Chiropractic and Evolution

My wife and I got the opportunity to go out this weekend and catch a movie. We saw “X-Men: First Class.” This post is not a review of the movie, though it was entertaining enough. What I love about the X-Men story is the concept that mutation has the ability to create better-than-human abilities. The reality is the opposite. Anyway, in this movie they introduce a character who takes on the code name Darwin because his body adapts to external forces in order to survive. The truth is, the ability to adapt is inherent in all of us. The difference is how quickly we adapt and how much harm the adaptation will cause.

Every time we are exposed to or experience trauma in one form or another, our bodies, by design, form a strategy to cope with the insult. The reaction is one of survival first. This is completely appropriate. However, often times the coping mechanism leaves the body in a state that promotes degenerative change.

Let’s consider a very common example. When a person is rear-ended in an auto accident, the body absorbs a tremendous amount of force. The neck whips back and forth, overstretching ligaments, compressing discs, tearing joint capsule and and shifting vertebrae. To adapt, the body sends in inflammatory chemicals to clean up the damage and cause swelling that will help stabilize a joint. This swelling is fine for a short period of time but, if left unchecked, it will start causing more problems. In addition, the shape of the neck is changed as a result of the trauma. This means that muscles now have to adapt to the new forces due to the change. Joints also have to compensate for the changes in movement patterns. All of these changes are recognized by the nervous system and recorded.

The newly adapted mechanics become the norm. Altered function of joints, muscles and nervous system leads to wear and tear. The only way to counteract the wear and  tear of adaptation is to restore proper function. Chiropractic is great at helping the body return to proper function. It takes time to retrain the body but with consistency, the results are are positive.

Roseville Chiropractor Heading to a Family Reunion!

I will be heading out of town Thursday June 30th through Tuesday July 5th for a family reunion. Dr. Kelly will be covering for me on Thursday, June 30th from 8am-5pm and Dr. Rogers will be covering for me Tuesday morning, July 5th from 8-12:30. We will be closed July 4th in observance of Independence Day. Thanks!

5 Things Weekend Warriors Can do During the Week to Avoid Injury.

I think it was Loverboy that sang, “Everybody’s working for the weekend!” Pretty sure it was. Anyway, I think they were on to something. Being active is certainly a good thing. Unfortunately, our lives are so hectic that during the week we rarely find time to move our bodies as much as we would like to. As a result, we try and make up for it on the weekends. As with anything, extremes can cause problems.

If you sit at a desk with posture that deteriorates over the week, then go and try to play like you used to in college, problems are going to arise. I am not saying that you shouldn’t be a weekend warrior. In fact, I encourage it. But, if you are going to be really active over the weekend and sedentary during the week, please do yourself a favor and do these 5 things to allow yourself to keep active but reduce your risk of injury on the weekends.

1. Hydrate. Keeping hydrated throughout the week has many benefits. First of all it will flush out the toxins you release into your body during physical activity. When muscles have enough water they remain aerobic and will perform longer. Water keeps tissue flexible and improves blood flow. You should drink plenty of water each day (1-2 Liters, minimum per day) but as the weekend activity approaches, increase consistently. If you drink tea, coffee or soda, you’ll need to drink more water as all are diuretics and will deplete your water and electrolytes.

2. Stretch. Keeping muscles flexible will go a long way to avoiding injury and not just to muscles but to joints, as well. Holding a stretch less than 30 seconds only keeps the muscle lengthened for a short period of time. Shoot for about a minute. You only need to stretch power muscles in the legs and arms. Spinal muscles are postural muscles and should not be stretched (that is whole new article I think I’ll write about next). Remember to protect your back when stretching. Here is a video of how to properly stretch the hamstrings (I should probably do more videos of how to stretch all the muscles of the legs and arms).

3. Challenge your coordination. Good coordination will keep you from most sprains and strains. The problem is that if you injure an area it becomes uncoordinated. Do things throughout the week to challenge your coordination or at least stimulate some of those senses. Walking barefoot on various surfaces, picking up things with your toes, balancing things on your feet, brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand (or any activity like using the computer mouse), etc, will all improve coordination and help you avoid injury.

4. Give your postural muscles a break. I told you not to stretch them so you may be wondering what to do with the muscles of the back and neck. The answer is to shorten those muscles to give them a break. We do way too much bending forward. To counteract, do some back and neck bends. If you are sitting at your desk right now, stand up, put your hands on your low back and pelvis and bend backwards 10 times. Then, put your index and middle fingers in the middle of you neck and bend backwards over them 10 times. See how good you feel! (If you don’t, it is time to make an appointment.)

5. Sleep. I understand that this is a premium. Sleep keeps the nervous system sharp and active. It allows muscles and joints to work like they should and keeps the immune system at peak performance. Please trust me when I say that if you get 7-8 hours of sleep a night you will work efficiently enough that you will actually accomplish more than if you use your sleep time to work. If you  are having a tough time focusing during the day, try a 10 minute power nap. This is not easy but with practice it is a valuable tool.

There you have it. Five things you can work on during the week to help avoid injury during the weekend. Of course, I could add a sixth thing and say get adjusted but I thought that was pretty obvious.

Pregnancy and Chiropractic

First of all, yes, it is completely safe to receive chiropractic adjustments when you are pregnant even at 9 months. In fact, it can be very beneficial. Shoot, my wife’s OBGYN is my top referring MD. Why? Because when his patients are suffering from the ravages of pregnancy, all he can do is be a sympathetic ear or recommend Tylenol. He knows that chiropractic care is safe and can help manage his patients symptom where options are limited.

For those who are unaware, pregnancy can be really hard on a body. For the record, when we men argue that we are the tougher of the two genders, women can always trump the argument by simply mentioning pregnancy and child birth. Trust me, no man is tough enough to withstand. Add to that list the duties of motherhood and it is game, set, match. During pregnancy the fetus becomes top priority. This means that the body will compensate and adjust to keep the baby viable. Nutrients needed will be taken from whatever source available. In addition, the shape, weight, posture, and the mechanics of the body, especially the core, change and adapt for the growing baby. Combine that with the production of the hormone relaxin which softens up all of the joints to allow the baby to be birthed, and the potential for dysfunction is inevitable.

Getting chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy helps the body cope with all of those changes. When joints and ligaments become lax, the muscles tighten to compensate. This alters the mechanics. The adjustment helps restore the body’s mechanics and therefore reduces the secondary and tertiary responses like muscle spasms. Proper function will make it easier to carry and deliver the baby and will also help joints maintain coordination which positively affects the nervous system. Properly functioning nerves will promote better health, in general. A classic example of this is managing heartburn. When my wife was pregnant with our 2nd child, she had terrible heartburn. We found that adjustments were much more effective than antacids in controlling it because of the connection between the nerve roots in the midback that go to the esophagus.

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is not just effective for low back pain relief and heartburn, it is also helpful in treating tension headaches, foot pain, hip pain, mid back pain and tightness, shoulder soreness, constipation, and much more.

Keep in mind that predicting a schedule for treatment during pregnancy is impossible. The body changes too fast. Some women need chiropractic adjustments every so often and others may need an adjustment several times a week. The key is to keep things functioning as best we can and not let it get bad.

Finally, during pregnancy the body does not heal as well. If you are pregnant and experience trauma or just have a traumatic pregnancy, be patient. It will take time after the delivery to heal up properly. If you are adjusted during pregnancy and again after delivery, your healing time will improve dramatically.

What Do You Expect From Your Doctor?

I had an interesting conversation with a patient this morning. He asked me if it was common for a doctor to charge extra to fill out temporary disability forms. I really don’t know whether it is common, but it doesn’t surprise me. In fact, it is indicative of the brave, new, yet undetermined health care culture that is formulating these days.

In the past, we or our employers paid a lesser amount for health insurance. Deductibles were lower as were co-pays. The doctors were paid well and that is the way it was. I don’t believe the above mentioned situation was even considered. Now, we pay significantly more for insurance which covers much less, with increased deductibles and co-pays and doctors get paid less each year. In short, we are paying a lot more out of our own pocket for our health care and doctors aren’t compensated like they were accustomed.

As Americans, we expect to get what we pay for. Value is the key. Most of us don’t mind paying a little more if the value is there. However, the ability to choose what level of service we want is still important. Herein lies the lies the problem!

We are paying so much more out of pocket that we are no longer ambivalent to accepting poor service or care. We want service and results and, like any commodity, we want it for a good price. However, choices are still limited. First, the majority of doctors are still under the thumbs of insurance companies. Second, most of us still expect our insurance companies to cover care and therefor are obligated to go to one of the insurance companies’ in network doctor.

So, what is our plan? We can continue to pay more for less. That is the trend. Universal healthcare is one option, although I might debate whether the actual net cost for the middle class would be less. The care, in terms of service, would doubtfully improve under universal healthcare. Still it might be better that being stuck here in the middle.

The other option is to let demand create a supply. Demand better service and care from your doctor and be willing to pay for it. I personally sought out an insurance plan that just covers my family in case of a serious problem. Otherwise, I pay out of pocket and have found doctors who realize the business potential of treating patients for cash instead of wasting time and money on fighting insurance companies for reduced payment. It is not easy to find such progressive thinking doctors but they are out there. If they start to do well and other doctors see they are successful, give good valuable service, and are not frustrated, they will switch. Otherwise, what do you expect?

Winner of Free Chiropractic Care for March!

Congratulations to Teresa B. who just won free chiropractic care for the entire month of March!

If you want to win free care for April, check out the blog from time to time and make a comment. I will take all of the people who commented and put their name in the drawing March 27th. Winners will be notified by email.

Why Isn’t Everyone a Regular Chiropractic Patient?

Please help me out if you will. I am trying to wrap my brain around what patients think? Maybe I have failed as a doctor in educating people about their health. Maybe it is just a time thing. Maybe it is a financial thing. Maybe it a combination of all of the above or something different all together. Whatever it is, please share your opinion!

Over the 6 years I have been in practice in Roseville, I have had thousands of new patients. Some come once or twice just to check it out or get some relief, some go through a full course of treatment designed to restore function, and some continue to receive regular adjustments long after function is restored. I also  have plenty of patients who come in every so often when they are hurting, get a few adjustments and then I won’t see them again until that or another problem comes back. My burning question is why? If a patient knows that regular chiropractic care will help them maintain proper function which will in turn help maintain better health, why doesn’t everyone come in regularly for an adjustment?

For the record, I know I have had some patients who came in and just felt like chiropractic was not, for whatever reason, their thing. I am also sure, though it is hard to believe (insert tongue in cheek) that a very small number of patients may have not enjoyed their experience in my office or just didn’t feel like it was a good fit. I get those. There have even been some patients that I wasn’t able to help. It happens. The patients that really puzzle me are the ones who are getting good results and then disappear. No return phone calls or emails. They were doing great and then gone. Finally, the next most baffling patient is the one who goes through the time and expense of restoring their function and then decides not to maintain.

If you are in one of these categories, especially, let me know. Is there an incentive I can offer? What can I do to help you be as healthy as you want to be. For those of you who have never been adjusted, all I can say is you should really discover what you are missing.

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The New Look, and a New Promotion!

Hey everyone, welcome to my new blog design. We have been working on it for quite a while and finally got it up and running. I hope you will take the time to read the articles and information on the various pages. I firmly believe that patients who are well educated stay healthier and are able to make informed decisions about their health. In addition, questions and discussion are vital to the learning process. A blog is the perfect arena for such learning and growth.

To encourage you to read and comment, I have come up with what I think is a generous promotion. Here is the plan: Each month I plan on posting several articles. I love it when people make comments or ask questions. So, everyone who makes a comment on a blog post will be entered into a drawing on the 27th of every month. The winner of the drawing will be awarded FREE Chiropractic Care for the entire following month. That’s right, a month’s worth of Chiropractic Care here at Thomas Chiropractic all for just commenting on a blog post!

Just to clarify, I might post several articles in a month. You can comment on each blog post which will give you better odds to win. Feel free to comment as many times on a blog post as you would like, but I am only going to count one comment per blog post for the contest. Looking forward to the good discussion!

Watch Me on “Good Day Sacramento”!

Spread the word! Tune into “Good Day, Sacramento” from 8:00-10:00 am on Tuesday, November 30th to watch me talk all about posture. As you know, I love to educate people on their health. Let’s boost the ratings of the already popular morning show to demonstrate how important chiropractic is to maintain proper nerve function and overall wellness.
In related news, I will be available to treat patients Tuesday November 3oth from 11:00 or 11:30am until 12:30pm (Tuesday afternoons are off). And finally, Wednesday, December 1st is the first Wednesday of the month so I will be attending my Roseville Chamber Ambassador Lunch and closing for lunch from 11:30-2:00pm (normally 12:30-2).
Thanks for all your support!

My Thanks to Those Who Have and Still Keep Us Safe

Happy Veterans Day! In honor of those who keep us safe here in the greatest country in the world and those who have preserved our freedom in the past, and to thank you for your service, I have decided to make a special offer for today only.

FREE adjustments for veterans and active military personnel.
FREE 1st visit and adjustment for veterans and active military personnel if you call today and set up your appointment. Office phone: 780-1370
Mention the Veterans Day Offer!
Thank you!