic understanding of how to protect yourself against such confrontation. Prevention is always the first and best form of self-defense. Attackers typically look for unsuspecting, vulnerable targets. Be sure to follow general safety tips, such as being aware of your surroundings, walking & parking in well-lit areas, keeping your keys in your hand as you approach your door/car, or varying your route & times of travel.

Sometimes fighting back is the only alternative. There are some very basic techniques that people of all fitness levels can apply:

  • Get loud and push back
  • Hit the most effective body parts – eyes, nose, neck, knee
  • Maximize damage by using your elbows, knees, and head, as well as using everyday objects and leveraging your weight
  • Utilize wrist holds, front & back choke holds, bear hugs, and mount position to get out of compromising positions or defend yourself

It’s good to have a little bit of extra strength on your side. Start incorporating full-body workouts into your regular routine. Strength training can enhance explosive power by developing the Type II, or fast twitch, muscle fibers. Greater strength not only makes you stronger, it also means that moving your body weight becomes easier for longer periods of time, which translates into having greater stamina.