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Back Injuries from Ice and Snow

Friday, February 14th, 2020

Snow sports are fun, avoiding back injuries from ice and snow are the key to winter fun. Snow shoveling, slips and falls on the ice and the inevitable tumbles that come from living in a cold weather climate can hurt. Proper technique, good equipment and knowing what to do when you do get hurt can make all the difference. Reading further now will help you keep little back injuries from ice and snow from becoming big problems later.

 

Good Equipment

First, back injuries from ice and the falls that come with it are a big reason patients call me in the spring. Why the spring? They avoid the problem thinking it will go away and it just gets worse over time. My favorite winter product to keep me upright on the ice are  yaktraxs. They can be purchased from my favorite store online or in person, Gear West in Long Lake.

Proper Technique and Tools

Secondly, snow shoveling is the bane of our winter existence here. I highly recommend avoiding it whenever possible and remember a plow service costs less than a chiropractor. If you are looking to avoid back injuries from ice and snow, that is a great way to start. Most people have pieces of their property that they can’t avoid shoveling. For me, it’s the stairs. To avoid back injuries from snow removal, start with a good shovel. 

 

avoid back injuries from ice and snow using a pusher shovel

This is a pusher shovel. If you want to avoid back injuries from ice and snow, start here. It’s great for long flat runs. If you have stairs to shovel, I recommend a shovel with a bend in it. That will help make the lifting and twisting motion of shoveling easier on your body.

Following your snow shoveling, stretch. This is a video I made on the stretches to do after you shovel. Those stretches will quiet your muscles and make you feel better.

When Back Injuries Occur

Now, even with the best of equipment, back injuries still occur. What should you do when that happens? Remember that back injuries from ice and snow are easier to treat when they are fresh and new. If your injury  sits in your body for a length of time, it becomes more involved and complicated. When you are injured and bruised, it isn’t very motivating to call a chiropractor. However, that is when your long term healing potential is best. A skilled chiropractor will know how to get around your bruises. 

Call us today at 763.553.0387 for help with your back injuries from ice and snow.

Winter Fitness: 3 keys to Staying Active

Monday, January 27th, 2020

 

Maintaining winter fitness in a cold climate can be tricky. Unpredictable weather, poor gear selection and un-motivational gray days can tank your winter fitness program. It just takes a few small tricks to keep you motivated and ready for what old man winter can throw at you. 

HEALTHY HABITS 

Go outside every day. Guess who my #1 winter motivation specialists are? Here is a hint, they aren’t personal trainers. 

Have an excited and motivated winter fitness partner!

This little sprite makes it well known that a walk is needed every day.  I make sure that I deliver at least six days a week. It maintains both of our winter fitness, especially our moods. Don’t forget the walking spikes on your boots. I have already used mine dozens of times this winter. The Yaktraks are critical and Gear West is right down the road in Long Lake. As long as our winters are here in Minnesota, hibernating will make you CRAZY. In fact, here is an article I wrote about it just last year . 

GREAT GEAR

Speaking of great gear, Gear West can ensure you have all the winter clothes and sports equipment to keep winter fun. There is no bad weather, just bad gear. I highly recommend Merino Wool. It doesn’t stink like the other wicking tech fabrics. It keeps you the perfect temperature and isn’t scratchy against your skin. Also, don’t forget the wind proofing. I love my GORE jacket and pants for cold windy days. 

 

MAKE IT FUN

 To maintain winter fitness, you must do things you enjoy. I LOVE biking. I even bought a fat bike so I can ride all year. 

 

 

Fat bikes for winter fitness
Fat biking is a great way to maintain winter fitness.

Guess what I found out? I hate biking on the Luce Line or Dakota trail in the winter. It’s a grind and all I can think about is how much more fun it is during the warmer months. I can’t count on maintaining my winter fitness doing something I don’t enjoy. Guess what I enjoy on my bike? Mountain biking in the snow on single track or going to spin classes. I transition my workout indoors or to the mountain bike areas to ride during the winter.

So the keys great gear, making it a habit and having fun things you love doing during the winter. Use those three keys and bump your level of winter fitness up so you are ready to go when the weather gets warmer.

Stress and Pain are Connected

Monday, September 30th, 2019

 

 

Has it ever seemed to you that your level of stress and pain are connected? A lot of research has been done on the mind body connection. We know that our emotions are controlled by our nervous systems. Our nervous systems also greatly affect and are affected by the health of our spines. Stress and pain are linked in your body. There are lots of natural ways to improve stress, depression and anxiety.

 

Your mood causes a chemical release that impacts how you perceive your body’s pain levels. If you are anxious, pain becomes worse. If your pain becomes worse, you get more anxious. It’s a vicious cycle and works similarly with depression.

 

Overcoming the connection between stress and pain is critical to your health. Consistently it’s been shown that the most effective mood booster, depression destroyer, anxiety fighter and pain inhibitor is exercise. The more you move your body, the better your body feels. Here is a great article from the Washington Post on stress and pain.

 

That isn’t to say if you are having back spasms you should go to the gym and do dead lifts or run five miles. The key to making exercise work for you is to meet  your body where it is at and respect your injuries while still finding ways to keep moving. Perhaps if you have been focusing on big time muscle building for the last year and your body hurts, now is the time to focus on your cardiovascular health and pick up running or cycling. If you’ve been a life long runner and your body can no longer take the impact, consider starting a core strengthening routine with weights and Pilates and dial back the running.  

 

 

One of the keys to maintaining an exercise program is to deal with injuries when they are small so they don’t keep you from working out. That is where regular adjustments with a chiropractor become critical to your health. Chiropractic will keep your body functioning as it should so that you can participate in your workout as you wish. You have a choice as to whether you allow your life to be limited by pain. It is possible to find solutions and making the commitment to your health now will pay dividends in the future.

Tips for avoiding back pain while gardening

Friday, June 7th, 2019

The gardening and yard work season is now full on which is bringing back patients into my office who have hurt themselves out in the yard. There are several tips I can give you to help avoid back pain while gardening.

 

My first suggestions is to break it up into manageable chunks to avoid hurting your back and causing pain. While I know time is precious, a five hour stretch of weeding is going to put anyone into misery. It isn’t worth it. Weed for an hour, then go on a bike ride or walk and come back to it. That will keep you from causing yourself a lot of pain. Doing smaller bits more frequently will help keep your spine healthy and free of pain. 

 

Secondly, walking is basically the cure for most yard work related back pain and misery. Do your yard work, then take the pup on a walk to work out the kinks and get your spine moving properly again. Don’t just crumble into a lawn chair or couch, it will cause you to stiffen up.

 

Third, enlist the help of a wonderful and greedy neighbor kid. If you have a retaining wall to build or a rocky border to place, there are plenty of 10 year olds who would happily carry your rocks or shovel mulch for $10/hr. I know, I have provided employment services to nearly every 10 year old in the neighborhood. You get to sit back with a book and lemonade and they get the opportunity to learn a work ethic and make money. It’s a great way to avoid back pain from yard work or at least limit it because you can certainly find yard work to do while they are doing the heavy stuff. 

 

Inevitably,  home ownership causes pain. Yard work especially causes back pain. Seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis will help your spine work better and keep you healthier. It will also keep little back problems from becoming big back problems. 

 

If you would like help, call our Plymouth office today for an appointment. 763.553.0387

Avoiding Back Pain while Shoveling and stretches for when you are done.

Monday, February 25th, 2019

When is back pain serious?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

I had a new patient in here last week asking just this question, “When is back pain serious?” Back pain will affect most adults at some point in their lives. Since it can interfere with the activities you love so much, it’s helpful to know when back pain is serious and when it is not.

First question, how long has your back pain been there? Any back pain that has bothered you for more than a couple weeks probably isn’t going to improve on it’s own.

Secondly, does your back pain travel anywhere? Does it radiate down your arms or legs? This gives us very helpful clues diagnosing where the pain is coming from. If the pain has a neuritic quality and is radiating down the front of your thigh, there is a good chance it is coming from the L3-L4 disc, back of the thigh, we look at the L5-S1 disc. There can be lots of other explanations, so please use caution when trying to diagnose things on the internet. Leave that part to a chiropractor.

Has chiropractic care helped your back pain resolve? If someone is starting to see improvement over time, we can guess that will most likely continue. Most insurance companies require a trial of conservative care before they will pay for MRI’s. In my office, we tend to use a six week standard of care. If we aren’t getting significant results and your back pain isn’t starting to resolve within six weeks of complying fully to my treatment plan, I tend to worry if there is something more serious going on. In those scenarios, we refer for MRI’s or CT scans depending on what we are suspecting we will see.

The bottom line is that if back pain is interfering with you doing what you love, you need to see a chiropractor to resolve it. Chiropractic care is the #1 choice for resolving back pain. Chiropractors get the best results with back pain of any health professional around. If you would like our help improving your health and getting you back to doing what you love, please call our office today at 763-553-0387

Pillows for less neck pain and better sleep

Friday, November 9th, 2018

I am frequently asked about pillows for less neck pain and better sleep. I am in the middle of my most recent stop on this quest myself. The unfortunate truth is that the pillows that help you have less neck pain and better sleep today, might be your neck and sleep’s worst enemy tomorrow.

I have tried all sorts of pillows; foam, down, contoured pillows, and “my pillows”. My awesome pillows will cause me to feel less neck pain and sleep better for months and then all the sudden, they don’t. Incredibly frustrating, especially for a chiropractor.

The biggest determiner of the type of pillow you need is which position you sleep. If you sleep on your stomach, which you shouldn’t, don’t use a pillow. If you sleep on your side, you need a thick pillow to avoid nerve compression. Back sleepers must support their necks.

My favorite pillow is one I sell in my office. https://www.footlevelers.com/products/orthopedic-pillows It’s made by measuring you in four places. We also ask you which position you sleep in which then determines the shape of the pillow. I have bought three over the years for myself.

I have tried My Pillows. While I have heard rave reviews from many of my friends and clients, I think they are tough to find the appropriate size if you are a woman. If you are going to go that route, definitely buy it in store. The online questionnaire to size it based on a woman’s t-shirt size, certainly didn’t do it for me.

The other pillow I have had good luck with is the Brookstone tempurpedic pillow. Though this isn’t exactly my model, it looks like this: https://www.brookstone.com/pd/tempur-pedic-swedish-neck-pillow/175414p.html

Sadly pillows aren’t returnable so most of us with neck issues end up with a collection. Your neck is definitely worth the price. The biggest thing that will help your neck feel better is getting regular chiropractic adjustments to keep everything moving properly and encourage good posture.

If you don’t have a chiropractor, we would love to be yours! Call us today for your new patient appointment.

 

 

Kinesiotaping for Runners Knee

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Here is a little video I made to show kinesiotaping for one of my patients who has runner’s knee. It’s a great tape job for those of us with sloppy slightly arthritic knees without major ligament damage. As with any kinesiotape job, the taping is only as good as the person putting the tape on and you need a correct diagnosis to find the right tape job.

Primarily I am making this video for a specific patient but thought I would share so that I can send people back to this link.

If you click here, you can follow along with your own roll of tape.

Winter Fitness versus Winter Hibernation

Friday, February 23rd, 2018


Winter fitness is critical in cold climates. Your heart, lungs and muscles know no season. We all need regular exercise and activity to stay healthy regardless of how cold it is outside.

If you hibernate during the winter, it will have fitness consequences. Not paying attention to winter fitness in your 20’s will be different than in your 60’s. The consequences for cumulative poor health choices snowball as we get older. As with any health habit, consistency is the key to fitness.

In your 20’s and early 30’s, you have an opportunity for building speed and power that will be unlike any time in your life. As we watch the Olympics, we realize the competitors are all young. Not young as in “50 is the new 30” young. As in actual young—25.

When a 30 year old chooses not to participate in winter fitness, they are going to lose their athletic performance but odds are, in a month they will gain it back quickly. Between 20-35 is really the time to pay attention to intervals. Core training to keep your body from becoming injured is also critical. Now is also the time to take care of little injuries and get yourself back in the game. How many of us know 55 year olds who are still blaming that bum knee they injured in high school for their 50 lb weigh gain?

As we reach middle age, between 35-50 you have the opportunity to build your endurance if you pay attention to winter fitness. Consistency becomes much more important as you lose your fitness a lot quicker than when you were young. Those years are the most easy to fall off the bus with raising kids and traveling for work. When you are short on time, make sure to still get it done. If you need to start bike commuting to work to make sure you get exercise, do it. If you have an opportunity to do a workout class at lunch through your company, take advantage of it. Injuries will inevitably limit when you can do. My choice at 35 was continuing to play tennis and be sore all the time or find something without so much stop and start. If this age group takes the winter off, they will lose their entire base or habit.

If you can’t do your full workout, at least do a partial workout each day to keep it top of mind. Instead of watching your kids sports practices, do your own workout.

As you hit the 50-65 year demographic, hopefully you start to find more time for yourself. Now is the time to set your body up for a happy retirement. If you’ve let others rule your calendar, now is the time to recommit. Some of the fittest people I know are in their 50’s and 60’s. Fitness has been a life long habit and priority for them. If it hasn’t been for you, it is never to late to start. With some quality instruction and consistent chiropractic care for the injuries that inevitably pop up, you can become fitter.

How you manage your excuses now will determine how you spend your retirement. Will you still be hiking and biking? Or will you be making excuses for your injury from 30 years ago? As a reminder, manage your joint health NOW. At Active Family Chiropractic, we can help you.

Tingling Numb Fingers

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Do you ever wake up with tingling numb fingers? I certainly have had a problem with this at times. Tingling numb fingers are one of the most common complaints in my office. Fingers that are tingling and numb can be cause by multiple different problems.

Diagnosing the Problem
The first step when someone visits my Plymouth chiropractic clinic with tingling numb fingers is taking a detailed history. My questions revolve around investigating which fingers are numb and tingling. Different nerves affect different fingers. Each nerve that supplies your hand takes a distinct path. Your radial, ulnar and median nerves can all be caught in different places. Each nerves will cause different symptoms. A quick google search will provide you with many interesting diagrams detailing the nerve pathways throughout your upper body: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/axillary-nerve/?lp=true

Once someone explains their problem in a detailed way, I can determine the potential problem areas. Nerves can be caught as they run through your spine. Nerves can be entrapped as they run down your arm. They can become entrapped through your cubital or carpal tunnel. If you have tingling in your hand, pay attention to which fingers are tingling and numb. Also, pay attention to where in your arm you feel the symptoms.

Developing a Treatment Plan
After we gather all the information, I can work with my patient to develop a treatment plan. Depending on which nerve is entrapped the treatment is different. On some of my patients we need to do deep muscle work to make all the tissues in the arms glide better. Some people need to make changes in how they sleep; perhaps not falling asleep with their elbows bent or their neck scrunched up. Some people need their necks adjusted and others their wrists bones.

The bottom line is that you can’t resolve your tingling numb fingers on your own. If this problem affects you, please see a highly recommended chiropractor to help resolve your problem. I am always happy to help you at my Plymouth chiropractic office if you call me. 763-553-0387 www.activefamilychiropractic.com

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