1. Chiropractic and Discs: All the Ways We Can Help

    Leave a Comment

    Whether it’s Arthritis, Degeneration, Bulging or Herniation

    The other day I heard a patient say, “It’s my disc. You can’t help.” Honestly I was surprised to hear that from this person. The discs are DIRECTLY affected by a spinal adjustment, there is SO MUCH research (like this study) showing that chiropractic can help with disc problems.

    What is the Disc?

    The discs between each vertebrae are tough, fibrous bands that wrap around a soft jelly-like center (like a donut, but not as tasty). They hold the vertebrae together and also absorb shock and pressure to the backbone.

    Because they are so tightly attached to the bone, when the vertebrae move out of alignment there is a lot of tension on the disc. Too much of this tension over too long a period of time can cause damage to the discs, as well as pressure on the nerves.

    In our office we treat the discs in a few different ways

    Adjustments: Realigning the spine is the first step in helping disc issues. We need to get the tension off of them so no more damage is done. The adjustment also helps get pressure off of the nerves to help with the pain.

    Stretching: We use a method to stretch out the spinal joints called Flexion-Distraction, which helps hydrate the discs and get pressure off the nerves. This improves their ‘squishiness’ and helps with the shock absorbing. It also increases circulation to the discs, which speeds up their healing.

    Cold Laser Therapy: Cold laser is incredible at speeding up healing time. This form of light therapy triggers the cells to grow and form new healthier cells quicker. It’s really useful for areas of the body that don’t have a lot of blood flow, like ligaments, cartilage, and discs.

    Nutrition: It is vitally important when dealing with any long-term chronic condition that the body be nourished as well possible. Anti-oxidants, good fats, and a quality joint support formula will help the disc recover as quickly as possible, and also help the results last longer. We recommend an all natural glucosamine formula from Standard Process that our patients love. Be careful where you get your glucosamine from. Most of what’s on the market is garbage!

    Postural/Ergonomics Training: Most of the research shows that without a good regimen to follow during and after treatment, most disc problems will return. This is why it is crucial to start implementing things like yoga, postural awareness, and strength/stretching routines when there is any disc problem. Plus, it will help the whole body, too!

    I hope you have found this information helpful. Remember we are always here to answer your questions. Call or message us for a free consultation!

  2. How to Know When You Need an Adjustment: Top 3 Ways

    Leave a Comment

    Most people make an appointment when they are having pain. And we all know chiropractic is great for helping with pain, but what if you could prevent it before it starts. Just like how regular dental care reduces pain and problems with our teeth, regular chiropractic care reduces pain and problems in our spine. Watch the video below for some quick tips to know when you need to be adjusted, before that nagging pain returns.

    So, yes, pain is an indicator you need an adjustment. Or rather you needed an adjustment a few days or weeks ago. Radiating pain shows a deeper issue, usually involving the discs, or some kind of pressure to the nerves exiting the spine. If you have radiating pain get adjusted ASAP!

    Assymmetry gives us insight as to what is going on in our underlying structure, particularly the spine. If your head is tilted to one side, or your shoulder or hip is higher, your spine is most likely not aligned. If it’s not aligned, degeneration (arthritis) will be sped up, inflammation will increase, and you will most likely be hurting pretty soon.

    Motion is such a big key here as well. And this takes awareness. Notice how far your head turns to one side or the other. Notice what movements seem difficult, or restricted. Do you have a hard time turning your body to one side versus the other? When there is restriction in any of our movements, there is usually a joint that is not properly aligned. There will be muscle involvement as well, but remember any time a muscle is tight or weak, there is an effect on the joint. And anytime a joint is out of place, there is an effect on the muscles.

    Remember, the more aligned your spine is, the less degeneration and arthritis will occur, and the better your nervous system will work. Best of all the better you will feel!

  3. Chiropractic and Yoga

    Leave a Comment

    For years I’ve been benefiting from both chiropractic care and yoga. There are many similarities between the two. Both help with our alignment. Both help improve our range of motion, and decrease stress. I’ve been recommending that my patients start their own yoga practice to help maximize the benefits they receive from an adjustment. But I feel that both chiropractic and yoga can be misunderstood by many. I hope this video will help clarify some things, as well as give you some good tips to help you to feel better.

    When our spines are in line, our range of motion is better. This not only helps us to move through yoga poses easier, it also minimizes potential damage and strain to the joints. If we are really stretching out our joints and they are not moving right, we could hurt ourselves.

    Yoga also is about POWER and STRENGTH. It’s not just about flexibility. Holding these poses strengthens our postural and core muscles. This will also help the body to hold the adjustments longer after treatment.

    There are so many parts of a healthy lifestyle. So many therapies that are effective. It can be hard to know what is the best course to take when changing our lifestyle for the better. But one thing is for sure: The combination of regular chiropractic care and yoga is one of the best things you can do for your body.

    Check out https://www.yogahivepgh.com/ for some great classes and events!

  4. Why Chiropractic? I could have done ANYTHING!

    41 Comments

    When I was younger, I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. I was all over the place. But I was really GOOD at whatever I was doing. I worked in catering since I was 13 (yeah, I know, child labor laws). I was cooking, serving parties, and managing the place by 18. I worked part time doing construction and contracting (which is paying off huge dividends now as a homeowner). I was playing in bands, just starting to actually make some good money at gigs. I had an interest in physics, biology and medicine, and could have easily gone to med school with my GPA and SAT scores.

    But there was a problem that I saw. People were sick. My own family was affected by chronic disease as well as addiction. My friends and neighbors seemed to be suffering from the same problems, and our health care system seemed to be failing them all.

    I had always loved helping people, and always wanted to help those closest to me most. So after injuring myself and finding almost immediate relief with a local chiropractor, I became intrigued. Why was it that after getting treated for some back pain that my whole body felt better?

    Seriously, I had lived with asthma (albeit mild to moderate) since a young child, and it was pretty much gone after a few weeks of regular adjustments. I had worn glasses since the 2nd grade, and at the next school eye exam they told me my vision was better than average. Yeah, could have been coincidence, but the more digging I did, the more I found that chiropractic affects the whole body, since it takes pressure off of the nerves that CONTROL the whole body, and I REALLY experienced it!

    It was soon after that that I decided I wanted to do this. I wanted to REALLY help people! I began talking to people, and hearing others recount their experiences. One of the most common things I hear them say before telling their tale of recovery, when everyone else told them they had to just live with their problems was, “What do I have to lose?”…

  5. Top 4 Tips for Sciatica Relief

    Leave a Comment

    Sciatica affects millions of Americans over the course of their lifetime, and the pain can be downright debilitating. And while there are many different courses of treatment, few are as effective or as safe as chiropractic care. In this video I will show you four of my favorite tips for helping relieve sciatic pain, many of which you can do right from your own home!

    It’s not just chiropractic care, or stretching, or massage that will get you feeling better and keep you feeling better. It’s a whole body approach! And it often involves changing our whole routine.

    Remember, the more you do on your own, the more effective any form of treatment you receive will work! So get those yoga videos on, take a walk or a bike ride, make sure you’re eating good, wholesome foods, and most importantly, schedule an appointment for an adjustment ASAP!

  6. Video Series Intro: What is Wellness?

    Leave a Comment

    So for a few years now this word ‘Wellness’ has been thrown around quite a bit, without many of us actually knowing what it truly is. Most of us think of it as having something to do with being healthy, but we also hear it used to promote things like flu shots, and over the counter meds. In the over 13 years I have been in practice, I’ve learned it can be simplified into 3 main points:

    • How we Move
    • What we put into our bodies
    • How we think

    We are embarking on a new project here at Wellness Pittsburgh: a video series that will focus on how to be truly healthy and well. Have a watch!

  7. 5 Tips to Get Rid of a Headache

    Leave a Comment

     

    Headche

    Nothing can ruin your day like a headache. We’ve all had them, some of us more than others. Some are mild, dull annoyances, while others can be migraine quality, forcing us to hide in a dark room, sometimes even throwing up, or losing an entire day or work. I often hear people say, “I’ve just learned to live with it.” Or, “I’ve tried EVERYTHING!” The truth is headaches are not normal, and they shouldn’t be something you just have to live with. Here are 5 simple and effective things you can do right now to help.

    1) Drink more water! For more on the importance of water, check out this article

    Dural sinus

    Dehydration is probably the most common cause of headaches. The blood vessels around the brain, mainly the veins, are incredibly sensitive. They are called the Dural Sinuses, and they don’t work like the regular veins you see in your arms. When we aren’t drinking enough water they aren’t as full, and this drop in pressure can cause a headache. So many things can dehydrate us: eating salty or sweet food, sweating too much without rehydrating, certain medications, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, even sports drinks can cause dehydration since they have such high levels of electrolytes. Remember, next time you get a headache drink two big glasses of water ASAP.

    2) Pressure Points: Rub any tender points at the base of skull. Massage can be helpful for relaxing tight muscles that can cause head and neck tension, but there are more specific, more effective points for relief. Feel from the bump behind your ears all the way to the bump in the center of the back of your head. If you feel any sensitive spots, push with firm pressure and rub them for about 30 seconds. Keep doing this, each time a little higher or lower on the head anywhere you find a sensitive spot.

    Essential oils

    3) Essential Oils: Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus and Rosemary are four of the best oils for headaches. Peppermint: rub a few drops of peppermint oil on the temples and back of neck for a tension headache. This one is also good for focus and concentration Lavender: can be used just like Peppermint oil for tension headaches. It can also be added to a warm bath, or a few drops can be put into a spray bottle of water and used on the face and neck. Eucalyptus: pretty similar to the last two, but also a great expectorant and can be rubbed on the chest to relieve pressure. Rosemary: is also good for tension headaches, but is really effective if the headache is from low blood sugar. With any essential oil you should use a carrier oil. This is a regular food grade oil, like Coconut or grape seed. Put some in your hand or a small dish and then add the Essential Oil to it. Essential oils are very strong and some can cause skin irritation. Remember, a little bit goes a long way.

    chiropractor

    4) Get Adjusted!: When the bones in the neck move out of alignment a headache can quickly follow. The pressure from on the nerves that come out between the bones creates irritation, and these nerves go to the entire face and head. There’s actually a word for it: Cervicogenic. These links below have a bunch of research studies about headaches and getting adjusted.

    http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/headache.shtml#Articles

    http://icpa4kids.org/Chiropractic-Research/Headaches-/-Migraine/

    You’ll find over 30 studies on everything from the common headache, to migraines, to post-concussive, even pediatric headaches and how chiropractic care can help.

    5) Chemical Origin: Many headaches are caused by a build-up of toxins in the body or certain chemical toxins, sometimes even a food additive. Many people have headaches from MSG, Nitrates/Nitrites, Gluten (wheat), food preservatives/dyes, even plain old sugar. Keeping a food journal can help you identify the types of foods/additives that you react to. Cleansing can help if it is due to a build-up of toxins.

    While medication has its place, over-medicating can often create worse effects than the original issue. Over 125,000 people a year die from NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc). Opiods have created an epidemic of addiction, and many people who start with pills wind up switching to a much cheaper form, heroin, when they can’t get the scripts refilled anymore. There are much better choices out there to get to the root cause of the headache and not just mask the symptom.

    So please, if you or somoeone you know suffers from migraines or headaches, give us a call, shoot us a message, or pop in for a free consult. We’ll getcha’ feelin good in no time!

  8. Top 6 Things to do After an Injury

    Leave a Comment

    We’ve all hurt ourselves before. Maybe you twisted your ankle on the stairs, or playing a sport. Maybe you hit your elbow or your knee on something. Or you strained your back lifting something you shouldn’t have. Hey, sometimes you can just wake up with a pain that seemed to have come out of nowhere!

    low-back-pain-girl

    So what is the best thing to do? With so many ‘Google Doctor’s’ out there I’m sure you could ask 10 different people and get 10 different answers. I’ll simplify it for you. When you get injured, there is inflammation. It’s the body’s first stage of healing. To treat inflammation, start with the acronym R.I.C.E.

    Rest– Give the body time to use its energy for healing. This will help reduce inflammation
    IceCOOL the inflamed area. DO NOT USE HEAT!
    Compression– Pressure helps keep the swelling down, and helps rest the area by keeping it more still
    Elevation– Keeps fluid from building up due to gravity

    I can’t tell you how many people have come in after an injury, put heat on it, and were way worse the next day. Cold will take the edge off by contricting the blood and lymph vessels and creating a numbing effect. Just remember: Inflammation has the term FLAME in it. Cool the flame, don’t add more heat.

    There are also topical cooling gels that work pretty well. Things like BioFreeze or IcyHot have the same active ingredient. They’re pretty cheap and easy to keep in a first aid kit.

    arnica-gel

    Another topical that is always in my first aid kit is Arnica Gel. Arnica Montana is a homeopathic which speeds up healing and tissue repair. It helps with pain relief, inflammation, and bruising. For most injuries the first thing I do is put on Arnica and then a cold pack.

    Pressure, applied the right way, can also help. If there is a muscle that is cramping or tight, place steady pressure in the center of the tight spot and gently move the muscle. If it is more of a joint sprain/strain injury, compress the area with an ACE bandage or medical tape.

    If the injury is to a joint like the ankle or knee, elevation is important. Sit with the injured leg propped up. Elevation will help the inflammation and swelling drain out.

    Chiropractic

    Once the initial inflammation has gone down a little it’s easier to tell just how bad the injury is. Scheduling an appointment for an adjustment is what I would do next. It is VERY important to make sure that the joints are in alignment and pressure is off of the nerves so the body can heal properly. And most of the time you’ll leave feeling much better than when you came in.

    Feel free to give us a call or send us a message if you have any questions about treating an injury. We’re here to help in any way we can!

  9. Can You “Mess-up” an Adjustment?

    Leave a Comment

    I get this question a lot. “Can I mess up my adjustment?” And I get it. Who’d want to mess up that great adjustment that they just paid for? People will leave trying not to turn their head, keeping perfectly still, afraid to do any activity afterwards. They ask if they should go home and lay down or rest.

    The truth is, you can’t mess up an adjustment. And one of the best things to do after an adjustment is to MOVE!

    Think about it like this. We all have stressors, physical, chemical, and mental/emotional, that can cause tension in our bodies (as well as our spine). These stressors can cause things to move out of alignment. This misalignment causes pressure on our nerves, and interferes with the signals that pass through them. That is what we call a subluxation.

    When we remove the subluxations, our nervous system works better. Our body responds better to the stress it experiences. We are in a more ‘adaptable’ state. This is actually a good time to be more active, not laying around resting. When you are moving (with good posture and form, of course) you are sending tons of information into the brain, and this actually helps the solidify the good form and realignment in the body.

    I also hear people say that they’ll come get adjusted after they have some kind of intense physical activity. A patient of mine recently said they were waiting to come get adjusted until after they finished a remodeling project. I totally understand that, but the best time to get adjusted is actually before intense physical activity. This is why athletes and performers see their chiropractor before their performance. With the subluxations removed, the body responds much better, and much more appropriately to the stress it experiences.

    So remember, go out and move around after an adjustment. Go work out, take a walk, have fun! Your brain will thank you 🙂

  10. 5 Quick Tips to Stay Healthy not Sick

    Leave a Comment

    Whether it’s a summer cold, allergies, or the flu no one likes being sick. We miss work days, lose income, are unproductive, or just plain miserable. Here are a few quick tips to keep your immune system in top gear!

    Step One: Eat right!

    Nothing can replace eating well. Ever notice when ‘flu season’ starts? Right around the time we start eating like garbage. Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years… Sugar has been shown to reduce immunity by about half. Ever notice how many kids get sick the week after Halloween? I get it though, we want that special sweet-treat, and we want to celebrate with our friends and loved ones. Just make sure you don’t over-do it. Make sure to eat fresh fruits/veggies daily. The best meals are made up of things that actually grow, not things that are processed to last on your shelf for months at a time. Getting enough WATER is also part of eating right. Half of your weight (in pounds) = Ounces of water to drink daily.

    Step Two: Exercise

    Exercise is our body’s natural way of adapting to STRESS. Our stress hormones give us energy for a fight-or-flight response. So what should you do when you are stressed? USE THAT ENERGY! And stop telling yourself you don’t have time. Sometimes our best workouts are the ones we almost skip because we don’t have enough time. Just get out and do something. 5 minutes, 10 minutes… a little bit is better than nothing at all, but 25-30 minutes is ideal. Strive for increasing your intensity each time you workout.

    Step Three: Supplement, Supplement, Supplement!

    Let’s face it: None of us eat perfect all the time. And in the winter or in cloudy areas when we don’t have bare skin exposed to the sun, we don’t make enough vitamin D. If you REALLY want your immune system in prime condition for this winter start now. Vitamin C, D, and other anti-oxidants, Probiotics, Echinacea, Astragalus, Silver Hydrosol… there are so many products on the market. If it feels overwhelming come in for a free consult so we can find out what is right for you!

    Step Four: Get Enough Sleep.

    Your body can’t heal or fight off invaders if you’re not well rested. Most of us need 6-8 hours a night of UNINTERUPTED sleep. Make sure you’re getting to bed at a consistent time and turn off any distractions, like the TV or your phone. Make sure your room is dark. This helps the body’s internal system, your pineal gland, get you to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.

    Step Five: Get Adjusted!

    Removing stress and interference from the nervous system can immediately boost immunity. A good adjustment can boost a lagging immune system or calm a hyper/autoimmune system. There have been studies dating back to the 1940’s showing increased white blood cell production after an adjustment. One of the first things we do in our family whenever anyone feels sick is to get adjusted. But like all the other things listed above, chiropractic works best as a preventative.

    Feel free to add your favoirite tips in the comments section!

    Dr. Powell