Chiropractic and Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

One problem that many pregnant women complain about is pubic pain. Yet doctors and midwives often dismiss this pain as either “inconsequential,” “unfixable,” or “just one of those pregnancy discomforts that have to be endured.”

Occasionally, some uninformed doctors have even erroneously told women that such pubic pain means that they would need an elective cesarean section to avoid permanent damage to that area during birth, or as a result of prior damage to the area.

Yet none of this is true. Pubic pain in pregnancy is certainly not “inconsequential”; it can also be very difficult to deal with. Although many doctors and midwives do not know what causes it or how to fix it, many women are able to get improvement or relief with chiropractic adjustments or osteopathic manipulation. It is not something that you “just have to live with.” And although extra care should be taken during labor and birth in order to prevent trauma, it absolutely does NOT mean that you must have a cesarean delivery.

Although not every provider has a name for this condition, it is most commonly called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (or SPD), especially in Britain. Other names for it include: pubic shear (an osteopathic term), symphyseal separation, pubic symphysis separation, separated symphysis, pelvic girdle relaxation of pregnancy, and pelvic joint syndrome.

The symptoms of SPD vary from person to person, but almost all women who have it experience substantial pubic pain. Tenderness and pain down low in the front is common, but often this pain feels as if it’s inside. The pubic area is generally very tender to the touch; many moms find it painful when the doctor or midwife pushes down on the pubic bone while measuring the fundal height of the uterus.

Any activity that involves lifting one leg at a time or parting the legs tends to be particularly painful. Lifting the leg to put on clothes, getting out of a car, bending over, sitting down or getting up, walking up stairs, standing on one leg, lifting heavy objects, and walking tend to be difficult at times. Many women report that moving or turning over in bed is especially excruciating.

Many movements become difficult when the pubic symphysis area is affected. Although the greatest pain is associated with movements of lifting one leg or parting the legs, some women experience a “freezing,” where they get up out of bed and find it hard to get their bodies moving right away— the hip bone seems stuck in place and won’t move at first. Or they describe having to wait for it to “pop into place” before being able to walk. The range of hip movement is usually affected, and hip abduction is especially painful. Many women also report sciatica when pubic pain is present. SPD can also be associated with bladder dysfunction, especially when going from lying down (or squatting) to a standing position. Some women also feel a “clicking” when they walk or shift a certain way, or lots of pressure down low near the pubic area.

Many women with SPD also report very strong round ligament pain (pulling or tearing feelings in the abdomen when rolling over, moving suddenly, sneezing, coughing, getting up, etc.). Some chiropractors feel that round ligament pain can be an early symptom of SPD problems, and indicate the need for adjustments. Other providers consider round ligament pain normal, part of the body adjusting to the growing uterus. If experienced with pubic and/or low back pain, round ligament pain is probably associated with the SPD.

Indeed, although pubic pain often does go away after pregnancy, many women find that it sticks around afterward, usually diminished but still present. If the underlying causes are not treated, long-term pain usually sticks around. Anecdotally, this often seems to be associated with long-term low back pain or reduced flexibility in the hips. Even worse, if the mother is mishandled during the birth, the pubic symphysis can separate even more or be permanently damaged. This is called Diastasis Symphysis Pubis.

Although the best idea may be to resolve chronic SPD pain through realigning the pelvic girdle and soft tissues, most women have some residual pubic and low back discomfort sticking around during pregnancy and the early postpartum weeks because of hormones. Therefore, tips for coping with pubic pain tend to be a focus of many SPD websites.

Many of the suggestions include:

Use a pillow between your legs or under your “pregnancy bump” when sleeping

Try to keep your legs and hips as parallel as possible when moving or turning in bed

Some women report a waterbed mattress to be helpful and swimming may help relieve pressure on the joint

Deep water aerobics or deep water running may be helpful as well.

Keep your legs close together and move symmetrically

When standing, stand symmetrically, with your weight evenly distributed through both legs

Sit down to get dressed, especially when putting on underwear or pants

 Avoid “straddle” movements

An ice pack may feel soothing and help reduce inflammation in the pubic area

…………….

Modified excerpt from: Pelvic Pain: Symphysis, Pubis, Dysfunction by Pamela Vireday. Read more in Pathways: http://www.pathwaystofamilywellness.org

 

 

Faith VS Certainty

Dr. Brene Brown says, “Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of uncertainty.”  

I have been investing time in thought around the difference between faith and certainty, or the lack of.  I have years of practice (religion, environment, experience, etc) that encourages me to embrace faith in my spiritual life.  There seems to be a growing intuitive compulsion to practice faith in the realm of health, especially natural healing.  It has been a journey to say the least.  I am hopeful that this journey continues.  I have seen the practice of faith lend miracles.  It is a power that I honor and revere, but it is far from understood.  I think that is the beauty of it….we are not meant to understand, just believe….be courageous!

A patient delivered her gratitude for this phenomenon in the form of a hand-made card.  She writes:

Dr. Taryn

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I want to express to you how thankful I am that God placed me in your care to guide me on my journey to healing.  In May 2012 I found myself going down an unfamiliar path of dealing with several physical issues, and for some reason the majority of my pain manifested itself in my lower back and hip.  Something inside of me told me that all the issues I was dealing with had one root cause, and yet I couldn’t get anyone else to believe me.  I spent 7 months trying to deal with the issues myself.  I visited a couple of medical doctors that wanted to medicate the issues without getting to the root of all the problems, and that only added to my frustration.  I got to the point where I couldn’t stand the pain any loner and in January I found myself sitting in your waiting room.  After consulting with you I felt as though I finally found someone with a listening ear and the ability to address ALL that was going on with me.  I felt such a sense of peace when I left your office that day!  At that time I would have never dreamed all the things that I would learn on the other side of this journey….

First, I have learned to trust the God given instincts that He has given to me with the things concerning my body.  Secondly, I have learned to trust the peace that God gives to me when He leads me in a certain direction and to stay on that course and finish it.  I am so thankful God kept leading my path to you…..it was the only place my heart found peace and my body began to heal.  Thirdly, I have learned that my body is an amazing miracle that is complex and intertwined!  I have learned that if I treat the whole body….including the mind, spirit and emotion….then healing can begin.  I would have never guessed that all I was experiencing had so much to do with my chemical makeup and with what I was feeding it both physically and mentally.

My journey has had its ups and downs, but I finally feel like I am reaching the end.  I feel as though I have found peace in my heart.  In my mind, and in my body!  You have shared with me a vast amount of knowledge and have been my support and cheerleader throughout this journey….not to mention the many times your healing hands have brought relief to my hurting body 🙂  My words fall so short of what my heart feels and to simply say “thank you” seems very inadequate….but my words are all I have.  God has used you in my life to help me find my way to healing and I will forever be grateful!

My heart overflows with gratitude – Teresa Diener

I don’t know that I could say it any better than that.  When you listen to your “guts” and act in faith, truely amazing things can happen!

Sometimes we are blessed with confirmation through bloodwork or imaging  of a diagnosis (aka certainty).  From that diagnosis there is often a recommendation for treatment that can either prevent progression of the condition or resolve it.  BUT….more often than not, we are not given certainty.  It is very common to consult a healthcare professional with a symptom, maybe multiple symptoms, and a treatment is recommended as a trial.  Notice I used the word trial.  The practice of medicine usually starts with a differential of diagnosis.  One symptom could be a product of countless conditions.  A healthcare professional has to gather data from the patient and combine it with knowledge of disease/health that they have to conclude the list of possible conditions.  Again, we are occassionally blessed by a lab test or imaging that can confirm a single condition.  More often, treatment is recommended based on the more common or more likely condition, hence a trial of treatment, reducing and/or resolving the condition.

With a different pair of glasses on you can consider the power of adding good 🙂  Let’s say you are admitted to the hospital for 3 days for a cardiac procedure.  Of course the heart is an important organ.  The procedure is necessary to keep you alive.  Let’s also say you were denied food and water for those 3 days.  How would a lack of nutrition and hydration affect your ability to endure the procedure?  Recover?  Thrive?  I think everyone would agree, you would have to add food and water during your stay at the hospital to endure, recover and thrive.  The importance of nutrition and hydration, among many other “good” additions to our body, can be a game-changer when it comes to healing.  We all know what we should do to stay healthy; what if the right combination of  consistent “good” could be the key to our prosperity, even when there is disease present?

We need a myriad of “good” in our lives to thrive.  Everyone priortizes them a little different, but to name a few: food, water, relaxation, purpose, supplementation, sleep, exercise, oxygen, adjustments, detoxification, connection to others and positivity.  How often do we priortize the needs of others: work, school, friends, status, church, etc?  The  constant demand to serve immediate needs (of ourselves or others) at the expense of our long-term needs can rob us of our health!

It is often easy to convince yourself that a prescription medication that has been researched and approved by the FDA will help hault progression or resolve your condition.  What gives you that certainty?  Can you think of areas of “good” that you have neglected in your health?  Could you convince yourself, in the presence of a symptom/condition, that simply adding good would help you heal?

Every body is unique.  Every body has strength and weakness.  Every body handles germs, inflammation, pain and stress differently.  Strive to find the perfect combination of provider, treatment, faith and certainty that is right for you!  Never doubt your intuition, even if it challenges the norm!  Regardless of your religion or belief in a higher power, believe in YOU!  Find a proposal that delivers an inner peace and follow through!  Remember Teresa’s discovery, the “body is an amazing miracle that is complex and intertwined!  I have learned that if I treat the whole body….including the mind, spirit and emotion….then healing can begin.”

In Loving Service,

Dr. Taryn

10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Chiropractic Care ~ Dr. O’Maley

1. Pain is the last symptom of dysfunction. A patient’s back is often restricted or unstable for months or years before it presents as a problem and they show up in a chiropractor’s office. In addition, the absence of pain is not health. While medication may be needed, if you take a pill and the pain goes away, the dysfunction that caused it still persists. Muscle, ligament and joint injuries often occur as a result of long-term biomechanical dysfunction, sometimes from past injuries, making the area more susceptible to future injury.

2. Athletes use chiropractors to stay well and perform better, not just for the occasional injury.

Athletes choose chiropractors because we are movement specialists. Chiropractors were spotted all over the Olympic coverage last year, and top athletes such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, Evander Holyfield, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have all been proud patients of chiropractors. These days it’s far more common than not for major athletes and sports teams to keep chiropractors nearby to help prevent injuries, speed injury recovery, improve balance and coordination, and give them a greater competitive edge.

3. The body does not perform as a cluster of separate mechanisms, but rather a cascade of events that all starts with proper control by the nervous system.

The nerves that travel through and control every function of your body originate at the spinal cord and their transmission may be disrupted if the joints of the surrounding spinal column are not moving properly. This disruption in biomechanical integrity combined with altered physiological function is what chiropractors call a subluxation. Below is a chart that illustrates the relationship of the spinal nerves exiting the vertebra branching off to the various organ systems. You can see why it is not uncommon for a chiropractor to treat a patient with mid-back pain who also suffers from irritable bowel system, a patient with a subluxated sacrum who has been unsuccessfully trying to become pregnant, or a patient with an upper back fixation and acid reflux.

10 Things Most People Dont Know About Chiropractic

4. Doctors don’t do the healing.

Sorry to disappoint you, but a chiropractor will never fix your back. What we are able to do is restore proper motion in the joints, which relieves tension on the nerves and muscles and allows your body to do the healing that it is inherently made to do. As chiropractors, we believe that the body is a perfect organism in its natural state, and all disease comes from a disruption in the body’s proper transmission of signals by the nerves which affects its ability to heal and to defend against disease-causing agents. We never treat disease. We assess to find which spinal levels are causing the disfunction, and we adjust it to restore proper nerve flow so the nervous system may work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

5. Chiropractic is for all ages. Many seniors aren’t aware of the benefits of chiropractic care which can help them not only with pain relief, but also increase range of motion, balance and coordination, and decrease joint degeneration. There’s no patient too young for chiropractic either! Chiropractors check infants moments after birth for misalignments of the upper vertebrae that may occur as a result of the birth process. In addition to supporting overall health and well-being, parents also take their children to chiropractors to encourage healthy brain and nervous system development, to assist with colic, asthma, allergies, bed-wetting and sleeping problems, and to assist with behavioral disorders.

6. We know about more than your backbone! This surprises many people who had no idea that chiropractors give advice on nutrition, fitness, ergonomics and lifestyle, screen for conditions unrelated to the musculoskeletal system and refer out to other practitioners when necessary. Chiropractors are also able to complete specialties in other areas such as pediatrics, sports rehabilitation, neurology, clinical nutrition, and addictions and compulsive disorders.

Other than particular specialties and the differences in learning to adjust and learning to prescribe medication, our training hours are not dissimilar from that of medical doctor. The following are the classroom hours for basic science requirements compiled and averaged following a review of curricula of 18 chiropractic schools and 22 medical schools.

10 Things Most People Dont Know About Chiropractic

7. Successful chiropractic patients accept responsibility. When somebody says that they tried chiropractic and it didn’t help, I cringe and get the feeling that they really missed the boat. Of course, there are cases with complicating factors, but I have heard this from people with straightforward chiropractic problems when it is very clear what has happened here. In most cases, one doesn’t acquire back pain over night, and it’s not going to go away over night. If a weak core from years of sitting at your desk is to blame for the additional stress on your joints, I would expect an adjustment to provide relief, but once the condition is no longer exacerbated, I would most definitely prescribe some exercises for you to do at home. I might also suggest we evaluate your nutrition if I suspect an inflammatory diet may be wiring you for pain. Sure, I’m always happy to adjust someone and make a living, but if you’ve been given homework and you don’t do it, I better not hear you say chiropractic didn’t work when you’re hurting again!

8. Chiropractic may help you get sick less. Studies have indicated that adjustments consistently reduce the production of pro-inflammatory mediators associated with tissue damage and pain, and may also enhance the production of immunoregulatory complexes important for healthy immune system defense. As far back as the deadly flu pandemic of 1917-1918, chiropractors noticed that their patients seemed to have fewer fatalities than among the general population and were able to publish their work in an osteopathic journal since no scholarly journals were accepting chiropractic data. The estimated death rate among patients of conventional medical care in the U.S. was estimated at 5 to 6 percent while the fatality rate among influenza cases receiving spinal adjustments was estimated at 0.25%.

9. “I heard I’ll have to go forever” is a myth. You may want to go to your chiropractor forever once you’ve started because you didn’t realize how great getting adjusted is, but your doctor won’t expect you to come for continuous care without symptoms. Generally, if you come in with pain, once you’ve been treated for your initial complaint, you’ll be scheduled for a few more appointments to make sure proper motion is being maintained, then it will be recommended you return occasionally to be checked just like you would go to the dentist to get checked for tartar buildup and cavities. Of course, many people still choose to see their chiropractor weekly or monthly for wellness or maintenance care.

10. Adjustments don’t hurt. There is no bone snapping or warrior-style pulling heads off spinal columns! The neck adjustment some chiropractors use causes anticipation for many new patients, but is actually much more gentle than they imagined, and involves a quick, direct thrust to a specific spinal bone. The sound an adjustment makes is called a cavitation and is only space being created within the joint causing gasses to be released from the joint capsule, which creates the popping or cracking noise. Also, chiropractic adjustments will not wear out your joints, as some imagine because they have been warned not to “crack their knuckles” for this reason in the past. Adjustments, unlike “knuckle cracking” or having your friend stomp on you while you lay on the carpet, are applied specifically to improve the motion of your joints and limit the small dysfunctions that over time can lead to arthritis. Most people after an adjustment describe the feeling as being “lighter”, having greater ease in moving the body, and being able to stand up taller.

Resources:

http://www.yourmedicaldetective.com/drgrisanti/mddc.htm

http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=9485

This blog was authored by Erin O’Maley, DC.  We loving shared it to help expand the knowledge of chiropractic to our readers 🙂

To learn more about Dr. O’Maley, visit their website!

Water**Aqua**Voda**das Wasser**Acqua

ImageHere’s a little motivation to review your water intake!!  I just love this picture!!  A good general rule is 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water EVERYday (ie: 100 lb person should drink at least 50 oz of water).  Other non-water liquids (tea, soda, coffee, beer, wine, etc) increase your daily water demands.  A great place to start your path to hydration is making a log of just how much water you consume.  Log it for a week and then start with small goals to gradually increase your consumption!  Happy HYDRATING!!

OsteOOOHHHH-Arthritis

Sharing a little about osteoarthritis today!!  Some references use terms such as arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA), degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease (DJD) or osteoarthrosis.  Depending on which specialty doctor you consult, there may be some variation in these disorders, but for the simplicity of our purposes we are talking about the same thing – inflammation of a joint.  OA is the most common form of joint inflammation, commonly leading to degeneration of the joint over time in the absence of diagnosis and proper care.

Osteoarthritis is characterized by:

  •  mild, early-morning stiffness
  • stiffness following periods of rest
  • pain that worsens on joint use
  • loss of joint function
  • local tenderness
  • soft tissue and/or bony swelling
  • joint crepitus
  • restricted mobility
  • X-Ray findings of narrowed joint space, cartilage erosion, bone spurs, etc.
I have suggested the article on Osteoarthritis out of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND on countless occassions for patients at the office and for casual conversations away from the office. I would like to share a little from the cover about the doctors, then a few excerpts, and conclude with just a few extras about joint inflammation.

Dr. Murray is a naturopath and leading researcher in the field of natural medicine.  He is a faculty member of Seattle’s Bastyr University, one of the world’s foremost institutions of naturopathic learning.  In addition, Dr. Murray maintains a private practice and has authored over 20 books.

Dr. Pizzorno is a prominent naturopath physician, researcher and educator, along with the founding president of Bastyr University.  He is also the author of Total Wellness (Prima).

WHAT IS NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE?
As defined at naturopathic.org: Naturopathic medicine is based on the belief that the human body has an innate healing ability. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) teach their patients to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting edge natural therapies to enhance their bodies’ ability to ward off and combat disease. Naturopathic physicians craft comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but to also restore health.

SOME INTERESTING EXCERPTS

Weight-baring joints are more often affected – knees, hips and spine.

Osteoarthritis is divided into 2 categories: primary and secondary.  In Primary OA, the degenerative “wear and tear” process occurs after the fifth and sixth decades of life, with no apparent predisposing abnormalities.  Secondary OA is associated with some predisposing factor that is responsible for the degenerative changes (ie inherited abnormalities, trauma, previous inflammatory disease).

Onset can be subtle.  Morning joint stiffness is commonly the first symptom.  As the disease progresses, there is pain on motion of the involved joint that is made worse by prolonged activity and relieved by rest.  There are usually NO SIGNS OF INFLAMMATION.

One of the most interesting clinical features of OA is the lack of coorelation between severity of OA (determined by degenerative changes on XRay) and the degree of pain.

Depression and anxiety appear to increase the experience of the pain of OA.

Some of the side effects of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Nuprin, Advil), piroxicam (Feldene), diclofenac (Voltaren), fenoprofen (Nalfon), indomethacin (Indocin), naproxen (Naprosyn), tolmetin (Tolectin), and sulindac (Clinoril) – are well-known: gastrointestinal upset, ulcer formation, headaches, dizziness, etc.  A less well-known side effect is FURTHER DEGENERATION OF THE JOINT CARTILAGE.  Experimental studies have shown that aspirin and other NSAIDs inhibit cartilage synthesis and accelerate cartilage destruction.  Clinical studies have also shown that NSAID use is associated with acceleration of osteoarthritis and increased joint destruction.

There is a considerable amont of evidence that hormonal forces may initiate or accelerate the development of OA……tamoxifen (an ANTI-estrogen drug) relieves it by decreasing erosion of the cartilage…..compounds containing phytoestrogen activity are capable of binding to estrogen receptors and acting as estrogen antagonists…..perhaps the best way to increase the intake of phytoestrogens is to increase the intake of food sources of phytoestrogens (fennel, celery, parsley, nuts, whole grains and apples).

Norman Childers popularized a diet that treated OA by eliminating nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tobacco.

The Framingham Osteoarthritis Cohort Study indicates that a high intake of antioxidant nutrients, especially Vitamin C, may reduce the risk of cartilage loss and inhibit progression of the disease in people who have OA….Both Vitamin E and C appear to enhance the stability of sulfated proteoglycans in the complex structure comprising articular cartilage.

Botanicals such as bromelain, curcumin and ginger have anti-inflammatory effects that can be helpful in the management of OA.

Boswellic acid extracts have demonstrated anti-arthritic effects in a variety of trials.

Glucosamine sulfate (Gs) promotes cartilage synthesis.  Gs was significantly more effective than the placebo in improving pain and movement after only four weeks of use…..the longer glucosamine sulfate is used, the more obvious the therapeutic benefit.  Double blind studies have shown that Gs produces better long-term results than NSAIDs in relieving pain and inflammation of OA…..Gs not only relieves the symptoms, including pain, it also helps the body repair damaged joints (note: obesity reduces the effectiveness of Gs; higher dosages may be required for obese patients)

Dr. William Kaufman, and later Dr. Abram Hoffer, reported very good clinical results in the treatment of hundreds of patients with RA and OA using high-dose niacinamide….research was later conducted that demonstrated niacinamide produced a 29% improvement in pain, range of motion and flexibility as compared to a 10% worsening in the placebo group. (note: high doses of niacinamide can result in significant side effects and should only be used under strict physician supervision)

Nonpharmacological approaches to pain in OA:

  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Laser therapy
  • Massage
  • Ultrasound
  • Psychological aids
  • They forgot chiropractic in this list 😦

If you consult the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine you will find many more of the details in this article, including a treatment summary with suggested doseages.  It is a really neat book to have in your library anyhow; lots of valueable information with research-backed credibility.

DR. TARYN’S COMMENTS:

So, I must start with how chiropractic care can aid in the management and/or resolution of osteoarthritis!  Drs. Murray and Pizzorno mention adding chiropractic care in their treatment summary.  I would recommend a chiropractic evaluation to anyone…wait, EVERYone who has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or who has the related symptoms!!

RESEARCH SAYS

The journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, reported that an 63% of patients seeing a rheumatologist for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia, sought out some type of complementary care and alternative medicine (CAM).  Of these individuals, a full 31% visited a chiropractor at least one time.  More importantly, 73% of the individuals with arthritis that did seek a chiropractor’s help found chiropractic therapy helpful.  In another report, the US Agency for Health Care Policy and Research stated that chiropractic care is helpful in overcoming acute back pain.

IT’S THE NATURAL CHOICE

The whole basis of chiropractic is the adjustment.  The chiropractic adjustment can be applied to any joint in the body.  Chiropractors learn various techniques that prepare them to evaluate and adjust the spine as well as extremities (ankle, knee, wrist, elbow, shoulder, jaw).

As I mentioned earlier, OA primarily affects the weight-baring joints.  Weight-baring joints are influenced by physical, chemical and emotional stress just like any other joint.  There is a noteable difference in the physical stress of these joints though – gravity!  Weight-baring joints are impacted by gravity making posture, gait, footwear, sitting/standing/walking surfaces, objects in back pockets when seated (wallet, phone, etc), number of hours/day in prolonged weight-baring postures, and many other factors are very significant in the development of not only the inflammatory process, but especially the long-term degenerative process.

This is extra important so let me say this again, differently.  Some resources say that 80% of people over the age of 50 have osteoarthritis.  So lets take a male who is 53 years old for example.  Consider the “wear and tear” on his spine, particularly the weight-baring joints, given the following:

  • 30 lbs overweight
  • asymmetric posture – forward head carriage, slumped shoulders and chest
  • shoes that are worn on the soles and the arch support is broken down
  • carries his wallet (approximately 2″ thick) in his back, right pocket
  • 25 minute commute each way to work (sitting on his wallet)
  • high stress (bills, deadlines, illness in the family, etc) + high blood pressure
  • when he walks, his left foot flares out and his right tracks straight ahead
  • occupation requires him to stand, stoop and squat on a concrete surface for 8 hours/day, 5 days/week
  • average American diet with minimal water intake
  • limited quality sleep
  • not currently exercising
  • consumes occassional alcohol and infrequently smokes cigarettes

As you picture this gentleman, try to picture the stress that his spine is under on a daily basis.  Since this picture typically starts in the early part of the 2nd decade for many people, it is no wonder 80% of people over the age of 50 have inflammation eating away at their joints and causing daily pain and discomfort; maybe 30 years of abuse is the statistical limit!  I’m being sarcastic, but you can probably relate to this scenario or know someone who can.  Independently, few of these things are trouble-makers, but when you combine their power on a daily basis – the level of stress accumulates quite quickly!  Chiropractors lovingly work to relieve the stress caused by daily living!

ANOTHER HELPFUL TOOL

Omega Fatty Acids are absolutely essential in the case of osteoarthritis!!  I truely do my best to recommend quality fish oil to all of my patients as a pro-active approach to the daily stresses causing molecular levels of inflammation in all of us!  This is just an exponential need in the OA patients!

The University of Maryland Medical Center’s website shares the following: research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower  risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3  fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for  cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact,  infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during  pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of  omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart  problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.

Read more: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm/#ixzz21sWMX163

Arthritistoday.org has a straightforward article on the benefits of omega 3s in the fights against OA symptoms: http://www.arthritistoday.org/nutrition-and-weight-loss/healthy-eating/food-and-inflammation/fatty-acids-benefits.php

Dr. Chestnut, founder and CEO of Innate Choice, is always a great resource on quality fish oil intake!!!  http://www.innatechoice.com/omegasufficiency.cfm

KEEP MOVIN’

Exercise and motion in general is going to be important to keeping your joints healthy!  There are so many organizations that are creating programs to incorporate fitness into your life – join one!  You can make new friends and connect with old ones by working out together.  If you choose to START a work-out regiment, you might consider consulting a personal trainer or healthcare professional about some of the types of exercise that might best suit your goals.  I find myself recommending yoga quite often.  There are several different types of yoga so do your homework before joining a class.  Once you find a good fit for your pace and needs, you will find there are a lot of physiological, psychological and biomechanical benefits!  This website has a LOT of reasons why yoga is a great choice for your work-out regimen:
http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/yogabenefits.asp

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

Ice, water and rest!  Never underestimate the power of these 3 power-packers!!  Most often my patients report that they have used heat, heat and then some more heat.  Heat is usually within reach and just sounds good for most achy joints (including the spine).  Unfortunately, heat accelerates inflammation.  In the case of chronic inflammation, ice therapy will be much more productive!

Water…need I say more!  Most often patients are just shy of ashamed to admit how little water they consume (Dad, are you reading this!!  LOL!)  I am convinced it is a learned behavior.  Arthur Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology states that “the total amount of water in a man of average weight (70 kilograms) is approximately 40 litres, averaging 57 percent of his total body weight; In a newborn infant, this may be as high as 79 percent of the body weight, but it progressively decreases from birth to old age, most of the decrease occurring during the first 10 years of life. Also, obesity decreases the percentage of water in the body, sometimes to as low as 45 percent. Considering your body is 57% water, maybe try consuming 57% of your daily intake in water!!  WOW!  I can see the look I would get with that one 🙂  Sincerely, you should slowly increase your daily water consumption to meet 1/2 of your body weight in ounces per day.  For each additional serving of non-water you drink, add the equivalent in ounces to your base intake of water.

Finally, rest.  Don’t we all need more of this!  We learned in chiropractic college that your body can never recover lost rest.  Personally, I really enjoy “catching up” on my sleep, but I suppose it is in my head 🙂

Inflammation, just like in the famous case of tendonitis, requires rest!  As best you can, try to get 8 – 10 hours of sleep per night and take naps when your body prompts you.  You heal more efficiently when you are sleeping and it gets rid of the bags under your eyes!!  Just making sure you are invested in this….everyone likes to look at less baggage 🙂

As you can tell, I have had fun sharing this information with you.  I hope that in the light of all the depressing-ness of this topic, you have found hope in the various treatments that all show successful!  Osteoarthritis is a complicated diagnosis due to the complexity of the body’s awesome design and ability to self-heal!  Have faith in your body’s innate power, give it the tools that you decide (hopefully with the help of a healthcare professional – wholistic or otherwise) will help it to heal, and then let it HEAL!!  Be prepared to thrive and celebrate the feeling of motion and life!!

Be blessed in every way!  In loving service,

Dr. Taryn Lowery

May is “Correct Your Posture” Month

 

Question: I think I have poor posture and am wondering if there are any changes I can make that would help?

Answer: Poor posture can cause more problems than you may think. When you slouch, you add more stress to your muscles and joints, which in turn can lead to arthritis and degeneration in your joints. It also impairs your breathing, depriving you of oxygen and making you more tired. It impedes circulation and even digestion, not to mention it has a negative effect on our attitudes.

What are the benefits of good posture?

By consciously improving bone, muscle and joint alignment, there is less wear and tear of these tissues over time.  This is very important in terms of the FUNCTION of these bones, muscles and joints!  Practicing good posture can dramatically improve the longevity of your tissues, contributing to a full, pain-free range of motion, decreased back problems, as well as increased endurance in daily activities.

When you practice good posture, muscles work more efficient and require less energy.   This results in LESS fatigue and muscle strain. Poor posture creates changes in muscle length which results in asymmetrical muscle contraction.  For example, if you drive your car leaned over on your console to your right, you have a lengthened LEFT quadratus lumborum and a shortened RIGHT quadratus lumborum.  Multiply this posture x the number of hours spent in your car each day x the number of days in the year x the number of years you have been driving.  You easily see how this imbalance quickly ADDS up!! 

Oxygen should stand alone!!  Many of us inherit habits of shallow breaths and increased respiration over time, often due to the mechanical disadvantage of POOR POSTURE!  The ability to properly breathe is becoming a rare art!  An article by Carol Krucoff, “Better living through belly breathing” ran in The Seattle Times, May 10, 2000, section C3:  Slow, deep breathing is a powerful anti-stress technique. When you bring air down into the lower portion of the lungs, where the oxygen exchange is most efficient, heart rate slows, blood pressure decreases, muscles relax, anxiety eases and the mind calms.

Good posture also promotes good circulation which not only prevents you from having tingly appendages, but it also aids in getting those much needed nutrients carried by the circulatory system to every joint, muscle and organ!! 

For each good ingredient that is pumped INTO the tissues via the circulatory system, we must have the by-products of your metabolism and various organ systems pumped OUT via the lymphatic system.  Many of the practices of good posture (ie. frequent, short breaks and good alignment) also promote good lymphatic flow.  This system is involuntary and lacks any muscular components, therefore it depends on the contraction and flow of surrounding tissues to work efficiently.  This dependency creates a strong coorelation between good posture and good lymphatic drainage!

Last, but not least, good posture gives you a more confident, vigorous, youthful appearance!

So what is good posture?

Good posture keeps all parts balanced and supported. Reference points for posture analysis include your ears, chin, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.  When standing, it should be possible to draw a straight line along the side of your body from your ear lobe through the shoulders, hip, knee and into the middle of the ankle.  Looking from behind, your ears, shoulders and hips should be balanced left and right.  Each area of the spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and pelvis) adapt according to position (standing, sitting, laying down, etc).  To accomplish good posture, consider this drawing in any position your day demands of you.

Computers are one of the biggest culprits for causing bad posture. If you work at a computer, do the following:

Make sure your chair fits correctly. There should be 2 inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of your knees.

Sit with your knees at approximately 90-120 degree angle. Use an angled foot rest to support your feet.

Position your computer monitor so the top of the screen is at eye level.

Keep your wrist in the neutral position while you type. You may need a wrist rest.

Take frequent, short breaks from your computer. Stretch arms, shoulders and neck during this time.

Travel can be stressful with heavy luggage and sitting for long periods. Keep the following suggestions in mind:

Don’t attempt to carry too much. Be careful with wheeled suitcases as you can twist and hurt your back when pulling on them.

Consider using a back support when sitting. If on an airplane, grab the small pillow that is available. Place this behind the small of your low back to provide good support.

Vary your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps and potential blood clots. Whether in a car or on a plane, move your legs and get up and walk if possible.

Most people watch TV or read for several hours a week. When selecting a living room chair or recliner:

Look for furniture that fits the person who will most often sit in it. One size does NOT fit all.

Find a chair that offers support both to your neck and low back.

Purchase a portable foot rest that can be moved around the room. This will provide added comfort and less stress to your back and neck.

Lastly, sleeping wrong can contribute to poor posture. Consider these tips:

Do not sleep on your stomach. This causes you to twist your neck to breathe, resulting in strain. It also can contribute to low back pain.

If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to relieve pressure on your low back.

When on your side, your neck wants to be in alignment with your spine. That is, do not have your head dropping down toward the mattress or being pushed up towards the ceiling.

If you sleep on your back, you can place a pillow under your knees to relieve low back stress. Your head and neck should remain level with your upper back and spine. You may benefit from an orthopedic neck pillow that provides correct support.

Doctors of chiropractic are experts at analyzing posture and spinal problems. Consult your chiropractor for postural changes specific to you!!

In Loving Service,

Drs. Joey & Taryn Lowery

“Health” is a verb…

I would like to share with you a post from one the Chiropractic profession’s clearest philosophical minds on what it really means to live a “vitalistic” life.  He interprets the word “Health” in a very in-depth manner.  I hope you enjoy and you are making the best of decisions on your road towards wellness.

Sincerely,

Dr. Joey Lowery

Dr. Kevin Donka’s, “Health” is a verb,

The other day my kids and I were playing an educational game called Noun or Verb? During the game, my son Brennan noticed that some words could be both a noun and a verb like water, step and love. That was when we decided to think of as many noun-verbs as possible. After the kids went to bed, I started thinking about a phone call I had with a chiropractor in New Jersey last week where we had been discussing the definitions of many words, including the word health.

Most people define health mainly as the absence of some form of dis-ease. I have written many Chirothots on why this can not possibly be the case. I have described the fact that darkness is not the presence of something, but it is in reality the absence of light energy. I have also said that coldness is not the presence of something, but the absence of heat energy. Similarly, any manifestation of dis-ease (whether pain, spasm, inflammation, cancer or ANY other “illness”) is not the presence of something; it is simply the particular and specific way that a decrease in the expression of your Life Energy has shown up in your body.

Having now reviewed this idea with you, I would like to take it a step further. In school, you may have learned about the word homeostasis. This describes how our bodies are constantly adapting in order to deal with changes in our environment and keep functioning at a normal level. The word homeostasis can be misleading because of the “stasis” part. Stasis literally means to stay. But the definition talks about how we are constantly changing. The truth is that health is not the absence of something; in fact, it isn’t a physical state at all!

Health is the ability to adapt to most of the stresses you encounter each day and maintain your NATURAL state of EASE.

This discrepancy between the word homeostasis and its commonly accepted definition has led to one of the world’s biggest misconceptions about health; namely that it is actually possible to be either healthy or sick. The truth is that we are continually dealing with changes in our internal and external worlds, and we are never the same from one moment to the next.

The fact that we are changing in every single moment means that it is not possible to be either healthy or sick! The truth is that in every single moment, you are either getting stronger and moving toward health, wellness and wholeness; or you are getting weaker and moving away from them. And, in order to continually get stronger and move in the direction of health and the full expression of Life, you need three things;

1) A Deliberate Focus on moving toward what you want (as opposed to trying to move away from what you don’t want).

2) A Healthy Lifestyle that supplies all of your cells with everything they need to function properly, heal and continue growing.

3) A Clear Neurological CONNECTION between you and your body. Because your nerve system is surrounded by and intimately connected to your spine, it is necessary to keep your spine aligned and functioning properly to allow this clear neurological connection. This is the true purpose behind a program of regular chiropractic care – to keep you fully connected!

There is one more noun-verb that we need to look at in order to tie this all together; the word is LIFE. Most people believe that life is a noun – a thing; but the truth is that all of life is continually changing – Life is a verb! And, since all of life is constantly changing, and because health is a PART OF life, that means that HEALTH is also a verb! Make sure you are taking care of all three things necessary to keep moving toward the full expression of Life, and always be ready to express your Light. That way you’ll always be ready to write, direct and star in your own life story…lights…camera…ACTION!