Preventative Health Care?

For you football fans out there, you will get this analogy. Your team is up by 2 with just over a minute remaining in the game. Your offense has done just enough to be up but your defense has played lights out. Now they start playing “prevent defense” and everyone drops back. What are the odds the other team drives down the field and kicks a field goal despite your screaming at them through the television to keep playing aggressively? Prevent defense stinks!

Likewise, preventative health care in most forms either does not work or does not exist, no matter how popular the term is. What exactly are you trying to prevent anyway? In chiropractic we mostly treat injuries either from a one time big traumatic event or cumulative trauma. How does one prevent that? In medicine they talk about preventing disease. Besides the fact that most of their tools are designed to fight existing disease, the premise is wrong. What is disease other than the body not functioning the way it is supposed to? Shouldn’t we then focus on health rather than disease? If we focus on health, then what we are really saying is that we want to maintain good health. In my opinion, “maintenance health care” is a far superior term.

When we maintain good health we focus on the positive. Instead of trying to create scenarios where the possibility of injury or becoming sick is prevented, shouldn’t we put our energies into helping our bodies work the best they can? In this way, when pathogens or traumas come around, our bodies will be better equipped to either fight or heal in an efficient manner. We cannot live in a protective bubble!

Let us focus on attaining and maintaining proper health. If we improve function and keep making the healthy choices that helped us achieve better health, we will avoid all of the issues that so called preventative health care seeks to treat. Let’s make maintenance care our priority and get rid of the term prevention care.

Strengtheining the Core Through Coordination

When we talk about “the core” of the body, we are typically referencing the musculature around the abdomen and low back. These muscles consist of the abdominal muscles (rectus abdomini,  internal obliques, external obliques, and transversi) and the muscles of the back (lattisimus dorsi, serratus posterior inferior muscles, erector spinae, multifidi, interspinalis muscles, lateral intertransversi muscles, quadratus lumborum, and to some degree the iliopsoas).

Strengthening the core has become a fairly popular mantra these days. Many of us are walking around with poor posture and a fair amount of dysfunction as a result of poor core stability. A weak core leaves one susceptible to a host of joint and disc injuries as well as overly tight butt and leg and muscles. In contrast, a strong core can prevent a host of back injuries.

The word strength, however, needs some clarification in the context of strengthening the core. When most people think of strengthening muscles, they picture muscles moving against significant resistance like lifting weights or power movement against gravity or some other force. These type of exercises can actually be detrimental to the core muscles and increase the risk of injury to the spine. Coordinating the movement of all of these muscles is what is most beneficial.

I mentioned in my last article that postural muscles are slow twitch, white fiber muscles designed for endurance. They need to be strong enough to hold you up all day. Strength, in this case, does not come from bigger muscle fibers but from having all of the muscles firing in a controlled and proper order. For example, if you lift a box, ideally your abdominal muscle and your spinal muscle would contract at the same time to stabilize the body so the shoulder and arms and hips and leg muscles can utilize their power to lift it. What often happens is that core muscles lay dormant until a significant strain forces them to respond. So, when you lift a box, you first engage your back muscles until you are upright then, if you go past vertical, the abdominal muscles will engage. Then, they will fire back and forth while they try to find a semblance of stability.

I bring this all to your attention to encourage you to strengthen your core appropriately. Exercises that promote coordinated movement like yoga, pilates, and modified exercises from yoga can make a huge difference. It can take time to build coordination and it takes a consistent effort. In the following videos, I demonstrate four very useful exercises for coordinating core muscles and therefore, strengthening it.


Bird Dog

A Safe Crunch

Side Bridge

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Muscle Pain? Stretch It! On Second Thought…

Have you ever noticed that anytime someone has a muscle that is tight or sore the first thought is to stretch it? Don’t get me wrong. Stretching can be great and flexibility is definitely a sign of healthy muscles. However, sometimes you have to stop and consider the reason the muscle is tight before you go and stretch the heck out of it.

Considering the source of tightness in postural muscles is especially important. Postural muscles in the neck, back and buttock are designed to hold you upright all day long. The muscle fibers are called slow twitch/white as opposed to fast twitch/red in the legs and arms. Postural muscles become tight under stress and strain or when they spasm. When muscles work too hard to hold you in a poor postural position, the muscle fibers shrink to try and gain leverage. Lengthening them alters the leverage and proliferates the problem. Let me explain with an analogy. Let’s say you have a boss who was working you hard 5 days a week 10 hour days. When he sees you are getting tired and burning out, he schedules you for 6 days the next week working 12 hour days so when you go back down to 5 days at 10 hours it is somehow easier. Think you will feel better? Unfortunately, we do the same thing with our postural muscles. We use poor posture which causes our muscles to have to work too hard to hold us up and then when they get tired and shorten up, we stretch them which causes them to work harder for a shorter period of time.

Muscle spasms are a protective measure. When muscles spasm there is something deeper that is either injured or dysfunctional. Stretching a muscle in spams is not only counterproductive but it can also cause more problems. At best what you accomplish is relaxing muscles that are protecting a very sensitive structure. At worst, you can tear muscle fibers and cause further damage to the injured structure.

The best thing to do in either case is to shorten the muscle and put it in a situation where it is under less strain. Generally, this means doing the opposite of what most people think you should do. If your neck is tight, bend it backwards looking up. For shoulders, pull your shoulder blades down and back away from the ears. For the low back, bend backwards. Movement is better than just being static so don’t hold the position but rather bend back and then it bring it back to neutral 10 repetitions at a time.

Remember that this mostly applies to postural muscles. Fast twitch red fiber muscles definitely need to be stretched on a regular basis. However, if you have a strained or torn muscle, stretching can prolong your recovery if you are not careful. Tearing a postural muscle with normal daily activity is difficult. So, the next time your postural muscles are feeling tight, don’t stretch them, shorten them.

USO Donation Drive (Ends Oct. 31st 2012)

In Exchange for a Donation, New Patients Receive:
-FREE Exams
-FREE X-Rays
-FREE 1st Adjustment

Donations requested are as follows:
Twin size Sheets
Twin size blankets
Hand Wipes
Sanitizing wipes
Snacks- nuts, trail mixes, beef jerky, granola bars, pop tarts, candy, fruit snacks, cereal, Kraft Easy Mac, crackers, peanut butter crackers etc, tuna/chicken foil packs/pop tab cans, slim jims, protein bars, peanut butter to go containers, Nutella to go containers
Personal Items: Baby wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, lip balm, dental floss, toilet paper, eye drops, liquid body soap, eye drops, shaving cream, razor blades, disposable razors, q-tips, foot/baby powder, hand/foot warmers, icy hot patches, batteries (preferably AA), toothpaste, shampoo, toothbrushes
Clothing: BLACK or WHITE COTTON long athletic socks, Dark colored knit hats/beanies
Specialty Items: Ground Coffee (Peets and Starbucks are popular), zip lock brand bags (all sizes)

The biggest request right now is Twin bedding and hygiene products.

We are unable to send glass containers, so plastic and metal only please! We can not send perishable foods, fireworks, firearms, aerosol cans, or pornographic materials.

My Purpose and Goal as a Chiropractor

Those who know me, know that behind my easy going demeanor I am a very intense, focused and driven individual. In addition, I am fairly opinionated and have been active in implementing ideas in my practice that some people can’t seem to understand. Being extremely flexible when it comes to payments and scheduling, printing my cell phone on my business card (and actually answering it when someone calls), and trying hard to bend over backwards to make sure patients have a positive experience, are just a few things I do differently. Lately, I have been questioned about why I do what I do. It has not been negative but certainly with a guarded tone as if the person is asking, “What’s the catch?” I can understand the skepticism. It seems like everyone these days is trying to pull a fast one to get a leg up. Some people think that I do what I do because I am a nice guy or a pushover. The truth is that my purpose is what drives me and dictates my actions.

Unfortunately, 90% of Americans do not have a chiropractor. That is approximately, 280 million people who need a chiropractor. If we extrapolate that data, about 110K people in Roseville, 50K people in Rocklin, 75K people in Citrus Heights, 40K people in Lincoln, 40K people in Antelope and 9k people in Loomis/Penryn/Newcastle do not have a chiropractor. That is 324,000 people in the local community whom I serve who do not have a chiropractor! That is way too many people who are dealing with low back injuries, headaches, shoulder pain, neck pain, sports injuries, mid back pain, TMJ Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, etc. who do not know that chiropractic is the most effective and efficient form of treatment. This is a tragedy.

Knowing that so many people need help but do not know where to look is what pushes me. My purpose as a chiropractor is to help as many people as possible enjoy the benefits of chiropractic care. I do not do this because I want to have the biggest and best practice or to make more money, even though those are worthy achievements. I do it because I honestly believe that the more people understand and utilize chiropractic, the healthier we will be as a society. I do it because I have a compulsion to help people and I know that the greatest skill I possess to fulfill this need is serving as a doctor of chiropractic.

I perpetually contemplate how I can make a difference by removing barriers. Is it time? Is it money? Is it a lack of understanding? Is it fear? What is it that holds people back from seeing a chiropractor for a wide array of conditions that they know perfectly well if they go see their medical doctor they are going to walk out with a prescription for a pain killer or muscle relaxer and unanswered questions? This is where I need your help. If you have experienced the benefits of chiropractic care, share it, please! If people are resistant, ask why and then tell me. My commitment is that I will do everything I can to remedy the concern and help the patient. I have to. This is my purpose.

Patriot Chiropractor

We will be celebrating Independence Day this Wednesday, July 4th. In addition, we are taking off Thursday the 5th and will not be back until Monday, July 9th. Reminder: Tuesday is a half day.

Also, I will be at Scout Camp from July 16th-21st. The office will be open thanks to Dr. Matt Huseboe who is covering for me.

ObamaCare and Chiropractic

How does ObamaCare affect chiropractic care in my office? That is a great question! I will tell you honestly, it doesn’t, at least not on my part. Say what you want about the Affordable Care Act, I do not need the Federal Government or anyone else to tell me that people are struggling with paying for healthcare insurance let alone healthcare.

However, for me the crisis in America is less about affordability and more about health. Don’t get me wrong, I know how expensive health insurance premiums, deductible, co-pays, and non-covered services can be. When all is said and done this year, between surgery on my knee, my son’s broken arm, my wife’s pregnancy and my daughter’s eye surgery, I am going to be out a large chunk of money before the insurance company that I faithfully pay $600 a month to contributes a dime.

Setting aside the debate about how insurance should be regulated, the truth is that Americans are among some of the least healthy people in the world. Contrarily, we spend more than every other country on health care. Timeout while I clarify something. We are not really talking about healthcare. Healthcare is cheap! No, we are talking about sick care. That is where the money is. Compare the cost of a healthy person over a lifetime with one who is in and out of doctors’ offices and hospitals and there is no comparison. OK, now that that is out of the way, my question is how can a highly developed country who spends a ridiculous amount of money on doctors, hospitals, medications, and technology, have a higher infant mortality rate than… anyone? The answer is simple. Money doesn’t make you healthy; doing things to improve or maintain your health does!

At the end of the day, the healthier you are, the less you will have to spend on medical bills. In theory, if everyone made a concerted effort to be healthy, insurance premiums would drop as they would not have to shell out so much for expensive procedures and tests. This is where chiropractic comes in. If you believe as I believe (and I am assuming that as my patient you agree with me on some level), then chiropractic is a powerful health promoting tool.

Because I know and you know that chiropractic is effective at helping improve and maintain your health, it makes sense that getting regular adjustments helps to reduce your overall healthcare costs. Furthermore, I am committed to making sure that everyone who walks in my office can afford the care they need. This is why ObamaCare will not change anything here. If you are desirous to continually work on your health and I am here to help with your chiropractic needs, you have the start of a pretty good team to not only reduce your healthcare expenses but, more importantly, keep you healthy.

My Knee Repair

I figured I would share the scoped pictures of my knee. The surgery went well. The ACL has been repaired. The left meniscus was a little worse than anticipated and he had to take out about 25% of it. He took out about 10% of the lateral meniscus.

Image 2 is showing my obliterated ACL. Images 3-6 are showing the two tears in the medial meniscus. Image 10 is the best picture of my lateral meniscus tear. Images 14-16 are pictures of the repaired ACL.

Surgery or No?

Two and a half months ago I injured my knee playing soccer. It was a  non-contact injury. My left knee caught in the turf, buckled and popped. I went down and then limped off the field. I though it was the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and that it would take some time to heal without surgery. So, I set about trying to reduce the inflammation.

To help with the inflammation, I began icing it 20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times per day. I used several ice packs wrapped around my knee and held tight by straps. In addition, I was going into my hyperbaric chamber several times a week, doing cryotherapy at US Cryotherapy here in Roseville, getting it adjusted and doing cold laser treatments. After two months, the swelling was still really bad and the flexibility had only increased a little.

As far as pain is concerned, I haven’t had that much. When it first happened it hurt but I could still limp off the field, drive myself home, limp into the drug store and buy a brace. The lack of pain concerned me a bit because I  have been taught that a complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is not as painful. I tend to have a pretty high pain threshold so I just figured that was the reason. It would get achy and tender, in general, and certain motions would give me a sharp pain but everything was bearable. I wore a brace while working for a few weeks then switched to kinesio tape. After a while both of those things were really irritating me and I went without either without much trouble. Through it all I maintained a pretty rigorous schedule adjusting around 300 patients per week.

A few weeks ago I finally decided that there was something more serious going on and I decided to get an MRI. The results caught me like an upper cut. According to the report, I have a completely torn ACL and tears in both menisci. The tears in the menisci are likely to heal on their own. They are in what is known as the “red zone” which means it has a good blood supply and should heal. Plus they are vertical tears which don’t usually cause much trouble. The torn ACL is another matter.

So, here is my dilemma. I am a researcher by nature. I want to know options. I am not opposed to doing what is conventional but I still want to hear the arguments on both sides. So far, here is what I know. By far, the overwhelming recommendation is surgery. This entails using a piece of the patient’s tendon from a number of sources or using a cadaver tendon. The recovery mostly requires time. No one who has had the surgery that I have talked to feels like they can perform at the same level as before but plenty have said that  they can still do a lot of things they love.

On the flip side, there are a lot of people out there who, for one reason or another never reconstructed their ACL. My best friend, who is an ER medical doctor, is one of them. I have read studies where the outcomes for doing surgery vs. not doing surgery are pretty similar save for a moderately increased risk of doing damage to the menisci. I can make a really strong case for not doing surgery just on the fact that anytime you have surgery you are introducing another traumatic event. Combine that with the general risks of going under anesthesia, the risks of infections, and complications with recovery and I am pretty convinced that I could live without and ACL. I have been walking around for several weeks without an ACL, anyway. I am not going back to playing soccer any time soon with or without surgery. And, I have really good muscle strength around my knee. The argument is valid.

That saying, I am scheduled for surgery on the 7th of June. The argument to have it reconstructed won out despite my firm belief that I could definitely live without my ACL. My surgeon, Dr. Kevin Hanson of Roseville Orthopedics handled it perfectly. When I spoke with him he gave me options but made it known that in his opinion I would be much happier in the long run with a more stable knee. He also said something that changed my whole attitude. Before I spoke to him, I was assuming weeks to months off of work. Not only would that have really hurt financially but I think I would go crazy. I am not one who is accustomed to sitting around. Dr. Hanson informed me that I could bear weight whenever I felt I could based on pain. Ergo, I could feasibly go back to work within a week without risking damage to the knee. For me, this was huge!

The other conversation that really pushed me over the edge was with my best friend who has been walking around without an ACL since tearing it in medical school 12 years ago. He told me that every time he tries to play any sport his knee gives out and swells and he is laid up for 3 days. At first I was looking to him as an example for not getting the surgery. After speaking with him, I was pretty convinced to have the procedure done. Now the question is how long do I need off?

In This Doctor’s Humble Opinion, Personal Choice is Vital for Health!

You haven’t read it in the paper because they are not printing it. You haven’t seen it on the news because they refuse to cover it. Your representative hasn’t talked about it and the State is not discussing it openly but your rights are being usurped. AB 2109 is passing through the legislature without much press. What is AB 2109? Let me tell you… please!

Currently, in the State of California, you have a choice when it comes to vaccinating your children. I am not going to go into the argument as to whether you should or should not vaccinate. That is a decision that you need to research and do what you feel is best. Regardless of how you feel, right now you have a choice. You can get your child vaccinated, you can talk to your doctor and get a waiver signed saying that vaccination is a health risk for your child, or you can sign the waiver stating that you personally have a philosophical issue with vaccinating your child.

AB 2109 eliminates the possibility of claiming a philosophical concern. What is particularly egregious is that they have worded it so that you can still claim a philosophical opposition, but you have to get it signed by your medical doctor. Yes, you read that correctly. If you have a philosophical issue with vaccinating your child, you must get a doctors note. Don’t ask me to explain it. Why an MD is the authority on a person’s philosophy or religion is the most ridiculous notion our state government has tried to pass. Furthermore, medical boards are investigating and threatening medical doctors who routinely sign exemptions. People, this is a thinly veiled law to force vaccinations!

It has gone through the House. It was passed by the Appropriations Committee without much discussion or truth. Now it is going to our senators. This has to be stopped. The problem is that the Democrats who are the majority are all voting for AB 2109. I tell you this so that if you feel as I do that forced government vaccinations (or anything for that matter) is wrong, you can stand up and let your representative know that this bill is not the will of the people. We need people who live in areas where a democrat is their representative to plead with them to not just vote with the party but actually consider the ramifications of this bill. We are in the 11th hour on this one. Will you stand up for your right to choose?

Soon, the bill will head from the Assembly to the Senate.  If you want to see this bill stopped, it is very important that you contact your Senator and let your opposition to AB 2109 be known.  You can sign up at NVIC’s advocacy portal to stay updated, and to find your Senator’s contact information:
Additionally, there is an online petition that is circulating that needs many more signatures and there is a FaceBook page for this bill:
Here is a more detailed link about this bill and why it is a violation of our rights.