Back Pain Shallotte NC: Preventative Care

An ounce of prevention is probably worth a lot more than a pound of cure when it comes to our own health and the health of our families. Fortunately, the core concepts of prevention aren’t difficult to grasp and can be incorporated into many areas of your life simply by being more thoughtful and disciplined about your environment and lifestyle. Doing a few basic things differently (perhaps including diet, exercise, sleep and stress management) may be the best way to ensure your overall health and well-being. Our back pain specialist in Shallotte NC explains more.

Over time, public health officials in the U.S. and other countries around the world have come to a similar conclusion. The National Prevention Strategy is a broad plan that is intended to keep American men and women healthy throughout every stage of life. Designed by the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council along with the assistance of numerous experts and advisors, this preventive plan is built on the recognition that good health isn’t just about getting good medical care when you’re sick, but from not getting sick in the first place. This is where our day-to-day lifestyle choices come into play.
The current Affordable Care Act requires public and private insurers and certain health care entities and organizations to follow this Strategy to help keep individuals of all ages healthy and fit. Instead of a health care system focused exclusively on treating those who are already sick and injured, this plan helps shift that dynamic to one that concentrates on prevention and maintaining wellness.
Why Prevention is Important

If you increase your focus on prevention, you will ultimately increase your health, quality of life and save some money in medical costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all American adults have a chronic illness, and 70% of deaths in the U.S. are due to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and many cancers. The most shocking part of this news is that chronic conditions are largely preventable.
By putting more effort into preventing illness and disease before they happen, policy makers hope to create healthier, more productive lives and reduce the often-exorbitant costs of healthcare. When you feel good, you are more productive at work and don’t take as many sick days. And failing health can cause disability with age, which can take away your independence.

But prevention doesn’t end with following a healthy diet and exercise regime. Getting regular chiropractic care can also help you maintain a healthy back and spine, ensuring you will stay pain-free and more active for a long time to come!
Planning for Improved Spinal Health and Overall Wellness

Many people seek chiropractic care when they have an injury or are experiencing pain or discomfort. This is because they know that chiropractic treatment can provide effective relief of many musculoskeletal symptoms by decreasing muscle tension, alleviating pressure on nerves, reducing inflammation and restoring movement in the joints. But regular treatments also help to correct underlying problems and maintain the alignment of your spine even when you’re not experiencing specific symptoms. If you’re interested in maintaining-or even improving-your overall health and wellness, chiropractic care can be an important part of your own personal prevention strategy.

 

If you or someone you care about is suffering from back pain in Shallotte NC, please call or visit our office today. We’ll be happy to explain our approach and answer any questions. Remember-we’re here to help!

 

 

 

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Chiropractor Wilmington NC: Aging and Posture

As with changes in skin and hair, changes in posture are common with aging. Your bones give your body structure and support, joints attach your bones and allow movement and muscles give you the strength to move your body. Your brain coordinates these and many other body parts that are affected by aging. Over time, older adults might notice changes in the way they, stand, sit or move because of weakness or hindered movement. Our Chiropractor Wilmington NC explains more about aging and posture.

What does aging do to your posture?

Older women are especially at risk for a loss of bone density (osteopenia and osteoporosis) due to the inability of the bones to retain enough calcium and other vital nutrients. Gel-like disk that lose fluid over time cushion the bones in the spine. Additionally, the core muscles that help support your frame correctly can weaken, making it more likely that your posture will deteriorate and that your spine will lose it proper curve. These factors can combine to cause a variety of conditions associated with old age, including an abnormal forward rounding of the back called “kyphosis”.
Joints in the body lose their flexibility and lubrication as you age. The cartilage that acts as a pad between your bones wears out and can create a painful rubbing of bone on bone. Minerals may also deposit along your joints as you age, restricting their movement. Both of these factors can contribute to shoulder sagging and hip stiffness.
When you’re young, your muscle mass is at its greatest, and your body is pert and strong. As early as your 30s, the amount of muscle you have begins to decrease. Without the strength and support of adequate muscle mass, you are sure to slump and slouch.

How to prevent poor posture as you age
Exercise is one of the best ways to slow or prevent problems with posture. Getting regular exercise from an early age and continuing your regimen can go far in maintaining your muscle strength, flexibility and balance. Luckily, even beginning an exercise program later in life can help you see some gains in strength and help restore movement in your joints.

Mom always told me to sit up straight
While mom was right that good posture-sitting or standing-is important, good posture alone won’t preserve your spinal health. Sitting or standing up straight is not enough to realign your body. Bad posture is caused by actual changes in your anatomy that can make getting into a proper posture difficult or impossible for many people. This is where chiropractic care can make a difference. Chiropractors seek to fix the root of the problem, which usually involves the spine, by making gradual and permanent adjustments over time that will help you in your quest to regain proper posture.
So what can I do to correct my posture?

Poor posture is not inevitable with age. Additionally, people suffering from postural problems and its side effects can find relief. In addition to helping make spinal adjustments that will help improve your posture, a well-trained and experienced chiropractor can analyze your condition and help you create an action plan for getting you stronger and more active. An appropriate balance of exercises and stretching, in addition to regular chiropractic care in Wilmington NC can really make a difference!

 

If you or someone you care about is wondering whether a chiropractor Wilmington NC might be the right choice, please call or visit our office today. We’ll be happy to explain our approach and answer any questions. Remember-we’re here to help!

 

 

 

Chiropractor Shallotte NC: Golf Injuries

PGA golfers Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington have relied on chiropractic care for years to stay healthy and to improve their performance over the course of their professional careers. Fred Funk and Suzann Pettersen have too. So have a great many others. So there’s really little doubt that elite golfers (and their coaches and trainers) recognize the value of chiropractic care. But what about the weekend warrior? Can chiropractic care help the average golfer play better, longer and with fewer injuries?
If you’re a golfer, you might already know first-hand that your musculoskeletal health plays a huge role in your enjoyment of the sport as well as your performance. Our chiropractor Shallotte NC explains more,

One of the most important things to understand is that the biomechanics of your golf swing can affect your health (back, hips, neck, elbows, etc.) and vice-versa-that your health can affect your swing.  It’s really a feedback loop that can have either a positive or negative effect on your game over time.

Many professionals around the broader golf community-from instructors and trainers to healthcare providers who specialize in sports medicine-are becoming increasingly interested in this feedback loop.  The Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) is one very good example:
“…TPI has analyzed how physical limitations in a player’s body can adversely affect the golf swing and potentially lead to injury.”

“TPI’s mission is to educate golfers and industry professionals on the body/swing connection…”
Let’s talk health first.

The very nature of golf and the biomechanics associated with swinging a club make chiropractic care a great fit for golfers. Golfing can involve considerable strain on the spine as a result of the need to generate club head speed. This requires good swing mechanics-posture, balance and timing. Poor swing mechanics have the potential to create exaggerated or flattened spinal curves that can seriously affect performance. In fact, Tom Ward, PGA Golf Instructor, says, “Over 50% of all golfers will experience some sort of pain due to poor posture and the problems that arise from loss of proper curves in the spine.”

By helping to improve your spine’s stability and range of motion, chiropractic care can help prevent injuries and enhance swing performance. An individualized treatment plan including chiropractic adjustments combined with structured stretching and exercise programs may make a significant difference in how well you golf and how much you enjoy it-as well as in how long you’re able to play the game.
Now what about performance?

Recent research suggests that chiropractic care can indeed lead to improved golf performance. A recent study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine demonstrated that the combination of chiropractic care and stretching are associated with greater improvements in golfers’ swings when compared to stretching alone.

Two groups of golfers participated in the study. One group received a program of stretching only, and the second received both stretching and spinal manipulation. The stretching program was the same for both groups, and both groups had similar average ages, handicaps, and initial swings. All 43 participants initially performed three full swing maneuvers, and the average distances were recorded. Over a 4-week period, all participants hit 3 balls before and after treatment.

After 4 weeks, the stretching only group showed no improvement in swing performance.  However the stretching and manipulation group did improve their swing performance and there was greater driving distance right after treatment each week. So it appears that yes, chiropractic care can help not only top golfers such as Woods and Harrington, but it can help you improve your golf game too.

A good golf swing is the result of a complex combination of balance, flexibility and strength.  And doing it repeatedly over the course of 18 holes (or even more in tournament play) takes a high degree of conditioning as well. If you’re serious about golf, chiropractic care can help you play better, play longer and avoid injuries while you’re doing it!

Call or visit our office today to learn more!

Remember-we are here to help! We encourage you to call or visit our office today! Our chiropractor Shallotte NC can help your golf injuries.

 

 

 

Chiropractor Wilmington NC: Water Benefits

You’ve probably heard that many Americans don’t drink as much water as they should-that we live in a “dehydration nation” and that even our sensation of thirst has become muted over time as a result. You’ve also probably heard the conventional advice about drinking 8 glasses of water every day. Interestingly, it’s very difficult to find strong scientific backing for either of these two ideas. BUT… does that mean that many of us wouldn’t benefit from drinking more water? NO! Our chiropractor in Wilmington  NC explains why drinking is beneficial.

While we can turn to a wide variety of thirst quenchers at home, at work or on the go, nothing can beat the original and the best-water. At least in part, this is because water gives us the hydration we need without a lot of other stuff we don’t-extra calories, caffeine, artificial sweeteners and so on.
Our Special Relationship with Water
Our bodies are made up of 43-75% water. The wide range in percentages comes from measuring different populations ranging from newborns (~75%) to obese people (~45%), with normal adult hydration at about 57%-60%. Here are a just a few ways that water is essential to our health and well-being:
* We can survive a month without food, but we’d die after a week without water. The body is able to absorb many nutrients and salts better thanks to water’s ability to transport these nutrients (as well as oxygen) to our body’s cells and organs.  Detoxifying is also vitally important to our health, since it cleans our bodies of impurities. The best way to excrete these impurities is through our urine and sweat-both of which depend on our water intake.

* Upping your water intake may help to reduce the risk of kidney stones. The kidneys filter waste products from the blood, which are then expelled by the body via urination. However, if the concentration of salt in our urine is high (because we have either too much salt in the system or too little water), kidney stones ma form. By drinking more water, this concentration of salts is reduced.

* We are at risk of sunstroke if our bodies become dehydrated. When we sweat, this cools our body down. If dehydrated, the body cannot sweat and overheats, which can damage the body’s internal organs.

* If you suffer from high blood pressure, maybe it’s your water intake that is the problem. When our lose more than the optimal amount of liquid, our blood vessels constrict, which can cause our blood pressure to increase. If blood pressure is increased by a deficiency in water, this may also increase the risk of heart disease. Because the constricted blood vessels cause an increase in blood pressure, the heart works harder to compensate for the reduced volume of blood. Lower blood pressure and greater consumption of water help lower stress on the heart.
* Drinking more water can help you stay younger looking longer. Drinking a lot of water helps keep the skin clean and fresh-looking by removing impurities through sweating. Water also helps to keep the skin hydrated, which means younger looking skin with less sagging and fewer wrinkles.

* Drinking water also cuts hunger pangs and acts as a good filler. Water has zero calories, so consider trading in your sugary drinks and juices to help control your weight.

But Change is Hard, You Say?
If increasing your water intake seems like a chore, why not add lemon or mint to your bottle to give it a little flavor? Eat more fruits rich in water such as watermelon, and try to drink water more regularly over the course of the day.  Having a glass of water or water bottle near you during the day has been shown to increase water consumption without effort.
Good health is a combination of many lifestyle factors (including your nutrition, exercise and sleep habits) as well as your healthcare. If you have questions about this article or about your overall health and well-being, call or visit our office today! You’ll be glad you did!

Remember-we are here to help! Chiropractic care should be as routine as drinking water. We encourage you to call or visit our office today! Our chiropractor Wilmington NC can help you!

 

 

 

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Chiropractor Leland NC: Allergy Relief

When most people sneeze a few times or start feeling a little congested, the first thing that goes through their minds is usually “Oh great! A cold…” Depending on the time of year, though, other people have a very different thought-“Oh great! It’s allergy season again…” If you’re one of these “other” people, your second thought might be to reach into the medicine cabinet for an antihistamine pill. But did you know that a chiropractor could help you overcome your allergy problems without resorting to medications that can make you drowsy or cause other side-effects? Our chiropractor Leland NC explains more

Most people associate chiropractic physicians with back and neck issues, and it is certainly true that chiropractors can help with these types of musculoskeletal problems. However, they can also help the body achieve optimum health by ensuring the spine is correctly aligned.

Chiropractor Leland NC

A study from the University of California found that signals from the nervous system may influence the function of the immune system. While our immune system is there to fight against disease, and helps to keep the body performing at its peak, it also works to dispel foreign contaminants that enter the body. When we sneeze because of an allergy, it’s because our body detects the presence of a foreign object in the system, such as dust, mites, pollen, etc. and it produces chemicals to neutralize and expel the allergens. These chemicals are known as histamines. In the case of allergies, the immune system overreacts to the presence of the allergens in the body. A chiropractor may help by removing the nerve interference from compressions in the spine. As a result, the immune system is able to function optimally once more.

Most traditional treatments for allergies, such as antihistamines, only suppress or manage the symptoms and don’t address the underlying cause. In addition, the safety of anti-allergy medication is also under debate-particularly when used over long periods of time or combined with other drugs. One study conducted in lab rats with brand name anti-allergy medication found that cancerous tumors in the rats grew much father with the intake of antihistamines.
In contrast, a chiropractor treats patients by using spinal manipulation to release the stresses on the nervous system, which allows the immune system to work more effectively and-as a consequence-reduces allergies. This is yet another way that chiropractic care can promote optimal health and help improve your quality of life.

Remember-we are here to help! If you suffer from allergies or have concerns about your health more generally, we encourage you to call or visit our office today! Our chiropractor Leland NC can help you!

 

 

 

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Chiropractor Wilmington NC: Spinal Manipulation

Spinal manipulation-sometimes referred to as “adjustment”-is a special type of manual therapy that forms the foundation of chiropractic care. Chiropractors use adjustments to correct dislocations and misalignments of the bones of the spine (vertebrae) called “subluxations”. The word “subluxation” has its origins in the Latin words “luxare” (to dislocate) and “sub” (mild). Depending on their location and severity, subluxations may put pressure on or irritate nerves and blood vessels in the spine, causing musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. Our chiropractor Wilmington NC explains more.

Spinal manipulation involves the use of a certain amount of controlled force that is applied in a specific direction to a joint that is not moving properly. Adjustments are usually done manually by the doctor but may also be accomplished using a variety of specialized instruments designed for this purpose. Chiropractic adjustments help return your vertebrae to their natural position. The goal is to relieve pain, restore normal function and encourage the healing of injured tissues.

Chiropractor Wilmington NC

Before carrying out an adjustment, your chiropractor will thoroughly evaluate your condition by discussing your personal health history with you, performing a physical examination and-if necessary-using a variety of diagnostic tools (such as imaging or laboratory tests). During the adjustment procedure itself, you may be lying down on a specially designed chiropractic table, sitting or standing-whichever is most appropriate for your situation.

There are over 96 individual chiropractic maneuvers your doctor may choose from for your adjustment. He or she will decide which ones to use based on a variety of factors, including the area of the spine being adjusted and the amount of force that will be required. For this reason, the position of both the patient and the chiropractor are taken into account when selecting the most appropriate combination of spinal manipulation techniques for your condition.

Adjustments may be used to treat back pain, neck pain, or pain in other areas of the body such as hips, shoulders, arms and legs. The procedure rarely causes pain. However, there may occasionally be some discomfort for patients who are new to chiropractic care or who have suffered a recent trauma in the area being adjusted. The sound may also surprises some new patients. The popping and cracking noises (called “cavitation”) that occur during adjustments are the result of gas bubbles being released from within the joints. The phenomenon is similar to the one that occurs when people crack their knuckles and is quite normal.
In many cases, spinal manipulation is all that is needed to treat certain types of musculoskeletal disorders (lower back pain, for example). However, chiropractic physicians often combine adjustments with other types of treatment, such as massage and cold laser therapy, to help their patients recover as quickly and completely as possible.

If you or someone you care about is wondering whether a chiropractor Wilmington NC might be the right choice, please call or visit our office today. We’ll be happy to explain our approach and answer any questions. Remember-we’re here to help!

 

 

 

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Chiropractor Leland NC: Stretching

Short on Time During Your Workout? Don’t Skip the Stretching!

Why is stretching the part of our workout regimen that so many of us tend to skip? We might tell ourselves it’s because we’re sort on time, that we’re impatient or that (deep down) we believe stretching is really pointless. But however we rationalize it, skipping the stretching is a BAD idea! Our chiropractor Leland NC explains more.

It’s probably obvious that our joints were designed to be able to move in various directions with a certain degree of freedom. But as our bodies age, we become stiffer and lose the flexibility we had when we were young. In fact, chances are (unless you happen to be a dancer or gymnast), that process will start even before you reach your 20th birthday. However, it’s never too late to regain some of that youthful flexibility by becoming more serious about stretching. Combined with strength training, proper stretching can help prolong our mobility and independence-allowing us to perform basic day-to-day tasks well into our senior years. Reaching that high shelf, bending to pick up a dropped object, and accessing that hidden switch behind an awkward kitchen cabinet are all great examples.
One reason it’s really important to stretch before working out is that we are likely to use muscles and connective tissues that are normally inactive. Without flexibility, the risk of getting hurt goes up. However, stretching can help prevent (or even treat) some common types of musculoskeletal injuries if it’s done correctly. Plus, it can feel good! Stretching can be a great way to start the day or to wind down after work.

Preparing the body for exercise by warming up the muscles (increasing blood flow) and stretching is easy and need not take up much of your time. Simply begin moving the various muscle groups in a deliberate way, with slow stretches of the joints towards the end of their range of motion. As you do this, you should notice a gentle “pulling” sensation and hold the position for up to half a minute. Then stretch the alternate side or move on to other muscle groups. Not only does stretching prevent injury, but it also improves the mechanical efficiency of your body. Stretching prior to exercise means muscles and joints are able to move through their full range of motion with less effort when exercising , improving performance.

Other benefits of stretching include improved circulation, less pain and faster recoveries following workouts, and better posture. If you find yourself arriving home stiff and achy from sitting at a desk all day and then commuting-try stretching. You might find that you’ll feel better almost instantly!
Remember-good health is the result of lots of little day-to-day things, including your nutrition, exercise and sleep habits, as well as your healthcare choices. As chiropractic physicians, we’re experts in diagnosing and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. We’re also experts in prevention and performance. If you’re interested in any of these things, we encourage you to call or visit our office today and schedule an appointment with our chiropractor Leland NC!

 

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Back Pain Wilmington NC: History of Back Walking

A new and increasingly popular form of massage therapy called “Ashiatsu” is actually anything but new. This type of massage—in which the therapist manipulates the patient’s back by walking on it—has its roots in the East. Although stories of exactly where and when this form of “back walking” massage began vary, its origins can safely be traced back to ancient India, China, Japan, and other Asian countries. our back pain specialist in Wilmington NC explains more about ashiatsu.

One of the first historical citations of this practice comes from the Kerala region of India, where a practice known as Chavutti Thirumal was developed among practitioners of martial arts and classical dance. In the local language, the word “Chavutti” means foot or leg, and the word “Thirumal” means massage. Students of these martial arts and dance methods used foot massage techniques to help their bodies heal from injury and remain supple and flexible.

The practice soon spread to other areas of Asia. In Japan it became combined with the study of pressure points and meridians. Just as the word “Shiatsu” means “finger pressure” (“shi” translates to “finger” and “atsu” translates to pressure), “Ashiatsu” means “foot pressure” (“ashi” translates to “foot”). At around the same time in Thailand, other forms of barefoot Thai massage were being developed based on the principles of Chavutti Thirumal.

How has Ashiatsu evolved over time?

In the late 1990s, a form of Ashiatsu was developed by Ruthie Piper and trademarked as Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy™, or AOBT. Although she was not the first practitioner of barefoot massage in the United States, Piper’s work training and certifying practitioners of the technique helped to make it more popular in this country.

The “Bar Therapy” aspect of AOBT and newer forms of Ashiatsu massage refers to the fact that the patient is positioned on a modern massage table rather than on a mat on the floor, and the Ashiatsu practitioner supports himself or herself above the patient using a set of bars installed on the ceiling. This enables practitioners not only to more easily maintain their balance, but to use the bars to control the amount of pressure being applied to patients’ back muscles.

Ashiatsu massage is considered to be less stressful for the patient’s body than many other massage techniques because pressure from the feet is spread out over a wider area than it would be if applied by the fingers, heel of the hand, or elbow. It is thus ideal for massaging large muscles such as the thigh or trapezius muscles of the back. Ashiatsu massage is certainly less stressful for the bodies of practitioners since they can use gravity to assist them in their work, rather than having to rely entirely on their own muscle power to apply directed pressure.

If you are interested in Ashiatsu massage, speak to our back pain specialist in Wilmington NC chiropractor or massage therapist. He or she will be able to answer your questions and to refer you to trained practitioners of the technique. Remember– improper use of the technique can cause injury, and it is not advisable to allow someone without the correct training to perform back walking massage.

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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.