Staying Healthy as a Weekend Warrior
Millions of people participate in sports each weekend as a way to stay active and stay connected to their friends. Inevitably as we age, the likelihood of an unexpected injury creeps up; so how can you stay healthy as a weekend warrior? You may be surprised to learn that the proactive steps you take during the week to stay well will directly impact your ability to keep enjoying your weekend sports.
Why it Matters:
Weekend sports such as a softball game may last a few hours. If you enjoy hiking or mountain biking, you may be looking at 4-6 hours of sports activities each weekend. Either way, it’s a short amount of time compared to the number of hours you spend working each week. That is why taking daily, proactive steps with your health are so important. Stretching to improve your mobility, strengthening to improve your support, and moving through your entire range of motion can help you feel more energized each day and potentially reduce your risk of injury on the weekends.
- Weekend warriors have a 40% lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.
- At least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise is recommended each week.
- Regular exercise during the week may help reduce your risk of injury on the weekends.
Building a new health habit takes time. Using your smartwatch or a health app is a great way to receive reminders to get up and stretch and move your body. The small steps you take to maintain a balance of strength and flexibility will help you continue to enjoy your weekends. Getting older doesn’t mean you need to stop playing sports, but it does mean that you should be smart about your approach.
Why Pro Athletes Choose Chiropractic
For over 100 years, professional athletes of all kinds have used chiropractic care to recover, reduce their likelihood of injury, and even get an edge in performance. But what used to be a secret is now well-known, and chiropractic care is used by sports teams from high school right up through the pros. Historically, the medical staff of pro sports teams have been focused on helping athletes recover from injuries rather than finding ways to improve their performance (that was left to the coaches). Chiropractors provide a unique bridge between the player, coach, and medical team by focusing on injury prevention, mobility, and performance.
Why it Matters:
Pro sports are big businesses, and athletes, coaches, and owners always maximize their talent. What began as a way to reduce injuries has advanced into a way to improve performance. New research shows how spinal adjustments can influence the brain, spinal cord, and even muscle strength. Here are three exciting findings from the research.
- Motor control and movement patterns can be influenced by receiving a spinal adjustment.
- Spinal adjustments can alter how you process pain.
- Increases in muscle strength have been found after a spinal adjustment.
Pro athletes choose chiropractic for many different reasons. For some, it’s the focus on mobility, while others are looking for a performance edge. No matter what drives an athlete to seek out a chiropractor’s expertise, one thing is for sure- the use of chiropractic care in competitive athletics is here to stay.
Can an Adjustment Help My Athletic Performance?
You may have heard that chiropractic care can help improve your athletic performance. Is it true? The truth is that many athletes work with chiropractors to improve their performance. Chiropractors unique outlook on health and well-being is a perfect match for athletes and people looking to stay active. To perform at your highest level, you need to optimize your body’s structure and function.
Why it Matters:
Sports keep getting more competitive. Even a slight edge can make the difference between success and failure. Athletes of all ages are always looking for a natural advantage that can help improve their perfor- mance. Exciting new research has shown that spinal adjustments can influence muscle strength, balance, and endurance. Here are the three key takeaways:
- Pain can reduce your strength, balance, and endurance.
- Spinal adjustments can improve joint and tissue motion.
- Chiropractic patients have been found to have improved strength and endurance .
Proactively working with a chiropractor, whether you are in pain or not, is a smart idea for athletes of all ability levels. Assessing your movement patterns, making adjustments when necessary, and helping you craft an at-home exercise plan are just a few of the ways chiropractors help athletes improve their performance.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Sports Injuries
As an athlete, there is nothing worse than being sidelined with an injury. Many athletes report that recovery’s mental aspects are just as hard, if not harder, than the physical recovery. With the proper plan of action, many sports injuries can be prevented. Improper training, incorrect stretching routines, and a lack of a good warm-up can lead to an increased likelihood of sprains, strains, and muscle injuries.
Why it Matters:
Developing a fitness plan that includes dynamic stretching, strength training, and cardiovascular exercise can help decrease your chance of injury. Each aspect of your plan requires movement or biomechanics. Biomechanics is the science of how your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments work together to produce movement. Ensuring that you have optimal biomechanics is critical if you hope to reduce your chance of injury. Altered biomechanics in one body joint can lead to compensations in others resulting in pain, increased risk of injury, or potentially advanced degeneration.
- Take time to move through your bodies full range of motion each day.
- Alternative training different muscles groups every other day.
- Schedule periodic movement assessments to improve your biomechanics.
Movement assessments are an essential part of every chiropractic evaluation. Chiropractors are trained to carefully examine your biomechanics and provide both passive and active ways to improve them. No two people move the same, which is why having a qualified healthcare professional analyze your movement is so important. By identifying altered biomechanics before you have pain and discomfort, you may not only be able to reduce your risk of injury but maybe even improve your performance.
The Underappreciated Health Benefits of Being a Weekend Warrior. Harvard Health Publishing. 2017. Impact of Spinal Manipulation on Cortical Drive to Upper and Lower Limb Muscles. Brain Sciences. 2017. The Effects of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation on Central Processing of Pain. Scientific Reports. 2019.
Neurophysiological Effects of Spinal Manipulation. Spine Journal. 2002.
Effects of Chiropractic Care on Strength, Balance, and Endurance. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2020.
Preventing Sports Injuries. University of Rochester Medical Center. 2023.
Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy Result in Better Long-Term Outcome? Spine. 2011.
Teens and Back Pain and Sports
Chiropractors treat a lot of teenagers who are dealing with back pain. While many of them carry heavy backpacks at school during the day, it’s also not unusual for teenage athletes to experience strains and pains thanks to the after school sports they play such as football, basketball and tennis.
Typically teens have strong and healthy bodies, so you don’t think they’d need a chiropractor, right? But the reality is that many teens are dealing with back pain problems these days because they’re doing repetitive or intense movements in sports like gymnastics, baseball and bowling. One bad twist and they could be in terrible pain! Just like adults, teens can experience injuries when they’re engaging in sports.
Teens often think they’re invincible, so they want to show off to friends in the weight room by lifting weights that are seriously too heavy for them to handle! Or they practice for hours on end, doing the same movements over and over again, striving for perfection in things like tennis serves or trying to hit a baseball or softball pitch. They’re wearing themselves out. Furthermore, teens often don’t do much physical activity for long stretches of time– think summer vacation– and then overdo it when it comes time to stand out on their sports team.
If you’re a teen who has been dealing with severe back pain that has lasted more than four weeks, you should definitely see a chiropractor. If the pain wakes you up in the night, you’ve experienced sudden (and unexplained) weight loss, or you’ve had trouble walking, then your back pain might need specialized treatment.
From posture correction to stretching exercises, a chiropractor can work with a teen and help them overcome the back pain they’ve experienced from school stress and/or sports injuries. Call and schedule an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic, located at 255 Highway 97, #2A, in Forest Lake, Minnesota. Our number is 651-464-0800 or you can email [email protected].
Tired? Maybe You’re Anemic
Have you been feeling tired lately? Maybe you’re anemic. If your body’s tissues aren’t getting adequate oxygen, you might lack enough healthy red blood cells. This is called “anemia,” also known as low hemoglobin, and it can make you feel weak and tired. Other symptoms can include pale skin, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain and cold hands and feet.
If your body isn’t making enough red blood cells, or you’ve been bleeding to the point where you’re losing red blood cells more quickly than they can be replaced, you might be anemic; Your body could also be destroying red blood cells, too, for whatever reason. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body. In order to produce red blood cells, your body needs iron, vitamin B-12, folate and other nutrients from foods you eat.
How’s your current diet? Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals? A diet low in iron, vitamin B-12, etc., could be contributing to your fatigue. Anemia can also develop thanks to intestinal disorders, chronic conditions, and, for women, menstruation/pregnancy issues.
So, what can you do to combat anemia? You should make sure you get more nutritious foods in you. For starters, iron-rich foods can help– these include beef, beans, lentils, dried fruit and dark green leafy vegetables. Then you should get more vitamin B-12 from things like meat, dairy products, and fortified cereals. It doesn’t hurt to also boost your vitamin C intake through citrus juices, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries and melons. And you’ll want to improve your folate intake by eating green peas, kidney beans, peanuts and enriched grain products like bread, pasta or rice.
If not treated, anemia can cause problems, including poor immunity, severe weakness and possible heart failure. Those most likely to experience anemia include women, infants, people over 65 and those taking blood thinners.
In order to help manage anemia, follow a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and wash your hands often to avoid infection. Talk to your doctor(s) about any changing symptoms, and perhaps keep a diary of your symptoms over time. Additionally, avoid certain foods and drinks while battling anemia, including coffee, tea, milk, egg whites and soy protein.
Essential Fatty Acids For Health
Your body benefits from essential fatty acids. The two primary essential fatty acids are popularly known as omega-6 and omega-3. Your body doesn’t produce them on its own, so you have to eat certain foods to get them.
So what should you eat in order to get essential fatty acids into your body? For omega-3’s, green foods are great, such as kale, collards, chard, parsley, etc. Dark green veggies as well as cereal grasses (wheat/barley) will provide your body with omega-3’s. You can also get them from flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, soybeans and tofu. As for omega 6’s, you can consume nuts, seeds, grains, legumes and dairy.
How do they help your body? Essential fatty acids help your body form healthy cell membranes as well as regulate blood pressure, liver function, immune/inflammatory responses, blood clotting, etc. They also help with proper thyroid and adrenal activity and the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. As if that’s not enough, they also support healthy skin and hair, help breakdown cholesterol, and help with hormone production. No wonder they’re called essential, right?
Related to the idea of essential fatty acids are the terms “saturated” and “unsaturated” fat. Saturated fats have no double bonds in their chemical structure and are a solid consistency at room temperature. You’d find them in animal meats like beef and pork, as well as plant oils, dairy products (cheese, butter), processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, sausages), and pre-packaged snacks such as chips, cookies and pastries. Ideally, limit these foods to 5% or less of your daily caloric intake so you don’t overdo it on saturated fat. If you consume too much saturated fat over time, you might end up with heart disease. Unsaturated fats contain one or more double bonds in their chemical structure and they’re typically liquid at room temperature. You can get unsaturated fat from nuts, salmon, tuna, olives and avocados. Unsaturated fat is considered “good” for you, so eat some of the aforementioned foods in your diet to improve your overall health.
It can be challenging to figure out what to eat and what to avoid, but the general rule is that natural foods are better for your body than pre-packaged foods that may have added sugar, salt and/or fat in them.
Chiropractic Care & Arthritis
Are your joints “all messed up” and feeling painful? Do you have reduced range of motion? Arthritis is no joke! It means pain, swelling and reduced range of motion in the affected area, and it can hamper your everyday life. You’re not able to do the things you used to do and that can be depressing. Chiropractic care, though, can help people with arthritis. You can feel better and get back to the person you want to be.
As people age, their joints can wear down over time… and “osteoarthritis” is what this is called when things start degenerating to the point where the cartilage between joints is less, such that joints rub together causing friction, leading to stiffness, swelling and pain. Ugh! That said, some things can help: staying fit and active, building and strengthening muscles, and using cold/hot therapies can be some short-term solutions. Long-term, though, it’s best to seek chiropractic care where your chiropractor works on restoring alignment to the spine and other joints. By using hand manipulation to help restore proper nerve communication, your chiropractor helps the body heal itself, giving you improved health and wellness.
What about rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis? Rather than being degenerative in nature, these types of arthritis involve inflammation in the joints and tissues surrounding them. There’s a decrease in joint tissue and/or fluid such that inflammation causes pain. A chiropractor can make adjustments to restore nerve communication and improve blood flow.
Want to slow down or stop the progression of arthritis? Make an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, MN. Chiro care can help reduce the pain, naturally, and improve your ability to do the things you want to do, like knit or play sports. Call Lakewoods Chiropractic at 651-464-0800 to schedule your appointment. And for more information about this topic, see this page: https://lakewoodschiropractic.com/arthritis-healthy-aging-osteoporosis/
Many people use butter, salt or oil to enhance the flavor of the food(s) they eat. However, butter, salt and oil can help a person put on pounds… Is there a good alternative for flavor enhancement? How about spices and herbs?
If you’re trying to lose weight, spices and herbs can help. Many are anti-inflammatory and can increase your metabolism. Look for extracts that are pure unsweetened extracts. Also consider minced or jarred items containing the item itself with just water and minimal salt– and no added oil. Some good things you can use to spice up your food include ginger and garlic.
Making a stir-fry? Try adding toasted sesame seeds. Heating up soup? Add some bay leaves for flavor.
If and when you like your food HOT and spicy, try adding cayenne pepper, ground white pepper, whole peppercorns (or ground), or ground Jamaican allspice. If you love salt, try using Himalayan pink salt– the small grain variety. And if you just like adding some flavorful additions to your meals, you can add cinnamon, clover, curry powder, or nutmeg.
What are some good herbs that enhance the foods you eat? Basil, cilantro, dill weed, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme are all healthy choices.
Other ways to add flavor to your meals include using leeks/onions, lemon juice, shallots and scallions.
All too often, people reach for “what’s there.” So, if the fridge has butters and oils, and there’s white table salt around, too, they’re going to automatically use them. Why not make a couple changes at your house or apartment? Buy and try a couple spices and herbs and see what you like. You might discover that you absolutely love basil leaves on your pizza or cinnamon on your morning toast. There’s a world of flavor available to people beyond the typical butter, salt and oil mainstays!
Chiropractic Care For Neck Pain
Got neck pain? Maybe it’s your posture… or the fact that you’re looking down at your phone all the time. Maybe you were in a car crash. Or perhaps you don’t have a decent pillow and the way you sleep is causing you chronic pain. Your pain could be due to a number of things, including facet joint sprain, whiplash, degenerative joint syndrome of the neck, cervical sprain injuries or cervical intervertebral disc injuries… all of which are big words chiropractors use, but you’re probably just thinking, “My neck hurts and I want the pain to go away!”
You’re in luck: chiropractors treat neck pain. They can use spinal manipulation or manual therapy to help you feel better. There’s the flexion-distraction technique, whereas a chiropractor uses his or her hands to do a spinal manipulation involving a pumping action on the intervertebral disc. Instead of using direct force this is a gentle way to relieve neck pain. There’s also an instrument-assisted manipulation technique involving a hand-held instrument that can apply force without thrusting into the spine. Or, perhaps, your chiropractor will use a gentle thrusting technique to help restore joint movement.
Chiropractors also use manual therapies to relieve neck pain. They’ll work on diagnosing and treating muscle tension. They might employ manual joint stretching and resistance techniques, therapeutic massage, and/or trigger point therapy in order to relieve tight, painful points on a muscle and/or relax tense muscles in general.
Neck pain can also be relieved using interferential electrical stimulation or ultrasound. Furthermore, your chiropractor will probably recommend therapeutic exercises you can do at home afterward, in order to help improve the range of motion in your neck.
In Forest Lake, Minnesota, the chiropractor to visit for neck pain relief is Dr. Gerard at Lakewoods Chiropractic. Use the contact page to make an appointment: https://lakewoodschiropractic.com/contact-us/
Preventing Vision Loss Naturally
When you’re young you don’t think about vision loss… but then you pass the age of 40, and suddenly people around you are telling you about their vision problems and you’re wondering, “What about me?”
Many adults over the age of 40 have trouble seeing clearly at close distances, typically when reading or working on a computer. As we age, we most likely have a change in our ability to focus. This is called presbyopia and it progresses over time. Common age-related vision changes involve the need for more light in order to see as well as you used to, as well as problems with glare, reduced tear production (dry eyes), and changes in color perception making it harder to distinguish between certain color shades.
No one wants to experience vision loss, right? So what are some tips for preventing vision loss naturally?
Do what you can to manage your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Eat “right” to protect your sight! Instead of consuming junk food, sugary sweets and fried foods as mainstays of your “diet,” you should make some changes. Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily intake. Dark leafy greens are so good for you. Eat more spinach, kale or collard greens. Add blueberries to your breakfast routine. And eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut.
When you “eat right” and exercise regularly, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight. Ideally, you want to avoid being overweight or obese because that can lead to diabetes which can lead to vision loss.
When playing sports or doing activities around the home or yard, wear protective eyewear. Safety shields and goggles, for instance, will help protect your eyes from damage. Also, when you’re outside, it’s a good idea to wear sunglasses, since they’ll protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
If you spend a lot of time looking at a handheld device (such as a tablet or phone), or you stare at a computer screen for hours on end, please take some breaks to give your eyes a rest!
Finally, if you smoke, quit. Smoking does not help your eyesight! It can increase your risk of getting age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage– yikes!
Does Your Child Have TMD?
If a child is experiencing pain near their ear, their jaw and/or the muscles on the side of their face, accompanied by a clicking or popping sound (or restricted jaw movement), they may have TMD. This is a group of conditions involving pain and dysfunction of the “TMJ,” aka the temporomandibular (jaw) joint. Children going through significant stress can experience jaw problems. If they have a dental issue, such as a “bad bite,” or joint problems, such as arthritis, that could be contributing to their TMD… as could trauma to their jaw or face.
The source of a TMD problem could be a disc, muscles, or a joint. Did you know large muscles in the cheeks and temples move the lower jaw? The lower jaw and temporal bone fit together as a ball and socket with a cushioning disc in between. When something’s wrong in this area of the body, a person will often have pain as well as trouble opening or closing their jaw. And yes, even young children can experience TMD issues.
If your child is telling you he or she has muscle pain in the cheeks or temples, it could be TMD. They might be clenching or grinding their teeth every night. If they are, that means they’re not allowing those certain muscles to relax. And they’re putting more and more pressure on their jaw joints.
Can children be treated for TMD issues? Certainly. Chiropractors can help kids feel better. For instance, sometimes a softer diet can help reduce stress put on their joints and muscles. Ice and/or heat applied to the face can help with soreness and inflammation. And if there’s a muscle spasm happening, a chiropractor can help stretch the muscle so it calms down quickly.
In Forest Lake, MN, call Lakewoods Chiropractic at 615-464-0800 to make an appointment and get some relief for the child in your life who is experiencing jaw pain and problems.
Hidden Injuries From Automobile Collisions
When people are involved in a car crash they typically have neck and back pains. But there can also be hidden injuries that aren’t even felt or known about for weeks or perhaps months later.
For example, the force of a collision can cause tissue between the vertebrae of the spine to “balloon out” or rupture. When this happens, the person experiences a herniated disc. This herniation puts pressure on nerves coming out of the spine. What can be the result? Well, a person might have severe pain, as well as loss of feeling and even the loss of control of their muscles, typically in their arms or legs. So, after what seemed like a “mild” car crash, it’s possible that a person could experience numbness in their toes, or worse– have a hard time walking!
Other hidden injuries associated with car crashes include traumatic brain injuries. If your head (and brain) hit something, such as the dashboard, and there’s an injury, you could experience long-term damage to your brain and its ability to function. Your brain tells your body what to do, so if it’s not working well, you can have other problems. Brain injuries can make people forgetful, angry, etc.
What about knee injuries? If a person’s knees strike the dashboard during a crash, they could end up with a shattered patella (knee cap) or other injury such as a torn meniscus.
Shoulder injuries are fairly common after collisions. The seat belt can do its job, but it can also force the body to twist in a manner that results in strains, tears and bruises.
Finally, there’s the psychological impact of being in a crash. It’s not unusual for people to develop a phobia about being in a car again, because they fear they’ll get hit/injured again. They can also experience depression and anxiety, feeling bad about the whole situation.
Is there relief from pain after a crash? Chiropractors can help! In Forest Lake, MN, call Lakewoods Chiropractic at 615-464-0800 to make an appointment and get some relief after a car crash.