Tuesday, May 9, 2023

How much water do we really need each day?

I think that most people have heard we should drink 8 glasses of water per day. For most people, this is probably an OK recommendation. However, you have to consider other factors. These factors include such things as what climate we live in (humid, dry, etc), how active we are and other conditions (such as pregnancy). I generally tell patients to abide by this rule...drink half of your body weight in ounces per day. So, if you weigh 200 lbs, shoot for 100 oz of water daily. As long as you get close to that amount, you're probably doing alright. And while it is possible to drink too much water, it's highly unlikely if you follow this general rule.

If you want to read more on this topic, you can follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.  

Friday, November 5, 2021

What are the cracking sounds in my neck?

Do you ever turn your head and wonder what is causing the cracking sounds? Does this concern you? Well, most of the time these sounds are harmless. The medical term for this is crepitus. Patients often worry that this is a sign of something major or really bad arthritis. While these noises can at times be a indication of a bigger issue, they usually are not. However, a proper evaluation should be performed to rule out anything more than a nuisance. That's where your local chiropractor can come in handy. If you are concerned about noises coming from your neck, schedule a consult with a trusted doctor of chiropractic today!

If you want to read more on this topic, you can follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.  

Culprits of neck and back pain

Over the last 18 months I have had so many conversations with patients regarding the amount of time most of us are spending sitting since the beginning of the pandemic. Research has shown that sitting for long periods of time is detrimental not only to our physical bodies, but also negatively affects internal organs and mood. I recommend to anyone that is able to spend about half of their workday standing. There are numerous standing desk options available for a relatively small expense. I also recommend setting a timer for every 30 minutes so that you do not sit for too long of periods. Simply getting up and moving around the room for a minute or two can go a long ways to having a healthier body.

If you want to read more on this topic, you can follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Is running the key to heart health?

Being a runner for my entire adult life, I was interested in an article I recently read related to distance running. A new study has found that people who complete their first marathon took 4 years off of their "blood vessel age." That's pretty remarkable! Considering I've completed a few marathons, my blood vessel age must be that of a toddler - OK, maybe not that young. Basically the study shows that stressing our heart and blood vessels is good for us.

I think the key takeaway from this study is that we need to move our bodies in ways that increase our heart rate. Just like we need to practice musical instruments to become more skilled, we need to stress our heart and circulatory system so that it become for efficient.

So, does that mean that everyone needs to run a marathon? Absolutely not! Running isn't for everyone. Some people find it very boring. Some have underlying conditions (arthritic knees, bad feet, etc.) that make running impossible. But, most of us can find some kind of alternative to running that will act in the same manner on our heart. Options include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, basketball, racket sports, elliptical trainers and many others. The main goal is to move your body enough to cause your heart rate to increase for an extended period of time. The more days per week you can accomplish this goal, the healthier your heart will be in the long run.

If you want to read more about this study, you can follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Are spinal fusions the best option?

Being a chiropractor, the most common complaint that I treat in my office is low back pain. Although we treat pretty much any and all musculoskeletal complaints from foot pain to headaches, low back pain is still the main reason most people see chiropractors. This is because low back pain is an epidemic in the United States. There are many factors that contribute to low back pain. Those may include obesity, lack of activity/exercise, sitting at work all day, injuries, bad genetics, etc. No matter the cause, our job is to find the right solution to reduce a patients' pain and work towards long-term relief solutions.

Over the past few decades, orthopedic surgeons have turned towards a very invasive surgery, spinal fusion, to deal with many cases of chronic low back pain. In fact, from 1998 to 2008, the number of fusion surgeries performed jumped from 174,223 annually to 413,171. This increase would indicate that outcomes for spinal fusions have been very good and therefore more have been performed. However, this isn't the case. While some fusions lead to much less pain and better function, way too many patients end up with the same level of pain if not more after the procedure.

Two very interesting studies were released earlier this year comparing outcomes of spinal fusion versus a much less drastic surgery called a laminectomy for spinal stenosis (one of the most common conditions for which fusions are performed). In the end, researchers determined that for the studied conditions, a spinal fusion did not give significant enough benefits over a laminectomy to justify the procedure. Basically, those patients who received a laminectomy suffered less blood loss during/after surgery, spent less time in the hospital, accrued less medical expenses and had nearly as good of 2 and 5 year outcomes in regards to pain and function as their fusion counterparts.

Undoubtedly, spinal fusions are at times necessary procedures. However, they need to be performed on the right candidates and should not be the quick go-to procedure for back pain. Most back pain can be remedied with conservative treatment and/or much less invasive procedures. You can read more about the studies mentioned by following this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.

Friday, February 27, 2015

How effective is chiropractic vs. going to my primary doctor?

I'm always interested when I run across articles that talk about the cost-effectiveness of chiropractic care. While the cost of all healthcare (chiropractic included) continues to rise, chiropractic remains the most cost effective form of treatment for most spinal disorders (and many other conditions as well). Not only are patient outcomes and satisfaction with chiropractic consistently better than other medical treatments, the cost of care is less.

The study I happened to see is from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. The study examined the cost of care for low back pain episodes and allowed patients to choose what type of provider to see. The following is a quote from the abstract regarding the outcomes of the study: "Paid costs for episodes of care initiated with a DC (Doctor of Chiropractic) were almost 40% less than episodes initiated with an MD (Medical Doctor). Even after risk adjusting each patient’s costs, we found that episodes of care initiated with a DC were 20% less expensive than episodes initiated with an MD." You can find the study by following this link.

Like most doctors, I despise talking about the cost of care and the question "how much will this cost!" However, cost is a reality in our healthcare environment. There has been a consistent rise in the cost of insurance and care for many years. Heck, my personal insurance premium has doubled in the last 3 years (along with the deductible doubling)! Despite the negativity associated with cost increases, I feel that chiropractors provide unique services that can change peoples' lives at a cost that is much less than our medical counterparts. My job is to show patients that their health and wellness is worth the investment in order to live more active, enjoyable lives. One of my favorite sayings is as follows...What good is adding years to your life if you don't add life to your years? I feel my job is to add life to peoples years and allow them to enjoy life to its' fullest.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

An Apple a Day...

Everyone knows the old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Now, there is research to back this claim. In fact, a study out of Oxford University asserts that eating an apple a day is as effective as statin medications at preventing death by heart attack or stroke for people over the age of 50. Perhaps the best quote from one of the researchers is as follows: “Prescribing either an apple a day or a statin a day to everyone over 50 yeas old is likely to have a similar effect on population vascular mortality." They go on to state "choosing apples rather than statins may avoid more than a thousands excess cases of myopathy and more than 12,000 excess diabetes diagnoses.”

Why do apples help with vascular conditions? Apples are rich with antioxidants and chemical compounds called flavanoids (especially quercetin), all of which are good for our health and wellbeing. Apples also provide a good source of fiber which helps slow plaque buildup in blood vessels from cholesterol.

The researchers found one problem with eating apples as opposed to taking a statin drug...apples currently cost more! So, should you still be taking that statin drug? Only your doctor can tell you if you should or should not be on cholesterol medication. However, new recommendations have recently been released that will place millions of Americans on statins that were not previously candidates. If you are concerned about taking these drugs, please talk to your doctor about other options.

You can read more about this study by following this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Interesting article on spinal fusion outcomes

I happened to run across a study from a few years back (2010) that looked at two groups of patients from Ohio that had similar low back conditions and diagnoses. One group opted to have a spinal fusion surgery while the second group did not have any surgery. The outcomes two years after the surgery are remarkable.

First investigated was the percentage of low back surgery patients that had returned to work vs. the percentage of non-surgery patients returning to work. While 67% of the non-surgery group was back working, only a meager 26% of surgical patients had returned to work! I should mention that this was a study of around 1,450 patients from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation database. The priority in these cases is to get people back to working condition. The spinal fusion recipients certainly were not obtaining the desired outcomes in this case.

The second aspect of treatment investigated was the percentage of patients taking pain medication. And not just Tylenol or Advil, but opiates that are highly addictive. The surgery group in this aspect saw a 41% increase in the use of these drugs versus patients that elected to pass on surgery. Again, a staggering number!

What can be learned from studies such as these? First, always use major surgery as a last resort to deal with back pain. Indeed, there are cases where it is absolutely necessary and will give the best long-term outcome. But, in many, many cases there are other avenues to rid yourself of pain (such as chiropractic of course!). One last statistic I will give you is that there are over 600,000 back surgeries performed in the US every year. An astounding 400,000 or so of these are major fusion operations. With outcomes such as in the study described above, please carefully consider all options before going under the knife!

If you would like to read more about this study, follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.

Monday, July 29, 2013

More benefits from breastfeeding!

It seems that every few months I will see a story on the news about the many benefits of breastfeeding. The list of benefits for both the baby and mother is vast. Benefits to the baby include immunity to illness, lowered risk of asthma/allergies and lower rates of obesity later in life. For the mom, breastfeeding is terrific bonding time with a newborn, helps shed off the "baby weight" and reduces the risk of postpartum depression.

It now appears that breastfed babies may be smarter adults! A new study from Harvard University indicates that babies who are breastfed longer have higher intelligence scores later in life. Specifically, the children were found to have higher language and intelligence scores at the ages of 3 and 7, respectively. Who doesn't want their children to have more intelligence?

Current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics are that babies should be exclusively breastfed until 6 months. After solids are introduced, it is recommended that mothers continue breastfeeding until the child turns 1 year of age.

To read more on this new study, please follow this link.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Is the food industry scared?

I recently ran across this linked article on Yahoo. I find it interesting because of the style of writing...written in first person from the food industry to the consumer. I think that the article gives a good sense of the philosophy that the food industry possesses in regards to the American diet. Often times, our society shifts from one fad diet or way of eating to another. The food industry loves when we do this because it makes their marketing strategy simple to deploy. For example, when people start thinking that fat content is the problem, the industry does a terrific job of putting out low-fat or no-fat options for the foods we love. When carbs are evil, the industry creates products (even alcoholic products) that are marketed as "low-carb."

What people need to realize at some point is that, more than fats/carbs/cholesterol/etc., the main problem with the food we eat is simply in the way it is made. The industrial approach to all foods slowly poisons those who ingest them. While this is nothing new...additives and chemicals have been added to food for a long time...the percentage of food that is engineered continues to rise. All you have to do is look at the rate of disease processes that are directly related to diet...diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease. All of these are affecting individuals at younger and younger ages. The number of Type II diabetic children alone is staggering.

While eating completely organic, free-range, farm-raised foods is often too expensive for the average families' budget, efforts need to be made to eat less toxic foods. You can start by changing small things in your diet. For example, pay attention to the "dirty dozen." Avoiding these foods or choosing organic varieties can be a healthy kick start to changing your entire diet. Continue to take small strides forward until a majority of your diet falls within healthy parameters and you will be assured a longer, healthier lifespan.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on our website.