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Feeling the Cold?

Posted by chiropam on Jul 6, 2010 in Chiropractic, Health, Health Benefits, health tips, Wellness

How many times have you said to yourself or heard someone say:  “My joints hurt when it gets cold or damp”?

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There is a popular belief that weather affects arthritis. But is there any proof of this?

It’s been unusually cold in Perth this Winter, and patients have asked this question numerous times.  Let me shed some light on this…

Arthritis can occur as a result of injury, when cartilage is damaged. This is known as traumatic arthritis. It can also occur as a result of “wear and tear” over time. This is the most common form of arthritis, and is called osteoarthritis, aka degenerative arthritis. There are also other diseases in which the body’s immune system forms antibodies which attack the cartilage in joints. The most well-known of these types of arthritis is called rheumatoid arthritis. This shouldn’t be confused with the term “rheumatism”, which has taken on the meaning of any aches or pains related to aging, or weather.

So what about the effects of weather? Some studies have demonstrated a worsening of arthritis symptoms with low barometric pressure and high humidity. There is a theory that low pressure systems, usually associated with damp or rainy conditions, could cause joints to swell. The swelling causes stiffness of the joints, as well as pain. High humidity may have an effect through other mechanisms.

Key:  Keep the Muscles Warm and Loose

We know that arthritis symptoms can be worse when the muscles around the joint aren’t strong or supple enough. Cold weather stiffens muscles, so this may also worsen arthritis symptoms.  I believe this is the key here.  The muscles really need to be kept warm and loose.

Each person is different in how weather can affect them. Some people say they can predict rain based on their arthritis, and others say that they feel worse during or after a storm. This simply shows that the correlation between weather and arthritis is poorly understood.

There’s no actual evidence that weather actually causes damage to joints, and there’ s no more arthritis in the population in rainy, damp climates than there is in dry, sunny climates!

So keeping all this in mind, here are a few tips to deal with arthritis:

Keep joints warm. Dress warmly in cold weather, scarves and gloves are effective; and stretch once warmed up for cold-weather activity.

If you feel your arthritis symptoms worsen in specific weather, try to avoid heavy activity at those times. Even if nobody can prove that arthritis and weather are related, if you feel that it does affect you, then listen to your body and act accordingly.

Stay warm!

Chiropam

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Instrument Adjusting

Posted by chiropam on Feb 28, 2010 in Chiropractic

I was speaking with a group of people over the weekend, and I’ve come to realise that there are people who still share a few untruths about chiropractic.  Let me share these 2 myths primarily, and shed some light on these topics:

Myth #1:

“Chiropractic care is only for back pain.”

This is just not so.  Chiropractic care can benefit a wide variety of health problems that stem from the spine and nervous system.  Old injuries, everyday wear and tear, stress (emotional, physical, mental) or repetitive daily activities can contribute to the spinal bones (vertebrae) losing their proper position and/or motion.  This dysfunction of spinal joints may cause pain and nerve interference in one or more areas of the body.  Any type of dysfunction of these spinal joints can be a source of irritation to the nervous system.

Myth #2:

“Chiropractic care is either rough, painful, dangerous, or all three!”

I would like to share with you that there are alternatives to what would be considered mainstream manual chiropractic techniques.  There are several other low-force, gentle, safe techniques that would be an alternative, yet with health benefits.

One of the main techniques on instrument adjusting is the Activator Method Chiropractic Technique (AMCT).  The Activator Method uses an activator instrument.  An activator instrument is a hand-held instrument designed to give the patient a very specific, low-force adjustment.  The activator instrument delivers a controlled, light and fast thrust without causing undue strain to patients.  The activator adjustments are so quick and controlled, that the body’s muscles are less likely to resist, allowing for a more precise and exact adjustment.  It’s so gentle and it is actually relaxing.

Activator Instrument

Activator Instrument

Another technique involves an instrument called the Impulse Instrument.  This is an electric powered instrument that offers specific, low-force adjustment to the affected area.  This instrument offers all of the benefits associated with the Activator instrument.

Impulse Instrument

Impulse Instrument

Perhaps there is an ankle or wrist, hip or shoulder, or hand or foot that may need an adjustment.  There are bones and joints in these areas as well that can benefit from an adjustment by a chiropractor.  This may not be well known either as chiropractors can be streamlined as “back doctors” only.

Conditions that have been helped through chiropractic care include, but not limited to:

Neck Pain

Headaches

Sciatica

Infantile Colic

Reflux

Hip Pain

Pain between the shoulders

Pain associated with arms & legs

Bedwetting

Pain associated with Pregnancy

I hope this sheds some light on the 2 very common myths associated with chiropractic.  Have you had an experience with ‘instrument adjusting’? Activator or Impulse?  Are you aware of the health benefits that can be obtained through chiropractic care?  Comments welcome…

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Is Your Infant Suffering From Colic?

Posted by chiropam on Dec 30, 2008 in Chiropractic, Health, health tips, Wellness

Crying Babies

If you or someone you know has an unsettled baby, and you don’t know what to do, you may want to investigate taking your baby to a chiropractor.

As your child is being born, natural or Caesarean, the neck and back vertebrae can go out of alignment, causing vertebral subluxation complexes due to the stretching and compressing of the body as it emerges into the world.  If your delivery included a prolonged pushing stage, forceps or vacuum extraction, or other form of assisted delivery, the chances of a misalignment are great.

If the misalignments, called vertebral subluxations, are big enough, the functioning of major systems in the body can be compromised.  The digestive system may be affected and effective digestion of breastmilk and formula can cause major discomfort in your baby, leading to colic episodes.

What Is Colic?

Infantile colic is the term commonly used to describe an otherwise healthy infant who exhibits persistent, forceful crying for no apparent reason.  The crying usually persists for several hours each day and is usually evident at least five days in each week.  Parents’ attempts to comfort the infant by holding and rocking the child, and making sure they are clean and fed have little or no effect on the condition.  The affected infant will have a tense, rumbling abdomen, usually with knees flexed, tight muscles along the spine and be very gassy.  Occasionally the head and neck will be arched backwards.

Many parents are hesitant of taking their small, helpless babies to see a chiropractor.  The main reason being the “crunching and cracking” stereotype that chiropractic can have.

In actuality, the adjustments that a chiropractor will do on your baby is basically applying gently pressure with the fingers or with an adjustment instrument called an Activator to areas on the neck and back.  You may see your baby totally relax before your eyes as the misalignments are corrected.

As with selecting any health care provider, you need to ask questions first, in order to make an informed decision.  Being clear on the objective and the techniques that will be carried out is very important.  Ask for referrals from family or friends that you can contact if you are unsure.

Chiropractic care can be very valuable in helping to calm the colic tendencies in a safe, natural environment.

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