It’s that time of year when everyone’s allergies are hitting them in full force. I have seen many people with terrible congestion, sinus pressure, and sinus headaches. Often we will get calls from patients saying that they’re not feeling well and want to cancel their appointment. What many people don’t know is that it is actually VERY beneficial for you to get adjusted when you don’t feel well!
All of the nerves that help supply and regulate your immune system come from your upper neck. Misalignments and subluxations in your neck will interfere with the message your brain is trying to send to your immune system. An adjustment will remove that interference between the two and get your brain talking to your immune system again! Research has shown that an adjustment will release 200-400x more immune cells!!
If you’re suffering from allergies or a cold, vitamin D is a fantastic supplement to help boost your immune system as well. Being proactive now by taking or increasing your vitamin D can help protect yourself this winter and help you avoid colds and the flu.
Next time you’re not feeling well or your allergies are flared up, make sure you get adjusted ASAP to boost that immune system!
I have many patients asking me when they should use ice versus heat for their pain or injuries. This is a really great question and there are a few simple rules of thumb to follow.
Ice should always be used for acute problems. This means anything that has happened within the last 24-72 hours. During this time after an injury or flare-up, inflammation is at its highest. The best way to calm down and eliminate inflammation is to apply ice. This will slow down the blood flow to the area and reduce the swelling and heat. Ice is also great for migraine headaches and bruising.
Heat is best used for more chronic conditions. This is something that has been around for quite some time, such as arthritis. When using heat, it will increase blood flow to the area and help loosen up tight joints. This is also great for muscle tension. The increased blood flow will help the muscles to relax and decrease soreness. You should never use heat however on areas that are numb or have lost sensation. Those with diabetes should also avoid heat as well. Never use heat over an area with bruising or swelling.
With both ice and heat, they should never be applied directly to the skin. Always use a towel or cloth between. Each should be applied to the area for about 20 minutes and can be reapplied about 40 minutes later.
If you are ever in doubt of which you should use, stick with ICE!
It’s back-to-school time once again and parents are sending their kids off to school with backpacks filled with brand new supplies and books. What many parents may not know however, is that their child’s backpack could be harming their spine.
An average 6th grader’s backpack weighs about 18 lbs and can sometimes weigh up to 30 lbs (1). This large weight is distributed across a child’s shoulders and back placing a lot of stress on their body. Over time, this will start to take a toll, causing forward rolled shoulders, jutting forward of the head and neck, and low back pain (2). These effects can all occur just in a short amount of time.
Carrying these heavy loads over an entire school year will actually start to effect the natural curves in a child’s spine (2). Children’s spines are still growing and changing and do not become skeletally mature until their mid-20’s. During this venerable time, this stress can have detrimental effects. When a backpack is carried on just one shoulder, the stress is multiplied and it could actually lead to the formation of a scoliosis over time.
A NY Times article published that, “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child’s backpack weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of a child’s weight. Consumer Reports recommends keeping the weight closer to 10 percent of a child’s weight.” (1). When choosing the right backpack for your child, take into account their height and weight and make sure you weigh their backpack at home.
Believe it or not, what you do in your sleep can greatly affect your spine! While it is hard to control what you do in your sleep, sleeping in optimal positions can help reduce stress on your spine.
The most common sleeping position is on your side. About 69% of people say they are side sleepers. There are many benefits to sleeping on your side but it can put your neck or low back at as disadvantage. When sleeping on your side, make sure to keep a pillow between your knees. This will level out your pelvis and neutralize your low back. You also want to make sure your neck is in a neutral position. You don’t want it propped up too high or too low. That is why we suggest the contoured pillows we carry here in the office at YFC. The contour follows the natural curve of the neck and allows perfect support throughout the night.
Another great sleeping position is on the back. This actually places the least amount of stress on the spine. Just like with side sleeping, you also want to make sure you have the proper support for your neck. Again, our contoured pillows are perfectly made to fully support your neck while on your back as well. When sleeping on your back, it’s also a good idea to have a pillow under your knees. This will take even more pressure of of your low back and give you a perfectly restful night’s sleep.
The worst sleeping position for your spine is sleeping on your stomach. This is harmful for your spine in a few different ways. First, it places a lot of stress and pressure on your neck because you are forced to turn your head to one side. More stress and pressure is also placed on your low back because it forces it into a hyper-extended position. While sleeping on your stomach may feel comfortable, it is actually harming your spine every night. So if you are a stomach sleeper, try to start training yourself to sleep on your side or back!
There has been a lot talk about coconut oil lately and if it is actually good or bad for you. A study was recently published by the American Heart Association (AHA) connecting saturated fats to heart disease. The AHA is stating that coconut oil raises cholesterol, which in turn will cause heart disease. This is actually true, but only partly. Coconut oil will increase your HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”). So while the overall total cholesterol does go up, it is only due to the rise in HDL numbers.
Studies in Brazil have shown that increased levels of HDL cholesterol actually help those with heart disease lose weight and protect the heart (1). Other studies have actually proven that low cholesterol, not high, can increase a person’s risk of early death (2).
Instead of looking at cholesterol as the culprit to heart disease, we should start looking to inflammation. Chronic inflammation causes damage to the arteries over time. This damage leads to plaquing and hardening, and eventually to heart disease.
The overall takeaway here is that coconut oil is actually great for you. When you consider if a fat or oil is healthy, you really just need to think about where it is coming from. Coconut oil, olive oil, butter, etc. can all be traced back to their sources. Oils such as Canola oil, vegetable oil, and margarine are synthetically processed and produced. So please consider this next time you’re shopping at the store. Natural is always better.
Fruit juice is one of the most common drinks given to children. Did you know that it could actually be harming your child? Just this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned parents that children under the age of 1 should not be given fruit juice at all. They reported that too large of quantities of juice can lead to energy imbalances, digestive issues, tooth decay, and metabolic distress.
For children ages 4-6, it’s recommended they be given no more than 4-6 oz a day. Children ages 7 to 18 shouldn’t consume more than 8 oz a day. When comparing those servings to typical bottle sizes you can buy at the store, children are getting 2 or 3 servings!
Back in 2012, Consumer Reports found that 10% of apple and grape juices contained arsenic levels higher than US drinking water standards. These harmful levels of arsenic get into the fruit juice via insecticides that are unable to be removed from the fruit.
When it all comes down to it, the risks of obesity, arsenic levels, and digestive side effects appear to outweigh the benefits of drinking fruit juice for children. To get the nutritional benefit from fruit, it’s much simpler to eat fresh fruit! If you’re still looking for a juice that would be safe for your child, there are some options.
Pomegranate juice is packed full of antioxidants and small amounts can actually reduce inflammation. Vegetable-based juices are also an excellent alternative. These juices will be free of the high sugar levels.
Like all things, juice should be consumed in moderation. Make sure you educate yourself on the quality of the juice and where exactly it’s coming from!
While acupuncture is relatively new to the United States, it is actually an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years. The study of acupuncture is very complex and diverse but to break it down simply; your body is made up of many meridians o f energy that flow throughout it. This flow of energy keeps you healthy and well. When you get a blockage of energy in a meridian it can lead to health problems or various conditions. By placing a needle in a point along that meridian, it will draw more energy there and remove the blockage.
Acupuncture can be used to treat countless things such as: headaches, low back pain, digestive problems, anxiety, and appetite control. During the needling process, endorphins are released as well which elevate the mood and reduce pain. Not only is acupuncture great for physical health, it is also fantastic for mental health. During the 20 minute treatment time, you get to relax and take some well deserved time for yourself. Chiropractic and acupuncture go together amazingly to help treat the whole mind and body.