Stress Awareness Month

Stress Awareness Month

Someone, somewhere had the great idea to have a Stress Awareness Month. I think that is the last thing
that needed an awareness campaign. We are all keenly aware of how stressed out we are in our lives.
Every time we see a news report about stress we stress out over our need to be less stressed. If we
don’t figure something out with our stres,s our hearts will explode like the Death Star at the end of Star
Wars (or the other Star Wars, or the other one…Seriously, there’s a Death Star in every other Star Wars
movie, it’s time to quit recycling that plot line). Everyone already knows that they are stressed and that
being stressed is bad. What we need is a Treatment of Stress Awareness Month, to let people know
there are real solutions to the problem.

A piece of advice that gets shared on Facebook is to remove the stressors in your life. That is probably
the worst solution possible; it is impossible to remove those things from our lives because those things
are our lives. Make a list of what stresses you out and then count how many of those things you can get
rid of without faking your own death. Chances are there aren’t as many as you would like. How do you
deal with things that drive you nuts but aren’t going anywhere? Luckily, here are two proven ways.

 

STRESS SOLUTION #1

The best thing to do is treat the physical manifestations of stress. Tension, aches, pains, and irritability
are all consequences of being stressed. A chiropractic adjustment helps those things by relieving
pressure in the joints, improving range of motion, and releasing endorphins in the body. All of which will
help you feel better, move better, and live better. Coupling an adjustment with a therapeutic massage is
a home run. Some might say that this is a backwards way of dealing with stress, but I have found it is
easier to live if you feel well.

 

STRESS SOLUTION #2

The other great strategy for dealing with stress is changing your mindset. I can hear you moaning now,
“Oh great, Aaron is about to tell us that the word for opportunity and problem is the same in some
language that I don’t speak”. The truth is that all stress is the same to our bodies. Physically we cannot
tell the difference between a wedding and funeral (and sometimes we can’t mentally, either). Stress is
our body’s way of dealing with stuff, so applying a positive mindset really can make us feel better. I
know as well as anyone that it is hard to stay positive when your kid writes in permanent marker on the
new hardwood floors or puts a plastic plate in the microwave for five minutes for literally no reason at
all. Complaining and whining is the popular thing to do, but it limits our ability to cope and to deal with
stresses. Staying positive is more than a cliché saying, it is the truth.

 

Of course, there are other ideas for dealing with stress, but these two methods are tried and true. What
has worked for you? Comment below and tell us how you deal with stress.

–Dr. Aaron England

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Why Do Chiropractors Adjust/Manipulate/Crack the Spine?

Why Do Chiropractors Adjust/Manipulate/Crack the Spine?

I spend a large portion of my day explaining to patients what is causing their pain. That is usually followed with recommendations for treatment. Since I am a chiropractor, it should come as no surprise that chiropractic adjustments are often a main part of the treatment plan. I have become so accustomed to explaining why an adjustment would help that I have omitted explaining how it can help. In the heat of a painful injury, most people don’t care how anything helps, they just want relief.

Hopefully all my patients know, and agree, that a chiropractic adjustment results in a relieving crack or pop. That sound that is made is from the pressure that is released from our joints during that quick movement. The movement of our joints through its full range of motion helps spread this slippery stuff called synovial fluid. When we suffer trauma or subject our body to repeated movement, we experience a buildup of pressure in our joints. Without the mobilization that comes from adjustments, that pressure will continue to build. Our joints will ache, the neighboring joints will have to compensate, and we start to have increased pain and restriction. The adjustment is a treatment that restores proper movement in the joint, reduces the pressure that causes pain and stiffness, and helps improve quality of life.

Research continues to show that adjustments are beneficial. I thought about quoting studies here, but I don’t want to reward those that have read this far with boring stats. The most effective study is to experience it yourself. If you know you want adjusted, but are curious what it looks like, check out this clip to get an idea. Notice the smile on the patient’s face when she feels the relief!

–Dr. Aaron England

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The importance of strength and function

The Importance of Strength and Function

What exercise do you think is the most important for physical independence and daily function? I hope you said the squat, because the answer is probably the squat. They are a wonderful exercise to improve function at any age or ability level. Think about the movements you go through to get in and out of your car, or the muscles that you engage to get out of bed in the morning. What about going up stairs or getting in to the bathtub?  All those daily activities require you to flex your hips and knees and use the muscles in your thighs and butt.

Before we go further, I think a little anatomy review is in order. The muscles in the front of your thighs, the quads, are some of the strongest muscles in your body. They help us step up, get up, and control our descent into chairs. The glutes, or the booty muscles, are also very strong and important. The glutes help us stand up straight. They help us avoid the bent over shuffle posture that you unfortunately see in senior population. It is very common to hear the wife of a middle-aged gentleman complain that he has lost his butt or that he now has “chicken legs”. A wife can be so cruel. The husbands have lost strength because they have become sedentary over the years and have stopped using their glutes and quads.

Reduced activity and loss of lower body muscle mass can be even more problematic in women. Osteoporosis is a scary word after menopause, but it is usually directly tied to muscle use. Resistance training, namely weight lifting, is essential to prevent osteoporosis. That means that as a woman ages she should make weight lifting a priority. I am not suggesting that they copy Holga from the East German Olympic team, but a moderate weight lifting regime can do wonders, for both men and women, as we age.

I do not have the time, nor the energy, to name all the other benefits of building and maintaining lower body muscle mass in this blog. Some of them are pretty cool, like increasing metabolism and driving your significant other crazy with your awesome booty. What seems to be most important to people, especially as we age, is to maintain personal independence. We recognize that as a society we are living longer, but if we are not living better those extra years on the end can be fairly frightening. One of the main reasons that people end up in nursing homes is that they become unable to take care of themselves physically. They can no longer get in and out of bed, they cannot get up after a fall, or they are unable to dress themselves. Squats, dead-lifts and lunges all help us continue to daily activities throughout life.

I love helping people begin a workout program. Sometimes starting is as simple as doing 10 air squats a day. For one patient it was getting in and out of a dining room chair 10 times. A few time I have been asked to design a more elaborate leg routine involving multiple exercises with various performance goals. But an important part of improving function is to make sure that you are moving as you should. Subluxations, or joint dysfunction, can limit your potential and make you susceptible to injury. For instance, upper back tightness and restriction can make it impossible to do a proper squat. That is why it is important to get yourself checked, regardless where you are in your workout program. Call today and get better!

-Dr. Aaron England

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Put Chiropractic To The Test

This August my wife and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary. That means we have been married long enough that she doesn’t listen to my whining or complaining. She doesn’t give me sympathy if I’m sick and doesn’t care if I don’t like the drapes. I am not sure when couples pass the point of listening to whining, but I will guess it was around the sixth or seventh year…or maybe she never actually cared. Even though wives don’t listen to whining they do hear it, and eventually they force their spouses into action. That is why quite often I will be face to face to a stubborn husband who says the words that every man eventually says: “I don’t want to be here but my wife made me come”.

When I was a recent graduate I hated those words. It intimidated me because I took it to mean that he wasn’t going to cooperate or give me a chance. After a few cool experiences from these types of patients I learned to love these situations. The patient was in my office because they wanted something fixed. If they truly didn’t believe that I could help they wouldn’t be here. Deep inside there is a hope that this can somehow get better.

As we proceed through the new patient encounter I become much like Androclus from the old fable. Since most of you don’t want to google that name, I’ll just tell you that Androclus was a Roman slave that escaped into a cave. He was frightened to realize that he shared the cave with an angry and grumpy lion. Androclus realized that the lion was not angry, but was suffering from a thorn in his paw. After Androclus removed the thorn the lion became docile and friendly. These visits most often result in once grumpy patients becoming friendly and loyal. The stubborn husband becomes the one prodding his wife to make her appointments so that she will also quit her whining.

I’ve talked in the past about how pain changes people. It can be depressing and overwhelming at times. The great thing about chiropractic care is that it doesn’t matter if you believe it will help or you don’t. This is not Tinker Bell’s fairy dust helping you fly to Neverland. It is a researched treatment that has been shown to be effective. And not only is it effective but it has been shown to reduce the chance of surgery and abuse of medication.

What does this all mean? It means that if you are a spouse that is tired of hearing your Hunny Bun or Sugar Pie complain, you should make an appointment for them to feel better. Their back pain (or whatever pain) going away will help that pain in your neck that you get from hearing their whining.

-Dr. Aaron England

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Start Being Active Today

Dr. England’s Healthy Lifestyle Advice

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Someone much wiser than me once said, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is today.”  I think of that saying every time I hear a patient tell me that they are too old to feel better, or it’s too late to try and improve their abilities. Of course it is easier to instill proper habits while one is young, but it is never too late to improve oneself. There are real issues that slow us down as we age, but we should never quit trying to stay active.

When we are young our bodies are pliable and designed to bend and absorb the falls and clumsiness of youth. As we age we trade that movement for strength and stability, but even that is lost as we become sedentary. Research has shown that lack of activity is a driving factor in many of the problems associated with aging. I don’t think that people hit a point of life and just decide to sit down and give up. Instead, what I’ve seen with patients is they avoid things that hurt until they have whittled down their activities to shuffling and reaching for the remote. It all starts with a little back pain after mowing the lawn, which leads you to hiring someone down the street to do it. Then you quit fight club because you get a little shoulder pain from dropping blows on your opponent. The achy knee stops you from walking the dog, and then the neck pain keeps you from windsurfing on the Hood River. Before you know it you consider walking around the store your weekly workout. You dread attending your granddaughter’s wedding because the standing and walking will kill you. This pattern not only leads to pain but also other complications like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and multiple chins.

How can this cycle be prevented or broken? The first thing is to try to move a little more than you are moving now. You aren’t going to become Jack LaLanne in a day, but you can commit to gradual improvement daily. After a few days has turned into weeks and a few weeks into months, you’ll start to see the difference. As you move you will start to remember why you stopped in the first place, especially the aches and pains. That is where chiropractic care is important. Those aches and pains that force you to the couch can be addressed and you can stay active or begin to become active. The more active you remain the better your chance to avoid assisted living or the nursing home in your twilight years.

Speaking of nursing homes, have you considered why people end up there? Not being able to care for oneself is the main cause outside of cognitive issues. That is why being active is not only about competing in the Olympics or impressing the ladies, it’s function. It is what helps you get out of bed in the morning, off of the toilet during the day and off of the floor after a tumble. Correcting the problems in your body that cause pain will improve your quality of life.

Start being active today, and if you did start 20 years ago make another commitment to stay active. Visit England Chiropractic to correct the pains and aches that try to plant you on the couch.

-Dr. Aaron England

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Most insurance covers chiropractic care

DID YOU KNOW? Chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans, workers’ compensation, Medicare, Premera, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans for federal employees, and the VA. Call right now and ask for a FREE consultation, plus we will help you file the insurance claims process too!

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