Old MacDonald Has a Farm

Posted: 1887 days ago in Lifestyle Wellness

old-macdonald-has-a-farmdivider2E-I-E-I-Yum!

One of the things I love best about summer are all of the farm stands and markets that abound. As people say, ‘farmers markets are a bunch of healthy people buying healthy food from happy farmers who care for the earth.’

It’s just a big farm-love-fest, right?

Even though most every veggie or fruit is available year-round, there is nothing quite like eating locally grown produce that’s in-season, and supporting the local farms that make this possible. That tomato that is imported from Chile in the winter? It might work in a recipe, but it truly pales in comparison to a locally vine-ripened, deep red piece of fruit.

And yeah, I said fruit.

There are several ways to distinguish fruits from veggies, but my favorite is that veggies can be eaten no matter how small they are, and fruits need to ripen. But getting back to the produce… a fruit that has to be transported across the country (or even the world!) often has to be picked while still unripe. The produce doesn’t get to benefit from those last few days or weeks of nutrients that are delivered when it gets to ripen on the vine.

That’s where Ol’ Mr. MacDonald (the farm owner) comes in.

piggyA surefire way to get your kids (or husband!) excited about vegetables is to bring them to the Farmer’s market. Somehow meeting the farmer, getting to know him/her, and seeing the piles of veggies in all their colorful glory makes them much more appetizing than if they just show up on their dinner plates. If you’re not sure where your closest farmer’s market is, or what hours it’s open, check out localharvest.org. I’ll typically ask the farmer how to prepare what they are selling. Their recommendations are often simple, yet the most delicious – no recipe required! But if you are interested in some great market fresh recipes – see this list on eatingwell.com where everything looks divine.

Happy summer cooking and eating, my friends.

Let The Sun Shine

Posted: 1892 days ago in Lifestyle

sun-shine

What is it with all the people on the beach wearing Hazmat suits, huddling under umbrellas?

I’m sure they also have sunscreen on with SPF 200, or something. Puhhh-lease people! These folks are more afraid of getting a little sun shine than they are of nuclear contamination.

I get it: overexposure to the sun is not a good thing. It can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. And since we’ve pretty much destroyed our ozone layer, rays today are quite likely more damaging than when us Gen X’ers were kids.

let the sun shineHowever, there is a happy medium. 15-minutes or so of UNPROTECTED sun exposure on a daily basis gives our bodies a nice, healthy dose of Vitamin D. In our practice, we see waaaaaaay more issues with Vitamin D deficiency than we do with sun overexposure. (Fatigue, muscle weakness, cramping, joint pain, chronic pain, weight gain, depression….just to name a few Vitamin D deficiency symptoms).

Additionally, have you read the ingredients on some of those sunscreens? We might be minimizing harmful rays, but our bodies are absorbing all of those chemicals, which I can only believe has its own set of consequences, yet to be determined.

What’s a girl to do? Definitely use some good-quality, non-toxic sounding sunscreen on a regular basis. If you are dashing around town, maybe forgo it to get some Vitamin D, if you are so inclined. For a day at the beach? Definitely wear it for most of the day. I change it up with a wide-brimmed hat occasionally – as much for style as function! – and reading under the umbrella when I need a break. I also visit my dermatologist once or twice a year for full-body scans, and you should too.

Bottom line is, be reasonable. Avoid getting burned, and try not to look like leather at the end of the summer.

But a little healthy glow? Go for it!

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

Posted: 1898 days ago in Health

plantar-fasciitis-preventiondivider2Did you read Tuesday’s post on plantar fasciitis?

If you didn’t, please do, so you can get the skinny on what exactly plantar fasciitis (PF) is, and how to treat it if you’re unlucky enough to have it.

To recap: Plantar fasciitis (also known as plantar fasciopathy or jogger’s heel) is a common painful disorder that affects the heel and bottom of the foot. If you’ve woken up in the morning and find it’s excruciatingly painful to put weight on your foot, and more specifically, your heel — chances are, you’ve got PF.

For those of you who want to avoid this very painful condition, here is what I suggest you do:

  • Wear shoes with varying heel sizes. Shoes with heels, when worn regularly, will shorten the Achilles tendon, heightening your risk for plantar fasciitis. You’ll want to alternate between flats, low and high heels (that last one sparingly) when at all possible.
  • Arch support is key. They even make flip-flops with arch support these days. To wear your favorite shoes that don’t have arch support safely, use an insert like Superfeet. They work wonders!
  • Make sure the biomechanics of your feet are working well. Chiropractors can identify issues that will come back to bite you later. This is critical if you work on your feet, or are an athlete.
  • Go barefoot! Occasionally walking on sand or grass will help strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your arches.
  • Had a long day on your feet? Ice and stretch those puppies! Like I said in my previous article – this can liken to physical therapy when done regularly. But a little TLC here will go a long way.

I write a lot about the care and feeding of your feet, and with good cause; they are the foundation of our whole body. If your feet hurt, pretty much nothing else will feel okay.

Trust me on this one – prevention of plantar fasciitis will go a LONG way.

Capisce??

Could You Have Plantar Fasciitis?

Posted: 1901 days ago in Health

plantar-fasciitisdivider2I’ve had hundreds of patients complain of heel pain over the years.  

Of course I’m compassionate, but it was just another day at the office for me as a chiropractic doctor. That is, until I woke up one morning, put my feet on the floor, and almost collapsed from the pain.

Guess what? If your heel(s) hurt in the morning, you’ve probably got plantar fasciitis!

What the h*ll happened???

What happened was, I’d been training for a half-marathon, and running 30-40 miles a week. That in and of itself was not the problem. I’d recently purchased a new pair of running shoes (Newton’s) — and evidently, I didn’t break them in properly — that was the problem.plantar

Let me explain, and give you a brief anatomy lesson:

Your calf muscle (“gastrocnemius” – isn’t that fancy?), like all muscles, has a sheath surrounding it. Kind of like the skin on a hot dog – it keeps all the meat inside. Where the muscle ends is where this thin sheath comes together to form your Achilles tendon – that fibrous band on the back of your heel. Then, it spreads out and flattens into a Saran-wrap type film that supports the arch of your foot (“fascia”). Essentially, the connective tissue of your calf ends up on the bottom of your feet.

Make sense?

So – these Newton sneakers make you run more on the balls of your feet by design, therefore requiring the calf muscle to work a little more than usual.  If you transition to Newton’s properly, they can actually enhance your running – properly being the key word.  Since I didn’t give my body adequate time to adapt to this new running style, I was subjecting my calves, Achilles tendons and arches to more stress than necessary.

Enter: plantar fasciitis.

Holy painful heels, Batman! Trust me when I tell you – you’ll want to avoid it at all costs, as there is no easy fix. Mine was an acute – or sudden – injury, and was complicated by the fact that I work on my feet, often wearing chintzy flip-flops (to my detriment). So please note, many people are helped more easily than I was; the first few items on my list can be especially effective.

Here was the process I went through to heal my heel:

  1. Ice the bottom of your feet. The most effective way is to freeze a water bottle and roll your foot over the top of it.
  2. Stretch the bottom of your feet and calf muscles. You can do this by standing on a curb or stair, then lowering your heels a few inches.
  3. A special nighttime brace called a Strassburg sock. This can help to stretch the soft tissues while you sleep, though I found it cumbersome to wear.
  4. Make sure there is not a structural issue with the 52 small bones in your feet. Your chiropractor can assess the biomechanics of your feet; if they are out of alignment or not moving well, this will cause or prolong your problem.
  5. Wear a shoe with a good arch support. Clearly, my flips were a huge part of my problem! You can also use an insert like SuperFeet for shoes without arch support.
  6. Still suffering? Try physical therapy. Ultrasound administered by a physical therapist can be helpful in reducing inflammation (but ice, when used regularly, can do just as good a job!)
  7. Cortisone injections will help – but boy, do they hurt! And, they should not be taken lightly, as cortisone can cause bone destruction and other unwanted side effects.
  8. If all else fails, surgery may be your best option. There are some surgical procedures out there that can be effective, but that I’d avoid like the plague because of recovery times and scar tissue.

Bottom line – do all that you can to avoid this, as it is quite excruciating.

Stay tuned for part deux, later this week!

Live Whole-Heartedly

Posted: 1912 days ago in Wellness

wholeheartedlydivider2“I whole-heartedly agree”  

How many times have you said that in your life? A bunch, I bet. After all, it’s an extremely common phrase. But do you ever stop and wonder what exactly it really means?

One of my favorite yoga instructors was focusing on ‘heart openers’ in class the other day. For those of you who don’t have a clue to what that means, heart openers look like shoulder stretches and backbends. You see, we spend so much of our day in postures that protect our heart – hunched over a desk, our chests sinking in. Yoga undoes this with extension exercises – exercises that stretch the front of your body, and allow your heart to move forward, opening it up to endless possibilities.

Deep, I know, right?

But what exactly does living whole-heartedly mean? On that day, Suzanne talked about the three C’s of living with your whole heart: Connection, courage, and compassion. That really resonated with me.

Connection. To others, and to a higher purpose. That is truly food for the soul, isn’t it?

Compassion. The ability to see the world through another’s eyes. Well, that’ll give you perspective, won’t it?  

And Courage. That’s really personal. Courage to take a scary next step, be honest with yourself, or to confront a difficult situation. That can make your heart beat faster, can’t it?

I took the message from that day to heart – literally. I find myself seeking out more connection with others, having more compassion, and digging deep for the courage to do the difficult work that results in a much more fulfilled life.

Why don’t you marinate on that for a while, and see if living whole-heartedly doesn’t bring you just a little more peace and joy, like it has for me.

Namaste. And hey Suzanne, thanks!

Erection vs. Protection

Posted: 1913 days ago in Health

erectiondivider2Boy, did I stir the pot with our readers when I re-posted a graphic about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding insurance coverage for certain birth control methods. If you missed my post, here it is again:

divider2

10484427_10152362978804213_8587225242674062025_odivider2I love a good controversy, don’t you?

A reader was kind enough to point me in the direction of an article that offered some clarification on the subject, and I have to say, the information in that article soothed this savage beast (a little). The company in question does provide for many methods of birth control, but disallows forms of birth control that some believe can cause or are akin to abortion, like IUD’s and the ‘morning after pill’ or Plan B.

I do appreciate that the 16 types of female contraception will work for many women, but if you are like me, that just may not be enough.

My body just cannot tolerate hormonal birth control like the pill. As for barrier methods like condoms or a diaphragm? Well, let’s just say that I had two kids in two years thanks to those! “So get a different job!”, you might say? Uh – have you been out there lately? Jobs with benefits are tough to come by. If you want to read for yourself on the subject, well then, here you go.

This particular incident aside, my bigger gripe about this subject is the hilarious (not!) fact that for many years, some health insurance companies have provided benefits for erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra and Cialis, while denying coverage for birth control. (The recent Affordable Care Act does mandate that contraception be covered, so thankfully, those days are over. But can you tell them I’m still a little bitter?)

So they helped men get erections, but as women, we were on our own to prevent unwanted pregnancies?

Does it not take two to tango? 

Whatever your religious or philosophical beliefs, don’t you find that a bit odd???

I know there are passionate people on every side of this issue, and I love that about my readers. Talk amongst yourselves – but keep me in the loop – I love to hear what you have to say. This is just one of those things that make me go, “Hmmmmm”, so I thought I’d share!

Is That a Wallet in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

Posted: 1916 days ago in Health Wellness

walletdivider2Seeing me, being a chiropractor, that is.  

Today’s post is in honor of #MCM – otherwise known as, Man Crush Monday. We love our men, so we need to see that they take care of themselves, and today it starts with their wallet. You see, if your guy (or you!) wears a wallet in his (or your) back pocket, it’s quite likely that he (or you) will end up in a chiropractor’s office.

Want to know why? Even the slimmest of wallets will throw off pelvic alignment if they remain in the back pocket while the wearer sits down. Sitting on a wallet is comparable to walking around with one heeled-shoe and one flat-soled shoe, simultaneously. And if your wallet looks like this guy’s, well let’s just say it’s like walking around with a platform shoe and a bare foot.

Not. Good. At. All. Kinda makes your back hurt just thinking about it, doesn’t it? Check this out:

stop sitting

Many back problems are very complex and can be difficult to diagnose and treat. This fix is easy-peasy. Just take the damn wallet out! It can be as simple as keeping it on your desk at work, or in the console of your car as you drive. If you’ve been wearing that wallet for a long time, you might need some re-alignments (“adjustments”) to get things straight again.

And – back pain is only the beginning.  

Most of the nerves in your body are not pain sensitive. So if you are lucky enough to ‘feel good’ despite the wallet, you are most likely irritating nerves that affect your health. That prostate or digestive issue that won’t seem to go away, just might be related to nerve irritation from a crooked spine.

Take it from me, guys. Ditch the wallet, and you just might save some of the cash in it instead of spending it at the doctor’s office.

Ladies, if you know a man that is guilty of this, please pass along the message (and the link!).

Are You Getting the Cold Shoulder

Posted: 1934 days ago in Health Wellness

shoulder

divider2I’ve been a practicing chiropractor for over two decades, and in that time I’ve heard a lot of mispronunciations of common medical conditions. But none so much as “Rotator Cuff”.

shoulder2My favorite variation? “Roller Cup”. It makes me LOL every time.

What doesn’t make me laugh are the number of rotator cuff conditions I see in our practice. Sprains, strains, tears, impingements and ‘frozen’ shoulders – a lot can go wrong here!

Your shoulder joint is the most unstable joint in your body. Though classified as a ‘ball and socket’ like our hips – it’s just not. It’s more like a ball on a saucer; there is a place for the rounded head of your humerus (arm bone) to rest on your scapula (shoulder blade), but there is no true socket for the ball to sit in.

There are 4 muscles that create a cuff around your upper arm and assist in rotating it – hence the name rotator cuff. These muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis for you anatomy geeks – and WOW – I didn’t even have to look those up, even after 25 years!) are small and prone to injury.

Most people don’t know squat about these small muscles until something goes wrong, and then it becomes their whole world. With a shoulder injury, it’s difficult or impossible to eat, drive, wash your hair or carry just about anything.

A real buzz kill.

Here is a series of exercises you can do with a light hand weight or elastic tubing to strengthen those little suckers, and minimize the possibility that you will end up in a doctor’s office with an injured wing:

shoulder-exercises

I found this report courtesy of Virginia Health Information (VHI). They’ve done a great job depicting stretches and strengthening exercises to help with shoulder impairment, so I highly recommend them. If you’re looking for more information, check out their evidenced-based newsletter on exercise for rehabilitation and treatment.

A little prevention goes a long, long way with this one!

 

Hiccups

Posted: 1943 days ago in Health

hiccups

 

Hiccups can be so unpleasant, don’t you agree?

This little spasm of the diaphragm can supposedly be caused by many things like eating/drinking too much, eating spicy foods, or emotions of shock and excitement. And that’s just scratching the surface of what can bring on a case of the hiccups – since they seem to come out of no where. Has this ever been you? And if it has, it probably happened at the most inconvenient time, hasn’t it? Like in a quiet exam room, in a public place or while trying to eat a nice dinner.

hiccup-frameMy mother-in-law Sandy is my go-to-girl when I need a solution to pretty much anything. She is a problem solver by nature, and has helped many a sufferer get rid of their hiccups.

Here is her ‘tried & true’ approach:

Fill an ordinary drinking glass with water. Instead of taking a sip as you normally would, place your mouth on the rim furthest from you, with your lower lip inside the glass, and your upper lip outside the glass. To take a sip, you’ll need to bend your head really far forward so you’re nearly upside down. While in this position, take 6 or 7 sips – it’ll take a while, and some concentration, so stick with it!

I hate to use the term “old-wives tale”, since Sandy is so beautiful and youthful, so maybe I’ll stick to “home remedy” instead. She boasts a 100% success rate; so, let us know if it works for you!

Ear Infections in Children

Posted: 1951 days ago in Health

ear-infections


I can’t tell you how many babies and young children we see in our office that have ear infections, or minimally, fluid in their ears.

Most of these kids are on antibiotic therapy – and not for the first time. They end up in chiropractic offices because this may be the second, third, or even fourth or fifth rounds of antibiotics for the infection. Even when they work well, antibiotics wreak havoc on the digestive and other systems of our bodies. When they don’t work well, they just plain aren’t worth the risks.

So – are the antibiotics working? I think not, in many cases with regard to ear infections.  

Let me give you a little back story. There is a tube that connects our ears to our throats: the Eustachian tube. In adults, this tube drains vertically down into the throat, but in infants, it lies much more horizontally, so fluids don’t drain as easily. Add to this, trauma from the birth process where babies necks are often pulled and twisted, and the muscles in the neck can actually compress this soft tube, further compromising drainage. When the fluid can’t drain effectively, it provides the perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

And grow. And continue to grow.

Additionally, fluid accumulation in the ear can prevent baby from hearing well; we often see language delay in these kids.

Chiropractic can help by eliminating the tension in the neck, allowing the Eustacian tube to drain most effectively. Additionally, the gentle manipulation of neck and skull bones (about as much pressure it takes to test the ripeness of a tomato) can also encourage proper drainage. Compared to the step that most traditional doctors will take after failure of antibiotics – a surgery call myringotomy, where they make a small incision and put tubes in the eardrum – chiropractic is small potatoes.

If you have or know a child who suffers from chronic ear infections, fluid in the ear or language delay, please have them checked by a chiropractor who specializes in pediatric care.

To find one, check out: www.icpa4kids.org.

Here’s a love note I just received from one of our little patient’s moms:

“Our son, Oliver, had un-infected fluid in his ears at his 18-month appointment. After three consecutive monthly appointments confirming the chronic fluid, the recommendation was to consult an Ear-Nose-Throat physician to discuss tubes. Our pediatric nurse practitioner also recommended that chiropractic care might be an alternative treatment route and I was eager to avoid tubes.  

Dr. Tania used a very gentle approach and made both Oliver and I feel completely comfortable. Within moments after having his first adjustments, our son pulled on his ear lobe and looked at Dr. Tania and I wide-eyed as we spoke, as if to say he was hearing us fully for the first time. What a surprise!

Within the next month, Oliver’s vocabulary began to quickly expand and his nursery school teachers made several comments regarding his new use of words. He is communicating much more readily with us now and after several weekly adjustments, he has been given a clear bill of ear health.

We are THRILLED!”

Simple proof.