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.

Leaning forward playing video games in front of the big screen.

Sitting at a computer desk.

Talking on the phone (holding our phones to our ears).

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.


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


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



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





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.

Decoding Autism Spectrum Disorder

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How did we go from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 88?   One in 88 children is now diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  There are many theories as to the cause but for this article will focus on the solutions.

Someone is considered healthy or unhealthy largely on how their body adapts to change.  Tripping over a curb, not removing your hand from a hot surface, or reacting inappropriately in social settings are all situations we observe for adaptation.

Adaptation is critical to every part of our lives.  This critical process is controlled and regulated by the nervous system.   The nervous system absorbs information from our environment, organizes it and reacts.  It is estimated that our sensory system takes in over 11 million bits of information per second.  This information is then sent to the brain to sort it out, react to some things and disregard the rest.

One could compare the situation to a standard email account.  The email account daily receives an impressive amount of information some genuine, some spam, some relevant and much that is totally irrelevant.   Imagine trying to sort through every email, respond quickly and accurately to an unfiltered email account.  Communication would be quite difficult.  Most people have a filter that works well however people with ASD have a difficult time filtering information.

While we are still a long ways from understanding how the brain works, we do understand that in order to adapt our environment we must be able to send and receive information properly.  If our ability to send and receive information is interfered with, then adaptation becomes challenging.

A common physical condition in the human body can occur that interferes with the communication of the nervous system.  This is called a Vertebral Subluxation (VS).  A VS is where there is a misalignment of one or several vertebra in the spine.   This causes abnormal signaling from the brain to the body.

A very interesting study published in the journal NEURON goes into to detail on how early damage to the base of the brain at a young age is linked to high scores on ASD testing.   Another study from the May 2010 issue of the Chiropractic Journal of Australia, studies how Vertebral Subluxation affects sensory motor input and altered function.

Pilot and case studies are already underway documenting the improvement of patients with ASD with Chiropractic care.  Some of the improvements include patients being able to attend school for the first time, improved reflexes, improved verbal and nonverbal communication and improved coordination.

If you would like to learn more about participating in a case study or would like to know if your child has Vertebral Subluxation and could benefit from Chiropractic care, feel free to contact us.

Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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

Grand Rapids, MI 49534


Predicting quality of life is easier than you think

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Is there a crystal ball to tell you whether you will have a long, healthy, and enjoyable life?  There’s no way to tell how long someone will live, life is just too unpredictable but a recent study can accurately predict your quality of life as you age.  It sounds impossible but it’s not as difficult as you might think.

To accurately predict a patient’s quality of life you simply need to look at 4 unique measurements.  A study on the health and quality of life in 100 Japanese males was able to accurately predict based on the angle of the lumbar spine, back muscle strength, balance from right to left, and mobility of the spine.  These tests are actually quite simple but can give great insight to both patient and provider.

It’s not a coincidence that these tests are regularly used by Chiropractors to assess new patients.  A Chiropractor analyzes a patient’s spine to determine if subluxations are present.  A subluxation is present when there is a misalignment in the spine that interferes with nerve signals from the brain to the body.   This interference can   lower quality of life, restrict movement, and create pain.   Correction of these problems can result in the spine increased mobility, improved sense of balance, restore the spines natural curves and also improve muscle strength.   Not surprisingly when these 4 categories are improved the patient experiences a higher quality of life.

It has been said that everyone needs Chiropractic care.   However if this study is any indicator of how healthcare will work in the future, everyone would benefit from an assessment involving these 4 categories and care if necessary.  The best way to start would be to set up an appointment with your chiropractor and find out if in fact your spine is affecting your quality of life.


Eur Spine J. 2011 Jun;20(6):954-61. doi: 10.1007/s00586-010-1606-4. Epub 2010 Oct 31.

Back muscle strength and spinal mobility are predictors of quality of life in middle-aged and elderly males.

Imagama S1Matsuyama YHasegawa YSakai YIto ZIshiguro NHamajima N.


Hungerford Chiropractic & Wellness Center

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

Grand Rapids, MI 49534