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Look Who Else Uses Chiropractic Care: Elite Cheerleaders

Sprains, strains and lower back pain are very, very common among cheerleaders. In fact, the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research lists cheerleading as the most dangerous sport for women. Anyone who watches elite cheerleaders in action, either during a game or at competitions, has some idea why this might be.

Cheerleading is a very physically demanding sport, particularly when participants perform routines that involve gymnastics or acrobatics or execute maneuvers that require them to support a lot of weight. Performing well as a cheerleader requires excellent balance, strength and range of motion. Chiropractic care can help prevent injuries and—when they do happen—can help cheerleaders recover more quickly.

In fact, chiropractic has made such a difference in professional cheerleading that the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders joined the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress to let others know how much chiropractic care helps both their performance and their musculoskeletal health. Both cheerleader training and the performances during the game take a toll on the body. Redskins cheerleader Amanda Mitchell says, “People don’t view cheerleading as a competitive sport, but you have to try out every single year in this industry and it takes a large toll on your body. Without chiropractic care I would not have made it past my first year. After receiving treatment, I began to notice the pain starting to subside as well as improvement in flexibility during performances.”

And when injuries occur—and they are very common among cheerleaders—getting back in condition as soon as possible is important. Professional cheerleaders find that with the help of chiropractic care they can be back in performance mode much faster. According to Redskins cheerleader Chelsea Causey, “I’ve experienced multiple injuries during my career as a cheerleader—everything from pulled hamstrings to sprains and even lower back pain—setbacks that chiropractic care has always helped me recover from.”

Studies show that chiropractic is an effective tool to prevent and treat sports-related injuries. One study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics was performed by Dr. Jay Greenstein and colleagues on 43 professional football cheerleaders who underwent a season-long chiropractic hamstring intervention. Hamstring and other lower body strains account for half of all cheerleading injuries. Greenstein notes that “After the season closed, we found that those who had reported hamstring injury-related pain between June and September showed a significant decrease in pain after receiving treatment.”

Dr. Alex Vidan, chiropractor to the St. Louis Rams cheerleaders says, “The benefits of chiropractic treatment are felt immediately. Along with providing relief from pain, chiropractic also facilitates healing, which means there’s less downtime after an injury.” He added, “The squad performs a lot more than people think, making special appearances, and there’s a lot of travel involved, all of which can take their toll physically. The Rams cheerleaders, like many others, have found that chiropractic methods, which are gentle and noninvasive, offer relief and foster sound physical health.”

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at (910) 796-3666

Vertigo Causes and Treatment Options

If you’ve ever felt the sensation of spinning or that the world is spinning around you, you’ve experienced what is sometimes called vertigo. It is most often due to a problem with the inner ear. The vestibular system in our inner ear is responsible for keeping us aware of where we are located in space. The vestibulocochlear nerve sends signals to the brain about our body’s balance and position, and if this system is disturbed in any way, vertigo is often the result.

In addition to the spinning sensation, symptoms of vertigo include feelings of nausea, vomiting, sweating, difficulty standing, feeling unbalanced, headache, ringing in the ears or hearing loss, and abnormal or jerking eye movements.

Among the most common causes of vertigo are the following:

  1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – Probably the most common cause of vertigo, particularly in those over age 60, BPPV is due to calcium carbonate particles called canaliths becoming dislodged and irritating the inner ear.
  2. Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis – Infections of the inner ear that are often due to a virus cause inflammation in the area of the vestibulocochlear nerve, sending inaccurate signals to the brain about the body’s position. This is why people with inner ear infections are often dizzy or walk in an unsteady manner.
  3. Ménière’s disease – A chronic inner ear disorder with symptoms including dizziness, tinnitus and hearing loss that can come and go.
  4. Migraine headaches – Vestibular migraines are migraines with vertigo involved, and those with balance disorders often have a family history of migraines.
  5. Stroke, tumor or multiple sclerosis – These are much less common causes of vertigo, involving problems with the brain and central nervous system.

involving problems with the brain and central nervous system.
One of the simplest treatments for BPPV is something known as a canalith repositioning procedure. This procedure moves the calcium particles out from the inner ear’s sensing tubes and into a different part of the inner ear where they cause no harm and are safely absorbed. Doctors, chiropractors and other therapists who are familiar with the procedure can perform the procedure in a matter of minutes.

One of the most commonly used of the procedures is called the Epley Maneuver. This treatment involves the patient lying on his or her back on a bed or table. The patient’s head should be hanging slightly over the edge and tilted 45 degrees toward the problem ear. The physician then moves the patient’s head into four different positions for a couple of minutes each until it is tilted 90 degrees toward the other ear. This procedure has been found to cure vertigo from BPPV approximately 90% of the time.

Vertigo due to inner ear infections will usually clear up once the infection is gone. Medicines are sometimes prescribed to help reduce symptoms of vertigo that are related to migraines or Ménière’s disease.

Top 10 Stretches for All-Around Flexibility

Stretching is important to maintaining flexibility. If you study animals such as cats and dogs, you will notice that they stretch on a frequent basis to keep their muscles supple and limber. Stretching helps to maintain a good range of motion and can help prevent you from muscle injuries such as sprains and strains. Following are our top 10 stretches for all-around flexibility.

  1. Knee-to-chest stretch – While lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, bring one knee up to your chest and hold it there with your hands. Repeat with the other leg. This stretches the muscles in your lower back, relieving tension.
  2. Piriformis stretch – Again, lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, bring your outer left ankle to rest on your right knee. Then slowly pull the right knee in toward the chest with your hands clasped behind your lower right thigh. Repeat with the other leg. This stretches the outer thigh and buttock muscles.
  3. Hamstring stretch – Lying on your back with your legs stretched out in front of you, lift one leg off the floor while holding the back of your thigh with clasped hands, keeping the leg slightly bent at the knee. Pull until your leg is at a 90° angle with your body. Repeat on other side.
  4. Side stretch – Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, stretch your left arm over your head and slowly bend over to the right until you feel the stretch in your left side that should extend from your left hip all the way to your wrist. Repeat on the other side. This improves mobility in your rib cage and improves overall flexibility.
  5. Overhead triceps stretch – Raise both arms above your head with elbows bent and hands just touching your upper back. With your left hand, pull your right elbow back until you feel the stretch in the back of your right arm. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Chest and biceps stretch – Standing next to a wall, raise your bent arm to shoulder height and place your forearm flat against the wall. Slowly turn your body away from the wall while keeping your forearm stationary, until you feel the stretch in your chest and upper arm. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Calf stretch – Standing about two feet from a wall, place your hands against the wall and extend one leg back, putting your heel flat on the floor and bending your other leg. Repeat with other leg.
  8. Quadriceps stretch – While standing, bend one leg back at the knee, then grab and hold your ankle, with your foot pulled as close to the back of the thigh as possible. You can grasp a chair or use the wall for balance, if necessary.
  9. Hip stretch – Making sure that your knee is adequately cushioned, go down on one knee, with your other leg in front of you bent at a 90° angle. Push slightly forward with your hips, which stretches the hip flexors. Be sure to keep the forward knee above your ankle.
  10. Lateral stretch – While grasping a pole or other secure stationary object with both hands at about waist height, bend your knees and lean back until your weight is supported by your arms. This will stretch your upper back and shoulders.

For best results, these stretches should be performed when your body is warm. If you just want to stretch without having exercised first, experts suggest that you at least warm up for 10 or 15 minutes first to avoid the risk of injury. Hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Ease in and out of stretches slowly and breathe normally throughout your stretching routine. Be sure not to bounce as you stretch, as it can cause small tears to your muscles.

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at (910) 796-3666

Fitness Club Membership in the US: What the Numbers Tell Us

If you are thinking about joining a fitness club to get in shape, you are not alone. Over 50 million Americans belong to a health club, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), and the numbers are rising by approximately 10 percent every year. And it’s no surprise, with more people becoming health-conscious and doing what they can to reduce their risk of obesity and heart disease, which go hand-in-hand with a sedentary lifestyle.

Following are a few interesting facts regarding fitness club membership in the US:

  1. The average fitness club member will go to the gym twice a week.
  2. The primary reason why people do not join a fitness club or quit their membership is that they feel it is too expensive. The average monthly cost of a fitness club membership is $55, and of that amount, $39 of it is wasted because the average member doesn’t use it. Amazingly, an estimated 67% to 80% of those with a gym membership never use it at all.
  3. There are nearly 30,000 health clubs throughout the US, which generate over $21 billion in combined revenue each year.
  4. Approximately a fifth of those with a fitness club membership are over age 55. The primary reason why 90% of them join a gym is that they are concerned about staying healthy, whereas the primary cause for 16-20 year-olds is to feel better about themselves. More gyms are now offering age-specific programs to accommodate the needs of different age groups.
  5. The greater your income, the more time you spend at the gym. A study of 1,600 fitness club members found that those members earning the least money went to the gym for one hour per week, whereas members with the highest incomes were at the gym for three hours per week.
  6. A few studies have found that the reason people go to the gym is not necessarily for fitness. Fully half of fitness club members go to the gym to meet with friends and look for potential dates. The gym may be an effective way to meet a partner, as a study conducted on 2,000 members of one gym found that over 10% of the members were living with someone they had met at the gym.
  7. In 1999, 4 million Americans used a personal trainer at the gym. This number had increased to 6.5 million in 2012.
  8. According to IHRSA, the top 10 fitness club activities, in order of preference, are stair-climbing machines, yoga, low impact aerobics, stationary cycling, abdominal machines, stretching, elliptical trainers, resistance machines, treadmills and free weights (hand weights, dumbbells and barbells).

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What Are Nutraceuticals?

Many people are becoming disillusioned with a 21st century pharmaceutical industry that promotes taking a different drug for every ailment from anxiety to zits. Others question the drug approval process used by the FDA and are bothered by the fact that safety studies are performed by the pharmaceutical companies themselves. They point out that the long-term effects of new medications are often uncertain even after testing, and that the negative side effects can be serious.

At the same time, researchers and clinicians continue to discover new links between what we eat and drink and our overall health and well-being. Even among the general public, the fundamental importance of nutrition is becoming clearer and clearer as we face a growing number of so-called “lifestyle diseases” that are caused (at least in part) by the type, quality and amount of food that we eat.

So it’s not surprising that scientists are trying to improve our understanding of food and to make its benefits more accessible to more people. As this happens, it seems likely that we will find ourselves turning to “nutraceuticals” to prevent or treat our illnesses, even if we’ve never heard that word before or don’t know what it means.

Dr. Stephen DeFelice, from the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, first coined the term nutraceutical (sometimes also spelled nutriceutical) in 1989. He defined it as meaning “food, or parts of food, that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease.” This definition includes not only special fortified foods, but also herbal products, dietary supplements, genetically modified foods and foods processed to include specific nutrients.

Studies have shown that some nutraceuticals are indeed effective in promoting certain health benefits. However, the regulation of some of these substances is inconsistent, and not every nutraceutical product claiming to have health benefits can actually support those claims. For instance, the vitamin D added to milk that has been proven to help prevent rickets in children (once a widespread problem) can be considered a nutraceutical.  So can the active cultures in some types of yogurt. But the claim that raspberry ketones will help you lose weight, as touted by the popular Dr. Oz, is tenuous at best. So it may be a nutraceutical without the health benefit.

Nevertheless, some nutraceuticals are considerably better for your health than taking a drug. Cultures the world over have been using natural food and herbal remedies for centuries, often with great results and no negative side effects. It is important, however, to judge which are safe to take, and in which amounts.

Just because a food or supplement is “natural” does not necessarily mean it is safe for you. It is important to consult with a health professional as to which nutraceuticals may be right for your particular condition and check to ensure that the manufacturer has used quality ingredients in the production of the nutraceutical. Because these products are largely unregulated, the ability to enforce standards (in particular, the source and amount of active ingredient) is more limited than what we’re accustomed to in the world of pharmaceuticals. So if you’re taking horsetail to help with your hair growth, some supplements may contain 7% and some 10%. Differences like this can make matter a lot when it comes to effectiveness and safety depending on the nutriceutical involved.

It is generally healthiest to get the nutrients you need by following a varied diet rich in whole foods. However, if this is not possible, neutraceuticals may be the next best thing and may help you to avoid the health risks and expense associated with pharmaceuticals.

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at (910) 796-3666

Chiropractic for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), named from the carpal bones in the wrist that form a tunnel around the nerve leading to the hand, is an injury usually caused by repetitive and forceful movements that result in swelling around the tendons and pinching of the median nerve, causing painful tingling, lack of muscle strength and control in the hand, and pain shooting from the hand up to the shoulder. CTS is a risk to most workers, such as those who work on the computer and also store and assembly line workers, who receive micro-traumas to their hands and wrists on a daily basis due to awkward positioning, forceful and repetitive movements, and stressful activity.

The usual treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can extend to heavy medication and surgery, however there are alternative methods of treatment that can alleviate the symptoms and effects arising from CTS. Chiropractic treatment for CTS has been studied against conventional non-surgical medical treatment and was found to be effective. This offers an alternative to sufferers who are intolerant to ibuprofen, or those who simply wish to avoid treating with medication.

The median nerve in the wrist, which when trapped causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, connects to the spinal cord through the openings in the bones in the areas around the lower neck. If these bones in the spinal cord lose their ordinary position or motion, this can cause problems in the wrists or fingers. Through chiropractic treatment, these bones can be reset to the correct position and can help to treat CTS.

If Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is detected early, then surgery can be avoided, and chiropractic treatment is the leading method of non-surgical treatment. Chiropractic treatment usually involves various methods, with a combination of rest, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation, including:

  • By chiropractic manipulation therapy of the elbow and upper spine, where the joint’s soft tissue undergoes manipulation;
  • Nutritional supplements in the diet such as B6, a vitamin that has had long-term promotion in its treatment of CTS;
  • Electro-acupuncture treatment; bracing, a technique that has had extensive success, by limiting extension and flexion in the hand, and with compression on the median nerve may encourage recovery and ease the swelling in the tendons;
  • Exercises for the wrist and hand designed to encourage recovery;
  • Reassessing the ergonomics of the work place to minimize stress the best way as possible.

Recent studies concluded that using manual therapy intervention such as soft tissue mobilization (STM) has been found to help improve the signs and symptoms of CTS, with improvements to nerve conduction latencies, wrist strength and motion.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can become a serious health problem, and if left too long may require surgery. If it’s caught early, then chiropractic treatment is an effective, drug-free method to ease the symptoms and pains caused by CTS, and provide long-term relief from CTS.

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask.

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at (910) 796-3666