Chiropractic care can help you kick your pain killer habit

Anyone who has been in severe pain, like after a surgery or bad accident, can attest that there are some great pain killers available. There are times when ice, rest, and a little Advil just won’t do the trick. That excruciating pain is what prescription pain killers, or opioids, are designed to help. They are not bad things when used correctly. People get in trouble, even to the point of a crippling addiction, when they use these medications longer than intended. It usually happens gradually, often because the pain becomes a daily companion. They need something to help them get out of bed, or to be able to work. They don’t have another answer, and the strong drug has been the only effective solution to that point. They are usually thinking about just getting through the day, and plan to deal with the long-term issues later.

Thankfully, research and experience is showing that there is a way to prevent and to break out of pain killer dependency. Chiropractic care has been shown time and time again to be a powerful tool to deal with pain, both new and chronic. It gets to the cause of the pain and corrects it instead of just hiding it.

I have had the privilege to see this work in many lives. I have seen patients that consider their pain killers to be a daily supplement. Some dread a visit from the grandkids because playing with them is just too much to take. Others that plan their day around their afternoon headache. It does not have to be that way!

Call 888-5477 and set up your visit today. We will talk about how your new or old pains became a part of your life, and then start the process of making them go away.

Read More

How to Combat Text Neck

I can’t be the first person to suggest that it might not be good for you to always be on your devices. It’s in the news seemingly every night. And yet, most of use continue to be forever looking down and scrolling for the latest in Mason Jar related fashion or updates from high school acquaintances.

The physical issues associated with our device addiction are many, from pain in our thumb to severe headaches. Not to mention eye strain, neck tension, shoulder tightness, or tingling in the fingers. We were not meant to be that forward posture for a long time. We are supposed to move, look around, change positions, and be loose and free. Holding our phones brings out some of the worst in our bodies.

What can be done? I’ll bypass the obvious solution of getting off our phones. I know, just like the recommendation to avoid high heels, that it’s simply not going to happen. They are too convenient, too engrained in our lives, and too darn fun. The next thing to do is minimize the effects of our poor decisions.

The first step is to reverse to the anterior and downward posture. Instead of having the shoulders slumped and the head down, look up as high as you can and roll your shoulders back. You’ll look like an angel ascending to the heavens. This stretch should be done at least once every five minutes of work.

Another way to release the tension is to do a push-up in a corner or doorway. Push the shoulder blades together and look up, really opening the chest and shoulders. Third, and my favorite, is to find a soft ball, like a yoga ball or basketball, and lay backward on it and stretch your arms like a starfish. This lets your tight chest muscles relax and moves your shoulder blades back to where they want to be.

The second step to reverse the effects of text neck is to alter your posture while you use your phone. This means holding your phone high over your head, switching which hand you use to hold your phone, or propping the phone on something to take your hands out of the equation.

The third, and maybe most important, is to get adjusted regularly. If we can’t, or won’t, remove the factors in our lives that cause problems then we need to regularly fix ourselves. Adjustments help us move better, release the built-up tension, and to remove pain. Adjustments help alleviate headaches and can remove the tingling in your hands and arms. Getting adjusted might even help you Pintrest a little better, and help you find the perfect pallet related decoration.

Read More

Bracing for Better Posture

Our modern world can be brutal on our bodies. Everything we do tends to force us to look down, slump our shoulders, and hold our arms out in front. Computers, phones, driving, and innumerable other tasks put us in this position. It makes it worse that many of us ignore Grandma’s advice to quit slouching. Almost everyone carries their head too far forward, their shoulders down, and their back arched. Deep down inside we all fear that we will end up with a hunchback that makes Quasimodo look normal.

What can be done? How can we fight against the ravages of life and gravity? One of the questions I get often is “should I buy a posture brace?”. These braces are designed to keep your shoulders back where they are supposed to go. That sounds all fine and dandy, until you take it off. Do you know what happens? You relax, and your shoulders go right back to where they were before. You haven’t taught yourself anything, except how to suffer through an uncomfortable brace.

The best way to correct posture and get rid of the unfortunate pains that come with it, is to strengthen your back. You can train your body to be good without you telling it to do so. I use an elastic tape, the same kind that athletes use, to help remind patients to maintain proper posture. It doesn’t force them back, but when they relax their shoulders it tugs enough to remind them to be better. That starts the process of strengthening the back muscles. That, coupled with some simple stretches and exercises, can train the body to stand how it was designed.

As you start to train your body, you might feel “stuck” or restricted when trying to stand up. That is likely due to the years of incorrect posture causing dysfunction in your spine. Chiropractic adjustments are valuable in increasing and maintaining proper movement in your back, further assisting you in your quest for the perfect posture.

Real improvement in life takes effort. There are few things that can be improved through passive activity. Great posture is something that can become natural, through a little self-awareness and discipline.

Read More

Headaches Are Not Normal

Our bodies are amazing machines that continually perform amazing processes throughout the day. We take all that for granted, and with good reason. For instance, think about how you are breathing right now. Are you breathing in while you read this? How about now? Now? Chances are, now you are thinking more about how you are breathing than you would like. When our bodies function normally, we can focus on the things around us. When our bodies are hurt, dysfunctional, or sick, we become distracted, irritable, and sometimes downright mean.

There are many reasons for our bodies to not be right, too many to even pretend to list here. One of the most common ailments is headaches. According to a Google search, and confirmed by Wikipedia, over 33 million people will suffer from migraines this year. That number only includes migraines and ignores the many other types of headaches. Hopefully you have never had a migraine, but if you have you will attest that they are miserable. All headaches, really, are dumb.

There are many things that can trigger headaches; stress, physical trauma, repetitive work, children, etc. The thing that we all want to know while suffering from a headache is “how do I get rid of this thing?”. That is where chiropractic comes in to the picture. Well, we should have been in the picture before the headache got this bad, but I’m not here to make you feel guilty. Chiropractic care has been shown to be effective to not only help resolve headaches, but also to prevent them from returning. The adjustment, among other things, helps relieve pressure in the neck and shoulders. That releases the tension in the neck muscles that support the head and move the face. That reaction alone can be enough to provide significant relief, but we don’t stop there. Using various forms of massage, including Graston Technique and trigger point therapy, the whole treatment is designed to help restore the neck and shoulders to a healthier, and less headachy, state.

If you are suffering from them, give us a call at 888-5477 to make an appointment. Headaches are common, but they are not normal. They are not supposed to happen, and they can go away.

Read More

Growing Old

Every person, while still young, knew someone who was old. They likely introduced you to sayings like:

Growing old isn’t for the faint of heart.
Growing old isn’t for sissies.
Growing old is bad, but I guess it is better than the alternative.

Growing old isn’t easy, but a wise man once said “Don’t complain about growing old, it’s a luxury denied to many”. All of us will lose to Father Time, but life doesn’t have to be full of aches and pains. We have ways to minimize and delay the pains associated with getting older.

One of the greatest methods to delay the decay of aging is movement. Our bodies crave motion. It helps lubricate our joints. It strengthens our bones and maintains our muscles. Our circulation and lymph drainage are improved. It stimulates and maintains our nervous system, including our proprioceptors that help us maintain balance. One of the main reasons that elderly patients end up in assisted living is a loss of strength and function. Moving, especially appropriate exercise, helps us keep both strength and
function late into life.

Nutrition is another great tool to delay the aging process. When fed appropriately, our body can repair and replace its aging cells effectively. Simple sugars and flours can cause inflammation that affects both our bowels and our joints. Whole grains, proteins, fruits and veggies give our bodies the means it needs to keep itself in top form.

Chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy are also crucial to staying healthy later into life. Chiropractic keeps joints moving how they are supposed to, eliminating both inflammation and compensation. It also restores proper range of motion and helps prevent many types of injuries.
Massage therapy reduces inflammation, swelling, and promotes lymph flow. They both are crucial to helping people move and feel great.

We can help you feel better, and maintain your abilities, regardless of where you are on life’s path. Whether a young buck or a grizzled veteran, give us a call and we will help you be your best.

 

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Start Being Active Today

Dr. England’s Healthy Lifestyle Advice

staff3

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

Read More