Posts

Common Car Accident (Whiplash) Myths

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.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Natural Treatment Options

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

A spicy election day & this week’s 1-page health news

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

Fibromyalgia and Food

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder that affects everyone a little differently. Therefore, promoting a one diet approach for every FM patient doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, according to Ginevra Liptan, MD, medical director of the Frida Center for FM in Portland, OR, it is clear that what is included in a diet vs. what is eliminated makes a big difference for many FM patients. It has been reported that 42% of FM patients surveyed indicated their symptoms worsened after eating certain foods. Here are some recommendations about diet to consider:

  1. Pay attention to how food makes YOU feel. Many FM patients have sensitivities to particular foods, but this is highly variable from person to person. Sensitivity to MSG, certain preservatives, eggs, gluten, and dairy are quite common. Keep a daily food journal for at least 2 weeks and write down the foods eaten and any associated symptoms like headaches, indigestion (irritable bowel syndrome irritation – IBS), or fatigue.
  2. Try Eliminating Certain Foods. Many FM patients have irritable bowel symptoms, and using an elimination diet can help determine which foods to cut out. Try it out for no less than 6-8 weeks in order to get the best results. Then, add it back into your diet and pay attention to how it makes you feel. The most commonly eliminated foods are dairy and gluten and the most common improvement is in fatigue reduction and reduced IBS symptoms like bloating and constipation.
  3. If you think you might have food sensitivities or allergies, talk with us. Sometimes it is best to obtain an evaluation from an allergist for food allergy testing. Dietitians can also assist in assuring that you don’t eliminate essential nutrients when foods are eliminated from the diet.
  4. Make it easier to Eat Healthy. Everyone, including the FM sufferer, should try to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains (if not gluten sensitive), and lean meats or protein. A well balanced diet will give you more energy, which in turn, can improve your overall health. When pain and exhaustion are present, choose healthy foods that do not require a lot of preparation such as buying pre-washed vegetables, or purchase pre-prepared foods like beet salad and quinoa.
  5. Use Food to Help Fight Fatigue. Consume foods in a way that increases energy levels and prevent fatigue. Anecdotally, FM patients have reported that eating small meals frequently vs. restricting themselves to 3 meals a day can keep blood sugar levels more even and prevent the “hypoglycemic lows.” A snack high in protein around 3pm can prevent mid-day fatigue.  Make sure your breakfast includes some protein and whole grains (again, assuming there is no gluten sensitivity). Focus on getting enough sleep and staying active during the day as these can also prevent fatigue during the day.
  6. Check on Your Supplements. Some supplements have significant side effects and can interact with medications. Talk to the prescribing doctor or pharmacist about this. For example, antidepressants and certain supplements can interact.
  7. Focus on Your Overall Well-Being. A multiple approach to managing FM symptoms works better than a single approach. Things like yoga, massage, and deep breathing exercises, as well as routine chiropractic treatments can improve the overall quality of life. Increasing the quality of life is the ultimate goal for managing the FM patient. Going to bed at a consistent time, not eating too late, and exercising regularly are key components.

Denver’s only Active Release Techniques Instructor teaches in Minnesota

This past weekend I was teaching at the Active Release Techniques seminar in Minneapolis (technically Bloomington, MN). The hotel was about 1 mile from Northwestern Health Sciences University, where I went to chiropractic school.

Anyway, about ½ mile from the hotel was a really nice lake with a 2-mile running loop. There were tons of trees, lots of wildlife, and the setting was amazing. For a second, I thought to myself, “I could live here.”

On Thursday and Friday I ran after the seminar, about 6 miles each night. As I was running at around 5:15, the park was busy. I did what I always do when I run in Colorado- I said “hi” to people that I passed.

And these people looked at me like I was some sort of criminal. No one said “hi” back. Not one person. So, of course, I kept trying. Nothing. I even looked down to see if I was wearing some sort of weird shirt. I wasn’t.

This is why I love living in Colorado. The people are great. Everyone always says hi or at least nods back when I’m out on a ride or a run. Of course, some super-serious road bikers are so totally focused on their awesomeness that they can’t be bothered, but the majority of people are here are just great. So, no I would never move back to Minnesota. But it was an OK place to spend a weekend teaching for ART.

Mental Attitude: Positive Emotion. Older adults display more positive emotions and are quicker to regulate out of negative emotional states than younger adults. Older adults may be better at regulating emotion because they tend to direct their eyes away from negative material or toward positive material. Current Directions in Psychological Science, August 2012

Health Alert: Alzheimer’s Research. The global market for Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics could soar to $8 billion once therapies are approved that actually change the course of the disease. The current therapeutic market is valued at $3-4 billion and is shared among drugs that temporarily delay disease progression or address the symptoms but do not alter the underlying disease. Despite all the research on amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, there is still a debate on whether these biological phenomena are causative or symptomatic of Alzheimer’s. Once scientists can clearly and unequivocally define key factors related to the actual biology of the disease itself, therapeutic advances could take place much more quickly.

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, August 2012

Diet: Summer Time Blues! Barbequed hot dogs and sausages are common summer time treats, but are they the right choice for your diet? It’s not just the high levels of fat or calories that are cause for concern, most hot dogs, bratwurst, and other sausages are also very high in sodium. The average hot dog contains 280 calories, 15 grams of fat,  and 1,250 mg of sodium.

American Heart Association

Exercise: Micronutrients and Physical Fitness. Adolescents’ blood levels of micronutrients are correlated with how well they perform in physical fitness tests. For cardio-respiratory fitness, concentrations of hemoglobin, retinol, and vitamin C in males and beta-carotene and vitamin D in females was positively associated with VO2 max (peak oxygen uptake).

Journal of Applied Physiology, Aug 2012

Active Release Technique: Restoring Motion. As  early as 1933, a study showed lack of proper joint motion can cause Degenerative Joint Disease (osteoarthritis). An immobilized joint will develop cartilage changes similar to those of osteoarthritis. Surgery, Gynecology & Obstetrics, 1933.

Wellness/Prevention: Nutrition and IQ. Children fed healthy diets at a young age may have a higher IQ when tested at eight years old. A study looked at the link between the eating habits of children at six months, 15 months and two years, and their IQ at eight years of age. Children breastfed at six months and who had a healthy diet regularly including foods such as legumes, cheese, fruit and vegetables at 15 and 24 months, had an IQ up to two points higher by age eight. Those children who had a diet regularly involving biscuits, chocolate, sweets, soft drinks and chips in the first two years of life had IQs up to two points lower by age eight. University of Adelaide, Aug 2012

My hips don’t lie…Think you’re fat?…and the 1-Page Health News

Some people object to the idea of squatting. They say it’s bad for you, not something anyone ever does, blah, blah, blah. I can tell you from 15 years of experience that the hips don’t lie: People who can’t drop into a full-range unweighted squat sooner or later will have back problems. It’s that simple.

The picture is me cleaning my grill before my dad arrived last weekend. If I couldn’t get into this squat easily, I’d be standing there stooped over at the waist. When stooping instead of squatting becomes a habit, something bad eventually happens. This is the person who blows out his or her back tying a shoe or picking up an empty dog food bowl.

Next time you’re in ask either myself or Dr. Stripling to check your squat for you. IF you can’t do it, we can probably teach you.

Mental Attitude: Think You Are Fat? Researchers found that normal weight teens who perceive themselves as fat are more likely to grow up to be fat. 59% of girls who felt fat as a teen became overweight in adulthood while 31% of girls who did not consider themselves fat during adolescence were found to be overweight. Normal weight girls were more likely than boys to rate themselves as overweight (22% of girls vs. 9% of the boys). One reason for weight gain in later years may be due to psychosocial stress, which can be associated with gaining weight. Under this scenario, the psychosocial stress related to having (or not having) an ideal body type, along with the perception of oneself as overweight, can result in weight gain. Another explanation may be that young people who see themselves as fat often change their eating habits by skipping meals, which can

lead to obesity. Also, a diet you can’t maintain over time will be counterproductive, as the body tries to maintain the weight you had before you started to diet. Norwegian University of Science and Technology, July 2012

Health Alert: Depression Is A World-Wide Problem. It’s widely believe that depression is a phenomenon of Western culture, but researchers who analyzed studies involving over 480,000 people across 91 countries have found the opposite is true. They estimate the rate of depression in Middle Eastern and some Asian countries (~9%) is twice that found in countries like the United States and Australia (~4%). World Health Organization, 2010

Diet: Bad BBQ News! Barbecue can sabotage your waistline. A 20 ounce T-bone steak can weigh in at 1,540 calories, with

124 grams of fat.  A corn-fed 85% ‘lean’ cheeseburger has 750 calories and 45 grams of fat. Pork or beef ribs come from the fattiest part of the animal. Healthier options include pork tenderloin, skinless chicken breast, and lean ground beef. American Heart Association

Exercise: Good Reasons. Regular exercise maintains or improves joint flexibility, improves your glucose tolerance and reduces workdays missed due to illness. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, 1996

Chiropractic: Motion and Nutrition. Cartilage is avascular, meaning it does not receive nutrition via blood vessels. Like a sponge, it takes in fluid and releases the fluid when compression is applied. This alternating compression and re-expansion allows it to receive its supply of nutrients and remove metabolic waste. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 1984

Wellness/Prevention: Lose To Gain? People who are overweight or obese could gain ten years worth of health benefits by simply losing 20 pounds. Modest weight loss (average 14 lbs) reduced the risk of individuals developing Type 2 diabetes by

58%. Weight loss of just 10% of a person’s body weight has been shown to have long-term impact on sleep apnea, hypertension, quality of life, and to slow the decline in mobility that occurs as people age. American Psychological Association, July 2012

Quote: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein

Guess who won Xterra Indian Peaks & What’s that moose doing there?

This past weekend was a busy one for the staff here at Denver Chiropractic Center. I (Glenn) headed up to Eldora ski resort for the Xterra Indian Peaks Off-Road Triathlon on Saturday. As we were lining up to jump into the 60 degree water for the swim, a big ol’ moose came lumbering down to take a drink from the lake.

Luckily the moose just stuck to his or her own business, and the race went off as planned. I took over 37 minutes off of my previous time at Eldora (in 2008, when I finished dead last). I went from 4:01 to 3:24. Far from great, but much better. So I was happy.

My friend, coach, and Xterra pro Cody Waite won the whole darned thing with a ridiculously fast 1:49 (Cody did the whole race in less time than it took me to ride the bike course.)

Cody Waite and his wife Kathy own Endurance Performance Coaching, the official training partner of Denver Chiropractic Center. If you’re looking for a coach, Cody and Kathy are both great athletes and great people. Get more info on their company at their website.

Next up for me (still Glenn) is Xterra Lory at Horsetooth Reservoir on August 26th.

Meanwhile, Dr. Stripling and Keri were hard at work helping out at the Boulder Half Ironman (70.3) all weekend long. Jeff worked on lots and lots of athletes, and assisted at the finish. Keri kept all of the on-site ART tent running smoothly, and also helped out at the finish. Congratulations to our many patients who did this race.

And here is this week’s 1-Page Health Update:

Mental Attitude: Stress and Violence. Children exposed to community violence exhibit a physical stress response for up to a year, suggesting that exposure to violence may have negative long-term health consequences. In the short-term, violence is linked with aggression, depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms and academic and cognitive difficulties. Journal of Adolescent Health, July 2012

Health Alert: Health Care Costs For Kids. In 2010, per capita spending on children’s health care increased to $2,123 (an 18.6% increase from 2007), with spending on health care for infants and toddlers being noted as disproportionately high. Even though children below the age of 3 made up 17% of the covered child population, they cost the 31.4% of the total amount for children’s health care, with per capita spending reaching $3,896 in 2010. Health Care Cost Institute, July 2012

Diet: Eating Fish! Regular fish consumption can decrease colorectal cancer risk by 12%. American Journal of Medicine, June 2012

Exercise: Eat Less, Move More, and Live Longer. In a study on dietary restriction (DR) involving fruit flies, the flies that were also physically active experienced longer lives. This study establishes a link between DR-mediated metabolic activity in muscle, increased movement and the benefits derived from restricting nutrients. Flies on DR who could not move or had inhibited fat metabolism in their muscle did not exhibit an extended lifespan. If this finding extends to humans, then simply restricting nutrients without physical activity may not increase longevity. Cell Metabolism, July 2012.

Quote: “If parents pass enthusiasm along to their children, they will leave them an estate of incalculable value.” ~Thomas A. Edison

This past week at Boulder Peak, and the latest edition of Denver Chiropractic Center’s 1-Page Health News

This past week the staff from Denver Chiropractic Centers all over the state. Dr. Hyman was up in Beaver Creek training for Xterra Beaver Creek on July 14. While biking, he ran into a bear under lift 11. There’s a little snippet of video posted on our blog: http://www.denverback.com/?p=861

Dr. Stripling and Keri were up working hard leading the Active Release treatment team at the Boulder Peak Triathlon this weekend. Here’s a picture from the brief window when Dr. Hyman stopped by:

And here’s the 1-Page Health News for You…

Mental Attitude: Immune Against Alzheimer’s? Researchers discovered the best marker associated with memory is a gene called CCR2. This gene showed immune system activity against beta-amyloid, thought to be the main substance that causes Alzheimer’s disease. According to Dr. Lorna Harries, “Identification of a key player in the interface between immune function and cognitive ability may help us to gain a better understanding of the disease processes involved in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.” National Institute on Aging, June 2012

Health Alert: Cancer Rates Expected To Increase! Cancer incidence is expected to increase more than 75% by the year 2030 in developed countries, and over 90% in developing nations. Countries must take action to combat the projected increases in cancer rates via primary prevention strategies such as healthier lifestyles, early detection, and effective treatment programs. Lancet Oncology, June 2012

Diet: Snacking On Raisins. Eating raisins as an after-school snack prevents excessive calorie intake and increases the feeling of fullness as compared to other commonly consumed snacks. Grapes, potato chips and cookies resulted in approximately 56%, 70% and 108% higher calorie intake compared to raisins, respectively. The cumulative calorie intake (breakfast + morning snack + lunch + after-school snack) was 10-19% lower in children who ate raisins as an after school snack when compared to children who consumed other snacks. Canadian Nutrition Society, May 2012

Exercise: Exercise and Cancer. Researchers are working toward proving that daily yoga or 20 minutes of walking will likely extend a cancer patient’s survival. In 15 years, doctors have gone from being afraid to recommend exercise to cancer patients to having enough data that shows it is safe and effective, particularly for relief of treatment side effects. American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, June 2012

Active Release: A whole lot of nerve? Your nervous system runs and controls every aspect of your body. For example, there are 45 miles of nerves in your skin alone. Nerves throughout your body can become trapped in muscles, causing symptoms from headaches to carpal tunnel to sciatica to tingling in the toes. Active Release can take pressure off of nerves and fix problems. Gray’s Anatomy / Active Release Techniques

Wellness/Prevention: Early Stress? Children who experience intense and lasting stressful events in their lives score lower on tests of the spatial working memory and have more trouble on tests of short-term memory. Journal of Neuroscience, June 2012

Quote: “Remember to perform random acts of kindness.” ~ From the film Pay It Forward, released in 2000

Neck Pain – which treatment works best?

Neck Pain:  Manipulation vs. Mobilization – What’s Better?

Does mobilization (MOB) get less, the same, or better results when compared to spinal manipulative therapy (SMT)? To answer this question, let’s first discuss the difference between the two treatment approaches.

Mobilization (MOB) of the spine can be “technically” defined as a “low velocity, low amplitude” force applied to the tissues of the cervical spine (or any joint of the body, but we’ll focus on the cervical region). This means a slow, rhythmic movement is applied to a joint using various methods such as figure 8, side to side, front to back and /or combinations of any of these movements. In the neck, gentle to firm manual traction or pulling, when applied to the cervical spine, stretches the joint and disk spaces and can be included during MOB.

Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT) can be defined as a “high velocity, low amplitude” type of force applied to joint which is often accompanied by a audible release or “crack,” which is the release of gas (nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide).

Some joints “cavitate” or “crack” while others are less likely to release the gas. Studies that date back to the 1940s report an immediate improvement in a joint’s range of motion occurs when the joint cavitates. Many people instinctively stretch their own neck to the point of release, which typically, “…feels good.” This can become a habit and usually is not a big problem. However, in some cases, it can lead to joint hypermobility and ligament laxity.

As a rule, if only a gentle stretch is required to produce the cavitation/crack, it’s typically “safe” verses the person who uses higher levels of force by grabbing their own head and twisting it beyond the normal tissue stretch boundaries. The later is more likely to result in damage to the ligaments (tissue that strongly holds bone to bone) and therefore, should be avoided.

Since SMT is usually applied in a very specific location (where the joint is fixated or “stuck”, or, partially displaced), it’s obviously BEST to utilize chiropractic, as we chiropractors do this many times a day (for years or even decades) and we know where to apply it and can judge the amount of force to utilize, especially the neck where there are many delicate structures.

Back to the question: Which is better, MOB or SMT? Or, are they equals in the quest of rid of neck pain? A recent study of over 100 patients with “mechanical neck pain” (strain/sprain)  showed that those who received SMT had a significantly better response than the MOB group as measured by a pain scale, a disability scale and 2 tests that measure function!

In our clinic (Denver Chiropractic Center) we’ve found that the best approach uses BOTH. Mobilization in the form of Active Release Technique combined with safe and gentle (never forced) adjustments – also known as spinal manipulation – get better results in a shorter time frame.

Call us at 303.300.0424 if you want to get rid of your neck pain. We’re here to help.

Low Back Pain or Hip Arthritis: Which One is it? How the Active Release doctors at Denver Chiropractic Center can help you

Low back pain (LBP) can have many causes. Our job is to identify the main pain generator(s) and manage the patient accordingly. This requires a careful history, examination, and a short trial of treatment with conservative methods, like Active Release Techniques Soft Tissue Treatment.

When first presenting for care, the patient tells us about their complaint in the history portion of our evaluation. Here, we not only ask about the main reason for their appointment or, what’s bothering them now but also their past history. We also discuss old injuries such as slips and falls, sports injuries that date back to high school, motor vehicle induced injuries, as well as family history (we ask if family members have or have had low back trouble since it’s been reported that there is a genetic link identified for osteoarthritis).

We also inquire about the patient’s current activity level and how well those activates are tolerated, often using tools completed by the patient that can be scored and compared periodically during care to track the benefits of treatment. When we finally return to the primary complaint history, we ask about the location, mechanism of injury, notable changes in the course of the condition, the onset date, pain related activities that increase or decrease pain, the quality of pain, radiation patterns, severity levels (such as a 0-10 scale), and timing issues such as, worse in the mornings vs. evenings.

When patients say, “…I have low back pain,” they may point to anywhere between the lower rib cage and their hip area. In other words, everyone interprets where their low back is located differently. So, when differentiating between low back pain and hip pain, one would think that the patient would either point to their low back or their hip, right? Well, where does hip osteoarthritis usually hurt? That’s what makes it so hard! The pain location can vary and move around in the same patient anywhere in the pelvic region including the groin (which is common), to the side of the pelvis, to the buttocks, the sacrum and in the low back.

To make it even more challenging, degenerative or injured disks in the lower lumbar spine can refer pain directly into the hip area and also create localized low back pain. In fact, patients often have BOTH conditions simultaneously. Usually, during examination, we move the hip in the socket and feel for reduced motion and watch for pain patterns in certain positions. When comparing the two sides, we both can feel, “…a difference between the two.”

The osteoarthritic (OA) hip is comparably more tight and painful with rotation movements. For example, the patient is seated with their leg crossed, trying to touch their knee to their opposite shoulder. In the OA hip patient, they may only be able to get it half way there compared to the other side and often complain of groin pain. The “ultimate test” is the x-ray that reveals the loss of the joint space – the “cartilage interval” – which narrows on the OA hip side.

How often is hip OA found? In a recent article, after reviewing 2000 patient files and 1000 x-rays of patients 40 years or older, 19% (~1 out of 5) demonstrated x-ray findings of hip OA. THAT’S A LOT!  At Denver Chiropractic Center, management of hip OA includes mobilization, manipulation, stretching the muscles surrounding the hip joint with Active Release Techniques, exercise/stretch instruction, nutritional strategies and others. If/when the time comes, we will help set up a referral to the orthopedic surgeon for joint replacement, as any “quarterback” of your care should.

In our experience, using Active Release Techniques to manages the soft tissues (muscles, tendons) that are associated with the hip joint –and there are a lot of them – is the best option to both manage the pain and stiffness in the hip joint.

It all starts with the initial exam. To schedule yours (or schedule one for someone that you care about), call us at 303.300.0424.