Category Archives: Chiropractic

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.

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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

Computers Causing Back Pain

In our society today it is difficult to get away from computers.  You are reading this post on one right now, just as I sat at mine to type it.  Well I’m on here to tell you to get up stand up and do some jumping jacks.  Lie down on the floor and do some push-ups.  Finish those push-ups in yoga’s cobra posture.

Cobra Posture

Why?  Because our body is designed to move.  When we stop moving our body stops feeding our muscles bones and joints.  You only get nutrients where you need them.  Think of breaking a bone.  When you put your arm in a cast it doesn’t come out happy and able to move just like it was before.  It hasn’t been used in weeks and so it is prone to injury and the muscle has atrophied.  Sometimes you even have to go through long term rehab to get your body back to the way it was before you stopped using it.  That isn’t because of the broken bone.  It’s because of a lack of use.

Computers have made things easy for us.  The vast majority of jobs now require people to sit at their desk for many hours a day, and we check our Facebook account on our phone waiting in line or sometimes while driving.  When we get home we relax by watching TV, or playing on the computer we carry our ipad to bed and finish just one more thing while going to sleep.  There is nothing wrong with the computers they are just a tool.  We are however neglecting the tool that these computers replaced, our bodies.  If we want to be able to function well and without pain then it is important to keep the tool that is our body well tuned up.

Now you don’t need another blog to tell you this.  Most people already know what they should be doing, such as eating right and exercising.  We can all use reminders though, so here are just a few links to scary news articles all about reasons to get yourself moving.

Children growing weaker as computers replace outdoor activity

‘iPosture’ blamed for surging back pain among young adults 

Why Sitting at the Computer Gives You a Bad Back

Alternative Medicine or Alternative To Medicine

There are many alternative medicines.  Chiropractic is not one of them.

There are many alternative medicines. Chiropractic is not one of them.

According to the medical community I practice Alternative Medicine.   I don’t use any medicine in my practice at all.  An alternative medicine to Tylenol would be Advil, not chiropractic.  Perhaps if it was said that chiropractic is an alternative to medicine rather than chiropractic is Alternative Medicine then I could accept it.  The medical community is obtaining a monopoly on health care terminology.

It may not have been planned that way originally, but there are now laws being put forward by medical associations to ban non-MDs from using the title doctor or physician.  Below are a few samples of how the medical community refers to other providers of health care:

Here is the (government) MedlinePlus take (emphasis added):

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for MEDICAL products and practices that are not part of standard care. Standard care is what medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, and allied health professionals, such as nurses and physical therapists, practice.The claims that CAM treatment providers make can sound promising. However, researchers do not know how safe many CAM treatments are or how well they work…

They later recommend you discuss it with your “doctor”  implying of course medical doctor. This article leads you to the belief that “alternative medicine” is non-standard and of unknown safety.

This article on Wikipedia makes me want to become a Wikipedia editor.

Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine, but is not based on evidence gathered with the scientific method… Examples include homeopathy, traditional [folk] medicine, chiropractic and acupuncture.

Despite the myriad of medical treatments that are based on tradition rather than on the scientific method, and despite the mountain of scientific research supporting chiropractic treatment this article still exists.  

The Mayo Clinic starts it’s CAM article by saying “You’ve heard the hype about complementary and alternative medicine.  Now get the facts.”  They list chiropractic as CAM, and then proceed to tell us that many medical doctors don’t have any training in CAM.  They state that some CAM treatments have been proven effective (perhaps Wikipedia should cite the Mayo Clinic), but warn that because some aren’t proven you should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of these treatments about which they have no training.

I recommend that you discuss your treatments and possible treatments with all of your providers.  They should all be working as a team and some treatments do interact poorly.  The purpose of this article is not to discourage communication with your medical provider nor to disparage them.  Most of the medical doctors that I have worked with are well trained, intelligent, and work with alternative providers to compliment their own treatments.Conversation-bubble

I would like to bring attention to the fact that words have meaning.  Chiropractors have struggled for years to come up with good terminology in our profession, even skipping the debate on the word “subluxation,” we’re still left saying things like “it went” after a successful treatment.  Chiropractors need to do better producing our terminology, because if we don’t the medical community will.

According to the State of Utah I am a Chiropractic Physician, According to the Department of Education I am a Doctor of Chiropractic.  I am a practitioner that provides an alternative to medicine, but I am not an Alternative Medicine provider.

Phases of Care


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There are three phases of treatment that I usually tell to patients.  There are lots of ways to divide phases of recovery/care this is just one way that I explain things to patients.

The first phase is the Acute Phase of Care.  In this phase our goal is to reduce symptoms, such as pain.  Most people feel that if they aren’t in pain they are healthy.  Pain as discussed before is a lousy indicator of health.  For example a cavity in your tooth doesn’t become painful until after it gets to the root, but everyone knows that the cavity was there long before that.  With cancer you always hear about early diagnosis and treatment long before symptoms being the best way to treat the disease.

When you start chiropractic care because of pain you have been unhealthy for a while.  Pain is the first thing to go away, but you are often far from healthy and much of the problem still remains even though you are feeling fine.  This is often when insurance companies will try to stop paying for care, but if you do the chance of recurring injury is significant.

This phase of care can last from 2 weeks to 2 months.

The second phase is the Corrective Phase of Care.  In order to prevent or reduce the risk of recurring injury you need to continue treatment until the problem has been corrected and your body has been strengthened.  This is often long after your symptoms are gone.  You won’t need to receive adjustments as often in the corrective phase, and depending on your condition you may begin exercises and other home care to strengthen your body and provide accelerated healing.

There may be occasional symptom flare-ups in this stage of care. Like a bruise in this phase it doesn’t hurt unless you poke it and then it reminds you in no uncertain terms that yes it is still there.  Your body has not quite finished the healing process.   Imagine a scrape. scraped-knee The pain is gone in hours but the scab remains for weeks, still a reminder that your body isn’t done healing.

This phase of care can last a few months to years in extreme cases.

The third phase of care is Wellness Care.  Just like getting six-pack abs it takes a lot of effort to get them.  Maintaining them takes much less effort but must be done or they disappear a lot quicker than the time it took to get them.  Regular chiropractic care can help keep your body at it’s best and catch problems early.

When you make the effort to be healthy you are not reactionary, but proactive.  You will be able to avoid many of the problems that affect people.  This does not mean that you will never have health problems or injuries, but it does allow you to live your life as full as you are possibly able.  You can live life to the fullest and enjoy more of the activities that you love.

Pain Measures Inability, Function Measures Ability

Pain is a measure of inability, function is a measure of ability.

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Our current system is poorly named.  We call it “health care” when in reality it would be better named “sick care.”  We have been taught in this system that you should see your doctor when you have some sort of inability or impediment to your daily routine.  Our system is VERY GOOD at sick care.  It is not focused on health it is focused on eliminating sickness.

If you focus on health you have to start where ever you are at in the spectrum of wellness and aim to improve it.  If you are “within normal limits” that doesn’t mean you are healthy it just means that you aren’t sick enough to require medication.  We can easily see this principle in the people around us.  Some people aren’t sick, but you wouldn’t call them fit or vibrantly healthy either.  Some people you look at and can tell that they take care of their body, and some don’t, but the vast majority of them aren’t “sick.”  Health care should be about getting you as healthy as you can be.

Going to a chiropractor only when you have back pain is like going to a dentist only when you have tooth pain, or only going to the gym when you feel fat.  Chiropractors are about more than just “sick care,” though we do care for people when they are in pain, we also will encourage and recommend health care to help you be as vibrant as possible.  You see pain can measure how unable you are to do something, but we want to measure how able you are to do things.  How fast can you run?  How much can you do?  If you would like to improve your ability see your chiropractor.  Olympic and Professional Athletes do it because even though they are not sick and their ability may be above yours and mine they want to max out their ability.  How able do you want to be?  Your chiropractor can help you achieve that level of health/function/ability.

Boy Scout Physicals

BSAThe Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is a valuable organization to our country and to the boys that it serves.  Having served in the BSA for years, I can attest to the benefits of the organization.  As with every organization there is always room for improvement.

In 2009 the BSA made a change in its policy regarding what professionals can perform participation physicals for the boys.  For decades prior to this decision Doctors of Chiropractic were performing physicals for Boy Scouts often times free of charge so that they could participate in their summer camps and other physical activities.  These chiropractors were acting in accordance with their licenses in their respective states.  The state of Utah where I practice allows chiropractors to perform participation physicals for schools or for employment.  Despite their license and education the BSA will no longer accept physicals performed by a chiropractor.  There were no complaints or incidents over the 20 years when chiropractors were performing these physicals.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) continues to work on this issue.  They “sent two letters to BSA headquarters supporting the fact that DCs are qualified to perform annual physicals, voicing its concerns about the policy change and requesting that the previous policy be restored to recognize the state-authorized ability of doctors of chiropractic (DC) to provide annual exams to BSA. The group’s decision was not supported by any evidence; in fact, chiropractic physicians performed these evaluations for BSA for more than 22 years prior to the change last year. Furthermore, many DCs are involved with BSA as volunteers, leaders or parents.

If you would like to do something about this issue please visit the American Chiropractic Associations action site here: http://www.acatoday.org/letters/bsa.cfm and follow the suggestions that they have there.