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If It Ain’t Broke Yet, Why Fix It?

February 12, 2011

Well, if your mom just broke her hip and is now in the hospital… you probably have the answer to this question.

Osteoporosis, very simply is a “weakening of bone” or loss of bone mineral density (BMD).  Your want to preserve this is obvious… fracture prevention (because fractures are bad for your health).

Peak bone mass or BMD is reached at about the age of 21, give or take a few years.  From that point, women will consistently lose bone mass for the rest of their life.  It stands to reason that we would want to start with more, if we are destined to lose it. Right?

I think so. But, the standard of  care states that all women should have density testing after the age of 65, and others with risk factors such as (having a thin/small frame, cigarette smoker, family history of osteoporosis,  inactive lifestyle e.g.) should be tested as early as the age of 50.

Here’s my question.  Why wait?  Doesn’t this seem a little absurd? Does your want to preserve life conveniently start at the time Medicare coverage kicks in?

No!

Here are some very simple steps

  1. Find out where you are (preferably before you’ve lost it all).
  2. Support bone density throughout your life with proper diet and nutrition, weight-bearing exercise, and activity (the non-drug approach).

Act now…  your hip will thank you later.

What’s Your Value?

August 10, 2010

Last night I was reading a book by the late Dr. Fred Barge, a prolific writer and contributor to Chiropractic.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but I thought I would talk about one concept which I believe will be of great value to you if you apply it…the concept of “Accumulative Survival Value.”

Dr. Barge stated

“that what uses a person makes of his time—thinking, saying, and doing – are ACCUMULATIVE, day after day, year after year; and as they accumulate they are either CONSTRUCTIVE for welfare of man, or DESCTRRUCTIVE, injuring people with whom he commingled.”

So let’s take an example:

Sister Theresa’s life had an “accumulative constructive survival value.”

Saddam Hussein’s life had an “accumulative destructive survival value.”

As Barge explains, chiropractors utilize this concept with patients to determine the prognosis of chiropractic care.  For instance, if you never exercise and eat McDonald’s for your primary nutrition, healing may be more difficult for you than someone who walks 30 minutes several times a week and has a balanced diet.

Very simply, what you do on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis will be a huge factor in determining your future health.  And, all decisions matter: what you eat, how you think, how you move.

Let’s make Louisville a healthier place… one decision at a time!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Greg Thomas, D.C.

Chiropractic Louisville

What is Diagnosis Syndrome?

April 19, 2010

I feel compelled to write about this topic as it seems to be a growing issue in our community.

“Diagnosis Syndrome” is a term I use to describe a condition where a person becomes so attached to a particular diagnosis that they leave little hope or plan for resolution.

Here’s the scenario…  You have been dealing with a symptom (pain, discomfort, etc) for a period of time and it has caused enough disturbance in your life that you decide to go to the doctor. While you are at your appointment, the doctor asks you a series of questions and maybe runs some additional tests to find out what’s going on.

When it’s time to review the results, the doctor comes in and informs you that you have “XYZ Disease.” He gives you some pills to help alleviate the symptoms, and you drive off hopeful that the problem will go away.

Shortly after the diagnosis… you contract another disease, “Diagnosis Syndrome.” See, the doctor (an authority on these matters) told you that you have this particular problem. You then interlock your identity with this diagnosis… you make it known to everyone you encounter. People start thinking of you as “Fibromyalgia Betty” or “Degenerative Joint Disease John.

I encounter this problem in the clinical setting all too often. We get so comfortable with our diagnosis that we stop looking for reasons why it happened in your body and how to get rid of it. Instead we continue down a path of acceptance… Then you begin to justify its existence and “learn to live with it.”

While there is no fault in the process of looking for and establishing a problem or diagnosis, the problem is when you choose to accept your condition as who you are.

Headaches… What a Pain in the Neck!

February 7, 2010

Let’s be honest, very few of you want to hear the mechanisms and classifications of headaches… you just want to know how to get rid of yours!!

Up until now, you’ve probably found some ways to deal with headaches: pain medications, heat, or sleeping it off. But, why do they keep coming back?

Recently, I was reviewing a health history with a new patient who had originally come to see me for neck problems.  During the discussion about their current state of health, I discovered she was suffering from headaches.  She said something to this effect, “I only have 2 or 3 headaches a week.”

Stop. Digest. Keep Reading.

This is not normal!

Unfortunately, so many of you have headaches that you believe having them on a regular basis is normal!  They are common… but that doesn’t qualify them as normal.  The pain in your head is a signal that something is dysfunctioning  in your body.

One of the most common causes of headaches I have seen in many years of practice is called a cervicogenic headache… fancy words that mean the headaches are a result of dysfunction in the neck.   Typically, this malfunction occurs at the top of the spine and affects nerves and surrounding structures to the point that pain occurs.

Chiropractors are specialists in spinal position and function.  So, guess what action you should take.  That’s right.  Consult a chiropractor.

But, if you really love damaging your kidneys and liver with over-the-counter pain killers, I wish you luck.

It Was Just a Fender Bender…

February 5, 2010

Recently, I had a phone consultation with one of my patients who had been involved in a car accident.  After the occurrence, she stated that she felt some soreness and a headache…felt it was probably normal.  But, over the next week, she stated that she experienced increasing pain and headaches and it was affecting her ability to perform certain activities.   When we spoke, she didn’t  understand what was happening… it was just a fender-bender!

Have you or someone you know ever been in a car accident?  The likelihood that you answer “yes” to this question is very high.  And, odds are, you knew the basics to protecting your possessions: get the number of the people involved and call your agent.  But, what about protecting the most important vehicle, yourself?  Did you know what steps to take and where to go to help you recover in the best way possible?

Basically, whiplash trauma is a neck injury that is caused by an abrupt movement of the head, like the lash of a whip.  Now, this most often happens from a car accident, but can be caused by other events, such as sporting injuries  or being violently shaking.  And, in a car accident, your head can be whipped forward, backward, and side-to-side, causing injury to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that hold your spine together.

So, let’s get to it.  Here are the simple steps to getting you on your way.

  1. Make a move. The healing process begins immediately.  The sooner you get help, the better your recovery will be.
  1. Get checked out. In my experience, the use of multiple professionals is the best approach.  Typically, a chiropractor is one of the best suited doctors to address your situation because they focus on the spine and its surrounding structures on a daily basis!… they should be able to guide you through the process of recovery, and if needed, refer you to other professionals to help along the way.
  1. Follow the Plan. A doctor that is familiar with injury rehabilitation should have a plan for you…  a process to follow to get you to the end result, recovery.  Following this plan is crucial… in both short and long-term.
  1. Ask questions. If you are need help, ASK!

If you have specific questions,  I’d be glad to help guide you through the process.

6 Steps to Help Prevent Lower Back Pain

January 28, 2010

Lower Back Pain – Seasonal  Injuries

Based on the season, each of us encounters different obstacles to overcome.  Given that we are in the winter months, I wanted to address some of the common activities that we may need to do during our daily routine that may be a little unusual.  By the way, this is special because these are the times that we encounter repercussions from the actions we don’t normally perform (e.g. shoveling snow).

First, there are some facts that we should appreciate in order to understand why back pain is so common when shoveling snow (and other activities):

  1. When we bend forward, the weight our back must support is multiplied… It’s physics.  The further you take an object away from your body, the more it weighs.  Let’s take a 10 lb. baby, for instance.  If you hold that baby close to your chest, you could hole them for a fairly long time without much problem.  But, suppose you hold that same baby out in front of you with your arms extended.  How long could you sustain that?  Right…not long.  Hence, the further you take an object (e.g. baby, shovel, etc) from your body, the more it weighs.
  2. Our legs, by design, are much stronger than our arms.  If a man can bench 200 lbs of weight, he can most likely leg press more than twice that!  Yet, most of us use our arms to shovel!!! Using your body design to perform tasks is obviously a better choice for self-preservation!
  3. Most of us use poor technique.  I have given more back safety seminars and assessed more businesses than I can count.  The most common mistakes are made by the individual in a rush… and not using well-defined strategies to tackle a specific task.  Simply, use your legs and lift with them and not your back or your arms.

Given these facts, it’s no wonder people suffer from back pain and can barely move the next day because of shoveling their driveway!  So what can we do?

Like many, I have had the want to hire a neighborhood kid to shovel for me…  but they never seem to around at the right time.  And, I can tell you that we cannot change our body composition… most of our body’s weight lies above the waist.  Let’s not kid ourselves.. we can’t lose that weight before the snow comes!  But, we can make different choices about how to use our body.

  1. Use your legs.  Squat down to lift a shovel.
  2. Pick up less snow per load.  Why?  Less snow extended in front of you means a lot less weight!
  3. Stick your butt out…for technique.  It will help to keep your back straight and not bent.
  4. Avoid bending and twisting at the same time.  Pick up a load first and then use your feet to turn and dump.
  5. Take a break.  Short breaks will help you to gain your composure and retain strength.
  6. Switch sides.  This will allow for more recovery time and even muscle use.

Resolutions, Resolutions…

December 29, 2009

Like many, you may be taking inventory of what has happened in your life over the past year… and beginning to think about what you could change in the next.   Maybe you would like to make more money?  How about more vacations in the coming year?   Possibly, you want to change the world!

Now, how many years have you had lofty thoughts of what the next year would bring, just to be disappointed with the outcome?  …You are not alone!  So, how could you make this year the best ever???

Here are 3 simple tips to achieving your goals for this year.

1. Setting your goals.

This step is the beginning of failure for many people… so I’ll give you a basic recipe for success.

a) Choose what you want to change or accomplish.

*** Make sure this is something you want!  If you have no desire to accomplish a task, it will become much more difficult to achieve.

b) Clearly define that goal

This is the second mistake I commonly see.  Be as clear and descriptive as you can, including the extent of the goal and when it is to be reached.  For instance, let’s say you want to lose weight.  Just saying, “I’d like to lose weight won’t make it happen.”  A clearly defined goal would sound like, “I am going to lose 15 pounds by the end of March.”

2. Stop only setting goals and start following action steps.

The next task is to create “action steps” that can be easily followed.  Action steps will break a goal into bite-size portions and help make it attainable!

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals,

adjust the action steps.”  –Confucius

So, create your steps (with possible revisions along the way) and, most importantly, TAKE ACTION!

3. Stick to the plan.

You know that you should stick to a plan to make it work.  But, what happens if you miss a day or make a couple of poor decisions?

It is rare that a plan is executed without any mistakes or bumps along the road.  But, I don’t want you to use this information as an excuse.  On the other hand, you should use this to “pick up where you left off” if you have a short circuit in your plan.

Make this year your best year ever!!