Tag Archives: Health

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.


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!


Phases of Care

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.

Utah Spinal Care

USClogo2I’m back in Utah.  I have decided that rather than opening up my own private practice that I would instead work at an already established practice.  I am now the primary treating doctor at Utah Spinal Care.  Utah Spinal Care is a family practice office in Sandy Utah just up the road from Rio Tinto Stadium and the South Towne Expo Center.  We are located at 880 E 9400 S Sandy, UT 84094.  For directions, maps, pricing, etc.  please visit the website or our Facebook page.  Come visit us and pass the word along.  If you or anyone you know is in need of some Spinal Care give us a call to set up an appointment at 801-523-0073.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is in the category of less common diseases that you may not know that your chiropractor can treat.  Don’t worry, you probably don’t have it.  Recently the topic came up and I promised to create a post to provide some basic information on the topic of AS.

AS RibbonFirst let me cover what it is.  AS is an inflammatory disease and can be classified as a type of arthritis.  It causes pain in joints and bones, particularly in the spine with the most common complaint being the low back.  In the most severe cases it can cause bones to fuse together.  It is much less common than your typical  osteoarthritis and is also harder to diagnose because of the similarity of its symptoms to so many other conditions.  When you walk into a doctor’s office complaining of low back pain, they won’t jump to the conclusion that you have AS.

Your chiropractor can diagnose AS using a combination of your health and family history, blood tests and radiologic tests, but they won’t usually go hunting for this condition.  It is more often found after other things are ruled out or discovered incidentally with X-rays for other conditions.  This is a sexist disease usually affecting men, but that doesn’t mean that women can’t have it.  AS is also not an illness that comes on late in life.  It usually makes its self known before the age of 35.  The cause of AS is unknown still, but is likely genetic, meaning that it runs in families.  As with most diseases whose causes are unknown there is no known cure yet.  There are however treatments.

Most medical treatments for AS focus on management of pain and symptoms, but there are some medications that have been found to slow the progress of the disease.  Your chiropractor should be able to help you manage or reduce your symptoms as well as slow down the progression of the disease without medication.  As always he should also keep in close contact with your other providers that may be treating you, most likely your  rheumatologist, and together they should come up with a plan of action specific to you.

Image by Cienpies Design http://www.cienpies.net

Image by Cienpies Design http://www.cienpies.net

The treatment with the best results for AS is improving your range of motion and flexibility with exercise, diet, and joint mobilization.  You can do much of it on your own at home with guidance from your provider.  Your chiropractor should already be using these tools to treat any low back pain, but they will be even more important if you have AS.  Your chiropractor may or may not adjust your spine depending on your condition, but managing your care does not require manipulation if you don’t want it.

In the past some practitioners would recommend not seeing a chiropractor for AS because possible risks were unknown.  No studies have found increased risk to people with AS when treated with chiropractic manipulation, and recent research indicated benefits even at the late stages of the disease.  While most of the research is focused on finding a cure to AS here’s a link to an excellent case study of improvement with chiropractic management of AS.

Health Crisis

In reading many of the articles recently about the “health care crisis” and “universal health care” I have decided to weigh in.  First of all our medical care is top in the world.  You cannot get better care any where else.  We have the best facilities, schools, doctors, surgeons etc.   They can save your life when the time comes.  There is no debate.  So the problem isn’t with our medical ability.  So what is the crisis?  Some people think that the crisis is that it costs too much or that it’s not accessible to enough people.  This is a result of the crisis, but not the crisis its self.

The crisis is that everyone seems to think that our medical establishment is designed to keep us healthy rather than what it is designed for, to save lives.  We all know what we should do to be healthy, it’s called maintenance.  We understand it with cars and houses.  We know that if we eat right, exercise, get plenty of rest, a check up and a tune up occasionally then barring some unforeseen accident or extreme illness we will be healthy.  Some times your insurance will cover an annual physical/checkup, but it will not cover exercise.  Chiropractic maintenance isn’t either.  That’s understandable, none of your car maintenance is covered in your car insurance.  That’s because car insurance only covers accidents and rare mishaps.  Even knowing that we still do it.  Because if you don’t take your car in for regular maintenance you expect it to break down.  What would happen to our country’s medical expenses if people did maintenance care on themselves?  Costs would go down.

That is the crisis.  The reason we cannot solve this crisis with new laws is because we live in a free country.  We cannot mandate that everyone make healthy choices.  The only way that we can solve this crisis is through education, changing the hearts and minds of Americans when it comes to HEALTH care.

As an example here is a study that was done by insurance companies.  It found that people who sought regular chiropractic maintenance care cost the insurance company less.  Now that means that either chiropractic care reduces health care costs directly by reducing the frequency of illness; or that people who embrace the idea of maintenance care as taught by chiropractors are more willing to take healthy care of themselves.  Either way it’s a good thing.

Sure the government can offer help and even incentives, and so can insurance companies, but the attitude of the majority of Americans must change to a wellness model of health care.

Time for Renewal

At the beginning of a new year we look to start over, press forward with our current goals, or make new ones.  It’s a time of new beginings.  As a chiropractor, I am a holistic doctor and know that you require a well balanced life.  As you look to set new goals it is helpful to keep this in mind.  Set goals for all aspects of your life, and let them work together to improve the whole you.  As a minimum set goals for your spiritual, mental, physical and your social self.

Goals can be very individual, but they should be shared with others and written down.  Studies have shown that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down, and even more likely if you have an acountability to someone.  Find a confidant who will check up on you regularly and who cares about your improvement.  Keep records of your progress and set mini goals to help you achieve your larger ones.

When a new patient comes into my office we discuss the goals that they have for their treatment, and evaluate the progress at least every two weeks to see if we are still heading the right direction, and if we need to alter our plans.  You can set evaluation periods with yourself for your goals.

Lastly remember the goals you set should be realistic, but challenging.  You are not trying to punish yourself.  You’re trying to improve.  If you don’t really want to achieve your goals then you will ultimately fail and torture yourself all the way.  The people around you who truly care about you will want to see you succeed and will be anxious to help you.  You can do it.

If you want some help achieving your goals, need some encouragement, or if one of your goals is to gain the health that you deserve, come visit my office.  My staff and I will give you the support you need to achieve.  Good luck!

Chiropractic for Moms

Mom as a profession can be hard on the body.  One of the advantages of being a mom however is that you are able to adjust your activities to prevent problems.  A disadvantage is that there is no down time.  It is always easier to prevent than to recover.

The physical problems a mom experiences are also highly related to the age of her children.  A mom with young kids will need to remember you’re going to be going to the floor a lot.  If you don’t bend from the knees you will likely develop low back issues.  Don’t always use the same arm to carry.  When the kids are to young to help with the cleaning you’re going to be doing a lot of it.   Watch your posture while cleaning.  When you are pregnant your body puts out hormones to relax the ligaments, and it does a great job, which means repetitive motions are more likely to sprain or strain.  So, while pregnant you will want to avoid repetitive twisting like vacuuming and doing the dishes.  Just remember, that you only get behind in your work when you have to take time off to recover.  Focus on bending at the knees, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

As the children grow you become a chauffeur, and sitting at the wheel can be hard on the back.  Put as many trips into one as possible.  Stopping at each appointment will give you a chance to stretch your legs and back.  As they grow they will be able to help with some of the messes that they make.  Remember their bodies will recover faster than yours, and they will be up and jumping on your bed while you try to get some rest.  Get them doing as much of the work as they can.  Sure they don’t do it very well, but they’ll learn, and besides, it’s easier to guard prisoners while they’re working.

If momma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy!  Take care of your self.  If you need time to go work out, make sure you find a way to do it.  If you need treatment, get it.  The earlier you seek treatment the better.  Treatment is easier if you can relax.  Come alone if you can.  If you can’t, most doctors offices will have a place for children to play.  If you come see me, I’m happy to have kids color a picture for my door, or watch a movie in the waiting room.  Our massage chairs are always a big hit with the kids too.  It’s important that you take a time out for your health care.