Sciatica…. Wow that hurts!

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Nothing quite grabs your attention quite like an electric shock that travels down your leg.   Sciatica is the term used to describe a pinched nerve from your spine in the lower part of your back.  How in the world did this happen?

Your spine is made up of movable segments that are separated by small jelly like discs and surrounded with muscles and ligaments.  These structures provide support and absorb shock.   Unfortunately they are also vulnerable to both accidents (sports injuries and falls) and repetitive stress injuries (sitting at a computer all day or carrying your kids on the same hip everyday).    When the Sciatic Nerve becomes impinged this is often referred to as sciatica. 

I’m in an incredible amount of pain and I can barely move, what do I do now?  Take a deep breath and reach for the phone.   Calling your Chiropractor will bring you piece of mind.  Misalignment’s in your spine with pressure on the nerves is exactly what your Chiropractor is trained to analyze and correct.   Usually a Chiropractor can see you the same day and if they cannot the wait is usually only a day or two.

The amount of adjustments needed to get you up and running will vary depending on the severity of the injury and whether the patient has any old injuries or complicating conditions.  It is well known that Doctors of Chiropractic are rated #1 with regard to back injuries.

I need to feel better immediately what should I use ice or heat?   For an injury that has recently occurred ice is always the preferred choice.  Ice is effective for a couple reasons.  First is pain relief, ice is fantastic at limiting pain signals in the body and it only affects the area that is contacted unlike pain medication which affects the whole body.  Also ice reduces inflammation which is present in a recent injury.  Inflammation and swelling restrict motion increase fluid and sensitivity.

Should I ever use heat?   Heat is helpful when the injury has been present for a long time and no swelling is present.  Heat increases circulation to the surrounding tissues as well as loosens up the muscles and ligaments.  It is useful for common forms of arthritis.

As a side note on heat, I often hear of patients using heat for acute injuries because it feels good.   While heat may feel good temporarily it will increase swelling.   Within 1-2 hours after heat the joints motion will be very restricted and painful.  If you really want to use heat always finish with a period of ice for 15-20 minutes.

Ice guidelines

Apply ice to recent injuries or areas of swelling

Ice for 15-20 minutes on the affected area and 40 minutes off, repeat as necessary

Always use a towel or cloth between the ice pack and your skin to avoid injury

Heat guidelines

Apply heat to old or chronic injuries without swelling

Heat will improve circulation and fluid to the contacted area

Heat for 10-15 minutes at a time; do not fall asleep with heat on.

Do not use extremely hot temperatures.


Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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

Grand Rapids, MI 49534


Chiropractic answers on stroke in 3 minutes

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Getting your child to go

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angry baby

Parenting a child who is having trouble using the bathroom can be a challenge.   Many children have no problem at all but some suffer from regular bouts of constipation.   Do you change their diet?  Give them medication?  Use enemas?  The good news is that with conservative care like Chiropractic many of these interventions may not be needed.

Chiropractic has an amazing effect on the body.   Quite simply Chiropractic helps the body work the way it’s supposed to.  With childhood constipation there is often an interruption between the nervous system and the digestive system.

 Imagine the digestive tract constantly receiving input from the brain.  The digestive tract constantly filters out water, nutrients and sends the rest on its way.  Then the information stops.  The nerve that tells the digestive tract what to do is compressed.   What happens next?

Now the nerve that communicates with the digestive tract is only able to transmit part of the information from the brain.   Therefore the digestive tract only receives the signal to pull out nutrients but does not move the rest of the material.  The material sits.  Now we have a constipated child.

You could give your child medicine to override the body or possibly a home remedy.   In one of my recent experiences the parents gave their child a laxative.  Now even if this produces a bowel movement, does that fix the pressure on the nerve that controls the digestive tract?   Medicine cannot restore proper nerve communication.   That is something that only a Chiropractor can help with.

In my experience when a child presents with constipation and irritation to the nervous system, the adjustment has a drastic effect.   The adjustment produced happier, more relaxed child as well as a bowel movement in less than 1 hour.   All kids are different and results will vary but proper nerve communication, by an adjustment, helps the body get back on track.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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

Grand Rapids, MI 49534


Pregnancy: Expect it to be great video

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Infantile Colic: From chaos to calm

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crying baby

Nothing rattles a new parent like the dreaded rule of 3.  Infantile colic follows 3 general guidelines: crying for more than 3 hours per day, crying for 3 or more days per week, and crying for 3 or more weeks in an otherwise healthy and well fed baby.   This can be a quite a stressful time.   What are the causes and what is the best first step in calming infantile colic?

One thing that helped me understand colic is that it’s not a disease.  It’s a symptom.   There are also a variety of reasons for why babies cry.  Some of the causes of Colic can include: too much gas in the intestine, dietary problems and birth trauma.

One of the most effective things you can do is have a consultation with your Pediatric Chiropractor.   After going over your child’s history the Chiropractor will check your child’s nervous system to determine if Chiropractic can help.  If there is a disturbance to the nervous system than your child will benefit from being adjusted.

Several studies have been done regarding Infantile Colic and Chiropractic Care.  A study published in the Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, studied 316 infants with Colic who underwent Chiropractic care.  Of the 316 infants, 94% showed a satisfactory improvement within 2 weeks of starting Chiropractic care.  After 4 weeks the improvement was maintained.  The remaining infants demonstrated improvement within 14 days.   A side note to this study was that 51% of the participants had undergone a previously unsuccessful intervention, usually drug therapy.

Although not all children respond this quickly the average number of adjustments needed to produce satisfactory improvement was 3.8 over a 2 week period.  If you have any questions please give us a call or send us an email.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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

Grand Rapids, MI 49534


Ear Infections: Common questions and Chiropractic

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How much weight would you like to shed?

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Are you looking for a before and after photo?

How much weight would you like to lose?   Why do you want to lose weight?   What would a successful weight loss feel like?  Many Americans spend moments of their day wondering what life would be like if they were a healthy weight.  If I could lose even 10 lbs life would be so much better!   Losing weight is easier than you think but it does help to have an experienced coach in your corner.

Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight nor is it an overnight fix but in a couple months you could be a totally different person.  First off find out what is the powerful “why?”  Weight loss never works if it’s something temporary or superficial.   Is it to be there for your kids?  To lower medication?  To regain your athletic ability? To get a better job?  There are many good reasons to lose weight but you have to find out which one is uniquely yours.

Are you looking for a before and after photo?  Let me tell you about Tom.   Tom was having trouble losing weight.  His weight was keeping him from the career he wanted, he was fatigued easily and the weight had also affected his self esteem.  He had been overweight since high school and he wanted a new life.   He tried exercise and dieting but that was slow and difficult to manage.  Then he found something that worked.

Tom and his wife started the Take Shape for Life program.   The results were fast.   With the assistance of a health coach from Take Shape for Life Tom, lost over 20 Lbs his first month.   He went on to lose 70 Lbs over 16 weeks.   Now he has his life back and is pursuing his career in Law Enforcement.   He is able to run and has  energy to play with his kids.   If you know someone that wants to make a change, we can help.

I only need to lose 10 Lbs will this program work for me?   It will, I have used it myself.  Before going on vacation in 2011 I used TSFL to lose 11 Lbs in 2 weeks.   It was fast and easy to follow.    Losing 11Lbs without exercising is usually quite a challenge but with training and nutrition it was quite simple.


Tom Hungerford side by sideTom Hungerford final


Whether you are losing a couple pounds or making a significant change, we can help.  Give us a call today.

How did I gain this weight?  Here are the top 5 ways to quickly gain body fat.  If you wish to lose weight simply reverse or avoid these 5 things.  If you have questions please call our office, we would be happy to help.

-Eating food that is packaged and has a long shelf life.   Boxed food that can stay on the shelves for a while often is dense in Carbohydrates which trigger weight gain.  These foods are usually made with very little fiber which is necessary for healthy blood sugar.  This includes pop tarts, chips, crackers, pizza, and pasta’s to name a few.

- A food allergy or sensitivity.  Irritation from food sensitivities can cause weight gain, swelling and inflammation.  The 2 most common food sensitivities are dairy as well as gluten.  Dairy can be found in milk, yogurt, and cheese.  Gluten can found in anything with bread, dough or pasta.  To find out if your body is sensitive to these foods try eliminating them for a month and monitor the outcome.  

-A lack of sleep or poor sleep.  Sleep essentially recharges the body.   Depriving yourself of sleep can increase the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers weight gain.  It is important to allow 7-8 hours of sleep per 24 hour period.   If you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your Wellness Doctor to figure out a natural solution.

-Lack of exercise.  Exercise is vital for maintaining or losing weight.   At a minimum 15 minutes of exercise 3 times a week.  No time?  Try working out before you start your day.   30 minutes of exercise in the morning stimulates your metabolism as well as lowers anxiety and insomnia.

- Stress or depression.  Stress alters your body in all kinds of ways.  One way is to trigger excessive appetite and store body fat.  The key to breaking this cycle is first to identify what the stress is and then working with a Wellness Doctor to make a game plan.  It could be stress on your nervous system, chemical stress from food or medication or you could be physically drained from home or work.   Lowering or adapting to your stress can side step weight gain. 


Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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

Grand Rapids, MI 49534


Study proves Chiropractic

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research words photo

What is Chiropractic based on?  Does Chiropractic work only because patients believe it will work?  Or is Chiropractic based on science, research and documentation, explaining the how and why of Chiropractic care?

“Chiropractic only works because of the placebo effect.”  I have heard this many times but is there any truth to it?

Chiropractic is based on 3 well documented facts.

- The first is that everything in the body is controlled by the nervous system.  

-The second is that the body is self healing and self regulating.

-The third is that if you interfere with the nervous system than you interfere with the body’s ability to regulate and heal.

One of the best studies done to disprove Chiropractic was the Winsor study.  The Winsor study took place in 1921 and was performed by Henry Winsor MD.  The purpose of the study was to determine whether minor curvatures of the spine related to organ disease.  Dr. Winsor was attempting to disprove Chiropractic but instead proved Chiropractic correct.

Dr. Winsor used 50 cadavers in his study.  His findings were nothing short of amazing.

-In 50 cadavers with 139 diseased organs, the autopsies displayed there was an abnormal curve in the spine connected to the nerves controlling 128 of the diseased organs.   Analyzing the spine as it refers to organ health is accurate 90% of the time.

-The organs that were damaged were noted to be acute or recent diseases meaning that damage to the spine came before organ disease.

-Degeneration of the spine appears to precede old age and to cause it.  The spine becomes stiff and old age follows.  

Here are some specific examples of organs that were shown to have disease and the area of the spine affecting it.

-Lung disease was linked to loss of spinal motion and degeneration in the upper back.

-Liver disease was correlated to degeneration and loss of spinal motion in the upper back below the shoulder blades.

-Prostate and Bladder disease was linked to loss of degeneration and spinal motion in the low back.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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

Grand Rapids, MI 49534


What’s stress go to do with it?

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bang head here

“Humans today experience more stress in one day than their ancestors did in their entire lives. “  What effect is stress having on your life?  Are you noticing high blood pressure, food cravings, sleep disturbances, pain, trouble losing weight, or mental confusion?   How is stress changing your energy, mood, or posture?   If your stress is not where you want it to be, don’t worry improving your stress is easier than you think.

Your body is a reflection of how well you are adapting to all the stresses in your life.   Unresolved or uncontrolled stress always will lead to illness and disease.   We are told today that illness is caused by bad luck, bad germs or bad genes.    This is not true.   We are the product of our lifestyle choices, only a small percentage of poor health is genetic.  

The vast majority of health problems today are based in our environment and lifestyle choices.   We have more mental stress than ever before between the internet, email, phones, and television.   We have more chemical stress from environmental toxins, cheap food, always eating and drinking as well over-medication.  We also have more physical stress much of it revolving around long hours, poor posture and electronics.

So what is the solution?  Chiropractic, right?  Chiropractic is part of the solution but not the complete picture.   Chiropractic will help your body function better, which a large step in the right direction.   To truly get a grip on stress you need to lead a proactive lifestyle with proper nutrition, regular exercise, a good Chiropractic office, and constant social support.

If you would like to learn more about wellness stop by .   Here is a list of 5 easy things that can get you started on the right path, courtesy of Dr. James Chestnut.

Dr Chestnut’s Rules of Getting Started

- Start by adding sufficiency NOT removing toxicity.  It is much easier to add something good to your life than it is to take away something that is bad but desirable.

-  Eat fresh fiber first.   At each meal eat raw fruit or vegetables before consuming unhealthy food. You can still eat some junk food but just supplement it with healthy food at the same time.

- Incorporate activity into you work, family and social lives. Meet friends for walks or activities not coffee shops.

- Always shop on a full stomach. There is less chance of buying junk food and you won’t eat it if you don’t have it.

- Always judge your choices based on how you feel AFTER the choice, not before or during.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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

Grand Rapids, MI 49534


What’s best for the patient?

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think hard

“What’s best for the patient?”  I am always looking at Chiropractic from the lens of what is best for the patient.  I was going through research and I wanted to know, given the health care options in America, what is the best choice for your health.   A few questions that I will address.

- Which intervention gets patients back to work with the fewest days of missed work?

-Which healthcare intervention has the highest patient satisfaction?

-Which intervention is the most affordable?

-Which intervention is the safest, given current malpractice rates among providers?

What healthcare intervention has the fewest number of work days missed? 

According to a study in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia, Chiropractic care can get Worker’s Compensation patients back to work 4X faster than traditional medical care.  Of course that could be good or bad depending on how well you like your job.

Which healthcare intervention has the best patient satisfaction?  

According to a survey in 1989 by Dr. Cherkin, patients who received Chiropractic care were 3X more likely to report high levels of patient satisfaction than those who received traditional medical care.  Patients who also reported high levels of satisfaction with care were more likely to believe that their Chiropractor cared about them.

Which healthcare intervention is the most affordable? 

Multiple studies have demonstrated that Chiropractic provides significant cost saving to both patients as well as insurance carries.  A study from the Journal of Occupational Medicine showed that Chiropractic fees were up to 10X less expensive when compared to patients who did not receive Chiropractic care.   The average savings per patient was approximately $900.

Which healthcare intervention is the safest given current malpractice rates among providers?

The medical specialty with the highest malpractice was a neurosurgeon.   A Chiropractor was ranked as one of the lowest risk providers.   A Chiropractic adjustment is much safer than a procedure which is more invasive such as medicine, injections or surgery.

When choosing a healthcare provider the 4 key areas of interest are: how long will it take, patient satisfaction, cost and safety.   In all 4 key areas Chiropractic has the best outcome.   If you want your healthcare to be fast results, affordable, safe and highly satisfying than Chiropractic the right choice for you and your family.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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

Grand Rapids, MI 49534