Running Injuries

Posted by on 8:26 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Are you a jogger? Do you do a lot of running? If so, you might end up with running injuries if you push yourself too hard. What are some common running injuries you should know about?

First, there’s “runner’s knee,” which typically occurs when your kneecap gets out of alignment. If and when you feel pain around your kneecap while sitting with the knee bent for a long time, and/or going up or down stairs, you might have runner’s knee.

Next is a “shin splint.” If you run long distances and/or run several days a week, shin splints may occur whereas you feel pain in the front of your lower leg along the shin bone, also known as your tibia. Shin splints and stress fractures (a small crack in a bone in the shin and/or feet) are painful while doing activities– but can feel “okay” with rest. Interestingly, those with flat feet are more likely to develop shin splints.

Thirdly, there’s such a thing as “Achilles tendinopathy,” which is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon, located where the calf and heel meet.

Running injuries also include muscle pulls/strains, which are tears often caused by overstretching, as well as ankle sprains.

On the bottom of your foot, from your heel to your toes, there’s a band of tissue known as the plantar fascia. Runners often develop inflammation in this area, and the condition is known as “plantar fasciitis.” Oftentimes, runners visit a chiropractor to help relieve this pain.

What are some ways to prevent running injuries? Anytime you’ve got consistent pain in a muscle or joint and it’s not getting better with rest, you should see a professional rather than just ignore it and hope it goes away. It’s also a good idea to “check in” with a trainer to help guide you with your running plan. A trainer can help you determine the right amount and intensity of running to do, as well as long-term goals. Meanwhile, warming up and stretching before going for your jog, as well as stretching after you do, too, is a very smart thing to do. Strength training, with an emphasis on developing your core muscles/strength, helps prevent injuries. Rather than only running, it’s best to mix up your exercise time with other stuff like biking or swimming. This, in turn, helps prevent overuse injuries because you’re not always using the same muscles over and over.

If and when you do think you’re experiencing running injuries, and the pain/discomfort is becoming unbearable, make an appointment for relief at Lakewoods Chiropractic. Call the clinic at 651-464-0800.

Optimists Are Healthier

Posted by on 8:23 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Are optimists healthier? Well, spend an hour at an old folks’ home and you’ll get your answer in person. You’re going to find grouchy pessimists there as well as cheerful optimists. The ones who enjoy their days, smiling and laughing, will tell you they feel good! They’ll remind you of the Eric Idle song from Monty Python’s Life of Brian movie that says, “Always look on the bright side of life.” The ones with a scowl and nothing but complaints will literally talk your ear off about their problems, including many health ailments. Now who would you rather be around?

Optimists have been studied to see if their health truly was better than others, and the results were a resounding… YES! Researchers at the University of Illinois studied over 5,100 adults over 11 years. They took into account seven metrics used by the American Heart Association– things like blood pressure, body mass index, dietary intake and physical activity. Ultimately, this study found that there was a correlation between an optimistic attitude and improved cardiovascular health. The conclusion was this: optimists may be twice as likely to be in “perfect” heart health compared to pessimistic people.

What does being optimistic do for your body? It can help keep down your blood sugar and total cholesterol levels. It can strengthen your immune system and lower rates of depression. And it can kind of “mask” the effects of bad experiences.

Think of it this way: if something bad happens to a person, how will they react? Will a pessimist’s “blood boil?” Probably. An optimist, meanwhile, frames the bad experience in their mind as more neutral, such that they don’t get “all worked up over it.” Now the body can only take so much stress before parts start to wear out, so it makes sense that optimists do, indeed, live healthier lives.

How’s your attitude? Are you surrounded by optimists or pessimists? You know, they say you’re a lot like the five people you spend the most time with, so be careful who you choose for your inner circle. Anytime you can choose optimism, do so.

Breathe Your Way To Wellness

Posted by on 8:22 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Have you ever experienced health problems that made it hard to breathe? If so, then you know how hard that was on your body, mind and spirit. After all, humans literally need to breathe to live. Anytime our breath is compromised, that can lead to bad things.

The air we breathe is about 21% oxygen. Some people go inside what’s called a “hyperbaric chamber” in order to breath 100% pure oxygen. In this chamber, oxygen gets delivered to the body at pressures greater than 1.5 to 2.5 times the normal sea level pressure. This sort of oxygen delivery super saturates the body with oxygen deep into the tissues and all body fluids. It can help grow new blood vessels. Now this might be “extreme,” but for some people, it really helps their overall health and well-being.

Here’s a question: do you snore when you sleep? A lot of people have sleep apnea and don’t even realize it. You might want to take a “sleep test,” where you’re monitored for a couple hours. When you’ve got obstructions, you might actually stop and start breathing in a way that’s ultimately bad for you. For those with sleep apnea, a machine that delivers oxygen continuously at night, via a mask, can truly help their overall health.

Breathing in more oxygen helps decrease inflammation in the body. You can breathe your way to wellness, because the better you breathe, the more likely pain in the body will decrease. Furthermore, feelings of depression will decrease, memory will improve, and even short/long term effects of brain injuries or concussions will subside. Want to speak better, think more clearly, and feel better, overall? It’s all in your breathing!

When you breathe, it’s best if you can be in a relaxed and peaceful environment. Remove yourself from stressful situations as much as possible. Take time to breathe more slowly, really taking in “bucketfuls” of air. Breathe in slowly and confidently through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth. Spell the word “r-e-l-a-x” in your mind as you do this. And here’s something you might not expect: take vocal lessons… you know, “singing.” At vocal lessons a lot of what you learn includes breathing techniques!

The better your breathe, the better you’ll feel.

Good And Bad Fats

Posted by on 8:20 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Your body needs fat to function, but there are good and bad fats.

What are some unhealthy, aka “bad,” fats? Three types of unhealthy fats include saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fat include: chicken skin, turkey skin, gravy made with meat drippings, lard, sauces made with butter or cream, high-fat meats such as ground beef, bologna, hot dogs, sausage, bacon and spareribs, coconut/coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, whole milk, ice cream, full-fat cheese, and… brace yourselves… chocolate. Foods high in trans fat include: processed foods made with hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil, such as cookies, chips and cakes, along with stick margarine and shortening. Foods high in cholesterol include: chicken skin, turkey skin, egg yolks, liver and other organ meats, as well as high-fat meats and dairy products.

Ideally, you’ll want to avoid unhealthy fats because they can harm your heart. However, it can be hard to avoid these foods when they’re so prevalent at our grocery stores. Can you totally give up cookies, chips, and hot dogs? Probably not. But if they can be “once in a while” foods, that’s much better than “everyday” foods in your diet.

Then there are healthy, aka “good,” fats that are actually good for your heart, though they may also be high in calories, so keep that in mind. Healthy fats include monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Foods high in monounsaturated fat include: avocado, canola oil, olives and olive oil, peanut butter and peanut oil, sesame seeds, and nuts, like almonds, cashews, pecans and peanuts. Foods high in polyunsaturated fat include: corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, and oil-based salad dressings. Soft tub margarine, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, and walnuts are also high in polyunsaturated fat. Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids include: albacore tuna, herring, rainbow trout, salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseed and flaxseed oil.

To avoid unhealthy fats and limit healthy fats when you cook, try grilling, roasting, or stir-frying in a small amount of healthy fat instead of frying foods in unhealthy fat. Coat pans with a squirt of healthy cooking spray. Take the skin off chicken and the fat off meat before you cook it. Bake with ground-up veggies or fruit with no added sugar. Use nonfat plain yogurt rather than butter and oil. And to top food, try lemon juice, vinegar, salsa, herbs, spices, hot sauce, plain nonfat yogurt, tomato sauce, or low-fat salad dressing when you want to avoid topping foods with fatty sauces.

Boost Your Immune System

Posted by on 8:19 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

If you’ve ever watched Star Trek, in any of its forms, you’ve probably heard the captain of the ship tell his or her crew, “Shields up!” If an enemy tried to fire on their ship, obviously they’d want good defense so the ship wouldn’t get damaged.

Our bodies are kind of like spaceships, in the sense that we need protection from invaders, too. Our “shields up” equates to the body’s immune system, which defends against infectious organisms, microbes, and other invaders. If and when something enters our system that’s “not right,” we naturally have an “immune response” which aims to quell and ultimately get rid of the nasty invader.

What are some ways to boost your immune system?

For starters, a good night’s sleep is essential. You should be getting about 8 hours of sleep per night. If the body isn’t well-rested, then the immune system is compromised. Sleep deprivation leads to an increase in the hormone cortisol– and when this happens for a prolonged period of time, the immune function gets suppressed. That’s not good. Also, keep in mind that stress isn’t good for you and your immune system either, so anything you can do to relieve stress helps. A lot of people make regular exercise routines part of their daily lives because exercise is a great stress reliever. If you haven’t been to the gym, taken a brisk walk around the neighborhood, or joined an organized sport lately, perhaps now’s the time to do so.

Next, it’s important to avoid tobacco smoke and drink less alcohol. Smoking and drinking aren’t good for you, in general, and both actions impair your immune system. Will it be easy to quit smoking or eliminate alcohol from your life? No. But with help, you can change… if you want to.

Also, to boost your immune system, there are certain things you’ll want to get more of in your daily diet. There are some nutrient-rich foods that will help: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, shiitake mushrooms, and garlic are all very good for you. Add “probiotics” to your diet, too. Studies have shown these supplements help reduce the incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

Finally, catch more sun rays because sunlight gets your body to produce Vitamin D. Something as simple as spending time outdoors in the sunshine for 10 to 15 minutes a day can help boost your immune system and make you feel healthier and happier. Ever wonder why people who live in cloudy cities seem so glum and sick all the time? Now you know! Meanwhile, people living in places like Florida seem to be happier and healthier. Where you live can truly affect your immune system and overall sense of well-being.

Chronic Pain Affects the Brain

Posted by on 4:29 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

A lot people experience chronic back or neck pain. They have an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, that is what pain is. Basically, chronic pain is a sensation felt in a certain part of the body that is unpleasant enough to cause the person negative feelings. “It hurts so bad that I just can’t stand the pain doctor,” is a typical statement made to chiropractors, regarding chronic pain, which is the kind of pain that lasts 3 months or more.

When a professional encounters a person with chronic pain they are going to consider three things. First, they’ll assess the sensory dimension: where’s the pain at? Second, they’ll want to know the emotional dimension: how unpleasant is the pain for that person? And third, there’s the cognitive dimension: how’s the pain based on previous experience, is it causing fear/anxiety, and how should it be responded to?

Without getting too technical, chronic pain is not good for the brain. Over time, a person may develop anxiety and depression. Pain tends to give people psychological distress and cognitive distortion. Think of it this way: the pain hurts so bad that a person can’t think straight, and because they can’t think straight they get stressed out and frustrated. Then, they don’t take good care of themselves. It’s a slippery slope where it’s easy to fall into the kind of bad times where a person wants to “give up” and “not get out of bed.”

Some chronic pain syndromes people deal with include chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and pelvic pain. These problems can lead to fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, and mood disturbances. Basically, chronic pain typically alters a person’s sleep and their cognitive function– and not in a positive way.

Have you been experiencing chronic pain in your body– especially the back and neck? Do you sometimes feel like you’ve got “brain fog?” Cognitive problems and musculoskeletal problems are often linked.

Regular visits to Lakewoods Chiropractic could help provide you some much needed relief. By reducing inflammation in the spots where you hurt, your body ultimately has the ability to heal itself. Make an appointment with chiropractor Dr. Jason Gerard at Lakewoods– call 651-464-0800 or you can email [email protected]

How to Prevent Bicycling Injury

Posted by on 4:27 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

When the weather warms up outdoors in Minnesota, suddenly everyone and their brother seems to find and ride a bicycle. Cycling helps improve people’s physical and mental health, especially after a long, dark, cold winter, right? Pedalling on a bike at the gym, indoors, also works well for people who want to improve muscle tone without putting too much stress on their knee and ankle joints.

Whether it’s indoors or out, cycling is one of America’s favorite fitness choices and it’s especially good for a cardiovascular workout, helping reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

You’ve got to be careful on a bike– you’ll want to avoid cycling injuries. Interestingly, most people think of collisions with other vehicles as the main way people hurt themselves on a bike, but the reality is you’re much more likely to get hurt just falling off your bike or hitting a stationary object. Incorrect riding postures can lead to injury, too.

Think about how you currently would ride a bike. What does that posture look like? With cycling, you’re exerting a lot of force using your leg muscles, right? But how’s your back? Have you developed its muscles? If you’re like most people, your back is your “weakest link.” Depending on your biking posture, you might end up putting too much stress on your back to the point where it’s overworked. Then it starts to spasm and gets fatigued. That’s not a good thing!

Just like mom might have told you to stand up straight when you were a kid, you need to get into the habit of keeping your back straight when riding a bike in order to put less pressure on your back.

Now what about “burning feet” and/or numb toes? Perhaps you are squashing your nerves down there? Are your shoes too tight? Are you always cycling uphill, putting too much pressure on your feet? Does the road you take have too much vibration? Ideally, to prevent numb toes/burning feet, you’ll want to make sure your feet are straight when clipped into pedals, and make sure there aren’t any irregular seams, straps or buckles that might end up pressing on your feet.

As for hand injuries on bikes, in order to prevent numbness/tingling in the palm or fingers you’ll want to change hand positions frequently, keep your wrist straight, use a firm-but-relaxed grip, and wear padded gloves in order to reduce the vibration.

In order to prevent shoulder pain, don’t place too much weight on the hands or ride with straight elbows. Instead, slightly flexed elbows make sense. And if you want to prevent knee pain, switch to lower gears when possible, don’t overdo it, and adjust your seat height so that your leg position involves an almost straightened knee in line with the ball of your foot over the pedal axle at its lowest position.

If you’re a frequent cyclist who is experiencing pain and needs relief, you should make an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic. Call 651-464-0800.

Awesome Avocados

Posted by on 4:26 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

If there was one fruit that really “took off” in the past two decades it has to be the avocado. While avocados have been around a long time, doesn’t it seem like they’re in “everything” these days? They’re definitely popular. Just go to a restaurant and discover that avocado has found its way into/onto several dishes. The good news is that avocados are quite nutritious– if you haven’t ever tried avocado, 2018 might be your year to give it a go. Next time you’re eating at a Mexican restaurant go ahead and order the guacamole which is made from avocados.

Did you know that most fruits are almost all carbs? Avocado, meanwhile, is a fruit that happens to be high in… healthy fats. Now most people think fat is a bad word, but the reality is that our bodies need and thrive on having some healthy fats in our diet. Hence, eating avocados can be a positive thing.

Consider how nutritious avocados are– they supply you with a decent amount of Vitamins C, B5, B6, E and K, as well as folate and potassium. Interestingly, you’ll get more potassium from an avocado than a banana, even though everyone assumes bananas are best for potassium. If and when you supply your body with plenty of potassium, you’re helping reduce your blood pressure. They also have small amounts of other good vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3, as well as iron, magnesium and zinc. Meanwhile, you’ll be glad to know that avocados contain zero cholesterol or sodium! They are a low-carb, fiber-rich, low-in-saturated-fat fruit.

Now about the fat… the majority of calories for an avocado are technically from fat. But here’s where it gets good: that fat is mostly in the form of oleic acid. It’s a monounsaturated fat which can help reduce inflammation and has been found to ward off cancer. Avocados are also high in fiber, which will help you feel full. Eating a diet high in fiber helps reduce blood sugar spikes and can help a person with weight loss.

Does Minnesota’s top chiropractor recommend incorporating avocado into your diet? Yes, he does! If you want to get some sage advice on your drinking and eating habits and how you could adopt a healthier lifestyle, call Lakewoods Chiropractic at 651-464-0800 to make an appointment regarding health and wellness.

Is Emotional Stress Endangering Your Health?

Posted by on 4:25 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Have you ever felt a feeling of strain and pressure on your mind, body and spirit? There’s such a thing as “emotional stress,” and it’s no joke. Many people experience it.

What are some signs you might be emotionally stressed out? For starters, you might be feeling tired all the time. Your lack of energy is causing you to not want to work. Sometimes you don’t even feel like getting out of bed and facing the day. Meanwhile, you could be experiencing “brain fog,” whereas you can’t seem to keep track of things like you normally would, and you even have trouble making otherwise “normal” decisions. Do you feel “on edge?” Have you changed your eating habits and gained weight because you’re so stressed out and junk food seems to satisfy temporary cravings? Have you been sleeping a lot– like 11 hours a night instead of 8? What about drugs or alcohol? Have you turned to them in order to feel better? You might be emotionally stressed out.

What are some symptoms of emotional stress? In other words, how does the body react to this sort of problem? Do you feel heart palpitations sometimes? Have you been dealing with diarrhea? How about chronic back pain, neck pain, and/or tension headaches? If you’ve experienced a combination of these symptoms, you’re likely emotionally stressed and that stress is manifesting itself in your body. You probably don’t feel good, day after day, and relief is needed.

Many people have turned to their chiropractors during times of emotional stress. The touch of experienced hands can often give relief to the symptoms of stress. If and when you’re feeling like you can’t cope with the daily demands of life and stress is interfering with your work life and/or social life, it’s time to seek professional help.

Make an appointment to see Dr. Jason Gerard at Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, MN; the number is 651-464-0800 or you can email [email protected]

You might also need to see a doctor for further treatment, especially if it has gotten so bad that you’re misusing drugs and alcohol and/or thinking suicidal thoughts.

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.