Archive for the ‘back pains Saratoga’ Tag

Why do you need regular chiropractor visits?   Leave a comment

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Like your car, your eyes and your teeth, your spine requires maintenance to function at its best! Get checked for alignment and balance regularly!

Ask Well: How Long Does a Flu Shot Last?   Leave a comment

Ask Well: How Long Does a Flu Shot Last?

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Q

How long is flu vaccination effective?

Reader Question • 2 votes

A

Flu vaccines are different from vaccines for other diseases, such as measles, because they are given every year. The chief reason, experts say, is not that the vaccine wears off, but that flu viruses mutate so fast as they move around the world. The flu shot or nasal mist — which now may contain up to four separate vaccines against four separate influenza viruses — must be reformulated every year in an effort to match the most common circulating strains.

How long your own flu shot lasts depends on how powerfully your own immune system reacts to it, said Dr. John J. Treanor, a vaccine expert at the University of Rochester medical school. In a young, healthy person, protection might last for years, even as circulating flu strains change. Conversely, he said, there is some debate about whether older people or those with compromised immune systems ought to get two flu shots per season, since a shot they got in October may wear off by March or April.

“It’s a controversial question, and there’s not a lot of direct data on it,” Dr. Treanor said.

The need for repeat vaccinations is different for each disease, he added. Two measles shots in childhood usually give lifelong protection. Tetanus shots should be repeated every 10 years or so. Pertussis, or whooping cough, shots are moving in that direction as well, since a new vaccine with fewer side effects that was introduced the 1990s gives shorter-lived protection.

Fitting in fitness: Finding time for physical activity   Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 9.20.22 AMFitting in fitness: Finding time for physical activity

Finding time for fitness can be tough. The key is making it convenient. Consider these practical suggestions. By Mayo Clinic Staff

You know fitness is important for your health and well-being. And you want to get more active, but your days are a blur of work, household chores, errands, and time with family and friends. Setting aside enough time to sleep — let alone exercise — can be tough.

So how can you find time for fitness? The key is to be flexible and make fitness a way of life. And remember all physical activity — not just formal exercise programs — adds up to a healthier you.

Fitting in fitness at home

Time spent at home doesn’t have to be “couch potato” time. To make fitness a priority at home:

  • Wake up early. Get up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do and use the extra time to walk on your treadmill or take a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
  • Make chores count. Mop the floor, scrub the bathtub or do other housework at a pace fast enough to get your heart pumping. Outdoor work counts, too. Mowing the lawn with a push mower is a great way to burn calories. Raking and hoeing strengthen your arms and back, and digging works your arms and legs.
  • Be active while watching TV. Use hand weights, ride a stationary bike or do a stretching routine during your favorite shows. Get off the couch to change the channel or adjust the volume.
  • Involve the whole family. Take group walks before or after dinner. Play catch. Ride your bikes. It’s best to build up to about 30 minutes of continuous activity, but you can exercise in shorter bursts, too.
  • Get your dog into the act. Take daily walks with Fido or Fluffy. If you don’t have a dog, borrow one. An enthusiastic dog may give you the motivation you need to lace up your walking shoes.

Work out at work

To fit in more physical activity while you’re on the job:

  • Make the most of your commute. Walk or bike to work. If you ride the bus, get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Take the stairs whenever you can. If you have a meeting on another floor, get off the elevator a few floors early and use the stairs. Better yet, skip the elevator entirely.
  • Take fitness breaks. Rather than hanging out in the lounge with coffee or a snack, take a short walk.
  • Start a lunchtime walking group. The regular routine and the support of your co-workers may help you stick with the program.
  • Put it on the calendar. Schedule physical activity as you would any other appointment during the day. Don’t change your exercise plans for every interruption that comes along.
  • Take it on the road. If you travel for work, plan ahead. Bring your jump-rope or choose a hotel that has fitness facilities. If you’re stuck in an airport waiting for a plane, grab your bags and take a walk.

More tips for fitting in fitness

Here are a few more ways you can add more activity to your routine:

  • Get more out of errands. When you go to the mall or grocery store, park toward the back of the lot and walk the extra distance. If you have a little extra time, walk inside for a lap or two before you start shopping. Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car so that you’re ready when you find a few minutes for exercise.
  • Plan active outings. Make a date with a friend to hike in a local park, or take a family trip to the zoo.
  • Get social. Try a dance club, hiking group or golf league. Encouragement from others can help you stay with a new activity.
  • Join a team. Sign up for a softball, soccer or volleyball team through your local parks and recreation department. Making a commitment to a team is a great motivator.
  • Join a fitness club. Sign up for a group exercise class at a nearby fitness club. The cost may be an added incentive to stick with it.

There’s no single best way to fit physical activity into your day. Your lifestyle, job and family responsibilities will point to the most convenient time and place for fitness. Do what works for you — and make daily physical activity a habit you keep.

Stress management: Examine your stress reaction   Leave a comment

Stress management starts with an honest assessment of how you react to stress. You can then counter unhealthy ways of reacting with more-helpful techniques. By Mayo Clinic Staff

It’s hard to avoid stress these days with so many competing demands for your time and attention. But with good stress management skills, you can cope with stress in a healthy way.

One of the first steps toward good stress management is understanding how you react to stress — and making changes if necessary. Take an honest look at how you react to stress and then adopt or modify stress management techniques to make sure the stress in your life doesn’t lead to health problems.

Evaluate how you react to stress

Stress management skills often don’t come naturally. You can learn new stress management skills or modify your existing stress management skills to help you cope better, though.

First, take a look at how you react to stress. Some people seem to take everything in stride. Their naturally laid-back attitudes shine through, even in stressful situations. Another deadline? Bring it on. The dishwasher is leaking? No problem, it’ll be a simple repair. Others get anxious at the first sign of a stressful situation. Running late for a meeting? Time to panic! Stuck in a traffic jam? Let the cursing begin!

Here are some common but unhealthy reactions to stress. Do any of these describe your reactions? If you’re not sure, consider keeping a daily journal for a week or so to monitor your reactions to stressful situations.

  • Pain. You may unconsciously clench your jaws or fists or develop muscle tension, especially in your neck and shoulders, all of which can lead to unexplained physical pain. Stress also may cause a variety of other health ailments, including upset stomach, shortness of breath, back pain, headaches and insomnia.
  • Overeating. Stress may trigger you to eat even when you’re not hungry, or you may skip exercise. In contrast, you may eat less, actually losing weight when under more stress.
  • Anger. Stress may leave you with a short fuse. When you’re under pressure, you may find yourself arguing with co-workers, friends or loved ones — sometimes with little provocation or about things that have nothing to do with your stressful situation.
  • Crying. Stress may trigger crying jags, sometimes seemingly without warning. Little things unrelated to your stress may leave you in tears. You also may feel lonely or isolated.
  • Depression. Sometimes stress may be too much to take. You might avoid the problem, call in sick to work, feel hopeless or simply give up. Chronic stress can be a factor in the development of depression or anxiety disorders.
  • Negativity. When you don’t cope well with stress, you may automatically expect the worst or magnify the negative aspects of any undesirable situation.
  • Smoking. Even if you quit smoking long ago, a cigarette may seem like an easy way to relax when you’re under pressure. In fact, stress is a leading cause of having a smoking relapse. You may also find yourself turning to alcohol or drugs to numb the effects of stress.

Once you’ve identified the unhealthy reactions you may be having to uncontrolled stress, you can begin to improve your stress management skills. Stress management techniques abound, including:

  • Scale back. Cut back on your obligations when possible. While it may seem easier said than done, take a close look at your daily, weekly and monthly schedule and find meetings, activities, dinners or chores that you can cut back on or delegate to someone else.
  • Prepare. Stay ahead of stress by preparing for meetings or trips, scheduling your time better, and setting realistic goals for tasks both big and small. Stress mounts when you run out of time because something comes up that you didn’t account for — build in time for traffic jams, for example.
  • Reach out. Make or renew connections with others. Surrounding yourself with supportive family, friends, co-workers, or clergy and spiritual leaders can have a positive effect on your mental well-being and your ability to cope with stress. Volunteer in your community.
  • Take up a hobby. It may seem cliche, but when you engage in something enjoyable, it can soothe and calm your restless mind. Try reading, gardening, crafts, tinkering with electronics, fishing, carpentry, music — things that you don’t get competitive or more stressed out about.
  • Relax. Physical activity, meditation, yoga, massage and other relaxation techniques can help you manage stress. It doesn’t matter which relaxation technique you choose. What matters is refocusing your attention to something calming and increasing awareness of your body.
  • Get enough sleep. Lack of sufficient sleep affects your immune system and your judgment and makes you more likely to snap over minor irritations. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep a day.
  • Get professional help. If your stress management efforts aren’t helpful enough, see your doctor. Chronic, uncontrolled stress can lead to a variety of potentially serious health problems, including depression and pain.

Stress usually doesn’t just magically get better on its own. You may have to actively work on getting control of the stress in your life so that it doesn’t control you. When you first identify how you react to stressful situations, you then can put yourself in a better position to manage the stress, even if you can’t eliminate it. And if your current efforts at stress management aren’t working, try something new.

What Is Chiropractic ?   Leave a comment

Chiropractic begins with the principle that the human organism has an innate power to maintain its own health. The art of chiropractic focuses on adjustments to correct spinal malfunctions, called Subluxations, in order to remove interference to the spinal cord and the nerves that exit between the bones of the spine. Science has found that the nerve system controls all other organs and tissues of the body, so a nerve system functioning at its best facilitates the body’s ability to cope and heal from disability and disease. Because of its potential to enable patients to live healthier, more fulfilling lives, chiropractic has been called “The Big Idea.”

The chiropractic approach to health care is holistic, stressing the patient’s overall well being. It recognizes that many factors affect health, including exercise, diet, rest, environment and heredity. Chiropractic focuses on maintaining optimal health naturally so that the body is better able to resist disease, rather than simply treating the symptoms of disease. Chiropractors use natural, drug-less, non-surgical health care and rely on the body’s inherent recuperative abilities.
When bones of the spine become misaligned or move out of their normal position, they can distort the flow of information from the brain to the body. Without the proper information from the nerve system, the body cannot function to its full potential. That’s why chiropractors gently correct these mis-alignments (or vertebral Subluxations) – to correct interference to the nerve system and the body’s ability to control and coordinate its many functions.

At our office we use many natural healing modalities to help our members recover their health and experience a new level of pain free health! Below is a list of methods of therapeutic care we employ:

Some of the conditions we commonly see:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Disc injury
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Sports injuries
  • Dancing
  • Weight loss
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Hip pain
  • Knee and leg pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Asthsma
  • Joint pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastritis
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Depression

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Drivers Education   Leave a comment

We all know someone who has suffered a serious driving-related injury that had nothing to do with being involved in a motor vehicle accident. For example, turning your head suddenly and swiftly for a last minute check of your “blind spot” before changing lanes on the interstate could result in a painful neck sprain. Getting out your car in a crowded shopping center parking lot can often be awkward and may even result in a low back injury. Bending over to lift a grocery bag out of your back seat or trunk can even cause a herniated lumbar disc with very painful consequences. Thus, driving can be dangerous, even without taking account of your innumerable fellow drivers who are talking on their cell phones, texting, combing their hair, putting on makeup, or even shaving when they should be 100% focused on  the road. Even if you’re a highly skilled, appropriately defensive driver, doing driving-related things can cause real physical injury.

Why do such injuries happen? The cause is the same as for the person who, while getting dressed in the morning, bends over to put on his or her socks, stockings, or tights and experiences a sudden, sharp pain in the low back. Later on, that pain may worsen and radiate down one leg, and a likely diagnosis of a herniated disc may ensue. “But I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” the person exclaims to his chiropractor. “All I was doing was putting on my socks.” But the chiropractor knows that the movement that apparently caused the injury was merely the last physical insult in a long chain of musculoskeletal and biomechanical deficiencies.1

As with the person who injures his or her neck or back at home while engaged in innocuous activities of daily living such as housecleaning or taking out the trash, driving-related injuries that are not the result of an actual accident are caused by being deconditioned or out-of-shape. If your neck and back muscles, ligaments, and joints are not used to doing physical work while engaged in a full range of motion, suddenly putting them in mechanically stressful situations will very likely lead to injury. For such persons, the primary missing fitness factor involves the core muscles, the body’s group of central, deep, sheath-like muscles that provide the base for almost all movement and motion.2

Lack of core fitness is the culprit for most neck and back injuries that happen when you “weren’t doing anything”. The good news is that core training is readily available.3 You are training your core muscles whenever you do strength training or yoga. You are doing core training when you walk, run, bike, or swim, provided you are doing these activities effectively and efficiently. You don’t need special equipment. All that is required is the willingness and persistence to engage in regular vigorous exercise. The many benefits are broad and longlasting, including getting more enjoyment out of the time you spend in your car.

1Rietveld AB: Dancers’ and musicians’ injuries. Clin Rheumatol 32(4):425-434, 2013

2Micheo W, et al: Basic principles regarding strength, flexibility, and stability exercises. PM R 4(11):805-811, 2012

3Steele J, et al: A review of the specificity of exercises designed for conditioning the lumbar extensors. Br J Sports Med October 2013: doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092197. [Epub ahead of print]

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Thumbs Up to Relief   Leave a comment

Many people go to a chiropractor because they are in pain. In this first phase of care, the main goal is to reduce your symptoms. Sometimes this will require daily visits, or two to three visits per week for a time.

Most people are under the assumption that if they don’t feel any pain that there is nothing wrong with them – that they are healthy. Unfortunately, pain is a very poor indicator of health. In fact, pain and other symptoms frequently only appear after a disease or other condition has become advanced.

For example, consider a cavity in your tooth. Does it hurt when it first develops or only after it has become serious? How about heart disease? Regardless of whether you are talking about cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stress or problems with the spine, pain is usually the last thing to appear. When you begin chiropractic care, pain is also the first symptom to disappear, even though much of the underlying condition remains.