Everett Chiropractic Center Blog

July 1, 2019

Who Decides What you Think About?

Here is a story (‘research’, pardon me), about what you think about verses what actually happens.

Well, it is actually way worse than this article implies: What is the third leading cause of death in this country? The cause not even mentioned in this research article that claims to list the top ten. (It is as interesting what you do not think about as it is what you do.)

But you may have read about the third leading cause of death in this country here recently. Shhhhhh, no one is supposed to think about that!

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June 25, 2019

Twelve Tips for Healthy Sleep

These are from Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, PhD. He got them from NIH Magazine Plus (Internet) [I edited some of it… they were wordy]

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  2. Exercise is great, but not too late in the day. … not later than two to three hours before your bedtime.
  3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Caffeine can ‘take as long as eight hours to wear off.’
  4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. (He talks about sedation not being the same as sleeping.)
  5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night.
  6. If possible, avoid medications that delay or disrupt your sleep. Some can be taken at a different time of the day.
  7. Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can make up for lost sleep but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. (Naps are good. He did a whole section on that, but too late not so good.)
  8. Relax before bed.
  9. Take a hot bath before bed. (There is a whole chapter on temperature and getting to sleep quick – important and simple to implement.)
  10. Dark bedroom, cool bedroom, gadget-free bedroom. He offers tricks.
  11. Have the right sunlight exposure – get bright sun in the morning, early part of the day; turn down the lights as bedtime approaches.
  12. Don’t lie in bed awake. He says get up and do something relaxing if lying in bed awake for more then twenty minutes makes you feel anxious or worried. I say breathe and ‘follow your breath’. (Mentally ‘notice’ your breath and keep you mind on that one thing. Look at the Blog Posts on breath and breathing  to fill in the details. Essentially, you will be meditating; and asleep before you know it.

June 1, 2019

Seth Godin Clearing Things Up

Justifying mediocre work

The list of reasons is nearly endless.

We need all of them to explain the shortcuts, phone-ins and half-work that we’re surrounded by.

All of them are pretty good reasons too. We’re in a hurry, the system is unfair, the market demands it, no one will notice, it’s not my job, I was handed a lousy spec, the materials are second-rate, the market won’t pay for quality, competition is cutthroat, my boss is a jerk, it’s actually pretty good, no one appreciates the good stuff anyway…

On the other hand, there’s only one way to justify work that’s better than it needs to be: Because you cared enough.

May 30, 2019

“Beyond Measure” – A Book Review

Beyond Measure (2015), by Vicki Abeles and Grace Rubinstein, is about rescuing an “over scheduled, over tested, underestimated generation”. It followed a documentary, also done by the author, called “Race to Nowhere.”

The issues of the current generation trying to become adults spills over into the conversations we have with patients – and their kids (they are all patients:-).

I had no idea the magnitude of the problem. Yes, we have – for years – talked about the heavy back packs; and now, of course we talk about “text neck”. That is the tip of the iceberg.

I would say that if you have school-aged kids, or will have, or they or their parents are in your life at all, this would be a book for you. It is well written, and though the authors spend a lot of print on the problem – details meant to convince and compel, which I do not need, but you may.

Here I would just like to share quotes that struck me.

“nature-deficit disorder” on page 79 – it becomes a health issue very quickly.

Meaningless (school work) leaving the kids with no sense of purpose. “Change the system not just the symptoms”. (They do a great job of getting to cause.)

“deep learning is as much about the process as it is about the product.

Become a “Rat Racer in Recovery” page 197. They do this a lot – it helps with retention:-)

“An act of cultural defiance” breaking old habit and familiar patterns – in maintaining balance – referring to digital detox.

“Define success with wellness at the core.” There is an idea that I can get behind!

In reclaiming a runaway schedule: ask what matter most (to yourself, and the kids – ask them the question).

Peace has to precede wellness – first measure of successful parenting – who they are verse what they do.

Focus on real connection

School work should be done at school.

“There is more than one path to a meaningful life.”

This whole book is about “project-based learning” as an alternative to what kids experience currently.

“Frustrated beyond function”

“A problem shrouded in silence a decade ago.”

“Childhood is not a race: say ‘no, it’s not a race'”.

“The most important lessons and qualities can not be measured – insisting on measuring them will never lead kids to thrive.”

Chapter 8, First Be Well – “The deliberate promotion of children’s wellbeing”, “Beyond healthy – strive toward happy”, Prevention: social and emotional learning; positive psychology (University of Pennsylvania, Martin Seligman); and… mindfulness (See 2014 cover of TIME magazine)

The coordinator of mental health services and outreach at Harvard started offering mindfulness classes in student dorms and found it to be the “single most effective tool” he’s encountered in his work so far.” Page 198

This hits home for me, of course, as a Tai Chi instructor, both at the local Community College, and a local gym. Mindfulness, relaxation, and developing both external and internal awareness, is at the very heart of Tai Chi.

I would like to end with a quote from the front cover of the book: “America. This is your wake-up call. With both heart and smarts, Vicki Abeles showcases the courageous communities that are rejecting the childhood rat race and reclaiming health and learning. Our kids really need us to listen.” – MARIE SHRIVER

May 29, 2019

The Big Three

Scroll down a ways and you will find a Post for each of the Big Three exercises…

Start here: https://doctordilday.wordpress.com/2015/07/

May 24, 2019

Cervipedic Neck-Relief Model M2

And in the upright position (think recliner…)

And…converting to sleep or gentle mode.

May 21, 2019

The Context of “Exercise” – The Dreaded Re-injury

If the subject is back pain, the consensus among many of the ‘experts’ is that the “natural history” of back pain is a series of episodes: the #1 predictor of back is…? Answer: you have had back pain in the past. Ask any athlete that has been around for a few decades and they will tell you that old injuries tend to re-visit and re-occur – we call them relapses if they re-occur within a reasonably close time to relief of symptoms.

So if an old injury is a weak link, what can you do? Well, make the weak links as strong as they can possibly be. If structural stability is compromised, emphasize muscular stability way beyond what would otherwise be considered adequate.

But, it is going to happen (re-injury that is). Then what? You have to start the cycle over again, from the start, and go through each phase as carefully and mindfully as you did the first time. For us, and for most professionals in the business, patients’ injuries were never properly rehabilitated. As soon as symptoms were relieved, either the doctor or the patient discharged themselves from care, and went on as if they were back to “normal.” If exercises ever were seriously discussed, or done, they are dropped (how we got to this series in the first place); and how to maintain progress, or continue progress, never gets discussed: the patient is not there to discuss it.

The re-injury itself may or may not have been avoidable – remember Safety First! But the entire focus of this series is that a full and proper recovery, followed by mindful and correct use of the body, will ensure the fewest and least dramatic episodes in the future. In my case I had regular back pain episodes for 15 years. After I figured out what I just shared here, it was more than 15 years without a single episode – and really only one in the past 20-plus years.

Apply the principles described in this series of Posts, in the absence of symptoms, and you have prevention. Imagine that!

May 18, 2019

The Context of “Exercise” – Rehab Phase “Core Strengthening”

First there was when to stop.

Then Relief Care context.

Then Rehab, the transition.

Now, finally, strengthening the ‘core’ muscles. To begin, there are the following four assumptions: (1) you are pretty much out of pain, (2) you are in adjustment, pretty much, (3) there is little to no pain with palpation during visits to the office, and (4) you do know how to move properly and can demonstrate that.

You can argue whether stretching hamstrings belongs in the Rehab or the Relief phase, but when it comes to core strengthening exercises, failing to factor in the above assumptions can come at a cost.

All of these ‘phases’ overlap in real life. That is where it becomes and ‘Art’.

If you are following the research, then strengthening the core begins with “The Big 3”. These are tried and true exercises that work. They have been studied enough to know that as a way of strengthening, they will work. The Big 3 amounts to abdominal strengthening (ala Stuart McGill if you are absolutely on the straight and narrow). (Personally, this is where I make sure that the Reverse Back Crunch is in place, effective and not painful, then I move patients into the McGill stomach exercise. Second, is the Bird Dog – on the hand and knees, then one arm and the other leg extended. (Like everything else here, we could spend all day talking about the Bird Dog – technique is everything!) Third is the Side Plank: a tough exercise, one which I always give last and bite into carefully. Here too, bracing (but this time the shoulder as well as the trunk) is critical to correctly doing the exercise. Don’t use anything that I have put in a Blog Post as instructions on how to do an exercise: get professional instruction from someone who knows what they are doing.

Strengthening can then proceed, typically, to the repetitive squat, lunge, one-legged standing, and eventually, the gym ball exercises that involve back muscle endurance.

One nice thing about many of these exercises is that they double as balance tests, or tests of what a normal. So if you fail the test, you know that you need to do the exercise – and you have not fully rehabilitated your back.

A reasonable time doing all of these exercises (at least to test), without pain, is the evidence that you have rehabilitated a back pain episode to the point where you can think about “going to the gym to get in shape”.

May 16, 2019

The Context of “Exercise” – Rehab Phase of Chiropractic Care

First I talked about when to stop an exercise…

Then the context of exercises given during the Relief Phase of care…

And then there is Rehab. I have been Blogging for 14 years – there are more than 2,000 Posts here. Given that it would probably be safe to say that half have to do with Tai chi, all toll I would guess 75% of all Posts on this Blog could, in some way, shape, or form, being incorporated into a discussion of rehab. The scope of this Post is typical patients, typical exercises, and the typical thought process.

Transitioning from Relief to Rehab is a step into the grey zone. As a chiropractor, I keep track of where, how many, and how often various levels of the spine (or extremities) need to be adjusted. Whether the patient is still in pain or not. And whether there is pain when I touch the injured area with a little bit of pressure. A chiropractor’s first priority is the subluxation. When a person returns for several visits and the same parts of the spine continue to need to be adjusted, that is the time to consider giving the patient a way to keep the joints moving, themselves, in between visits. These exercises are designed to articulate the joints, primarily. They also restore reflex patterns to normal, and retrain muscles and movement patterns. In addition, there may be stretching, and finally – only after all of the rest has been done, strengthening.

Exercises to Articulate Joints

That is a little oversimplification, but it will do. And it is not a category of exercises usually discussed. But, to the chiropractor, it is a very important consideration: it will help patients hold adjustments – and that is how they get the results that they do. Some of the exercises that we recommend you can find on the internet: Brugger’s comes to mind (although when I looked for a video that I could put on my Blog, I was not happy with any of the videos that I saw). It is usually better to discuss, demonstrate, and have the patient perform it in the office. They will do it correctly that way; and I will know that they know how to to it correctly before they are off on their own. Brugger’s Maneuver is the exercise that counteracts many of the ill effects of a sitting desk job, crouched over a computer. It stretches everything on the front side of the body, while it strengthens everything on the back side: and it moves joints at the same time.

We have a neck exercise with the same primary objective: to move the joints and keep them moving while retraining normal reflex and muscle patterns. We call it the Figure Eight exercise. I learned it from a patient, who learned it from a book by an eye doctor, who credited his Tai chi teacher with teaching it to him. (Imagine that!)

Finally, for the pelvis (sacroiliac joints) there is an exercise that I got from a Yoga Therapist (I did not even know that there was such a thing until I met.) She didn’t have a name for it, so I made one up: you won’t find it on the internet.

The point here is, if you were subluxated, and that caused you to have symptoms, and getting adjusted relieved your symptoms, and there was an exercise that you could do to hold your adjustments longer, when do you think is a good time to stop doing that exercise?

Rehab (especially in the context of back pain) usually, or often at least, also involves the need to stretch the hamstring muscles. As a chiropractor concerned with joints articulating properly, I recommend stretches that also involve making sure that the hip socket moves properly. Here we discuss passive stretching and active stretching (again, it is already part of the Brugger’s conversation).

This Post is already over 600 words so I will take up Spinal Stabilization strengthening in a separate Post.

May 13, 2019

When can I stop doing this exercise?

A question almost no patient ever asked. (They just stop. They have lots of reasons to stop; and not enough reasons not to.) There are times to stop an exercise (progressions or a relapse comes to mind). But a better question to ask first is: “Why am I doing this exercise?”

If you think of each exercise as a solution to a problem, or answer to a question, that will help. Reasons for doing an exercise differ whether in Relief Care, Rehabilitation, or in Recovery. As the reasons for doing an exercise go away, so can the exercise. If the reason remains, so should the exercise.

Here are two examples from the Relief phase of care: the Cat/Camel and Bracing. At some point the Cat/Camel will become unnecessary – a patient will move on to more demanding exercises that incorporate all the benefits of the Cat/Camel but also have additional benefits. Until there is a relapse or re-injury there is no serious need to continue doing it – no prohibition against it, just no real need.

Bracing is different. It is supposed to be a natural, unconscious, normal, part of movement – especially movement that involves exertion. For most it is a forgotten art. So, we use bracing to stabilize the lower back in the Relief phase (if bracing does not hurt). By consciously training bracing a person gets good at it. Eventually, if they first consciously practice, it will become the second nature part of movement that it was always suppose to be. You never stop doing it, you just stop having to think about it.

So before you stop doing an exercise, ask why you were doing it in the first place. And if you do not know, ask.

April 9, 2019

Memory Lane, Tri-Cities, Bergstrom’s, and Tai Chi

ColumbiaRiverApril2019

40 Years ago Helen and I were married in Richland, attended Columbia Basin College, and each worked multiple jobs at the airport. We re-lived a few of those memories and visited some old haunts over the past few days, including a visit to the Naval Air Station Pasco Aviation Museum – what a history that place has!

My how things change!

Below is where I did my morning Tai Chi. A great spot!

Tai Chi Spot

April 3, 2019

People with Low Back Pain

Many people with low back pain, who receive chiropractic care to get relief, fail to understand a fundamental truth.

Because they have always responded well to adjustments, and rapidly, they believe that all they have to do is make it to the office and get up on the table and everything will be fine. It has always been the case for them. No matter how bad their pain has been: from the first visit to the last, over years, and even decades. When they get adjusted they feel a lot better. The back pain goes away. And they can return to thinking that they do not have a ‘problem’.

The truth that they fail to appreciate is that their pain is not their problem: their problem is that they have a spinal subluxation complex.

It is a progressive condition if not corrected. Which means that it gets worse over time, if not corrected. And however bad the symptoms, they can get a worse too. Possibly a lot worse.

The answer: everything this Blog is about. Prevention. Correction. And maintaining good healthy habits, breathing, bracing, bending and lifting. It also means not going 6 months (or several years) between visits to the chiropractor.

That is our message. But sometimes the aid car comes in handy; the surgeons gets to do their work; and the pharmaceutical companies get a little richer.

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