Monday, October 20, 2014

Heavy Lifting

Heavy Lifting

Heavy Lifting and Back Pain
Chiropractic Care and Core Training
Core training focuses on the deepest muscular layers of your body, including small muscles such as the multifidi and intertransversarii that lie directly on the spinal column and help move individual spinal vertebras. In order to train these deep muscles properly, the spinal vertebras need to be able to move freely throughout their full range of motion. This is where regular chiropractic care comes in. Chiropractic care identifies, analyzes, and corrects sites of limited spinal mobility, making it possible for you to optimally train your core muscles.
Returning to fitness requires an ongoing commitment of time and effort. In order to get the most out of your investment in yourself, it’s important to make sure that your body will respond effectively to your exercise activities. Regular chiropractic care helps ensure that you’ll achieve such success.
All of us who’ve experienced a back injury of one sort or another have been told at some point to “avoid heavy lifting.” That type of advice appears to be a no-brainer or at least redundant, as no one whose back is hurting is going to try to pick up an air conditioner or even a 100-foot reel of garden hose. In this context, it’s important to remember the words of Shakespeare’s Cassius: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves”. The problem isn’t the heavy lifting, as such. The real problem is in us, that is, in our overall level of conditioning or physical fitness.
Most back injuries don’t occur as a result of heavy lifting, but rather are caused by a seemingly innocuous event such as bending over in the shower to retrieve a bar of soap that has fallen to the floor. Other likely pain-producing scenarios are bending over to place a bag of groceries in the trunk o f a car bending over to tie a loose shoelace. None of these circumstances involved lifting extraordinary weight.  Rather, the common elements are lack of flexibility and lack of appropriate muscle tone and strength to support the weight of your body in a forward flexed position.
The problem isn’t lack of big muscles. Picking up a bar of soap or positioning a 15-pound grocery bag doesn’t require bulging biceps or massive lats. The problem is lack of conditioning. Most of us no longer do actual physical work on a regular basis. We spend the large majority of our day sitting, either working, reading, or watching entertainment on television or other devices. The result of such lack of activity is twofold. Muscles lose strength and muscle fibers are replaced by fat. Additionally, tendons and ligaments contract and become tight, losing their necessary composition of elastic fibers. The functional loss associated with these physiological changes is profound. We experience these change every time we feel a twinge, or worse, in our backs.
The fix is easy and primarily focuses on building up core muscle strength.1,2 Core training is directed toward your deep abdominal muscles. The main such muscle is the transverses abdominis, which surrounds your entire waist, protecting and supporting your lower back. You can think of this critically important structure as your internal weight belt. Activation of the core muscles is required for all effective physical activity.3Without this essential foundation, any minor attempt at work, even bending over to pick up a pencil, can lead to disaster in the form of excruciating back pain.
Core training includes exercises such as the scorpion, lying windmill with bent legs, pushups, squats, and the plank. Many good books and numerous online videos are available to provide instruction in the performance of core exercises. Your chiropractor is experienced in rehabilitative exercise and will help guide you to the training methods that are best for you.
1Inani SB, Selkar SP: Effect of core stabilization exercises versus conventional exercises on pain and functional status in patients with non-specific low back pain: a randomized clinical trial. J Back Musculoskel Rehabil 26(1):37-43, 2014
2Brumitt J, et al: Core stabilization exercise prescription, part 2: a systematic review of motor control and general (global) exercise rehabilitation approaches for patients with low back pain. Sports Health 5(6):510-3, 2013
3Wang XQ, et al: A meta-analysis of core stability exercise versus general exercise for chronic low back pain. PLoS One 2012;7(12):e52082. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052082. Epub 2012 Dec 17

Thinking Knee Surgery?

Chiropractic: Knee Surgery May Not Offer Some Patients More Benefit Than Conservative Care. 
A new analysis has found that arthroscopic knee surgery for the treatment of age-related meniscus tears in middle-aged individuals offers no greater benefit than can be provided by more conservative care. The authors of the analysis recommend this category of patients try conservative measures before considering surgery. Chiropractic care would be a good conservative approach, as Chiropractors often treat these types of injuries with specific adjustments, physiotherapies, and exercises. 

Canadian Medical Association Journal, August 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gluten Freedom

Gluten Freedom

Salads and a Gluten-Free Diet
Chiropractic Care and a Healthy You
A healthy nerve system is required in order to have a healthy gastrointestinal system. For example, when you eat a meal the cells lining your stomach need to know how much gastric juice to secrete to aid in proper digestion. The cells lining your small intestine need to know how many enzymes to release in order to properly complete the digestive process. These processes, whose details are hidden from our conscious minds, take place under the guidance and direction of the nerve system. In fact, a healthy nerve system is required for healthy functioning of all your body systems.
Regular chiropractic care helps your nerve system to do its job effectively. Regular chiropractic care helps to keep your spinal column in top condition and helps to reduce muscle tension and other sources of nerve interference. By participating in maintaining a fully functioning nerve system, regular chiropractic care helps you achieve high levels of long-term health and well-being.
The concept of the value and benefit of gluten-free food has been gaining momentum for the last 10 years. Discussion related to gluten-free diets goes back to the mid-1950s, but those peer-reviewed articles were primarily focused on the treatment of celiac disease and related gastrointestinal disorders. Today gluten-free diets are being adopted as an overall health-promoting measure by broad segments of the population. Is this trend merely a fad or are there actual advantages for the average person in cutting down on gluten intake?
Gluten is a structural protein found in wheat that provides a glue-like property and helps dough stick together. Gluten-containing wheat works best for bread making, and a few thousand years ago gluten-containing wheat became the standard wheat crop. Similarly, the protein in barley and rye is predominantly gluten. Researchers posit that tens of thousands of years ago our digestive systems were optimized genetically to process a diverse diet of grains. But a modern diet is mostly composed of uniform, gluten-containing grains. Our digestive systems were not designed to process such a heavy load of gluten, and the result is the development of a range of gluten-sensitivity disorders and autoimmune diseases.1
Gluten sensitivity has been proposed as a culprit in numerous conditions, including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and infertility.2,3 The link to such conditions is not clearly understood, but case reports identifying gluten sensitivity as a causal factor have appeared in numerous professional journals for more than 10 years.
For children, adolescents, and adults with such disorders, it may be appropriate to adopt a gluten-free diet to eliminate a potential source of tissue inflammation. Other persons with various nonspecific digestive complaints may also benefit from a gluten-free nutrition plan. For example, if you experience frequent, or even periodic, upset stomachs or other gastrointestinal problems, consumption of gluten may be part of the clinical scenario. Two months on a gluten-free food plan should be sufficient to determine whether gluten protein is a contributing factor to such complaints.
Going gluten-free takes a lot of dedication, time, and effort. The first step is to learn which foods in your diet contain gluten. As noted, wheat, barley, and rye are primary sources of gluten protein. Quinoa, teff, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth are gluten-free replacements for gluten-containing grains. It's important to bear in mind that many foods contain wheat and represent hidden sources of gluten, including beer, potato chips, brown rice sugar, soy sauce, and processed food such as deli meats, frozen burgers, and bread crumbs. Being gluten-free requires diligence, but the payoff may be substantial in terms of overall health and well-being.
1Sapone A, et al: Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification. BMC Med. 2012 Feb 7;10:13. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-10-13
2Isasi C, et al: Fibromyalgia and non-celiac gluten sensitivity: a description with remission of fibromyalgia. Rheumatol Int 2014 Apr 12. [Epub ahead of print]
3Herfarth HH, et al: Prevalence of a gluten-free diet and improvement of clinical symptoms in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. Inflamm Bowel Dis 20(7):1194-7, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Harness the Power of Hybrid Vigor

Harness the Power of Hybrid Vigor

Hybrid Vigor
Regular Chiropractic Care, Wellness, and You
Just as combining strength training and cardiovascular exercise produces enhanced benefits in many areas of fitness, and food combining helps you get the most out of your daily nutrition, regular chiropractic care helps you achieve your goals of long-term health and well-being.
Regular chiropractic care is the "x factor" in obtaining high levels of health and wellness. Adding regular chiropractic care to the other healthful things you're doing increases the benefits of those activities. By identifying and correcting areas of spinal misalignment and helping remove nerve interference, regular chiropractic care helps your musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, digestive, and hormonal systems do their jobs better. As a result, your body is optimized to obtain the greatest benefit from all your other health-promoting activities. The combination of exercise, nutrition, and regular chiropractic care makes all the difference.
Certain things in life just go together naturally. In the kitchen, peanut butter and jelly is a classic combination. Another such pairing is apple pie and ice cream.Other categories of life experience, such as human performance, prize the association of freedom and creativity. And in the field of health care, exercise and nutrition are two pillars of a solid foundation for long-term wellness and well-being.
The combination of exercise and nutrition makes intuitive sense, of course, but it's useful and informative to drill deeper into this relationship. Regarding exercise, almost any type of this activity is beneficial.1 "Whatever works for you" is a time-honored principle in fitness. Swimming, running, bicycling, lifting weights, playing basketball, doing yoga, and walking all provide substantial benefit for people. What's best is to do the things you like to do. Hidden beneath the surface, however, is a very interesting fact. If you combine certain types of exercise, specifically, if you do both strength-training activities and cardiovascular exercises during the course of a week, you'll obtain enhanced results. Interestingly, both your strength and endurance will improve more rapidly compared to doing only one type of activity.
Beyond expedited improvement (and the great satisfaction many of us derive from lifting heavier weights in the gym and running faster on the track), improved strength and endurance are very closely linked to numerous important indicators of optimal health and well-being. It's the combination that makes the difference.2,3
Similarly, good nutrition is not only a matter of making sure that every food group is represented in your daily diet. Choosing foods from the fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, and dairy groups is the key first step in all nutritional programs that provide lasting value. But, again, there are hidden relationships. Combining proteins and carbohydrates at every meal causes improved digestion and improved absorption of all nutrients. By more efficiently breaking down the food you eat and more effectively absorbing valuable nutrients, you derive enhanced benefit from the calories you're consuming. You gain more energy to use throughout the day and are able to perform at a higher level. As a result, your sleep is more restful and you wake up refreshed, ready to engage with whatever challenges the new day brings.
The principle behind the power of these various combinations is that of hybrid vigor. The concept is derived from studies of genetics in the 19th century in which it was discovered that cross-breeding often produced hardier plants. We, too, can harness this principle to become hardier ourselves, enabling us to enjoy long-term health, wellness, and well-being.
1Lackland DT, Voecks JH: Metabolic syndrome and hypertension: regular exercise as part of lifestyle management. Curr Hypertens Rep 2014 Nov;16(11):492. doi: 10.1007/s11906-014-0492-2
2Sigal RJ, el al: Effects of Aerobic Training, Resistance Training, or Both on Percentage Body Fat and Cardiometabolic Risk Markers in Obese Adolescents: The Healthy Eating Aerobic and Resistance Training in Youth Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatr 2014 Sep 22. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1392. [Epub ahead of print]
3Ho SS, et al: The effect of 12 weeks of aerobic, resistance or combination exercise training on cardiovascular risk factors in the overweight and obese in a randomized trial. BMC Public Health 2012 Aug 28;12:704. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-704

Top Ten Reasons NOT to Try a Chiropractor

Top Ten Reasons NOT to Try a Chiropractor:

Author: Unknown
10. “I like my left shoulder higher than my right.”
– You’re not alone. Take a look around you and notice how out of balance many people are. I know a good tailor who can cover it up for you.
9. “The tingling and numbness in my fingers is actually starting to feel good.”
– Great, get used to it. It will get worse. Maybe, if your lucky, you’ll get to have surgery someday.
8. “These headaches I have everyday are normal. They say so on the commercial on TV.”
– And the drug companies are very glad you are listening to them. Without your help they would not be making multi-billion dollars of profits from drugs.
7. “Real doctors give people shots.”
– Most doctors of chiropractic give people shots…of hope and enthusiasm that maybe there is a solution to their health problems that prescriptions have failed to help.
6. “My mom doesn’t believe in it.”
– Get your mom a dictionary and look it up for her. Not only is chiropractic real, it’s getting more popular everyday.
5. “A friend of a guy I work with said his aunt’s sister-in-law’s older brother was hurt by a chiropractor.”
– Who is this person anyway, if he does exist? If chiropractors were hurting people all the time, their chiropractic malpractice premiums wouldn’t be less than most people’s car insurance.
4. “These pills make me feel good…What was the question?”
– As long as you aren’t using your brain anyway, don’t worry if it doesn’t function with those drugs. Nobody will miss your insights.
3. “My insurance agent thinks chiropractors are quacks.”
– Tell her to be careful. A chiropractor was awarded $150,000 after suing an insurance agent who called him a quack.
2. “My neck feels fine, so what if I can’t turn to the left.”
– Yeah, right about the time you get hit by the car coming from your left when your taking one of those three right turns to go around the block. Chiropractic helps restore full range of motion and improves that field of view.
And now, (drum roll please)… the number one reason not to try chiropractic…
1. “Surgery makes more sense to me. I’ve already had my gallbladder out. Who needs these organs anyway?”
– You’re right. The human body suffers from poor design, only to be improved upon by removing all the internal parts and replacing them with plastic and pills. Of course, there’s always more money to be made fixing a broken car than in regular maintenance. I’m just one of those crazy people who believes in changing the oil before the engine blows up.
Chiropractic is not a matter of belief or faith, it’s real and it works. Millions of people, including most professional sports teams are starting to realize this every year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

THE GROWING ROLE OF CHIROPRACTIC IN CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION

There are few things harder for a childbirth educator to watch than a couple who tried desperately to achieve a natural birth have it slip through their fingers. How do well-prepared people sometimes end up with a birth very different than the one they planned?

There are many answers to that question, but one that I and many other childbirth educators have seen play out over and over again goes something like this: The mother works hard during her pregnancy, reading, exercising, eating well, learning to relax and understand the labor process. Ideally, her partner works right alongside her in this journey and they grow closer together as they anticipate the birth of their precious baby.


After laboring for hours on their own, the couple heads to their birth place. Mom is not very dilated despite hours and hours of what felt like hard labor. Mom is getting tired. The pain in her back keeps intensifying and nothing seems to help. Eventually the exhaustion and pain cause Mom and Dad to opt for pain relief via an epidural. The epidural is placed and Mom is confined to her bed. The labor goes on. The baby won’t descend. Heart tones become non-reassuring. Mom is often diagnosed as either failure to progress or with cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD).
The long-anticipated labor finally begins! Mom starts laboring. But the contractions are harder than she anticipated. She feels them in her back and the contractions are irregular. Some last more than a minute, others for just a few seconds.

After hours of work and extreme fatigue, the baby is born via cesarean section.

The parents are glad for a healthy baby but are confused and wondering why their birth didn’t turn out the way they had planned.

What causes a labor to proceed in such a manner? The answer, often, is as simple as positioning. As anybody intimately acquainted with labor and birth knows, the baby’s position can be just as important as the mother’s. Yet sometimes all the education, preparation and exercise in the world will not ensure a properly positioned baby if the mother is not receiving good chiropractic care.

Chiropractic is often the missing link when it comes to natural birth preparation.

As a childbirth instructor, I taught for some time before I realized the importance of chiropractic as a key ingredient—an ingredient which is frequently left out of good childbirth classes. But finally it seems as though the wisdom of whole-body healthcare and the necessity of a balanced spine and pelvis in healthy birth is becoming accepted for what it is: an integral part of birth preparation.

I love chiropractic and teach it in my classes. (I am even married to a chiropractor!) But I wanted to share more than just my experience with you today. I have collected many testimonials from women with varied stories. Listen to what they have to say about the benefits of chiropractic care in pregnancy, labor and birth.


The Chiropractor’s Role

Often the realization of the importance of chiropractic comes when we see the difference it makes in our own pregnancy in reducing pain and increasing comfort.

Countless women share stories like these:

“Five months into my third pregnancy I experienced back pain so severe that I had to go to the ER. The doctors shrugged their shoulders and told me to rest. The spasms made walking impossible. The pain was beyond anything I had experienced, and I had given birth twice! Pain medication was not an option. My mom had me call our family chiropractor, Ken Oikawa, first thing the next day. In two weeks I had no pain and a much better understanding of how to take care of my back in pregnancy.” 

— Cori Gentry, Salinas, CA

For Cori, chiropractic care helped her have a more enjoyable and healthy pregnancy. Of course, chiropractic can do so much more during pregnancy than eliminate unnecessary pain. It can also have a deep and lasting impact on the emotional health of the woman. A pregnant woman who is in excruciating pain or overwhelmed with fears regarding her body’s ability to function is not just experiencing physical symptoms; she is experiencing emotional stress as well. Those who understand the impact of the mind-body connection know that this is no laughing matter.

This woman’s story is a testament to that:

“There are so many things that chiropractic care can help with or outright fix. I had an SI sprain that caused me to limp around like a sad whale in the last trimester. My chiropractor soon set me on the path to recovery, and was able to tell me why it happened and how to prevent further injury. A good chiropractor understands the body as a whole in a more intimate way than most medical doctors who specialize or focus on illness. The multitude of changes in your body cause stress, no matter how stress-free your life. Chiropractic care helps regulate and calm the stresses of pregnancy. A chiropractor friend of mine says if you’re going to be adjusted twice in your life, it should be right before and shortly after you give birth. I would add that chiropractic care along the way helps prevent problems and added body stress in pregnancy.”

—Lauren McClain, Bowie, MD

Think what a difference would be made in maternity care if every pregnant woman simply enjoyed her pregnancy more because of chiropractic care. Shazia, a first-time mom who had the natural birth she had prepared for, credits her skilled chiropractor for more than just pain relief, but for a fabulous labor as well.

“Before I started seeing my chiropractor, Dr. Kristen, I could barely walk and was in so much pain. By the end of my pregnancy, not only could I walk pain-free, but I felt amazing! In addition, I know that routine chiropractic care contributed to my fast, complication-free labor. I can’t imagine going through pregnancy and birth without chiropractic care. One of the best things I received from my childbirth educator was the referral to an amazing chiropractor!”

—Shazia Lackey, Dallas, TX

Of course, chiropractic care can help eliminate pain, but another thing that you quickly realize when working with birthing women is that chiropractic can help labor to simply proceed normally. A labor that stops and starts or just won’t get going can be caused by a subluxated mother and a baby that can’t get into an optimal position because of it. Megan’s story is a great example of this:

“I have seen chiropractors all my life, so when I got pregnant, naturally I continued care. Despite that, I still had pain for seven months until I switched to a Webster-certified chiropractor. My tailbone was jutting into my birth canal. My new chiropractor fixed this seven-month-long problem in two visits. She also stimulated a twoweek- long prodromal labor into active labor and adjusted me in labor. I am absolutely certain I would have had a C-section for obstructed birth and baby malposition if not for her.”

—Meghan Hughes, Fort Worth, TX

Regular chiropractic care should be an integral part of maternity care for every pregnant woman to improve both physical and emotional health.


Special Situations

Chiropractic is valuable for every pregnant woman, but for women with unique situations such as malpositioned babies or previous cesarean section, chiropractic can mean the difference between a vaginal and a surgical birth. A true gift that some particularly dedicated chiropractors give their patients is the option of receiving a chiropractic adjustment while they are in labor. This is something that many teachers encourage their students to look for in a chiropractor because it can be so beneficial. Jen says:

“My opinion on chiropractic care during pregnancy is that it is essential. You wouldn’t drive a car if it was out of alignment, so why would you prepare for birth that way? I would attribute how smooth my labor and delivery was to the chiropractic care I received during my pregnancy and labor. Thanks again to Dr. Dodge for coming to our house while I was in labor! My daughter’s head was tilted inside and it was slowing down my labor; he adjusted me and we headed to the birth center. Korie arrived soon after.”

—Jenn Lovett, Irving, TX

While the importance of chiropractic for every pregnant woman is starting to be appreciated, others, especially midwives, have long realized that chiropractic has a particular place of importance in encouraging a breech baby to turn. I asked Lauren McClain to talk about this. As a woman who had a cesarean section for a footling breech baby and as founder of MyBreechBaby.org, she is passionate about both breech birth options and ways to avoid breech, when possible.

“These problems [subluxation] can cause misalignment of the uterine area that can encourage a baby to be malpositioned,” says McClain. “The most extreme of these is breech presentation, where the baby is butt- or feet-down. Luckily, chiropractic care by an experienced doctor can also help a good majority of butt-down babies turn head-down through the Webster technique. This technique is both safe and powerful. Everything in your body is connected, and in pregnancy that includes your baby. Your body most definitely affects your baby’s body. So get your body in line!”

In a typical hospital situation, a woman with a breech baby is given only one choice: C-section.

The prevalence of cesarean section in the current obstetric climate has become so widespread that it has gained the attention of national news syndicates and has even garnered a statement from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In 2010, ACOG issued less-restrictive policies for women seeking a vaginal birth following a cesarean, but most women still find great difficulty in attaining the birth they desire. As an educator, I know that a woman attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) in a pro-cesarean environment will require extra care and effort. The following woman had a natural birth after two cesareans and reveals how chiropractic helped make her VBAC a reality.

“As a VBA2C mom, there are so many things that can rise against you. I saw my chiropractor throughout my pregnancy, and my persistently acynclitic daughter’s position was corrected. After some prodromal labor, I left the chiropractor’s office and had my baby two and a half hours later. It was great that with all I faced, my stress was reduced, due to my chiropractor’s role in my life. As an instructor, I love to explain the benefits to moms who are dealing with pressure and pain. When a woman puts so much effort into a wonderful birth, chiropractic is one more amazing tool in your birth box!”

—Tara Quinn, Alvarado, TX

As an educator, there are few things as triumphant as a woman having a healthy, natural birth when the odds are against her. We must give women the knowledge and care they need so they are well-armed for any birth that comes their way.


Chiropractic and Childbirth Education

It seems obvious that a skilled chiropractor can have a phenomenal impact on pregnancy, labor and birth. Despite this fact, few childbirth educators are talking about chiropractic as a way to ensure a better birth. This, however, is starting to change. I asked Donna Ryan, founder and president of Birth Boot Camp, why she included chiropractic in every 10-week series she and her instructors teach. Her answer is powerful.

“I have seen, literally, dozens of women helped by Webster-certified chiropractors during their pregnancies and labors,” says Ryan. “I have worked as a childbirth educator since 2003, but it wasn’t until I met Kristen Hosaka, D.C., a Webster-certified chiropractor, in 2009, that I really learned about the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period. She has been a regular guest speaker in my childbirth classes ever since! My couples are having more comfortable pregnancies, babies in better positions, and good birth experiences.”

Donna had seen how chiropractic improved the births of hundreds of her students. As she developed her own natural childbirth education curriculum, she included chiropractors as an important part of the birth team. “When I was writing the Birth Boot Camp curriculum, there was never any doubt that chiropractic would be a part of the program,” she says. “When we refer to the birth team, it encompasses the midwife, doula and chiropractor! Couples who take the classes online have the privilege of hearing from Dr. Hosaka and witness her adjusting a pregnant woman. Couples that take live classes will often have the opportunity to hear from a Webster-certified chiropractor when he or she visits as a guest speaker.”

Getting the chance to meet, talk with, and watch a skilled chiropractor work is a powerful part of Birth Boot Camp classes. Many pregnant women fear chiropractic, especially during pregnancy. Meeting with a doctor of chiropractic and seeing him or her in action is a powerful teaching technique and is part of the reason the students feel so comfortable seeking chiropractic care. Claire Dodge, another Birth Boot Camp instructor, has also noticed the positive change that chiropractic can bring to her students’ births, both physically and emotionally.

“Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, by a skilled doctor trained in Webster technique, makes a world of difference in a woman’s experience of pregnancy and birth,” says Dodge. “The common aches and pains of pregnancy are resolved, and the baby is typically able to choose an optimal position for birth. The families in my classes who chose to incorporate chiropractic care into their prenatal care have visibly happier, healthier pregnancies. Evidence has shown that women under chiropractic care report easier births, shorter labor times, and lower rates of interventions. I am always happy for families that chose to add in chiropractic care, because it often significantly impacts their pregnancy and birth experience for the better.”

When you work with pregnant women who desire a natural birth, you will quickly come to understand the importance of chiropractic in achieving their goals. With all the other information and knowledge we share with birthing women, it makes sense to include the role of chiropractic as an aid in optimal birth.

Those who care for birthing women don’t just want them to survive the birth process. We want women and families to have a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy. We want these families to have a glorious and triumphant birth. We want birth to be experienced as it is meant to be: full of joy and power. Chiropractic is an essential part of not just birth, but childbirth education, and it has the ability to change birth as we know it.

Pathways Issue 41 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #41.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Checkmate

Checkmate

Checkmate
Chiropractic Care and the Game of Life
As with the game of chess, success in the game of life requires planning and preparation. Such success depends in large part on long-term health and well being. Chiropractic care is a key component of any winning strategy for supporting a happy and productive life.
In contrast to medical care, which focuses on symptoms and disease, chiropractic care focuses on your body’s innate ability to promote wellness. It may be necessary, at times, to utilize the medical model to treat specific problems, but obtaining wellness over years and decades depends on your body’s innate ability to heal itself. Chiropractic care facilitates these innate healing processes by aligning your spine. This, in turn, provides an environment in which nerve signals can flow freely from your brain to the rest of your body. This freely flowing exchange of information provides optimal functioning of all your body’s cells, tissues, and organs. The long-term result is enhanced health and well being, thanks to the assistance of chiropractic care.
In chess, checkmate occurs when a player’s king is under attack and has no safe place to go. The king is threatened and every possible escape route is blocked. Such an existential condition, an allegorical “no exit,” is known as checkmate.
In life, a person may be similarly threatened by a serious illness. For example, a person may receive a diagnosis for which there is no effective long-term treatment. Short-term, temporary solutions may be available, but these usually require enormous expenditures of resources, both financial and personal. Most often, when the temporary fix has run its course, the illness persists and the long-term outlook remains the same. Optimally, we would prefer to avoid such medical “checks” and avoid being faced with an untimely “checkmate.” As in chess, obtaining success with respect to our health and well being depends in large part on having a sound strategy in place.
Successful chess players think several moves ahead. High-level chess players such as grand masters have the ability to envision combinations involving ten or more future moves. Fortunately, being successful at the game of promoting personal health and well being is much less complicated. There are only a few elements involved in developing a strategy that works.
These elements are well known and include (1) regular, vigorous exercise; (2) a healthy diet1; (3) sufficient rest; and (4) a positive mental attitude. But despite being well known, only the minority of people actually implements these critical “moves.” The evidence for such lack of action may be seen in the United States, for example, where one-third of Americans are overweight and additional one-third are obese. Merely knowing something is not sufficient to obtain a result.
What is required is actual action.2 In terms of exercise, evidence-based guidelines agree that 30 minutes of vigorous exercise, done five days a week, will provide a sound foundation for health. Optimally, such exercise consists of both cardiovascular and strength training sessions, but the most important point is to do five 30-minute sessions per week. With respect to diet, all the evidence affirms that men, women, and children should follow specific calorie-intake guidelines.3For example, a moderately active man, aged 31-50, should consume, on average, 2500 calories per day. A moderately active woman, aged 31-50, should consume, on average, 2000 calories per day. A man intending to lose weight, and then maintain an ideal weight, should take in about 1800 calories per day. A woman intending to lose weight, and then maintain an ideal weight, should consume about 1600 calories per day. Regarding daily food intake, the most important rule to follow is to consume at least five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day. It is also important, on a daily basis, to eat foods from all the major food groups. In terms of rest, most people require seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This may not be possible every night, of course, but over time people need to obtain the right amount of rest for them. The criterion is simple: if you do not feel rested after a night’s sleep, then you did not obtain sufficient sleep. Obtaining sufficient rest is an often-neglected component of a well-rounded health and wellness strategy.
Our strategy for helping ensure our long-term health and wellness contains only a few components, and involves many less moves than does a winning chess strategy. It should be easy to put such a strategy into place. What is required is a commitment and dedication to ourselves, our families, and our loved ones.
1Voeghtly LM, et al: Cardiometabolic risk reduction in an intensive cardiovascular health program. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 23(7):662-669, 2013
2Carson V, et al: A cross-sectional study of the environment, physical activity, and screen time among young children and their parents. BMC Public Health 2014 Jan 21;14:61. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-61
3Wang YC, et al: Reaching the healthy people goals for reducing childhood obesity: closing the energy gap. Am J Prev Med 42(5):437-444, 2012