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Monthly Archives: February 2014

As a chiropractic physician in St. Paul, Minnesota, practicing for over 22 years, I have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful health care providers.  Chiropractors see a plethora of different types of patients and conditions.  They range from stiff backs, to infantile colic, to severe rare neurologic disorders.  Chiropractors have been trained to diagnose most all conditions and to decide which patients and conditions they are able to help within their scope of practice.  Chiropractors do not use medications, injections and/or surgeries.  Some patients will always need these types of treatments, and building an extensive professional network of a wide array of health care professionals is an important aspect practicing chiropractic.

welcomeThe common types of health care practitioners that make up a strong referral network include family practice doctors, orthopedic doctors, neurologists, cardiologists, physiatrists, psychologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dentists, radiologists, oncologists, ENT’s, pediatricians, and gerontologists.  This group of health care providers are the more common mainstream providers that practice in the allopathic model of health care.  It is important to introduce chiropractic to these practitioners, so they understand the types of treatment their patients may benefit from.  It is also important for the chiropractor to understand the types of treatments these professionals may offer to our patients should they need them.

There is another nontraditional group of health care providers that are very important to have in your referral network.  These types of practitioners also offer adjustmentvery valuable, but less known treatment options for a number of conditions.  They include other chiropractors that have different specialties than you offer.  There are literally hundreds of different techniques, along with multiple post-graduate degrees of study, that at times will be most appropriate for your patients.  Other non-traditional health care providers include naturopaths, homeopaths, applied kinesiologists, acupuncturists, traditional Chinese medical doctors, healing touch practitioners, Reiki therapists, massage therapists, yoga instructors, personal trainers, nutritionists, and craniosacral therapists.

It takes a lot of time, energy and leg work to build a network that is extensive and works well for patients.  At Caron Chiropractic we have been consciously building our network for over 22 years.  As a result of building our network, we not only learn about other treatments that help our patients, we also form professional relationships that are rewarding and enjoyable.  These relationships help us in our clinical expertise, and brings us peace of mind referring our patients to some of the best practitioners in the Twin Cities.  We always know our patients will be taken care of with these talented, knowledgeable and caring professionals.  We are very proud of our reputation, and receive many referrals from other health care professionals.

Author:  Dr. Matt Caron

 

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As a practicing chiropractor in St. Paul, Minnesota I work with people all day long that have neck and back pain.  There are many different causes of neck and back pain, and there are many conditions that will lead to neck and back pain.  In this blog I will talk about where neck and back pain come from and what you can do to reduce or get rid of your neck and back pain.back pain

Pain is a sensory perception.  It is relayed to the brain via the sensory nerve called a nociceptor.  When this nerve which is located in your muscles and other soft tissues, and in your joints of your neck and back become irritated, they send a message to your brain of pain.  There are many other sensory nerves such as thermoreceptors which sense heat and chiroreceptors that sense cold.  These sensory nerves are also located in the tissues of your neck and back.  Anytime one experiences pain we no for certain that a nociceptor has been activated.

Lets look at the anatomy of the neck and back, and this will lead us to the different causes of neck and back pain.  There are 7 vertebrae in your neck and 17 vertebrae in your mid and lower back.  These vertebrae are separated by discs that work as shock absorbers.  The discs are in the front of your spine.  In the back of your spine are joints called facet joints.  These joints are encapsulated and fluid filled, and protect nerves that are exiting and entering your spinal cord which goes up to your brain.  There are many muscles, tendons and ligaments that attach to these bones of your neck and back, and these soft tissueadjustment also have nociceptors located within the tissues.  Neck and back pain occurs when there is a problem in the joints of the neck and back or in the soft tissues of the neck and back.  Chiropractors locate the specific problems in your joints and soft tissues and use many techniques to fix these problems.

The most common low back problem is within the discs of the low back.  Chiropractic adjustments or manipulations are the best known cure for these problems.  If the disc problem is too severe, surgery may be required to fix the problem.  In your neck and mid back problems within the facet joints, more commonly known as subluxations, are the most common cause of neck and mid back pain.  Chiropractic adjustments along with ergonomic education and exercise is the best cure for these problems.  If you should find yourself or someone you know has neck or back pain, your best course of action is to find a local chiropractor.

Author:  Dr. Matt Caron

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Vitamin D is Shown to Improve Muscle Strength and Balance in Older Adults

Latest Research

vitamin imageScientists at the University of Western Ontario analyzed 13 studies conducted over a 30-year period to determine the effects of vitamin D on muscle strength, gait, and balance in older adults. Their findings showed that older adults taking daily doses of at least 800 to 1000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D showed improvement in muscle strength and balance.

Why This Study Was Done
Many people are deficient in vitamin D, especially older adults whose bodies have difficulty absorbing and metabolizing it. In older adults, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with falls, fractures, reduced muscle strength, and difficulties with balance and walking (gait).  Not enough vitamin D may also affect the central nervous system, including cognitive function and neuromuscular control and coordination.

Based on these age-associated changes, the researchers decided to study the effects of vitamin D supplementation on neuromuscular function in older adults, particularly when high doses of vitamin D were used.

What They Found
The researchers reviewed 714 articles published between January 1980 and November 2010 that included terms such as:  elderly, falls, balance, gait, vitamin D, and muscle strength. Using a set of pre-determined criteria that included an evaluation of the strength of the research studies, the researchers identified 13 articles that met the inclusion criteria.  Studies that included exercises combined with vitamin D were excluded since the researchers wanted to focus only on the benefits of vitamin D supplementation.

In the 13 articles that the researchers analyzed in detail, the average age of the participants was 78, with a range in ages of 63 to 99. Seven studies evaluated community dwelling older adults; six evaluated those who lived in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. The number of people in the various studies ranged from 32 to 302, the majority of whom were Caucasian.  The 13 studies had a combined total of 2,146 participants, 85% (1,830) of whom were female.

The study participants received various doses of vitamin D including one single dose of 300,000 IU, one monthly dose of 15,000 IU, daily doses below 800 IU, and daily doses of 800 to 1000 IU.

All the studies that used daily doses between 800 and 1000 IU consistently showed beneficial effects on muscle strength and balance, and nine of these studies were considered statistically significant, which means that the results were unlikely to occur by chance (an indicator of the strength or reliability of the research findings). Vitamin D supplementation was not shown to have any effect on gait, though the studies that evaluated gait were not as strong.  A single high dose of vitamin D administered weekly or monthly was not as consistent in demonstrating improvements in physical performance as daily doses. 

“Now that we know conclusively that the collective scientific literature supports the improvement of muscle strength and balance in older adults taking daily doses of at least 800 to 1000 IU of vitamin D, we understand why Vitamin D prevent falls in older adults. Our findings can help to design better studies to measure the effects of higher daily supplemental doses of vitamin D on muscle, strength, gait, and balance,” said Manuel Montero-Odasso, MD, PhD, a co-investigator of the study.

What You Can Do
In addition to improving muscle strength and balance, Vitamin D is important in maintaining good bone health and studies suggest it is also beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis or arthritis. It is important to get daily vitamin D at any age.

Vitamin D is present in foods such as salmon and milk, but the majority of it comes from sunlight.  Ten to fifteen minutes of daily sun exposure without sunscreen will provide an adequate dose.  Ironically, the advice to use sunscreen to help prevent skin cancer, is minimizing our ability to obtain enough vitamin D from the sun.  And many of us do not eat enough fish and dairy products.  So it is important for most older people to take a vitamin D supplement. Your healthcare provider can do a blood test to check the level of Vitamin D in your body, and can recommend the dose that is right for you.

This summary is from the full report titled, Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Muscle Strength, Gait, and Balance in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.  It is in the December 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS).  The report is authored by Susan W. Muir, PhD and Manuel Montero-Odasso, MD, PhD, AGSF.

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Tips for a Healthy Spine

spine

  • Do not stand bent forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time. The muscles in your low back become deconditioned in this position, which may lead to pain.

 

Lifting

  • At all times, avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your spine, especially while lifting.
  • If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.
  • If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.

Sitting

  • Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, with your head up and back straight.
  • Avoid rolling your shoulders forward (slouching).
  • Try to maintain the natural curve in your low back.

Reaching and Bending

  • When reaching for something above shoulder level, stand on a stool. Straining to reach such objects may not only hurt your mid-back and neck, but it can also bring on shoulder problems.
  • Do NOT bend over at the waist to pick up items from the floor or a table.
  • Instead, kneel down on one knee, as close as possible to the item you are lifting, with the other foot flat on the floor and pick the item up.
  • Or bend at the knees, keep the item close to your body, and lift with your legs, not your back.

Carrying

  • When carrying objects, particularly if they are heavy, keep them as close to your body as possible.
  • Carrying two small objects—one in each hand—is often easier to handle than one large one.

Healthy Diet and Exercise

  • While the proverbial jury is still out, we suspect that extra weight puts undue strain on your spine. Keep within 10 lbs. of your ideal weight for a healthier back.
  • “Beer belly” is likely the worst culprit, as it puts unwanted pressure on the muscles, ligaments and tendons in your low back.healthy diet
  • The most efficient and effective way to reduce weight is by eating a sensible diet and exercising regularly.
  • Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, particularly if you have a health condition.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping on your back puts approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine. Other positions may be better.
  • Placing a pillow under your knees while lying on your back cuts the pressure on your spine roughly in half.
  • Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees may also reduce the pressure on your back.
  • Never sleep in a position that causes a portion of your spine to hurt. Most often, your body will tell you what position is best.

Quit Smoking

Smokers have more spine pain than nonsmokers, and they also heal more slowly when they have an episode of back pain because the chemicals in tobacco smoke restrict the flow of blood to the tissues in and around your spine.

While following these instructions is no guarantee that you’ll be free from back pain for your entire life, it can certainly reduce your risk of developing it. These simple steps will help you keep your spine in good shape, making you a healthier, happier person.  Given the many responsibilities of the spine, it is quite natural for the neck and/or back to feel sore at the end of the day.

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