Last month, we began discussing common myths about whiplash injuries, and this month, we will continue on that course. Remember, the amount of injury that occurs in an acceleration/deceleration injury is dependant on many factors, some of which include gender (females>males), body type (tall slender = worse), the amount of vehicular damage (less is sometimes worse as the energy of the strike was not absorbed by crushing metal), head position at the time of impact (rotation is worse than looking straight ahead), and more. Therefore, each case MUST be looked at on its own merits, not just analyzed based on a formula or accident reconstruction.
MYTH #5: THERE MUST BE DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE NECK FOR INJURY TO OCCUR. Injury to the neck most commonly occurs due to the rapid, uncontrolled whipping action of the head, forcing the neck to move well beyond its normal range of motion in a forwards/backwards direction (if it’s a front or rear-end collision) or, at an angle if the head is rotated or when the strike occurs at an angle.
When this occurs, the strong ligaments that hold the bones together stretch and tear in a mild, moderate, or severe degree, depending on the amount of force. Once stretched, increased motion between the affected vertebra results as ligaments, when stretched, don’t repair back to their original length and, just like a severe ankle sprain, future problems can result. This excess motion between vertebra can result in an accelerated type of arthritis and is often seen within five years following a cervical sprain or whiplash injury.
MYTH #6: SEAT BELTS PREVENT WHIPLASH INJURIES. It’s safe to say that wearing seat belts saves lives and, it’s the law! So, WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS! They protect us from hitting the windshield or worse, being ejected from the vehicle. But, as far as preventing whiplash, in some cases (low speed impacts where most of the force is transferred to the car’s occupants), the opposite may actually be true. (This is not an excuse to not wear a seatbelt!)
The reason seat belts can add to the injury mechanism is because when the chest or trunk is held tightly against the car seat, the head moves through a greater arc of motion than it would if the trunk were not pinned against the seat, forcing the chin further to the chest and/or the back of the head further back. The best way to minimize the whiplash injury is to have a well-designed seat belt system where the height of the chest harness can be adjusted to the height of the driver so that the chest restraint doesn’t come across the upper chest or neck.
Move the side adjustment so the chest belt crosses between the breasts (this also reduces injury risk to the breasts) and attaches at or near the height of the shoulder (not too high). Another preventer of whiplash is positioning the head restraint high enough (above the ears typically) and close to the head (no more than ½ to 1 inch) so the head rest stops the backwards-whipping action. Also, keep the seat back more vertical than reclined so the body doesn’t “ramp” up the seat back forcing the head over the top of the head restraint.
If you’ve been in a car accident, Denver Chiropractic Center can help you with Active Release Techniques, chiropractic care, and physical therapy. We accept Med Pay and will work with any auto insurance carrier. 303.300.0424. Call us today.
We’re back in the office Monday 11/27 at 9AM, and are ready to help you. Most deductibles reset on January 1, so if something’s been hurting you, give us a call and get it taken car of now. 303.300.0424
Mental Attitude: Sleep? Just one night of inadequate sleep can detrimentally trigger an increase (by as much as 60%) in brain activity related to anticipating negative emotional events. UC Berkeley, October 2012
Health Alert: Stop Smoking! Female smokers in the UK die 10 years earlier (on average) than non-smokers. However, women who stop smoking by age 30 are 97% less likely to suffer a smoking related, premature death. The Lancet, October 2012
Diet: Grapes! Grape consumption is linked to healthier diet habits and higher intake of nutrients. Individuals who consume products made with grapes also have higher intake of the following: dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Grape consumption is associated with higher vegetable, seed, and nut intake, as well as a decreased intake of cholesterol, saturated fat, and total fat, compared with adults who did not consume grape products. Grapes can assist in lowering blood pressure, strengthen blood flow, and lower inflammation in men suffering from metabolic syndrome. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food, October 2012
Exercise: Yoga. Yoga stretches all of the soft tissues of your body such as ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheaths that surround your muscles. No matter your level of yoga, you most likely will see benefits in a very short period of time. Yoga participants had 35% improvement in flexibility after only 8 weeks. American Council on Exercise, October 2012
Active Release Techniques / Chiropractic: Why Wait? The activities of every day living can cause micro-traumas to the musculoskeletal system. While these injuries may not result in pain, if left untreated they may lead to more serious problems such as back or neck pain (for example). Regular adjustments can help prevent these micro-traumas from becoming bigger problems in the future. In our experience people who come in just once a month for maintenance treatment experience fewer injuries over time. Really.
Wellness/Prevention: Keep Young Drivers Safe. In May 2010, New Jersey implemented Kyleigh’s Law, requiring all 16-20 year old drivers with a permit or intermediate license to display a reflective decal on the front and back license plates of vehicles they are operating. The decal is intended to help police officers enforce laws specific to younger drivers such as those related to night time driving and the number of permitted passengers. Since going into effect, Kyleigh’s Law has decreased car accidents among 16-20 year old intermediate license holders by 9%. Tips for keeping your young driver safe: “[Start] them out in low-risk conditions. Keep the number of passengers to no more than one, limit nighttime driving to before 10 pm, always prohibit cell phone use while driving, and insist on seat belts for every occupant on every drive.” Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, October 2012
Quote: “Genius comprised: of inspiration 1% percent, of perspiration, 99%.” ~ Thomas A. Edison
Headaches are one of the most common reasons people seek out Denver Chiropractic Center for care. Many patients with headaches benefit significantly from specific muscular treatments made to the upper cervical region. So, the question is, how does muscular treatment (with Active Release Techniques) the neck help headaches? To help answer this question, let’s look at a study that was recently published that examined this exact issue…
It’s been said that if one understands anatomy, determining WHERE the problem is located becomes easy. So, let’s take a look at the anatomy in the upper most part of the neck. In the study previously mentioned (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21278628), the authors found an intimate relationship between the muscles that connect the upper 2 cervical vertebra (C1 and 2) together and their anatomical connection to the dura mater (the covering of the spinal cord). They identified this anatomical connection between the muscles that span between the back aspect of C1/2 and the dural connection as having a significant role in the development of headaches usually referred to as cervicogenic headaches.
There are several reasons why ART to the muscles of the upper cervical (suboccipital) helps to reduce the intensity, frequency and duration of headaches. If one or both of the upper 2 vertebrae (C1 and C2, also referred to as the atlas and axis, respectively) are either blocked or fixed and cannot properly move independently, then there is an abnormal change in the biomechanics in that region. You can take all the ibuprofen, Aleve, Tylenol or other perhaps stronger, prescription medication for the headache, but it is not logical that the biomechanical problem at C1 and/or C2 is going to change by inducing a chemical change (i.e., taking a pill). All you’re doing is masking the symptoms for a while, at best.
Many people find that after Active Release Techniques soft tissue treatments to the associated muscles, their headaches are significantly improved. This is because restoring proper biomechanics to the C1/2 region reduces the abnormal forces on the vertebrae as well as any abnormal pull or traction of the posterior cervical muscles on the dural attachment.
It has been reported that the function of this muscle/dura connection is to resist excessive movement of the dura towards the spinal cord when we look upwards and forwards. During neurosurgery, observation of mechanical stress on the dura was found to be associated in patients with headaches. In chronic headache sufferers, adjustments applied to this area results in significant improvement.
In our opinion, there is no other treatment approach that matches the ability that targeted and specific muscle work have in restoring the C1/2 biomechanical relationship thus, helping the headache sufferer. Another treatment option that has been shown to benefit the headache patient is injections to this same area. However, given the side effects of cortisone, botox, and other injectable chemicals, it’s clear that treatment with ART should be utilized first. It’s the safest, most effective, and fastest way to restore function in the C1/2 area, thus relieving headaches.
We realize that you have a choice in where you receive your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for headaches, 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.
My wife Meredith and I spent this past Saturday in a “Be Your Own Bodyguard” class taught by personal defense guru Tony Blauer at Crossfit Verve. This class is going to be re-branded as CrossFit Defense, and I can’t recommend it enough, especially for women. If you don’t mind foul language, google Tony Blauer and the SPEAR system for more info.
Meredith got a lot of hands-on practice, and after 10 years of marriage finally got a chance to give the 8-hour beating I probably deserve.
Next week is Thanksgiving week, as you know. We’ll be closing at noon on Wednesday the 21st and re-opening on Monday the 26th. This week is already nearly full, so if you need to get in and see us, call sooner rather than later.
Mental Attitude: Chew On This! People who maintain the ability to chew are less likely to develop dementia. This study shows a link between having no teeth and losing cognitive function more rapidly. The action of chewing makes more blood flow to the brain. People with few or no teeth will chew less, resulting in less blood flow to the brain. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, October 2012
Health Alert: Younger Adults and Strokes? Stroke is becoming more common in younger adults. The reason may be an increase in risk factors like diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol. Strokes among those under age 55 grew from around 13% in 1994 to 19% in 2005. Neurology, October 2012
Diet: Omega-3 Intake & Young Adults. For the first time, scientists have studied the effects of Omega-3 supplementation on young adults (ages 18-25). After 6 months of supplementation, subjects were able to improve their working memory (used for reason and comprehension) despite the belief that, at their age, they were operating at their cognitive best. PLoS One, October 2012
Exercise: Take A Hike For Your Heart! Going for a hike, a jog, or taking a brisk walk every day could reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke by 50%. Researchers found that people who jog or who walk briskly have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who lead more sedentary lives, or who walk at slower speeds. British Heart Foundation, October 2012
Chiropractic: Pregnancy and Back Pain. Approximately 60% of pregnant women suffer from back pain; however, only about 30% report symptoms to their prenatal provider and only 25% of providers recommend treatment. A review of 17 pregnant women who sought chiropractic care for back pain found 16 of 17 women demonstrated clinically important pain improvement within 4.5 days of seeking care, with no adverse side effects. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, January-February 2006
Wellness/Prevention: What Can I Do? According to Leon Chaitow, ND, DO, “Even if conventional medicine tells you that your condition is incurable or that your only option is to live a life dependent on drugs with troublesome side effects, there is hope for improving or reversing your condition.” There are many things we can do to stay healthy and overcome illness once we become ill. The benefits of an excellent diet, a strong exercise program, getting proper rest, and a strong mental attitude (which includes stress reduction) have been studied endlessly with positive results. Being healthy almost always improves your overall body function and decreases your risk of becoming ill.
Quote: “I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.” ~ Voltaire
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition characterized by pain, numbness and/or tingling in the hand. This includes the palm and the 2nd, 3rd, and half of the 4th finger, usually sparing the thumb. Another indication of CTS is weakness in grip strength such as difficulty opening a jar to even holding a coffee cup. CTS can occur from many different causes, the most common being repetitive motion injuries such as assembly line or typing/computing work.
Here is a PARTIAL list of potential causes of CTS: heredity (a small sized tunnel), aging (>50 years old), rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, hypothyroid, birth control pill use, trauma to the wrist (especially colles fractures), diabetes mellitus, acromegaly, the use of corticosteroids, tumors (benign or malignant), obesity (BMI>29 are 2.5 more likely), double crush (pinching of the nerve in more than 1 place such as the neck and the carpal tunnel), heterozygous mutations in a gene (associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth), Parvovirus b19, and others. Again, repetitive trauma is still the most common cause. Once the cause(s) of CTS has been nailed down, then treatment options can be considered.
From a treatment perspective, we’ve previously discussed what chiropractors typically do for CTS (spinal and extremity joint manipulation, muscle/soft tissue mobilization, physical therapy modalities such as laser, the use of a wrist splint – especially at night, work task modifications, wrist/hand/arm/neck exercises, vitamin B6, and more). But, what about using other “alternative” or non-medical approaches, especially those that can be done with chiropractic treatment? Here is a list of four alternative or complementary treatment options:
- Anti-inflammatory Goals: Reducing systemic inflammation reduces overall pressure on the median nerve that travels through the limited space within the carpal tunnel at the wrist. An “anti-inflammatory diet” such a Mediterranean diet, gluten-free diet, paleo-diet (also referred to as the caveman diet) can also help. Herbs that can helps include arnica, bromelain, white willow bark, curcumen, ginger, turmeric, boswellia, and vitamins such as bioflavinoids, Vitamin B6 (and other B vitamins such as B1 and B12), vitamin C, and also omega 3 fatty acids.
- Acupuncture: Inserting very thin needles into specific acupuncture points both near the wrist and further away can unblock energy channels (called meridians), improve energy flow, release natural pain reducing chemicals (endorphins and enkephlins), promote circulation and balance the nervous system. For CTS, the acupuncture points are located on the wrist, arm, thumb, hand, neck, upper back and leg. The number of sessions varies, dependant on how long the CTS has been present, the person’s overall health, and the severity of CTS.
- Laser acupuncture: The use of a low level (or “cold” laser) or a class IV pulsed laser over the same acupuncture points as mentioned above can have very similar beneficial effects (without needles)! One particular study of 36 subjects with CTS for an average of 24 months included 14 patients who had 1-2 prior surgeries for CTS with poor post-surgical results. Even in that group, improvement was reported after 3 laser treatments per week for 4-5 weeks! In total, 33 of the 36 subjects reported 50-100% relief. These benefits were reportedly long-term as follow-up at 1-2 years later showed only 2 out of 23 subjects had pain that returned and subsequent laser treatment was again successful within several weeks.
- Active Release Techniques (ART): ART releases scar tissue in the muscles that surround the median nerve. This release takes the pressure off of the nerve, and often resolves CTS. We’ve been treating Carpal Tunnel with ART successfully since 2000, and Dr. Hyman is the only ART provider in Denver who is also an ART instructor. Call us today to schedule your CTS evaluation. 303.300.0424
Giving your spice rack a work-out is just as brilliant as eating fruit and veggies. Take oregano. Prized in Italian and Greek cuisine, these tasty little leaves boast 30 times more polyphenols than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and 4 times more than blueberries. You’d never munch a bunch of oregano that’s as big as a potato, but even a pinch packs a wallop. A tablespoon of fresh oregano’s got as much antioxidant power as a medium-sized apple!
Here’s the lowdown on herbs and spices that punch up the flavor of popular ethnic cuisine, along with ways you can use them to get healthier as you spice up whatever you’re cooking tonight.
Turmeric: The compound curcumin, found in yellow mustard (not so much in brown mustard, as that has real mustard seed.. but there’s true value in its less expensive yellow imitation). Turmeric and curry powder have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, and may offer protection from cancer, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. It is a premiere flavor in Indian cuisine and you can use it on veggies, sautéed chicken, or salad dressing.
Garlic: Munching a clove a day could help lower your cholesterol by as much as 9%. Garlic contains tons of tangy compounds that may help protect against cancers of the breast, stomach, colon, esophagus, and pancreas — and soothe high blood pressure a bit, too. Garlic’s a favorite from Scandinavia to Spain and China. Use it to spice up veggies, fish, and your next pan of brown rice. It seems to make everything taste better (you could even try it on fruit and all veggies).
Rosemary: A top seasoning in Mediterranean cooking (the French roast it with almonds, the Italians add it to herb mixes), rosemary’s antioxidant capabilities make it a must for 21st-century grill masters. Adding this herb to meat, fish, and veggie marinades before grilling reduces cancer-causing compounds, called heterocyclic amines, by up to 80%
Cinnamon: A compound in this tasty spice called hydroxychalcone makes receptors on cells work better, so your body absorbs blood sugar more easily. Getting ½ to 1 teaspoon a day, sprinkled on food, could lower blood sugar 10 points. It’s a favorite in German baked goods and Greek main dishes like hearty moussaka. Cinnamon is also delicious on oatmeal, in hot cocoa, and sprinkled on fresh fruit, like apples and bananas.
Ginger: This popular flavor in Thai cuisine may also cut your odds for inflammatory diseases like arthritis, as well as cancer and migraine headaches. You can also eat some if you’re prone to motion sickness or are nauseous, too. Try grated fresh ginger in salad dressings and shake powdered ginger into whole-grain muffins.
Here is this week’s 1-Page Health News:
Mental Attitude: What Is Dementia? Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s a term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the 2nd most common type of dementia. At least two of the following core mental functions must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia: memory, communication and language, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgment, and visual perception. Alzheimer’s Association
Diet: Tomatoes! Men who eat lots of tomatoes and tomato-based products may have a lower risk for stroke. Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene. Men who had the highest levels of lycopene in their blood (compared to their peers with the lowest levels) were 55% less likely to have a stroke and 59% less likely to have an ischemic stroke. Neurology, October 2012
Exercise: Move It! Even 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week (20 minutes 3 times a week for vigorous exercise, such as jogging) can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. You don’t have to exercise for 30 minutes straight; you can break it up into 10-minute increments. (Note- check out crossfit.com and crossfitendurance.com for daily workouts that are almost always under 30 minutes) American Council on Exercise, October 2012
Active Release Technique: How Important Is Motion? After soft tissue injuries to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia that result in motion restriction, a high incidence of osteoarthritis (degeneration) can be seen on x-ray within 5 years. (Note-This is why it’s so important to get ART work to improve joint mobility. Stiff backs become arthritic) American Journal of Medicine, 2001
Wellness/Prevention: Safety For Your Children. 37% of all children under 16 years old are incorrectly restrained in the car. 23% are so poorly restrained that a collision would have very serious consequences. With the correct use of safety equipment, fewer children will be injured and killed in traffic accidents. Safety errors are highest in children aged 4-7 years. The 5 most common mistakes are misplaced seat belts, twisted belts, loose straps, belt under the arm instead of over the shoulder, and young children (<135 cm or <4.5 feet) sitting in a seat without side support. (Note- While you’re at it, consider restraining your dog, too. We’ve seen many car accidents that cause a dog to go flying through the car, injuring both the dog and people in the car) Norwegian Institute of Public Health, October 2012
Quote: “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” ~ Ben Franklin
Last month, we discussed the relationship between sleep deprivation and low back pain (LBP) and found that LBP can cause sleep loss AND sleep loss can cause LBP. It’s a 2-way street! This month, we will look at ways to improve your sleep quality, which in return, will reduce your LBP. There are many ways we can improve our sleep quality. Here are some of them:
- Turn off the lights: Complete darkness (or as close to it as possible) is best. Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. Cover your windows with blackout shades or drapes.
- Stay cool! The bedroom’s temperature should be ≤70 degrees F (21 degrees C). At about four hours after you fall asleep, your body’s internal temperature drops to its lowest level. Scientists report a cooler bedroom mimics your body’s natural temperature drop.
- Move the alarm clock. Keeping it out of reach (at least 3 feet) forces you to get out of bed and get moving in the AM. Also, you won’t be inclined to stare at it during the night!
- Avoid loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on your body to be suddenly jolted awake. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, an alarm may even be unnecessary.
- Reserve your bed for sleeping. Avoid watching TV or doing work in bed, you may find it harder to relax and drift off to sleep.
- Get to bed before 11pm. Your adrenal system does a majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. and adrenal “burn-out” results in fatigue and other problems.
- Be consistent about your bed time. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, including weekends. This will help your body to get into a sleep rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep and get up in the morning.
- Establish a bedtime routine. Consider meditation, deep breathing, using aromatherapy, or essential oils, or massage from your partner. Relax and reduce your tension from the day.
- Eat a high-protein snack several hours before bed to provide the L-tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production.