Avoid Back to School Strain: How Kids Should Be Wearing Their Backpacks

It’s a new year and the kids are heading back to school! Make sure your child is protected and wearing their backpack correctly. Over 5,000 children per year visit the emergency room due to backpack injuries. Check out these 3 tips below to make sure your child is wearing their backpack correctly in order to prevent such injuries:

1.       Fit and Sizing: Choose a backpack that is made for children, which are made with lightweight material as opposed to backpacks made for adults. The backpack should be worn close to the body and should cover the entire torso with the bottom of the backpack two inches below the waist.

2.       Weight: The backpack should only weight 10-15 percent of a kid’s weight. So, if your child weighs 70 lbs., his or her backpack should only weigh 7-10 lbs. Also, make sure the contents of the backpack are evenly distributed, utilizing the multiple compartments.

3.       Support: Make sure your child wears the backpack with both shoulder straps. If the backpack has a waist strap, it should be used to help support the weight.

kids-backpack

When getting ready for the new year, make sure you utilize these 3 easy steps to prevent pain and injuries in your children. If you need further information on how to protect your children and ensure they are structurally sound, please contact us at Excel Chiropractic and set up a complimentary consultation!

 

The Journal of the American Medical Association’s Recommendation for Treating Low Back Pain

If you have not heard or read the case study yet, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published an article comparing medical and chiropractic treatment of acute low back pain in men and women between 18 and 35 years of age. In the article titled, “Adding Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy to Standard Medical Care for Patients with Acute Low Back Pain: Results of a Pragmatic Randomized Comparative Effectiveness Study” by Goertz, et al., the study compared treating low back pain with standard medical care (SMC) versus SMC plus Chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT).

Without diving into all of the details, the study concluded that “73% percent of participants in the standard medical care plus chiropractic manipulative therapy group rated their global improvement as pain completely gone, much better, or moderately better, compared with 17% in the SMC group” (Goertz, et al.).

Now, what does this mean for you? If you are sick of nagging low back pain that you cannot seem to shake off, then chiropractic care may be the answer for you. Standard medical care for low back pain typically involves the use of pharmaceutical and prescription medication. These medications can be very effective, but what are they exactly fixing? The prescribed medications are typically muscle relaxants/relaxers that help decrease muscle spasms.

73 quote

The problem is that the muscle spasms are commonly a secondary condition to an underlying, more sinister condition. There are many stressors we face on a daily basis, including physical, chemical, and emotional stressors, that may lead to common low back pain. When the bones in the low back, or the lumbar vertebrae, become misaligned due to these various stressors, pressure is placed on the nerves causing these secondary conditions, or “symptoms” as you may commonly refer to them. By relaxing the muscles in the area, we trick our brain into thinking the issue is resolved, but we have actually only masked the symptoms. The pressure has not been removed from the nerves between the misaligned spinal bones, or the vertebrae.

This is where chiropractic care comes into play. Chiropractic adjustments focus on removing this pressure on the nerves by gently adjusting the vertebrae back into proper alignment. The adjustments are safe, effective, and non-invasive. Therefore, JAMA is suggesting that treating the low back pain with both chiropractic care and standard medical care is the best course of action. By using both modalities together, not only are you treating the secondary conditions with medical care, but you are correcting the underlying cause of pain with chiropractic care.

happy

Every medical professional and treatment has an appropriate time and place. We at Excel Chiropractic hope you now have a better idea of how to manage the low back pain you are experiencing and which steps to take first in correcting the true cause of your pain. Please contact us for further information or to make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.

Eat Guac, Not Queso!

Everyone loves a good queso dip, but if you are watching your weight or trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle it may not be the best snack choice. Queso is very high in saturated fat and cholesterol and, while it is a good source of calcium, it is pretty much void of any beneficial nutrients. If you are looking for a nutritious alternative, try fresh guacamole!

 

Nutrition  Guacamole Queso
Calories 240 492
Fat 24g 40g
Saturated Fat 1g 25g
Cholesterol 0 139mg
Sodium 200mg 1493mg
Carbs 16g 6g
Fiber 8g 0g

*based on a 1 cup serving

Guacamole has become an incredibly popular snack and not just because it is delicious. It’s super easy to make too! And, bonus, it’s packed with tons of nutrients. Avocados have so much of the good, unsaturated fats and omega fatty acids that our bodies need. They are also a great source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Onions, jalapeños, and cilantro all contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that help keep our bodies healthy and prevent disease. Homemade guacamole doesn’t contain the preservatives and unnecessary ingredients found in some store bought brands, either, making it especially good for you. Try this spicy guacamole recipe for a tasty and healthy snack!

quacamole ingredients

What you need:

2 avocados

½ red onion,

1 large jalapeño

½ bunch of cilantro

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cayenne pepper

What you do:

Thinly chop onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. Using a fork, mash avocado and add in other ingredients. Add as much or as little cayenne as you like. I like to make this very spicy, so I add a lot. Enjoy with chips, sliced veggies, or even as a spread on sandwiches!

The Top 3 Chiropractic and Rehab Techniques I Use in Practice

Chiropractic care can vary in many different ways, including technique, modalities offered (if any), frequency of care, and even which joints in the body to adjust. At Excel Chiropractic, we focus on structural care and making sure the body is in proper alignment to ensure proper function. Here are my top 3 tools and techniques I use in practice to ensure the best results with my patients:

 

1. Structural exercises pre-adjustment:

CRU pic

Prior to being adjusted, we want to make sure the spine is warmed up, similar to stretching before exercising or working out. To warm up the spine, we use two structural exercises: our cervical traction unit (CTU) and our “wobble” chairs. The CTU is effective at opening the compressed disc spaces, usually due to poor posture, in the neck. In addition, the CTU helps restore the natural curve in our neck that is also lost from improper lifestyle habits. The wobble chairs, on the other hand, are excellent at providing mobility back into the lumbar spine, or the low back. This area becomes compressed from sitting all day and needs proper movement to maintain pain-free function.

 

2. The chiropractic adjustment on an automatic flexion-distraction table:

adjusting pic

By incorporating automatic flexion-distraction into each adjustment, we continue to aid in the healing process by further opening the compressed disc spaces. This helps relieve pain by taking pressure off of the affected nerves. This also allows for a smooth, gentle adjustment each visit.

 

3. Rest period on an intersegmental traction table (or IST table) post-adjustment:

massage table pic

The worst thing you can do to your body after an adjustment is immediately jump back into your pre-adjustment routine. Your body needs time to heal and to let the adjustment settle in without being thrown right back out of place. This is why each patient lies on the IST tables, comparable to a rolling massage table, for about 10 minutes after every adjustment. Not only is this usually the patient’s favorite part of the visit, but it also helps the results last much longer by letting the body strengthen around proper alignment.

 

Everything we do at Excel Chiropractic is with a purpose and with a common goal in mind—to reduce pain and symptoms and ensure a healthy nervous system by correcting structural misalignments and imbalances. By using structural exercises, specific and effective adjustments on a state-of-the-art chiropractic table, and allowing the body ample rest on the IST Tables post-adjustment, we make sure we are always treating the patient’s underlying conditions from multiple angles to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time.

4 Signs You May Be Overtraining

We all know the importance of physical activity in our lives and the benefits that regular exercise can have on our health. But, have you ever stopped and considered the fact that you may be overtraining? It takes about 45-60 minutes per day to see true health and cardiovascular benefits from exercise, with a total of about 5-6 hours per week of exercise. However, after that point, you may stop seeing gains in your health and fitness and will actually start to regress. If you’re worried that you may be experiencing symptoms associated with overtraining or that your exercise routine has become more of an addiction than a regimen, check out our 4 Signs of Overtraining and what you can do to prevent further problems.

  1. Muscle soreness and injury-prone:
    • Of course it is normal for muscles to be sore after a training session, but it is not normal for this soreness to last more than 48-72 hours post-exercise. To see an improvement in muscle growth, or muscular hypertrophy, the muscle must be stressed. However, what most people forget is that most of our muscular gains happen during our rest periods—the day or two after we have exercised and stressed our muscles. If we do not allow our muscle to rest and grow properly, we will be sore for a longer period and be more injury-prone due to less stable, more vulnerable muscles.
    • How can I prevent this? After training a certain muscle group or body part, give yourself adequate rest time before training those muscles again. I recommend at least 36-48 hours of rest between training sessions to see optimal gains.
  2. Feeling sick more often
    • When your body is working too hard, or overtraining, you are living in a constant catabolic state, or constantly breaking down your body instead of building it up. This takes a strong toll on your body and immune system and makes you more vulnerable to sickness and illness. Because your body is so focused on training and burning, it cannot take the necessary measures to ensure you are properly protected from disease.
    • How can I prevent this? Reduce your training periods so that you have time to properly heal. Try incorporating shorter, more intense training sessions instead of long, high burning cardio workouts. Also, consider diet and nutrition modifications. Vitamins A, C, and E are important in strengthening immune function and will also help with tissue repair.
  3. Loss of Motivation
    • When exercise has become such a crucial part of your daily life, the idea of missing a workout becomes unfathomable! That is why a sudden disinterest in wanting to go to the gym is a serious sign of overtraining. It is your body trying to tell you it needs a break.
    • How can I prevent this? Instead of fighting this sign and performing exercises with a lack of concentration and chance of injury, a longer rest period is needed. Take at least one full week off from training and focus on getting at least 8 hours of sleep and refueling your body with proper diet and nutrition. After this week, do not jump back into your full-intensity workout. Rather, start slowly and work your way back in a safe manner. Your body will be well rested and you will notice an immediate change in your motivation to exercise again!
  4. Halted Progress
    • Have you ever been training for a long period of time and no matter what you try, or how hard you work, you simply are not getting the results you desire? This is because you are overtraining your muscles. Instead of seeing growth by burning carbohydrates and fat and building muscle tissue, you are actually entering a “muscle burning” mode due to inadequate rest.
    • How can I prevent this? As stated earlier, force yourself to take rest periods, both during your training and in between sessions. It might seem counterintuitive that resting more will actually provide more gains, but it could not be more true!

 

4 Things You Must Do After Your First Chiropractic Adjustment

Want to know how to make the most out of your first adjustment? Check out these tips!

 

water

Drink lots of water

Every joint in your body needs movement to receive its nutrients. Therefore, if a joint is not moving properly, it begins to accumulate toxins. When you receive a chiropractic adjustment to these joints to improve function and mobility, these toxins are released into the bloodstream. Drink plenty of water after your adjustment to flush your body of these newly released toxins.

Here’s a tip: It is a good idea to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weight 180 lbs, drink 90 ounces of water.

 

epsom salt

Take an Epsom salt bath that night

As we mentioned earlier, it is important to flush out the toxins in your body, especially after your adjustment. Epsom salt baths are a great way to draw these toxins out and reduce any muscle cramping or soreness.

Here’s a tip: Soak in a warm bath with 2-3 cups of Epsom salt (or however much the package recommends) for 20-30 minutes. Feeling proactive? Take an Epsom salt bath the night before your next adjustment to start the recovery process early!

 

trail dude

Stay Active

Now that your body is in proper alignment, it is important to stay active and begin training your muscles to maintain the correct structure. If the bone and joint position is corrected, but the muscles are still pulling improperly, then the adjustment will not last as long.

Here’s a tip: For the first few days after your adjustment, focus on training your endurance. When lifting weights, try completing sets with less weights and higher repetitions. When lifting heavier weights, even with proper form, there is a better chance of strengthening one side over the other and pulling your adjustment back out of alignment.

 

Setting a date

Schedule your next adjustment!

Even though your body was just adjusted and put into proper alignment, there is a good chance your brain and body will go back to how it was comfortable—misaligned. However, it is important to remember that comfort does not equal health. It is time to start retraining your body how to live with proper alignment and a strong foundation.

Here’s a tip: Schedule your next adjustment ASAP and make sure you stick to your prescribed care plan. Each chiropractor will create a care plan that best suits your conditions and individual needs.

Eat This, Not That!

Eat spaghetti squash, not pasta!

Do you love Italian food and a big bowl of pasta, but hate the bloated and heavy feeling that immediately kicks in afterwards? We have the perfect solution for you!

Try substituting your favorite pasta or spaghetti with spaghetti squash instead! The texture is almost identical to normal spaghetti, but without all of the negative effects of eating a heavy pasta dish full of carbohydrates.

 

 spaghetti squash  spaghetti squash recipe 2.tif
100 Grams of: Spaghetti squash Pasta
Carbohydrates: 7 g (2% of Daily Value) 75 g (25% of Daily Value)
Calories: 31

371

Vitamin A: 120 IU 0 IU

Try this delicious and healthy recipe for chicken parmesan with spaghetti squash instead of regular pasta!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb thin sliced chicken breast, cut into strips
  • Italian seasoning
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Coconut Oil for sautéing chicken

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. With a sharp knife, slice the squash in half. If the squash is too tough – puncture in several places forming a dotted line around the squash. Microwave for 3-5 minutes to soften. Allow to cool before cutting in half – following the dotted line.
  3. Scoop out the seeds – brush with oil, salt, and pepper, – and roast face down in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until a fork can easily pierce the skin.
  4. Meanwhile, slice the chicken breasts into strips. Note, for this recipe we will be sautéing the chicken, not frying.
  5. Sautee the chicken strips in a pan using coconut oil and Italian seasoning. Cook completely through until there is no pink in the middle of the chicken strips. Set cooked chicken aside on a plate while you prepare the squash.
  6. Once the squash is out of the oven, let cool for about 10 mins. Flip over and shred the inside of each squash so that the spaghetti strands are loosened. Be careful not to poke a hole in the skin of the squash. It is your choice whether you want to keep the spaghetti squash in the skin, or shred and scoop it out onto a plate or into a large bowl.
  7. If keeping the squash in the skin, pour 1/2 cup marinara sauce over shredded squash in each half of the squash. Top with chicken strips, then 1/2 cup more marinara, and finish with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and a pinch of Italian seasoning. Return to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Pregnancy, the Breech Presentation, and How Chiropractic Can Help!

Educating pregnant women on the benefits of chiropractic care is incredibly important because chiropractic can make the pregnancy, labor, and delivery an easier and healthier process.  As a baby comes to full-term (36 weeks), one major concern for pregnant mothers and doctors is how the baby is positioned inside the womb.  The normal position for a baby during labor is head down, or in the vertex position, which offers the greatest chance at a safe, healthy delivery. Unfortunately, 1 out of 25 full-term births are breech births. A breech presentation is when the baby’s feet and bottom are pointing downward and the head is at the top.

 

breech baby

 

 

This scenario can be dangerous for the mother since the delivering doctor has to perform certain maneuvers to turn the baby into the proper position. The turning process becomes even more difficult when the baby is full-term because there is limited room in the uterus to change positions, which is why 86% of infants with breech presentations are delivered by cesarean section (C-section) in the United States. However, a C-section delivery is not only a traumatic, surgical intervention to both the mother and the baby, but also disrupts the baby’s nutrient supply and blood flow from the mother.

Many babies are in a breech presentation at some point during the pregnancy, but will spontaneously move into the proper vertex position by 34 weeks.  However, after 34 weeks, very few babies will reposition without some form of intervention. Intrauterine constraints, or obstructions to the baby during pregnancy, are a major cause of breech presentations and structural defects to the baby. This is commonly caused by adhesions and constrictions in the mother’s hips and low back, mainly in the pelvis and sacrum. Chiropractic adjustments remove these restrictions and restore normal nerve flow and function. By regularly seeing a chiropractor before, during, and after pregnancy, the mother has a better chance to ensure normal function and biomechanics in the spine throughout the pregnancy.  Maintaining an optimal structure encourages a healthy pregnancy, which provides plenty of space for the baby to grow without any limitations.

The practice of chiropractic should not be misconstrued with the practice of obstetrics. Rather, chiropractic focuses on correcting various musculoskeletal conditions that may cause intrauterine constraints that place pressure on the developing uterus. If you are pregnant, or expecting, make an appointment today to make sure your body is functioning optimally for the healthiest pregnancy possible!

5 Reasons Why I Don’t Do Diets

We are constantly looking for the quick fix in life: the magic weight loss pill, the exercise that will give us a 6-pack tomorrow, the investment that will return one million dollars within the hour. We all know that nothing comes easy and that there is no such thing as a “quick fix.” However, we still try and find the shortcuts where we can. One of the most prevalent examples of this is dieting. I’m going to explain to you the top 5 reasons why I don’t do dieting and easy solutions you can use today for long-term change.

 

Dieting results are only temporary.

Problem: Most diets are too complicated or exhausting to maintain for a long period of time. It is not fathomable (or healthy) to cut out an entire food group, such as carbohydrates, from your diet for the rest of your life. Eventually, you will end up “cheating” or eating something that is not included in your diet. Because of the pressure you’ve put on yourself to achieve diet perfection, any slip up or regression can feel devastating. This causes a slippery slope and usually ends with you stopping the diet altogether.

Solution: Unless you have incredible willpower, which most of us do not, never stop or quit something cold turkey. Are you drinking 4 Diet Cokes per day? As much as I’d love for you to stop drinking them entirely, it is not a recipe for long term change. Start out by reducing your Diet Coke intake to 2 per day for a week or two. Then ween yourself down to one per day, one every other day, one per week, etc., until you no longer have the craving. Although the number varies, most research says it takes about 60 days to create a habit. What does that mean for you? If you start removing the Diet Coke or the bag of candy at night from your daily ritual, after 60 days or less your body will no longer crave it.

 

Dieting and rapid weight loss affects your body’s normal functions.

Problem: If we drastically reduce the number of calories or nutrients we consume, then our bodies go into starvation mode. In order to stay full and satiated with less food, our bodies slow down its metabolism as to not burn the food and calories too quickly.

Solution: Instead of reducing your caloric intake too quickly, start with simple portion control. By slowly reducing how much we are eating, we prevent our body from going into starvation mode and disrupting our normal functions, such as metabolism, heart rate, temperature, and mood. Skipping meals is never a good route either. Keep eating at normal intervals throughout the day, but make sure you are using proper portion control.

 

Dieting drains your energy.

Problem: Even if your diet is not as healthy as it could or should be, your body is used to drawing its energy from what you’re putting into your mouth. Decreasing calories and nutrients equals decreasing energy and strength.

Solution: Never cut out a food group entirely. The best rule of thumb is always EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. If you are going to decrease the number of calories you’re eating, make sure you are putting nutrient-dense foods into your body. Instead of eating an entire bag of potato chips, eat ½ cup or ¾ cup of cooked brown rice or quinoa. You are still giving your body the carbohydrates it is used to, but you’re replacing empty calories, or calories that come from foods with no nutrients such as potato chips, with complex, nutrient-dense calories that improve your health and function.

 

Dieting distracts you from what is really important.

Problem: We become so obsessed with dieting and being a certain body weight that we lose sight of what is really important in our lives.

Solution: Do not shut out the rest of your life and the things that matter and are important to you simply to try a new diet regimen. Remember that losing unwanted weight and improving your health and nutrition can be fun! If you incorporate your friends and family into the process, then it is much more rewarding and easier to stay on track. Chances are there is a friend or family member that could benefit from improving their health as well. Try teaming up and setting short- and long-term goals for each of you. Trust me, accomplishing your goals with a teammate, friend, or family member is always more rewarding than going at it alone. Remember, the key is healthy living, not short-term dieting.

 

Dieting is a major precursor to eating disorders.

Problem: We start dieting to lose 1-2 pounds, but before we know it, we become obsessed and begin hurting ourselves through a process we began, ironically, to improve our health.

Solution: Remember that weight is not the sole indicator of health or disease. People can be heavier and in good health or thinner and in poor health. The ultimate goal is to improve our overall health and change our bad habits, not just the numbers on the scale. Restricting food is never the solution for losing weight. Keep your portions in moderation, eat nutrient-dense foods, and focus on improving your health nutritionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

 

At Excel Chiropractic, we do not focus on only one aspect of the body. We are complex beings and need to be looked at as a whole. Although our goal is to always ensure proper structural alignment in our patient’s bodies, we want to make sure that when they leave the office, their health and well-being is still the number one priority. By focusing on our patient’s health from many different angles, such as the body’s alignment, nutrition, and exercise habits, we can see incredible results that last much longer than if we had only focused on one aspect. Are you interested in improving your or your family’s health? Schedule a complimentary consultation with us today so we can create the perfect plan to help take care of you and the ones that mean the most to you!

Why your fever is actually a healthy response!

 

We’ve all been there. The cough and sniffles start and sure enough, our body temperature rises and we’re faced with an uncomfortable fever. Most people think that the fever is the PROBLEM and needs to be suppressed as soon as possible to regain health. However, the fever is actually the body’s RESPONSE to an underlying problem, be it a virus or bacterial infection.

So why would our body raise our internal temperature and cause us even more pain in an already uncomfortable state? Because our body and brain are smarter than we are!

By raising our internal temperature from a normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit to 100-101 degrees, we have just created an environment where harmful bacteria cannot survive. When our body temperature increases to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, we have now created an environment where viruses are unable to reproduce and spread throughout the body.

However, if your body temperature does increase to around 103-104 degrees Fahrenheit, or if your fever has lasted up to 4 days, it is important to seek medical care to make sure no damage is done to any vital organs.

Now what happens when we take pain relievers such as Tylenol (Acetaminophen) or Advil (Ibuprofen)? Our fever goes down, giving us an illusion of health! Yes, the fever has reduced, but now the bacteria or virus is running rampant because we have just suppressed our natural defense mechanism! In an attempt to fix the problem, we only treated the symptoms, not the real cause of disease.

 

Here are some tips on how to handle your next fever and to ensure your body is fighting to its greatest potential:

  1. Drink lots of water and stay rested: Fighting an infection takes a lot of energy, so our body will need proper hydration and at least 7-10 hours of sleep per night.
  1. Eat a healthy, balanced, and natural diet: Sugar suppresses our immune system so try and avoid sweets when you’re not feeling well. It might make us feel better in the short term, but it’s also slowing our body’s ability to fight the infection.
  1. Pick up some natural supplements: A healthy dose of B12 (about 2.5mg) can go a long way to boost your immune system. Also, add a healthy, natural probiotic to your diet. This will increase the amount of healthy, good bacteria in your body that helps your immune system fight off the cold and infection as well!

 

I hope these strategies help you face your next fever with confidence and not fear! Let your body work naturally and fight infection the way it was designed to.