Tag Archives: Chiropractic

Posture Does Matter

I’ve discussed posture before. I like to talk about strong vs weak posture rather than good or bad posture because weak implies that you can do something about it, where bad implies something that has just happened to you. This video uses the terms good and bad posture, but it still explains things well.

PA10:ENG Posture from Haavik Research on Vimeo.

You don’t have to wait until you or your child is in pain to solve the problems. Come in and address your weak posture before it becomes painful.

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Weight Loss and What Your Diet Can Do

Here’s the real secret to weight loss. (Within reason) all diets work! If you follow them strictly they will help you lose weight. That is because quite simply if your caloric intake is less than you burn you will lose weight. The problem is that they don’t work for so many people. Some of them are even dangerous.

There are many reasons that dieting doesn’t work. Some diets are unsustainable because of what they ask you to eat or not eat. Some require more prep time than you can fit in. Some are so packaged that the food they provide is not healthy. Some provide good food, but cost too much. Some are too hard for you to stick to. Some do help you lose weight, but damage your body in the process, so that you may weigh less, but you feel horrible.

The biggest reason that diets fail is because they are not lifestyle changes. Once you lose the weight you stop the diet and start behaving the same way you did before when you gained the weight. There are some programs (weight watchers, simple2lose, etc..) that do have support even after you reach your goal as well as throughout the process. But in order to be healthy you must act healthy. That doesn’t mean just after the Holidays, or for swimwear season. You must adopt a lifestyle that fits the level of health that you want.

Chiropractic care can be an ideal solution to your weight problem. Your chiropractor can help you to achieve and maintain your personal best level of health. With chiropractic care you get regular visits with your doctor who can answer questions, monitor your status and recommend changes. He can help you focus on your goals, and help you with setting realistic ones. He can provide you with education and support. Even if you choose to use a program outside of his office he can help you to achieve your best possible results. See your chiropractor about your weight loss and diet plans.

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.

Wellness vs Health Promotion or Preventative Care

Health promotion and preventative care focuses on encouraging people to go from poor health to good health and preventing future illness or injury. It is turning away from disease to health. Wellness requires and focuses on individual responsibility it is the search for continued improvement in life, constantly striving to improve our function, to do better, to be better. It is a paradigm shift from our current system in which we wait for illness or dysfunction before seeking care. In our society today very few focus on continued improvement of their function. They are the performers; whether in sports, art or business those who consistently strive to improve performance and produce something more than they ever have before. This is the idea of wellness. medicine_jar_clip_artFew understand this. The majority of people in this country have their basic needs met. Most of the people in the USA have a roof over their head and food to eat. The USA has about 8% unemployment, and that is not good, but that means over 90% employment. The vast majority of adults in this country are physically well enough to do a job, yet nearly 70% of Americans are regularly taking a drug of some sort.

Health promotion and prevention have their place as does emergency care, but the best way to promote health and prevent illness is to strive for constant betterment, or wellness. Wellness care is opposed to our current model of health care. Our current model would be out of business if everyone overcame their current malady and was able to stop taking medication.

A wellness model thrives when everyone feels fine, but wants to get even more out of life. Consider the aged patient who is not in pain and not sick, but wants to be able to function better so that he can play more with his grand kids. What treatment is available for the new mother who has no condition, but wants to have more energy and vitality, or the child who doesn’t have ADHD, but wants to be able to focus better in school. These are wellness dilemmas, and if you go to your primary care provider they will likely tell you that there is nothing that they can do for you. In fact it would be unethical if not illegal to prescribe medication for any of those reasons.

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Chiropractic is a treatment option that works well from either model, but should strive for wellness.When you are injured chiropractic can help you to heal faster. Chiropractic can also increase range of motion, and improve the quality of life in healthy people. Pilot studies have begun to look at this in athletes such as golfers

Golfers improve their swing and drive the ball farther. Sprinters and Jumpers all improve their speed and jumps with chiropractic care. Football players show improved performances. General athletic ability improves more with chiropractic care than without.  If it improves performance of athletes then also improves performance in daily activities that aren’t measured as often.

Chiropractors are in a unique position to promote wellness because of the benefit that our treatment has for healthy people as well as for those who are injured. Chiropractors can start by adopting a wellness attitude. They can find out some of parts of life that they can improve.  For example a woman who wants to not just have a normal pregnancy, but an excellent one should see a chiropractor who would provide treatment to keep her body functioning at it’s peak. He could give a home exercise program and diet recommendations all before she even becomes pregnant to prepare her body for that process.  Chiropractic care can support her body through the changes that pregnancy entails.

The overweight patient who has become determined to run a marathon will need counsel, guidance and structural care as his body changes to adapt to the weight loss and the new stresses that will be encountered.

The student who wants to improve concentration can begin by seeing a chiropractor to remove structural discomfort that can distract, and to receive nutritional counsel to provide adequate hydration and nutrition and even promote focus.

While our society has come along way and fought disease for centuries, perhaps the better way to fight disease is to focus on achieving the best health possible.  That is Wellness!

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.