Mother’s day is just around the corner and as I’m writing this, sadly the weather doesn’t look like it’s going to be very nice---- fingers crossed that this changes so that mommas can get outside and enjoy the day. Speaking of moms, I often get asked if chiropractic care can be helpful for expecting moms. The answer is yes! Throughout pregnancy and even up to 5 months following a baby’s birth, mom’s body produces a hormone called relaxin. This hormone helps the body’s muscles and ligaments relax so that they can expand to accommodate the growing baby. This hormone also peaks during delivery to allow for easier delivery. After pregnancy, this hormone helps the body readjust to its pre-pregnancy position while ligaments regain their strength. All of these changes can definitely lead to more strain on the joints of the body leading to discomfort and even chronic pain. This is where chiropractic care can come in-- especially to maintain low back, pelvic, and hip balance or alignment. This can help with mom's discomfort as well as help the baby be in the best position for delivery. Chiropractic training teaches safe stretches, exercises, and adjustments to help reduce stress on mom’s body. A common area that expecting moms experience discomfort is in the hips and SI joints or even sciatic pain. Restoring motion in these areas with stretching and chiropractic adjustments helps mom feel like she can walk easier and with less pain. This makes it a little easier for mom to stay active during her pregnancy.
How can chiropractic help during postnatal care? Chiropractic care can help a new mother heal quicker, feel more comfortable and mobile so she can best care for herself and her baby during this new phase. Often after birth, the mother’s pelvic biomechanics change – these changes can bring discomfort with walking, nursing and sleeping. Chiropractic care can restore the pelvic balance with similar adjustments, exercises and stretches that were used during prenatal care. Chiropractic care has been shown to prevent common postpartum concerns such as carpal tunnel or even numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. Adjustments can also be beneficial to restore motion to the neck and thoracic (mid back) region due to positions during breastfeeding, bottle feeding or rocking babies to sleep. There is a tendency for new moms to flex forward for long periods of time which can aggravate the neck and mid back area. Carrying car seats with infants in them also alters biomechanics. I always like to chat with new moms about finding ways to do these activities that puts the least amount of stress on their neck and back.
Chiropractic care helps not only mommas but their babies too. Delivery and birth is tough on both mom and baby. Oftentimes, there is a lot of stress on the baby’s head, neck, and shoulders during birth which can lead to misalignments in the upper spine. Gentle adjustments have been shown to help with feeding, reflux, and colic. Caring for a new baby is challenging, stressful, and tiring--- but in the end it’s worth it.
Happy Mother’s Day all you moms out there! However you’re spending your day, I hope you make it all about you.
Everytime I come back from a getaway, I realize how important it is to take breaks in life. Whether it’s a week-long vacation, a quick weekend escape, or even just taking time for yourself on a daily and weekly basis. Taking breaks are critical for your health — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Good rest and relaxation allows you to decrease stress, increase happiness, and come back recharged ready to tackle your day-to-day activities.
Unfortunately, a lot of times when we travel (myself included!), it can be way too easy to let our healthy habits slip — which can counteract some of the amazing health benefits of taking a vacation in the first place! So, here are 4 quick tips to help you stay healthy while traveling:
1. Be Conscious of Your Nutrition
Nutrition is something that can have one of the highest levels of impact on your health — including when you’re on vacation. Now don’t get me wrong, I still have vacation meals when I’m traveling – I’m a huge foodie. While eating is one of the things I give myself the most leeway with on vacation, I am still aware of the foods I’m eating.
Here are some easy guidelines:
All those suggestions might seem like a lot to keep track of or think about at first — but even starting with baby steps can make a huge difference!
2. Drink Enough Water
It’s so important to stay well-hydrated with plenty of water! This might seem basic, but it’s easy to forget about when you’re out of your normal routine. Neglecting your water intake can affect your energy levels, digestion, mood, and even cause headaches — none of which allow you to fully enjoy your trip. A good goal is half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
3. Do Something Active
I used to hardly ever exercise on vacations. I thought, “It’s vacation – I should be able to just completely relax and do absolutely nothing if I want to”. I’ve realized that working out on vacation actually makes me feel better and enjoy my trip more. Getting some light exercise will help you stay energized and boost your happy hormones, not to mention help offset some of the vacation meals you’re bound to have. You can do a pool workout, play tennis, walk or run around outside, or go to a workout room.
4. Get Plenty of Rest and Relaxation
One of the main reasons you’re probably going on vacation is to relax, right? Make sure you’re not sabotaging your relaxation efforts by trying to pack too much action into one trip. Engage in relaxing activities every day — whether it’s reading a book for fun, basking in the sunshine, getting a massage, or watching the sun set.
Allow yourself to detach from all the tasks on your to-do list and responsibilities waiting for you back home. Work on being fully present in the moment! And don’t skimp on sleep! This way you’ll be able to come home well-rested and recharged!
Your action step for today is this: Plan your next vacation! It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive or a week-long trip. It can be as simple as taking a day-trip or a relaxing stay-cation. Just decide where you’re going and when, put it on your calendar, get excited for it, and stick to it!
I often get asked, “How can I know if my animal may benefit from chiropractic care?” One of the easiest things to notice is if your pet is in pain. Some common pain indicators are yipping or yelping, limping, dragging a paw or hoof, licking a certain area not related to allergies or a skin condition. Some of the more subtle things to notice is if your animal has a behavioral change. For example, do they suddenly have a tough time jumping up on the couch? Do you have to coax them to go upstairs when it’s time for bed? Are they holding their head down when walking? Are they eating throughout the day? Did they stop using their litter box? Is it difficult for your horse to turn or collect? Are they bucking when you ride them on the trail?
Animals have nervous systems just like humans do. The nervous system not only sends pain signals but it also tells the rest of the body what to do. This system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. When structural shifts occur in this system, we see animals having a difficult time walking, running, or even turning their head. People wonder how these structural shifts occur for their furry friends. Sometimes it’s from playing too rough or running in too deep of snow. Other times it’s the repetitive jumping on and off the couch or bed. Sometimes just from aging. Animal chiropractors are trained to evaluate the nervous system and adjust any areas that aren’t moving or functioning properly. More often than not our animals do not develop symptoms until they are well past the initial stage of fixation. When this occurs, a common result is decreased motion at a joint, or what we chiropractors call a “subluxation”. Decreased motion can lead to decreased nerve function, muscle atrophy, and overactive inflammatory processes furthering potential joint breakdown. Chiropractic care uses objective indicators to locate these restrictions and then delivers a high velocity-low amplitude gentle adjustment to reduce the fixation. If you’re wondering how it’s even possible to adjust a horse, I actually stand on a large block next to the horse so I’m as tall as they are. This allows me to feel each of the vertebrae and figure out which ones aren’t in the proper position. When your animal’s body is moving and functioning like it should, it heals more effectively, and your animal will be happier and in less pain.
If your animal is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s advisable that you consult your veterinarian about finding a chiropractor to evaluate your loved one.
Since moving to Land O’ Lakes full time, I’ve taken the opportunity to explore some of the hiking and walking trails hidden in the northwoods. Winter is often the most sedentary time of year for people, but February is American Heart month--- and one of the best things you can do for your heart is to do some kind of exercise several times a week. Walking and hiking is a great way to do this--- make sure to wear shoes with good traction. If you tend to not be the most coordinated in the snow, I’d recommend checking out a pair of Yaktrax or a similar brand to improve the traction under your shoes. Recent studies show spending 20-30 minutes in nature walking or even sitting actually reduces stress in your body by lowering the hormone cortisol. Decreasing stress is also linked to decreasing risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol, plaque buildup, and more. So take that “nature pill” -- your heart will thank you.
Most of the hikes my wife and I have gone on have been ones that people in the community have told us we have to check out! We started with the renowned Bond Falls which provides some picturesque views along with a beginner hike for all ages. We’ve visited in the spring and summer but have never ventured over there in the winter until now. It’s invigorating to hear the rushing water and breathe in the cool crisp air. Our next adventure was the trail leading to the O Kun-de-kun falls. This was definitely a longer hike but the whole trail was packed down nicely. The day we made it out there, the falls were completely frozen over but the views along the way were splendid. The silence of the woods was refreshing and brought a sense of calm that we all could benefit from.
My favorite hike so far was Star Lake Nature Trail- we took the loop that mostly stayed around the lake. We were surrounded by countless red pine trees and in those moments it made me feel so small. I enjoyed that this trail was a loop- so the entire hike was different. While trying to find more fun trails in the area, I downloaded the app “Map It Vilas Co”--- in doing so, I found my wife and I’s next adventure. We’re going to head to Heart Lake Trail for Valentine’s Day (how cheesy lol). The phone app is cool because it lists a ton of trails in Vilas County and gives you tips on how to find the trail and where to park. (This is especially helpful if someone hasn’t told you about the trail in person. Sometimes these trails really are hidden- but I’m sure those are some of the best trails to hike). The app also tells you how long the trail is and different things to expect like if dogs are allowed on the trail or not.
If you have a favorite hiking trail or secret nature spot, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know! I’ll add it to our list of must go places.
It’s official, winter is here and the snow is here (hopefully to stay). For all you snowmobilers out there I know you’re hoping for more snow to build up that base on the trails. For everyone out there, I’m here to remind you of some safety tips when shoveling snow to prevent you from getting injured this winter. I’m sure you’ve heard most of these tips before but reminders are always helpful. The more of these tips you can apply to your shoveling days the better off you’re going to be.
To begin, make sure you start yourself out on the right foot. Do some gentle stretching before you even get bundled up. Try to focus on gently stretching your hamstrings, quads, calves, and shoulders. You can even do a short warmup of simply walking around the house. While doing this make sure to hydrate by drinking a glass of water. Next make sure to dress in some layers so you stay warm. Just because you’re exercising and potentially sweating doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have warm layers on.
Choose the right shovel for the job! Many places now sell ergonomic shovels that are easier on your back. They’re generally lighter and may even have a curved handle which keeps your back straighter while you shovel which again puts less strain on your body. This is a new one to me, but I heard it can be helpful to wax your shovel so the snow slides right off. You can use floor wax, car wax, or even cooking spray.
As far as proper body mechanics goes, try to focus on pushing the snow straight ahead of you. When you need to lift the snow make sure to bend from your knees and lift with your legs. If you’re shoveling correctly, the following day your legs should be sore, not your back. You should also focus on activating your core (ab muscles). By activating your core, you’ll be protecting your back. Imagine pulling your belly button in towards your spine as if you were walking into a cold pool. If you only remember one of these shoveling tips, remember this one: If you need to throw the snow in the opposite direction you’re facing, turn by moving your feet, don't twist your back (twisting is when most shoveling injuries occur)! Also when lifting your shovel, try to hold the shovel closer to your body instead of reaching out in front of yourself. Next we’re going to use some brain power too--- when shoveling try to switch between being right hand and left hand dominant so both sides of your body get an equal workout. You can even change the grip on the hand holding the lower part of the shovel by having your palm under or palm over.
While shoveling, take your time and take breaks to rest and drink some water. Get a good workout but don’t push yourself too far. Know your limits-- if it’s too much, find someone to help. If you start experiencing chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or left-sided arm pain stop immediately and seek medical attention.
Over the last 7 years of practice one thing has become more and more common. A major increase of people are turning to alternative therapy to help with everything from everyday stress to muscle aches, insomnia, anxiety and chronic pain. Most clients do not divulge their personal stories over the phone, but after 60 minutes in the float tank many new floaters like to chat for a few minutes. Some are curious about the "magic" that happens in the tank, but others want to share personal stories or their reason for seeking floatation.
Before we get much further into the science behind the effects of floating I’m going to take a few minutes to explain what floatation therapy is. Basically there is a pod or a room filled with around 250 gallons of warm water and 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. This creates a density similar to the Dead Sea. When people lay back in the water, they effortlessly float on top which allows the entire body to relax and decompress. A traditional float has no lights and no sound which allows the brain to literally slow down its brain waves. While this may sound like a lot at first, modern day float pods have different colors of dim light and you can even listen to relaxing music. This helps to meet people where they’re at--- it’s not very often that we can literally turn off all sensory input.
Most recently, we have started to see more people with an interest in floating for chronic pain as well as autoimmune diseases such as Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid arthritis. Float therapy can improve the lives of people with chronic pain and today specifically we will be focusing on Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is the most common musculoskeletal condition in the US after osteoarthritis. There are currently around 10 million people in the US diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, yet it is not well understood and is often misdiagnosed. People who have Fibromyalgia often experience: depression, decreased pain threshold, chronic pain and incapacitating fatigue. Here is the good news though...
Floating has been shown to enhance:
Endorphins- our body’s natural pain killers
Dopamine - associated with feelings of motivation
Serotonin- contributes to feelings of overall wellbeing and happiness, impacts sleep
Floating has also been shown to lower:
Adrenaline - "the fight or flight" hormone
Cortisol - a steroid hormone released in response to stress
Norepinephrine - a marker of nervous system stress
Floatation therapy is a wonderful, safe, natural way to reduce the long term effects of chronic disease. The above findings have been researched across the country and the Laureate Institute for Brain Research has spent a lot of time using Functional MRI’s during people’s floats to specifically map their brain and nervous system throughout a float. Floating really has shown to play a huge role in slowing down the brain’s waves to allow people to fall into a deep relaxation.
We all benefit when we find natural ways to manage our stress better! Our immune system gets a boost and we feel invigorated and revitalized overall.
This is a brief reaction from someone who floated at my previous office, “My experience with floating was incredible. I floated with no lights, no music and no expectations to get the most out of it. As a single mom, getting alone time away from the noise and chaos is a luxury and floating provides just that. All my stress and worries melted away in the tank and for the first time in a very long time, I experienced beautiful silence and complete relaxation. I highly recommend floating. You will love it!”
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I don’t know about you, but this usually involves reflecting on the year, family time, eating yummy food, and watching football.
Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on what we’re thankful for which is super important especially after everything 2020 has thrown at us. This year I am very thankful to have moved my practice to the NorthWoods of Wisconsin. Every summer since I was a little kid, I found myself coming up to Lando to visit more and more weekends. The past couple years I have been even more touristy and come up in the winter to go snowmobiling. It’s been my dream to eventually move to the area full time and it became a reality much sooner than I thought it would. I can’t believe how welcoming the community has been which is very refreshing compared to the suburbs of Chicago. I’m excited to be working with all of the horses in the area and to be able to help everyone with their aches and pains this winter. I’m going to be honest, I am a little nervous for the long winter--- if you have any advice about how to get through it, feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.
I hope that you all find a way to still be with your family in whatever way possible. As for the yummy food, here are some tips to enjoy Thanksgiving but not overindulge. I recommend trying to snack on some healthy snacks before going in for all the dinner favorites. Go for the fruit and veggie tray first and try to fill up on that and then snack on the other goodies. Make sure you stay hydrated during the day by drinking some water. Oftentimes, we think we’re hungry when in reality our body is really craving some water. The human body is 60% water! (About 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration.) So make it a goal to drink enough water for the rest of 2020 and onward. Remember, don’t eat too fast and try to pace yourself at dinner-- it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain that it’s full. So take your time with the turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing- enjoy your company and enjoy your day. Try to have one or two small pieces of dessert. During the holiday season, we tend to be eating more cookies, candy, pies, and sugary treats. While they taste great, sugar has been found to tank the immune system. I’m not going to be a grinch and say stop eating sugar entirely, but moderation is best here. As I’m writing this, the weather is gorgeous-- I’m sure it won’t be this warm in a couple weeks. But, depending on what the weather looks like on Thanksgiving, try to take a walk after dinner. This will help your food digest and give you some time to enjoy the fresh air.
I don’t know about you but watching football is another family tradition of mine. Trivia question of the day: How many NFL teams have a Doctor of Chiropractic on staff?
If you said all 32 teams, ding ding ding, you’re right!
I know what you’re thinking- haven’t all the teams always had a chiropractor on staff? The answer is no. As of 2002 only 33% of the NFL teams had a chiropractor on staff. As the number of concussions have increased, length of careers has increased, the desire to lessen time away because of an injury, and the desire to PREVENT injuries has increased— so has the desire for Chiropractic care. The average professional football chiropractor delivers 30-50 adjustments per week in the regular season. To put this into perspective, each NFL team is allowed to have 53 players on its roster.Chiropractic care in the NFL is used both to help rehabilitate injuries but also to help prevent injuries. Many football players have commented that chiropractic care has helped tremendously with their neck and low back pain as well as rehabbing shoulder and knee injuries. Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers’ dad is actually a chiropractor so Aaron has been getting adjusted since he was a kid. He has talked about how chiropractic and living a healthy lifestyle in general has kept him in good shape both on and off the field.
I wish you a very happy thanksgiving full of food, fun, laughter, family, and football. I also want to say that I’m very thankful to the Land O’ Lakes and surrounding towns’ warm welcomes to myself and my wife and we look forward to helping the whole community for many years to come.
Who has noticed that the sun is starting to go down earlier and earlier? Sadly, this means summer has come to an end and fall is here. This also means that cold and flu “season” is around the corner as well. Who here doesn’t want to catch the first round? I have a handful of tips that will help you boost your immune system so that you can avoid the fall sniffles.
Corrective chiropractors work with the nervous system which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Our brain is the master controller of the body- this is what tells our heart to beat, our lungs to breathe, and even for our food to digest. The brain also controls any pain signals, numbness, tingling, and temperature differences. Our brain is our power station similar to the power stations that supply our homes with electricity. From there, nerve impulses travel from the brain, down the spinal cord and out to the rest of the body. This is similar to electricity traveling through the transformer, into the house, circuit breaker, through wires, to the lamp wires, which then lights the light bulb. If the wiring in the house is bad, you can flip the switch on and off 100 times, but the light bulb will never light up. In a similar sense, if your nervous system has interference, your brain can tell your body to do something a 100 times, and if there is this interference, the body will not respond. Dr. Doug is a corrective chiropractor in Land O' Lakes who tracks down these interferences in the nervous system, corrects them, and then the body is able to heal.
Many people ask us how these misalignments occur. Nowadays, we spend a lot more time seated at desks staring at a computer all day. This alone puts the spine under a lot of physical stress. We also consider bigger accidents like car accidents, sports injuries, major falls, and even birth trauma.
Normal structure for the spine is to be nice and straight from the front with level hips, but from the side there are three perfect curves- one in the neck, mid back, and low back. Many people understand that major misalignments called scoliosis can cause extreme pain and can cause other body systems to have complications. What a lot of people don’t realize is that smaller misalignments also play a role in our overall health. According to the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research, 2013, “76% of those patients reported a mental/emotional improvement as well as positive changes in stress and life enjoyment over a period of several months following chiropractic care.” Some benefits of corrective chiropractic care include correcting spinal misalignments, relieving nerve compression, alleviating pain, reducing headaches, improving quality of sleep, boosting the immune system, and reducing stress- just to name a few.
One of the things our patients at Up North Wellness frequently ask is, "I’m feeling so much better- my headaches and numbness in my hands is gone—I know my sister would benefit from corrective chiropractic but she’s in another state. How can she find a doctor that specializes in corrective chiropractic if she doesn’t live here in the Land O’ Lakes or Vilas County area?” After being asked this a few times, we put together a list of questions to ask a doctor of chiropractic before you start care to see if they actually perform corrective chiropractic care. If they answer at least 5 of these questions with a YES then you can be very confident that they are corrective doctors.