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.


Is your head on straight?

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Do you enjoy people watching? I know I do. If you watch a large number of people you will inevitably see a variety of behaviors and patterns. Humans all walk, talk, and eat differently. One unique thing you can look for is head tilt. Cute in puppies but very unhealthy in people. If someone literally does not have their head on straight, then that is a neurological finding indicating a structural problem.

Head tilt is a sign that the person’s brain is receiving insufficient information from the rest of the body. The brain will always attempt to keep your eyes level with the horizon, however if it cannot, that indicates a problem. Misalignment of the skull on the first bone in the neck can cause abnormal function of the nerves exiting the brain stem. Nerves in that region go to the eyes and ears.

A lack of normal function of the nerves going to the ears can cause or aggravate symptoms of tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and vertigo. Problems with the nerves going to the eyes can increase eye fatigue and make changing from long to short vision blurry. Irritation of these nerves can also increase the frequency of migraines or headaches.

Most cases of head tilt come from everyday activities with repetition. Some examples of these activities include: extended phone use, repeated use of computers, and sports such as soccer and basketball. Head tilt can also be caused by trauma such as trips, falls, and auto accidents.

If you notice someone experiencing these problems or showing signs of head tilt, consider a chiropractor who focuses on functional correction. The functional correction protocol along with state of the art technology allows our office to pinpoint problems, correct them, and track your improvement with progress evaluations. This allows for transparency between the doctor and patient, which is of utmost importance to us.


Hungerford Chiropractic

4172 Lake Michigan Drive

Grand Rapids, MI 49534

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Do Americans more commonly hurt themselves from repetitive strain injuries or from trauma like a slip and fall?

Americans overwhelmingly hurt themselves from repetitive strain injuries such as extended computer use or mechanical labor. While it’s commonly thought of that people visit the Chiropractor for heavy lifting or car accidents, the majority of injuries are actually from everyday tasks.

Have you ever heard someone say they hurt their back by bending down to tie their shoes or by spitting out their toothpaste? It doesn’t sound realistic does it?

Injuries from common everyday tasks are often a sign of pre-existing injury or degeneration. Someone thinking that bending down to tie their shoes is what caused their injury is about as reasonable as someone feeling pain from a cavity and thinking that it was caused by their last can of pop.

Keeping up with your dental check-ups is one of the best things you can do for your teeth. A Dentist who has your best interest in mind is also going to give complimentary recommendations for in between check-ups. These recommendations will vary but generally include brushing your teeth daily, flossing, and avoiding soda, sugary and acidic foods.

Dentists and Chiropractors agree that avoiding sugary foods and limiting soda is good for your health. Check-ups with your Chiropractor are one of the best things you can do for your spine. Chiropractors will also give complimentary recommendations to keep you healthy in between visits. These recommendations include exercise, stretches for your neck and back, avoiding extended computer use and limiting time on the couch.

Maintaining the bones in your body, whether they are in your mouth or spine, is an important part of your family’s health. Regular check-ups with your Chiropractor and Dentist can prevent many of life’s little, annoying problems.


Feeling abnormal?

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Feeling abnormal?

Most healthcare providers use a normal versus abnormal comparison to determine health status and care options.  The human body requires several things to work correctly; food, water, oxygen, sleep and a healthy nerve supply.  A healthy nervous system is not something to be taken for granted, although it often is.  Lacking a healthy nerve supply can be fatal and at the very least cause abnormal function.

An example of this is Christopher Reeves, the late actor who was famous for playing Superman.  He suffered a tragic neck injury while riding his horse.  Following his injury he was unable to use his arms or legs, required help with his breathing and eating.  In his injury he did not injure his arms, legs or lungs.  Instead he severely damaged his spinal cord which communicates normal function to his organs and muscles.  This disruption caused him to be paralyzed.

Most of us will never experience an injury of this severity.  However most of us will experience abnormal nerve function at some point in our lives.  It is a myth that pressure and or tension on a nerve will always cause pain.  Although pressure or tension on a spinal nerve does cause a significant decrease in a nerve impulse and or loss of nutrition to the nerve.  Loss of nutrition to the nerve can cause a loss in performance in the tissue at the other end.  It can affect the way you walk, the way your heart beats and the way you hear things.

Moving is essential to maintain healthy spinal joints and nerves.  Make time for Chiropractic check-ups, and in between visits follow recommendations of exercises and stretching, much like you would with brushing and flossing your teeth in between Dental check-ups.


Experimental stretch neuropathy. Changes in nerve conduction under tension

EJ Wall, JB Massie, MK Kwan, BL Rydevik, RR Myers, Garfin

Published 1 January 1992 The Bone and Joint Journal


J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1992 Jan;15(1):62-6.

The effects of compression on the physiology of nerve roots.

Rydevik BL1.



America you look old, shake a leg!

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America you look old, shake a leg

Did Americans decide to stop moving at age 25?  Stop walking, sit down and continue watching, 24 hours a day.  If this is you, chances are that you’re dealing with pain; back pain, headaches, or neck pain.  It’s even taking a toll on America’s healthcare system.  Physically moving keeps you young and healthy.

Do you have any of the following; depression, anxiety, or ADHD?  Exercises like jogging and yoga could be the fit you’ve been looking for.  Studies have shown that moderate exercise three times a week can be just as effective as an antidepressant.  In addition it has been shown that exercise can help you effectively deal with anxiety by giving you better control of your body’s “fight or flight” response.  Symptoms of ADHD have also decreased after only 20 minutes of moderate physical activity.

Your brain thrives on movement.  In fact 90% of your brains calculations are relating the position of your body to its environment and gravity.  When you don’t move the brain stops receiving accurate information.  This can result in increased pain sensitivity, anxiety, and fatigue.  If you’ve ever seen someone who walks like they are 20 years older than they are, chances are that they are more sensitive to pain.  One of the ways Chiropractic care can help with pain is by mobilizing spinal segments that are stuck out of place.  This adjustment changes the information going to the brain, resulting in less pain.

Have you ever wondered why if you bang your thumb and shake it afterwards it feels as if the pain goes away?  Well, since your body prioritizes motion over pain, the nerve fibers that transmit motion are bigger and faster than the nerve fibers that send pain signals.  Think of motion signals as being sent by a cable modem and pain as being sent by a dial-up modem.  Even if the pain signal is still being sent your brain interprets the motion information first.



Front Psychiatry. 2013; 4: 27.

Published online 2013 Apr 23. doi:  10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00027

PMCID: PMC3632802

Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety

Elizabeth Anderson1 and Geetha Shivakumar1,2,*


Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Sep 12;(9):CD004366. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004366.pub6.

Exercise for depression.


Cooney GM1, Dwan K, Greig CA, Lawlor DA, Rimer J, Waugh FR, McMurdo M, Mead GE.


Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016 Jun;48(6):1153-60. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000864.

Acute Exercise Improves Mood and Motivation in Young Men with ADHD Symptoms.


Fritz KM1, O’Connor PJ.

What do your teeth and spine have in common?

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Did you know that preventative healthcare includes dentistry and chiropractic? Keep in mind these ways that regular dentistry and chiropractic care are essential for your health.


Dentistry                                                                                           Chiropractic

-Keeping teeth and gums healthy


-Keeping Spinal bones and spinal nerves healthy
-Establish healthy dental habits


-Establish healthy spine habits
-Keeping children teeth healthy


-Keeping children nerves healthy
-Prevention of severe long term problems (cavities, root canals, cancer, tooth extraction death)


-Prevention of severe long term problems (Spinal degeneration, spine surgery, disability, death)
-Avoiding false teeth (dentures)


-Avoiding spinal surgery
-Poor dental health increases risk of heart disease and cancer


-Poor spinal health increases risk of dementia and heart disease
-reduce bad breath, gum disease


-Reduce fatigue, Spinal degeneration
-Tooth loss is common 178 million Americans but it is not normal


-80% of American adults will miss work due to spine problems, common not normal
-Tooth decay is a gradually process without early pain -Spinal degeneration is a gradual process without early pain
-42% of kids aged 2-11 have tooth decay


-91% of  healthy newborns have motion restriction in cervical (neck) region
-Tooth pain can result in poor focus at school


-Headaches and back pain can result in poor focus at school
-Kids do not maintain teeth properly (forgetful, skip brushing, high carbs foods)


-Kids do not maintain spine properly, poor posture, screen time, lack of exercise
-Age 7 children are recommended to be screened for braces


-infant evaluations are recommended in the first year of life
-Monitor children dental health as teeth and jaw grow


-Monitor children’s spinal health as they grow
-Check up every 6 months


-Check up every 3 months
-Essential for healthy teeth and gums


-Essential for health spinal bones and nerves
-Plaque formation within 24 hours of consuming food


Every healthcare professional uses normal vs abnormal to determine the amount of care required. Dentist use oral exams, digital scans and x-rays.  Chiropractors use spinal exams, digital scans and x-rays.

-Arthritis begins after 10 days of abnormal function


Five ways you’re shooting your workout in the foot

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You’re probably starting to think about getting in shape or you’ve already started. We all want results but there is no need to hurt yourself in the process. Also there is a lot of misinformation out there, so here we will tackle the most common things that trip up the fitness beginner.


True or False: The best way to get a flat stomach is sit ups and crunches.

False, sit ups can cause lower back injuries and do not stabilize the core. The best moves to help tighten and strengthen your abdomen and low back are core exercises. When in doubt planks are a fantastic exercise. A plank is an endurance exercise for your core. When lying flat on your stomach on the floor prop yourself up on your forearms and toes, keeping your body off the ground and flat as a board. Start with 20-30 seconds and go up about 5 seconds per week. If this is difficult or painful, consult your healthcare professional.


True or False: Losing body fat is best achieved by doing cardio.

False, doing cardio alone reduces muscle mass which slows down your metabolism. Cardio alone often causes rebound weight gain because with lower muscle mass you cannot burn calories as quickly which converts to body fat. Instead try resistance training or a combination of weight lifting and cardio for best results.


True or False: Stretching before workouts prevents injury.

False, stretching before exercise can raise your risk of injury, you should be warming up instead. Stretching is an activity designed to lengthen the muscles in your body whereas warming up is preparing your body for the activity you’re about to perform. An example of stretching would be bending to touch your toes. An example of a warm up would be a slow jog or doing the motion without weights before adding weights to prepare your muscles for the activity.


How long should you wait to eat after working out?

a)      2 hours

b)      1 hour

c)       30 minutes

C. You shouldn’t wait longer than 30 minutes; while this may not be possible all the time make every effort to eat something before the 45 minute mark. Eating after working out will replenish your muscles, whereas if you wait longer than one hour, your muscle’s ability to repair themselves (which makes them bigger and stronger) decreases significantly.


True or False: The plan that helps you lose the most weight the fastest is always best.

False, plans with quick drastic results tend to be time consuming and are usually dropped. Stick with a plan you can realistically follow.



West Journal of Med.

Should people stretch before exercise?

April 2001

Ian Shrier


What You Eat After Exercise Matters

February 16, 2010

Dr. Joseph Mercola

Why is it raining cats and dogs?

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In the spirit of April fools we are going to change our trivia from health related to simply fun. This week’s trivia will cover simple phrases from the English language that you may understand but not know the origin of.


Fit as a Fiddle

Meaning: This is used to describe someone who is in very good health.

Origin: In the early 17th century this phrase was first seen in English-men for my Money by Haughton William. Musical instruments were kept in excellent condition as they were handcrafted and expensive. If a person was in as good of shape as their fiddle, they were doing quite well.



Dead as a doornail

Meaning: To be void of life or useless.

Origin: As a means of defense against intruders that may raid your house or castle, people used to reinforce their wooden doors with doornails. A doornail would be hammered through the outside of the door and on the inside the nail would be bent sideways so it could not be pulled out. Once bent the nail could not be reused and was therefore useless.



To butter someone up

Meaning: To flatter or impress to gain favor.

Origin: This was a customary religious act in ancient India. The devout would throw butter balls at the statues of their gods to seek favor and forgiveness, butter was a rare/expensive commodity at the time.



White Elephant

Meaning: A gift that may be comical or not useful.

Origin: This expression originated in the English language in the 19th century. Rumor has it that a king of Siam, currently Thailand, would gift someone with a rare and expensive white elephant. The gift was for someone who had displeased him as maintaining a white elephant was costly and difficult. This would often cause the owners financial ruin, much to the enjoyment of the king who had gotten his revenge under the disguise of a seemingly harmless present.



It’s raining cats and dogs

Meaning: Extremely heavy rain; excessive downpour It’s raining very hard

Origin: It’s a popular phrase and there are many theories that are related to its origin, particularly, in England in the middle of 18th century. The sewer systems and drains at the time were very primitive and ineffective. Torrential downpours would then cause excessive floods which drowned the numerous stray cats and dogs that lived in the streets. Their bodies would float down the streets thus appearing as though they rained directly from the sky. Another possible origin is that the animals would try to climb to the top of houses to escape the flooding. During that time your typical homes would have had thatched roofs. These roofs could not sustain the weight of the animal and the animals would fall into the homes along with the rain. This would appear as though the animals had rained from the sky.


Natural remedies for Allergies

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1. What is the number one cause of allergens in the spring and fall?



2. True or false this will be the worst year for pollen allergies?

True, because climate change is causing warmer weather and more pollen


3. Your immune system’s reaction to pollen for example is what causes allergies. What controls your immune system?

The central nervous system


4. So continuing on with allergies, what are some natural remedies that can help?

Raw honey: Raw honey contains pollen develop immunity to the spores, reducing allergic reactions.

Omega 3 fish oil: Omega 3 fish oil has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.

Vitamin D:  Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system.

Probiotics:  Probiotics or “good” bacteria are fantastic for improving allergy responses.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is another natural antihistamine.

Green tea: green tea is shown to strongly inhibit mast cell activation and histamine release, as well as relieve many allergy symptoms.


5. What are some natural preventatives?

Chiropractic helps keep the immune system strong and working efficiently.

A healthy diet full of anti-oxidants, antibiotic free, organic, and fermented foods.

Wash your bedding once a week in very hot water to prevent build-up and help kill off dust mites.

Lowering stress.

Wash dishes by hand.

Avoid antibiotics and antibacterial products.

Get a healthy amount of exercise.

Use non-toxic, natural cleaning products as the fumes from chemicals have been shown to trigger an allergic response. Try to keep dust and dander at a minimum in your home-however don’t overly clean your home as that can actually make allergies worse.


6. Can Chiropractic help improve allergy symptoms?

Since the beneficial effects of chiropractic adjustments on the nervous system are well documented, it’s not surprising many chiropractic patients report a reduction of allergy symptoms when treated regularly for vertebral subluxations.  Misalignment or dysfunctional movements of vertebra can cause irritation in the spine, which then creates an abnormal signal received by the nervous system.  When this abnormal signal occurs along the same pathway of normal environmental messages, the body may not interpret the information correctly.  When this occurs, an allergic reaction can result.


Dr. Mercola

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America


Can fitness improve brain health?

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Brain benefits of fitness It may surprise you to know that over 47 million people lived with dementia in 2015. It kills more people than breast and prostate cancer combined. We have a growing and aging population, it is estimated that 135 million people will suffer from dementia by 2050. New research from the University of Sydney has found an activity that can improve mild cognitive impairment (which can lead to dementia). Physical fitness may be a very valuable tool in preventing or reversing cognitive decline.

“For patients 55 and older it’s been proven that improvement in cognitive function is related to a person’s muscle strength gains. The stronger a person became-the greater benefit for their brain.” A study demonstrated that maximum brain benefit was found in patients who performed resistance training 2x a week for an average of 90 minutes. These benefits persisted even 12 months after the exercise sessions ended.

“The researchers found that resistance exercises led to structural brain plasticity, specifically, a thickening of grey matter in the ‘posterior cingulate’ cortex, a key integrating part of the brain that is affected early in Alzheimer’s disease.”

“Abnormalities in this region are involved in neurological and psychiatric disorders including Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, depression, as well as ageing. It has been consistently shown that abnormal posterior cingulate cortex function following traumatic brain injury, predicts attentional impairments.”

This study provides a unique solution that is simple and effective. It is also an elegant example of how the brain and body are not separate systems but intimately connected in the health of the patient.


The Study of Mental Activity and Resistance Training by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Dementia Research Grant, Project Grant ID No. 512672 from 2008 to 2011

Mavros Y et al. Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, October 24 2016