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The Root of the Matter

Spring is in full swing and summer is quickly approaching in Des Moines.  With it comedandelions a variety of outdoor activities including farmer’s markets, festivals, getting out on the trails, and everyone’s favorite…mowing the lawn!

Whether mowing the lawn is your favorite thing to do or not, it’s a necessary evil to help keep your lawn health and beautiful. Something that often gets in the way of a beautiful lawn are WEEDS – dandelions, crabgrass, and clover – which seem to appear out of no where. Mowing your lawn temporarily reduces the obvious appearance of weeds, but if you don’t remove them by their roots, they will continue to pop up again and again.

Getting to the root of the matter is also important when it comes to your health.

 

Conventional doctors regardless of the area of healthcare typically look to manage secondary conditions (symptoms). In the above example, the conventional doctor would mow over the dandelion heads after they grow back each time.

With our unique focus, NeuroStructural Correction; our goal is to correct the problem at its root, so secondary issues are less likely to pop up again and again. It may take a bit more time and patience, but this approach is geared toward creating a lasting correction, rather than simply placing a bandage over the problem.

 

Healthy New Year!

new-years-resolutions-tips
Wishing you a healthy 2016!  A new year is a time many reflect on the past year and look ahead to what’s to come.  What are you looking forward to?  Are there areas of your life you wish to improve?  Some of the most common goals at the start or at other times of the year have to do with improving one’s body both inside and out.

Our body, for one reason or another always seems to get put on the back burner. Media, fashion, advertisements, and personal success all pull us one direction while our couch, convenience foods, sugar, and cigarettes will pull us in another. What suffers most is the body.

Health and wellness is one of the best gifts you can give yourself or a loved one. The one question our office can help with is, “Can I be healthier then I am now?”.

Keystone Chiropractic can help provide you with an answer by looking at your spine carefully for Structural Shifts.

Abnormal shifts in the spine can result in secondary conditions such as muscle tension, knee pain, migraines, low back pain. In addition, shifts in the spine can also obstruct the nerves that allow the body to manage and moderate its numerous functions.

The human body itself is extremely adaptable and resilient. This is why it can take years or of small repetitive trauma to eventually manifest as noticeable secondary problems mentioned above. Once your nervous system and body is overburdened due to abnormal shifts in its underlying foundation, it will function less than optimally and can take quite a bit of work to undo the damage.

Correcting abnormal shifts in the spine has far reaching effects structurally throughout the body, but also functionally to all the different systems that automatically regulate your body.

When following through on your goal to live healthier and happier, sometimes figuring out where to begin is the toughest part.  Make this 2016 the healthiest yet and find out if NeuroStructural Chiropractic is the right fit for you. You’ll be glad you did!

 

A Simple Philosophy for Indulging

The holiday season is  underway with many parties and other festivities around the Des Moines area.  Perhaps you’ve already attended holiday parties with friends, family, or coworkers and have more to look forward to.  These gatherings often have a focus around FOOD!

You may have seen headlines or read articles on ways to cut carbs or make healthy alternatives for the holidays.  I could certainly focus this article around that, but don’t believe it to be very practical.  For many, the holidays are a time to indulge a little, and that’s OKAY just as long as you don’t get trapped on the cycle of indulgence (ceasing your workouts, eating lots of sugar, partaking in endless leftovers, etc).

cupcakesWe certainly aren’t nutritionists, but in today’s post we’ll expand on a simple philosophy that will allow you to think differently on how you approach the abundance of food you may find yourself around in the coming weeks and in the year to come.  This philosophy is Hell Yes or No.  It can be applied to many areas of life, but today we’ll apply it to eating.

If you’re looking to indulge in something that makes you say, “Yeah! I REALLY want that because I’ve been looking forward to enjoying it” – then it’s a YES!  Anything that’s less than that is a NO.  It sounds ridiculously simple because it is.   If you’re more analytical, you could give it a rating on a scale of 1-10.  If it’s anything lower than a 9 or 10, then it’s a NO.

For example, there’s a dessert spread at a holiday gathering with my mom’s homemade pumpkin pie, store-bought cupcakes, brownies, apple pie, and chocolate chip cookies.  I love my mom’s pumpkin pie and she only makes it once a year.  For me, the pumpkin pie is what I know I’d really enjoy; it’s a yes.  The rest of it, I could certainly eat, but wouldn’t be too upset if I passed on it.

The thing to keep in mind during the holidays and all year is that changing your diet for a meal or even ONE day will not kill your eating habits.  In fact, it can reinforce your good eating habits. How?  Well, you may feel like garbage after gorging on sweets, alcohol, or a heavy meal.

When you eat right most of the time, your body signals you so you know when you’re doing things wrong.  The problem is that this plan doesn’t work if you choose to let the entire holiday season derail your health goals.

Try out the Hell Yes or No philosophy over the coming weeks and into 2016 and see if it makes a difference for you.

There’s No Such Thing as “Flu Season”

Fall is in full swing, and with the first snow in Des Moines on Friday, winter seems to be creeping up already.  With the change in season comes the returning threat of “seasonal” illnesses like colds and the flu. Have you ever wondered why there is such a thing as “seasonal” illness? Why would viruses and bacteria only come around during the fall and winter months? They don’t – this is a MYTH!

Think for a moment about what would happen if you planted a seed in the ground. You covered it with soil, didn’t water it, offer it sun, or supply it with air.

Would the seed grow? NO!  Why not?gardening-575442_1280

The answer is that the condition of the soil was not ideal for the seed to take root and for the plant to flourish.  Now, consider your body equivalent to soil and a virus or bacteria as the seed. If you planted that seed in your body right now, could it grow?

Many people get sick with colds or the flu this time of year because the condition of their body is primed for pathogens to thrive and grow.  Contributing factors can include:

  • High emotional or physical stress
  • Decreased exercise
  • Less sun exposure and Vitamin D production
  • Depleted essential nutrients
  • Increased sugar and processed food intake (Holiday goodies)
  • Disrupted neuro-immune system communication

These are all ingredients for increasing your susceptibility to illnesses.  Take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re healthy over the upcoming months.

Normal Spine StructureAt Keystone Chiropractic, we primarily deal with the final bullet point.  We focus on Neuro-Structual Correction; resolving obstructions between the nervous system and the rest of the body.  Proper communication between the nervous system and the immune system is vital to remaining healthy.

The nervous system sends a message to initiate an immune response to a pathogen which may be causing you to be ill.  Once the pathogen has been eliminated, your nervous system restores normal balance to your immune function.  Your nervous system is also directly responsible for increasing your internal body temperature and creating a fever, which generates unfavorable conditions for bacteria and viruses to grow.  The nervous system regulates immune system function by promoting rest and decreasing stress, which, as discussed previously, can lead to poorer immune responses.

Often we find that structural shifts in the spine obstruct communication controlling immune system response.  Our goal is to correct those shifts, restoring NORMAL position and allowing messages to be sent properly from the nervous system to the immune system and the rest of the body.

For Americans, Everyday is Halloween

Halloween, and Beggars’ Night in Des Moines, are coming up at the end of the week which may rhalloween-151422_1280 (1)aise concerns over children and their sugar intake from candy.  That’s largely understandable, and it is not unusual for children to finish the evening with several pounds of candy in tow.  All the press that surrounds sugar and candy intake at Halloween time seems odd, though, in light of how much sugar the average American eats the other 364 days of the year.

Some experts estimate that the average American consumes 350 to 440 calories of added sugars – the equivalent of 22 to 26 teaspoons – every day (a mere 6 teaspoons is recommended).  It’s not just from candy, pop, cookies, or other sweets either.  It is hiding in many processed foods like ketchup, yogurt, bread, and reduced or fat free dressings.

Many healthcare professionals agree that it’s contributing to our society’s weight gain, high blood-sugar levels, and record high diabetes rates.  What’s more, according to recent research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a sugar-filled diet can increase you risk of death by heart disease – even if you aren’t overweight.  Eating significant amounts of sugar from any source (table sugar, honey, orange juice, etc.) can compromise your immune system’s ability to fight viruses, bacteria, and parasites.  A 2015 study from the USDA Agricultural Research Service found that excess amounts of honey, table sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup all have similar effects on the body.  Some research has even linked high sugar intake to cancer.

You may be thinking that artificial sweeteners could be a safer option, right? Well, not so fast.

Are Zero-Calorie Sweeteners Any Better?

One of the most common problems we see in our patients is related to toxicity from sugar substitutes like Splenda, Sweet & Low, and Equal.  While all of these products have been FDA approved for safe consumption by the general public, many people have sensitivities in their chemical makeup.

The metabolic products of aspartame, the sweetener in Equal, have been known to overexcite neurons in the brain contributing to headaches, insomnia, and seizure disorders.  Sucralose, found in Splenda, has been shown to alter hormone production in women.  These chemical changes have also been known to cause digestion difficulties in people as well.  Combine this with structural abnormalities in the spine and an abnormal functioning nervous system and it can be a recipe for disaster.

We’ve seen many patients where the only change recommended was for them to stop using artificial sweeteners in their coffee, and to stop drinking diet soft drinks and their body responded immediately.  The big thing to remember is that just because something may not cause symptoms in most people, does not make it healthy to consume.

Although there are no calories from sugar substitutes, more research is showing that artificial sweeteners can play tricks on your body, causing it to over respond to signals from your taste buds, in many cases leading to weight gain.

Neither excess sugar nor zero-calorie sweeteners provide any form of positive health effects.  Certainly, a treat once in a while won’t derail your health, but the ultimate way to lose weight and improve your health is to look to natural foods like raw fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.

 

 

Did you like this article?  Feel free to share it with the people you care about, and sign up to receive Updates from Keystone Chiropractic.  It may just be the next step in regaining your health.

Do You Spend More Time Shopping for a Car…Than You Do for Your Doctor?

We are asked a variety of questions by patients, family, and friends.  Common ones include, “What treatment works?  Does acupuncture work?  How about massage therapy?  What about physical therapy?  Would conventional chiropractic help?  Maybe surgery is the best thing?”  Of course, the number one inquiry of Keystone Chiropractic is if Neuro-Structural Chiropractic works.

Choose the Provider NOT the Treatment

Not all forms of treatment or care will work for everyone 100% of the time.  Whether you favor one therapy or another, a more important consideration is the quality of the practitioner.  The intelligence and ethical responsibility of the healthcare professionals is paramount in delivering quality care.  Are they honest?  Do they care about your needs?  How are they at honing their skills?

Through our experiences not only as patients, but also as professionals, we’ve encountered brilliant medical doctors, highly skilled nurses, and exceptional physical therapists.  Some do great work, while others just seemed like they didn’t care, and it reflected in the work that they did.  There are good and bad apples in every profession, including chiropractic.

quality-500963_1920The quality of the healthcare provider is not the only thing that matters – it’s just the MOST important!  Unfortunately, finding the right fit of someone that delivers their best, with a good heart and brain, can be a challenging task.  As a prospective patient looking for help, word-of-mouth or a referral from another credible provider, family member, or friend could be a starting point.

If you are still getting caught up in deciding whether one treatment or type of care would suit you better than another, you should probably stop there.  Instead seek out a quality provider, because that person will direct you down the road you need to be on (even if it’s not with them).  That’s one of the huge differences between mediocre and great doctors.

What to look for…

As uncomfortable as it is, YOU need to empower yourself to inform the healthcare provider that you are just “checking them out.”  Many offices offer a complimentary consultation for this purpose.  Similar to buying a home or a car, it’s important to do your due diligence when selecting a healthcare professional.  Here is what we recommend you “check out.”

  1. Are they willing to LISTEN to you and your health concerns?
  2. Are they UPFRONT about what they do?
  3. Are they TRANSPARENT about cost, length of treatment, and requirements – all before an examination occurs?
  4. Do the TELL you as a perspective patient that you might not be a candidate for their care (and assure you that you’ll be directed to the right provider)?
  5. Do they provide you with OPTIONS that are outside of they care they offer?
  6. Will they be there as a health RESOURCE even if you don’t become their patient?

As healthcare providers, we urge you to find professionals that are compassionate, knowledgeable, and honest.  It might not be easy, but it certainly is worth it to have a team of quality practitioners on your side.

 

 

Did you like this article?  Feel free to share it with the people you care about, and sign up to receive Updates from Keystone Chiropractic.  It may just be the next step in regaining your health.

Is it Necessary to Have X-rays of My Spine?

Many people have concerns about visiting a chiropractic office and the potential exposure to ionizing radiation through spinal x-rays. People are concerned with the cumulative effects of the radiation, particularly after the media and TV icons discuss it.

The GW425H600use of x-ray, even in chiropractic, is mixed.  Some use it to rule out conditions, like fractures, arthritis, and cancer, while others do not use it at all.  We’re not here to argue the pros and cons of x-ray use.  That is not our purpose here to day.

When it comes to Neuro-Structural Chiropractic and examining the mechanics of the spine, we at Keystone Chiropractic use precise Digital Structural Radiography.  These allows us to capture specific images which help identify the specific structural shifts that may exist in your spine.  These structural shifts can create significant problems, even with very small shifts; down to 1mm.  A small displacement of the spine can affect the brain stem, spinal cord, and the nerves that branch from there.  It obstructs the nervous system from properly communicating with, and controlling the body.  The longer a structural shift persists, the greater the chance that secondary conditions  begin to appear.

As Neuro-Structural Chiropractors who focus on restoring your spine toward its normal position, performing an adjustment without the use of x-rays is the same as guessing.  The difference between relief from debilitating migraine headaches for the first time in months, or continuing to battle daily migraines can come down to very small shifts in structure.

What many people don’t understand is that Digital Structural Radiographs will expose you to LESS radiation that dental x-rays and CT scans.  You are even exposefoundationd to more ionizing radiation if you fly across the country, from California to New York.

We would all agree that having a sound foundation of your house is important.  And, it is important that the foundation of your body, your SPINE, is sound as well.  Would you want someone working on your house without first taking precise measurements?  While Neuro-Structural Correction certainly isn’t for everyone, the unique radiographs used in the office help us provide the highest quality of care we can, so YOU can protect your health.

 

 

Did you like this article?  Feel free to share it with the people you care about, and sign up to receive Updates from Keystone Chiropractic.  It may just be the next step in regaining your health.

Sleeping Your Way to Better Health

You’ve likely heard that not getting enough quality sleep can be detrimental to your health.  As a matter of fact, there is quite the price to pay.  Being sleep deprived can impair memory, decrease performance and alertness, lead to depression/anxiety, and decrease immune function, leaving you more susceptible to disease.

If that doesn’t motivate you, maybe the following will.  Research has found that people who get less sleep are much more likely to OVEREAT and put on EXTRA WEIGHT.

While practicing, we’ve taken care of several people that have struggled with sleep issues related to structural abnormalities within the spine.  These issues include sleep apnea, disrupted sleep, and insomnia.  When these people began sleeping well again, their lives and health began to improve in many ways they didn’t expect.

So, how does getting more sleep lead to weight loss?sleeping-time-650684_1280

Sleep isn’t just about having enough energy to get through the day.  When you are sleeping, your body is hard at work repairing and creating new cells.  Your body’s biggest window for healing is the invaluable 8 hours you spend horizontal.  A good night’s sleep lowers your insulin levels, normalizes hormone balance, and slows processes of aging.

When you are sleep deprived, the hormones in your body that regulate your weight and appetite are not functioning the way they should.  When appetite isn’t regulated, you’re more likely to overeat and your body falls into a state of insulin resistance, which puts you on the path toward Type II Diabetes

Ways to Improve Your Sleep
  1. Make Movement a Priority – Almost every study ever done on sleep shows that people who exercise daily are able to fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper sleep.  It doesn’t take much, going for a 20-30 minute walk has this effect.
  2. Monitor your Eating and Drinking – Don’t go to bed hungry, or too full; discomfort might keep you awake.  Caffeine has a stimulating effect which can keep you awake, and alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, but can cause disrupted sleep later in the night.
  3. Create a Room Ideal for Sleeping – This often means cool, dark, and quiet.  Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
  4.  Develop a Nightly Routine – Do the same things each night to tell your body that it’s time to wind down.  This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music with the lights dimmed.  Limit screen (TV and electronic devices) at least 30 minutes before sleep, as some research suggests that the light emitted from these devices interferes with sleep.
  5. Rule Out Sleep Disorders – Many people that have a sleep disorder don’t know they have it.  If you’re struggling with sleeping problems, a sleep study can be useful in identifying potential disorders that can be treated.  If there are structural abnormalities in you spine leading to sleep-related secondary conditions, it’s critically important that you get checked by  chiropractor focusing on Neuro-Structural Correction.

 

Did you like this article?  Feel free to share it with the people you care about, and sign up to receive Updates from Keystone Chiropractic.  It may just be the next step in regaining your health.