About Chiropractic Care

Sometimes, an individual can feel fine, but may not be in optimal health. This is because many symptoms of disease, injury or simply poor physiological functioning take a while to appear.

The good news is that, by undergoing preventative chiropractic care, with an emphasis in functional medicine,physicians can often diagnose problems earlier, so treatments are more effective. Likewise, undergoing preventative chiropractic care helps individuals optimize their physiological function, health and overall wellness.

About the Chiropractic Approach

With functional medicine, the physician treats the mind and body as a whole, and collaborates with the patients’ other healthcare and wellness practitioners, for a comprehensive treatment approach. For instance, instead of simply prescribing pain relievers to address a painful symptom, the functional medicine practitioner strives to diagnose and treat the root cause of the pain. A functional medicine practitioner understands that the mind, body and spirit are connected and that each component must be functioning well for the body to function well overall.

To learn more about taking a functional medicine approach to chiropractic care, please view the pages below.

The Role of Chiropractic Care

Most people have heard the adage associated with doctors’ medical advice: “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” However, imagine a scenario in which, instead of offering a quick fix, the doctor sat down with you and asked about all the components of your lifestyle. That’s what doctors who practice functional medicine do. They could be MDs, doctors of chiropractic or osteopaths. What they have in common is that they take a holistic approach to your health.

Patient-Centered Treatment

The term “patient-centered healthcare” has become popular in the last decade. You may ask yourself, shouldn’t healthcare always center on the patient? This concept, which is a key value in functional medicine, means doctors focus on the whole person rather than a disease or disorder. Instead of finding the quickest way to eradicate symptoms, the functional medicine doctor searches for the root of the patient’s problem. These doctors recognize each patient’s individuality rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

Mind, Body, Spirit

Functional medicine doctors probe deeper than just finding out what’s going on physically with their patients. They may ask you about your emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and want to know about your relationships with partners and family. They aim to maximize your overall vitality, rather than simply treating disease.

Cost Effective Disease Prevention

Preventing a disease is more cost effective than treating one. By preserving your health and minimizing damage done by poor nutrition, stress and exposure to environmental toxins, functional medicine doctors save you money.

How Does a Chiropractor Fit In?

Chiropractic care is one aspect of comprehensive functional medicine, because it helps patients achieve optimal health. In addition, concepts of functional medicine fit into many chiropractors’ practices, as they maximize their tools to treat patients.

Some chiropractors mainly focus on traditional spinal manipulation. However, others have added more components into the chiropractic are they offer, in accordance with the principles of functional medicine. These could include acupuncture, nutritional counseling and lifestyle interventions. This integrated approach is especially popular with chiropractors treating complex but common illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

Functional medicine chiropractors work with other practitioners to maximize patients’ health. For example, a chiropractor might refer a patient to an acupuncturist for additional help. The acupuncturist might also send her patients to the chiropractor. They work together, focusing on the patient’s best interests.

What to Expect From a Functional Medicine Chiropractor

Patients are often surprised by how much time a functional medicine chiropractor spends with them. Expect a much longer interview than you’d get from your average MD. The staff will likely ask you to fill out questionnaires about your diet history, exposure to toxins, past illnesses and present symptoms. Your functional medicine doctor might order lab tests as well.

The patient plays an active role in functional medicine. You will work with your chiropractic doctor to improve your health, often by changing your diet and lifestyle, rather than passively taking medications to alleviate present symptoms.

A Chiropractor's Day

A functional medicine chiropractor never knows exactly what his or her day will bring. Patient problems vary, and functional medicine chiropractors address them with a big collection of tools. In addition to spinal adjustments, the doctor may prescribe exercises, acupuncture or other holistic treatment options.

Scheduling

Instead of simply treating symptoms, functional medicine physicians search for the root cause of the disease. This requires more time and communication that you’d expect from an ordinary MD. Your doctor of chiropractic might want to talk with you for a full hour to learn about lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that influence your health. This means a chiropractor’s typical day includes long appointments. A functional medicine chiropractor must have patience, superb people skills and the ability to focus. Chiropractic workloads are usually especially heavy in the early morning and evening — before and after a nine-to-fiver’s workday.

Tests

In addition to hands-on exams, chiropractors rely on X-rays and other lab tests. These may be conducted in-house if the chiropractor has the necessary facilities, or they may be outsourced to an offsite lab.

Education

In functional medicine, patients are active participants in their health. The chiropractic doctor spends a lot of time both listening to and educating patients. The chiropractor must clearly convey the importance of adopting health-enhancing behaviors. The chiropractor and patient work together to come up with realistic ways patients can improve their diet, sleep patterns, exercise and other relevant behaviors. Functional medicine chiropractors also constantly improve their own education by attending trainings or reading books about new or unfamiliar therapeutic modalities.

Therapies

Functional medicine doctors are open to using a wide range of safe therapies to optimize their clients’ health. These include acupuncture, orthotic fitting, recommending supplements or changes in diet, exercise and electrical stimulation. The chiropractor may juggle several patients at once, consulting with one while another undergoes therapy in a treatment room.

Taking Care of Business

Chiropractors in private practice must either take care of administrative duties themselves or hire a staff to take care of them. In addition to practicing functional medicine, they read lab tests, train staff, run staff meetings, write reports and do the marketing, banking and accounting. These administrative tasks can take up to eight to 16 hours per week to perform. When you consider that a typical patient load is 15 to 30 daily appointments, a day in the life of a functional medicine chiropractor is busy indeed.

If this holistic approach appeals to you, call our clinic today to set up an initial consultation.

Chiropractic Care for Children

Many people think that chiropractors treat only adults. But children can also benefit from regular chiropractic care. Injuries that children receive during their everyday lives and while playing sports can cause many symptoms that can be treated by chiropractors. This includes soreness, discomfort, stiffness or neck pain.

Pediatric chiropractors — those that are trained to work with children — always adapt the treatment to fit the special needs of their young patients. They also provide highly skilled treatments that are very gentle.

Why Chiropractic Care for Children

Children may experience trauma at birth that affects their body. Later childhood activities — like learning to walk, participating in sports or riding a bicycle — can also cause spinal health problems, or make them worse.

Even injuries that appear to be minor — such as a fall off a bicycle — can damage other parts of the body, such as the pelvis, skull, spine and limbs. Chiropractors are uniquely trained to identify problems in these areas.

Chiropractors can also determine whether “growing pains” are signs of more severe health problems. Regular chiropractic care for children may be able to head off problems that many adults experience later in life.

Treating Childhood Conditions

One of the main types of chiropractic care for children is treating back and neck pain or other issues related to the spine. Chiropractors can check children as young as newborns for problems, especially those related to the health of their spine.

Chiropractors may also be able to help with other childhood conditions, such as:

  • Asthma
  • Bedwetting
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Colic
  • Difficulty nursing

Types of Treatment for Children

When chiropractors work with children, they provide the same highly skilled treatments that adults receive. They use a hands-on, drug-free approach. Visits include a physical exam, diagnosis and treatment. In the case of children, chiropractors use a very gentle approach, suitable to the age of the child.

Children who already have a regular pediatrician — who provides medications and treats serious illnesses — can also benefit from a pediatric chiropractor. Much of the work that chiropractors do with children is preventative wellness care, such as helping their spine stay healthy as they grow.

Chiropractors are for all ages. Contact your chiropractor to learn more about chiropractic care for your child.

Many people think that chiropractors treat only adults. But children can also benefit from regular chiropractic care. Injuries that children receive during their everyday lives and while playing sports can cause many symptoms that can be treated by chiropractors. This includes soreness, discomfort, stiffness or neck pain.

Pediatric chiropractors — those that are trained to work with children — always adapt the treatment to fit the special needs of their young patients. They also provide highly skilled treatments that are very gentle.

Why Chiropractic Care for Children

Children may experience trauma at birth that affects their body. Later childhood activities — like learning to walk, participating in sports or riding a bicycle — can also cause spinal health problems, or make them worse.

Even injuries that appear to be minor — such as a fall off a bicycle — can damage other parts of the body, such as the pelvis, skull, spine and limbs. Chiropractors are uniquely trained to identify problems in these areas.

Chiropractors can also determine whether “growing pains” are signs of more severe health problems. Regular chiropractic care for children may be able to head off problems that many adults experience later in life.

Treating Childhood Conditions

One of the main types of chiropractic care for children is treating back and neck pain or other issues related to the spine. Chiropractors can check children as young as newborns for problems, especially those related to the health of their spine.

Chiropractors may also be able to help with other childhood conditions, such as:

  • Asthma
  • Bedwetting
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Colic
  • Difficulty nursing

Types of Treatment for Children

When chiropractors work with children, they provide the same highly skilled treatments that adults receive. They use a hands-on, drug-free approach. Visits include a physical exam, diagnosis and treatment. In the case of children, chiropractors use a very gentle approach, suitable to the age of the child.

Children who already have a regular pediatrician — who provides medications and treats serious illnesses — can also benefit from a pediatric chiropractor. Much of the work that chiropractors do with children is preventative wellness care, such as helping their spine stay healthy as they grow.

Chiropractors are for all ages. Contact your chiropractor to learn more about chiropractic care for your child.

Preventing Falls in Older Adults

As most older adults know, a single fall can change their lives. For instance, an independent individual may fall in his or her home and land in a nursing facility. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.5 million older adults went to emergency rooms into 2013 after falling. Of these, 734,000 were hospitalized. The best solution? Prevent falling in the first place. Here are a few strategies to minimize your fall risk and keep you living independently.

Improve Your Balance

How is your balance? Take the One Leg Standing Test to find out. Stand for as long as possible on one leg. If you can’t make it for five seconds, you need to improve your balance.

Many older adults minimize their movement for fear of falling. Unfortunately, lack of exercise increases the risk of falling. You need to keep your legs strong and practice balancing. Part of balance practice is learning to catch yourself when you start to fall. Tai chi is especially helpful. See if there’s a tai chi or other type of exercise class for seniors in your neighborhood.

Enlist Your Doctors’ Help

Some combinations of medications can cause impaired balance. Ask your doctor to review your prescription and over-the-counter medications and determine whether interactions could make you drowsy or dizzy.

Vision greatly affects balance. Just try standing on one leg and closing your eyes, and you’ll see how important your vision is. Regular eye check-ups ensure you have the best lenses for your eyeglasses.

Making Homes Safer

Given that many seniors spend a lot of time at home, that’s where many fall. But a few adjustments can greatly reduce tripping hazards.

Here’s how to make your home safer:

  • Clear the floor and stairs of anything likely to trip you, such as books, shoes and papers
  • Add grab bars to your shower and by the toilet
  • Buy non-slip mats for the tub and shower
  • Keep your home well-lit. Use bright bulbs, night lights and lighting strips along stairways
  • Avoid ladders and step stools. Keep frequently used items on low shelves where you can easily reach them.
  • Wear shoes inside, rather than socks or slippers

Chiropractic Help

A 2012 issue of Chiropractic and Manual Therapies estimated that 5 percent of older Americans visit chiropractors annually. This number will increase as the population ages.

Chiropractors help reduce fall risk by assessing posture and gait, and using spinal manipulation to improve musculoskeletal alignment. Better posture leads to fewer falls. If you are over 65, your chiropractic doctor will probably use low-force techniques to manipulate your spine.

Many patients find pain relief through chiropractic adjustments. This can reduce patients’ use of pain medications, thereby helping patients avoid the side effects of the medications. Many chiropractors also advise on nutrition, exercises and ergonomics, all of which aid in fall prevention.

If you’re a senior concerned about your health, call our clinic today.

How Technology Affects Health

While technology creates many new possibilities for entertainment, connecting with others and getting work done, it also spawns new health problems. Ten years ago, nobody had “text neck.” Now many people are reaping the unwanted musculoskeletal consequences of tech overuse.

“Text Neck”

Instead of holding mobile devices straight out in front of their faces to maintain good posture, most people hold their devices close to their bodies, dropping their heads to see what’s on the screen. Since the average head weighs 10 pounds, constantly dropping it forward hunches your shoulders, inflames tissue in your neck and strains your spine. This technologically induced neck problem is often referred to as “text neck.” Text neck is on the rise with kids and young adults, traditionally an age group that had few spinal problems.

How do you avoid this forward-head posture? Cultivate body awareness. Roll your shoulders back and down. Notice if your head juts forward from your chest. If so, slide it back so your ears are over your shoulders. Check your posture frequently to prevent bad habits from sneaking back into your life. Mobile apps can alert you if your chin slips to an angle that puts you at risk for text neck.

Too Much Sitting

Sitting at the computer for long periods of time causes all the problems of text neck and then some. In addition to a hunched back, you could also be gaining weight, tightening lower body muscles and even shaving years off your life. Many recent scientific studies link a sedentary life to an earlier death. Insufficient physical activity kills about 3.2 million people per year, according to the World Health Organization. This makes it a leading risk factor for mortality.

But most people can’t just quit their desk jobs. Instead, set a timer to remind you to take a two-minute walk every hour. Check your posture throughout the work day. If possible, get a standing desk or one that adjusts between sitting and standing so you can decrease your number of seated hours.

Dry Eyes

People usually blink their eyes about 20 times per minute. Unless they’re sitting at a computer, which drastically reduces blink rate to once or twice each minute. Infrequent blinking can cause your eyes to dry out. What’s the solution? Take more breaks, blink deliberately every so often or use lubricant-only eye drops.

Call Your Chiropractor

Technology affects everybody’s health. If you’re suffering from back or neck pain, headaches or eye strain, talk to your chiropractic doctor. In addition to adjusting your spine, a chiropractor can advise you on ergonomic work stations and exercises to decrease your pain and prevent future problems.

Chiropractic Care for Athletes

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Athletes

Chiropractic care and sports training go hand in hand. Many professional athletes have publicly shared that chiropractic adjustments are crucial before and after their athletic feats. NFL champion Emmit Smith likened a single football game to being in more than 30 car accidents. With this kind of impact on the body, athletes need the best healthcare possible. Smith and many other athletes, from golfers to track and field stars, partially attribute their success and career longevity to chiropractic care.

Injury Prevention

What happens when you add impact to spinal misalignment? Injury. Chiropractic doctors assess athletes’ bodies, identifying problems with joints, muscles and movement patterns. Between spinal adjustments and exercises to strengthen weak areas, chiropractors help athletes prevent many injuries.

Enhanced Performance

Many athletes claim that, not only does chiropractic care decrease injuries, but it even enhances their game. Chiropractic treatment improves flexibility and range of motion, which are important for peak performance in many sports. Heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield claims that visiting a chiropractor three times a week improves his performance in the ring, and that most boxers regularly visit chiropractors. Golfers also feel the difference in their swing.

Healing Injuries

Athletes frequently consult chiropractors about their injuries. Sports trainers in particular tend to send their athletes to chiropractors for low-back pain and musculoskeletal problems. Proper chiropractic care can decrease an injury’s severity and reduce pain. The athlete may recover faster than she or he would without chiropractic treatments, allowing a quicker return to the game.

Amateur Athletes

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to warrant chiropractic care for your sports injuries. Millions of people run marathons, race bikes or participate in golf and tennis tournaments without ever going pro. Over the course of their athletic lives, most will have at least a few strained muscles, jarred spines, torn ligaments and other painful consequences. If your injuries are lessening your joy in your sport and interfering with your training or goals, call our clinic so we can help get you back on the court, green or field.

Cold Laser Therapy

Cold laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), uses light to treat various conditions. Unlike other types of laser light, cold laser therapy does not produce heat or vibration in the parts of the body being treated.

Many therapists, including chiropractors and physical therapists, use cold laser therapy to treat conditions such as joint disorders, low back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.

How Cold Laser Therapy Works

During treatment, the light source for the cold laser therapy is pressed against the skin. The light passes through the skin to reach the tissue that is being treated. Unlike surgical lasers, cold laser therapy does not cut the skin.

Doctors do not know exactly how cold laser therapy works. It is thought that as the body’s tissues absorb the light, it is converted into another type of energy. This may stimulate the natural healing process in the cells.

It also increases the flow of blood and lymph (fluid in the body outside the blood vessels) in the area being treated.

The treatments are painless, and you will be awake during the entire session. Afterwards, you will be able to return to your regular activities immediately.

You may require more than one treatment to receive the full benefits. Some people may also need two to four treatments per week. The total number of treatments depends upon the problem being addressed and how severe it is.

Conditions Treated With Cold Laser Therapy

Chiropractors use cold laser therapy to treat many different conditions, such as:

  • Pain. This treatment works for pain caused by injury, aging or genetic problems.
  • Wounds. Cold laser therapy may speed up the healing of wounds.
  • Injuries. Certain injuries that involve the muscles and bones may benefit from this type of therapy.
  • Inflammation. Cold laser therapy opens up the blood and lymph vessels. This may reduce swelling and speed up the healing process.
  • Bruises. Increased flow of blood and lymph may help bruises heal faster.
  • Sports injuries. Many athletes undergo cold laser therapy to help them recover from sports injuries, including muscle strains, pulled hamstring and plantar fasciitis.

To find out if cold laser therapy will work for you, contact your chiropractor today.

Heat Therapy

Most people have used heat at one time to sooth normal aches and pains — such as the use of a hot bath, a heating pad or even an old-fashioned water bottle.

Even today, these types of heat therapy play an important role in chiropractic practice to increase circulation and relax the muscles. At the same time, heat therapy can help reduce pain.

Types of Heat Therapy

The types of heat therapy vary, from simple methods such as the use of warm wraps and heating pads to more advanced techniques such as the use of therapeutic ultrasound. All of these, though, are designed to relax muscles and promote healing.

Some of the most common heat therapies used by chiropractors include:

  • Moist heat packs. These are applied over several layers of towels to prevent burning of the skin.
  • Warm whirlpool bath. This technique involves a combination of immersion in heated water and massage from water jets; this may be combined with movements in the water.
  • Paraffin bath. The hands, wrists, elbows, ankles or feet are dipped in paraffin wax to soothe chronic injuries.
  • Fluidotherapy. This method is a dry technique, involving the use of hot air containing cellulose particles that is circulated over the skin.

Benefits of Heat Therapy

Heat has long been used for its healing and soothing benefits. But heat therapy may provide other benefits, such as:

  • Increased blood flow
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Relief from muscle spasms
  • Decreased stiffness in joints
  • Pain relief

Heat therapy can also be used before other healing therapies, including stretching, exercise, massage and physical adjustments. The heat can increase how easily scar tissue or tight joints will move.

How Heat Therapy Works

Some muscle spasms are caused by a lack of blood flow to the tissues. Heat applied to the area can bring more blood to the tissues, along with extra oxygen and glucose needed by the cells.

Heat therapy also reduces inflammation and swelling by speeding up the activity of the cells, lowering the pH inside the cells and stimulating the release of helpful chemicals. These chemicals cause the blood vessels to widen, allowing more blood flow to the injured, inflamed or painful tissues.

Although heat therapy can improve many symptoms, some people may experience negative side effects after treatment. They may experience greater pain, achiness or stiffness. If you experience any of these symptoms, tell your chiropractor, who may suggest other treatments.

Cold Therapy

Applying ice after an injury is a common method for reducing pain and swelling. It is especially effective for athletes, who often experience sudden, painful injuries. This type of cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is used by chiropractors for the same purposes.

Types of Cold Therapy

Many types of cold therapy are available to reduce pain and swelling after an injury, including the use of:

  • Ice packs
  • Ice massage
  • Slush bucket (half water, half crushed ice)
  • Whirlpool with ice water
  • Cold wet towels

Benefits of Cold Therapy

Cold temperatures cause blood vessels to narrow, which reduces the flow of blood into an area. As a result, cold therapy:

  • Reduces swelling and pain after injury
  • Slows movement of fluid into tissues
  • Reduces the amount of chemicals that cause inflammation in injured tissue
  • Reduces bleeding
  • Slows the movement of pain signals from nerves
  • Decreases muscle spasms by reducing the contraction of muscles

Cold therapy may also keep cells in the injured area from dying due to the lack of oxygen. This is because an injury can reduce blood flow — and oxygen — to the area. However, cold therapy slows the activity of cells, which reduces how much oxygen they need to stay alive.

Tips for Best Cold Therapy

For cold therapy to work, cold packs should be applied as soon as possible. Pain and inflammation are common within 72 hours after an injury.

To avoid frostbite, cold packs should be applied for only 10 minutes at a time, with breaks of at least an hour in between. The ice can be applied several times a day, for three or four days after an injury — or as directed by your chiropractor.

Also, cold packs should never be applied directly to the skin. Instead, a towel should be placed between the skin and cold pack.

Cold therapy may not be appropriate for everyone. Some people respond to cold temperatures by breaking out in hives or developing pain in the joints.

If you have questions about cold therapy or think you might benefit from this type of treatment, please contact our office to schedule an appointment and receive more information.

Drug-Free Alternatives for Pain Management

Every day, millions of adults deal with chronic pain, or pain that lasts for a long time.

Prescription medications are often effective for alleviating short-term pain, such as severe headaches or pain associated with muscle trauma. However, they may not work as well for chronic pain.

In addition, these drugs may have so many side effects that people with chronic pain often avoid using them.

If chronic pain is left untreated, though, it can cause sleep problems, anxiety, depression, difficulty doing everyday activities or other problems.

Fortunately, many drug-free alternatives are available to help people manage their pain. These may work for short-term pain, as well.

Drug-Free Alternatives for Pain Relief

Some of the most common alternative pain treatments include:

  • Acupressure and acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bodywork techniques, such as massage, spinal manipulation and therapeutic touch
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Exercise and strength training
  • Herbal products, nutritional supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Mind-body techniques, such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy, meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, relaxation and stress management
  • Music therapy
  • Water therapy (hydrotherapy)
  • Yoga and tai chi

Safety of Drug-Free Pain Treatments

In contrast to prescription medications and even over-the-counter pain drugs that can produce side effects or encourage dependence, alternative methods for pain management tend to be safer.

This, however, doesn’t mean that they are risk-free for everyone. Certain factors can increase your chance of having side effects from these treatments, such as:

  • Age
  • Current health
  • Pregnancy
  • Other treatments or medications

Each treatment has its own risks and side effects. Some of the common ones include:

  • Dizziness
  • Injuries
  • Interactions with prescription or over-the-counter medications
  • Kidney problems
  • Nausea
  • Physical discomfort
  • Temporary headaches

Conditions That Are Treatable With Drug-Free Alternatives

Drug-free alternatives can relieve many types of pain, such as pain associated with:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Facial
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Low-back pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Before you undergo any alternative treatments, check with your chiropractic doctor or health care provider. They can tell you whether these drug-free options might interfere with your current treatments or cause unnecessary side effects.

Nutrition

Nutrition may sound like a complicated subject, but it’s really quite simple. Basically, nutrition describes how the food choices that you make affect your overall wellness. This includes how your body functions at the level of your cells, tissues and organs.

Overview of Nutrition and You

In order to stay healthy, you have to eat foods that provide your body with the energy and nutrients that it needs to work optimally. These include:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water
  • Other nutrients from plants (phytonutrients)

Eating healthy can be easy. The key is to keep in mind these basic guidelines, which never go out of style:

  • Eat many different healthy foods, including a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains
  • Choose lean protein sources such as beans and peas, fish, lean meats, poultry and low-fat dairy products
  • Limit your intake of sugar, salt and trans and saturated fats
  • Use alcohol in moderation
  • Drink plenty of water (You will also get water from fresh foods, especially fruits and vegetables.)

More Detailed Nutritional Information

The basics of nutrition will go a long way to keeping you healthy. However, knowing more about what’s in your food will help you make smart choices about what to eat. Here is a little more information on nutrition.

Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Healthy foods contain a wide number of nutrients that keep you healthy. Both vitamins and minerals are needed by your body to grow and develop normally. These include, but are not limited to, vitamins C and D, and the minerals calcium and iron. Plants also contain other nutrients (phytonutrients), some of which may have cancer-fighting properties or other benefits.

Superfoods. These special foods contain nutrients that are above and beyond what’s needed to simply keep your body going. Superfoods include leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), tomatoes, chocolate (i.e., dark chocolate with at least 70-percent cacao), blueberries and certain spices, such as turmeric. Each superfood has its own benefits, so be sure to eat a wide variety of them, as often as possible.

Whole grains. Whole grains include wheat, oats, brown rice, barley, cornmeal and others; they are not processed, or refined. Processed foods may include grains, but they typically include refined grains from which the nutritional value has been leached. Examples of processed foods with refined grains are breads, pasta, cereal, white flour, white rice and cookies. In contrast, whole grains contain important nutrients, including fiber. To get the most health benefits, make sure at least half of your grains — and the foods that contain them — are whole.

Lean protein sources. Your body needs protein-rich foods to build muscle and carry out many functions in the cells and tissues. Some protein sources, though, contain high levels of saturated fat that can be bad for your health. To boost your health, look for lean protein sources such as lean cuts of meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas (legumes) and nuts and seeds.

Sugar, salt and trans and saturated Fats. Many processed foods contain things that can damage your health if eaten in large quantities. Some of these, such as salt, sugar and trans fats, are added to processed foods to change the flavor. Others, such as saturated fats, occur naturally in foods such as meat and eggs. To stay as healthy as possible, limit your intake of these, opting instead for foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Nutrition - Vitamins and Nutrients

We all need vitamins and minerals to sustain good health and keep our bodies functioning properly. These nutrients are what our bodies need to grow, repair, heal and sustain our body’s cells, systems, organs and skeleton. The problem is that many of us do not consume enough to maintain optimal health, and, as a result of this deficiency, experience illness, fatigue and disease.

Throw in an injury like an automobile accident or certain medical conditions, and symptoms such as pain, loss of mobility, muscle weakness, nerve damage and joint problems can be made worse by this shortage. Not only this, but recovery can be hampered. This is why your chiropractor may suggest that you consume micronutrients, either through your diet or supplements — they will allow treatment to work more effectively.

More About Vitamins & Minerals

There are 13 essential vitamins. They are organic substances that are categorized as fat soluble and water soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins — including vitamins A, D, E and K — attach to fat in the stomach and are stowed away in the body, where they can be used for later. Water-soluble vitamins — including biotin, vitamin C, folic acid and B complex vitamins — are taken in directly by cells. However, because they are easily flushed out by our system, they need to be restored more often.

Minerals, on the other hand, are inorganic substances, and are grouped as macrominerals or trace minerals. Macrominerals are what the body needs in large amounts while trace minerals are only required in minute doses. Like vitamins, they are necessary for function, growth and development.

Vitamins and Minerals to Discuss With Your Chiropractor

Here is a list of some vitamins and minerals you should talk to your chiropractor about incorporating in your treatment.

To Support Cellular Function

  • Biotin. Found in salmon, eggs, avocados and whole grains, biotin is fundamental to cell growth. It also helps our bodies transform the food we eat into energy, which, in turn, influences our body’s abilities — from thinking to movement.
  • Iron. This mineral is important, as it helps distribute oxygen to our cells and aids in the production of neurotransmitters. It can be found in red meat, leafy green vegetables, some beans and potatoes.

To Support Bone Development

  • Calcium. Found in milk, yogurt, tofu, cheese and spinach, calcium does more than aid in bone development. Calcium is a mineral that is also essential for blood clotting, muscle function, hormone secretion, stabilizing blood pressure and ensuring nerves are signaling properly. Try partnering calcium with magnesium for an added punch. This macromineral helps in many of the same ways as calcium. It is found in oat bran, spinach and bananas.

To Support Nerve and Muscle Function

  • Choline. This water-soluble B vitamin can be found in eggs, milk, beef, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. It is a building block of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that is vital for brain and nerve activities, particularly those that regulate muscle movement and memory. Those who are deficient may be at greater risk of atherosclerosis and neurological disorders.
  • Copper. When you think of copper, you might visualize the pennies in your purse or pocket, but this trace mineral — found in oysters, nuts and raw mushrooms — is essential in the development of red blood cells, and is important for immunity and proper nervous system function. A deficiency can lead to bone deterioration, anemia and a low white blood cell count.
  • Potassium. This macromineral and electrolyte has a host of benefits. Not only does it help steady your heartbeat, transmit nervous system signals and aid in proper muscle function, it is important for kidney function, lowering your blood pressure and strengthening your bones. Those with deficiencies may experience muscle weakness, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, fatigue, bloating and constipation.

To Support Wound Healing

  • Manganese. This trace mineral — found in pecans, oatmeal, green tea and brown rice — is also an antioxidant. It’s not only useful for wound healing, but it aids in bone development and metabolism.

Before taking vitamins and minerals — especially supplements — be sure to speak with your chiropractor or nutritionist first. While getting nutrients is important for your health, taking them in excess can lead to adverse effects like toxicity. Remember: everything in moderation. Your chiropractor or nutritionist, should they suggest these or other nutrients, will discuss how and when they should be taken.

Nutrition - Superfoods

Prior to the word “superfood” perfectly embedding itself in our vocabulary after Dr. Steven Pratt coined the term in 2004, we didn’t have such a distinction when it came to the foods we ate. Fruits and vegetables have long been known to have health benefits and are a part of our daily diet — or at least they are supposed to be. However, we didn’t give them a greater nutritional value and consider that some may be better for our wellbeing than others.

What Makes a Food Super?

According to Pratt, a superfood must meet three criteria:

  • It’s nutrient-dense and is known to improve longevity
  • It’s easily available to the public
  • Peer-reviews and scientific studies back up its health benefits

Still, generally speaking, nutritionists and dietitians more simply refer to superfoods as nutrient powerhouses that contain lots of polyphenols, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. In addition, eating them serves a purpose: to prolong life, minimize your risk of chronic disease and help you to maintain a healthy weight.

What Are Some Top Superfoods, and What Makes Them Special?

If you go online and do a search, you will find websites that highlight a plethora of superfoods — and it seems the list grows every day. Here are some of the top superfoods recommended by Pratt that may complement your chiropractic treatment:

  • Yogurt. We are learning more and more about how yogurt is good for digestive health, but this food, which is produced by bacterial fermentation of milk, is capable of so much more — it can strengthen your bones (even those associated with your spine), prevent high blood pressure and help you to recover after a workout. Think working out isn’t important in chiropractic care? Well, it is. Certain low-impact activities can improve mobility and flexibility — two consequences associated with many spinal injuries.
  • Dark chocolate. Once considered a guilty pleasure, dark chocolate (with at least 70-percent cacao) has proven in later years to be an asset to our health. Packed with copper, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus and selenium, dark chocolate can promote blood flow. Blood flow is crucial because our cells, nerves, joints, muscles and organs require it — and the oxygen they get from it — to function properly. This sweet treat can also reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure and boost brain function.
  • Onion. Let’s face it: Onions won’t win you any points in a fresh breath competition, but it can win you points with your chiropractor because it can decrease inflammation and strengthen your immune system. It may also lower your cholesterol and chance of developing heart disease.
  • Pomegranate. This gorgeous fruit contains potassium, vitamin B6, polyphenols and ascorbic acid. What does this mean for your health? It means this softball-sized fruit can prevent abnormal platelet accumulation, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, protect against osteoporosis, correct atherosclerotic plaque and boost your immune system.
  • Berries. The next time you grab a handful of blueberries, consider that they contain nutrients such as ascorbic acid, folate, salicylic acid, vitamin E, carotenoids and polyphenols — all of which help with coordination and balance, brain function and cellular communications. They also help to prevent certain cancers and can slow down the signs of aging.
  • Cinnamon. If you’ve had an injury stemming from a car accident, or are suffering from a condition like vertebral subluxation complex, you may have inflammation. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that can work with the treatment you receive from your chiropractor. Even better: It helps regulate glucose levels in those with diabetes, lowers cholesterol, boosts cognition and may reduce your risk of heart disease.

All of these fares contain large concentrations of nutrients that are vital to our health, and they are low in calories. Low-calorie foods can aid in weight loss, which, if you are overweight, will ease pressure on the body’s joints / bones, lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

What It Boils Down To

A chiropractor can do much to resolve your physical ailments — within reason, of course — but when you add in superfoods that are packed with the vitamins and minerals needed to grow, repair, heal and sustain our body’s systems, cells, organs and skeleton, they allow treatment to work more effectively and may drastically reduce recovery time.

Talk to your chiropractor about the benefits of combining superfoods with your treatment.

Nutrition - Whole Grains

When you reach for that bowl of whole grain cereal or a slice of whole grain bread, consider the health benefits. Those who eat whole grains as part of their diet are at a reduced risk for some chronic conditions. This is because they contain nutrients that are vital to optimal health, and that includes how well our bodies function.

What Makes Whole Grains Beneficial to Your Health?

Grains have fiber, thiamin, folate, iron, selenium, riboflavin, magnesium and niacin.

  • Fiber. Not only can fiber be used to treat constipation and diverticulosis, it decreases blood cholesterol levels and lower one’s risk of obesity, heart disease, colon cancer and type-2 diabetes.
  • B vitamins. These vitamins play various roles in our health. In general, they are critical for maintaining a healthy nervous system. However, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin, in particular, are all B vitamins that help the body convert food into energy. Folate, also a B vitamin, assists the body’s development of red blood cells.
  • Iron. Our blood requires oxygen, and iron is a mineral our body uses to transport oxygen in the blood.
  • Magnesium. This mineral is one of the building blocks for strong, healthy bones and muscle function. Those who have had a spinal injury — say due to an automobile accident or vertebral subluxation complex — can benefit from magnesium, as it, along with chiropractic treatment, will help fortify the bones and strengthen the muscles that support them.
  • Selenium. A healthy immune system is one that can fight off disease and repair itself — selenium can aid in this way. It also helps guards our cells from oxidation (loss of electrons).

Additional benefits include:

  • Weight management
  • Lower chance of gum disease and tooth loss
  • Improved blood pressure levels
  • Reduced risk of colorectal cancer and inflammatory disease
  • Healthier arteries
  • Less risk of asthma

How Much Whole Grains Do You Need, and by How Much Are Your Risks Reduced?

Getting at least one serving of whole grains per day — from wheat, rice, oats, rye, corn, barley, sorghum, spelt or quinoa — may be enough to reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases, but according to the Whole Grains Council, consuming at least three servings a day is even better. While percentages may vary, studies show that by making whole grains part of your daily diet, you can reduce your risk of:

  • Stroke by up to 37 percent
  • Type-2 diabetes by up to 30 percent
  • Cardiovascular disease by up to 36 percent
  • Cancers that affect the digestive system by up to 43 percent
  • Hormone-related cancers by up to 40 percent

Talk to your chiropractor today about combining a diet rich in whole grains with your treatment.

Nutrition - Lean Protein Sources

If you’ve been in a car accident or have a condition that affects the spine, such as vertebral subluxation complex, the muscles can spasm, stiffen, weaken or waste away. In addition, if scar tissue develops, muscle tone can change. All of this can affect your mobility, comfort and ability to perform certain functions and movements. More importantly, the muscles surround and give the body’s skeleton its support. When muscles are compromised, bones — including the spine — can lose their natural alignment.

Why Are Lean Proteins Important to Your Chiropractic Treatment?

Proteins are our body’s building blocks for strong and healthy bones, skin, muscles, cartilage and blood. They are also the building blocks of vitamins, enzymes and hormones.

So, what does this mean in terms of chiropractic care?

When protein is properly synthesized by the body, it speeds up tissue repair, prevents atrophy caused by immobilization and fortifies connective tissue, which can expedite your recovery time when combined with chiropractic treatments such as spinal adjustments and soft tissue work.

As an additional benefit, lean proteins can help you feel fuller longer. This can lead to weight loss as you are more likely to minimize the number of calories consumed. Weight loss helps to relieve stress on the body’s skeleton, so, if the bones are out of alignment, avoiding this added pressure can reduce pain. In addition, if spinal adjustments have been performed to bring the spine into line, weight management can help prevent the spinal bones from slipping out of place again.

What Are Some Additional Benefits of Lean Proteins?

Aside from the advantages aforementioned, proteins can aid in heart health. This has been examined in studies, including one conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine. They found that participants who removed 10 percent of their calories from carbohydrates and replaced them with protein experienced a 21-percent deduction in their risk for cardiovascular disease. Their blood pressure and cholesterol levels lowered as well.

Which Lean Proteins Should You Choose?

Not all proteins are created equal. Some protein-rich foods contain large amounts of saturated fat, which can cause cholesterol levels to spike and boost your chance of developing heart disease. For this reason, you should avoid or minimize your consumption of full-fat dairy, hot dogs, processed lunch meat, fatty cuts of meat, bacon and regular ground beef. Instead, your choices should include:

  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Legumes, including beans
  • Turkey
  • Round steak
  • Top sirloin
  • 90-percent lean ground beef
  • Fish

To learn more about how lean proteins can help with your chiropractic treatment, speak with your chiropractor today.

Nutrition - Sugar, Salt and Trans and Saturated Fats

The Scoop on Sugar, Salt and Trans and Saturated Fats

Salt, sugar and fats have long gotten bad raps. It is true that adverse effects can occur if they are consumed in large amounts, but the keyword is “large.” When taken in the right amounts, our bodies can reap several benefits.

The Low-Down on Salt

Salt can do more than flavor your foods, it’s essential to our wellbeing. Not only does it play a role in muscle contraction and water retention, it has nutrients that are vital to digestion.

Muscle Contraction

As you will read below, salt is an electrolyte our body needs to carry out the nerve impulses that control many bodily functions, including muscle contraction. This mineral can also keep the muscles from cramping.

Water Retention

You hear “water retention” and probably think of swelling and weight gain. However, the volume of water our bodies retain aids in kidney function and affects our blood pressure. Salt is an electrolyte our body needs to perform the electrical impulses that regulate certain functions. This means that in order for our body to function properly, we need an appropriate amount of electrolytes. Because electrolytes activate our thirst mechanism, we tend to consume more water as a result. This water, in turn, allows our kidneys to maintain electrolytes in our bloodstream. Additionally, water helps our bodies stabilize blood pressure.

Digestive Health

Salt triggers salivary amylase, an enzyme in the mouth that aids in digestive processes. Specifically, it helps salt carry out its part in digestion by assisting with the breakdown of food. Salt also generates a digestive secretion called hydrochloric acid, and it coats the walls of the stomach. This secretion aids in the breakdown of food too.

Additional Benefits

Other than the key benefits discussed above, salt can:

  • Help the body retain calcium and other minerals in the bloodstream
  • Fuel the adrenal glands
  • Prevent sunstroke and overheating

The Scoop on Sugar

Get the white table sugar in your cabinet out of your head for a moment, because the sugar we are talking about is naturally occurring and can be found in fruits. The sugar your body gets from fruit helps the enzyme sucrose — found in your small intestine — assists in breaking sucrose down into fructose and glucose. The body then absorbs them and hauls them to the liver, where they are processed and distributed throughout the body. Insulin, a hormone, then accelerates the uptake of glucose into the cells, allowing it to be converted into energy and immediately used by the body.

Glucose that is not used is stored as glycogen, a compound. Through glycogenesis, the liver generates glycogen chains connected via chemical bonds. The body then breaks down glycogen into single glucose units so that they can be used when primary sources of energy are not accessible — while sleeping, between meals and during exercise, for example. This prevents drops in blood sugar.

The Facts on Fats

There are two types of trans fats: artificial trans fats and naturally-occurring trans fats. Those that are naturally-occurring are manufactured in the gut of some animals, as well as in the foods crafted from these animals (e.g., meat and milk products). Artificial trans fats, on the other hand, are developed industrially in a process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil in order to make them denser.

Artificial trans fats are bad for our health, but those that are naturally occurring can have health benefits. A study conducted by the University of Alberta found that a diet containing natural animal fat found in dairy and some beef products (known as vaccenic acid) may reduce an individual’s risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The theory is that vaccenic acid is capable of minimizing the production of chylomicrons (particles of cholesterol and fat that develop in the small intestine after a meal).

Saturated fats also have their place in our diet. They may play a role in:

  • Cardiovascular health. It reduces lipoprotein levels to reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Immunity. Saturated fats found in coconut oil may help the body’s white blood cells function properly by more efficiently seeking out and destroying bacteria and viruses.
  • Liver health. Saturated fat provides a coating that helps guards the liver from the effects of medication and alcohol.
  • Hormones. Saturated fats may increase testosterone levels. This hormone helps sustain muscle, repair tissue and boost sexual function.

Before incorporating salt, sugar and fats into your diet as a means of achieving the above health benefits, talk to your nutritionist or dietitian first to determine what your intake should be, and then speak with your chiropractor about how nutrition can aid in your chiropractic treatment.

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Rockville Medical & Disc Center, LLC is a chiropractic and physical therapy clinic serving Rockville MD North Bethesda, and Gaithersburg MD and the surrounding Montgomery County and Washington DC areas. Physical medicine is a combination of physical therapy (PT), chiropractic, rehab, non-invasive pain management, acupuncture, cold laser and spinal decompression.

Whether you have an injury or a car accident problem, have a specific body problem (such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, scoliosis or TMJ), need pain relief, or just want to improve your overall health, Rockville Medical and Disc Center, LLC may have a solution for you through its numerous services. You can visit our testimonials page to see how many patients have benefited from seeing this Rockville pain relief clinic in Montgomery County, Maryland with our Physical Medical Office and getting regular treatments.

At your first visit to Rockville Medical and Disc Center, LLC, we will explain to you how the science of pain management works, and give you a full evaluation to see if our care is right for you. If there is a good fit, we can develop a plan of care that is specific to your condition and health goals.

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