wilmington nc chiropractors

Wilmington NC Chiropractors: Joint Injuries and Arthritis

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study performed from 2007-2009 showed that at least 22.2% of adult Americans suffered from arthritis. The actual number could be higher than the CDC estimate, though, because these were self-reported and doctor-diagnosed cases. Naturally, no one knows how many unreported cases there are. Still, it’s reasonable to believe that this percentage will only become higher as the population ages. Our chiropractor in Wilmington NC explains more.

The short answer to the question asked in the title of this article is “Yes”. Joint injuries really can cause or accelerate arthritis. The reason is simple. Arthritis is all about inflammation of the joint. Inflammation is a natural reaction of the body to injury, pathogens or irritants. Trauma or injury is a major cause of arthritic conditions. Various forms of arthritis, like osteoarthritis (the most common form), are degenerative-they get worse over time and with wear and tear. Once an arthritic condition is established, it will get worse unless the root cause is found and dealt with, or the symptoms are managed by drugs.

Dr. Joseph Borrelli Jr., chairman and professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, performed a study to see how post-traumatic arthritis (PTA) developed after an acute joint injury. Using an animal model, Borrelli found that trauma to the joint can lead to a range of acute lesions, including fractures to bones, ligament or meniscus tears and damage to the articular cartilage. These types of injury are often associated with bleeding in the area of the joint and cause post-traumatic joint inflammation. Despite the resolution of the acute symptoms, and the fact that some lesions could be surgically repaired, joint injury causes a chronic remodeling of the cartilage and other joint tissues that in a majority of cases eventually manifests as osteoarthritis.
The key seems to be in the chondrocytes. These are the cells present in healthy cartilage that help to produce and maintain it. When an acute injury occurs, these chondrocytes become inactive within a month, slowly reducing the structural integrity of the cartilage. Borelli said “In our PTA model, the cells became inactive almost immediately after injury and stopped producing these compounds [that maintain the cartilage]. He continued, “This may explain why PTA sometimes develops very quickly in patients after an injury, regardless of how successful we were in fixing the fracture. PTA can develop in just 6 months-unlike osteoarthritis, which may take up to 60 years to develop.”

PTA aside, serious joint injuries that are not addressed promptly can cause a range of problems down the road. By healing incorrectly or incompletely, joints can become susceptible to instability and re-injury. Weakened or unstable joints may also lead to other related injuries as the body changes its mechanics to compensate.
If you or someone you care about has recently suffered a back, neck or other joint injury, we can help! Proper treatment can make a big difference!

If you are looking for Wilmington NC Chiropractors, contact us today.

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Chiropractor Wilmington NC: How to Improve Circulation

A healthy circulatory system is crucial to good health. To be at its best, your body needs to be able to keep blood pumping from the heart and lungs through the arteries to your organs and extremities, and then keep pumping it back to the lungs for re-oxygenation. Anything that interferes with the proper circulation of blood puts your body’s health at risk for lots of reasons. Our Chiropractor Wilmington NC explains more.

“Poor circulation” can mean many things. Common symptoms include having consistently cold fingers and toes, experiencing tingling in your feet and hands, feelings of numbness, tiredness and a general lack of energy, and chronically dry skin. More serious symptoms of poor circulation can include headaches, hair loss, dizzy spells, varicose veins, muscle cramps, feeling short of breath, memory lapses (due to impaired blood flow to the brain), bluish-tinted skin, and slow healing times for wounds.

What causes poor circulation?

One of the most common causes is inactivity and lack of exercise. To keep the blood moving, you need to keep your body in motion. And do it often. Poor diet and carrying excess weight can lead to poor circulation, as can diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Medically, if you have been diagnosed as hypertensive (having high blood pressure), this is almost always an indicator of poor circulation. The “high pressure” is caused by your heart having to pump harder to cause the blood to keep flowing, often because of blood vessels that have become constricted because of stress, disease, or the buildup of plaque.

How can poor circulation be treated?
Serious circulatory problems can be treated with medication. But for most people anxious to improve their circulation and thus their overall health, a few lifestyle changes can do wonders:
* Get more exercise. Walk rather than ride. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Go for walks after lunch and go to the gym after work. Your body functions best with a minimum of 30 minutes exercise per day.
* Stretch more. Not just before exercising, but at your desk at work. Stretching helps to relieve stress, and stress is one of the things that can constrict your blood vessels.
* Get massages. Massage improves circulation by stimulating the soft tissues of your body and encouraging blood flow.
* Put your feet up. After you exercise, elevating your legs can really help you not only to relax, but increase your circulation. It also reduces your risk of developing varicose veins.
* Eat healthier foods. Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats (from fish, olive oil, and nuts), and lean meats. Try to avoid processed foods.
* Drink more water, and less caffeine. When you’re thirsty, drink water instead of coffee or black tea or soft drinks. Try to cut down on or avoid alcohol, because it definitely impedes circulation.
* Don’t smoke, or quit smoking if you do. Nicotine and the pulmonary perils of smoking are among the most common causes of poor circulation.
* De-stress, however you can. Stress has an extremely negative effect on your circulation. So try to find healthy outlets for the stresses you encounter at work and in other areas of your life, to release the stress rather than have it build up and become toxic.
* Consider herbs and supplements that can help. Ginger, hawthorn berry, cayenne, motherwort, garlic, ginkgo biloba and vitamins C and E all can help to improve your circulation.
If any of the symptoms become chronic, see your doctor or chiropractor. Don’t try to “tough it out” and live with the discomfort of consistent symptoms of poor circulation. Some of the causes can be very serious indeed, so see an expert to make sure.

If you need a chiropractor Wilmington NC contact us today.

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Chiropractor in Leland NC: Benefits of Copper

Like some of the other essential dietary minerals, copper is needed only in trace amounts for your body to function properly. Nevertheless, copper is vital to many of the body’s functions, so it is important to ensure that you are not copper deficient (which is actually quite rare). Since the human body cannot synthesize copper on its own, it must be absorbed by the body from the food we eat. Our Chiropractor in Leland NC explains more.

Copper combines with protein to produce enzymes that spur a wide range of bodily functions. It plays a key role in energy production, supports the brain and central nervous system, and helps in the creation and metabolism of neurotransmitters. It also is important in the formation of connective tissue (including that of the heart and blood vessels) and plays a part in bone formation. It is necessary for proper iron metabolism and the healthy formation of red blood cells. It is also responsible for the production of melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin, eyes and hair. Copper acts as an antioxidant and is important for a healthy immune system.

As mentioned earlier, copper deficiency is relatively uncommon. However, some people are more prone to a deficiency than others. This includes those who have cystic fibrosis, severely restricted diets, or problems with absorption through the gut (such as individuals with celiac disease). Infants and the elderly are also more prone to copper deficiency. Infants may be more at risk they have been fed only cow’s milk formula (cow’s milk is very low in copper).

The recommended daily intake of copper is as follows:
Infants, birth to 6 months: 200 mcg/day
Infants, 7 – 12 months: 220 mcg/day
Children, 1 – 3 years: 340 mcg/day
Children, 4 – 8 years: 440 mcg/day
Children, 9 – 13 years: 700 mcg/day
Adolescents, 14 – 18 years: 890 mcg/day
Adults, 19 years and older: 900 mcg/day
Pregnant women: 1,000 mcg/day
Breastfeeding women: 1,300 mcg/day

Being deficient in copper can contribute to anemia and osteoporosis as well as a variety of other health problems. However, having too much copper in your system can actually be toxic. Signs of copper toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain that can eventually lead to kidney and liver failure, coma and death. Taking high amounts of zinc can lower copper levels that have become too high.
Children should get the copper they need from their diet rather than from supplements. Adults who are considering taking a copper supplement should consult with their doctor before doing so, since it is important not to get too much copper, and it must have a proper balance with zinc. Foods rich in copper include liver, nuts (particularly cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts), seeds, legumes, clams and oysters.

If you need a chiropractor in Leland NC contact us today.

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Chiropractor Wilmington NC: Chiropractic Care and Beach Volleyball

For a sport with a relatively short history (it began in Southern California in the 1930s), beach volleyball has become immensely popular in the U.S. and around the world. So much so that the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) was founded in 1983 to promote the sport and its athletes, and it became an official sport of the Olympic Games in 1996. Our Chiropractor Wilmington NC explains more.

The AVP has always recognized that playing on an uneven surface puts a great deal of strain on the bodies of even well-conditioned athletes. So in order to help reduce the risk of injury and prolong players’ careers, the AVP hired a chiropractor named Tim Brown as its first Director of Sports Medicine. Another chiropractic physician named G. Douglas Andersen took over this role a couple of years later. It has become standard practice for a team chiropractor, along with all the necessary adjusting equipment, to accompany the team across the country to each competition on the AVP tour.

Chiropractor Allen M. Manison regularly works with beach volleyball players. He says, “When one considers volleyball injuries, usually the shoulder is the region that gets blamed most. This makes sense as we usually envision volleyball players ‘spiking’ the ball. The rotator cuff and other structures of the shoulder take a beating from the high force and movement that is required of the shoulder.” However, other parts of the body are prone to injury as well. Manison says “I have seen more neck, knee, hip, low back, toe, foot, ankle, and elbow injuries than I would’ve ever imagined! Shoulder injuries are actually about half of the way down on the list of injuries.”

Manison continued, “The beach volleyball game involves tremendous stresses on the body. First, it’s two people per each side of the net, so each athlete has to cover large areas in very short periods of time. Second, the athletes are throwing their bodies around in sand, which certainly does not help with movement. Third, although the sand gives way, the athletes are barefoot and are not getting lots of support for the aggressive maneuvers they are making while they play. Fourth, there is sometimes very little rest as winning teams need to keep playing, and without enough rest and recovery, the risk for injury is increased.”

April Ross, a US Olympic Team beach volleyball player, appreciated the benefits of growing up with chiropractic in her home. She said, “I’ve worked with a lot of chiropractors in my career as a professional beach volleyball player and I grew up having one as my dad, so I think my standards are pretty high! … It’s always pleasant going in for an adjustment. I get a lot of whiplash diving around in the sand and as long as I get in regularly to see [her chiropractor] Dr. Callotta I’m able to deal with it so that I can continue to compete. I don’t know what I would do without her. Now that I am heading to the Olympics I’m counting on her to keep me healthy and ready to win the gold!” (Editor’s note: She did win a silver medal!)

Lisa Rutledge, a professional beach volleyball player had this to say about her chiropractor: “I see Dr. J for chiropractic work about 2 to 3 times a week, and honestly, if I could go more, I would. I play beach volleyball and it takes a serious toll on your body. I’m traveling all over the world – I’m going to Moscow, to Rome, to Korea – and 20-hour flights are not fun. So when I get back my body is just out of alignment, it feels weird, it just doesn’t feel right. So as soon as I get off the plane I book my appointment with Dr. J and I get my adjustment and I feel 100 times better. It really does wonders for your body.”

If you need a Wilmington NC chiropractor, contact us today.

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Wilmington NC Chiropractor: Potassium Benefits

As the third most common mineral in the body, potassium is responsible for supporting a wide range of bodily activities. Without sufficient potassium, the heart, brain, kidneys and muscles would not function properly. However, the Western diet’s preponderance of processed foods has created a population with a growing risk of potassium deficiency. Our Wilmington NC Chiropractor explains more.

Potassium is an electrolyte that is crucial to the body’s electrical circuitry so that proper signals are conducted to and from the brain and between cells. It works in conjunction with the minerals sodium, calcium, chloride and magnesium. Simply moving a muscle requires potassium. Potassium helps to regulate the heart, which is triggered by potassium to contract, squeezing blood through the body a hundred thousand times each day.

In addition to keeping our muscles and heart in good working condition, potassium is also responsible for healthy bone maintenance, protecting against osteoporosis, reducing high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and helping the kidneys to filter blood. It can also reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and keeps the body’s water levels balanced.

The recommended daily intake of potassium is as follows:
Infants birth – 6 months: 400 mg/day
Infants 7 – 12 months: 700 mg/day
Children 1 -3 years: 3,000 mg/day
Children 4 – 8 years: 3,800 mg/day
Children 9 – 13 years: 4,500 mg/day
Adolescents and Adults 19 years and older: 4,700 mg/day
Breastfeeding women: 5,100 mg/day

Most Americans are potassium deficient. “Relying on convenience and restaurant foods and not eating enough fruits and vegetables is why so many people don’t get enough potassium. Fresh and lightly processed foods, including dairy and meat, have the most potassium,” according to registered dietitian, Marla Heller.

An excess of sodium in the diet (which is common among Americans) can increase the amount of potassium you need. Others at risk of potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) are those who experience diarrhea, vomiting, malabsorption syndromes (such as Crohn’s disease) and excessive sweating. Alcoholics, smokers, drug users, athletes (or anyone who uses their muscles excessively), and those who use diuretics are also prone to hypokalemia. Symptoms include irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, irritability, chronic diarrhea, weakness and stomach problems.

Food sources abundant in potassium are meat, poultry, fish (cod, salmon, and flounder), dairy products, legumes and fruits and vegetables (particularly bananas, citrus, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes and green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard). Cooking destroys potassium, so try to eat potassium-rich foods either raw or minimally cooked (lightly steamed or roasted).

If you need a Wilmington NC chiropractor, contact us today.

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Leland NC Chiropractor: When Are Antibiotics Appropriate and When Should I Avoid Using Them?

People are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers that can result from the overuse of antibiotics. When antibiotics were first discovered in the early 20th century, researchers believed that they had found the key to conquering many deadly diseases. Since that time, antibiotics have certainly helped to cure diseases that once wiped out large parts of the population. However, there is growing evidence that antibiotics are now being used too frequently, and that they are often being used in inappropriate circumstances. This has led to many previously curable diseases becoming antibiotic-resistant, which means that a cure now requires the use far stronger antibiotics. In fact, some diseases have now become resistant to nearly all antibiotics. It is obvious that if antibiotic use continues in this way, we may have a major health crisis on our hands. Our Leland NC Chiropractor explains more.

The first thing to be aware of is that antibiotics are not effective in the treatment of viruses. They only treat bacterial infections, certain fungal infections and parasites. For diseases such as the common cold, flu or bronchitis, antibiotics are completely ineffective and their use in cases such as these will only contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. You should not ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics if you have a sore throat or the stomach flu, for instance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotics were prescribed for an acute respiratory infection in 68% of visits to the doctor. However, 80% of those prescriptions were unnecessary.

Antibiotics are often an appropriate treatment for conditions such as severe sinus infections that last longer than two weeks, ear infections, bladder infections and skin infections. These are frequently due to a bacterial or fungal infection, and treating them with antibiotics is effective.

If you have been prescribed an antibiotic, it is very important that you take it exactly as directed by your physician. If your symptoms happen to clear up before the entire course of antibiotics is completed, you must still continue to take them as prescribed. This is because there may still be a few lingering bacteria in your system, and-if they are not all killed-the strongest ones may survive to produce new generations of ever stronger bacteria that might make current antibiotics less effective.

Some doctors feel pressured by their patients to prescribe something, whether it’s really going to be helpful or not. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that pediatricians will prescribe antibiotics for children 62% of the time if parents expect them to, and only 7% of the time if the parents do not expect an antibiotic prescription. Do not put pressure on your doctor to prescribe antibiotics for your condition. He or she is the best judge as to whether antibiotics are appropriate.

If you need a Leland NC chiropractor, contact us today.

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Chiropractor in Leland NC: What Does the Science Really Say About Cleansing?

Cleansing, sometimes also referred to as detoxification, has been all the rage in recent years among those interested in alternative medicine. The theory is that the body accumulates toxins from the environment in the form of pollution, processed foods and food additives (and even sometimes toxins created by the body itself), so a “body cleanse” or “detox” is necessary to rid ourselves of these harmful toxins. Those who promote detox programs have developed special diets along with a host of (often costly). Colon cleanses are another form of body detoxification that is popular in some alternative medicine circles. But scientific evidence shows that special cleansing regimes do not provide any additional health benefits, and in some cases may even be dangerous. Our chiropractor in Leland NC explains more.

A noted epidemiologist from the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Frank Sacks, says of cleansing, “There is no basis in human biology that indicates we need fasting or any other detox formula to detoxify the body because we have our own internal organs and immune system that take care of excreting toxins.” Our bodies are expert at getting rid of unwanted substances.

Colon cleansing dates back to the days of ancient Egypt where it was thought that material in the intestines could poison the body. This theory became popular again in the late 19th century when the term “autointoxication” was coined, which led to resurgence in the use of enemas in perfectly healthy people. However, a study performed by Dr. Ranit Mishori and colleagues at Washington D.C.’s Georgetown University found that colon cleanses could actually be harmful for many people, causing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
First of all, there is no way by which toxins can be absorbed into the blood through the colon. Almost all nutrient absorption takes place in the small intestine, and any toxins that have been excreted by the liver and kidneys is efficiently expelled in the urine and feces. Meanwhile, injecting fluid into the colon in the form of an enema or colonic on a regular basis not only does not aid your body in clearing toxins, but it can remove beneficial bacteria, in addition to robbing your body of much-needed electrolytes. Also, regular colon cleanses can interfere with your body’s ability to create normal bowel movements, so you become dependent on enemas.

Most doctors agree that fasting or pursuing an extreme detox diet is detrimental to long-term health. The body starved of nutrients does not operate efficiently, and will go into conservation mode. This means that your metabolism will slow down and any of the water weight you lost in the initial days of the diet (very little of the weight lost in fasting is fat) will come back in the form of accumulated fat once you start eating again, as your body will be burning fewer calories.

There is no doubt that eating processed foods filled with chemical additives and preservatives is not good for health. But you don’t need to go on a special detox diet to improve your health. Simply drink plenty of water and substitute fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, moderate amounts of fish and organic meat for the processed foods you are now eating. Your body will take care of getting rid of any toxins you may have ingested and you will be healthier without having to spend money for a special diet that makes you feel miserable and could even be harmful to your health.

If you need a chiropractor in Leland NC, contact us today.

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Chiropractor Leland NC: Tips for Construction Workers

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were 721 fatal accidents on construction sites in 2011, accounting for 17.5% of all worker fatalities that year. The leading causes of death to workers on construction sites were falls, electrocution, being struck by an object and becoming trapped. OSHA estimates that by eliminating these four primary causes, approximately 400 lives would be saved every year. And it’s not just worksite accidents that can be dangerous to construction workers’ health—bad ergonomics and exposure to toxic materials can also pose risks. Following are some health tips from our Chiropractor Leland NC for construction workers to help avoid these hazards.

To reduce falls from scaffolds, ladders and roofs:
• Be sure you are trained in the proper use of all equipment and ensure that equipment is thoroughly inspected before each shift.
• Check that the weight placed on ladders and scaffolding does not exceed the recommended limits.
• Do not step or sit on a skylight if you are working on a roof, as there is a chance that it may not bear your weight.
• Check for unsecure shingles or roof tiles that can cause you to lose your footing.
• Placing safety netting below any roof openings can save someone’s life in the event of a fall.
To avoid electrocution:
• Be sure to turn off the power before working on any electrical equipment.
• Wear insulated rubber gloves and boots when working in wet or damp conditions.
• All electrical cords should have grounding plugs and any frayed cords should be replaced.
• Ensure that equipment such as ladders and scaffolds never come within 10 feet of electrical power lines.
To avoid toxic materials:
• Wear protective equipment when working on sites that may contain lead paint. Bridges, tunnels and elevated highways were all commonly painted with lead-based materials. Have your blood tested periodically to ensure that levels of lead in your blood are within normal range.
• Wear a face mask to keep from breathing in toxic fumes when working with tar or asphalt to reduce skin, eye and respiratory irritation.
• When working around stonecutting, paint, lacquer or asbestos you should wear a respirator.
To avoid ergonomic injuries:
• When lifting, be sure to bend your knees and keep your hips and shoulders aligned. Do not round your back or twist when lifting, as it may cause a back injury.
• Make sure your tool belt is balanced. Extra weight on one side of the belt can pull your body out of alignment, increasing the risk of injury.
• Sit on a sturdy stool when working at lower levels rather than kneeling or squatting.
• Choose ergonomic tools that are light and properly balanced
• Keep your wrists in a neutral position when working rather than having them flexed forward or backward. This will help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you need a Chiropractor Leland NC, please contact our office today.

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Chiropractor, Wilmington NC: A Close Up On Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis (pronounced “plan-tar fash-ee-EYE-tis”) is also sometimes referred to as a heel spur. It’s a debilitating and painful condition that can make walking even a short distance difficult. The discomfort—ranging from mild to severe—is typically most pronounced near the bottom of the heel, usually toward the front, though it may also extend across the entire bottom of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is usually at its worst first thing in the morning after you get out of bed and walk a few steps, or when you stand up after sitting for an extended period. Our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC explains more. 

What exactly is plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of very tough, fibrous tissue that extends from the heel bone to the base of the toes and supports the arch of the foot. When this ligament develops micro-tears, pulls away from the heel bone or becomes inflamed, pain and bone spurs can result. The muscles in the foot may also be involved, especially if the pain occurs after long periods of standing or from chronic overwork, which causes the muscles to shorten, making them less resilient and more susceptible to micro-trauma. 

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis can occur for a wide variety of reasons and it’s frequently difficult to isolate any one specific cause. That said, here are some of the primary culprits:   

  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Wearing shoes with little support
  • Having flat feet
  • Having exceptionally high arches
  • Being overweight
  • A sudden increase in activity
  • Repetitive stress
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Overpronation (walking on the outsides of your feet)
  • Aging 

What can be done?

Unfortunately, recovery from plantar fasciitis usually takes time and is prone to setbacks. However, there are some things you can do to help ease the pain and speed the healing process.

Rest the foot as much as possible. Applying ice to the area can help reduce the inflammation, as can taking an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. Many people with plantar fasciitis find it helpful to wear Birkenstocks or other shoes that have good arch support. Custom foot orthotics and heal cups can also provide some relief. At night, wearing a boot that gently stretches the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon and calf muscles (not allowing the foot and toes to point) can help reduce morning symptoms. If you work in an office environment, rolling a baseball or lacrosse ball beneath the arch of your foot while sitting at your desk can help achieve the same thing during the day.       

In the long-run, it’s important to address the cause of the problem so that it doesn’t become chronic or recurring. Fortunately, your chiropractor can help in that regard. Chiropractic physicians are experts at treating a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems—not only those that affect the back and neck, but also those that affect the extremities. To treat plantar fasciitis, your chiropractor may use a combination of therapies, including manipulation/mobilization, stretching, cold laser, and ultrasound. He or she may also recommend custom orthotics and useful exercises that you can do at home to gently stretch tight muscles and tendons. Since one common cause of plantar fasciitis is overpronation, a series of chiropractic adjustments can ensure your bones are properly aligned, allowing for greater range of motion and helping to take some of the strain off the overworked muscles and connective tissues in your feet.

Healing plantar fasciitis is a slow process that may take weeks or months. However, with good chiropractic care, conscientious at-home treatment and proper shoes, it doesn’t have to become a chronic or recurring condition. Have any questions? Please call or visit our office today! We’re always happy to help!

To schedule a free consultation, contact our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC today.

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Chiropractor, Wilmington NC: Summertime Grilling and Your Health

For many people, summertime just isn’t summertime without a barbecue! It’s a generations-old cultural phenomenon that combines three things American families love—food, family and fun! Unfortunately, though, there are also some potential downsides to grilling when it comes to your health. This article presents a quick overview of the risks and offers some advice to help make grilling a little bit safer for you and your family this summer. Our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC explains more.

What’s unhealthy about grilling?

The first issue has to do with HOW the food is actually cooked. Grilling meat or fish over high heat produces carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have been linked to increased risk of various cancers. The second issue has to do with WHAT KINDS of food many people choose to grill. Many of the most popular foods for grilling can be high in fat and sodium and have little other nutritional value. With these two issues in mind, here are some tips on how you can enjoy healthier grilling all summer long.

Clean the grill. You don’t want to incorporate rancid grease and the charred buildup from previous barbecues into your meat before you’ve even begun cooking it. Use a sturdy wire scrub brush and warm soapy water to scrape any residue from the grill’s surface, both before and after you grill. This will also greatly improve the flavor of your food!

Use a low flame and cook briefly. When direct flames touch the meat it can add to the HCAs produced. To reduce these HCAs, keep the gas flame low or, if you’re using charcoal, wait until the coals have been reduced to glowing embers. The heat will still be sufficient, but will not be as likely to char the meat. Try not to overcook your food, as overdone meat has more HCAs. Discard any charred parts.

Flip burgers often. To reduce the chances of E. coli contamination in your ground beef, be sure to flip your burgers every 30 seconds or so. The USDA advises that you cook burgers to an internal temperature of at least 160°F to kill any possible bacteria. However, if you are someone who thinks that a burger cooked beyond medium-rare is a travesty, buy a cut of beef and grind it yourself and form your patties just before grilling. Or, if it is commercially prepared, be sure to flip your burgers often. A study found that when two burgers were cooked to the same temperature, the one flipped more often had a fifth of the E. coli. 

Pre-treat your meat. To allow you to cook your meat for a shorter time while still retaining flavor and tenderness, consider marinating it first.  A marinade will tenderize the meat, and by using some flavorful spices in the marinade or in a dry rub, you can add a host of antioxidants to your meal that will reduce the production of HCAs. Researchers from Kansas State University found that marinating meat reduced carcinogens by 57 to 88 percent. Red wine, ginger, turmeric, rosemary and garlic are among the great-tasting, cancer-fighting ingredients you can include in a marinade.  And by combining two parts onion, two parts garlic and one part lemon juice in your marinade, you can reduce HCAs by 70%, as some researchers in Germany have found.

Choose healthier meat. Grass-fed organic meat is a far healthier choice than conventionally raised meat. Compared with conventionally raised meat, organic grass-fed beef and chicken are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and higher in omega-3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and abdominal fat. It is also free from hormones and antibiotics.

Go veggie. Though meat is certainly tasty, grilled vegetables are delicious too, and vegetarian versions of burgers and hot dogs have come a long way from their early roots, when they had all the flavor of foam peanuts or confetti. Fortunately, there are now a host of excellent veggie “meats” on the market that don’t force you to sacrifice good taste for good health. And there’s nothing quite like grilled red peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini and onions. A good way to grill veggies is to cut them up into small chunks and put them on skewers. You’ll get a healthy serving of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in each bite. And topping your burger with some slices of avocado will give it a nutrition boost as well as a taste boost. Its mono and polyunsaturated fats have been shown to reduce cholesterol and can be a good substitute for mayonnaise.

To schedule a free consultation, contact our Chiropractor, Wilmington NC today.