November 2014 - Northwest Pain Relief Centers

Monthly Archives: November 2014

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Protect your Spine during Holiday Shopping

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Shopping is a big part of the holiday season, whether you’re part of the mad crush of Black Friday, or you favor a more laid back approach. Especially if you have a number of people on your holiday gift list, the process of finding the perfect gifts for everyone can be exhausting, as well as hard on your wallet. But did you know it can also be hard on your spine? Spending hours shopping means spending hours on your feet, which can put your back, neck and shoulders at risk. Fortunately, by following a few simple guidelines, you’ll be able to spare your spine and still garner the gifts you need.  

  • Wear comfortable shoes. This isn’t to say you have to wear your grandmother’s orthopedic loafers, but heels are a bad idea. Not only can they put a strain on your back, but they also contribute to your risk of foot or ankle injury. Instead, choose walking shoes or athletic shoes, designed to provide healthy support.
  • Ditch the heavy purse. Instead, opt for a small backpack, which will distribute weight more evenly, using your strongest muscles, those in your back and abdomen, to support it.
  • Bring along a list. A list is the key to getting in and out of shopping centers quickly. When you know what you need, it’s easier to stick to a plan, and spend less time on your feet.
  • Ask for help when you need it. This applies to more than one situation. First, learn to delegate when you can, so that you’re not stuck with the bulk of the buying. Then, don’t be afraid to ask store personnel to help you with heavy items or things that are high up on shelves.
  • Avoid the crowds when you can. This will prevent you from bending, twisting, or being jostled as you try to maneuver through the masses, but it will also reduce the time you spend standing in line.
  • Distribute weight intelligently. Carry shopping bags close to your body, and try to keep the same weight in each hand. Where possible, however, use a cart, to avoid straining your back.  If you’re shopping at several different stores in the same shopping center, take your bags out to the car in several trips, to keep from having to carry them all at once.
  • Stop for sustenance. Taking a break to have a snack and drink some water is a good idea. It gives you the chance to rest and recharge, and staying hydrated helps to prevent muscle spasms.

A healthy spine is extremely important to your overall wellness. That’s why our clinic offers chiropractic and other physical medicine disciplines, embracing a holistic healing approach that helps patients reach their wellness goals. For more information on how we can help you, or to schedule your free consultation, visit our website or call today.

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De-Stress Your Holiday Season

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The holiday season has begun, a happy time full of love, warmth, and magical memories. Right? For some people, the holidays are anything but peaceful. In fact, as we try to make the season merry and bright, it’s easy to run ourselves ragged, chasing that holiday magic. Add to this the seasonal depression suffered by many Americans, and you have a recipe for a season that’s absolutely taxing. So how will you cope? Choose from the following tips, to find the ones that make the most sense in managing your holidays.

  • Don’t overbook yourself. It’s easy to do, with all the fun activities and social commitments available during the holiday season. Look at your options objectively, and know when to say no. Outsource things if you need to in order to keep your to-do list manageable. You don’t need to be a superhero, and you’ll enjoy the holidays much more if you slow your pace and only do the things that are important, and join the activities that offer the most value, whether in terms of meaning or fun.
  • Keep a sense of humor. A good laugh can make you feel great and shift your point of view. Learn to see the funny side of things and keep time in your schedule for silliness and fun. Even when you’re busy, curling up on the couch with your kids to watch a funny holiday movie may be just what you need to renew your spirits and make it easier to get back on task.
  • Focus on what you love. The most important things about this time of year are extremely subjective, and only you can decide what means the most to you. Learn to notice what’s going on around you, and keep your focus on the things you enjoy. Sometimes this means deciding not to multi-task, but taking the time to appreciate the moments as they happen, whether you’re baking cookies, wrapping gifts, or simply driving through a decorated neighborhood.
  • Take care of your body. Your hectic holiday schedule may disrupt your normal routine, but be sure to work in some exercise anyway. Practice healthy eating habits, and get plenty of sleep—two mandates that can be tricky this time of year. If you allow yourself to become run down and puny, you will have a harder time enjoying the holiday.
  • Nourish your spirit. If your faith is central to your holiday celebration, be mindful of that, and don’t let other things get in the way. Even if you do not have a faith tradition, take the time to meditate and center yourself, breathing in the things that calm and enrich you, and letting go of those things that drain your energy. Listen to music that uplifts you, and be sure to spend some time with nature each day, whether you’re taking a walk or simply taking a breath and really looking out the window at your surroundings.
  • Lower your expectations. If you’re trying to make the holidays perfect, just stop. No one has a perfect holiday season, and that’s perfectly normal. Shoot for a happy time, full of fun and opportunities to make memories, and it will be perfect enough for those you love. And speaking of those you love, don’t expect perfection from them, either. Especially when families get together and people are tense from travel and holiday preparations, tensions can run high. Defuse them by operating in the spirit of the season, making a conscious decision to give and accept love, without worrying about whether people, events and things are living up to your expectations.
  • Do something for someone else. It’s a great time of year to help others, because there are so many opportunities readily available! Shop for a needy child, volunteer at a food pantry or soup kitchen, bring blankets to a homeless shelter. By focusing on the needs of someone else for a while, you can not only help them, but also shift your perspective.

Once you strike a balance between working to make the holidays the way you want them, and just allowing them to be what they are, you’ll find that you’re much more relaxed. Minimizing your stress is important to your emotional wellbeing, and at our clinic, we strive to build our patients up and help to set them on the path to optimal wellness. For more information about how we can help you, visit the website or call for a free consultation.

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Eat to Boost Your Brain Power

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Everyone has heard the saying “you are what you eat.” Focusing on filling your diet with real food, rather than processed foods, can help strengthen your body and keep you in good health. But did you know that certain foods can actually boost your brain power? If you want to be more focused, better able to retain information, and experience less cognitive decline as you age, it may be time to give these superfoods a try.

  • Fuel your brain with whole grains. The brain needs energy to work, and a steady supply of energy can be supplied by whole grains, which slowly release glucose into the bloodstream. This helps to keep you mentally alert throughout the day.
  • Eat more fish—but not just any fish. You may have heard that eating fish is good for your brain, but do you know what makes it so beneficial? It’s the omega-3 fats that occur naturally in oily fish. Oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines contain EPA and DHA that are easy for the body to use. These nutrients are useful in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.
  • Snack on nuts and pumpkin seeds. Research indicates that vitamin E helps prevent cognitive decline, and eating nuts is a great way to get vitamin E. Walnuts also provide alpha linolenic acid, which promotes blood flow, helping to efficiently deliver oxygen to brain cells. Pumpkin seed have zinc, which helps enhance your memory and thinking skills. You don’t have to eat very many seeds to get the benefits—just a handful contains your recommended daily allowance of zinc.
  • Boost your brain with berries and blackcurrants. Consumption of strawberries and blueberries has been linked to slower mental decline, and recent evidence suggests that blueberries are effective in the improvement or delay of short-term memory loss.
  • Tomatoes are tops. Not only are they flavorful and versatile, but they also contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against free radical damage to cells which leads to the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s.
  • Eat your green veggies. Spinach contains lutein, an antioxidant that protects against waning brainpower. In addition, a recent study by Harvard Medical School indicated that women who eat more leafy green and cruciferous vegetables have a lower rate of cognitive decline than those who eat less. Eating broccoli provides vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function.
  • Indulge in chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which makes it good for your whole body. Flavonoids in particular are antioxidants found in dark chocolate that can help improve blood flow, improving cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. What’s more, the caffeine in chocolate may play a role in helping to maintain mental acuity.

To keep your body and brain performing at their best, it’s important to consume a well-balanced diet. At our clinic, we believe that good nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. If you’d like to learn more about our holistic approach to health and wellness, visit our website. For a free consultation, call us today.

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Chiropractic Tips for Pregnant Women

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Chiropractic care is the art and science of adjusting misaligned joints in the spine and other areas of the body, in order to reduce spinal nerve stress. It helps to improve wellness, without drugs or surgery, and can even resolve issues like back pain, neck pain, headaches, extremity pain, poor overall health, and low energy levels. Some might wonder, however, if it’s safe during pregnancy.

The good news is that chiropractic care during pregnancy has no known contraindications. In fact, pregnancy chiropractic can offer many benefits, including less nausea, relief from back, neck and joint pain, a healthier pregnancy, and even improved outcomes for delivery. For women seeking back pain relief during pregnancy, chiropractic offers an efficacy rate of 72%. As long as it’s performed by a practitioner trained in prenatal chiropractic care, chiropractic care can be extremely helpful during pregnancy, especially when you follow a few simple tips.

  • First, get regular adjustments from a qualified practitioner.  As your body shape changes, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy skeletal structure, and chiropractic can assist with that, as well as helping to keep your nervous system functioning correctly.
  • Do your part to keep your body working well by gently exercising each day. Walking, swimming, and stationary cycling are all good options for exercise during pregnancy. Don’t do any sort of exercise that involves jerky or bouncing movements, and stop if you feel weak, nauseous, or dizzy.
  • Wear the right shoes. Flat shoes with arch supports are best during pregnancy, because your rapidly increasing body weight, and lax ligaments that support the feet, can make your feet more susceptible to injury.
  • Protect your lower back. Bend from the knees, not the waist, when you’re picking up anything heavy. When you sleep, lie on your side with a pillow between your knees, in order to take the pressure off of your lower back. You might consider a full length body pillow or a pregnancy wedge.

No matter what your phase of life, natural therapies like chiropractic and massage therapy can be beneficial to your health. At our clinic, we believe in using holistic healing treatments to help keep patients on the path to optimal wellness. To learn more about pregnancy chiropractic, call today for a free consultation.

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Nutrition Tips for Summer Workouts

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Summer workouts can be fun as well as healthy, as opportunities abound to enjoy the outdoors while you exercise. It’s important to remember, though, that the summer heat can place demands on your body. Paying attention to what you eat, and particularly to hydration, is the key to remaining healthy during the hot summer months. Follow a few simple nutrition tips, and you’ll keep your body functioning at its best.

  • Hydrate, but do it right. The summer heat can cause you to become dehydrated, so drink plenty of water. Drink two glasses of water to start your day, and carry a water bottle everywhere you go, to remind you to constantly hydrate. If you exercise for more than 45 minutes at a time, drink a sports drink in the middle of your workout to maintain your energy and endurance.
  • Focus on low-calorie protein sources. The summer is the perfect time to do this, because seafood makes a great lunch or dinner. Try grilling salmon, tuna, lobster, steamer clams, and calamari. If you’re craving a burger, opt for a whole wheat bun, lean meat, and healthful—but tasty!—toppings like pineapple, wasabi, guacamole, and feta.
  • Make the most of summer produce. Summer brings an amazing array of fresh fruits and veggies, so mix up your choices to keep your meals interesting. Remember, colorful vegetables pack the most potent nutritional kick.
  • Don’t forget the most important meal of the day. Eating a balanced breakfast with protein, carbs, and healthy fat can help boost your metabolism and give you energy to fuel your workouts.
  • Drink a post-workout smoothie. A blend of your favorite fruits, bolstered with a scoop of whey protein, makes a refreshing beverage that can kick-start the muscle-building process while helping your body recover, and boosting your energy.
  • Carry a cooler. Don’t sabotage your run on the beach by hitting the ice cream stand afterward. Instead, take along a cooler with bottled water, healthy sandwiches, pita chips, hummus, fruit, and yogurt. Focus on real food, and you’ll feel healthy and well-nourished.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but good nutrition is just as vital. At our clinic, we work with our patients to determine the best nutritional plan to set them on the path to optimal wellness. For your free consultation, call today.

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How to Keep the Weight Off

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Weight loss is an elusive goal for many, and it seems most people you meet are on some kind of a diet. The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, with companies promising results with everything from shakes to wraps to pills to bars. It is interesting to note, however, that for most people, weight loss is simply a matter of expending more calories than are consumed. By changing some of your habits, you can take charge of your weight loss, and keep the weight off forever.

  • To change your body, first change your attitude. Having confidence that you can control your body weight is the first step toward successful weight loss. Take small and simple steps to gradually change your lifestyle and you will soon see results.
  • Add good habits rather than trying to ditch bad habits. Rather than focusing on what you shouldn’t do, focus on what you should, building good habits into your routine a little bit at a time. Soon, a healthy lifestyle will come naturally to you, and you’ll see your bad habits crowded out by the good ones.
  • Match your intake to your activity. People with an extremely active lifestyle need more calories than those who live sedentary lives. If you need to lose weight, it’s a good idea to raise your activity level as you lower your caloric intake. Start with simple things, like parking your car further from the building, or taking the stairs, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your energy and stamina increase.
  • Focus on real foods. Sodas, sweets, and processed foods are empty calories, contributing nothing for your nutritional needs. Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and lean meats, however, provide valuable nutrients to help you stay in good health. If you’re used to eating meat at every meal, considering swapping in a vegetarian meal every week or so, to gradually help you eat leaner and healthier.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is important for the health of your tissues and organs, but it has an important function for those attempting to eat less, as well: it fills your stomach. Drinking water before your meal can help you to feel full, so you don’t eat as much.
  • Avoid extremes. Trying to give up entire categories of food is unrealistic for most people and limiting your calories significantly can cause you to feel deprived, setting you up to fail. Not only that, but restricting your food intake dramatically can result in a shortage of nutrients, causing you to become malnourished or lose muscle rather than fat.
  • Make a lifestyle change rather than going on a diet. Jumping into a diet can be stressful and ineffective. Changing your outlook and the way you live your life, however, can result in long-term positive shifts in your overall wellbeing.

Sometimes, even those who put an enormous effort into weight loss can find themselves stuck. If you’ve made the changes suggested here, and you find the scale still won’t budge, it may be time to see a doctor. Our clinic offers medical weight loss solutions to help patients achieve their healthy weight loss goals. Visit our website to learn more, or contact us for a free consultation.

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Advice on Treating Lower Back Pain

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Lower back pain is a common complaint, and people are often willing to go to great lengths to find relief. It’s often difficult to pinpoint the cause of low back pain, because while it is sometimes caused by trauma like an accident or injury, it can also be the result of something as simple as improper lifting or bending. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the occurrence of back pain, and your doctor can help you find ways to alleviate it.

While there’s no way to completely prevent lower back pain, there are some ways to help prevent it. By getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, managing your stress, and paying attention to proper posture, you can help keep your back strong, healthy, and less susceptible to pain and injury. At the same time, these measures can help you recover more quickly if something does happen to cause pain in your lower back. Other steps you can take to keep your back in good condition include avoiding high heeled shoes, quitting smoking, and experimenting with different sleeping positions.

If you do suffer from low back pain, try resting your back and using an ice pack for 20 minutes at a time during the first 48 hours, and then switching to heat, to see if that helps relieve your discomfort. You might also try gentle stretching, or an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen. If none of these home remedies work, your doctor can help. Traditional treatment for back pain uses muscle relaxants and pain medication, and treatments like traction. In severe cases, doctors sometimes recommend extreme measures like epidural injections or even surgery. However, many patients find relief from holistic treatments, including:

  • Chiropractic/spinal manipulation
  • Acupuncture
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

At our clinic, we utilize a wide range of treatments to provide a customized treatment plan for each unique patient. Whether a patient is suffering from acute pain (pain lasting three months or less) or chronic pain (lasting more than three months) we can help develop a strategy to help alleviate back pain and set the patient on the path to optimal health and wellness. Call us today for more information on lower back pain treatment

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Yoga Tips for Pregnant Women

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Pregnancy can be difficult on a woman’s body, and it’s certainly a time of change. Many experts believe that prenatal yoga can be extremely beneficial, both in helping relieve the stress of pregnancy and also in easing delivery. While pregnancy is not the time to start a new and hard-core practice of yoga, even a beginner can engage in some gentle yoga techniques.

Pregnancy is not just a time of change, but also one of empowerment. It’s a season in which women often feel strong and are committed to taking care of their bodies. The knowledge that everything she does completely impacts another person can give a woman the strength and impetus to take control of her life and get as healthy as possible. Yoga can be a big part of this, as long as you remember a few simple guidelines.

  • Don’t jump into anything too strenuous. A woman who is new to yoga should stick to prenatal yoga during her pregnancy, and avoid any of the more difficult aspects of practice. In fact, even seasoned practitioners are well-advised to shift to prenatal classes late in the 2nd trimester or early in the 3rd. This will allow them to learn the elements of prenatal yoga which prepare the body for labor but are not included in a regular class.
  • Avoid heat during all phases of pregnancy. If you’re already involved in a heated practice, it’s imperative that you shift to one that is not.
  • Skip twists and core work. Anything that stresses the abdomen is not a good idea during pregnancy.  Twists wring and compress the abdomen, and pregnancy is not a time to work on building abs. During the first trimester, you’ll want to avoid hardcore inversions, too, even if you’re already experienced. A good alternative for a pregnant woman is the Supta Baddha Konasana pose.
  • Focus on the meditation and breathing aspects of yoga. Nadi Shodhana, the channel cleaning breath, is good for calming the mind and settling your energy so that you can be truly present as you practice. Ujjayi pranayama, the victory breath, and Bhrami, or bee breath, are also good for helping you deal with emotional changes, and relaxing your mind. Meditation can help you remain positive, relaxed, and cheerful during your pregnancy.

Overall, yoga practice is a great way to help bring you to a healthy, happy place for your delivery. Under the direction of a trained teacher, proficient in prenatal yoga techniques, you’ll be able to use this discipline to strengthen both body and mind, which will ease your transition into motherhood. At our clinic, we focus on holistic practices that help patients thrive during all seasons of life, focusing on health and wellness. For more information, or a free consultation, call us or visit our website.

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Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

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The holidays are upon us, and now begins the season of fun, family, festivity, and feasting. It’s that last one that can get you into trouble. The average weight gain during the holiday season is between one and five pounds, and of course, losing weight tops many New Year’s resolution lists. Fortunately, you can maintain healthy eating habits and still enjoy the holidays. By following a few simple tips, you can have a holiday season free of dietary regrets.

• Focus on the other “f’s”. When planning holiday events, take the focus off of food, and put it on fun with family and friends. There’s plenty to do this time of year, from tree lots, pumpkin patches, hayrides, and festivals, to taking in the lights and sights. The brisk weather is perfect for outdoor fun, whether you’re watching the leaves change color, or building a snowman. Make activity the center of your gathering, and you’ll find it easier to maintain healthy eating habits.

• Lighten up your holiday favorites. There are books in every bookstore, and sites across the net, dedicated to making comfort foods healthier. Try Cooking Light or the Food Network for some great suggestions.

• Eat before the party. A well-kept secret of successful dieters is to fill up on healthy foods before the richer fare tempts you. By eating something fresh and healthy before you go to a get-together, you’ll strengthen your resolve and be less likely to cave when faced with less nutritious options.

• Don’t be afraid of occasional indulgence. Your grandmother’s famous pie may be one of your favorite parts of the holiday season, and that’s ok. The rich foods of the season can evoke powerful childhood memories, and those memories are some of the loveliest things about this time of year. As long as your core diet is focused on real food and healthy portions, it’s fine to give in to your comfort foods once in a while.

• Make real food your focus. Some of this season’s favorite foods are surprisingly good for you. Lean cuts of turkey are full of protein, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are packed with antioxidants, and winter citrus is loaded with vitamin C. If you can steer clear of empty, over-processed calories and adjust your mindset to make fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and nuts your holiday fare, you’ll come through the season in good health.

• A healthy diet is an important factor in building a healthy lifestyle and achieving your optimal wellness. That’s why at our clinic we offer nutrition counseling as part of our holistic approach to health care. For more information on how we can help you live your best life, visit our website or call today for your free consultation.