Chiropractic

Pain can slow you down…but why?

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We’ve all been slowed down by pain, right? But have you ever stopped and thought about why?

What is the purpose of pain?
Contrary to what you may believe, the purpose of pain isn’t to annoy you, although slowing down might be a good idea. The goal of pain is to keep you alive. Pain lets you know that you have tissue damage, which could end up ultimately being fatal. It’s a good warning system.

Is having a high pain tolerance a good or bad thing?
-Unfortunately people who can only feel high levels of pain are less likely to change their behavior. This can allow more tissue to be damaged which might lead to disability or ultimately death. In rare cases  kids are born without the ability to feel pain. They often have shorter life spans. Think of a child with a small infection on a cut or scrape. Normally you address the infection because you feel pain and inflammation. Without feeling these symptoms, that infection could be fatal.
-Other times, some people’s definition of a high pain tolerance actually means that they ignore pain. This is also unhealthy. Ignoring pain can create some severe mental and physical health problems.

Speaking of mental health problems, what do you think can occur from ignoring pain? Depression and anxiety are the most common. Also you are more likely to have to smoke cigarettes, vape, or have a drug or alcohol problem.

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Along with mental problems, what physical problems are caused by ignoring pain? Digestive disorders, ulcers, acid re-flux and GERD are common. Sleep disorders such as insomnia or frequently waking up can occur as well.

Tissue damage in your body does more than just send pain signals to the brain. Tissue damage also sends messages of irritation, but not signals that you can physically feel. This can cause the brain to behave in a state of stress. Long term stress in the brain can lead to abnormal function of the heart, digestive tract, and hormones. If you know someone that has been ignoring their pain or have been covering it up with medication, let them know that it’s best to find out why the pain is there and correct the cause of the issue.

 

 


Allergy

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Spring is in the air.

Sadly for many of us, this means runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing. We’re morel likely to reach for a box of tissues than stop and smell the roses. Did you know that over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies? Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, and the most common with children.

Americans spend $18 billion annually on allergy related costs.

If our body is so smart, why do we even have these annoying allergies? The answer might surprise you. Historically, our immune system worked to keep us alive, and keep us out of danger. So itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing were a sign of a dangerous area, possibly of toxins in the air. Humans would avoid places that made them sick for obvious reasons. Now that seems a bit dated, but our bodies still work to expel those foreign bodies. Most of the time our immune system is reacting to foreign DNA. Have you even been in a musty basement that had mold? You probably noticed those annoying symptoms, this is a prime example of your body attempting to warn you of a dangerous situation.

True/False – Our body treats bacteria/viruses the same as allergies.  True, the key difference between allergies and infection is fever. Fever isn’t typically presented with allergies. One prevalent theory on why our bodies do this is based on the size of the foreign DNA. Pollen is actually quite large compared to our white blood cells, therefore we don’t try to kill it but rather eject it from our bodies with watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. Viruses and bacteria are smaller, and our body attempts to kill it – this is when you notice a fever.

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So, do you think chiropractic care increases or decreases the immune response? This is actually a trick question, because depending on the person it can either increase or decrease the immune system. Chiropractic care moves your body closer to having a normal immune response. As an example, people with asthma have an over active immune system, so the purpose would be to help normalize nerve function between the lungs and the brain.

If you had to guess one household appliance which is present in households where studies have found an increased number of children with allergies, what would it be? Would you be surprised if I told you it was a dishwasher? I know, this is an appliance that most of us have, or grew up with! The theory is that our dishwashers are actually getting our dishes too clean. Kids aren’t building up the immunity to common household bacteria, so their immune system over-reacts to them all. Solution: Kids hand wash the dishes, sounds fair enough to me ;)

There are many other common activities that we do that might be affecting us.

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Chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs – This is because breathing in the vapors inflames the airway. Contact lenses can trap smoke and pollen in the eye, so you may want to consider wearing glasses. Anything else from our everyday lives?

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Perfume, cologne and indoor air fresheners can also have an aggravate our allergies, too. They can irritate nasal passages and cause swelling, which makes breathing difficult.  Another activity which most of us could be guilty of are morning walks or jogs, the pollen count is higher before noon, so if you can put your run off until evening you may be doing your sinuses a favor.  On the flip side, not exercising can affect us too. This is because exercise temporarily dilates your nasal passages making it easier to breathe.

True/False – Patients with asthma who use Chiropractic Care had higher quality of life and use less medication. TRUE Chiropractic care can be very helpful in specific instances, but not every asthma patient will benefit from care as asthma can have multiple causes. An evaluation is important.

 

 


Can getting adjusted really help you dunk?

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If you play basketball, then you know the toll it can take on your body. Aches, pain, and injuries are part of the game right? It doesn’t have to be.

Although there are many injuries that commonly affect basketball players the most common are ankles, knees and fingers. Although not everyone has the same risk of injury. It might surprise you to know that a misalignment in your lower back increases your risk of a knee or ankle injury. This is something we regularly test for to keep our athletes at peak performance.

Whether it’s rolling an ankle, taking a hit scrambling for the ball, or getting stepped on, basketball players are prone to all kinds of injuries. For different types of ankle and foot injuries, a chiropractor can do ankle and foot adjustments. Adjusting the bones and muscles of the foot restore function, decrease inflammation and relieve pain . Apart from foot problems, basketball players are vulnerable to knee injuries. Repetitive knee movements, like jumping and changing direction, can wear down this body part as well as expose it to constant blunt forces from other players. Ligaments and tendons of the knee may also be damaged during competitive play.

Although both men and women experience injuries, they don’t always get injured the same way. Among basketball players who is more likely to have a knee injury? If you guessed female, you’re correct! Female basketball players have a higher risk of knee injury than men. If you have a female athlete in your family it is especially important for them to get their spine checked to reduce their risk of injury and keep them in the game.

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So can Chiropractic care really help you dunk a basketball? This is true, although there is a catch. Chiropractic care has been shown to increase athletes vertical jump height as well as increase their grip strength. Vertical jump height and grip strength are both necessary to a great dunk. The fine print is that you have to already be fairly close to the rim before chiropractic care, but it does give you an edge.

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Do this, not that for joint pain.

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Last week in the office we spoke with our patients about healthy foods to eat to avoid inflammation. Inflammation can not only be uncomfortable due to the bloating it causes, but also painful.

Other than the foods you eat, it may surprise you that many of our daily activities are causing us to be in pain as well. Most people associate their sore back and neck to the jog they completed this morning, or when they helped their friend move last weekend. While exercising without proper stretching and poor lifting form can cause pain, there are things we do each day that are contributing to our back and next pain as well.

How many of us have desk jobs? We spend 8 hours, 5 days week sitting at our desk and then we can’t wait to get home and plop down on the couch to watch TV or read a good book. And let’s be honest, isn’t the perfect Saturday one where we didn’t even have to change out of our pajamas? Netflix marathon, anyone?

What most of us don’t realize is that prolonged sitting all day, followed by more sitting/slouching at night is wreaking havoc on our backs. The leading cause of back pain is a sedentary lifestyle with poor posture.

A few of the most common posture mistakes happen when we’re:

Looking down at your phone screen, iPad or Kindle.
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Leaning forward playing video games in front of the big screen.
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Sitting at a computer desk.
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Talking on the phone (holding our phones to our ears).
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Let’s be honest – how many of us are guilty? Now that we’ve determined how easy it is to fall into posture habits that harm our back. Lets work on getting back on track! First and foremost, get moving! If you have a desk job, consider getting up once every 1/2 hour and walk around the office. When using your iPad or Kindle, how about getting a case that allows you to position the screen at different angles. You can adjust as needed. When sitting at the computer desk, avoid strain on your shoulders and upper back by keeping the keyboard and mouse closer to you.

Those are just a few suggestions on how to ease the strain on your back, but another huge aspect is exercise in general. Exercising not only reduces stiffness in your back, it also stretches, strengthens and repairs muscles that help support your back.

If you’re experiencing low back pain, then it’s time to come on in for a check. Chiropractors work hard not only to treat your pain but help find the cause of it. As with many other areas of your life prevention is key. Just like checking up with the dentist every six months and doing a yearly physical, a check up with your chiropractor can help keep you and your back in tip top shape! Visiting the chiropractor regularly can help to keep your spine in perfect alignment and prevent future aches and pains. We also retrain your muscles so you can hold the correct alignment longer.

PHOTO CREDIT:Start Standing


If it isn’t my heart, what is it?

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Life is busy, right? If you’re not busy at work then you’re home chasing after kiddos all night. All while simultaneously cleaning the house, making dinner and packing lunches. Does this sound familiar?

So when you notice sharp pains in your back and chest it can stop you in your tracks. Thoughts of a heart attack go racing though your head and your anxiety is at the max. You rush to the hospital just to find out your heart is okay, no problems were detected, but you’re frustrated when the pain persists. It can be discouraging to be unable to keep up with your daily routine.

After you’ve had your heart checked and you are still feeling discomfort, consider calling your Chiropractor. It might be surprising to learn that having a rib out of place can actually mimic the symptoms of a heart attack. The most common symptom of a shifted rib is sharp pain in your chest or back that increases with deep breathing. Other symptoms can include shortness of breath and pain with bending forward at the waist or lifting. Generally, a shifted rib is usually only several millimeters and may not be obvious to the average person.

So how does a rib go out of place? It’s more common than you may think! We see cases like this every week. Some everyday causes include coughing, sneezing, vomiting, repetitive lifting including childcare, high stress jobs and extended computer use.

If this describes you to a T, then it might be time for a spinal check-up. Your spine encounters a lot of stress every day and a check-up with the Chiropractor is recommended at least every 6 months.

Shifted ribs are common; however the most serious potential problem could be your heart. If you are experiencing rib pain and shortness of breath make sure you get your heart checked out by an emergency medical professional first.

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Worst top 10 for your spine

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In our attempt to educate our patients we have found that sometimes humor works better than relaying research papers or how to be healthy tips.  We decided to take a sarcastic approach this week and list all the worst things you can do to your spine and assemble it into a “What not to do to your spine top 10 list.  We hope you enjoy and please do not actually do any of the behaviors in the following list.

  1.  Do your best not to follow the care plan recommended by your Chiropractor.  Ideally miss at least every other appointment and do so without contacting the office so we have no idea what happened to you.
  2. Forget the recommendations for that your Chiropractor gave you to do at home. If it was really important you would be doing it in the office.  You definitely do not want to stretch tight muscles or strengthen your core.  You want to keep your joints nice and vulnerable to re-injury.
  3. We know that normal range of motion is beneficial to the healing process for injuries so try to remain as immobile as possible.  Sitting for extended periods, no less than 4 hours is a great starting point.  For added injury try using a laptop that is set well below your eye line, that way you can strain your neck and back at the same time.
  4. Following your extended sitting of no less than 4 hours, immediately scan the room and locate the largest and heaviest piece of furniture you can find.  Next try lifting it all by yourself, preferably without using your legs, just your low back.  When lifting make sure to pull upwards in a quick twisting motion, that way your low back has no protection and you are more likely to have severe pain shortly.
  5. If you’re not injured by now try this.  As soon as you feel the slightest improvement in pain, immediately stop Chiropractic care, and resume all your previous physical activity.  Rock climbing, water skiing and bull riding are all fine choices.  There’s no reason to wait for your body to fully heal, you’re probably fine.
  6. If you do feel any soreness or stiffness, consider cracking your own neck or back.  You’re basically your own Chiropractor, no diploma needed.  Use as much force as possible and attempt to get as many “pops” as you can.   This will ensure your injuries never heal in correctly and that you will have a nice arthritis base as you get older.
  7. Hydration is important for injury healing as your tissues are mainly water.  So it would be best if you stopped drinking water completely.  Make sure to get most of your fluids from soda, coffee, the occasional energy drink and alcohol (assuming you’re of age, of course).  This will ensure that you are dehydrated, inflamed and in as much pain as possible.  Good for you.
  8. Being well rested is a key component to healing.  With that in mind make yourself as sleep deprived as possible.  Sleep no more than 5 hours per day.  In addition watch something unsettling prior to bed such as the 10 o’clock news.  Also play on your phone or tablet just before getting shut eye, that way your brain will be nice and alert when you try to relax.
  9. We know that proper blood flow is necessary for healing tissue damage.  Therefore consider limiting your oxygen intake by smoking cigarettes.  Smoking will ensure that your injuries heal at a snail’s pace.  As a bonus you get to increase your risk of cancer and false teeth.
  10. Keeping your inflammation low is important to manage pain sensitivity.  With this in mind eat only foods that are highly processed and full of sugar. Consider starting your day off with a balanced breakfast of pop tarts, fruit loops, and sugary juice.

If you find yourself chuckling while reading this list then there’s a chance you can relate to at least some of these or know someone who does. Identifying bad habits is part of the solution. Do your very best to not do any of the behaviors listed in our not top ten and if you have any questions, consult your healthcare provider. This list is satire and not to be taken as medical advice.


How fast does your body send information?

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The nervous system has to send information incredibly fast to coordinate all the systems in the body. If your brain sent a message to move your big toe how fast would that message travel in miles per hour?

The human nervous system communicates at approximately 270 mph. This is what allows your body to coordinate all of your organs at the same time.  Even with all that speed it seems like a daunting task to coordinate every organ and tissue at the same time.  Well the good thing is that you don’t have to think about it.  The Autonomic Nervous System does all this for you.  This system runs everything from digestion to body temperature.

This is why it’s important to have a nervous system that is free of interference. Nerve interference can slow down or interrupt the nerve impulses that keep your body running smoothly.


Why are Chiropractic check ups more frequent in the initial phase of care?

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Chiropractic check ups are more common in the initial phase of care due to the body’s muscle memory. The body will always attempt to pull itself back to it’s original position, even if that position is unhealthy. After the initial phase of care the body has been retrained to accept the new position and muscle memory will help you hold your healthy position with little effort. Periodic check ups can be used to protect progress and not regress.

Hungerford Chiropractic

4172 Lake Michigan Dr

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

616-419-4996


Chiropractic boosts anti-oxidants

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fruits and vegetables

We work hard every day to exercise, eat right, and avoid injury.  However we can’t be perfect and just by going through our day our bodies will encounter stress.  Stress over time can damage our bodies.  What if there was something you do to reduce that damage.  A new study shows that Chiropractic can do just that.

 

Our bodies encounter physical, chemical and mental stress on a daily basis.  These encounters can create free radicals which damage our bodies over time.   Anti-Oxidants protect against free radical damage.  Anti-oxidants are found in things we eat and drink like fruits and vegetables. However our bodies can also produce anti-oxidants to protect ourselves.

 

A ground breaking new study examined whether Chiropractic care had an effect on Anti-oxidant levels in the body.   Patients who were suffering from back or neck pain received Chiropractic care for 5 weeks.  Measurements of anti-oxidants were taken before, during, and after the treatment period.  The study demonstrated that the patients had increased anti-oxidant levels even after Chiropractic care was no longer received.

 

If you are looking for a safe, natural and effective way to stay healthy, consider Chiropractic.  Chiropractic care is part of a healthy lifestyle and has many benefits including; decreasing stress hormones, improving immune function and boosting anti-oxidant levels.  Call today for a no charge consultation, 616-419-4996.

 

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

Serving the greater Grand Rapids area; Standale, Walker, Wyoming, and Grandville

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

616.419.4996

DrDan@Hungerfordwellness.com

 

Kolberg C, Horst A, Moraes MS, et al. Peripheral oxidative stress blood markers in patients with chronic back or neck pain treated with high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulation. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2014 

 


Chiropractic gives athletes a boost

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athlete running

The NFL, NBA and NHL are all filled with athletes of enormous talent and skill.  The competition is fierce and staying healthy is a top priority for athletes and coaches.  That is why it should come as no surprise that every NBA, NHL and NFL team have Chiropractors on their staff.  At the 2012 Olympic Games the US had over 100 Chiropractors in London to keep the athletes healthy.  While it is well know that Chiropractic care is effective for sports injuries, a new study demonstrates that Chiropractic care does in fact improve performance.

 

A new study done in Sweden found that athletes who utilized Chiropractic care were able to jump higher than athletes who did not receive Chiropractic care.  This study randomly assigned athletes who recently suffered an ankle injury to receive chiropractic care or a sham treatment for 3 weeks.  At the end of the 3 week period the athletes who received Chiropractic adjustments had improved significantly better than the sham group.

 

These results mirror the results that our office sees in practice.  Our office has extensive experience with sports injuries, and we have worked with athletes from football, cross country, competitive cheer, and basketball teams.   If you or your child is suffering from a sports injury give our office a call at 616-419-4996, to set up a no charge consultation.

 

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

Serving the greater Grand Rapids area; Standale, Walker, Wyoming, and Grandville

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

616.419.4996

DrDan@Hungerfordwellness.com

 

 

 

Hedlund S, Nilsson H, Lenz M, Sundberg T. Effect of chiropractic manipulation on vertical jump height in young female athletes with talocrural joint dysfunction: a single-blinded randomized clinical pilot trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2014;37(2):116-23.