Browsing articles in "Health Tip"

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Good Health for Your Joints

Feb 11, 2014   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Good Health for Your Joints

Health professionals are focusing increasing attention on inflammation and the “anti-inflammatory diet.” Before we look at what goes into that diet—and why anyone would follow it—we need to know what “inflammation” is.
What is the inflammatory process?

Inflammation can be good or bad. When it’s good, it’s a natural response by the body to a cut, for example. The immune system sends white blood cells and other substances to the site of the injury to get the healing process going. Not all injuries to the body are as obvious as a cut finger, though. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to chronic inflammation, as well as stress. Our genes can increase the likelihood of chronic inflammation. So can exposure to a variety of toxins, including secondhand tobacco smoke. A wide variety of causes can bring about chronic—and invisible—inflammation.
Why should we be concerned?

Low-grade chronic inflammation damages blood vessels. That increases the likelihood of heart problems and auto-immune illnesses like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation also has been implicated in the development of certain cancers, in diabetes, and in stroke. Other inflammation-related conditions include Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Learning how specific foods influence the inflammatory process is a good strategy for containing inflammation and reducing long-term disease risks.
Testing for inflammation


A substance known as C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced by the liver. When inflammation is present, the level of CRP becomes elevated. Doctors can measure the level of general inflammation by using a blood test, the hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) test.

Treatment and Prevention of Inflammation through Diet

The anti-inflammatory diet is not a cure-all, but it is among the best choices we can make—a scientifically proven way of maintaining optimum health. One of the major plusses of going on such a diet is that it provides us with steady energy and the necessary vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, and protective phytonutrients. It is not designed as a short-term diet or a weight-loss regimen but as a dietary lifestyle. It’s a major shift away from grabbing a slice of pizza, a Twinkie and a soda and calling that “lunch.” By choosing to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, we are making a conscious choice in favor of feeling better now and in the future.

What Contributes to Inflammation?

The first step toward leading an anti-inflammatory life is knowing what kinds of foods are likely to make us sick (or sicker). Our culture puts a high priority on convenience. We want foods, for example, that are fast and easy—preferably packaged, and not cooked by us. The quickie foods we turn to as fuel to keep us alert through long days of work or play are major culprits in the spread of invisible inflammation.

What Contributes to Health?

The anti-inflammatory diet is easy to remember and follow. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are its foundation. It includes three to five half-cup servings of whole and cracked grains, one to two half-cup servings of beans and legumes, and five to seven teaspoons of healthy fats each day. Cooked brown rice is easy to make and healthful, while bread should be kept to a minimum because it is processed. The daily allotment of good protein and omega 3 fatty acids can be found in two to six four-ounce servings of wild Alaskan salmon, herring, and sardines.

Some other sources of protein are not recommended for daily consumption. These include omega-3 enriched eggs, natural cheese, other dairy products, and poultry or other skinless meats. These can be consumed three to five times a week.

Focus on water and tea as beverages. Two to four cups of white, green, or oolong teas a day are suggested. A glass or two of organic red wine per day is acceptable. For sweets, dark chocolate, sorbet, and unsweetened dried fruits are recommended—but white sugar is not.
Recipes Available
The anti-inflammatory diet includes so many possible ingredients that a shift in that direction should not leave anyone feeling hungry or deprived. A quick Google search will turn up many simple anti-inflammatory recipes that will appeal to most people’s tastes and culinary preferences.
Quick Tips

  • Avoid white sugar and white flour.
  • Include carbohydrates, fat, and protein at each meal.
  • Read labels in the grocery store—avoid anything that is “hydrogenated” or even “partially hydrogenated.”
  • Keep saturated fats found in butter, cream, high-fat cheeses, cottage cheese, yogurt, unskinned chicken, and fatty meats to a bare minimum.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil should be your main cooking oil.
  • Small amounts of avocados and nuts are good—especially walnuts, cashews, almonds, and nut butters.
  • Decrease consumption of animal protein except for fish and moderate quantities of high-quality low-fat natural cheeses and yogurt.
  • Experiment with vegetable protein, especially from beans.
  • Remember your fiber. Fruits (especially berries), vegetables (especially beans), and whole grains are rich in fiber.
  • Fruits and vegetables should reflect all colors of the rainbow—and should especially include berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, and dark leafy greens. Together with mushrooms, these provide a healthy dose of your daily required phytonutrients.

Joint Health and Sports

Feb 11, 2014   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

Joint Health and Sports

Participation in sports or exercise is an important step in maintaining your health. Exercise strengthens your heart, bones, and joints and reduces stress, among many other benefits. Unfortunately, injuries while playing sports are all too common. Often, these injuries occur in those who are just taking up sports as a way to move more. Beginners rarely use proper safety equipment. They may also try to make up for lost time by pushing their bodies too fast and too hard. The result? Injuries.

The more commonly injured areas of the body are the ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, and spine. Remember to discuss any exercise program with your doctor of chiropractic before undertaking a new sport.

Strains and Sprains

Although sports injuries can fracture bones, the most commonly injured structures are the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

An acute twisting or overextension of a joint can lead to tears of muscles and tendons, called “strains.” Tears of ligaments result in “sprains.” These tears range from mild to severe. In mild injuries, just a few fibers are torn or stretched. Severe injuries, where there is a tear through the full thickness of the structure, are often considered “unstable” injuries—injuries that require surgical intervention. The intervertebral disc, a ligament between the vertebrae of the spine that works as a shock absorber, can also be torn, resulting in a disc bulge and/or herniation.

Ankle sprains most often involve tears of one or more of the ligaments along the outside of the ankle. Knee ligaments, including the larger external supportive ligaments and the smaller internal stabilizing ligaments, can also be torn. The cartilage on the back of the patella (knee cap) can also become eroded from overuse, leading to a condition termed chondromalacia patella.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Sports Injuries

Fractures can be recognized by acute pain and tenderness, along with swelling and possible bruising over the fracture site, often with visible deformity of the affected bone. It is a myth that if someone can move the joint near the pain, there is no fracture.

Stress fractures generally result in a slower onset of pain that is made worse with activity.

Strains most commonly cause pain at the site of the injured tendon, particularly where it inserts into the muscle or bone. The muscle itself may also be painful. There may be some weakness and even muscle spasm. Pain is most severe with movement of the affected muscle or tendon. The area is tender to the touch.

In sprains, pain and tenderness are felt over the affected ligament. Swelling of the joint, along with bruising, is also common, as is a reduced range of joint motion. If there is excessive motion and/or a visible deformity in the joint, this most often signifies a more serious, full-thickness ligament tear.

Tendinitis causes pain, tenderness, and swelling over the tendon, which is made worse by the motions that stress the tendon. There is also generally restricted range of motion, particularly in the direction of the tendon itself.

Chondromalacia patella results in knee pain, particularly behind the patella, along with a grinding or grating sensation. The pain is most often felt when running on an incline.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Sports injuries are most often diagnosed from the history of the activity that brought on the pain, along with a physical examination. In some cases, x-rays are necessary to rule out a fracture. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diagnostic ultrasound are also used in finding soft-tissue injuries, like tendinitis and sprains.

Fractures require the application of some stabilizing device, such as a cast, after the bone is put back into position. Rarely, surgical intervention is required. There is a relatively standard treatment protocol for most of the other overuse types of injuries. This protocol involves the following:

  • Rest: Generally no more than 48 hours of rest and/or immobilization is needed, depending on the severity of the injury. In most cases, the sooner the person becomes active after an injury, the more rapid is the recovery. In fact, long-term immobilization can sometimes be harmful to recovery. Your doctor of chiropractic will guide this process, as too early a return to activity, choosing the wrong type of activity, or excessive activity can be detrimental.
  • Ice or heat: Ice or heat can be helpful with pain reduction and tissue healing.
  • Compression: Compression of the area may reduce the amount of swelling from the injury. Your doctor of chiropractic will determine if this will be beneficial in your case.
  • Elevation: Elevation of the injured arm or leg above the level of the heart is thought to be helpful in reducing swelling.
  • Pain relievers: Recent research has demonstrated that some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may actually slow the healing process by restricting the body’s natural healing mechanisms, so they should be used sparingly.
  • Joint manipulation: Research has shown us that, in some cases, joint manipulation can be helpful with pain reduction and more rapid recovery. Your doctor of chiropractic will determine if this procedure will be helpful in your case.

A Word about Prevention

In many cases, sports injuries can be prevented. Proper conditioning and warm-up and cool-down procedures, as well as appropriate safety equipment, can substantially reduce injuries. Understanding proper techniques can also go a long way toward preventing injuries. Sufficient water intake is also an important preventive measure.

 

-ACA

Preparation for Outdoor Winter Activities Prevents Injury

Feb 11, 2014   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

skiers_sittingWhen snow, ice and frigid weather blast into town, watch out, says the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Winter recreational activities and chores can pose problems for the outdoor enthusiast whose body is not in condition. Winter sports like skating, skiing and sledding can cause painful muscle spasms, strains or tears if you’re not in shape. Even shoveling snow the wrong way, clambering awkwardly over snow banks, slipping on sidewalks and wearing the wrong kinds of clothing can all pose the potential for spasms, strains and sprains.

Simply walking outside in the freezing weather without layers of warm clothing can intensify older joint problems and cause a great deal of pain. As muscles and blood vessels contract to conserve the body’s heat, the blood supply to extremities is reduced. This lowers the functional capacity of many muscles, particularly among the physically unfit. Preparation for an outdoor winter activity, including conditioning the areas of the body that are most vulnerable, can help avoid injury and costly health care bills.

“Simply put, warming up is essential,” says Olympic speedskating gold and silver medalist Derek Parra. “In fact, when pressed for time, it’s better to shorten the length of your workout and keep a good warm-up than to skip the warm-up and dive right into the workout. Skipping your warm-up is the best way to get hurt.” Parra, who took both the gold and silver medals during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT, adds that, “You can complete a good warm-up in 15-20 minutes. And believe me, it will make your workout more pleasant and safe.”

Derek Parra and the ACA suggest that you start with some light aerobic activity (jogging, biking, fast walking) for about 7-10 minutes. Then follow these tips to help you fight back the winter weather:

  • Skiing – do 10 to 15 squats. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, knees aligned over your feet. Slowly lower your buttocks as you bend your knees over your feet. Stand up straight again.
  • Skating – do several lunges. Take a moderately advanced step with one foot. Let your back knee come down to the floor while keeping your shoulders in position over your hips. Repeat the process with your other foot.
  • Sledding/tobogganing – do knee-to-chest stretches to fight compression injuries caused by repetitive bouncing over the snow. Either sitting or lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and hold for up to 30 seconds.
  • Don’t forget cool-down stretching for all of these sports – At the bottom of the sledding hill, for instance, before trudging back up, do some more knees-to-chest stretches, or repetitive squatting movements to restore flexibility.

Shoveling snow can also wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system. The ACA suggests the following tips for exercise of the snow shoveling variety:

  • If you must shovel snow, be careful. Listen to weather forecasts so you can rise early and have time to shovel before work.
  • Layer clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible.
  • Shoveling can strain “de-conditioned” muscles between your shoulders, in your upper back, lower back, buttocks and legs. So, do some warm-up stretching before you grab that shovel.
  • When you do shovel, push the snow straight ahead. Don’t try to throw it. Walk it to the snow bank. Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions.
  • Bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Let the muscles of your legs and arms do the work, not your back.
  • Take frequent rest breaks to take the strain off your muscles. A fatigued body asks for injury.
  • Stop if you feel chest pain, or get really tired or have shortness of breath. You may need immediate professional help.

After any of these activities, if you are sore, apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours. Repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or two. If you continue to feel soreness, pain or strain after following these tips, it may be time to visit a doctor of chiropractic. “I’ve always believed in chiropractic care,” says Parra. “I’ve used a lot of other treatments for injuries and pain, but the problem doesn’t get fixed until I go to a doctor of chiropractic.”

Preventing Falls Among Older Adults

Nov 8, 2013   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

Perhaps you know someone who’s been injured, disabled or even killed by a fall. Or maybe you’ve taken a spill yourself and are afraid the next one could be worse.

As we age, time takes its toll on the bodily systems that keep us balanced and standing upright. For example, you may not see or hear as well, which can affect your coordination. Nerves that carry information from your brain to your muscles may fray and deteriorate, slowing your reaction time and making it more difficult to move away from oncoming pedestrians or adjust to icy patches on a sidewalk. Normal declines in muscle strength and joint flexibility can hinder your ability to stand, walk and rise from chairs.

In 2003, more than 1.8 million seniors were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fall-related injuries and of those treated, more than 421,000 were hospitalized. You needn’t let the fear of falling rule your life, however, as many falls and fall-related injuries are preventable.

Through scientific studies, researchers have identified a number of modifiable risk factors that increase the likelihood of a fall, including medication side effects, loss of limb sensation, poor eyesight, tripping hazards within the home, and lack of physical activity.

The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following fall-prevention tips:

Perform a home safety check

At least one-third of all falls involve hazards within the home. Most commonly, people trip over objects on the floor. See the Home Safety Checklist and work with a family member or health care provider to evaluate your home for potential hazards and minimize your risk of injury.

Begin a regular exercise program

Consider a general exercise program that includes activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi—a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Exercise reduces your risk of falls by improving your strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

In an experimental study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, scientists investigated the effectiveness of tai chi, an ancient Chinese martial art that helps improve balance and flexibility, in helping reduce the incidence of falls in the elderly. Patients who participated in a 12-week tai chi program, practicing Sunstyle tai chi 3 times a week, significantly increased knee and ankle muscle strength and improved flexibility and mobility compared with a group that did not participate in the exercise program. Tai chi participants were almost twice less likely to experience a fall.

Review your medications

Your risk of falling may increase if you take certain prescription medications to treat age-related medical conditions. Many medications have side effects that can affect your brain function and lead to dizziness or lightheartedness.

Taking multiple medications magnifies the risk, as does combining prescription drugs with alcohol, over-the-counter allergy or sleeping medications, painkillers, or cough suppressants. Ask your prescribing physician to review your medications and reduce your chances of falling by using the lowest effective dosage. Also, discuss the need for walking aids or supports while taking medications that can affect balance.

Have your vision checked

Reduced vision increases risk of falls. Age-related vision diseases, including cataracts and glaucoma, can alter your depth perception, visual acuity and susceptibility to glare. These limitations hinder your ability to move safely. It is important to have regular check-ups with your ophthalmologist. Also, regularly clean your glasses to improve visibility.

Preventing osteoporosis

Osteoporosis makes bones less resistant to stress and more likely to fracture. Caused by hormonal changes, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, and a decrease in physical activity, osteoporosis is a chief cause of fractures in older adults, especially women.

To help limit the effects of osteoporosis, be sure to eat or drink sufficient calcium. Calcium-rich foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, fish and shellfish, broccoli, soybeans, collards and turnip greens, tofu and almonds. In addition, consume sufficient amounts of vitamin D to enhance the absorption of calcium into the bloodstream. Vitamin D is formed naturally in the body after exposure to sunlight, but older adults may need a supplement.

 

Falls don’t have to be a part of getting older. You have the power to stay securely on your feet. A physical activity program, lifestyle changes, and home improvements may further reduce your risk. But if you do find yourself falling, take steps to reduce your risk of serious injury. If possible, fall forward on your hands or land on your buttocks—but not on your spine. Also, as you fall, protect your head from striking furniture or the floor.

If you live alone, and are afraid no one will help you if you fall, ask someone to check on you once a day. Or consider paying for an emergency-monitoring company that responds to your call for help 24 hours a day.

Is Chocolate Good for Your Heart?

Oct 20, 2013   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

Why a little, in moderation, may be beneficial…Chocolate-Kisses

Chocolate has gotten a lot of media coverage in recent years because it’s believed that it may help protect your cardiovascular system. The reasoning being that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids.
Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. They can be found in a variety of foods, such as fruits and vegetables. When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power.

Antioxidants are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants, like cigarette smoke. If your body does not have enough antioxidants to combat the amount of oxidation that occurs, it can become damaged by free radicals. For example, an increase in oxidation can cause low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol, to form plaque on the artery walls.

Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavanols have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.
These plant chemicals aren’t only found in chocolate. In fact, a wide variety of foods and beverages are rich in flavonols. These include cranberries, apples, peanuts, onions, tea and red wine.

Are all types of chocolate healthy?

Before you grab a chocolate candy bar or slice of chocolate cake, it’s important to understand that not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavanols.
Cocoa naturally has a very strong, pungent taste, which comes from the flavanols. When cocoa is processed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through several steps to reduce this taste. The more chocolate is processed (through things like fermentation, alkalizing, roasting, etc.), the more flavanols are lost.
Most commercial chocolates are highly processed. Although it was once believed that dark chocolate contained the highest levels flavanols, recent research indicates that, depending on how the dark chocolate was processed, this may not be true. The good news is that most major chocolate manufacturers are looking for ways to keep the flavanols in their processed chocolates. But for now, your best choices are likely dark chocolate over milk chocolate (especially milk chocolate that is loaded with other fats and sugars) and cocoa powder that has not undergone Dutch processing (cocoa that is treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity).

What about all of the fat in chocolate?

You may be surprised to learn that chocolate isn’t as bad for you as once believed.

The fat in chocolate comes from cocoa butter and is made up of equal amounts of oleic acid (a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil), stearic and palmitic acids. Stearic and palmitic acids are forms of saturated fat. You may know that saturated fats are linked to increases in LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

But, research shows that stearic acid appears to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, neither raising nor lowering it. Although palmitic acid does affect cholesterol levels, it only makes up one-third of the fat calories in chocolate. Still, this does not mean you can eat all the dark chocolate you’d like.

First, be careful about the type of dark chocolate you choose: chewy caramel-marshmallow-nut-covered dark chocolate is by no means a heart-healthy food option. Watch out for those extra ingredients that can add lots of extra fat and calories. Second, there is currently no established serving size of chocolate to help you reap the cardiovascular benefits it may offer, and more research is needed in this area. However, we do know that you no longer need to feel guilty if you enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate once in a while.

So, for now, enjoy moderate portions of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce) a few times per week, and don’t forget to eat other flavonoid-rich foods like apples, red wine, tea, onions and cranberries.

Reviewed: 01/12~ Cleveland Clinic

Barefoot Running

Oct 16, 2013   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

Until recently, most of us considered athletic shoes an important and essential part of our athletic training gear. This belief was fortified by the advent of the modern running shoe in the mid-1970s. Every year since then, the big running shoe companies have introduced new product lines based on shoes with increased cushion and support.

Today, however, there has been an uprising among subgroups of runners, cross-fitness enthusiasts, and weight lifters: Less shoe is better, and no shoe is best. The topic of barefoot running is gaining traction.

Why Go Barefoot?

The premise behind barefoot running is essentially that the intrinsic muscles, joints, ligaments and mechanoreceptors of the feet require stimulation to function properly. And this optimal function is inhibited by highly supportive and cushioned shoes. Intrinsic foot muscle atrophy and mechanoreceptor activity combine to cause injury and reduced performance. Also, the thickly padded heels of running shoes have produced a world of runners who now strike heavily on their heels, producing a gait that is (reportedly) quite different from those who run without shoes.
Whether or not barefoot running is better for humans has yet to be determined scientifically, but advocates have made some very compelling arguments in favor of it.

Injury Risks

Bunions, neuromas, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures can all be the result of inappropriate shoes. Yet, barefoot running can also produce its share of injuries—from frostbite to tendinitis, metatarsal stress fractures, lacerations, puncture wounds, abrasions, and stone bruising.
Advice for Running Barefoot While running barefoot is most certainly what our ancestors did and our aboriginal cousins still do, we currently lack the knowledge to say irrefutably that it is more healthful than running with shoes. If you’re interested in trying out barefoot running, consider this advice before you begin.

  • Start with walking barefoot or in minimalist shoes, and gradually work into running.
  • Progress to short runs. Begin running only five minutes per run, and gradually increase.
  • Rather than going totally barefoot, use a minimalist shoe to protect your feet from thorns, glass, nails, stones, and other debris.
  • Stop barefoot running at the earliest sign of pain.
  • Avoid running barefoot in freezing temperatures. Shoes protect us from frostbite if nothing else.
  • Be prepared for blisters and calluses to form as you transition to barefoot running.

Red Flag

If you switch from shoes to bare feet, you must allow time for your bones and soft tissue to adapt to the new stresses that barefoot running will place on the lower extremities. Achilles’ tendons are particularly susceptible to injury if there is a sudden change in their position of function. Most conventional running shoes place the Achilles’ tendon in shortened position. So by suddenly switching to barefoot running, you will place an unaccustomed strain on the Achilles’ tendon, making it more susceptible to rupture and strain. Use discretion and prudence in transitioning from supportive shoes to barefoot or minimalist shoe wear.

For the most part, our bare feet would work great if we stayed on soft, loamy soil or a sandy beach. People with the gift of optimal biomechanics will thrive with barefoot running regardless of where they run. But other people’s foot biomechanics will require shoes to prevent injury, and still others will require additional supportive or corrective shoes to function near normally. As further research uncovers the effects of shoes on our feet, alterations and modifications in shoe design will continue.

-ACA

How to Select Athletic Shoes

Sep 16, 2013   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

Too many people choose fashion over function when purchasing athletic shoes, not realizing that poor-fitting shoes can lead to pain throughout the body. Because footwear plays such an important role in the function of bones and joints—especially for runners and other athletes—choosing the right shoe can help prevent pain in your back, hips, knees, and feet.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the very best athletic shoe—every pair of feet is different, every shoe has different features, and overall comfort is a very personal decision. For this reason, it is recommended that you first determine your foot type: normal, flat, or high-arched.

The Normal Foot

Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and will leave a wet footprint that has a flare, but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band. A normal foot lands on the outside of the heel and rolls slightly inward to absorb shock.

Best Shoes:

Stability shoes with a slightly curved shape.

The Flat Foot

This type of foot has a low arch and leaves a print that looks like the whole sole of the foot. It usually indicates an over-pronated foot—one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls excessively inward (pronates). Over time, this can cause overuse injuries.

Best Shoes:

Motion-control shoes or high-stability shoes with firm mid-soles. These shoes should be fairly resistant to twisting or bending. Stay away from highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which lack stability features.

The High-Arched Foot

The high-arched foot leaves a print showing a very narrow band—or no band at all—between the forefoot and the heel. A curved, highly arched foot is generally supinated or under-pronated. Because the foot doesn’t pronate enough, usually it’s not an effective shock absorber.

Best Shoes:

Cushioned shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Stay away from motion-control or stability shoes, which reduce foot mobility.

When determining your foot type, consult with your doctor of chiropractic. He or she can help determine your specific foot type, assess your gait, and then suggest the best shoe match.

Shoe Purchasing Tips

Consider the following tips before you purchase your next pair of athletic shoes:

  • Match the shoe to the activity. Select a shoe specific for the sport in which you will participate. Running shoes are primarily made to absorb shock as the heel strikes the ground. In contrast, tennis shoes provide more side-to-side stability. Walking shoes allow the foot to roll and push off naturally during walking, and they usually have a fairly rigid arch, a well-cushioned sole, and a stiff heel support for stability.
  • If possible, shop at a specialty store. It’s best to shop at a store that specializes in athletic shoes. Employees at these stores are often trained to recommend a shoe that best matches your foot type (shown above) and stride pattern.
  • Shop late in the day. If possible, shop for shoes at the end of the day or after a workout when your feet are generally at their largest. Wear the type of socks you usually wear during exercise, and if you use orthotic devices for postural support, make sure you wear them when trying on shoes.
  • Have your feet measured every time. It’s important to have the length and width of both feet measured every time you shop for shoes, since foot size often changes with age and most people have 1 foot that is larger than the other. Also, many podiatrists suggest that you measure your foot while standing in a weight bearing position because the foot elongates and flattens when you stand, affecting the measurement and the fit of the shoe.
  • Make sure the shoe fits correctly. Choose shoes for their fit, not by the size you’ve worn in the past. The shoe should fit with an index finger’s width between the end of the shoe and the longest toe. The toe box should have adequate room and not feel tight. The heel of your foot should fit snugly against the back of the shoe without sliding up or down as you walk or run. If possible, keep the shoe on for 10 minutes to make sure it remains comfortable.

How Long Do Shoes Last?

Once you have purchased a pair of athletic shoes, don’t run them into the ground. While estimates vary as to when the best time to replace old shoes is, most experts agree that between 300 and 500 miles is optimal. In fact, most shoes should be replaced even before they begin to show signs of moderate wear. Once shoes show wear, especially in the cushioning layer called the midsole, they also begin to lose their shock absorption. Failure to replace worn shoes is a common cause of injuries like shin splints, heel spurs, and plantar fasciitis.

-ACA

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier

Aug 30, 2013   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

Strength training is an important part of an overall fitness program. Here’s what strength training can do for you — and how to get started.
By Mayo Clinic staff

Want to reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently? Strength training to the rescue! Despite its reputation as a “guy” or “jock” thing, strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness for everyone.

Use it or lose it
Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age.

“If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body,” says Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. “But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age.”

Strength training also helps you:

  • Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Control your weight. As you gain muscle, your body begins to burn calories more efficiently. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.
  • Boost your stamina. As you get stronger, you won’t fatigue as easily. Building muscle also contributes to better balance, which can help you maintain independence as you age.
  • Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Sharpen your focus. Some research suggests that regular strength training helps improve attention for older adults.

Consider the options
Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Common choices include:

  • Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try pushups, pullups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.
  • Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.
  • Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools.
  • Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can also invest in weight machines for use at home

Getting started
When you have your doctor’s OK to begin a strength training program, choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 repetitions. When you can easily do more repetitions of a certain exercise, gradually increase the weight or resistance.

“On the 12th repetition, you should be just barely able to finish the motion,” Dr. Laskowski says. “When you’re using the proper weight or amount of resistance, you can build and tone muscle just as efficiently with a single set of 12 repetitions as you can with more sets of the same exercise.”

To give your muscles time to recover, rest one full day between exercising each specific muscle group.

Also be careful to listen to your body. Although mild muscle soreness is normal, sharp pain and sore or swollen joints are signs that you’ve overdone it.

When to expect results
You don’t need to spend hours a day lifting weights to benefit from strength training. “Two to three strength training sessions a week lasting just 20 to 30 minutes are sufficient for most people,” Dr. Laskowski says.

Better yet, results are quick. Expect to enjoy noticeable improvements in your strength and stamina in just a few weeks. If you keep it up, you’ll continue to increase your strength — even if you’re not in shape when you begin.

Chiropractic and Ear Infections

Aug 30, 2013   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

Chiropractic Approach to Ear Infections

Ear problems can be excruciatingly painful, especially in children. With 10 million new cases every year, ear infections (otitis media) are the most common illness affecting babies and young children and the number one reason for visits to the pediatrician—accounting for more than 35 percent of all pediatric visits.

Almost half of all children will have at least one middle ear infection before they’re a year old, and two-thirds of them will have had at least one such infection by age 3. The symptoms can include ear pain, fever, and irritability. Otitis media can be either bacterial or viral in origin, and frequently results from another illness such as a cold. For many children, it can become a chronic problem, requiring treatment year after year, and putting the child at risk of permanent hearing damage and associated speech and developmental problems.

Standard treatment for most cases of otitis media is with antibiotics, which can be effective if the culprit is bacterial (antibiotics, of course, do nothing to fight off viruses). But, according to many research studies, antibiotics are often not much more effective than the body’s own immune system. And repeated doses of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant bacteria that scoff at the drugs, while leaving the child screaming in pain.

Frequent ear infections are also the second most common reason for surgery in children under 2 (with circumcision being the first). In severe cases—for example, when fluids from an ear infection haven’t cleared from the ear after several months, and hearing is affected—specialists sometimes prescribe myringotomy and tympanostomy, more commonly known as “ear tubes.” During the surgical procedure, a small opening is made in the eardrum to place a tube inside. The tube relieves pressure in the ear and prevents repeated fluid buildup with the continuous venting of fresh air. In most cases, the membrane pushes the tube out after a couple of months and the hole in the eardrum closes. Although the treatment is effective, it has to be repeated in some 20 to 30 percent of cases. And this kind of surgery requires general anesthesia, never a minor thing in a small child. If the infection persists even after tube placement and removal, children sometimes undergo adenoidectomy (surgical removal of the adenoids)—an option that is effective mostly through the first year after surgery.

Before yet another round of “maybe-they’ll-work-and-maybe-they-won’t” antibiotics or the drastic step of surgery, more parents are considering chiropractic to help children with chronic ear infections. Dr. Joan Fallon, a chiropractor who practices in Yonkers, New York, has published research showing that, after receiving a series of chiropractic adjustments, nearly 80 percent of the children treated were free of ear infections for at least the six-month period following their initial visits (a period that also included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks).

“Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of the ear in children, and if they can continue to drain without a buildup of fluid and subsequent infection, they build up their own antibodies and recover more quickly,” explains Dr. Fallon. She’d like to see her pilot study used as a basis for larger-scale trials of chiropractic as a therapeutic modality for otitis media.

Dr. Fallon uses primarily upper-cervical manipulation on children with otitis media, focusing particularly on the occiput, or back of the skull, and atlas, or the first vertebra in the neck. “Adjusting the occiput, in particular, will get the middle ear to drain. Depending on how chronic it’s been and on where they are in their cycle of antibiotics, children generally need to get through one bout of fluid and fight it off themselves.” That means, for the average child, between six and eight treatments. If a child’s case is acute, Dr. Fallon will check the ear every day, using a tympanogram to measure the ear and track the movement of the eardrum to make sure that it’s draining. “I’ll do adjustments every day or every other day for a couple of days if they’re acute, and then decrease frequency over time.”

Dr. Fallon, whose research garnered her the acclaim of childrearing magazines like Parenting and Baby Talk, often sees great success when she treats a child for otitis media. “Once they fight it themselves, my kids tend to do very well and stay away from ear infections completely. Unless there are environmental factors like smoking in the house, an abnormally shaped Eustachian tube, or something like that, they do very well,” she says.

“I have two large pediatric groups that refer to me on a regular basis. In the winter, when otitis is most prevalent, I see five or six new children each week from each group,” says Dr. Fallon. “It’s safe and effective and something that parents should try, certainly before inserting tubes in their children’s ears.”

Chiropractic Care Can Help… Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about your child’s ear infections. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children.

–American Chiropractic Association

Benefits of Sleep

Aug 13, 2013   //   by admin   //   Health Tip  //  No Comments

benefits_of_sleep

Sleep is a necessary aspect of life and is essential to our health. It is recommended that we get 8 hours of sleep every night. The Harvard Women’s Health Watch suggests six reasons to get enough sleep:

1. Learning and memory. Sleep helps the brain to commit new information to memory.

2. Metabolism and weight. Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

3. Safety. A lack of sleep contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls or mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.

4. Mood. Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.

5. Cardiovascular health. Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.

6. Disease. Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

 

-Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Medical School

Pages:12»

Health Tip Categories

Office Hours

  • Monday: 9am - Noon, 2pm - 6pm
  • Tuesday: 3pm - 7pm
  • Wednesday: 9am - Noon, 2pm - 6pm
  • Thursday: 3pm - 7pm
  • Friday: 9am - 1pm
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed