Wednesday, November 24, 2010

MVAs NOT to be taken Lightly

With the recent snow/ice storm that we had earlier this week, I figured that there were quite a few fender benders in the area.  So, what better time to talk a little bit about the necessity of at least getting a chiropractic examination after a motor vehicle accident (MVA).  Being the culprit of a couple accidents and not getting any chiropractic care afterward, I know first hand the essentiality of seeking care even after a minor incident.

The reason that you should at least get a chiropractic exam after a motor vehicle accident is simple, the accident can do moderate to severe damage to your spinal column even if it was considered a minor accident.  Anytime that you get rear-ended, t-boned, or anything else, your head and neck are by far the MOST vulnerable part of your body.  They aren't restrained by a seat belt and therefore it's essentially easy to get a whiplash injury after a minor accident.

The reason that whiplash injuries need to be taken seriously is because they not only cause headaches and neck pain, they can actually damage the spinal cord itself.  When you get a whiplash, your head lurches forward and then backward again.  When this happens, you weaken and even slightly tear the muscles and ligaments attaching to your spine.  When this happens, you can actually stretch your spinal cord.  Now, you may not feel symptoms right away, but down the road a couple days, months, or even years, you could get chronic headaches, neck pain, numbness and tingling in your arms or even legs, loss of function of areas of your body, weakness, arthritis, and many other serious issues.

This is why is is of utmost importance to at least get a chiropractic consultation and exam after even minor MVAs. 

In the meantime, if you need to do some sort of self medication at home, ICE will be your best friend.  AVOID HEAT AT ALL COSTS.  By putting heat on a strained and swollen area, you will only make the problem worse.  It's just like if you were to sprain your ankle.  You will never see an athletic trainer put heat on a sprained ankle.  It's always ice.

So be careful on the roads especially with all of the holiday traveling coming up and if you do get in even a minor fender bender, at least get a chiropractor to take a look.  You'll only be doing yourself and your spine some good.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to be Health Conscious during Thanksgiving

Yes, the holiday of Thanksgiving is about getting together with friends and family and being thankful for what you are given and what you have.  But, it has also become a time to gorge on rich food and sit around to watch the big games.  It doesn't have to be that way, but it also doesn't have to change that much to make sure that you are being health conscious at Thanksgiving.  Here's some quick, helpful tips that you can use to make your Thanksgiving a little bit healthier this year.

1)  It's all about portion size.  You can still eat the same foods that you do every year, just be mindful of how much you eat at each sitting.  Just because there are 15 different samplings to try, you don't need to have a mound of food on your plate.  Instead of opting to have enough mashed potatoes to make a replica of Devil's Tower, have a couple tablespoons.  Same goes for all the other fixings.  Plus, if you don't get enough of one thing, you can have more later.

2)  Skip some ingredients.  You can still have a tasty Thanksgiving meal without some of the ingredients that are not the best for your health.  Try cutting the amount of salt by half.  You'll still get the salt you crave, but you'll be better able to actually taste the food too.  Also, try leaving the whipped cream or Cool Whip off your pumpkin pie (if it's a good pie, you won't even think twice about the added calories).  I'm sure you'll be able to think of other ways to cut a few calories here and there.

3)  Get up and move around.  During halftime of the football game, trying getting up and doing some dishes.  Or, even better, you could go outside and toss around the pigskin yourself.  You've got to burn off those extra calories somehow.

4)  Try swapping some ingredients.  Instead of the marshmallow topping for sweet potatoes, try a dash of brown sugar (or you could go a whole different route and dust them with a little black pepper, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder).  Instead of regular mashed potatoes, you could opt for pureed cauliflower.  Just steam the cauliflower until soft, puree, add a little something to make them a little more creamy (try Greek yogurt), and season to taste.

5)  Finally, be thankful.  By thinking about or even going around the table and saying what you are thankful for, you'll be having positive thoughts.  And, if you read my previous blogs, you'll remember that positive thinking goes a long way to how your body feels and the overall effectiveness and efficiency of your immune system.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why Vaccines Aren't All They're Cracked Up to Be

This week I wanted to delve into the controversial realm of vaccination and immunization.  I think that the main reason that it's such a controversial topic is because we have been made to believe that vaccination is a necessary and vital part of our health.  I, however, beg to differ.

First off, let me state that I believe there is a place for some vaccines for deadly diseases such as smallpox.  But, there shouldn't even be a vaccine for a small, harmless disease such as chicken pox.

That's where our health society has gotten off track these days.  They want to vaccinate for every single microbe and virus that they can, just so we can avoid a little discomfort.  When I was a kid, I got chicken pox.  I don't remember it very much but I do remember that it was uncomfortable.  I wasn't in the hospital, I didn't need life support.  That's because chicken pox is so harmless.  In fact, my parents had me play with my older brother who had chicken pox so I could get innoculated the way that nature intended, by contracting, fighting off, and building up a natural immunity.

One reason that the chicken pox vaccine is such a bad idea (beside the fact that it's a harmless virus) is that it has been linked to an increase in a more serious condition, shingles.  Also, these people who are getting the vaccine aren't building up their immunity to the virus like they should.

With most vaccines, you get a shot.  How often, if you want to build up a natural immunity, are you going to get a shot of chicken pox or the rhinovirus (common cold)?  I would venture to say never.  That's because the majority of your immune system isn't even in your blood.

You see, your body is smart.  When you get sick, you usually inhaled or swallowed the microbe in question.  And for that reason, the majority of your bacteria and virus fighting immune system is actually in your digestive tract.  When you inhale or swallow microbes, your body has a much better opportunity to fight off those microbes because you have more capabilities to do so in your digestive tract.

Now, you may have noticed that I have only been referring to the topic as vaccination and not immunization.  This may be just semantics but, I don't call it immunization because your body is not building up a natural and full immunity to the virus.  Therefore, it is not immunization. 

My wife and I just had our first child, and after doing much research and self reflection, we decided to forgo the whole vaccination process.  The reason we decided to do so was because we believe that the risks of vaccination far outweigh the benefits.  Like I said before, since you are not getting a full immunity to the virus, you still have a good chance of contracting the disease at a later age, which is usually more serious.  Also, there are preservatives in all vaccines to make sure that they last longer.  These preservatives have been linked to serious health conditions such as Autism, Guillian-Barre syndrome, paralysis, and sometimes death.

So, once again, this is just me stating my opinion and trying to educate people about both sides of an argument.  What I want is for people to make an informed decision about their health and their children's health before jumping into doing something just because someone told you to.

Do some research.  Make an informed decision.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quick Tips to De-Stress

So, November at Cascade Chiropractic & Massage is Stress Less Month.  And, we have a few different ways to help you get rid of some of your Holiday stress that will be building up over the next few weeks.  We just opened a new Massage and Wellness Center right next door and you can get your introductory, 1-hour massage for just $25.  Also, Dr. Larry and I will be putting on a Stress Relief class on the 17th at 6pm.  OK, enough of the plugs.

My goal for this week's post to start off Stress Less Month will be to give just a few quick tips on things you can do throughout your day to help you calm down or avoid the impending stress.  So, here it goes:

#1 - Practice Belly Breathing.  When you are feeling stressed, there's no better way to get calmed down than to do some deep, relaxing breathing.  What you do is sit on a solid surface with your back straight up and down, shoulders pulled back, and head over your shoulders.  Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose making sure that you are not moving your rib cage as much as possible.  Focus on your belly going outward while you breathe in.  Then breathe out through your mouth focusing on your belly relaxing.  Do at least 10 deep, belly breaths and you should feel more relaxed.

#2 - Treat yourself to a massage.  An hour long massage is ideal so that you have enough time to let your whole body relax and let the masseuse do the work.

#3 - Focus on that for which you are thankful.  Before you go to bed each night, just mentally go through a list of all of the things in your life that you are thankful for.  You will be concentrating on that instead of all the holiday plans you need to get done.

#4 - Go for a walk outside (preferably when it's sunny).  By getting that fresh outdoor air and sunshine, you will be stimulating the parts of your brain to release feel good chemicals.

#5 - Go on a date.  Hire a babysitter, turn your phones off (or at least on silent), go to a new restaurant, and just have a nice, relaxing time with your significant other.

#6 - Delegate your tasks wisely.  You don't need to be the one who does all the planning and preparation each year.  Ask your friends and family to help you out (especially with the tasks you don't particularly like to do).

#7 - Laugh a little.  Studies have shown that just a little bit of laughing each day can raise your serotonin levels and make you feel happier.  By laughing, you can decrease your level of stress, even if it's for a short while.

Hopefully these quick tips will help you decrease the regular stress load that you experience throughout the holiday season.