How Chiropractic Helps Heartburn

Heartburn, or acid reflux, is an issue that many of my patients experience alongside their primary complaint. It can either be an occasional annoying side effect following a spicy meal, or it can become a chronic, debilitating problem.

In some circles it is thought that stomach bacteria cause ulcers and heartburn, for which antibiotics can be prescribed. One problem with this line of reasoning is that many ulcer/heartburn sufferers don’t actually have helicobacter pylori infections, and at least 50% of people have this type of bacteria in their guts without any stomach symptoms whatsoever.

Another explanation for heartburn is that the stomach lining is producing too much acid, for which hydrogen-blocking drugs are prescribed. This approach can have problematic side effects, because overly lowering stomach acids can lead to the poor absorption of calcium and proteins, among other unhealthy side effects. Antacids also buffer the acid, offering temporary relief, but this can also lead to poor dietary absorption over time.

As a Chiropractor I always strive to understand the underlying cause. Why would the brain tell the stomach lining to produce too much acid? The brain’s communication system with organs is meant to offer a state of balance, or homeostasis, governed by an innate intelligence that brings harmony to the whole body. Why would this intelligence suddenly break down when determining sufficient acid production? Using drugs and antacids to manipulate your body’s acid balance just doesn’t feel like a good long-term strategy. Also, it would be difficult to establish how many drugs would be required to create optimal acid levels for each individual.

Chiropractic is an option to consider when it comes to relieving heartburn symptoms. The basic thought is this: Between every vertebra in your spine, a nerve courses its way through, supplying the body’s organs, tissues and cells. At the top of your stomach there is a muscle that keeps acid from erupting into your esophagus. The nerve supplying this muscle arrives from the seventh vertebra in the mid-back. If this nerve is being pinched or strained in the spine, the sphincter muscle can weaken, allowing acid into the delicate esophagus and causing reflux or heartburn.

My treatment plan is to begin improving spinal alignment throughout the spine, especially in the thoracic region, which generally improves reflux symptoms. I also offer nutritional recommendations that can drastically improve stomach and digestive health. Certain foods should be avoided, and I like to recommend probiotics so that the patient’s digestive system is loaded with good, healthy bacteria.

In certain cases, a deeper investigation may be required. A scope can help examine the level of ulceration deep in the esophagus, determine if there is a hernia, or rule out other sinister causes. However, in many cases, a trip to your Chiropractor may be all you need to address and improve your heartburn symptoms.

Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

How Chiropractic Helps Sciatica

The sciatic nerve runs from the spine down your leg, stemming from 5 vertebral levels in your low back. This nerve can become pinched in a variety of ways, causing pain to shoot through the buttock and down the leg. Many people also experience low-back pain alongside their sciatic pain.

A thorough Chiropractic exam can reveal where the nerve is being pinched. If the pain has become chronic, or relapses several times, I like to take a standing x-ray of the low back to examine the tiny spaces between the vertebrae where the nerves exit from the spine. Spinal misalignments are a main cause of sciatic pain. Understanding and treating these imbalances can successfully relieve this condition.

Once the pain resolves, I like to teach patients home care exercises, such as core stability, so that the chance of it returning drops substantially. As an added bonus, improving low-back alignment helps more than just back pain and sciatica. It’s common for patients to comment on improved digestion and leg strength, which are also controlled by the nerves in the low back.

Written by Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC

Chiropractic: Relief, Repair, Restore

For over 100 years, the art of moving the spinal bones into their natural alignment has been the chiropractor’s underlying goal. For relief of back pain and discomfort, not many healing therapies work as effectively or are as long-lasting.

Our body is a highly organized collection of moving joints, muscles, soft tissue, organs, and much more. The spine is unique in that it serves as the entrance and exit point of most of the nerves in our body, so it is no wonder why a misalignment of the spine can impact both the well-being of our back and other areas of our body.

The beauty of the human body is its capacity to heal itself; however, the quality of the repair is often overlooked. Will the pain go away in a few days? Or maybe a year or two goes by and you have another pain episode. But this time it is taking longer than it should to go away, leaving you feeling less than optimal. Chiropractors are spine experts! We see patients with back and neck pain who want just relief. We also see patients who understand that proper repair and restoration may take longer, but with more satisfying results. We also see patients who come in for maintenance check-ups as a preventative part of their health care. We can tailor our care to work within your needs. Ultimately, we want you to live your life pain-free and to your fullest potential.

Written by Dr. Deane Studer, DC

New Research Connects Breathing & Postural Sway

Posture is an intricate and coordinated balancing act that is infinitely monitored, adjusted, and modified every second you are standing.  Standing up-right with balance also requires neurological information from visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive input.  This information is sent to the brain, the master computer, that interprets all this information.  The central nervous system calculates where we are in space and what must be done in order to maintain it.

Recent studies have demonstrated that postural sway can determine how your balance and strength relates to your ability to breath.  When your eyes are closed people tend to sway forwards-backwards when brain function is impaired due to brain damage as in the case of stoke patients, researchers observed.

Chiropractic adjustments corrects faulty or sensori-motor errors being fed into the your brain’s computer.  Therapeutically, chiropractic can improve or enhance the bodies perception of being aligned – head-torso-pelvis-feet vertically balanced.

Manor, B. D., Hu, K., Peng, C. K., Lipsitz, L. A., & Novak, V. (2012). Posturo-respiratory synchronization: Effects of aging and stroke. Gait & Posture, 36(2), 254-9. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.03.002. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22475726

Written by Dr. Deane Studer, DC

Research Suggests Controlled-Motion Exercises

Our Chiropractic goal is to improve your posture.  Your posture is controlled by your nervous system’s ability to strategically collects sensations from all the joints in your body.  Amazingly, in less than one second millions of nerve impulses travel from the brain to your muscles which redistributes your balance as you move and change directions.

Chiropractic treatments correct bad or faulty movement patterns within the spine.  Research study done on “The Effect of Tai Chi on Posturo-Respiratory synchronization in frail older adults” concluded:  “Tai Chi training reduced the impact of closing the eyes on the strength of posturo-respiratory synchronization when standing.  Tai Chi may therefore reduce the role of vision in the control of multi-system interaction”

Get active in movement-based activities like yoga or tai chi, which helps to train accuracy and better muscular control of your body.  Your muscles and joints provides vital information to your brain via proprioception.  This enhances and reduces errors between perception and reality.  Strong balance is a growing problem as one ages.  Do your best to prevent this from happening.  Strong balance, alignment, and muscles are key to moving well and stay healthy!

Holmes, M., Manor, B., Lipsitz, L. A., & Li, L. (2013). The Effect of Tai Chi on Postturo-Respiratory Synchronization in Frail Older Adults. Retrieved from Google Scholar.

Written by Dr. Deane Studer, DC

Chiropractic Research for Better Health Choices

From the Journal of Neuro Surgery Spine April 2013 Grosso, M.J. states, “reversal of the normal cervical spine curvature, as seen in cervical kyphosis, can lead to mechanical dysfunction, and functional disabilities”.  Abnormal curves and poor posture creates increased tension and pressure altering cellular function.  This includes bone cells, nerve cells, disc cells, and the cells of our spinal ligaments.  Long-term health issues can develop and even accelerate aging due to altered function and poor adaptation.  It’s all about having great spinal balance, great posture, and great nerve function.

Our clinic focuses on restoring the neck curve so that there is less interference in spinal cord and nerve function.  Studies show that well aligned neck vertebrae deteriorate less with arthritic breakdown and maintain better overall mobility.

Optimal spinal alignment = optimal health

Dr. Deane Studer, DC

Sciatica Vs. SI Joint Pain

We are often asked “Is this sciatic pain or sacro-illiac (SI) joint pain?”  Both originate from the low back/hip region, give us low back pain, and create pain down the legs.  It is a valid question.
Sciatic pain is pain referred from the low back, down the legs, possibly all the way to the foot.  It is due to sciatic nerve impingement (pinching) from the bones and tissues of the low back.  The most common symptoms other than back pain are pain down one or both legs that can go below the knee and even to the foot.  Another clue that the pain is sciatic is a weakness in a leg or hip muscles.  And the most telling is numbness or tingling of the leg or foot.
SI joint pain on the other hand starts at the low back and then spreads down the hip and into the leg.  This pain rarely goes below the knee and rarely creates numbness and tingling.  While pain may keep a person from moving a certain way, it usually does not create muscle weakness.
It is worth noting that each of these problems can present differently in each individual person, but as a rule of thumb, these symptoms differentiate the two conditions.  The good news is that we have many different ways to identify your specific problem, like orthopedic muscle tests and X-rays.  Once the problem has been identified we are then able to help you with either sciatic pain or SI joint pain.  Please give us a call so we can see how we can help.

 

Written by Dr. James Mayne, DC

I Just Don’t Sleep?

One of the most common complaints I hear when discussing back or neck pain is that “I can no longer sleep through the night”.  A person often dismisses this as normal, especially since it has been going on for years.  “I just get up because if I stay in bed my back will tighten up worse, but it is OK because I get 5 hours sleep before that point”.
This really is not OK.  Study after study shows us that getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night is optimal for being alert and allowing enough time for the body to heal from the injuries of the day before.  Each day we may stub a toe, sit for too long, strain our back doing yard work, irritate our neck looking at our computer… the list goes on and on.  Without a proper night’s sleep to let the muscles and tissues heal, our health becomes more and more compromised.  Pain increases, sleep worsens leading to more pain, leading to less sleep,… the cycle spirals downhill.
Chiropractic care allows our bodies to move and function more efficiently.  It removes strain and tension from the head to the toes, not only making you feel better throughout the day, but letting you sleep longer and more comfortably.  Allowing the pain levels and sleep patterns to be reset can make a major difference in long term energy levels and overall health, something we all want to maximize.

 

Written by Dr. James Mayne, DC

Am I at a Dead End?

As a chiropractor I often see new patients who “have tried everything” already, even chiropractic, and it has not worked. Most have already spent a great deal of time and money seeing physical therapists, personal trainers, acupuncturists, massage therapists…the list goes on and on. They have seen some of the most talented doctors and practitioners around, but for whatever reason those treatments have not worked.

By the time these patients find their way to my office they are frustrated, angry, and depressed. They feel like they have failed or spent money on nothing because they are still in pain. Sadly, many have been told that nothing else can be done. I can commiserate; I have been in a similar position myself.

Often, this story begins with something like a joint injury, a sprained neck, or a locked-up hip. The injury may be minor or very traumatic; it may derail a person immediately or build up over years or even decades.

The pain and dysfunction start affecting a person’s leisure activities. They stop playing sports, begin to slow down, and become more inactive. Everyday activities like work, gardening, and dressing in the morning can become difficult. People stop enjoying life.

Without movement a body breaks down faster. Metabolism, muscles and the brain become sluggish. This cascade of events leads to further pain and depressed mood states. Soon, anything can “flare up the pain” and the lack of activity leads to gaining a few pounds each month. As the months and years add up the body gets in worse and worse shape.

This is the part of the story where I meet many new patients. Frustrated, in chronic pain, overweight, out of shape, and wary of something else that may not work.

It is time to break this cycle and get to the root cause of the problem. Time to conduct an exam, find out why this cycle is occurring, and then identify how best to combat it. One of the most common things I hear from a new patient after their physical exam is, “Wow, I have never had an examination with that much detail before.” A detailed exam is critical to identify the cause of the problem.

My job is to address this damage, get the body moving again, and allow the body to begin healing. Once the body can again function properly, a person can begin to return to their normal lives and activities, increasing mood, decreasing stress, and decreasing pain.

If this story resonates with you, or someone you know, please call for a new patient exam. We would love to be able to identify what is going on and see if we can help.

Written by Dr. James Mayne of Arise Chiropractic 250-275-7616 
(Inspired by my good friend and colleague Dr. Tyna Moore)

Do Children Need Chiropractic Care?

A baby’s potential lies within, yet it is dependent on many nurturing factors. Babies, infants, and children go through important growth stages. Therefore, monitoring their spinal alignment will allow for optimal growth and development.  

The health benefits of chiropractic care should be considered as a conservative and natural approach within our health care system, even for young people. Doctors of chiropractic understand that prevention is more important than the reaction to a health issue or problem that has been accumulating over time. An example of this is stress. Stress, like a chronically misaligned spine, has a variety of negative impacts on the physical body. Research shows that stress can be mitigated if consistent care and attention are given to the health and well-being of an individual from an early age. For this reason, chiropractic care is vital for children.

Health problems tend to run in families and similarities in health patterns then follow children as they grow into adults. The spinal problems seen in adults can begin as early as birth. During normal childbirth, the obstetrician may pull on a baby’s head and neck when it is extended and rotated, which can lead to structural and soft-tissue misalignments of the baby’s spine. Babies born via caesarean section must be pulled out very fast, with a firm grip sometimes requiring suction, because they are very slippery.  As a result, traction forces can cause adverse reactions and asymmetrical soft-tissue tension to the developing neck. If an emergency caesarean section is necessary, the baby’s neck will have experienced both the compression from the contractions during labour and the traction forces from the extraction procedure. 

Growing babies need plenty of food and sleep. Observe your baby while he/she is eating for signs and symptoms of potential health issues. When breastfeeding, notice if the latch is easy and symmetrical. Difficulties nursing on one side could indicate that your baby has a neck misalignment due to lack of rotation in the neck. Another side-effect of spinal misalignments is spitting up food while feeding. Along the spine where the diaphragm connects, the esophagus allows food to move into the stomach without restriction. Difficulty sleeping and/or excessive crying is your baby’s way of communicating their discomfort and could be the result of spinal stress on their delicate nervous system and/or spinal cord. 

Adjusting the spine of babies, infants, and children takes experience and is performed differently than it would be for an adult. In a baby’s spine, only a slight amount of pressure is needed to correct spinal misalignments of the spinal bones. With older children, a small amount of pressure with a gentle push is all that is needed to restore normal spinal and nervous system function. 

It is important to remember that chiropractors do not treat diseases. The focus is on correcting spinal misalignments in order to prevent and treat health problems. Children who receive regular spinal adjustments for posture, along with proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep will be set on a path to grow up structurally and functionally sound.

Dr. Deane Studer, DC