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Chronic Stress and Chronic Pain

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Have you wondered about the connection between chronic stress and chronic pain? Consider this, you have been hunkered down in front of a spreadsheet doing the turtle pose at your desk all morning when your boss calls you into her office. Your client is in another bad mood and now so is she. You’ve already spent 25 hours over the last two days in front of a computer screen and it’s still not good enough. Is it any wonder why you have a headache and back pain?

Let’s take the above example and analyze it. First of all, your body position at a computer is bad for you even when you are using your best posture. Secondly, hours on end of sitting and staring at a screen will cause you to start to bend forward creating strain throughout your spinal muscles. You will also chronically shorten your hip flexors causing lower back pain. Then you end up in an intense discussion with your boss and your shoulders end up by your ears due to stress. Your body recreates this cycle again and again leading to chronic pain.

Let’s take another example. You and your husband haven’t been getting along lately. When you come home, you are already stressed and irritable from a long day at work and so is he. Your body is tight and muscles are already shortened due to your habit of holding tension in your shoulders. You come home and want to relax and immediately you two start bickering with each other about the kids. The bickering ends for the night, the headache begins. You go to bed and your body is tense and tight all night because you are sleeping next to your worthy opponent all night and are still angry. When you wake up you wonder why your neck is sore and stiff. Then you go to work and do it all over again.

Chronic stress causes chronic pain. If you can manage your stress you can improve your pain as well as your emotional well being. Try mediating. Try sleeping in a separate room where you can get good quality sleep. Try getting up from your desk several times an hour so your body isn’t punished by your job. Try chiropractic, it will break your pain cycle and help you manage your stress better as well as prevent it from accumulating in your body.

Exercise and Weight Loss Minus the Excuses

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

So-you made those New Year’s exercise and weight loss resolutions how many months ago? How are they going? Before BBQ, beer and boating season starts, let’s take a quick inventory. Are you feeling healthier than you did on January 1st? Are your pants still trying to kill you by strangulation? Are you leaving some desert on the table at the end of the meal or are you still a member of the clean plate club? More vegetables in your meal and less sugar, or the other way around? Before another year and five pounds go by, let’s take a notice of whether or not your habits are working for you and helping you accomplish your goals or are you just sabotoging yourself yet again.

Before we get into the exercise piece, a word of advice….You Can’t Out Run Your Fork! What are you eating? Which foods or drinks are strictly empty calories going to waste and hindering your weight loss? I would personally rather eat than drink my calories so when I am feeling pudgy the first things that I cut out are liquor, wine and sweets. After that any snacks in a bag takes a hiatus and when I begin to need emergency measures, it’s an extra dose of vegetables and I skip the bread. (I really hate when that happens!)

Once I get a handle on my nutrition and the cravings start to subside and I am actually eating really well, then I start to retool the exercise program. This time of year is always the toughest for me. It isn’t consistently nice enough to be able to get on my bike every day and it isn’t cold enough to allow me to feel good about spending an hour in the gym when I could be outside. My typical strategy is; if it is nice out, I am on my bike and crummy days are spent in the weight room. Minimum of two weight lifting days per week. What is the best exercise to lose weight and reshape your body? It’s not endless hours of cardio. It’s the weight training. If hours of sitting on my bike could make my butt smaller, I would be a toothpick. It doesn’t work. Cardiovascular exercise is great for your heart, but it typically just makes you hungrier. Building your muscles is the best way to lean out. No…it doesn’t make you bulkier. Lifting weights prevents osteoporosis, strengthens your muscles, prevents injuries and makes you look great so stop with the multitude of exuses and get to the gym.

Before another year gets away from you and you move up a pants size, get your diet and exercise program under control. If you keep telling yourself, I’ve only gained three pounds over the last three months, just be prepared to weigh 12 pounds more by the end of the year.

Slips and Falls on the Ice and Back Pain: Tricks for Eliminating

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

It’s an unwelcome  Minnesota tradition; falls on the ice and back pain.  You take the dog on a walk,  hop out of the car, walk out on your deck and bam!  Months and months of back and neck pain.

Obviously the key is prevention but if you aren’t quick enough to grab the shovel or salt, here are my tips.  Immediately ice the painful region.  As long as you aren’t seriously injured (by seriously, I mean broken bones) make sure you don’t spend the rest of the day stiffening up on the couch or your office chair.  That just makes it worse.  Walking and stretching are just what the doctor ordered after a fall.

Sadly, most people don’t see me immediately after a fall.  It certainly would decrease the length of their pain and suffering if they did.  If you’ve had a fall, please don’t wait to see if the pain goes away.  Scar tissue forms after 14 days of mobility loss.  I highly recommend tracking down your favorite chiropractor (hopefully me!) and getting in for some chiropractic care to help your spine function better and heal.

One of my favorite fall prevention systems since I have gotten a little older and less limber myself are yaktrax.  I strap them to the bottom of my boots when I take the dogs on a walk and so far have managed to stay upright on the icy days.

Tips for Safe Shoveling During a Minnesota Winter

Monday, December 16th, 2013

While there are lots of ways to enjoy winter, shoveling is not on my top ten list. Personally, the best safe shoveling advice I give my patients is to hire a plow service or greedy neighbor kid. You pay me more than you pay them if you injure yourself. While I definitely appreciate the business, I’d rather see you healthy.

If you insist on taking care of your driveway yourself, please follow these simple tips.

1) Push the snow, don’t lift it. This works great if it is light and fluffy.
2) If you have to lift it, lift with your knees and keep your core muscles tight and contracted.
3) Switch sides regularly so you aren’t always tiring out the same shoulder.
4) Not all shovels are created equal. I like the shovel with the bend in it. It makes is easier ergonomically.
5) Shovel frequently so you don’t have to lift big amounts at once.
6) Put the kids to work. Really, those hockey and dance payments need to be re-cooped some way!

If you don’t listen to my advice, I will be seeing you soon. If you do feel injured or pain that doesn’t go away after 24 hours, just remember that prompt treatment helps injuries heal quicker. The patients who wait heal slower. Now, get out there and go skiing, snow shoeing or dog walking, just NO shoveling.

Spinal Health and Back Pain this Spring

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

With spring about to hit and everyone thrilled to get outside, there are tips to improve your spinal health and back pain.  My Plymouth chiropractic office is typically overwhelmed with new patients who have aggravated old injuries by doing too much, too soon.

What is the problem? Unfortunately rather than embracing winter and enjoying the fun things that the snow and cold have to offer, many Minnesotan’s hibernate. This inactivity leads to weakening, deteriorating muscles and less fitness.

Before you hop on your bike for a ride out to St. Boni or grab a shovel to play gardener, here are a few things to remember. Most of our bodies haven’t done this in awhile.

1) Start slow. Springtime tends to increase our ambition and we overestimate our fitness levels when it comes to the activities that we love. The first time you grab your bike, rake or running shoes, do half of what you were doing when last year’s activities wound down. If at the end of last year, you were easily biking twenty miles, start with ten.
2) Stretch after your activity. Once you are warmed up, make sure to stretch. I have many stretches on my website that will help with all things spine related. I also provide stretching consultations in my chiropractic office to help with specific injuries or problems.
3) Take this opportunity to pick up a new hobby or embrace new fitness goals. Would you enjoy learning to play tennis or to improve your golf game? There are many qualified teachers willing to help you pick up these skills at any age. In my work as a chiropractor with corporate wellness, when we discuss exercise, the focus is always on doing an activity that you love with so you will be consistent.
4) Get outside. I am a big proponent of getting outside in any temperature or weather condition. Fresh air improves your mood, encourages activity, keeps you healthy and just generally makes your life better.

If you noticed that your spine is stiffer than it used to be or you have developed a new injury that is keeping you from the activities that you love, call me at my chiropractic office. If I can help you I will and if I can’t, I’ll figure out who can. Dr. Lori Goodsell is available for free phone questions at 763-553-0387. You can learn more about her chiropractic office and services at 763-553-0387

Chiropractic Care and Reflux

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Baby chiropractor

Here’s a quick little testimonial to chiropractic care and reflux.  This is baby Jack. He came to see me with a bad case of reflux and wasn’t able to turn his head to the left. He even has a big flat spot on his head because has only been able to lie down with his head pointed one direction. He was scheduled for physical therapy and a baby helmet.  After one adjustment he can turn to the left and he had 24 hours with improved reflux symptoms. He’s has more adjustments to go but we are well on our way to improvement.

Many parents bring their babies in for chiropractic care.  Common reasons for first apppointments are reflux, constipation, ear infections and colic.  It’s a safe and effective way of keeping your child healthy and trying less invasive therapies before turning to drugs.

When picking a chiropractor for your child, make sure that you find someone with post graduate education on adjusting children.  At my office that has been an ongoing part of my continuing education and training.  Also find someone who is willing to spend time with you on the phone and answer your questions.  If you don’t feel like you can trust the doctor to answer your questions, its tough to feel comfortable allowing that person to adjust your child regardless of their education or experience.

Here is a link with published research on babies and chiropractic in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health

How Your Attitude Affects Your Health: Mentally and Physically

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Do you ever wonder how your attitude affects your health? Much of how your day goes depends on your internal self talk. If you are constantly thinking of how bad life is or what is going wrong, you are going to get more of what you keep thinking about.

When dealt a difficult hand, try to think of the lessons that you learned. Find five things about your day that you enjoyed and are grateful for and write them down at the end of the day. You will eventually start to see things in a more positive light.

Surround yourself with positive people. If you have a relationship with someone that keeps resulting in toxicity, it’s time to draw boundaries around that area of your life and decide whether or not you really want to absorb their negativity.

One of the best things you can do to lessen your stress and improve your attitude is meditating.  If spending twenty minutes being quiet is a luxury that you just simply don’t have, start with sitting at your desk, closing your eyes and taking 10 deep breaths.  For those of you worried about feeling silly in your cube, do it in the bathroom stall at work.  No one will know! 🙂  Give this a try for 10 straight days and try to increase it to 20 breaths.  While you are doing your deep breathing, try concentrating on relaxing your muscles in your shoulders, face and any area where you continually feel pain and tension.

Many physical problems result from stress and anxiety. If you want to keep stress from manifesting itself in your body, you have to keep it from dominating your life.

Eliminating Stress

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Eliminating stress, is it even possible?  While elimination might now be on the horizon, reducing its impact on you is possible.  With the season of stress rapidly approaching, there are a few quick ways to make your day brighter that will give you immediate results.

1) Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths focusing on the inhalation, exhalation and nothing else besides relaxing your body.

2) Stop checking your gadgets and enjoy dinner without your email, texts and phone interrupting your time with the people you love.

3) Avoid sugar and the mood swings that come with it.

4) Take an hour out of your month to set goals and decide what you want from life versus let someone else chart your course.

5) Take time to enjoy some form of physical activity every day. Whether it is simply walking your dog or participating in an exercise class of some kind, your body was made to move.

The hardest thing for me is acknowledging that my current crisis is not a lifestyle.  It’s a blip in the road that will eventually even out if I keep the habits in place that keep me healthy and strong.  Taking time to exercise and enjoy the outdoors are always the best things to keep me calm.

While holidays are always a stressful time regardless of your family situation, they don’t last all year.  (Thankfully!)

Winter Activities in Minnesota to Keep You Enjoying the Outdoors All Year

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Winter activities in Minnesota are truly the only things that keep those of us life here sane.  This is the time of year that I get anxious wondering what I am going to do with five months of winter. Yikes, is it really 5 months?? It is. I find that I need to be outside and get a lot of light otherwise I end up very crabby.

Here is a brief list of activities you can do outdoors that are fun and will get you some fresh air.

1) Hiking–lots of trails are still open, especially if there isn’t a lot of snow yet. There are several areas near Plymouth that have great areas of open space and woods. French Park on Rockford Rd just east of 494, Orono has two areas that I like Wolfsfeld (trailhead is in the parking lot of the church on the north side of County Road 6 and Brown Rd). Wood-Rill is also beautiful. It is located behind Wayzata Country Club. Both are large enough to get lost in and are beautiful!

2) Cross Country Ski–Hopefully we will get snow this year. Gear West has a great group of people who meet every Wednesday night September-February to train for cross country ski season. Every level is represented from total beginners to Olympic hopefuls. It is a LOT of fun.

3) Snowshoeing-No special skill required, strap them on and walk. Equipment is also available at Gear West.

4) Frozen Lake Sunrise Walks-my personal favorite!

Really, when it comes down to it, there aren’t a lot of days each year that without good gear you can’t get out and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air in comfort. Your face might get cold, you may prefer June weather, but if you get yourself outside, you will be rewarded with less anxiety, more happiness, more energy and possibly the skills for a new winter hobby.

Chiropractic Treatment for Carpal Tunnel

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

When you are researching your options, don’t forget chiropractic treatment for carpal tunnel.  Do you wonder why adjustments to your spine would help a problem in your wrist?  Most people don’t think of their neck when they think they have carpal tunnel. Believe it or not, many cases of carpal tunnel syndrome have origins in the neck. The nerves that go in to the hands can be impinged at the wrist  but those same nerves also come from the neck and any lack of mobility in the spinal bones can interfere with the transmission of messages down the arms, into the hands. This is especially prevalent when both hands are affected.

Adjusting your spine might not be the only answer however a qualified chiropractor should be able to adjust your elbow and wrist.  She or he should also be able to identify tight muscles in your forearms that impinge the nerves and use very directed muscle work techniques to fatigue out the muscle and cause it to relax.

Chiropractic offers a non-drug, non-surgical, safe and effective approach to improving your health. Chiropractic combined with stretches that are specifically designed to release the tension around the nerves in your arms is often very effective in relieving numbness, tingling and pain in the hands. If you live in the Plymouth area and are wondering if chiropractic can help you, call our office today and ask. We’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have.

Attention Chiropractors

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