Is Hurricane Harvey Making You Hurt?

“A storm is coming….. I can feel it in my bones!”

If you suffer from arthritis, or if you’ve had an injury, this may actually be true!

 

New Jersey

As Hurricane Harvey looms in the Gulf of Mexico, many of my patients are reporting increased joint pain, headaches, and flare-ups of old injuries.  Since hurricanes are basically nothing but an area of low pressure, this actually makes sense.

Image result for satellite picture tropical storm harvey

Here’s why:  Normal atmospheric pressure (the weight of the air molecules)  is measured by a barometer, and normal pressure is about 29.92 inches.   The lower the barometer reading, the lower the air pressure.  Pressure is considered “low” below 29.70.

Barometer CU

When air pressure decreases, typically with colder weather, or in our case this week, a tropical weather system, the pressure on the outside of the body is decreased.  This allows our body to expand slightly.  So the gases and fluids around our joints expand, putting more pressure on surrounding tissues as well as pressing on sensitive nerves.   If you’ve had an injury, your joints may already have extra fluid around them, so this expansion can be truly uncomfortable.  Its basically swelling!

In my experience, joints already out of alignment are more susceptible to changes in barometric pressure.  So restoring proper alignment with chiropractic adjustments can help to ease some of this discomfort.

Chiropractic patient receiving a cervical spine adjustment. White background.

We are open regular hours this week, and we have appointments available until noon on Friday.  If you or someone you love needs an adjustment, give us a call!  409.866.8661.

Be safe and stay healthy!

Dr Jen

 

 

 

Good health is in your genes!

I recently had my DNA tested.

It started out as a way to find out more about my ancestry.   I was doing family tree research, and it seemed like the logical next step.  As predicted, I have a mix of genetic origins.  What can I say, I’m an American!

 

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I admit, it was entertaining at first. According to my DNA, I’m likely to have dark hair and dark eyes, probably don’t have dimples, I’m likely to have light skin and some freckles, and I probably don’t sneeze when exposed to bright sunlight (yep, that’s a genetic thing!)  These all seem to fit, nothing really surprising there.

Digital illustration of a DNA model on science background. 3D rendering

But when I really started digging into the data, two things really struck me.  One, the fact that we all share so much in common.  Did you know that we humans share about 99.5% of our genes?  Only one half of one percent or our total DNA makeup accounts for all the differences within the human race!  Hair color, eye color, skin color, height, whether we tend to be heavy or thin, even what types of foods we prefer!

Diverse Group of People Community Togetherness Concept

The second thing that struck me is the fact that the small percentage that makes us different means we all have different needs.  In those genes are coded how we process foods, how we metabolize medications, and very specific details about how each of our bodies build proteins, muscles, and enzymes. Genetic explanations for why some of us can’t tolerate gluten, or B vitamins.  Why some of us are prone to heart disease, some of us have severe allergies, and some of us bruise easily.

Little blond boy sneezing due to allergy related problems, on a sunny day outdoors. He is holding a handkerchief in his hands, looking away. Copy space available.

It reminded me that each of us has different and specific needs when it comes to health care.  Not only must we have specific care tailored to our specific needs, we need doctors who are willing to help us figure out what those needs are.  Sure, there’s a whole up-and-coming branch of medicine that will someday prescribe for each patient the exact medications in the exact amounts and frequencies that best support our genetics.  And in the future we will likely have medications that turn on and off specific genes to cure disease.

Back light of a woman breathing raising arms with a warm background

Chiropractic has always been like this – we find the specific cause of a patient’s symptoms and then work to fix the cause, so then the symptom goes away on its own.  Each patient gets a care plan based on exactly what he or she needs.

Doing this DNA testing actually gave me a renewed sense of purpose, though.  The more I know about each of my patients the better and more accurate treatment I can provide.  So I make you this promise:  I and my colleagues at Wilson Chiropractic will always do all we can to make sure we provide the most accurate and effective care plan for each and every patient – based on your specific symptoms, your body, and your needs.

Friendly female doctor hold patient hand in office during reception. Examination result, positive test, calm down, promise and cheer up, grief and suffer, treatment, condolence, ethics concept

I  hope that my  DNA and accompanying research I provided can somehow further science, can somehow help us learn which genes are really responsible for the health of our bodies.

I hope that I am around when we as a society are really able to put genetics to work to heal ourselves.

And I hope that until that time, I can do my part to make sure each of my patients, friends, and neighbors get the best individualized health care possible.

woman cheering

Yours in health,

Dr Jen

Acupuncture for Stress Relief

A recent study looked at the effectiveness of acupuncture for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Although the study size was small, the results were favorable, indicating acupuncture might be a great addition to traditional therapy for helping those who suffer with this illness.

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental disorder that can occur after a person experiences a traumatic event.  Once known as “shell shock” or “combat neurosis”, PTSD is more prevalent in regions of armed conflict.

PTSD word cloud shape concept

Symptoms can last for months or longer, and may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels, increased arousal, and increased risk for suicide.  Typical treatment consists of psychotherapy as well as medications.

Prescription medication spilling from an open bottle. This macro shot shows caplets or pills in the opening of a medicine bottle with other standing bottles in the background. The photo includes open space for your copy.

The study was performed on 55 service members who had been diagnosed with PTSD.  They were randomly assigned to one of two groups, a group who was treated with traditional therapy for PTSD (the Usual PTSD Care or UPC group), and a group that was treated with UPC as well as acupuncture.

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The acupuncture group received eight 60-minute acupuncture sessions twice per week.

Before and following the study, the participants were evaluated using standard PTSD checklists and reporting tools, as well as pain levels, depression, and physical and mental health functioning.  Outcomes were assessed at the beginning of the study, then again at 4, 8 , and 12 weeks following the study.

Handsome army veteran smiling

Those in the acupuncture group had significantly improved results in all measures.  This suggests it could be an easy and effective modality to add when treating this disorder.  The authors of the study note that the sample size was relatively small, and that more research is needed to prove acupuncture’s benefits, but for now they suggest that, ” Acupuncture is a novel therapeutic option that may help to improve population reach of PTSD treatment.”

cupuncture needles in Nasturnim leaf. The veins in the leaf represent the energy lines that acupuncturists use to cure various ailments.

At our office, all of our doctors are certified to perform acupuncture as well as traditional chiropractic care.  We have seen both improve a variety of symptoms, including stress related issues.  If you or someone you love has a health problem they’d like to get rid of, give us a call.  We’ll perform an examination to see if chiropractic and/or acupuncture may be an effective treatment option.

Wilson Chiropractic

www.WilsonChiros.com

(409) 866-8661

 

Engel, et al. Randomized effectiveness trial of a brief course of acupuncture for posttraumatic stress disorder.  Med Care. 2014 Dec;52(12 Suppl 5):S57-64. doi: 0.1097/MLR.0000000000000237.

Hypothyroidism Improved Under Chiropractic Care

The Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a case study on December 10, 2015, documenting chiropractic helping a patient suffering hypothyroidism.  WebMD describes this condition by saying, “Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid disease, is a common disorder.  With hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.”

Thyroid - Female Organs - Human Anatomy

The study noted that hypothyroidism is the number one endocrinological condition seen world-wide.  People with hypothyroidism can typically experience joint pain, cold intolerance, constipation, depression, difficulty concentrating, dry skin, fatigue, hair thinning, hair loss, memory impairment, muscle pain, weakness and weight gain.  Medical treatment of this condition is typically medications given to replace the hormone not being produced by the thyroid.

This case involved a 44-year-old woman who went to her chiropractor for primary complaints of pain in the upper back and between her shoulders.  These problems seemed to be the result of an automobile accident she was involved in 23 years prior.  The accident was a severe head-on collision which resulted in a loss of consciousness and some amnesia.  She was taking a thyroid medication for her thyroid problem.

medications

A chiropractic examination was performed that included postural inspection, palpation, surface EMG, thermography, and spinal x-rays.  The results of the examination showed a loss of the normal neck curvature and the presence of subluxation.  Specific chiropractic adjustments were started at the rate of three visits per week for a month, after which the frequency of visits was reduced.

Chiropractic patient receiving a cervical spine adjustment. White background.

After one month of care, the patient came into the chiropractor’s office with her teeth chattering, her hands shaking, and the signs of tremors.  The chiropractor suggested that the woman return to her endocrinologist to be retested for her thyroid issue.  The results of that testing showed that her thyroid had regained enough function that the endocrinologist recommended a reduction in the woman’s medication.

At the six month point of her care, the patient showed significant functional and structural improvement, and her neck curvature returned to a near normal forward curvature.  In their conclusion, the authors reported that the chiropractic “treatment regimen is shown to be effective in reducing vertebral subluxation as well as improving the cervical curve in a 44-year-old patient with hypothyroidism.  The reduction in signs and symptoms of VSC (verterbal subluxation complex), in this case, correlated to a reduction in hypothyroid symptoms and an overall increase in thyroid function.”

woman cheering

Although most people do not consider chiropractic care for non-spinal symptoms, this case is a great example of how the body can heal itself once barriers to health are removed.  If you or someone you love suffers from a health problem they’d like to get rid of, give our office a call.  You might be surprised how chiropractic can help!

 

 

 

Ultrasound for Chronic Pain

A study in 2015 sought to evaluate the effectiveness of ultrasound therapy for patients in chronic pain.

Back and spine disease. Closeup portrait tired woman massaging her painful neck isolated on gray wall background. Face expression

Myofascial pain syndrome is a pain syndrome associated with chronic pain, multiple trigger points (“knots”) in skeletal muscles, and fascial constrictions. Myofascial pain can occur in distinct, isolated areas of the body, and because any muscle or fascia may be affected, this may cause a variety of symptoms. Many patients report steady, aching, and deep pain.

3d rendered illustration of a painful shoulder

Depending on the case and this pain can range from mild discomfort to excruciating and “lightning-like”. Knots may be visible or felt beneath the skin. The pain does not resolve on its own, even after typical first-aid self-care such as ice, heat, and rest.   Traditional treatment includes physical therapy modalities, medications, and injections.

For this study, researchers followed 59 myofascial pain syndrome patients who had active trigger points in the upper back.  The patients received either ultrasound therapy or a placebo ultrasound therapy for six minutes a day for 15 days.

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Researchers then compared pain scales, pressure pain thresholds, and depression levels.

Immediately following the treatment, as well as three months later, the patients in the treatment group had consistently improved scores in all areas.

Since ultrasound is an easy, painless, relatively inexpensive therapy, this study just reminds us that it’s a great modality to use for trigger points and chronic pain.

Senior woman at chiropractors office, getting ultrasound therapy for neck pain.

Ultrasound is covered by most insurance companies, and may already be included in your treatment plan.  Ask your doctor or therapist if ultrasound may be right for you.

Not a patient yet?  Visit our website for special offers!  www.WilsonChiros.com

*Agri. 2015;27(4):190-6. doi: 10.5505/agri.2015.48569.

 

Massage and Constipation

Surgical anesthesia and pain medications are known to reduce peristalsis in the intestines, often leading to constipation post surgery.

Pregnancy or diet concept, female hands protecting the stomach over nature background

A group of Turkish researchers recently studied the effect of abdominal massage on constipation.  The sample included 60 postoperative patients.

Researchers used data collected from several questionnaires, including the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale, the Constipation Severity Instrument, the Bristol Scale Stool Form, the Patient Assessment of Constipation Quality of Like Scale, and the European Quality of Life Instrument.  Measurements were taken in the morning and the evening on the fourth, fifth, and six days following surgery.

One group received abdominal massage aimed at reducing constipation, while the other group did not.

masseur makes belly massage young woman isolated on white background

It was found that the patients receiving abdominal massage had significantly more frequent bowel movements, and as well as higher self-reported scores on discharge from the hospital.  Researchers concluded massage is an effective way to reduce symptoms of constipation and improve quality of life, without the side effects of medications.

“There are many natural methods to relieve constipation,” notes our own Dr. Robert Wilson, D.C.   “Massage works by stimulating your body’s natural movement through the digestive tract.  We often combine abdominal massage with chiropractic care and other modalities to make sure your body is functioning at its best.”

Dr. Wilson reminds us that even though experts say a bowel movement every few days is considered “normal”, we should really “go” as many times per day as you eat.  “The longer undigested food stays in your body, the more chance for it to cause problems.  Healthy elimination is essential for good health!”

Pregnancy or diet concept, female hands forming heart shape on the stomach

Know someone who needs a little help handling gastrointestinal problems, including constipation?  Send them in!  We’ll offer a complimentary consultation to see if natural chiropractic and massage may be right for them!

 

 

The Effect of Abdominal Massage on Constipation and Quality of Life.  Turan, N et al.  Gastroenterol Nurs. 2016 Jan-Feb;39(1):48-59. doi: 10.1097/SGA.0000000000000202.

 

Prescription Drug Use Increases to 60% of Americans

A study published in the November 3, 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that nearly 3 in 5 American adults used prescription medication.  According to the study, this represents the highest level in U.S. history.

concept high priced healthcare in America

In this study, researchers reviewed prescription drug use data for nearly 38,000 adults aged 20 and older.  They concluded that the percentage of American adults using prescription medications rose from 51% in 1999, to 59% by 2012.  Additionally, the percentage of Americans using 5 or more medications almost doubled, rising from 8% to 15% in that same time frame.

The researchers considered and ruled out the aging population as a reason for the increased drug usage.  Elizabeth D. Kantor, Ph.D., formerly of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, now at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, could not identify a clear factor for the increase, stating in a Reuters interview, “For example, we know that older adults tend to take more medications than younger adults, and so we’d expect prescription drug use to increase as the U.S. population ages.”  She continued, “Something beyond the aging of the U.S. population appears to be driving the increase in prescription drug use.”

Prescription medication spilling from an open bottle. This macro shot shows caplets or pills in the opening of a medicine bottle with other standing bottles in the background. The photo includes open space for your copy.

The number of people taking prescription drugs may not be totally accurate.  In a prior study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings in July of 2013, it was estimated that 68.1 percent of the population were using prescription medications.

One possible explanation is that only the United States and New Zealand allow direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs.  In 2000, the drug companies spent $2.5 billion on direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs.  By 2014, that figure rose to $4.53 billion.

Close up of remote in hand with shallow depth of field during television watching

Much of the increase in prescription usage is for treating conditions such as depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and several other conditions that can be related to lifestyle choices.

In a November 4, 2015 CBS News story on this issue, Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, noted that living a healthy lifestyle would prevent most of the problems for which these drugs are being used.  He pointed out the contradiction by saying, “Consider the irony.  Here in the U.S., we aggressively peddle foods that propagate illness, and drugs to treat the illness that ensues.  ‘Big Food’ and ‘Big Pharma’ are the winners – we and our families, the losers.”

medications

Are you or someone you love taking more medications than you’d like?  You may have options.  While we certainly wouldn’t recommend stopping any medication you’re currently taking, we have often seen dramatic changes in people once they begin to take care of their bodies.  We’d be glad to schedule a consultation to see if chiropractic and natural health care may help you decrease your dependency on prescription medications.  Just call our office, 409.866.8661, or visit our website today.

 

The “One Stretch” for Low Back Pain Relief and Prevention

 

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Many of our patients want to know what they can do to help relieve and prevent low back pain.  While there are many options, stretching is a must.  A recent study proved one simple stretch can make a big difference!

A health care facility in Japan was the site of a  study on back pain prevention1.  166 workers participated in a study to see if one basic exercise could improve low back pain, or even be used to prevent back pain in the first place.

Workers were 36 years old, on average, and 61% were female.  Although 34% had no low back pain, 59% had back pain, and 7% had back pain severe enough to affect their work.

Confident asian nurse doctor medical professional

They were assigned to one of two groups based on the floor where they worked.  First floor employees received a manual describing a lumbar extension stretch.  Second floor workers got the same manual, but participated in a 30 minute seminar that helped them understand the exercise, then they exercised in a group setting every day.

All workers were instructed to do the stretch after they lifted something heavy, after they had been in a prolonged bending position, or after they had been sitting still for an extended period of time.

man stretching

At the end of the study, 43% of 2nd-floor workers (the ones who exercised daily) noticed an improvement in their low back pain,   compared to only 15% of the first floor workers. The authors also found that the workers who exercised at the meetings reported better compliance with their exercise routine.

Although this was a relatively simple stretch to learn and to perform, workers who did the stretch as part of a daily routine had much better results than those who were able to do it on their own.

Many of us find it hard to carve out time for stretching and exercise. That’s one reason we insist on having our patients perform stretches and rehab movements in our clinic as well as at home.

If you’re under active care at our office, then stretches are probably already a part of your plan.  If not, and you’d like to know more about how, when, and how often to stretch, make sure you let us know at your next visit.  We’ll schedule some time to help you learn some specific stretches for your body!

back bend

Want more?

  • Don’t forget to attend one of our Workshop Wednesdays, where we teach a general deep stretching routine.
  • Ask us about weekly stretching classes
  • Ask us about a corporate wellness and stretching program for your company
  • Ask us about a personalized morning and/or evening stretching routine tailored to your own personal activities and lifestyle!

Want to learn the “One Stretch”?  Just ask us!  We’ll be glad to show you!

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 www.WilsonChiros.com

  1. Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy, 2015 Sep; 23(4):205-9

Chiro Care for Four-Legged Friends!

New Animal Hospital Offers Chiropractic Care for Pets

The headline above is from a story that appeared in the Effingham Daily News on August 27, 2015. The story highlights the increased roll chiropractic is playing in the health of animals while reporting on a specific new facility for animal chiropractic care.

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The article begins by noting that a new facility, St. Francis Animal Hospital of Effingham County, Georgia, has made chiropractic care an important part of the offering for their animal patients suffering from movement or stiffness issues. Dr. Earl Annable, a veterinarian and co-founder of the new animal hospital, treated his four legged patients with traditional veterinary medicine for years before studying and including chiropractic into his care.

The article explains chiropractic care for animals by stating, “Chiropractic care involves the restoration of the spine to normal, using quick thrusts to a mal-aligned vertebrae. Even normal everyday movement and wear and tear, and especially trauma, can create a vertebrae movement out of line.”

happy dog

Dr. Annable responded, “It’s like wheels on your car. When your wheels are out of alignment, the car won’t steer right. It’s the same thing with your body.” He continued, “Almost everybody can potentially benefit from this (chiropractic area of care). I’ve worked at so many different places and at that time, it really wasn’t on my radar. But it wasn’t long after learning about animal chiropractic care that I jumped on it and took the courses to become certified.”

Annable noted in the article that he has not abandoned traditional veterinary medicine but has integrated that care with chiropractic. “This isn’t a one or another method of care only,” said Annable. “I can now use both traditional medicine and animal chiropractic in a complementary way. It isn’t here to just replace one or the other. I want people to know that the two can work together and complement one another.”

Purebred Golden Retriever dog outdoors on a sunny summer day.

In explaining how chiropractic benefits animals, Annable stated, “Nerves control everything that happens in your animals.” Anything adversely affecting the nervous system will have detrimental effects that will resonate throughout the entire body.” He continued, “I love the idea of being able to help an animal feel better by using just my hands. It’s real. If we can just promote the body’s God-given ability to heal and regulate itself, it can do wonders to restore normal abilities and health.”

a vet technician gets a patient ready for her shots

Dr. Annable continued his explanation by pointing out, “If the vertebrae are off or twisted just a little, those nerves going to the kidney or to a muscle for examples, won’t function as normally and healthily as they would otherwise. There’s going to be a little nerve impairment if those spaces are infringed upon.” He concluded, “Just as benefits of human chiropractic care have become more accepted over time, so too is the hope for animal chiropractic care.”

At our office, we only treat human patients!  But we also know first hand from our own pets that chiropractic works for them too!  See your veterinarian for information about adjusting your animals.

Want more information?  Visit our website, www.WilsonChiros.com.

Surprise! Chiropractic Can Help With These Five Conditions

The headline above comes from a November 30, 2015, article on the U.S. News and World Report website in the Health section. The article begins by stating, “You might think chiropractors are only able to help with back aches, stiff necks, slipped discs and whiplash injuries. If so, you’re not alone – but you’re missing out.”

Although probably not surprising to many chiropractors, the article’s author, David Starr, points out that many people are unaware that chiropractic may be able to help them with conditions that may not seem immediately related to the spine.

Headache man

Migraines and tension headaches are the first on the article’s list. “Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by chiropractic doctors – is an effective way to treat tension headaches and headaches that begin in the neck.” Starr continued, “In a clinical trial conducted at Macquarie University, 72 percent of migraine sufferers experienced either substantial or noticeable improvement after a period of chiropractic treatment.”

The second condition listed is stress and anxiety. The article explains how chiropractic helps by noting, “Chiropractors work primarily with the spine – the root of the nervous system through which nerve impulses travel between the brain and the rest of the body – and can help the body manage and process this stress in a healthier way.”

stress

The article also mentions that chiropractic can help with a weak immune system. To explain the connection, the article relates spinal subluxations to immune function. “Subluxation is the term for misalignments of the spine that cause compression and irritation of nerve pathways, affecting the body’s organs. Subluxations are an example of physical nerve stress that affects neuronal control. According to researchers, such stressful conditions lead to altered measures of immune function and an increased susceptibility to a variety of diseases.”

Starr recants the study that shows the connection between subluxation and immune function. He states, “Another study measured the effects of six months of regular chiropractic care on the immune system function of HIV patients. At the end of six months of care, the patients who had received regular adjustments showed a 48 percent increase in the number of CD4+ T cells, whereas patients who had not been adjusted showed an 8 percent decrease in CD4+ T cells.”

nerve

The remaining two conditions include fibromyalgia and flexibility. The explanations offered in the article deal with both nerve function and improved range of motion. Chiropractic can specifically remove interference to the nerve system from subluxations while returning the spinal joints to as near to normal range of motion as is possible with a patient.

Dr George Curry, president of the International Chiropractors Association, summed up the chiropractic approach by stating, “People suffering with a wide variety of health issues have responded to chiropractic care. The chiropractor actually isn’t treating these conditions. By removing interference to the nerve system from subluxation, the chiropractor allows the body to function more normally and, therefore, self-correct many health problems naturally.”

Are you ready to make chiropractic part of your routine health care?  Give our office a call, or visit our website to schedule your health evaluation!