Month: November 2011

Low back pain – why patient education is a part of how Denver Chiropractic Center can help you.

Low Back Pain & Patient Education

Patient education is a very important aspect of caring for our patients. In fact, it can be one of the most important aspects of care. For example, when patients present with a brand new injury and pain levels are off the map, it’s quite common for that acute suffering patient to inappropriately think that, “I’m going to die… this hurts so much!” Hence, one of the very first things we do as chiropractors is to determine what structures are generating the pain so we can tell you!

Once you have an understanding of where the pain is coming from and why it hurts so bad, then you can be reassured that it’s not life threatening or dangerous. Also, at this acute point of time, the patient often unknowingly puts heat on the back, often for hours. This is the WORST thing you can do as the area is already swollen and putting heat on a swollen area draws more blood and fluids into the area. It’s literally like throwing gas on a fire. So, receiving proper information from us such as, put ice on the area for 15-20 minutes on and off several times in a row to “PUMP” the swelling out of the area will make complete sense.

Also, did you know that 2/3rds of our body’s weight is above the waist? That means, when a 150# person bends over, they are “lifting” 100#! That’s one of several reasons why bending over can be so dangerous. To “fix” that, squat by bending the knees keeping the back straight and keep objects that you might be lifting close to your body as that weight literally weighs 10x more when your arms are straight and you’re lifting. When you can’t squat and have to bend over, bend the knees, arch your back (literally “stick your butt out”), and bend over at your hip joints – DON’T use your back. You’ll need to practice that one a few times before it’s fully understood.

As your back pain improves, we will review these important self-help approaches and add new “tricks of the trade” like certain stretches, some strengthening and perhaps some balance exercises. Did you know that your thigh muscles shrink just by sleeping overnight? It’s true! When you wake up in the morning, your thigh muscles are smaller than when you went to bed. Well, this same muscle shrinkage (technically called “atrophy”) occurs in the lower back and hips, so strengthening exercises are REALLY IMPORTANT! Just think, if your muscles shrink overnight just from laying in bed, what about when you might have been told to use bed rest for several days or more? There potentially is a lot of muscle shrinkage and weakness that can occur in a relatively short amount of time and therefore, strengthening exercises also need to be taught in order to regain your strength so you can more safely do your activities.

Now what about back pain prevention? What methods to you think will help us NOT get low back pain? That’s right – managing weight! If your BMI (body mass index or, the ratio between your height and weight) is >25, you need to trim down a bit (or more). Go on line and SEARCH BMI, and pick one of many “BMI Calculators” to figure out your BMI. So, what do chiropractors know about weight loss?

Did you know the chiropractic college curriculum includes more nutritional courses than most medical schools? We will help you find a way to lose weight – whether its calorie restriction, a special diet like no/low salt, gluten-free, or a diabetes-specific diet. Another prevention trick for the low back (actually, whole body!) is to STAY FIT! Make aerobic exercise and even a light weight lifting program part or your daily ritual. Other methods help too, so come in and let us guide you in this journey to better health!

We realize you have a choice in where you get you healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

Weekly Health News for You…

Mental Attitude: That’s Life. Our life experiences (the ups, downs and everything in between) shape us, stay with us and influence our emotional set point as adults. By studying identical twins and monitoring them as their life paths diverged, researchers discovered life experiences are important influences on our levels of anxiety and depression. With diet, we say, “you are what you eat.”  This study shows “you are what you have experienced.” Virginia Commonwealth University, Oct 2011

Health Alert: Drunk Drivers! During the past year in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control estimates there were 112 million incidents of adults getting behind the wheel of their car while under the influence of alcohol. That’s 300,000 a day! These people put everyone on the road at risk. 11,000 people are killed every year in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. CDC, Oct 2011

Diet: Thin Children? Children with thinner parents are 3 times more likely to be thin than children whose parents are overweight. When both parents were in the thinner half of the healthy-weight range, the chance of the child being thin was 16.2%, compared with 7.8% when both parents were in the upper half of the healthy weight range, 5.3% with two overweight parents, and only 2.5% for children with two obese parents. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Sept 2011

Exercise: Vigorous Exercise. Men who perform vigorous exercise 3 times a week have a 22% lower risk of heart attack. Researchers believe the vigorous exercise results in higher HDL-C (“good” cholesterol) levels, known to lower the risk of heart disease. American College of Sports Medicine, Oct 2011

Chiropractic: Total Regeneration. According to Deepak Chopra, M.D., “98% of the atoms in your body were not there a year ago.” With that concept in mind, taking care of your body is essential as it is a constant state of regeneration. Through proper diet, regular exercise, getting enough rest, maintaining low stress levels and proper chiropractic care, you can give your body the best opportunity to be healthy and stay healthy.

Wellness/Prevention: Kids, Stay Thin! If your children are overweight or obese, their risk of having high blood pressure is almost three times higher than children at normal weight. Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, Oct 2011

Quote: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” ~ Bill Gates

Active Release Did you know? Dr. Hyman is still the only Active Release Techniques (ART) Instructor practicing in Denver. Dr. Hyman has been teaching students at ART seminars all over North America since 2002.

The Denver Chiropractic Center 5-minute guide to avoiding holiday weight gain (really).

I can hear you thinking it now : ”Oh man, another article on how to survive the holidays.” Yes it is. But this is one page that can actually make a difference. I promise.  I tried really hard to get all this onto one page.

The truth is that a lot of us gain 5-6 pounds over the holidays. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you have a broader strategy to avoid fattening up, you can cheat a little, enjoy yourself, and not have a flabby problem to start 2012. Here’s all you have to do, followed by a brief explanation of each.

1. Control the carbs.

If you’ve been reading the Weekly Health News for You emails we send out every week, you know that there’s a great research review out there called “What Make us Fat.” This book summarizes the last 100 years of weight loss research and shows pretty conclusively that excessive consumption of carbohydrates what produces excess body fat.

Mark Sisson, in the excellent book “The Primal Blueprint” takes this discussion further explaining that excess carbs produce excess insulin, and this in turn leads to increased fat storage. He suggests keeping carb consumption in the 100 – 150 grams per day to maintain weight. Stay closer to 100 to lose weight. Following this advice, I’ve lost almost 20 pounds of fat this year. Once a week I cheated and ate whatever the hell I wanted. But only once a week.

2. Get a heart rate monitor / Calculate your target zone (50-70% of your estimated max).

Sisson goes on to further explain that exercising in the aerobic zone, generally the easy cardio zone, burns more fat. To do this it’s best to get a heart rate monitor to stay within a target heart rate zone to burn fat. Training too hard burns carbs, and causes you to eat more after exercising.

Take 220- your age to estimate your max HR (or use one of the other newer formulas). Then multiply that number by .5 to get the bottom of your target range, and .75 to get the top. You can round off to make life easy

So for me, I use 40 as my age (I’m 42). 220-40=180. 180x.5 = 90, the bottom of my range, 180x.75= 135, the top of my range. So with my heart rate monitor, I try to stay between 90 and 135. This is my aerobic fat burning zone.

3.Try to get into the target zone 2 or 3 days a week for 45 mins to an hour, if possible, go outside.

In addition to working out with weights 2 or 3 times a week, try to get that low-level aerobic cardio in. Yes, you can do them on the same day if you want. And yes, you can go longer if you stay inside the zone. Try anything you can to get outside a little.

4.Read the books I mentioned in #1.

Think about ordering the books “What Makes Us Fat” by Gary Taubes and “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson. Together they’ll set you back no more than $30 (find them at By reading these books during the holidays, you’ll have some motivation to avoid the chronic over-consumption of the wrong things that leads to holiday weight gain.

This will give you a reasonable strategy on which you can cheat a little and still fit in your pants on January 2nd.  There you have it. Give it a try. I know some of you will, and that’s great!

In chronological order: Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, Healthy Solstice, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

How our Denver Active Release Clinic (Denver Chiropractic Center) can help you stay healthy.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I know you’re busy, so I’ll get to the point. We’ll be in the office all week this week, but just Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 9-Noon next week. Here’s this week’s health news for you:

Mental Attitude: More Vacations? Researches claim vacations help us recharge our batteries and perform at a higher level once we return to work. However, because the after-effects are short-lived, we should take trips more frequently in order to keep our levels of health and well-being high. The Psychologist, Aug 2011

Health Alert: Over Spending? Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine found $6.7 billion was spent in one year for unnecessary tests or prescribing unnecessary medications, with 86% of that cost attributed to the prescription of brand-name statins to treat high cholesterol. Archives of Internal Medicine, Oct 2011

Diet: Iron Man? The right amount of iron is needed for proper cell function, but too much may lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Men typically have more iron in their bodies than women, which may be why men develop these age-related neurodegenerative diseases at a younger age. (Younger women’s iron levels are thought to be lower because of menstruation.) To reduce iron levels: decrease over-the-counter supplements that contain iron, unless doctor recommended; eat less red meat; donate blood; and take natural iron-chelating substances that bind to and remove iron (such as curcumin or green tea). Neurobiology of Aging, Oct 2011

Exercise: Music To The Ears. Researchers found listening to music (in this case Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”) while exercising improved participants’ mental agility. The study’s author, Charles Emery, believes all types of music can produce a similar effect, no just classical. ABC News, April 2011

Brain Activity And Chronic Low Back Pain. A new imaging technique, arterial spin labeling, shows the areas of the brain that are activated when low back pain worsens in chronic pain patients. This is a first step towards objectively describing chronic pain, normally a subjective experience. When a patient has worsening of their usual pain, there are changes in the activity of the brain in the areas that process pain and mood. Anesthesiology, August 2011

Quote: “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing.” ~ Muhammad Ali.

Active Release. How to stay healthy. Recent research has shown that chiropractic patients who receive monthly maintenance care have better treatment outcomes that last longer. While I have no formal studies to prove it, the many patients who come to see us for monthly ART sessions also seem to stay healthier. We can usually spot developing problems and get rid of them before they start causing pain.

Shin splints, blueberries and This Week’s Health News For You.

Mental Attitude: Remember Zinc. For over 50 years, scientists have known zinc plays a vital role in the brain but were not quite sure what that role is. Now, researchers from the Duke University Medical Center and MIT have discovered that zinc regulates the communication between neurons in the hippocampus, where learning and memory processes occur. Neuron, Aug 2011

Health Alert: Health Costs Rising! According to experts, healthcare spending will grow 6% each year through 2020. Researchers estimate that doctor visits, clinical services and prescription drugs will be the largest growth areas. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Diet: Where to Eat? As childhood obesity rises and the American diet shifts towards increasing consumption of foods eaten or prepared outside of the home, concerns about the nutritional quality and the total consumption of such foods are also increasing. Comparing measurements from 2006 to 1977, children now eat more calories every day (+179 kcal/day). This is associated with a major increase in calories eaten away from home (+255 kcal/day). The percentage of calories eaten away from home is now 33.9%. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Aug 2011

Exercise: Strong Arm Diabetes. Building muscle can lower your insulin resistance risk, thus lowering your chance of developing Type-2 Diabetes. Scientists have known for a while that low muscle mass raises the risk of insulin resistance; however, no study had attempted to figure out whether increased muscle, regardless of obesity levels, might improve blood glucose control Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, July 2011

Chiropractic: Hall of Fame Help. During his playing career, NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Joe Montana said, “I’ve been seeing a Chiropractor and he’s really been helping me a lot. Chiropractic’s a big part of my game.”

Wellness/Prevention: Blueberries And Cancer. Eating as little as a cup of blueberries every day may help prevent cell damage linked to cancer. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Sept 2011

Quote: “Nature, time and patience are three great physicians.” ~ H.G. Bohn

Active Release: Shin splints. Shin splints is a painful inflammation of the muscles of the shin, usually the Tibialis Anterior or Tibialis Posterior muscles. While the problem is felt in the shins, the source is usually the foot and ankle. When the feet are weak and the ankles are tight, your shin muscles are subjected to additional stress. While Active Release is great for correcting the affected muscles, the foot and ankle must be addressed with rehab exercises. Icing after activity helps too. If you’re dealing with shin splints, call us 303.300.0424