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Preventing Concussions in Children’s Sports

Posted by on 7:10 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

It seems like more and more parents today are saying no to football. In other words, mom and dad are telling junior he is not allowed to play on his high school team. Indeed, football is on the wane while other sports are growing in popularity. The main reason? Concussions.

One only has to read the news today to discover that many NFL football players have had serious brain damage caused by pummeling into one another in a hardcore way for many years. If and when football players get concussions, they may “black out.” Losing consciousness is not a good thing for them, or for anybody, including teenage boys who play on their local high school football teams.

Concussions are a serious public health concern. Everyone involved in youth sports today needs to know about the signs and symptoms of a concussion. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has put out handy materials titled “Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports.” These materials can help coaches and others prevent, recognize and respond to concussions.

Obviously, wearing helmets can help prevent concussions. Aggressive and illegal moves can lead to concussion. Officials need to make sure players are playing by the rules. Most concussions among young athletes result from contact with other athletes– when they bang heads together, right? This sort of thing happens more often during competitions than practices. Coaches and personnel need to pay close attention to every player’s overall well-being on and off the playing field. If a player has a headache, they could have a concussion. Other symptoms to be on the lookout for include dizziness, trouble concentrating, confusion, and nausea.

Players may not know they are exhibiting symptoms of concussion, especially if they’re young and inexperienced. They might also want to hide any perceived form of “weakness,” so they don’t speak up for fear of letting their teammates and coach down. However, it behooves the parents/coaches in charge to be proactive in finding out whether or not any of the players are, indeed, experiencing concussion. If and when a concussion occurs, the player should not continue playing in the game, risking further brain damage.

Over the years, a football player can take a lot of hits. All those blows to the head add up, to the point where he is physically and mentally all “banged up.” Brain damage is no joke. It’s no wonder, then, that today’s young parents are telling their kids to choose sports which don’t involve blows to the head as a major part of the game.

Should your child be involved in youth sports and you have some concerns about their headaches and/or body pains, please consider making an appointment with Dr. Gerard by calling 651-464-0800.

Psychosocial Factors in Back Pain

Posted by on 7:07 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

“Psychosocial” is a term most people first hear in their college psychology class. For the layperson, lets just say it means something like this: your mind and your environment can affect how you feel. Take work, for example. You probably have some work-related stress. You deal with all sorts of “stuff” at work. Certain people cause your blood pressure to go up, and others make you want to run and hide. Obviously, depending on what kind of people you have to put up with at work, you might have the kind of mind games going on that cause you both psychological and physical problems.

Could back pain be a symptom of the stress you’ve got at work? Some studies suggest no, but in reality, yes, it could be… You might be so tense at work when you’re around certain co-workers that you’re tightening up muscles and feeling like you’re ready to burst with anger. The term “seething with rage” comes to mind. When that happens, not only are you psychologically annoyed, but that stress manifests itself in the form of things like low back pain.

Are you satisfied at work? How do you feel about the work you do and the people you work with? Do you have enthusiasm and enjoyment and pride?

For those who feel dismayed at work, whether it’s because of a terrible boss or some other factors, like time pressure, conflicting demands, work tempo/pace, or lack of social support at work… that back pain of yours might be caused, in part, by these psychosocial factors.

It wouldn’t hurt to talk to Dr. Gerard about your work experience and how it might be negatively affecting your overall health right now. As a chiropractor, the doctor can help your body relieve some of its stress. And the doctor can help guide you toward feeling better, naturally. Please call 651-464-0800 to make an appointment today. If and when work has been overwhelming you, to the point where you feel pains you normally wouldn’t feel, chiropractic care can lessen pain and help put you on a positive path toward feeling good again.

What You Should Know About Automobile Air Bags

Posted by on 7:04 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

What keeps you safer– airbags or seat belts? The correct answer is seatbelts, which is why you’re supposed to wear them whenever you’re in the vehicle and it’s moving. Meanwhile, airbags are there as a sort-of “last resort,” in case there’s a sudden impact. Think of airbags as giant pillows that pop out at you upon impact. They can help “lessen the blow.”

Driver safety is important and it has been said that seat belts save lives– indeed they do. Buckling up prevents you from hitting the windshield, being thrown from the vehicle, and banging around the vehicle (hitting the steering wheel/door/etc.).

Air bags are effective when vehicle passengers are wearing seat belts. Airbags are designed to work well if you’re seated in the seat belt position– if you’re not buckled in and there’s a crash, then your body is going to move out of the position where the airbag works effectively.

In the old days, cars didn’t have seatbelts or airbags. Today, almost all of the latest models do, to help protect people from dangerous problems such as road hazards and distracted drivers.

Almost everyone knows what seat belts look like and how they function– they’re ubiquitous. However, most people have never seen an inflated airbag because they thankfully didn’t need one. That said, people often wonder, “How does the airbag know when to inflate?” Generally, airbags are triggered by sensors mounted at the front of the car. These sensors are designed to detect when the vehicle decelerates with a force equal to hitting a solid object at a speed of more than 25 km/h.

Like seat belts, airbags are meant to slow a passenger’s forward motion as evenly as possible in a fraction of a second. Made of a thin, nylon fabric, airbags are typically folded into the steering wheel, dashboard, seat and/or door. Thanks to science– an accelerometer built into a microchip– airbag sensors can and will inflate upon impact. They, like seat belts, ultimately help save lives.

To sum it up, without seat belts and airbags, if you were in a car crash today, you might easily die. But, thanks to those superb safety features, you’d likely survive a bad crash.

If you’ve recently been in an auto accident and want to have Dr. Gerard check you out from a chiropractor’s perspective, please make an appointment by calling 651-464-0800 today.

Prevent Neck Pain

Posted by on 6:44 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

What is with office chairs? They’re “supposed to be” ergonomically correct, such that they give you great posture… but, inevitably, you go to sit down and for some reason the back of the chair seems way too far back. If you were to sit in a typical office chair, your posture would be as if you were lounging at the beach, leaning way, way back. Office chairs can be so annoying!

Did you know most neck pain is caused by the way you sit in a chair? If you’re sitting still for long periods of time, looking at a computer screen but sitting in an odd position, then you’re a candidate for neck pain.

Your neck consists of several muscles that help rotate it as well as your head. Meanwhile, there are muscles connected to the upper part of your chest and your shoulders. All these muscles typically work in tandem so you’ll feel good. When you sit in an odd position for too long, though, without “moving a muscle,” then those muscles become tight. Eventually, you get neck pain– not good.

So what can you do when you’re in an office chair and worried about neck pain? For starters, consider how your head and spine are aligned. When you’ve got your head and shoulders in a “forward” position where the neck slants forward placing the head in front of your shoulders, you’re putting stress on your neck’s lower vertebrae. Meanwhile, the muscles in your upper back are working overtime to balance the pull of gravity on your head. If your head is forward, looking at a screen, your shoulders are usually forward too– and you’re out of proper alignment. Thus, you get neck and shoulder pain! The best way to combat this is to do what teachers and mom told you to do: “sit up straight!” Avoid hunching yourself over to the point where you always seem to be looking down and forward all day.

That said, workplace ergonomics can be improved by repositioning either yourself or the object(s) you’re working with so you don’t have to “hunch over.” For instance, you might need to adjust the height of the chair or table you work at… or move the computer monitor/keyboard to a more “friendly” position so you won’t be in pain.

How do you know if you’re sitting correctly in a chair at a computer desk? Your eyes should be pointed at the top third of the screen. Keeping your elbows at your side, your forearms should be parallel with the floor while typing. Finally, your feet need to be flat on the floor, with your thighs parallel to the floor. When you’re in this position, you can and will minimize neck pain!
If and when you have bad neck pain, you’re welcome to have Dr. Gerard perform chiropractic care. Call for an appointment: 651-464-0800.

Sweet Health: The Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Posted by on 6:56 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

If you’re looking for a snack that tastes great and is good for you, too, then consider dark chocolate. Of course, everything in moderation… but with dark chocolate, at least you’ll know there are several health benefits, making it a worthy indulgence.

Considering the average American eats 12 pounds of chocolate per year, and you’re probably one of these people, you should make the majority of those 12 pounds chocolate of the dark variety. Here’s why…

First, dark chocolate is known for its free radical fighting ability thanks to its antioxidants. Imagine there’s a war going on inside your body– free radicals want to damage your innards while antioxidants neutralize those free radicals, preventing problems. Dark chocolate has two powerful antioxidants– flavonoids and polyphenols– and that’s a very good thing.

Some people consider dark chocolate as a cancer-fighting food. That’s because of the aforementioned flavonoids.

Also, the main type of flavonoids found in dark chocolate are flavanols– these have a good effect on your heart, lowering blood pressure while improving blood flow to both the heart and brain. Furthermore, flavanols can reduce your risk of blood clotting and strokes.

Are you looking to boost your focus and memory? Well, eating dark chocolate can help do that, thanks to flavanols. And polyphenols help lower your blood pressure and decrease your resting blood sugar.

If you’re worried about cholesterol, know this: dark chocolate isn’t too good and it isn’t too bad– it’s a nice neutral when it comes to your overall cholesterol profile. Some studies suggest eating dark chocolate regularly actually helps increase your good cholesterol and reduce your bad cholesterol.

When you’re at the store looking over the chocolate section, it’s best to buy dark chocolate with a cacao content of at least 70 percent. Why? Well, at that rate the chocolate has the most antioxidants and the least amount of sugar. If it says “fair trade” or “organic” cocoa/cacao beans on the label, that’s ideal. Cocoa butter is a good additional ingredient, while palm/hydrogenated/coconut oil(s) ingredients are best avoided.

Finally, look for dark chocolate that’s just minimally processed plain dark chocolate– when marshmallows and caramel are added, for instance, that can mitigate the benefits of eating it.

Chiropractic: Focus on Prevention

Posted by on 6:54 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

It’s interesting, isn’t it? Many of the reasons people die in the U.S. can be attributed to risky behaviors they do, like smoking and drinking, as well as things they don’t do, like never exercising and never eating healthy. What if people were to modify their behaviors so they wouldn’t so easily get to the point of no return?

Chiropractors typically believe a focus on prevention can truly benefit a community of people. Do you have to eat nothing but sugary snacks and soda pop daily? No. Do you have to spend your free time on the couch watching TV, leading a sedentary lifestyle? No. And do you have to smoke and drink? No. These are all things people do that mess up their physical well-being over time.

Did you know that musculoskeletal conditions such as low back and neck pain are prevalent in American society today? Ask around and you’re likely going to discover most people have bad backs and kinks in their necks. Why is that? Perhaps it stems from sitting at computer desks all day in a stiff position, staring at a screen for eight hours or more. Then, there’s the whole smartphone thing, which has become an addiction for some. At home, most people turn on their TVs at night. It’s really easy to fall into bad habits where you end up neglecting or hurting your body over time.

With that in mind, chiropractors want to help people in the community to feel better, move more, and not be in chronic pain. Prevention matters, to the point where chiropractors place an emphasis on wellness and living a healthier lifestyle. Therefore, when you visit a chiropractor, don’t be surprised if they ask you about your habits, as well as your posture during the day and what kind of foods and drinks you regularly consume. A chiropractor typically looks for what you might be doing “wrong” that could be changed so you’ll feel more “right.” This is a preventative approach to healthcare.

Giving up smoking can do wonders for your lungs. Giving up drinking can do wonders for your liver. Exercising regularly can alleviate depression as well as stretch and tone your muscles. These are all good things. A visit to Lakewoods Chiropractic is a chance to check-in with the doctor about where you’re at in life, right now, and what you can do to prevent future problems if you make some well-advised changes. Please call 651-464-0800 to make an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, MN.

Research Shows Chiropractic May Alleviate ADHD

Posted by on 10:16 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

You’ve probably heard of the term ADHD, but did you know it stands for “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?” Today, ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children. It typically starts during childhood and can continue into adulthood. Those with ADHD typically have trouble paying attention. They’re hyperactive, unable to control their impulses, and seemingly unorganized. More boys than girls get diagnosed with ADHD.

If you were to walk into a kids’ classroom and talk to a teacher, he or she could tell you there are certain students who are easily distracted, don’t appear to be listening, don’t follow directions/finish tasks and don’t “sit still.” These students also talk a lot, are always moving their bodies, fidgeting, interrupting others and not “waiting their turn.” These are the ADHD kids, and there are plenty of them.

What are parents to do when their kids exhibit symptoms/behaviors like this? Do they give them a certain medication? Send them to behavioral therapy? Adjust their diets? What about chiropractic treatment?

Interestingly, there’s a theory that an imbalance in muscle tone causes an imbalance in brain activity. Thus, if and when a chiropractor adjusts an ADHD patient’s spine, balance gets restored to the brain. Another idea involves a chiropractor aligning the bones of the skull. If/when the skull bones are misaligned, it’s thought that unequal pressure on different parts of the brain cause the brain to work improperly.

For parents who are looking for alternative treatments for their kids’ ADHD, chiropractors can help. In addition to using their hands to make spinal adjustments to ensure proper nerve flow, chiropractors suggest eliminating sugar, preservatives, food dyes and additives from their patients’ diets, as well as any foods laden with pesticides and herbicides. The more natural, unprocessed foods eaten, the healthier their bodies and minds will be.

A chiropractor offers drug-free care for people who don’t like or want to take pills. Should you or your child suffer with ADHD, know that there is help available to get it “under control.”

To make an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic concerning ADHD, please call 651-464-0800.

Celebrate Without Stress

Posted by on 10:18 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Emotional stress at holiday time can manifest as pain in the body. So, if you’re worried about having to get together with certain relatives you don’t want to see in person or you’re worried about making sure to buy, wrap and deliver “all the presents to all those people” on time, you might be experiencing low back pain, migraine headaches, etc.

How, then, can you celebrate the holidays without stress? Here’s some advice…

First, simplify your life this month. If you had/have “things to do” for every single day of the month written on your calendar, go through those things and decide which events you can miss. Cross some things off the calendar. If things “come up at the last minute” and you can respectfully decline invitations, do so, because there is such a thing as doing too much in too little time. It’s important to make time to “just chill” this month. Even the Bible advocates people take one day a week to rest.

Next, lower your expectations this season and do less than you usually do. Instead of going “all out” decorating the house, keep it simple. Put up one little table top tree instead of three hulking 6-footers. Suggest the family eat together at a restaurant rather than gather at your place, forcing you to clean, cook, etc. Just send cards to those who send them to you first. Decide to stay home rather than travel far away for get-togethers this year. Hire a plow service/snow shoveler instead of doing it yourself.

Also, minimize time with people you don’t like. If there’s a family get together and Uncle Joe or Aunt Lou drive you nuts talking about politics and religion, plan ahead to have an excuse to leave at a certain time before the discussion turns sour. Or spend time in another room in the house or venue, away from the people who annoy you. And if certain relatives make your blood boil, don’t even attend get-togethers where they’ll be this season!

Finally, and this is some great advice: give yourself permission to not have to be perfect. Sure, you might want to be seen as the person who can do it all, have it all, and post the “picture perfect” scenes on social media, but realize this: nobody’s perfect and you don’t have to pretend you are!

Whenever you feel like the holidays are stressing you out, do something fun to relieve the tension and/or take a nap.

The Chiropractic Approach to Ending Migraine Pain

Posted by on 5:53 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

There are headaches and then there are migraines. If you’ve ever experienced migraines, you know that they’re the kind of head pain that can totally negatively affect your everyday life.

People have missed important life events like weddings and funerals because their migraine headaches have been so painful. While they would have liked to gone out and been with people and socialized, the migraine caused them to stop in their tracks, want to turn the world off, and go back to bed.

Typically, migraines are chronic, periodic and recurring. The pain is categorized as “throbbing” or “pulsating.” It can be around the temple and/or eye, particularly bothering one side of the head. People with migraines report blurred vision, seeing spots, brain fog, and numbness. A short migraine lasts about two hours, while a long one could occur for three long, long days. In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, add light and sound sensitivities, fatigue, irritability, nausea and more.

So what’s happening when migraines occur? Research concludes that there’s an instability of blood vessels such that blood circulation to the head is disturbed, resulting in pain. Migraines can be brought on by things like dental problems, stress, hormonal changes, constipation, allergies, and dehydration.

Some migraine sufferers believe that Vitamin B3, Gingko Biloba and CoQ10 can help improve blood flow to the brain. Others insist that visiting their chiropractor regularly, for chiropractic adjustments, helps relieve the pain. Over time, some people who’ve had migraines for years can attest that regular visits to the chiropractor have made them migraine-free!

For those with migraine issues, here are some general tips… you’ll want to make sure your gut is healthy so eating foods with “probiotics” is a good idea. Make sure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet. The less sugar you take in, as well as artificial sweeteners, the better you’ll be. If you’ve never been an exerciser, now’s the time to make regular-yet-moderate exercise part of your lifestyle. Reducing stress, improving sleep, sitting/standing with correct posture, and drinking plenty of water are all great ways to lessen the chance of migraines as well as ways of feeling better overall.

Forward Head Posture

Posted by on 5:52 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Have you heard of “text neck?” It’s what happens when a person uses their smartphone so much that the natural curve of the neck changes, lurching forward to adjust for all those times a person looks down at their phone screens. Basically, people are putting increased stress on their necks thanks to looking at smartphones for hours on end everyday. Do you know what happens with text neck? More weight is put on the joints of the neck, and instead of the neck having its natural curve, it can straighten out or reverse or generally get “out of whack.” You might have text neck right now and not even realize it.

Besides looking down at smartphones and tablets, there’s also neck pain for people who sit at computers for 8+ hours daily. Think about it: sitting at a desk, staring at a screen, causes the head to come forward, the shoulders to come forward, and the muscles of a person’s neck and back to stretch. Meanwhile, the muscles of the chest are shortened and tightened. This is a recipe for disaster. Normally the head should be in line with the spine, directly over the shoulders. However, if the head is jutting forward “all day,” then weight is not evenly distributed throughout the joints.

People who look at screens for long periods of time everyday often end up at the chiropractor’s office. Because their muscles are working overtime to support the head, they tend to get neck and upper back pain.

What can be done about text neck? Well, for starters, a person could start limiting their time looking at screens. Do you really need to check your phone for ten hours a day? Probably not. Even taking little breaks from screens helps– instead of sitting in the same position for an hour without moving, get up and walk around every fifteen minutes. Move your head and neck and shoulders around to loosen them up. This helps! Tucking your chin to your chest, looking up to the ceiling and bending your head both ways down toward your shoulders are good things to do every once in awhile.

Finally, for people who suffer with chronic neck pain, a visit to the chiropractor’s office can be a godsend. Chiropractic adjustments can be made to help reduce muscular tension and restore the normal joint function.