Admin, Author at Northwest Pain Relief Centers

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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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Your Back to School Weight Loss Plan

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How does this time of year work for your weight loss goals? For many parents, the end of summer signals the beginning of the heightened stress season, as back to school amps up our commitments, with the holidays nipping at its heels. It’s often hard to stay on track with your fitness and weight-loss goals, when you’re bogged down by school day routines, extracurricular activities, and other time vampires. For others, the summer is the hardest time to maintain a weight loss routine, because the long lazy days have too little structure. No matter what, now is a great time to regroup, rethink your routines, and renew your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.  

  • Make breakfast part of your routine. You’ve heard over and over again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and while some researchers disagree, there’s evidence to confirm that eating breakfast is a good way to boost weight loss. In addition, children who eat a good breakfast are more alert at school, performing better, with less of a decline in memory and focus than those who skip breakfast. With these facts in mind, you might find that breakfast is a great time to bring your family together for a simple but nutritious meal. It’s important to remember that what you eat for breakfast is what matters most. Opt for a fiber and protein rich breakfast over a cereal or pastry loaded with carbs and sugar.
  • Plan your lunches. It’s easy to focus on family dinners when you’re planning your weekly meals, but it’s a mistake to forget about lunch. If you’re someone who is at home during the day, set yourself up for success by keeping healthy snacks on hand, and making a plan for a light and lean lunch. If you’re stuck in an office all day, consider brown-bagging it to make sure your meal choice stays in line with your weight loss goals. You might even make lunch prep a family bonding moment, preparing sack lunches with your kids the night before.
  • As your schedule becomes more complicated, make sure that exercise is on the calendar. If after school commitments are going to infringe on your exercise time, consider a shift in schedule, perhaps exercising in the morning or on your lunch break. If you’re stuck at soccer practice or a softball game, walk around the track, or back and forth along the edge of the field, rather than sitting passively to watch. The most important thing is to have a plan, and make exercise a regular part of your routine.
  • Make dinner plans, and be sure to include local produce. Planning your dinners ahead of time makes weeknights less stressful, and also helps to ensure that your meals will be healthy and in line with your weight loss goals. You’ll be much less tempted to hit the drive-through if you know exactly what you have planned for your family dinner. While you’re making plans, remember that fall is a great time to pile on the produce! Harvest season means tons of healthy options, full of a wide variety of nutrients.

Sticking to your weight loss plan is just part of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. At our clinic, we believe in working with patients to improve their overall health, through a holistic, natural approach that treats them like whole people and addresses medical concerns by looking at the big picture, not just treating symptoms. To learn how we can help you live your healthiest life, in a state of optimal wellness, visit our website or call for a free consultation today.


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Now That You’ve Lost Weight, How Do You Keep it 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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Yoga Tips for Expecting Mothers

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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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Chiropractic Tips for Expecting Mothers

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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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Is Special Eye Protection Needed in the Summer?

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Your eyes are very important, and also extremely delicate, so they require special care. You might wonder, though, is there a season during which the eyes need extra protection. As you may have guessed, summer can be hard on your eyes, and it’s crucial that you take good care of them during the summer months.  

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Coping with Seasonal Allergies Naturally

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It’s been all over the news, so you’ve probably seen it: research indicates that people who use allergy medications regularly may be at greater risk for dementia. Building on a study published last year, researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have found that people who use anticholinergic medications, like Benadryl and Claritin, regularly, have reduced metabolic function and decreased brain size. While the risk varies, based on different factors like sensitivity, age and lifestyle, it’s still a good reason to try and avoid taking allergy medicine. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies for allergies, so you’re sure to find one that works for you.  

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What to do about Indoor Allergens

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It’s wintertime, and it seems like everyone has got the sniffles. While much of that gets blamed on the common cold, which runs rampant at this time of year due to immune systems depressed by the cold and too much togetherness, a good portion is actually allergies. How can that be, when brisk temperatures and frequent precipitation make pollen unlikely? The answer is simple: indoor allergens.  

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8 Great Winter Workouts to Try

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In winter, there are tons of great reasons to remain active and not give into the lure of a sedentary lifestyle. Exercising in winter has many benefits though, not least of which is its fat burning power, and capacity to raise your spirits. What’s more, it can be great fun! Check out this list of activities to do in winter, and you’re sure to find one you’d like to try.  

  • Give ice skating a whirl! Whether you’re outside, or in an indoor skating rink, ice skating is excellent exercise. It tones your legs, tightens your core, and even boosts your behind, while burning about 500 calories an hour.
  • Strap on some skis. If you’re lucky enough to live where it’s snowy, consider this: not only does skiing offer thrilling speed and scenic surroundings, it also burns between 350 and 500 calories per hour.
  • Have some snowy fun on a sled. Kids all over the country long for snow days so they can ride sleds, trash can lids, boogie boards, or whatever contraption they can find, down the highest hill in their neighborhood. When you get the opportunity, you should join them! It’s good, breathless fun, and burns over 400 calories per hour.
  • Dance! Dance workouts have gone through many iterations, from Jazzercise to Zumba, but the dance workout of the moment is Barre-Based. Inspired by ballet, and combining components of Pilates, yoga, and weight training, these classes are great for your core and lower body; the moves used promote long, toned muscles.
  • Get nostalgic about your playground days. Shoot hoops, play dodgeball, or jump rope to rev up your heart rate as you reminisce.
  • Give boot camp a try. Boot camps use high-intensity cardio and strength training, for those who want a serious workout. They’re often held at parks or track fields, but in the winter many classes move indoors. If you’re concerned that you don’t have the stamina to commit to a boot camp series, find a program that offers trial classes so you can see if it’s right for you.
  • Bounce your troubles away. Indoor trampolines are extremely popular right now, for two reasons: they’re fun, and a great workout! Six minutes on a trampoline is roughly the same as running a mile, but the trampoline has the benefit of being low-impact, which protects your joints.
  • Use body weight to lose body weight. For the ultimate in DIY weight training, use your own body as the weight. TRX suspension training is a favorite workout for Navy SEALS, and uses a portable suspension trainer to work the whole body.

Establishing the habit of healthy exercise is important to a person’s well-being. It helps build a balanced life, and can lead you to your own place of optimal wellness and health. For more information on how we can help set you on the path to your best life, call today for your free consultation.


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Vegetables: To Cook, or Not to Cook?

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When it comes to food, there’s one point on which just about everyone is in agreement: it’s a good idea to eat vegetables. Packed with nutrients, vegetables are good for many different ailments, as well as overall health and wellness. How we eat our vegetables is a different story. Some people love their vegetables well done, while others feel that steaming them until they’re just al dente is better for keeping in the nutrients, and still others believe that only raw vegetables pack the appropriate nutritional punch. Who is correct? Do veggies have to be raw to have value, or can you cook them until they’re basically mush?
As it turns out, the answer is pretty complex. For example, when carrots are boiled, they lose their polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties and can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, but their carotenoid levels are increased. Carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein, which protect against things like eye disease and cancer, are also boosted in other vegetables, including spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, peppers and zucchini, when boiled or steamed. Asparagus and tomatoes are better for you when cooked, while beets, broccoli, and red peppers are more beneficial raw, because cooking robs them of nutrients like folate, myrosinase, and vitamin C. Further, a recent study of people following a strict raw food diet indicated that, while they had normal levels of vitamin A and relatively high levels of beta-carotene, they were lacking in terms of lycopene, which lowers the risk of cancer and heart attacks. This might indicate that mixing it up, eating some raw and some cooked, is a more nutritious way to go.
The bottom line? Eat your vegetables. If you like them raw, eat them raw, and if you prefer cooked, cook them! Whatever you have to do to them to make them appealing, that’s what you should do. One caveat: don’t deep fry them, as this releases free radicals and kills antioxidants.
No matter how you choose to prepare your vegetables, make sure you’re eating at least five servings a day! A balanced diet is at the heart of a balanced life, which is the key for reaching your optimal state of wellness. At our clinic, our doctors can help to create a nutritional plan that is perfect for you and your lifestyle. To learn about how we can help you live your best life, call for your free consultation today.


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