What is Bells Palsy and how can acupuncture help?

Bells palsy is a condition in which the muscles on one side of your face become weak or paralyzed. It affects only one side of the face at a time, causing it to droop or become stiff on that side, often the eye is affected as well. It’s caused by some form of trauma (physical,chemical, or emotional stress) to the seventh cranial nerve which is also called the facial nerve.

Some signs and symptoms of Bell’s palsy include:

  • drooling
  • difficulty eating and drinking
  • an inability to make facial expressions, such as smiling or frowning
  • facial weakness
  • muscle twitches in the face
  • dry eye and mouth
  • headache
  • sensitivity to sound
  • irritation of the eye on the involved side

Call a doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms because you should never self-diagnose Bell’s palsy. The symptoms can be similar to those of other serious conditions, such as a stroke.

With treatment, most individuals begin to get better within 2 weeks after the initial onset of symptoms and most recover completely, returning to normal function within 3 to 6 months. For some however, the symptoms may last longer. Rarely, the symptoms never fully disappear. The trend we keep running into, is that medical doctors are unsure of the exact mechanism that cures Bells and therefore treat the condition with a “Wait and See” protocol. Acupuncture has emerged as an alternative therapy for Bell’s palsy in both adults and children. Several studies have been done on the relationship between acupuncture and Bells Palsy. Acupuncture has been found to reverse facial paralysis due to Bell’s Palsy. One treatment protocol achieved a 98% total effective rate and the other acupuncture protocol achieved a 90.7% total effective rate. Based on the data of those studies, acupuncture is recommended for the treatment of facial paralysis due to Bell’s Palsy. Chiropractic also has good results with both helping rid the symptoms as well as the prevention of Bells Palsy returning by making sure the nervous system and cranial nerves are functioning to their best ability. If you or someone you know has Bells Palsy call today to book an appointment with us at 515-278-9678

Acupuncture Facial Points

2 supplements to boost your mood

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that boosts the immune system and helps regulate the absorption of calcium in the blood. Vitamin D is naturally produced by our body when exposed to sunlight daily, however it can also be found in certain seafood, vegetables and fortified foods like milk and cereal. Most Americans today are vitamin D deficient, so supplementation is key! Vitamin D is best absorbed when taken with a meal containing fats and oils or even a fish oil supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids are also an important nutrient and have been shown to promote heart health and protect against heart disease. The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fats; meaning the body can not make them from on its own, but instead must get them from an outside source. Foods high in Omega-3 include fish, vegetable oils, nuts, flax seeds, and leafy vegetables. Most Americans eating the standard american diet could benefit from taking a fish oil supplement. Omega’s are also great for boosting brain power and improving joint pain by decreasing inflammation in the body. When vitamin D is combined with Omega’s, research has shown a boost of the body’s natural antidepressants such as serotonin. While Vitamin D helps you make serotonin, fish oils help your serotonin work better. The serotonin pathway is essential for many of your core processes including brain development, cognition, mood, appetite, and sleep. Taking these supplements together can help fight off both anxiety and depression. If you were interested in talking with our doctors more about the effects of supplementation and how it could help you, please give us a call today at 515-278-9678 and we would be happy to get you scheduled for a free consultation.

How chiropractic can help with posture

What is posture? Posture is position of the body while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture, also commonly referred to as “neutral spine”, has many health benefits… including the avoidance of injury and back pain. Chiropractic can help improve and maintain posture. There are many indicators of poor posture, but some of the more common are rounded shoulders, rounded shoulders , hunched upper back, anterior head carriage and an arched lower back. Another symptom is back pain. Symptoms are typically the last to manifest, so if you have pain and poor posture now, its likely it been there far before you started to feel the symptoms.

Below is a photo that reflects a few different example of posture:

Which one looks most like your posture?

Why is posture important?

  • Maintain correct alignment of bones and joints
  • Reduce stress on ligaments, minimizing risk of injury
  • Prevent muscle strain, overuse and pain
  • Conserve energy as muscles are used more efficiently
  • Decrease abnormal joint wear

What causes these postural distortions in the first place? Stressors on the body including physical, chemical and emotional stressors over time can cause a change of posture.

There are several common factors linked to poor posture:

  • Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Weak postural muscles
  • Abnormally tight muscles
  • Obesity
  • High-heeled shoes

Unsure if you have good posture? Schedule an appointment for a spinal examination today. We can help you to maintain and correct your posture through chiropractic adjustments, exercises and recommendations on proper positions during different activities. Call us today at 515-278-9678 for a posture exam and recommendations on how to restore proper posture.

What causes a subluxation?

First off, what is a subluxation? So glad you asked, a subluxation is an area in the spine that is out of place and stuck enough to cause nerve damage. As Chiropractors we are trained to locate and correct subluxations to enhance the function of the body and the nervous system.

The question I always get asked without fail is, what causes these to happen??

And the answer is simple really; physical, chemical and emotional stress. Now there are 2 categories for each stressor- positive and negative- and if your negative stressors outnumber your positive stressors you will likely have subluxations in the body that need to be corrected.

Negative physical stressors may include sitting all day at a desk, being involved in a motor vehicle accident, child labor and delivery, working in construction or any physically demanding job, lack of exercise with excessive sitting and many more. Positive physical stressors would include things like massage therapy, daily exercise and movement, yoga, getting adjusted, stretching, etc.

Negative chemical stressors may include dehydration, consuming a lot of processed foods and sugar, alcohol, drugs, nicotine and caffeine. Positive chemical stressors would include drinking plenty of water, eating whole foods containing nutrients and vitamins and taking supplements.

Negative emotional stressors can be things like hating your job, being in a bad relationship or marriage, losing someone, lack of selfcare, financial stress, family problems- there are a lot of things that can cause someone to feel emotionally stressed and in this category it can be different for each person based on their values and beliefs. Positive emotion stressors can include feeling and being loved, meditation, brain tapping, acupuncture (can serve in physical and chemical areas too), taking care of yourself, basically it’s doing anything that makes you feel good. Meditation and brain tapping are excellent ways to physically take your body and nervous system out of a high stress flight or fight state and put you into a more rest and digest state.

I hope this is helpful and you can find a few things in your life that you can change to help increase your health and wellbeing! Whether its to add some more positive stressors into your life or remove some of the negative ones you have 😊

5 tips for BACK to school

It’s that time of year again…BACK to school! The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has recently published some information about backpacks and spinal health that I think you guys might find helpful with the kids going back to school this week.

#1. Make sure the backpack is the correct size. Sometimes it is easy to reuse the backpack from the previous year however kids can grow like weeds at a young age. Also, bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry, and therefore the heavier the backpack will be.

#2 Choose a backpack with wide padded straps for comfort. They will be wearing this backpack for hours everyday for the whole school year- you want to make sure it is comfortable not just stylish.

#3 Adjustable straps are preferred. Make sure that the bottom of the backpack is NO MORE than 4 inches lower than the waistline. If you notice your child is leaning backwards with the backpack on, the straps may need to be tightened.

#4 Make sure your child understands the importance of using BOTH straps. It may be easier and look cooler to use only one of the straps however it is important to use both to prevent both muscular and structural imbalances in your child’s developing spine.

#5 The backpack and contents should weigh no more than 10% of your child’s body weight. For example, if your child weighs 80 pounds the backpack should not weight more than 8 pounds. Most parents are surprised that their child’s backpack can weigh upwards of 15-20 pounds with all of the books/laptop inside! If you notice your child hunching over with rounded shoulders then the backpack may need to be lighter. You can always talk to your kids teachers and ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand outs or workbooks.

I hope this helps!!! If this blog was of any value, please share with a friend or two that could benefit from this information… And if you need any help with backpack checks or spinal checks please give us a call at 278-YOST

Is cracking your own back bad?

Being on go mode at all times takes a toll on your body. Typing away at your computer or running around all day can result in an uncomfortable, achy feeling. You know how it goes: Your joints tighten up, and the urge to twist and turn to crack your back creeps in. You give in, do a little twist and that familiar “pop” sound signals a soothing release. Your back might feel a little better afterward so every time your back tightens up again….you crack it again in hopes of relieving the tension. Treating your back to a crack is not the answer. The cracking sound is actually a release of carbon dioxide gas that builds up in a joint. Unlike a trained chiropractor who can precisely target and crack the level of the spine that is restricted, when you crack your own back you may be targeting an area that is compensating for other segments from abnormal movement patterns. If not done properly, you can actually be making the problem worse. When you have a joint that is restricted the joints above and below the stuck segment will usually “crack or pop” to compensate for the fixed segment, only a trained professional should assess and correct the specific stuck segment. Also, routinely cracking your back can just be another way to mask the issue, rather than addressing and correcting the root cause. Instead of cracking your own neck, try doing some stretches at home instead that help relieve tension. Stretches that promote movement in all directions can help relieve pressure without cracking your back. A wonderful stretch is the open book stretch, where you lie on your side with your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees. Stretch both arms out to one side, so both hands are touching, then turn your upper body to open up your chest while moving your top arm across your body. Hold this pose for two to five seconds. You can do this 10 to 15 times on each side to really stretch out your back. Using a foam roller is another great way to stretch out the muscles along the spine without twisting your back out of alignment. If you would like to make an appointment with one of our chiropractors to get your spine checked give us a call at 515-278-9678

Stretches for hip pain you can do at home

Hip pain can be very painful and can even prevent you from doing day to day actives. Anyone can experience occasional hip pain, here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Tenderness felt in the top area of your hips
  • Associated swelling or bruising
  • Limping when walking due to the pain
  • Range of motion of the hip can be limited due to the pain
  • Pain worsens with walking, twisting, or bending

The first step in treating your hip point pain is to assess the severity and complication of the pain. This should be done by a doctor and treatment recommendations will be given. Getting adjusted regularly is crucial, but what you do at home in between adjustments is just as important in maintaining hip alignment. Here are some tips you can follow at home to help maintain the adjustment as well as decrease inflammation and pain. The first step is going to be reducing the inflammation under the surface of the skin. This can be done via cold therapy right in your own home. Get an ice pack and place on a towel or piece of clothing over the area of pain. Icing can lower the inflammation and help reduce the pain greatly. The use of ice as a cold therapy that has been used to treat several injuries to the muscles and ligaments. The cold therapy needs to be applied for around ten minutes. This method is very effective in alleviating pain and reducing the swelling or soreness in the affected area. The next step is going to be stretching.

1. Rotational Lunge Stretch

Be in a lunge position with your left leg forward. The right hand should be on the ground to offer you balance. Rotate your trunk with your left arm being high in the sky. Keep the glute contracted. You should be able to feel the impact as you stretch the trunk back and forward. Hold for 10- 30 seconds and repeat 10 times. All of these exercises should be done once a day.

2. Quadruped posterior rocking

This is another great exercise to work your lower back and mobilize your hips. Put your hands and knees on the ground with shoulders and knees placed under the hips. Maintain a natural curve but have your belly into your spine. Slowly move your hips backward until you start to feel the pelvis moving. Get back into the starting position and repeat the same procedure again. You should be able to breathe normally as you do this.

3. Leg cradle- endurance exercise

The leg cradle is an endurance exercise that should help you stretch the outer part of your hips in the front leg and the flexor muscles of the back leg. Stand and ensure your back is in a straight position. Arms should be at your sides and knees unlocked. Start by lifting your right foot in the air and squat it back and down as you stand with the left leg. Next, you need to lift your right knee to the chest supporting it with the left hand under the ankle. The left knee should be as close as possible to the chest as you contract the left glute. Repeat the same procedure for the left leg.

4. Glute activation-half kneeling

The glute activation exercise helps you stretch in the upper thigh and the front of the hip. On a soft mat, kneel halfway with one leg while keeping a slight forward torso. Contract the glute and tighten the core. Maintain the posture and shift the whole body forward. Take a break to relax and repeat the same procedure for both legs. Ensure you avoid excessive arching on your back as you move the body forward.


By following the simple treatment plan above, combined with regular chiropractic adjustments, you will be able to heal naturally. Feel free to give us a call at 515-278-9678 to set up an appointment today.