Thursday, January 21, 2010

Do your Feet Make Your Back or Knees Hurt? Orthotics May Help!

The body is an amazing machine, designed so that all of its parts work together to achieve movement, digestion, thought processes and basic life as we know it. When one part of the body is not functioning at its optimal level the repercussions are felt in other locations. For example if you have one knee that is weak, the hip, back, other knee and leg take on the responsibility of making up for that weakness. Many times you do not feel these changes immediately because your body is made to keep functioning, even if it has to change the way it does things. Walking differently, or putting more weight on one leg constantly can cause posture changes, which can affect your entire spine and even cause headaches. Odd isn't it, that your knee could cause you to have a headache? This is because our bodies need balance to work properly.

Changes or modifications in the way we move, or balance ourselves, is meant to be a temporary shift to allow the other body parts to heal. When healing doesn't or can't happen due to injury or surgery, these permanent changes can cause an imbalance in your musculoskeletal system. This change typically results in chronic pain, and often the pain is not in the spot where you would expect it to be. Of course a chiropractic adjustment and treatment can relieve the pain and put the body back into alignment, but if the cause of the misalignment is foot imbalance then the problem will surely return. People who use orthotics often find that chronic pain in their knees, back or neck disappears.

Our feet are our base, our foundation, the stability resource for our entire musculoskeletal system. If our feet are not functioning properly our body compensates for this imbalance, but our knees, lower back, spine and neck will surely suffer from being out of alignment. Improperly balanced arches and other foot problems can be caused by injuries to the foot or leg, or from years of walking on hard surfaces with little or no support.

In order to find out if your feet are working as they should, you can have your feet scanned by Lucy in our office. Our foot scan program provides a free scan to anyone who wishes to find out what the condition of their feet is. It takes about 20 minutes and you get a picture like the ones below of your own feet. It shows what a foot with normal arches looks like and compares it to your feet.

What is the solution to the foot concerns shown above ??? It's a simple thing. Orthotics, balance the foot and change the way your weight is distributed onto your feet. This in turn makes you stand up straighter, walk taller and remove the strain on your muscles, tendons and bone structures.

Our office uses Footlevelers products. You can view their website for more information if you like at .

Orthotics are a cost effective way to help manage many different chronic conditions caused by fallen arches or misaligned feet.
To schedule a foot scan please stop by our office or call Lucy to make an appointment. She can walk you through the process and explain how your feet affect your performance on a daily basis. The foot report is yours to keep and it comes with a photo of the scan of your feet.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Shingles and Chickenpox

What is Shingles?
Shingles also known as Herpes Zoster, is a condition commonly associated with people over 50 who have had the chickenpox virus at some time in their life. Shingles is not the same virus that causes cold sores or genital herpes. Studies show that 2 out of 10 people will experience shingles, which is usually brought on by stress and a low immune system. Many people only experience shingles one time, but for some it is a very painful reoccurring condition. In very few cases where the symptoms last longer than a month, nerve damage may occur.

Shingles is actually the same virus as chicken pox. After a person has chicken pox, the virus doesn't actually go away. It lays dormant in your nervous system and only shows up when the immune system can no longer keep it at bay. Shingles, or Herpes Zoster, attaches itself to a specific nerve in your nervous system and it follows those nerve fibers when it becomes active.

What are the Symptoms of Shingles?
A flare up of shingles can be very confusing for the person experiencing the symptoms for the first time. Typically the symptoms range from a burning or tingling sensation to an extreme sensitivity of the skin, and is typically on one side of the body. The pain can be internal or external. Occasionally a fever or headache may accompany this pain. In most cases a red rash with blisters appears a few days after the onset of pain. Shingles is contagious while these blisters are active and can be passed on to other people as chicken pox, if they have not been exposed in the past.

The location of shingles can be on any part of the body but most often occurs on the trunk or buttocks. Occasionally it will appear on the face or neck, these cases are monitored very closely so that they do not affect the eyes.

What Should I Expect if I Have Shingles?
Most cases of shingles will subside within a couple of weeks, however with weakened immune systems, such as seen with HIV or cancer, it may last longer or symptoms may be considerably worse. If you have a weakened immune system or suffer from autoimmune condition you should discuss this with your physician.

What Treatments are Available for Shingles?
In most cases the virus must run its course, and leaves no lasting effects on the patient. Cold compresses and pain relief is the most common treatment, but homeopathic medicine does offer a tincture to reduce the duration of the flare up and pain associated with the nerves. We also recommend that our patients take Monolauric Acid as a supplement to help combat the virus itself, and receive spinal adjustments to restore biomechanical and neurological integrity.

If you are one of the few who has reoccurring shingles symptoms our doctors would recommend reducing the stress level in your life and nutritional supplements to help your immune system fight off this virus naturally. Of course if you have active blisters from shingles try to avoid coming in contact with people who may not have had the virus.

Please feel free to call our office for more information.

Healthy New Attitudes for the New Year

We hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and that you are looking forward to a blissful and healthy new year. With that in mind we wanted to give you a few pointers as to how to achieve a healthier you over the next several months.

Exercise is the most important thing that you can do for your health. All you need to start lowering your risk for Diabetes, Heart Disease, Weight Gain and many other health related issues is 210 minutes of exercise a week. Take the stairs, park in the back of the parking lot, walk around the block when you go get the mail or take the dogs for a walk. It's easy to fit in, if you make it a priority. Exercise increases the amount of oxygen in your blood and increases blood flow to extremities also.

Water is required for all life. Your body is made mostly of water, and without it you would die in a few days. Water cleanses your system and helps your body process nutrients. There is no substitute for clean water. You should try to consume at least 6-8 eight ounce glasses of water a day, more if you are exercising or doing physical activities.

Sugar reduces your body's ability to handle pain, and it decreases the effectiveness of your immune system. One teaspoon of sugar, can reduce your immune system by 50% for up to 4 hours. Sugar is found naturally in fruits, but fruits contain fiber, enzymes and other nutrients that are good for your body. Sweetened drinks provide a concentrated amount of sugar which is more than the body can use in a reasonable amount of time, so it is saved as fat. This fat often surrounds your vital organs such as your liver or heart. Even "diet" drinks which have no sugar added have sweeteners which may not increase your blood glucose levels, but they do require that the body process them, much in the same manner as sugar. Which has the same results as eating sugar, such as High Fructose Corn Syrup.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is a highly concentrated sugar which is in many processed foods. It's used in Ketchup, breads, cereals and many of the foods you eat every day. In order to reduce your sugar intake you must be ready to read food labels, and take responsibility of the amount of sugar, in many different forms, that you consume. For a list of names that sugar appears as in food labels, stop by our office. We are happy to provide a printed list of the many technical names for sugar. Avoiding packaged foods is the number one way to reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup and sugar you consume.

Protein is vital for energy, and the rebuilding of tissues and cells. Lean proteins are a great way to help burn off those excess calories, too. Your body requires protein to survive and it can come from many sources. Beans and lentils are a great low fat way to add protein to your diet. The fiber in beans & lentils also help to reduce fat and sugar in your blood stream.

Fiber is one of the things that the American diet does not have enough of. Many Americans fall very short on the recommended amount of fiber, which has shown to reduce the occurrence of colon cancer, IBS, diverticulitis and other intestinal problems. Fiber helps to lower the sugars and fats in your blood by absorbing them in the intestines and moving them out of the body. If there is not enough fiber in your diet these sugars and fats are re-absorbed into your blood and processed. Wouldn't you rather get rid of the excess sugar and fat in your system??? Eat More Fiber! We also have a great psyllium seed fiber product for those of you who have a hard time getting enough fiber. Come see us for more information.

Vegetables and Fruits are the best way to make sure you are getting more fiber, and they are rich in antioxidants. You should eat a variety of these vitamin packed foods every day. Try adding different colored vegetables and fruits to your diet, because each color has different antioxidant properties. Studies show that people who eat 7 servings of fruits and/or vegetables a day have less cancer, are thinner, healthier and have more energy than people who do not. Beware: Fruit juice may count as a serving of fruit, but remember that fruit juices do not always have the fiber and other benefits that come with eating the fruit itself, and they have more of a sugar concentration than the actual fruit. Unless you are doing your own juicing, try to stick to eating the whole fruit and vegetable.

Grains are important also, but many of the wheat and oat products that are available in stores today are so broken down and bleached that there are hardly any nutrients left. B vitamins come from whole grains along with other very important nutrients, which aid in keeping your mood elevated. Oatmeal is great for you if you eat real oatmeal, the minute version and the prepackaged microwave packages are not the best source for oats. Grains should take more than a minute to cook if they are whole. Oatmeal usually requires 5 minutes in boiling water to be cooked, and most other grains require similar treatment. Look for these kinds of grains when shopping for healthy whole grains. In breads watch out for high fructose corn syrup also.

Vitamins and Minerals are what keeps our bodies running like a well oiled machine. Without them you would not be able to function at all. With the lifestyles that most of us live and the limited amount of time we have to prepare our meals, many of us do not get the proper amount of nutrition from our diets. Studies also show that most Americans are low on vitamin D which is essential to calcium absorption, and immune function, along with other bodily functions. We just don't absorb enough of the suns UV-B rays to make enough vitamin D. The reasons for this are numerous; lack of exposure, use of sunscreen, inability to convert/absorb etc. Supplementation for most of us is crucial to our development. Without the proper nutrients, our bodies just can't create new healthy cells. Adults over 40 should supplement with CoQ10, as well as vitamin D and several other important nutrients. If you wish to discuss these nutrients with one of our doctors please come by or call for an appointment. Visit our blog for more information on these nutrients.

Rest is ultimately important for stress reduction and overall health. Your body needs sleep to rejuvenate and build new cells, and manage your metabolism. Setting a standard sleeping pattern is best. Go to bed about the same time each day and rise at about the same time every day to help train your body to rest completely. It's also good to plan mealtimes, eating a small meal or snack every three hours is also a good practice. Its good for the metabolism.

The Bottom Line
Remember the old adage "Your body is a Temple"? We should treat our bodies like temples, if we don't we may end up with a shack. We need to provide our well oiled machines with the building blocks of healthy cells. If we exercise, get plenty of rest, drink clean water, avoid processed foods and eat a healthy diet of lean protein and fruits and vegetables, we are surely on the right track. Supplementing nutrients that our bodies either lack, or are not proficient at producing, is also key to keeping our temples in tip top condition.

We wish you all the best in the years to come, and if there is anything we can do to assist you in your quest for a healthy you... just give us a call!