Monday, October 17, 2011

Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Electrical Muscle Stimulation

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) is probably the most common therapy we use at the office. EMS is the contraction of muscles by using external electrical impulses. The type of impulses used can create different effects including decreased muscle tightness and reduction of pain. 

EMS reduces muscle spasm by rapidly contracting muscles faster than the body can by itself. The fastest muscles in the body are the ones that move the eyelids, but even those can contract only about 12 times a second. EMS contracts the muscles at 150 times a second. This causes muscle fatigue and after about ten minutes, relaxation of the muscles. Once the muscles are relaxed, pain is reduced and range of motion is increased.  Used in this way, EMS is great for relieving muscle spasms or tension.  It also makes it easier to adjust people so we typically do this before we adjust our patients.

Now for the dirty little secrets…

Dirty Little Secret 1   TENS units and EMS units are really the same thing.

TENS units are those portable units that you can carry around with you. They are small enough to fit in a pocket. They actually use a slightly different current than EMS but most new TENS units have settings that can be changed to function almost exactly like EMS units. The only difference is that they may be slightly less comfortable than our big machines

Dirty Little Secret 2   TENS units are not really that expensive.

They go on sale every couple of months and I usually get some in case patients want to buy them. We have them for $50 and it includes the pads.

Dirty Little Secret 3   TENS units really aren’t that much different than the big machines we use.

Our machines might be a little bit more powerful but not by much.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kids, Backpacks and Back Pain

It’s back to school time and a lot of kids are starting to have back pain. In one study, 64% of kids reported back pain. The main culprit?  A backpack that is too heavy. 

The big question is how heavy is too heavy? A research article shed some light on this. The researcher quizzed 3,500 students and found out that those students that carried more than 20% of their body weight in a backpack had more back problems.

If your child is having back problems, weigh their backpack with their books in it. If it’s more than 20% of their body weight, try to take out some books. You can also get a rolling backpack. If that doesn’t work, call the office and bring them in for an evaluation. I can see if their spine is in line and also write a note to their school for a locker of extra set of books if necessary.

To Prevent Injuring Your Child’s Back
·        Use rolling backpacks.
·        Choose backpacks ending above the waist, with padded shoulder straps and a belt.
·        Wear backpacks on both shoulders.
·        Pull the shoulder straps snug.
·        Place heavier books closest to the back.
·        Bend your knees when lifting the backpack.
·        Get a second set of schoolbooks to keep at home.
Carry only what's necessary each day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How Much Should You Exercise

The American College of Sports Medicine has exercise guidelines for healthy adults.  The guidelines are based on current research to help people maintain good health.

Aerobic exercise - Aerobic exercise has an additive effect.  Cardiovascular benefits gained in three 10 minute exercise bouts are almost the same as those from one 30 minute exercise bout.  The recommendation is that people should perform aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week at 50%-85% of maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Unfit people can exercise at 40% of their maximum heart rate.  Exercise should be done at least 30 minutes.  Ten minute bouts of exercise can be accumulated throughout the day.

Resistance training - Several studies show that one set of 8-15 repetitions provides nearly the same strength and endurance increases as three sets. People younger than 50 should work the major muscle groups two or three days a week with weight loads that allow 8-12 repetitions. Those older than 50 should resistance train two or three days a week with weight loads that allow 10-15 repetitions.

These recommendations should be considered a minimum amount of exercise that should be performed every week.  More exercise is better.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Update on Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate

Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate are popular supplements for the treatment of arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. (the most common type) Glucosamine sulfate is a chemical found in the human body. It is used by the body to produce a variety of other chemicals that are involved in building tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and the fluid that lubricates the joints.

Joints are cushioned by the fluid and cartilage that surround them. In some people with osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down and becomes thin. This results in more joint friction, pain, and stiffness. Researchers think that taking glucosamine supplements may either increase the cartilage and fluid surrounding joints or help prevent breakdown of these substances, or maybe both.

A lot of good research article show that Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate helps people with arthritis. However, one recent very good study showed that it did not help. I’m still recommending that patients take Glucosamine and Chondroitin for arthritis but that may change if there are some more negative studies.

Glucosamine does have some interactions with drugs. You should not take Glucosamine if you are taking Warfarin (Coumadin). There are several reports showing that taking glucosamine sulfate with or without chondroitin increases the effect of Warfarin, making blood clotting even slower. This can cause bruising and bleeding that can be serious. Glucosamine may also reduce the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs so don’t take it if you are undergoing chemotherapy.

I recommend that people go to Costco or Sam’s Club to pick up this supplement because it is inexpensive and the quality is good.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Community Party on April 28 - Free and You're Invited!

Every year we have a party to thank our patients and our community for supporting our Chiropractic office. We are hosting our annual party on April 28 from 5 PM to 7 PM. Everyone that comes will get a prize. We also have a grand prize that we are giving a way. It is a netbook computer. We will be serving hot dogs and other side dishes and there will be cake.

I'll be giving away free first visits to any new patients that sign up at the party. This includes the initial examination and the first treatment. This is just our way of saying thanks to everyone.

We are also sponsoring a health fair. The following people have confirmed for the fair.

West Covina Smiles will do free dental evaluations.
Johnny Hudson from Basic Training will do free physical assessments.
Massage therapy by our very own massage therapist Liz
Deborah Minniefield will show us how to cook healthy with Tupperware
Total Resources will sell low-cost first aid and earthquake kits

We are working on a couple more people for the party.

For all you business owners, this will be the Regional Chamber of Commerce mixer for April.

We look for to seeing everyone there.

Monday, March 28, 2011

How much sleep do you need?

A good night’s sleep has lots of benefits. It can help improve memory, reduce stress, and reduce the risk of diabetes. Here’s a quick review of some recent studies.

Sleep helps your heart - A 2010 study found that C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, was higher in people who got six or fewer hours of sleep a night.
Sleep helps weight loss - Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat than those who were sleep deprived..
Live a longer life. In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night.
Sleep improves performance - A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina.
Sleep keeps you alert - A 2009 study in the journal Pediatrics found that children ages seven and eight who got less than about eight hours of sleep a night were more likely to be hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive.

How much sleep do you need?
It varies. Everyone is different. You can try this 3 Day Test to help you figure it out. Go to sleep the first night for as long as you want to try to reduce any sleep debt. Don’t set the alarm and let your body wake up naturally.
Then sleep the next two nights for as long as your body needs. If you sleep for the same amount of time or within 15 minutes both nights, that is a good indication of the amount of time you need each night.

Don’t try this test if you are sick or spent a few nights in a row sleep deprived. Here are a couple of notes

Quality is as important as quantity. If you sleep 8-9 hours a night and you still feel tired, you may not be getting good quality sleep. Try a new pillow or mattress. Making the room darker with blackout blinds or using earplugs can help.

If you sleep extra on weekends can you work off your sleep debt?
It looks as though you can to a limited extent. Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep.

Recommended Amount of Sleep

Infants 14 to 15 hours
Toddlers 12 to 14 hours
School-age children 10 to 11 hours
Adults 7 to 9 hours

Older adults need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults. You ay also need more sleep if you are pregnant.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Smoking Leads to Back Pain

Most people are aware that smoking can cause lung and mouth cancer, as well as heart disease, and lung disease. However, many people are not aware that it can also put a person at risk for back pain, osteoporosis, and bone fractures. Positive associations between current smoking and nonspecific back pain were found in 18 of 26 studies in men and 18 of 20 studies in women. I knew that a link existed but I didn’t know how strong it was. Quitting smoking not only greatly improve health but it could also mean the difference between weeks and months of recovery and time off work.

Most studies on the effects of smoking suggest the following…
1. Smokers lose bone at a faster rate than non-smokers as they age.
2. The longer you smoke and the more cigarettes you consume, the greater your risk of fracture in old age.
3. Smokers who fracture may take longer to heal than nonsmokers and may experience more complications during the healing process.
4. Quitting smoking appears to reduce the risk of low bone mass and fractures. However, it may take several years to lower a former smoker’s risk.

Just another good reason to quit smoking.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Works Best for Low Back Pain

The May issue of Consumer Reports looked at low back pain and what was effective for treating it. The Consumer Reports Health Rating Center surveyed more than 14,000 subscribers who had lower back pain in the past year and never had back surgery. More than half said pain severely limited their daily routine for a week or longer, and 80% said it recurred throughout the year. Many said the pain interfered with sleep, activities, and efforts to maintain a healthy weight. The respondents rated treatments they tried and their satisfaction with their health care providers.

The number-one rated therapy? Chiropractic. 58% of those who tried chiropractic said it helped a lot and 59% were completely or very satisfied with their doctor. Massage therapy was also effective. It was rated as being very helpful by 48% of consumers. The least effective treatment was seeing a primary care physician. The bottom line is…

Back Pain = Chiropractor

The link to the article is here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What those insurance terms really mean

It seems like every year insurance companies impose new deductibles and co-pays for their health insurance. The problem is some people don’t know what those terms actually mean. Below are a list of the common terms and what they actually mean.

Health Savings Account - Plan that allows you to contribute pre-tax money to be used for qualified medical expenses. HSA’s must be linked to a high-deductible health insurance policy. We accept HSA’s as payment.

Coinsurance - Money that an individual is required to pay for services after a deductible has been paid. In some health care plans, co-insurance is called “copayment.” Coinsurance is often specified by a percentage. For example, the employee pays 20 percent toward the charges for a service and the employer or insurance company pays 80 percent. Most PPO’s have coinsurance,

Copayment is a predetermined (flat) fee that an individual pays for health care services, in addition to what the insurance covers. For example, $15 copayment for each office visit, regardless of the type or level of services provided during the visit. Copayments are not usually specified by percentages. Most HMO’s have Co-pays.

Deductible - the amount an individual must pay for health care expenses before insurance covers the costs. Often, insurance plans are based on yearly deductible amounts. Most PPO’s have a deductible and most HMO’s do not have a deductible

Effective date - the date your insurance coverage begins.

In-network refers to providers or health care facilities that are part of a health plan’s network of providers with which it has negotiated a discount. You usually pay less when using an in-network provider. We are in-network with most insurance companies (Anthem, Blue Shield, Kaiser, Cigna, Aetna, etc...)

Pre-existing condition is a medical condition that is excluded from coverage by an insurance company because the condition was believed to exist prior to the individual obtaining a policy from the particular insurance company.

Pre-Authorization - some insurance requires a primary care physician to approve treatment before it will pay for it.