Sleep and Weight

If lack of sleep (insufficient rest) is causing your weight gain then the solution is easy to figure out, but not so easy to implement. You nee to be getting more and better rest. The Average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep your weight can increase, but that’s not the only thing that sleep affects. Lack of sleep increases accidents, decreases cognitive ability, increases heart problems, speeds the aging process, and decreases sex drive. The reasons for the effect on weight is that lack of sleep affects your hormones that regulate hunger, metabolism, appetite.

To help you sleep there are many things that you can do. This may mean adjusting your bedtime schedule or routine. It may be as simple as getting a new pillow or bed. It will be different for every person, but improving your rest will benefit your whole health, and that includes your weight. Here are some simple things that you can do to improve your sleep:

  • Have a sleep schedule , even for weekends
  • Have a bedtime ritual
  • Exercise
  • Find your ideal sleep environment including light, sounds and temperature.
  • Get a quality bed (Intellibed) and pillow that is comfortable for you .
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Avoid electronics before bed.
  • Know your best sleep postures.

Thank you to Dr. Posture and the National Sleep Foundation for their great charts.

 

 

Weight – What about it?

What is a healthy weight for you?

There are many guides or tools that you can use to determine a healthy weight for you. The classifications for weight usually involve a screening system such as body fat content, Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference measurements and others. As the systems vary so do the classifications, and they are all guides, not absolute laws. The best way to tell if you are at a healthy weight is if you are able to move and do all of the activities that your healthy mind wants to be able to do. If you get winded walking up the stairs then how could you possibly keep up with your friends, kids or grandkids.

What are the causes of weight gain and what can you do about it?

Make no mistake weight gain comes from food, but there are other factors that play a role. If you can find the thing or things that influences your weight the most then you can address them and begin the process of achieving a healthy weight. Here are some of the most common reasons for weight gain or obesity:

  • Lack of sleep (insufficient rest)
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Medical Condition (depression, hypothyroidism, pain with exercise, poor CNS function)
  • Medical Treatment
  • Tobacco use or cessation
  • Poor diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle (not enough exercise whether due to pain or lifestyle)

Now that you know some of the likely causes of your weight gain you can address them. The next few posts will address each of these factors, and ways that you can overcome them.

Access to Chiropractic for Military Families

The NavyTimes reported on a possible revamping of the military medical system recently

Washington policymakers will soon begin consideration of the biggest overhaul of the military health care system since Tricare replaced CHAMPUS in the early 1990s — changes that would shift millions of beneficiaries to commercial, private-sector health plans.

This plan is purported to save the Pentagon billions of dollars as well as improving access to care for over 9 million military families.

Participants would have to provide the same services now covered by Tricare, including inpatient and outpatient services, medical and surgical care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, maternity care and pediatrics, preventive care and more.

But some plans could offer benefits that the current Tricare program doesn’t — chiropractic care, fertility treatments, acupuncture and more — at various costs.

The commission, whose members included six retired military officers, a Navy reservist and a Medal of Honor recipient, all with legislative and professional expertise in military pay-and-benefits issues, says the program, called Tricare Choice, would give families more choice of doctors, better access and improved treatment.

For the full article visit http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/benefits/health-care/2015/03/16/commission-proposes-tricare-choice/24458697/

chriscapitolstraightTo support improved access to chiropractic for our military and their families you can sign up for alerts about legislation affecting chiropractic at http://www.chirovoice.org/ or you can visit the legislative action center for the ACA (http://cqrcengage.com/aca/) to find current issues and contact your representative or senator to make your voice heard.  There are currently 3 federal issues that affect chiropractic and the military. Take a look and support our troops.

Low Back Pain, Right Here! – Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

si-joint-painMany people suffer from Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction even if they don’t know it by name. Most often people come in complaining of low back pain right along the belt line usually radiating to the glutes. They can usually point to the source of their pain and they point right to the S.I. joint. This is usually Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, and it can cause serious pain. It often affects pregnant women more easily than others because of the hormone-induced relaxation of the pelvis along with increased weight and low back stress.

Sciatic Pain

Sciatic Pain

It is usually caused by trauma such as lifting heavy items while bending and twisting at the same time. It can be exaggerated by the same motion such as loading a dishwasher or front loading clothes dryer, or even vacuuming. SI dysfunction will often produce a functional inequality in leg length (one leg appearing longer than the other). This pain is often one sided and also confused with sciatica. If you have S.I. Dysfunction it can produce pseudo sciatica. S.I. Dysfunction is the cause of about 25% of all low back pain.

What can you do if you have S.I. Dysfunction. Chiropractic is the treatment of choice having about a 75% success rate in research (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804708/). Stretching the hip flexors and gluteal regions can help relieve some of the pain. The best thing to do is to see a chiropractor to restore proper function to those joints. If you have low back pain there is a 1 in 4 chance that it is S.I. Dysfunction.

In Honor of all Veterans

American-flagWe all know veterans.  Some are family members, some are friends.  My father, a veteran, is finally coming home from overseas and will be living near me.  He recently called me to ask about getting treatment when he gets back.  The answer that I had to give him was that it would be difficult to get any chiropractic care through the VA here or through Medicare.  I have treated quite a few veterans here in Sandy from all over the Salt Lake City area, and they all have had difficulty with the VA.  The VA told them that they don’t cover chiropractic care here in Utah.  That is not true, so, I provided them with this VA fact sheet and this guide to Veterans getting care put out by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).  After being shown the law the VA does cover their treatment.  When asked about this discrepancy in thier policy the official reply from the VA was that there is no demand in the Utah VA for chiropractic care.

“In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has started the long-overdue process of providing veterans with access to chiropractic care by placing doctors of chiropractic on staff at VA hospitals. The process of integrating chiropractic care in the VA system was initiated after Congress enacted a series of statues—Public Law 108-170 and Public Law 107-135—that reinforced a permanent chiropractic benefit within the VA health care system and specifically directed the VA to hire doctors of chiropractic to provide care for veterans.

As a result of the above-referenced congressional directives, the VA now provides chiropractic care (via hired or contracted staff) at 47 major VA treatment facilities within the United States. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of America’s veterans still do not have access to chiropractic care because the VA has taken no action to provide chiropractic care at more than 100 of its major medical facilities.

Despite important data demonstrating a critical need for chiropractic services within the VA, the disparity in access has been allowed to persist. Recent VA data cites “diseases of musculoskeletal system/connective system,” such as back pain, as the number one ailment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans accessing VA treatment.” -ACA Website

If you are a veteran or know one, or just appreciate the service that they have given then please give back.  Contact your congressman and Senator today.  There are currently bills in both the senate and the house that would require the VA to have a chiropractic physician on staff at all major VA medical facilities by 2016.  To make your voice heard on this topic you can visit the ACA Political Action Center

For more information visit the Chiropractic Veterans Affairs page

 

 

Sitting at a Desk is a Pain

balance-ball-chairWe sit a lot.  Most people sit at work.  We sit for recreation or entertainment.  We sit to drive, and we sit to eat.  Many people ask me the question, “what kind of chair should I get for work?”  Unknowingly they are asking the wrong question.  They really want to take care of their back and they’ve probably heard the fad news of the day that “Sitting is the New Smoking” or that standing or treadmill desks are the way to go.  There are kneeling chairs, exercise balls for sitting.  Balls mounted on chairs, reclining chairs and setups that you can climb inside.  Most of these devices are great, but I haven’t found a single one that you can’t sit poorly in.  You can even slouch on a ball.  The key is not what we sit in, though it can help to get good sitting furniture.

There are really only two ways to avoid the problems that come with sitting, the first way is to sit properly with good posture, however posture is supported by our muscles.  No one, no matter how well trained can sit indefinitely without those muscles getting fatigued.    Most of us are poorly trained and return to poor sitting posture after less than 20 minutes.  I highly recommend core training and exercises to improve our postural endurance, but like the different chairs it is not enough by its self.

tr800-dt7_fullviewThe only method that is manageable and within the reach of almost everyone is to sit for shorter periods of time.  That doesn’t mean to rush out and buy a standing desk or a treadmill work station.  You just have to limit your sitting to the period of time that your muscles and joints can handle at any given time.  For most people that means standing up 2-3 times per hour just to stretch or move.  You could walk to another cubicle to deliver a message, go get a drink, do 5 jumping jacks, or just stretch for 30 seconds and then get back to proper sitting.  Try it for a day.  Set a 20 minute timer and every time it goes off, pause what you’re doing, get up and move for 30 seconds.  You’ll be amazed at how you feel and how much more productive you can be even though you are taking more breaks.

How to Make a First Aid Kit

I was recently asked to write a post about how to have a useful first aid kit.  The hard part of that request is the term “useful.”  Items are only useful if you have the knowledge of how to use them.  The most important first aid item is knowledge.  Knowing what to do when someone bumps their head or has a fever may save you a trip to the ER and a lot of money.  Remember you are only providing first aid.  Any bandage or wrap that you put on will be taken off when you are seen in the Emergency Room.

PERSONAL CARRY KIT

IMG_2860I carry emergency supplies with me almost every where I go.  In my back pack I have a small pouch where I keep a ziplock bag containing, a barrier breathing device for CPR, glucose tablets for diabetics, Benedryl for allergic reactions, baby aspirin for heart attacks, butterfly bandage strips for severe cuts, small LED flashlight, pocket knife,  a glow stick, a compass, and a lighter.  The last few are the boy scout in me, but the rest are what I consider my duty because of my knowledge.  All chiropractors go through first aid and emergency courses for health care professionals, and should be able to respond in an emergency.  If you don’t know how or why to use emergency items then it doesn’t help to carry them.   I recommend everyone be willing to do their best in emergencies, nothing more is required.   If you want to learn more I highly recommend it, but remember “with great power comes great responsibility.”

HOME KIT

Sterilite DrawersYour first aid kit should be readily accessible, out of sight of children and the only place that you keep medical items.  If you have things all over they are difficult to keep track of, and hard to direct people to in an emergency.  My home kit is more of a closet.  I have my doc bag with stethoscope, etc. and then a plastic drawer set organized and full.

Most home kits should include: bandages of all sizes (band-aids all the way up to large abdominal pads), surgical tape to hold the bandages in place, wrapping bandages such as rolls and triangle bandages for wrapping or immobilizing, glucose tablets or hard candy for diabetics, self contained burn dressings, antibiotic ointment to reduce infection risk, baby aspirin for a heart attack, emergency blanket, CPR breathing barrier, instant cold compress, non-latex gloves, Benadryl for allergies, scissors, tweezers, a thermometer and any other essential personal health care items that family members may require such as an EpiPen, inhaler, or other prescription medications.

Some extra items that people like to keep in their home kit are: Essential oils, vitamins, an AED, UV-C sterilizer, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, duct tape, superglue, saline/eye solution and water.  There are many more things that you can keep and my closet has most of them.  Any extra items usually require extra knowledge, but it is easy to acquire and often free.  The Red Cross is a great place to start, but many companies, communities and colleges have educational courses that you can also take.  Most modern kits that you purchase come with a first aid instruction booklet that can help you use the kit, but you don’t want to wait until an emergency happens to read the book.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

American Red Cross Smartphone App

Red Cross First Aid Kit, How to guide

Boy Scouts of America First Aid Merit Badge Book

First aid for common household problems – WebMD