chiropractic

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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Life can be a real beach, if you’re not really at the beach.

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What if we told you that there’s one healthy activity you could do to keep your heart healthy, improve work production, enjoy less stress in your relationships, feel happier and live longer. What would you guess?

When asked most people guessed some form of exercise or sleep. Those are pretty good guesses, but it’s something even easier, and even more fun! Anymore ideas?

I’ll give you a hint:
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Vacation.

It’s true, but did you know that a large percentage of people who have access to PTO (paid time off) either don’t use it, or just use it as sick time? On top of that, how many of us use our vacation days for our kid’s school breaks or even when our kids get sick? Life can get so busy and it seems the first thing to be put on the back burner is vacation. We’ve all done it, said we’d wait until the kids are a bit older, or the weather is nicer. How many of us feel guilty leaving work? We put vacation off until the new employees are trained; just to have new employees follow them and so on and so forth. Many people find the solution is to take work with them on vacation. This seems like the best of both worlds, right? Studies have showed that up to 61% of people take their work with them when they leave the office. This is actually counterproductive, ideally you would be leaving the work behind as it’s important to switch off. Taking a technology break during this time would be a great idea as well.

Rest, relaxation, and stress reduction are very important for our health and well-being. Some much needed time off has significant health benefits such as; decreasing risk of heart disease and fewer arguments with your spouse. Additional benefits of vacations are more positive emotions and lower risk of a major depressive episode.

Another perk of vacations are improved relationships. According to Wisconsin Medical Journal – women who take vacations twice a year are “less likely to become tense, depressed, or tired and are more satisfied with their marriage,” and that the “odds of marital satisfaction decreased as the frequency of vacations decreased. These personal psychological benefits that lead to increased quality of life may also lead to improved work performance.”

Speaking of work, there are many benefits of taking a vacation at the work place too. Skipping out on vacation may be hindering you from completing your tasks. Working day in and day out without taking a moment to step out and disconnect can lead to no enjoyment or connection at work. Studies have also shown that not taking vacation causes people to feel resentment toward coworkers and increases likelihood of mistakes in the work place. Taking a vacation can help refresh motivation, boost productivity, improve memory skills and increase levels of happiness.

So next time you get the chance to get away, do it. Studies do show that by the third day of vacation most people will improve sleep quality and gain an hour of sleep by the 3rd day. Those effects can hold on for a minimum of 5 weeks after you return. Are you ready for a vacation?


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


Got Inflammation?

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Do you ever feel like you’re doing everything right with your diet, and yet you can’t seem to button your favorite pants? Let me guess; you’ve been working out, cutting calories, avoiding those late night cravings and you even joined a yoga class at the YMCA? It’s defeating to try so hard with little to no result.

Did you know that certain foods can actually work against your efforts and cause chronic inflammation? Inflammation can being annoying, especially when over time you notice that not only have you packed on weight, but it hurts. It’s true; there are certain foods that in addition to weight gain can actually cause inflammation and pain.

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to protecting itself against harm. There is more than one form of inflammation, first is acute. Acute inflammation occurs when you hit your elbow or worse…a paper cut! What we’re talking about in this case though, is chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs in response to unwanted substances in the body. These substances can be found in number of foods that I am sure you could easily find on your daily menu.

I’m sure it’s no surprise that at the top of the list of foods that cause inflammation we see refined carbohydrates (this includes flour, white rice, processed cereals, chips, crackers and french fries). Also, I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised if I said that sugar, caffeine and alcohol were on the list too. But would it shock you a little if I said lactose (milk and other dairy products), yeast and meats (beef, pork and less commonly poultry) were among the culprits too?

I know what you’re thinking, what’s left, right? Although there are many foods that we should avoid there are still plenty of healthy foods to enjoy. Consider the following:

     Breakfast – Try to avoid sugary processed cereal, cereal bars and bakery items. Instead try an egg, plain Greek yogurt, or      a daily shake. Instead of a glass of 2% milk, try coconut milk or almond milk.

     Lunch – Instead of having a sandwich with highly processed white bread, consider a wrap with fresh veggies and chicken.

     Snack – Try some mixed nuts or a handful of blueberries.

     Dinner – A nice salad topped with fruit, veggies, avocado or nuts could be a great way to end your day. Also a stir fry with      brown rice and vegetables is a wonderful choice.

When choosing foods, think about whole foods and don’t be afraid of colors. How about taking an alcohol or caffeine vacation? You may find that by eliminating some of the processed foods (even foods that say “low calorie or low fat), artificial sweeteners (diet sodas!), and refined carbs you may not only be able to squeeze into those pants but also feel better and more pain free at the same time!

Foods that fight inflammation-infograph
Photo Credit:Harvard health


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 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

616.419.4996

DrDan@Hungerfordwellness.com


Gaining attention from the mile-a-minute kid

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“Please just sit still!  Honestly, I just don’t understand why you can’t sit still for 2 minutes.”  Rambunctious children often frustrate their parents but can it be helped?   While most children have decent amount of energy, some kids are genuinely hyperactive.  However does hyperactivity mean your child needs to be labeled ADHD?

Is your child simply energetic or do they have a neurological disorder?  Do they have a disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity?  Just for sake of discussing let’s say your child does have ADHD.   What are the possible causes and what can you do to improve their condition.

Hyperactivity can be caused by many different things.   One of the reasons is that children who have been diagnosed with ADHD also have been shown to have under developed brains, specifically in the frontal lobe.   One of the ways you can stimulate the brain to develop is by stimulating the cerebellum, an area of the brain which is responsible for balance, movement and coordination.   The cerebellum receives input from proprioceptors (pronounced Pro-prio-ceptors).   Proprioceptors are little bundles of nerve fibers that tell your brain where you body is in space.

An example of your body using proprioceptors, would the reason you don’t need to look at your feet when you walk, because you know where your feet are.   Proprioceptors are in every joint in your body.   However the highest concentration of these fibers is in the neck, right under the skull.

The location of proprioceptive fibers is the reason that Chiropractic care is so effective.  Tension and misalignments to the neck interfere with the information received in the brain. Chiropractic care gently realigns the spine allowing for proper communication.  Proper communication can improve brain development.  Although Chiropractic is not a treatment specifically for ADHD, many cases of ADHD improve as a result of Chiropractic care.

It’s also possible that your child is being misdiagnosed.  Age, for example, is one example of how a child may receive a misdiagnosis of ADHD. According to study reported in Science Daily “If a child is behaving poorly, if he’s inattentive, if he can’t sit still, it may simply be because he’s 5 and the other kids are 6.  There’s a big difference between a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old, and teachers and medical practitioners need to take that into account when evaluating whether children have ADHD.”

Symptoms from food sensitivity may mimic ADHD.  Here are some examples.   For more information please go to www.Mercola.com

Eliminate most grains and sugars from your child’s diet. Grains (especially breads, cereals, chips , cookies) and sugars both tend to cause allergies in sensitive individuals. Even if the grains are organic, whole grain can cause problems in many children so it would be wise to give them a grain vacation and see if their behavior improves.

Replace soft drinks (whether diet and regular), fruit juices, and pasteurized milk with pure, clean non-fluoridated water. While you may believe fruit juices are a healthy option to soda, they aren’t and need to be avoided as strictly as soda does.  Vitamins are best obtained through eating fruits and vegetables.

Increase Omega-3 oil by taking high quality animal-based omega-3 oil. Research has confirmed that Omega-3 has been shown to be more effective than stimulant medication like Ritalin and Concerta.

Minimize your use of nearly all processed fats, especially trans fats as they can disrupt nerve cell communication.

Avoid all processed foods, especially those containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, which may trigger or worsen symptoms.  Artificial dyes have been shown to mimic ADHD symptoms.

Clear your house of dangerous pesticides and other commercial chemicals. Pesticide exposure has been shown to increase symptoms of ADHD.

Avoid commercial washing detergents and cleaning products used on clothes, and replace them with naturally derived cleaning products with no added perfumes, softeners, etc.

As always please share with your friends and families.  If you would like to hear more about a specific topic, please feel free to email me.

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


Allergies –How to run past the sniffles

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sick-child-sneezingCoughing, sneezing, watery eyes and difficulty breathing can be quite a hurdle when you want to enjoy time outside.   In the US alone there are over 35-40 million people suffering from allergies.   Seasonal Allergies include – a reaction to pollen, dust mites, feathers, and animal dander.  These reactions can occur throughout the year but generally are seen in the spring and fall seasons.

The immune system, the body’s natural defense, recognizes threats and eliminates intruders to the body.   Sometimes the body treats something safe as a foreign invader, thus triggering an allergic response.  The immune response is helpful when the invader is a bacteria or a virus but not very useful when the substance is harmless.

The nervous system is in charge of everything in the body including the immune system.   When the nervous system is under stress, one of the effects is an over active immune system.  Simply put – mild to moderate allergies may get significantly worse.   A doctor of Chiropractic knows how to gently adjust the nervous system thereby removing stress and enhancing proper function.   Chiropractic is not a treatment for allergies but Chiropractic is a safe and effective means of improving health and improving immune system response.

As a compliment to Chiropractic care there are natural foods and supplements that can help with allergies.  For more natural health tips visit www.mercola.com

Raw honey: Raw honey contains pollen in small amounts and if used regularly the body may develop immunity to the spores, reducing allergic reactions.  Note this is not for infants and small children as their immune systems are not developed enough.

Omega 3 fish oil: Omega 3 fish oil has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.  Children who ate fish on the regular basis before 1 year of age, fish contain omega 3 oil, had fewer allergies by age 4.

Butterbur: Butterbur is a natural antihistamine.  In comparison studies, Butterbur was shown to be as effective as zyrtec.

Vitamin D:  Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system.  Deficiency of vitamin D has been linked to allergies and asthma.

Probiotics:  Probiotics or “good “bacteria are fantastic for improving allergy responses.   Infants who are given probiotics have been shown to have fewer allergic reactions.

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