Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Adjustments Are Good For Your Heart?

High blood pressure can be life-threatening, pure and simple.  In fact, high BP (known hypertension) is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke – two of the major causes of death. Aerobic exercise, a healthy diet and not smoking are three natural ways to lower your risk of high blood pressure, but unfortunately, too many people with high BP turn to medication instead.
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What about chiropractic care? A recent study serves as the latest evidence that chiropractic adjustments may improve blood pressure in the short term, finding that specific instrument-assisted adjustments to the thoracic spine positively affected blood pressure, pulse rate and classification of high blood pressure compared to placebo manipulation or no intervention.

Researchers randomly assigned 290 adults with and without hypertension to one of three groups for comparison: an active group, a placebo group and a control group. The active group received instrument-assisted manipulation to T1-T5, while the placebo group received the identical manipulative procedure, except the adjusting instrument was set not to deliver any force. The control group received no intervention (manipulation) whatsoever. Both patients and clinicians were blinded as to whether they were receiving / delivering active or placebo adjustments.

The primary finding following instrument-assisted manipulation to T1-T5 was a reduction in blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic BP) of approximately 7 percent compared to baseline measurements. Neither of the other subject groups achieved this reduction. Active intervention also improved blood pressure classification in many cases. (All subjects were classified at baseline as normotensive, prehypertensive, stage 1 hypertensive or stage 2 hypertensive.) The study authors described the impact of active intervention on these classifications as follows:

"Systolic and diastolic BP, pulse rate, and BP classification decreased significantly only in the active treatment group. No significant changes occurred in the placebo treatment and control groups. ... By category, 46% of [active treatment] subjects improved in early hypertensive or prehypertensive classification – about 4 times more than placebo and 2.65 times better than the controls. Similarly, 51% of Stage I and 57% of Stage II hypertensive patients improved, also better than placebo and control subjects."

Back pain, neck pain, headaches - chiropractic care has been proven effective for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. But the story goes much deeper than that, and research continues to reveal it. So try chiropractic: It's good for your heart.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Less Sleep Can Mean More Colds

You're not getting enough sleep, night after night, but you continue to push it, hoping it won't do any harm. Then cold season hits, and you find yourself getting even less sleep because you come down with more colds than usual.

It's a vicious cycle you can't seem to escape: lack of sleep, cold, lack of sleep, another cold. Is there a connection? Definitely, according to a recent study that suggests people who sleep less than six hours a night are more likely to catch the common cold than people who get more sleep nightly.

In the study, published in the journal Sleep, researchers tracked 164 men and women for a week, monitoring their sleep patterns. At the same time, they exposed all study participants to the rhinovirus, better known as the common cold. Results showed that while only 18 percent of participants who more than six hours nightly contracted a cold, 39 percent who slept less than six hours did. On average, sleeping less than six hours a night made participants more than four times more likely to contract the rhinovirus compared to participants who slept seven hours or more.

In an article on CNN.com, Shalini Paruthi, director of the Pediatric Sleep and Research Center at Saint Louis University, summed up the research findings: "It looks like an adequate amount of sleep allows our body to mount a better immune response."

Having trouble sleeping? More colds may be on the way this fall (and all year round). Click here to learn more about the health benefits of adequate sleep and how you can ensure you get restorative, rejuvenating sleep tonight– and every night.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How Chiropractic Can Help The 5 Most Common Causes of Neck Pain

Neck pain can be acute (short term) or chronic (recurring or persisting for months and even years), but regardless, when you're in pain, relief is the first thing on your mind. Just as important as relief, of course, is finding the cause and ensuring you avoid the behavior / action that brought the pain on in the first place.

Here are five common causes of neck pain – and why doctors of chiropractic are well-suited to relieve the pain and determine the underlying cause.

1. Poor Posture: Leaning over a desk all day or slouching in your office chair? You're bound to develop neck pain eventually, if you haven't already. Do this quick test: In an upright or seated position, round your shoulders and back (poor posture). Does it impact your neck as well? Exactly!

2. Monitor Madness: Staring at the computer screen for hours at a time? That's not good for your health (or sanity), but from a neck pain perspective, it's madness, particularly if the screen height forces you to crane your neck up (too high) or extend it down (too low).

3. Sleep Issues: Ideally, we spend a third of our day sleeping, so your sleep habits – for better or worse – can have a dramatic effect on your health. With regard to neck pain, anytime you sleep in an uncomfortable position, particularly one that stresses your neck musculature (think about side-sleeping while grabbing your pillow tightly, sleeping on your stomach with your arms out in front of you, or even sleeping on your back, but with a pillow that doesn't adequately support your neck), you risk neck pain.

4. Technology Overload: We may spend a third of our day sleeping, but we increasingly spend the other 16 hours typing, texting, tapping and otherwise interacting with our smartphones, tablets, etc. Bottom line: bad for your neck. One doctor has even coined the phrase, "text neck," to describe the neck pain that can result from this constant technology interaction.

5. The Wrong Movement: Twisting, turning, stretching and stressing your neck is an easy way to cause neck pain. While the muscles in the neck are strong, they can be strained, sprained and even torn, just like any other muscle.

It's important to note that beyond these common causes, various other health issues can also contribute to or directly cause neck pain, including fibromyalgia, cervical arthritis or spondylosis (essentially spinal arthritis), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), infection of the spine, and even cancer. The good news is that a doctor of chiropractic can help identify which of these or the above causes is to blame.

When neck pain strikes, most people turn to a temporary solution first: pain-relieving medication. But that's not a permanent solution, of course, and it doesn't address the cause of the pain at all, which could be something relatively minor – or more serious. What's more, research suggests chiropractic spinal manipulation is actually more effective than over-the-counter and prescription medication for relieving both acute and subacute neck pain.

Suffering from neck pain? Then give us a call. We'll help you relieve your pain and determine the cause so it doesn't return.