What to Do About Sciatica

Embracing Stress: A Change in Perception

Phew, we made it through May, known by some as “May-cember”. The end of the school year can bring just as much if not more stress than the holidays.

When talking about stress, know that our bodies are built to handle it. In fact, we need a certain amount of stress to grow and function properly. Our bones need physical stress to remain healthy and strong, our muscles need stress to grow as well, and there are certain stressors in life that help our brains build synaptic bridges and function better.

It’s our ability to adapt to our stressors that is key.

Our ability to adapt allows us to evolve and learn. Part of that adaptability is in our perception of stress. A variety of books we’ve read recently deal with the importance of our perception (see the book list below).

Our perception shapes our reality. We all view the world with a different lens because we’ve all had different experiences in our lives to make us who we are. Sometimes our perception can take us down a more negative path where we perceive every situation, trial, and tribulation as stressful. Other times, our perception takes us on a glass is half full path where there is a silver lining to all the events we are experiencing.

Approaching trials and tribulations from a standpoint of embracing stress rather than getting rid of it completely involves a change in our perception. Instead of trying to manage stress, look at it from a different viewpoint, embracing the challenges and learning new techniques to adapt to the stressors.

What are some ways you can increase your adaptability to stress?

Spending time outdoors and connecting with nature.

This can help calm the nervous system and induce a sense of relaxation. A study in Environmental Science and Technology found that just 5 minutes outdoors can do wonders for mental well-being, and that exercising outdoors helps produce a better mood than exercising indoors. Getting outside and walking, running, or doing yoga can do wonders for your adaptation to stressful situations.

Aromatherapy through the use of essential oils.

This can also help increase your adaptation to stress. Our sense of smell is so powerful and is directly translated to a primitive part of our brain called the limbic system. This part of the brain can influence emotions and memories. It would make sense then, that using aromatherapy and essential oils can affect our emotions and help induce a more relaxed state of being. A studyout of Iran found that women who were experiencing anxiety during labor had a reduced level of anxiety, diastolic blood pressure, and pulse rate when exposed to an essential oil of orange peel!

Starting a gratitude journal.

Gratitude can be an impactful way to change your perception and help you embrace stress. It also doesn’t take much to start one. This articlementions several options for creating one. One simple way to start one is to jot down 5 things in the morning and 5 things in the evening for which you are grateful for. It can be as simple as you’re grateful for hot coffee in the morning, or more emotive such as being thankful for specific people in your life. I challenge you to start a gratitude journal and watch how your stressors take a different form. It’s all in how you perceive it.

Regular chiropractic adjustments.

Adjustments can help balance the nervous system. Yes, the nervous system is complex, but simply put, the brain controls all the functions of the body. The brain and spinal cord make up your central nervous system. The nerves exiting the spinal cord make up your peripheral nervous system which is then divided into 3 parts: the somatic (think motor control), enteric (think gut brain connection), and autonomic/automatic (think fight or flight vs. rest and digest).

The autonomic/automatic nervous system is crucial in regulating the stress response of our body. 

If you perceive a situation to be stressful, then your pupils dilate, your heart rate increases, your breathing increases, and you begin to sweat. This is all part of the sympathetic (fight or flight) response. In contrast, when you are calm and relaxed, the parasympathetic part of your nervous system is in control and your breathing and heart rate are slower. 

Did you know that the sympathetic and parasympathetic parts of the nervous system can not function at the same time...and that structural shifts of the spine putting pressure on nerves can affect the overall function of the autonomic nervous system? In a review article, it was noted that chiropractic adjustments help to reduce and/or correct structural shifts (vertebral subluxations) and can help balance the function of the parasympathetic and sympathetic parts of the nervous system.

Now the above list is by no means complete. We’d love to know what you do to unwind and reconnect and how you embrace stressful situations with a change in perception.


*Bruce Lipton The Biology of Belief

*Dr. Wayne Dyer The Shift

*Dr. Candace Pert Molecules of Emotion

Pregnancy, Stress, and how Structural Chiropractic can Help

Learn how stress during pregnancy affects mom and the developing baby, and how Structural Chiropractic can help.

“The 3 P’s” for a Normal Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a major event in any woman’s life.  Whether it is her first or fifth child,  it is important to ensure that normal structure of her spine is maintained to diminish the chances of secondary issues arising throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  One of the secondary problems that women may face is dystocia, or a difficult or abnormal labor.

Dystocia – Difficult or Abnormal Labor

When defining dystocia, Williams Obstetrics says, “Dystocia is very complex, and although ‘abnormal progress in labor’ seems simple, there is no consensus as to what ‘abnormal progress’ means.  Thus, it seems prudent to attempt a better understanding of normal labor in order to determine departures from normal.”  

At Keystone Chiropractic, through NeuroStructural Correction, it is our goal to restore normal spinal structure and allow all other processes to function normally.

Certainly, a number of factors can contribute to a difficult pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  Let’s take a look at “The 3 P’s,” and their effects on labor.

The 3 P’s of Pregnancy


The first “P” is Power; the ability of the uterus during labor and delivery to push the baby out.  Sometimes there may be insufficient contractions, or perhaps inappropriately coordinated dilation of the cervix.  In later stages of labor, there may be decreased voluntary muscle control.  It is important to understand that the uterus is, in large part, a muscle.  It requires a proper nerve supply to control and coordinate its functions.  If there is a structural shift in the low back, it very well could be obstructing the nerves which travel to the uterus and affecting the Power.


The second “P” is Passage; in other words, the bony pelvis through which the baby will pass during delivery, but also where it resides throughout pregnancy.  When there is an abnormal shift within the pelvis, abhorrent motion of the pelvic joints begins to occur.  During pregnancy this can have secondary effects for the mother which can include things like increased discomfort and constraint on the uterus.  As labor and delivery approach, the structural shift and lack of motion can actually lead to a decreased space for the baby to pass through, making for a more difficult delivery.


The last “P” is Passenger; or the baby.  If the mother has a structural shift, it may be obstructing the nerve supply which helps control development of the baby during pregnancy.  When labor and delivery are approaching, pelvic shifts, and the improper motion and decreased space, which can result, may prevent the fetus from positioning itself properly for delivery.  It is vital that the child, as it’s developing, receives the proper messages from the mother’s nervous system.

The Role of NeuroStructural Chiropractic in the 3P’s of Pregnancy

Throughout pregnancy, there are many physical and hormonal changes which may contribute to an increased possibility that the spine shifts from its normal position.  These structural shifts may lead to obstruction of the nerves traveling to the uterus, abnormal pelvic motion, and decreased messages being sent to the developing baby.  The goal of NeuroStructural Correction is to restore these structural shifts to their normal position, using specific adjustments, and removing nerve obstruction to the uterus, regaining normal movement in the pelvis, and ensuring the proper messages are getting to the baby.

Normal Power and proper motion of the Passage are vital to a normal pregnancy and delivery.  It is also important that you, as the mother, are doing everything possible for the Passenger to ensure proper development during pregnancy and that the child is given the best chance to put themselves in the proper position for delivery.

Reach out to us today if you or a loved one would like to learn more about the 3P’s of Pregnancy and how Keystone Chiropractic and NeuroStructural Correction can help.

Proper Footwear and Your Structure

As part of a complete program of care, there are certain recommendations that we make to help you achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time. 

Footwear can be an important and overlooked solution to improving your spinal alignment and avoiding repetitive stress on your structure.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

Avoid High Heels & Flip Flops

Not only do high heels create foot, toe and heel pain, they are also dangerous for your structure. When you wear them, your toes are pointed down and there is more pressure on the ball of the foot; you are also altering your gait because the calf muscle is shortened while you’re in high heels. High heels also overarch the back and position you forward, which can cause low back pain as well as neck and shoulder pain. Choose shoes with a heel of two inches or less and save the extreme high heels for rare occasions.

Flip flops (especially the dirt cheap kind) have ZERO support for your foot. They may be fine to wear on a sandy beach, but they are NOT for regular summer wear or walking around the State Fair! The flatness and lack of support in these shoes can cause arch, heel, ankle, and knee pain. Flip flops also cause you to put more pressure on the outside edges of the foot rather than the heel.

Pay Attention to Styles

Some shoe styles do not provide adequate support and can increase pain or create other problems. Try to avoid shoes with very thin straps that let the ankles wobble and do not give enough support. Thin straps can also dig into your skin and create pain or sores. The same with ballet flats, they usually have very thin, flimsy soles that provide the same issues as flip flops.

Do not buy beautiful shoes that do not fit your feet. Although fashion is important, it is not worth the pain of swollen feet and possible nerve damage.

Get Arch Support

It is vital that you have proper arch support no matter the style of shoe or boot and this is one area where you may need to spend a little more money for a better-quality product.However, you can purchase inserts and other products to help the arches. For some, custom-made orthotics may be appropriate – especially if you’re spending large amounts of time on your feet. 

Active? Get Fitted.

If you are active, a professional can help you find the right training shoes that provide the best support for YOUR foot. Do NOT go by color and look. For more on how to choose the right running (or walking) shoe, read our full post here AND go visit our partners Heartland Soles & Fleet Feet Des Moines.

Remember to Rest

It is important to give the feet a chance to rest so remember to take breaks and slow down. If it is possible, take off your shoes at work to stretch. Avoid wearing tight or uncomfortable shoes that squish your toes during the day. Consider soaking the feet in a warm bath or getting a massage. Remember to wiggle your toes and give the feet a chance to move without the constriction of shoes or socks.

Keep in mind the above our general recommendations to keep in mind. We can provide more personalized suggestions for you as part of your customized plan of care at Keystone Chiropractic.

Stop Sniffling through Springtime

Take a moment to learn about Allergies and how 4 key ways that Structural Chiropractic may help!

Spring is (finally) here in Des Moines. This time of year many people stock up on antihistamines and other medications to help them endure the onslaught of allergy symptoms: sneezing, itching, watery eyes and stuffy noses.

Researchers have warned that environmental changes such as air pollution and rising temperatures will continue to propel allergy levels to “epidemic proportions with reduced quality of life for patients, lower productivity, and increasing medical costs.” The medical costs are nothing to sneeze at. Between medications, doctor visits and sick days from work, allergies cost Americans more than $3 billion each year. Worldwide, people spend $8 billion a year on allergy drugs alone.

In our video of the month below, Dr. Adam discusses allergies and 4 ways NeuroStructural Corrective care may help.

Mobility Tools We Often Recommend

Foam rollers, tennis balls, lacrosse balls, and trigger point hooks can all be great mobility tools we often recommend in conjunction with your structural corrective care. Sometimes, they go together like peanut butter and jelly!

As a structurally focused chiropractor, we’re focused on the orientation of the spine & how it impacts the body. It’s easy to understand this relationship when you consider the structure of the spine is directly related to the health and well-being of the muscles attached to the spine and the nerves that control these muscles.

Any time the position of your spine is fixed in an abnormal position it can create stress, myofascial restrictions, muscle imbalances, over recruitment, and/or inflammation. In most cases, the spine is the primary condition that create these muscular problems. However, there are often situations, particularly in athletes, where muscle imbalances are so great that they need to be treated concurrently with the spinal abnormalities. This is one of the reasons we enjoy partnering with local physical therapists and massage therapists for those that need the extra help!

Those with less advanced abnormalities may take advantage of mobility tools pictured above. The best way to use them is before it’s “too late”.  At some point, the pain and symptoms from significant myofascial restrictions and trigger points can be so bad that it may not be practical to use them on yourself.

Trigger points are basically small bundles of muscle that fail to relax. They can cause severe pain and often referral pain that can be easily overlooked or misdiagnosed as many doctors and even chiropractors are not experienced with or looking for abnormal muscle or myofascial problems. All the more reason using mobility tools on a regular basis can be helpful for you. Prevent a simple problem from becoming a relatively difficult and complex one. The sooner you start the better.

Using the tools are relatively easy but can be rather unpleasant. Working through the discomfort is necessary to a certain degree, which is why we usually recommend starting with short sessions at a low to moderate intensity and work up from there. It’s possible you may hurt yourself.

Aside from the pain factor, which improves with use and often has a “hurts so good” effect, mobility tools are often a great complement to improve benefits of their structurally focused chiropractic care. Simplified, its effects are similar to stretching. Foam rolling does seem to go above and beyond just improved range of motion without causing the subsequent decrease in muscle activation or force often seen in static stretching. However, foam rolling and static stretching have shown to have an added benefit when performed together.  

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions and consult your provider before using mobility tools at home to treat a specific condition. Instruction on the proper use of these tools is something we provide to our current patients to lessen the chances of aggravation or injury.

Overcoming a Whiplash Injury

Have you had a Whiplash Injury? Are you dealing with neck pain, headaches, numbness & tingling or other issues years later? Learn how Structural Chiropractic might help!

If you read almost any research that has ever been done on whiplash injuries, it is almost impossible to not find related health issues following the accident. It is yet another solid validation that spinal structural shifts and resulting nerve obstruction can either be a primary cause or at least a significant contributing factor in a wide variety of health conditions.

What’s important to note is…

…the damage of your vehicle has no bearing on how much damage may have been done to you.


One of the design features of cars (K-cars) made after 1980 was that they had a frame that could withstand impact. In fact the rear fender was called the “No Crumple Bumper.”

It sounded like a good idea, but what would happen is that the car would be struck from the rear, and rather than the frame absorbing the impact, it transfers the energy into the car, into the passenger and causes the greatest
amount of trauma to the passenger at the most vulnerable place—the cervical spine. With the success of the K-Car, virtually every car manufacturer in the world copied the technology, which is still in effect today.

The cars are…less prone to property damage, but substantially increase the injury risk to the passenger.

A comprehensive research review concluded that there is compelling evidence pointing to dysfunction in patients with suffering from whiplash injury. Changes in the central nervous system could make whiplash patients more sensitive to other types pain.

According to the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine, compared to the necks of uninjured patients, a single incidence of whiplash increases the occurrence of neck arthritis by ten years.

In our video of the month below, Dr. Adam discusses Whiplash injuries, some of the secondary effects and how NeuroStructural Corrective care may help. You can also view our health issue on Whiplash below this video. Both are great to share with a friend or loved one who may have been in accident.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’d like to investigate the possible effects a previous whiplash injury has had on your health.

Silent dangers or whiplash injury. Neck pain, chronic pain, shoulder pain, Multiple Sclerosis, pain. Research on car accidents and health problems.

DIY Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer Spray

Hand sanitizer.

It sounds like a great alternative to washing your hands with soap and water. It’s quick, portable, and convenient, especially when you don’t have running water nearby.

It’s important to be cautious of ingredients because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  ruled in 2016 that manufacturers should stop using triclosan, a common ingredient in antibacterial soaps and sanitizers at the time, due to its ability to disrupt hormones and contribution to a rise in resistant strains of bacteria.

What’s a less-toxic alternative?

Hand washing with good old-fashioned soap in water is best. However, if you’re in a pinch or don’t have access to regular hand washing – you can make your own hand sanitizer spray really easily. This is what Drs. Megan & Adam use between patients to help minimize the spread of illness.

Since we recently made a new batch of hand sanitizer spray, some patients have asked what it is we use. You can find the recipe below, which we adapted from One Essential Community.

DIY Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer Spray

2 ounce spray bottle

  • add 1 tsp carrier oil such as, fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil (we used jojoba oil)
  • add 10-12 drops of essential oil (see below for combinations we’ve used)

EO blend 1–> 4 drops tea tree + 4 drops lavender + 2 drops lemon

EO blend 2 –> 5 drops wild orange + 5 drops tea tree

  • add 2-3 drops vitamin e
  • add 1/2 tsp glycerin
  • fill the bottle most of the way full with witch hazel (make sure to leave a little room for the spray top)

Put on spray top and shake to mix.

Please note: Products mentioned in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information on this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is not substitute for professional care.  Always consult your doctor regarding your medical care. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


We often receive this question from many of our patients about whether they should use ice or heat and when they should do so.

RULE OF THUMB: Heat is for muscles, Ice is for Injuries


What It Does

Heat promotes muscle relaxation and can increase range of motion. It opens blood vessels to increase blood flow, relaxes muscles, and helps alleviate pain.

When to Use It

Heat is a great way to help loosen up tight joints and muscles. It is also a good method of pain relief for tension headaches and other chronic conditions. Always wait at least 48-72 hours before considering heat therapy. When in doubt, use ICE.

Helpful Tips

  • Treat for no longer than 20 minutes at a time
  • DO NOT lie on a hot pack to avoid falling asleep and potentially burning yourself
  • DO NOT use heat if you have no feeling in the affected part of your body
  • NEVER use heat if there is swelling or bruising
  • DO NOT apply heat directly to skin, use a thin towel
  • DO NOT use heat if you have poor circulation, such as with diabetes
  • Wait 1 hour between heat treatments


What It Does

Ice calms down damaged tissue and slows down the blood flow to an injury, reduces swelling and inflammation, and controls pain.

When to Use It

Ice should be used right after an injury or activity that aggravates a chronic condition. Ice is good for migraine headaches, bumps, sprains, and strains that may occur with sports, slips and falls, or lifting. Cold therapy is also helpful in treating overuse injuries or chronic pain in athletes. When in doubt, use ICE!

Helpful Tips

  • Treat for no longer than 20 minutes at a time
  • During treatment, check skin every 5 minutes to make sure there is no damage, such as freezer burn (skin would become reddened and blistered, just as when burned with heat)
  • DO NOT apply directly to skin, use a thin towel
  • Wait 1 hour between cold treatments

Important Note:

Both ice and heat can be part of corrective chiropractic care. Neither of these methods will work in injury or pain recovery one their own. Instead, they’re simply supplemental ways to reduce pain, inflammation, and stress which can aid in beginning stages of the corrective process.

Thoracic Outlet and Carpal Tunnel Syndromes

Numbness and tingling of the arms and hands are common conditions which our patients report. Could you be dealing with Thoracic outlet or Carpal Tunnel syndrome?

Watch the video below and download our Health Issue to learn more and how NeuroStructural Chiropractic may be able to help.


What’s the Popping Sound?

What’s the cracking or popping sound when I receive an adjustment?

This is a question we get sometimes, especially from new patients that have never been adjusted before but have heard from a friend or relative that they go to the chiropractor to “get cracked”.

Thankfully, it turns out that nothing is actually cracking during an adjustment.

The sound is created when the surfaces of the joints are realigned at a high rate of speed, which is called a cavitation

Adjustments are performed with a very fast and shallow movement and this creates a negative pressure within the joint space. Every joint, be it spinal joints, ankle joints, finger joints, etc. are encapsulated.

Within this capsule are gases and fluids that keep the joints lubricated and moving smoothly. During an adjustment the joint is gapped or opened up (see photo below) which creates a negative pressure. This pressure change causes the gases (oxygen, nitrogen, and CO2) to be released which creates an audible sound. It’s very similar to the release of gas bubbles when you cork a champagne bottle.

Two joint spaces, one with gas bubbles that demonstrate cavitation, the popping or cracking the a joint can make during a chiropractic adjustment.
Cavitation of a joint is a result of expanding the distance between the two surfaces. When this happens, pressure inside the joint capsule drops leading to the formation of gas bubbles. An audible “pop or crack” is heard when these gas bubble expand, releasing the gas inside.

What happens next?

Once the joint is opened up, fluids re-lubricate the joint surfaces and normal motion is restored. Anybody who has ever had a stuck joint and has been unable to move properly knows exactly what follows the adjustment – relief. True, depending on the situation – how severe the structural shift is, how long it has been festering and how “hot” or acute it is – determines how complete the relief will be.

Does there have to be a sound?

No. Many of the correction techniques we use do not have any popping or cracking. They can be just as effective. It is NOT important to hear a sound when you get adjusted. It IS important that there was movement and the movement was in the right direction (toward more normal structure).

Should I be alarmed if I hear my joints popping after I leave the office?

Sometimes people are concerned when they leave they complain that they feel their back “popping” back out of place when they get into the car. Not to worry, what they most likely feel and hear is the other joints around the area finally being able to move more freely again. The added range of gained from your recent adjustment has now allowed areas of the spine a more normal range of motion, which can sometimes cause them to cavitate.

Please AVOID popping or cracking your own spine.

Intentionally twisting or cranking on your neck or back can be harmful. Curious as to why? We wrote a whole post about it.

Generally “popping” and “cracking” during an adjustment or as you’re going about your day is nothing to be alarmed about.  However, if the sound is accompanied by pain, weakness, joint laxity, or discomfort then a consultation with a medical professional would be advised. If you have any questions about a sound your body may be making, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Symptoms – Looking Below the Surface

Remember the iceberg that sunk the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic? It turns out that icebergs can be an excellent analogy to explain your health. 

The TIP of the iceberg is symbolic of symptoms or pain, such as:

  • Back & Neck pain
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches & Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Muscular tension
  • Numbness & tingling

By the time obvious symptoms rise to the surface, it’s usually a sign of a larger problem. The danger here is symptoms can come and go depending on different stresses and lifestyle choices (repetitive mental & physical stress, inadequate nutrition and movement, etc.) that are put on the body. In the iceberg analogy, the underlying cause sitting BELOW the surface is contributing to what’s ABOVE the surface (symptoms).

Iceburg Analogy for health problems. Symptoms sit above the surface including neck pain, back pain, headaches, migraines, sciatica, and fatigue. The underlying cause of pain and symptoms include not meeting the body's requirements like moving, eating well, taking care of your mental health, and nervous system health with chiropractic.

If symptoms become more frequent, appear to be getting worse, or lasting longer is typically when we pay attention and perhaps take action. This thinking is REACTIVE, which is how the average American approaches their health (for many different reasons).

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure – Benjamin Franklin

Whether you have symptoms or not, it’s never too late to start being PROACTIVE and looking below the surface for what could be the UNDERLYING CAUSE of the dysfunction of your body before a crisis occurs.

The underlying cause of many health issues usually boils down to failing to adequately meet one or more of your body’s requirements (FUEL, MIND, MOVE, BRAIN/BODY CONNECTION). Read more about these requirements here.

Drs. Megan and Adam focus on optimizing your BRAIN/BODY CONNECTION through NeuroStructural Correction. Many times when people visit us, their examination reveals significant structural abnormalities within their spine that is preventing their nerve system (brain-body connection) to function appropriately. This can contribute to secondary issues (symptoms). Sometimes those structural abnormalities are in areas where there are no symptoms.  

This is the power of our NeuroStructural Examination; it helps to determine your current level of nervous system function and to see if a core problem exists that we can help with. When it comes to this checkup, doing it NOW can help locate and correct hidden problems before they worsen. How you feel is NOT an accurate measure of your health. 

This examination uses objective tools to measure your body’s structure and function. We help you create a plan to optimize both so you can not only feel better, but most importantly function better. This allows your body to stay strong, resist breakdown, and keep major issues from surfacing as often.

If you’d like help investigating the status of your BRAIN/BODY CONNECTION, don’t hesitate to contact us. It’s NEVER too early to start being proactive about your health.

Low Back Issues? Avoid These Exercises & Positions

Many people visit our office due to low back issues (sciatica, low back, hip or buttock pain). As our current patients know, our job is to identify and correct any structural abnormalities in the spine, over a period of time, to reduce obstruction on the nervous system. This allows the body to function properly, often reducing the likelihood of the issue persisting. In addition, we advise on other recommendations that complement this healing process, which usually includes adding, altering, or avoiding something.

Our discussion this week looks at exercises and positions to avoid (see photo below) if you’re having an unhappy lumbar disc (a flexion-intolerant lower back). All of these movements include a forward bend of the lower back. These exercises could be harmful to you, slowing your healing.

Movements, exercises, and stretches to avoid if having low back issues recommended by a West Des Moines chiropractor. Forward fold, toe touch, figure 4 stretch, child's pose, sit up, crunch, knee to chest, lying leg press, cycling.

Yes, these movements may feel good in the moment by stretching your tight muscles. However, your structure, nerves, and discs could be irritated or damaged by the movements.

Injured discs do heal, but the process is often frustratingly slow because discs have limited amount of blood supply. You may need to be more careful with your movements for up to a year to keep from ‘picking the scab’ while you’re healing. 

What’s not pictured?

As we discuss in our complimentary consultation, a big reason WHY structural issues develop within the spine is because of repetitive stresses we put our bodies through from day to day. Here are some things to keep in mind as it relates to low back issues and forward flexion:

TOO MUCH SITTING. Sitting requires you being in a forward flexed position for long periods of time. If you spend much of your day sitting (like at work), make sure you’re incorporating frequent (at minimum 2x/hour) movement breaks to counteract long periods of flexion.

TYING YOUR SHOES. Avoid standing or sitting and bending all the way forward to reach your feet. Instead, once your shoe is on, either stand or sit and bring your foot up on a chair or stool. Keep your back straight while you bend slightly forward to tie your shoes.

GETTING UP AND DOWN FROM A CHAIR. Scoot to the front edge of the chair. Widen your base and place your stronger leg slightly in front. Place your hands on your upper thighs. Keep your back straight (not rounded) as your bend forward at the hip until your butt comes off the chair. Push through your heels and use your glutes and leg muscles to push yourself up to standing.

When sitting down, do this in reverse. Avoid twisting at the waist as your lower down to look behind you as you sit.

YOUR ATTITUDE. When you’re dealing with a low back issue, you may feel afraid to move or exercise for fear that you will hurt yourself. Unfortunately, NOT moving contributes to the deconditioning that is so common with chronic pain. Okay it with your provider first, but more often than not, simply walking for 10-15 minutes facilitates stronger circulation, pumping nutrients into soft tissues and draining toxins.

Even if you DON’T have active pain or symptoms, it’s still important to be mindful of how to safely enter a forward flexed position. Think about hinging at your hip and using your large buttock muscles instead of the small muscles (extensors) in your low back to return to an upright position.

In addition to avoiding the positions above, it’s critical to identify and correct any structural abnormalities in the spine to reduce obstruction on the nervous system. This allows the body to function properly, reducing the likelihood of a low back issue persisting.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today for help correcting any underlying structural abnormalities so you can get on with living your best life!

How to Keep Your Health Goals Simple This Year

Is a health goal on your radar this year? It can be a confusing and complicated journey with new and conflicting advice coming out everywhere you turn.

Let’s think about your health in simple terms and ask…

What key things does the body require to be healthy?

1. Movement: The body requires much more and different types of movement than are currently “normal” for the average person.
2. Fuel: Provide the building blocks for life. You are what you eat & drink.
3. Recharge: Focused time and energy put towards regenerating and restoring the mind & body.
4. Brain/Body Connection: The 3 categories above are typically what people think about when improving their health. The things above happen effectively through an optimally functioning nervous system, free from obstruction. (Psst! We can help with this)

We can tolerate great inadequacies but we cannot survive without these four things. We also can’t be healthy and perform at our best if there are inefficiencies.

You are NOT invincible if you fulfill these requirements perfectly (which is unrealistic for anyone), but striving to improve in these areas increases your odds to tackle anything you want — whether that is sitting through the day pain free, hiking up a mountain on your next trip, or getting the dream job you want.

If you want more from your body, get back to basics, and keep it simple. Also, it may help to think about improving your health as a journey, not a destination. This will be something you continue to tweak throughout your LIFE (not just for the next 30 days).

How to Get Started.

Here’s a few suggestions of tweaks you can choose to focus on to get you started…


-Add one day of strength training per week. Simply using your body weight is a great place to start.

-Not moving at all currently? Squeeze in 2-3x of this quick energy boost to break up your day (especially if you’re a desk-jockey).


Pick out a vegetable at the grocery store you haven’t had in a while and look up an easy recipe to prepare it. 

-Work toward drinking half of your body weight in ounces daily (200 lb person = 100 ounces/day).


-Take a moment daily (at least weekly) to jot down a few things you’re grateful for. Try thinking about the little things throughout your week (a friendly barista, a friend that truly listened to you during a difficult time)

-Try not to deviate too far from your normal sleep schedule on the weekend.

Brain/Body Connection: 

Current patients: Start with 5 minutes, 3x per week to dedicate to regrouping with your at home complementary recommendations (stretches, exercises, etc.).  Also, make sure to get checked and adjusted regularly to prevent any major crises from popping up.

Everyone else: Consider scheduling a complimentary consultation or attending an Introduction to NeuroStructural Chiropractic session to start the process of checking the status on your brain/body connection.

The articles, blogs, workshops, and events we’ll share throughout the year will revolve around the categories above. While we don’t offer services in ALL of the categories above, we’ve made some fantastic connections around the metro with people who know their stuff. We’re here to help (and to connect you with folks that can help) you reach your health goals this year and beyond. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can best do that!

Chiropractic and Ear Infections

D is for (Immune) Defense

How are You Doing?

How are you doing? If you answered “Fine,” then you might want to watch our latest blogcast that explains why “fine,” can be detrimental to your health.


What Kind of Doctors are We?

At Keystone Chiropractic, are we back doctors? bone doctors? spine doctors? nerve doctors? Watch our most recent BlogCast to learn more!


Summer Health Series: Part 3

Learn tips about staying healthy and avoiding injury while performing yard work this summer!


Summer Health Series: Part 2

Watch as Dr. Adam discusses advice for your vacation this summer.


Summer Health Series: Part 1


Today, Dr. Adam begins The Summer Health Series. We’ll be talking about how to avoid the effects of sun exposure, overheating, and dehydration.

5 Warm Up Exercises for Running

Dr. Adam walks you through 5 easy but essential warm up exercises to perform before you start your run. Whether you’re doing a 5k or a marathon, these can help you prevent injury and recover better.

Strategies for a Bullet Proof Immune System: Part 4 (Brain-Body)

We’ve reached the final and most important requirement for boosting immunity and overall performance, a clear, unobstructed Brain-Body connection.

Strategies for a Bullet Proof Immune System: Part 3 (RECHARGE)

RECHARGE(ing) your mind is a continuation of strategies for boosting your body’s immune system and overall performance. Today, Dr. Adam discusses the 3rd requirement which involves caring for your mental and emotional health.


Safe Snow Shoveling

Dr. Adam explains strategies for performing safe snow shoveling and avoiding injury this winter.


Strategies for a Bullet Proof Immune System: Part 2 (MOVE)

The body is complex, but health and boosting your immune system don’t have to be. In Part 2, we review the 4 fundamental requirements of the body and discuss MOVE.


Strategies for a Bullet Proof Immune System: Part 1 (EAT)

Learn about the Fundamental Requirements of the body, and strategies for a bullet proof immune system and a higher expression of health. system. In this BlogCast, Dr. Adam discusses the first requirement, EAT.


Alleviating Asthma with Structural Chiropractic

Have you struggled with wheezing, coughing, and fatigue from asthma? Learn how Structural Chiropractic may be part of the solution for you.


Prevent Injuries in Young Athletes

Learn steps which can be taken to boost your child’s athletic performance and prevent injuries this fall sports season.


Surviving Desk Work

Check out these simple changes you can make to survive desk work and prevent further breakdown of your health.


Eat Fat to Lose Fat

Personalized Care; Quality Results

Keystone Chiropractic provides personalized care help You get the highest quality results.  Structural chiropractic care works best when patients actively participate in the process.


What to Do About Spring Sneezes and Allergies

Allergies and Immune System response have an intimate relationship with the Nervous System.  Learn how Structural Chiropractic care may boost immunity and lessen the severity of allergies.


Struggling with Your Baby’s Digestive Problems?

Pediatric digestive problems affect millions of infants each year.  Learn how structural chiropractic may help.

We Are Different (and We Like it That Way)

At Keystone Chiropractic, we are different from the many conventional chiropractors in the area.  Learn how our focus, NeuroStructural Correction, stands out from the pack.




How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

What Happens During a Comprehensive Structural Examination

At Keystone Chiropractic we TEST and don’t guess with your health.  Learn more about our examination process and how it differs from conventional chiropractic.


I Must Have Slept Wrong

Optimize Your Workouts in the New Year

Learn tips to optimize your workouts in the New Year and avoid unnecessary soreness and fatigue.


Give the Gift of Health

Consider giving the Gift of Health this Holiday Season.



Contact Keystone Chiropractic TODAY to purchase a Complete Structural Examination, and check out our list of Preferred Partners.

Anterior Head Syndrome and Its Effects on You

Anterior Head Syndrome is a secondary condition caused by structural shifts in the upper spine which can lead to a variety of health concerns which many people in West Des Moines deal with every day.


If you are experiencing a health concern and would like to learn if structural corrective chiropractic care may help, contact us today.  If you liked this video, share it with friends and family who may also benefit.

Your aOS; the Importance of Your Nervous System

How important is your Nervous System?  It’s the system that controls and coordinates EVERY function in your body. It is vital to the quality and quantity of your life.


My Pain Is In My Neck, Why Are You Adjusting My Low Back?


“Dr. Megan, my pain is in my neck. Why are you adjusting my low back?” We get questions like this often in our office, and the concerns are extremely valid.  There are several things that go into deciding what bone(s) needs to be adjusted and surprisingly, the location of the adjustment is not dependent on the location or even the presence of pain.

For starters, the need for an adjustment is not reliant on whether or not you have pain.  Your nerves have several different functions — motor function (movement), automatic function (organ function), and sensory function (including the feeling of pain).  Sensory function is just small part of your nervous system, so there could be tension on your spinal cord  and nerves without the feeling of pain.  This is why you sometimes need an adjustment even though you do not have symptoms.

It is also important to note that the spinal cord attaches at the very top and the very bottom of the spine.  When one or more of those spinal regions are misaligned, it increases the amount of tension throughout the entire spinal cord and can create discomfort in other spinal regions.  For example, when a spinal bone in your neck has shifted from its normal position, it changes the tone of the spinal cord.  Since the spinal cord is also attached at the bottom of your spine, you may feel symptoms in your lower back from the increase in tension caused by the misalignment in your neck.  You can see in this instance how the area of pain isn’t always the area that needs to be adjusted.

When dealing with spinal structure, it’s important to remember that all of your bones, muscles, ligaments, organs, etc. work together to keep you alive in a somewhat “normal state”.  With that being said, if there is a structural shift within the spine, the body’s natural response may be to compensate for that misalignment.  This could mean a distortion in posture or a shift in spinal structure in another region of the spine.  If this is the case, you may experience pain as a result of this compensation, but again, the site of pain may not be the primary area that needs to be adjusted.

With so many things to consider, how do we know where to adjust?  This is one of the many reasons we chose our unique focus (NeuroStructural Correction).  Our analysis of spinal structure is very specific,  locating the areas where the primary misalignment(s) are (meaning it doesn’t look for compensations).  Once the adjustment is made, the tone or tension of the spinal cord and nerves are able to return to a more acceptable state.  When this happens, there can be a decrease in the amount of discomfort caused by that structural shift, whether that discomfort was in the same area as the adjustment or in a completely different region of the body.

In the example of the lower back pain caused by a misalignment in the upper spine, once the shift is adjusted back toward normal, and the added tension on the spinal cord is released, the symptoms in the lower back can decrease.  In a similar fashion, if a spinal bone is misaligned and the body responds via compensation, once that shifted bone is adjusted, the compensation can often times self-correct.

While it is important to note the presence of pain, pain does not dictate the adjustment.  Because your body can respond to structural shifts in many different ways, we would rather use a very specific, objective analysis to determine what needs to be adjusted, rather than relying solely on pain or other symptoms.  Correcting the primary shift(s) of you spine will help you achieve the greatest results in the shortest amount of time!

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Is “Cracking” my Neck Bad for Me?

Take time to learn about why self-manipulation may have harmful effects to your spine and nervous system.

TMJ Dysfunction and Structural Chiropractic



A common condition that we have seen more frequently in our office is temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMJD. Many people have the occasional jaw pain when taking a bite of a big burger or crunching down on hard candy, but people with chronic jaw pain can suffer terribly.

TMJ problems occur in the joint that connects your jaw to the rest of your head. Normal motion of this joint is not an option when it comes to having a jaw that functions normally. When correct jaw motion is compromised, the impact can be severe and can cause a variety of secondary issues, including:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Teeth grinding
  • Sharp jaw pain
  • Clenching
  • Painful clicking
  • …and more

Generally, problems with the TMJ have two main causes:

  1. Muscle dysfunction – the jaw muscles (masseter, temporalis, pterygoids) become dysfunctional leading to pain and abnormal movement patterns.
  2. Joint dysfunction – the TMJ is a complex joint. The disc within the joint can shift, the joint can degenerate, and the extremely sensitive nerve endings surrounding the joint can become inflamed.

To understand why the muscles of the jaw become dysfunctional, it’s important to understand what controls the muscles of the joint. Every muscle in your body, from your heart to your back to your bicep, is controlled by a nerve. The muscles of the jaw are under control of the Trigeminal Nerve, which is one of the 12 special nerves known as Cranial Nerves.  Cranial nerves are special because they do not originate from the spine, they originate from the brain stem and exit out of the skull. Due to this, issues with the cranial nerves are usually a sign of a problem at the brain stem.

People with TMJD typically don’t have isolated jaw pain, they often have neck pain and headaches as well. A PubMed search shows numerous studies outlining an increased occurrence of TMJD in patients who have suffered a whiplash injury or head trauma. There is a close relationship of the Trigeminal Nerve and the top vertebrae in the neck. A strucutural abnormality at the top of the spine can create conditions where abnormal pain signals can occur.


How can NeuroStructural Chiropractic help with TMJD issues?

At Keystone Chiropractic, we look for structural abnormalities in the spine. Most of the cases we see, a structural shift is present at the topmost bone in the neck, the atlas, due to its unique shape and biomechanics. This area of the spine is connected to key structures of jaw function and can be the culprit in many TMJD cases. Our goal is to correct and stabilize this area so that the nerves can function normally again. We end up co-managing many cases with dentists who focus on TMJ treatment, which has been of great benefit to the patient.

Please contact us to schedule complimentary consultation where we can discuss if NeuroStructural Chiropractic can be part of the solution for your TMJ issue.

Are You Suffering from Migraines in West Des Moines?

Do you or someone you know suffer from debilitating migraines?  Dr. Megan gives you insight as to how Neurostructural Chiropractic care, here in West Des Moines, may lead to lasting resolution of these headaches when other conventional treatments have not worked.

Easier, Healthier Pregnancy in West Des Moines

Dr. Megan discusses the 3 P’s of pregnancy which can help you throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery in West Des Moines.


Why Won’t My Baby Stop Crying?

crying babyYour baby has all the signs: loud piercing cry, flexed legs, tensed abdominal muscles, and clenched fists. The crying is excessive and uncontrollable.

Your stress is high and you are frustrated because nothing you try seems to soothe or calm them down. You’ve fed them, changed them, sang to them, rocked them, and you’re not sure what to do next. It’s interfering with your mother-baby (or father-baby) bonding. You don’t want to leave the house. You’re starting to feel like you’re going crazy.

Why won’t my baby stop crying?

Although there are many different factors that play a role in the development of a colicky baby, in all cases Nervous System stress is present.

The birth process is a stressful one no matter how natural it is. The introduction of any intervention (bed rest, induction, augmentation, pitocin, antibiotics, epidurals, continuous fetal monitoring, inability to move around, manual traction, vacuum, forceps, C-section, intensive care, etc.) has a direct effect on a baby’s spine and the system that it protects: the Nervous System.

Any pressure on the Nervous System, especially in the upper cervical spine (top of the neck) can be detrimental to a baby’s health, physiology, growth and development. That is because the Nervous System is the master controller – it absolutely controls and coordinates everything the body perceives and does.

In numerous research studies, chiropractic care has shown excellent results for helping babies with colic. One study reported 94% of colicky babies demonstrating improvement with chiropractic care. In another study, the improvement in crying behavior and reduced hours spent crying was significant when compared to groups where parents just waited it out (a 67% reduction in crying time!!).

Not to mention the endless case reports of happy parents all over the world the first time after they watch their baby go home and sleep for several hours straight after an adjustment. It happens quite often.

To be clear, there is no “colic” adjustment. No adjustment to a crying baby is by any means a “treatment” for their behavior. A chiropractic assessment on any human (a few days old or many years old) determines whether any obstruction to the nervous system is present. If there is, gentle corrections are made to the spine. This removes obstruction to the nervous system, allowing it to function optimally.

When consulting with parents, we find out as much as we can about the mother’s pregnancy and birth experience, and the health and behavior of the infant thus far. The examination involves observing the baby for asymmetries in their structure and function, assessing the overall tone of the body, and gently assessing the position and motion of their joints. Neurological tests and findings will indicate if there is any obstruction present and how severe it is.

If you, a friend, or family member is struggling with a baby who won’t stop crying we would be happy to see if we can help.


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Backpack Tips for Back to School in West Des Moines

These tips from Keystone Chiropractic can help reduce the risk of your child developing secondary problems from backpack wear as they head back to school in the greater Des Moines area.


When Is Supplementation Necessary?

There is no such thing as a silver bullet when it comes to health. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes. However, your body DOES have an amazing ability to heal and recover, sometimes far quicker than you might expect.

Health is a result of meeting the vital requirements of the human body.


Plants for example, require sunlight, water, and nutrient-rich soil. If you have a plant with yellow leaves, the most obvious solution would be to simply meet the requirement that is lacking (i.e. more sunlight), and not just paint the leaves green.water

In a similar manner, every human being has certain vital requirements that are essential for optimal health to occur. We need movement, nutrient dense foods, structural integrity and a healthy functioning nervous system, to name a few.

Meeting the nutritional requirements of the body can be hard. There is contradicting information and it’s hard to know what advice to follow.

When it comes to nutrition, it can be boiled down to a simple fact; you need to supply your body’s nutrient requirements in the most efficient way with the least amount of toxicity.

A great first step to ensure you’re getting your body’s nutrient requirements is to increase the amount of foods that are nutrient dense. This includes foods that have protein, fat, vitamins and minerals the body needs. These foods are usually found in nature, NOT in a package. Vegetables, fruits, healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, etc), lean meats (turkey, grass fed beef, chicken, wild salmon and fish), and fermented foods (kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut) are all great choices to meet your body’s requirements.

However, over the past 200 years there has been disruptions in the food supply and its nutrient profile.

Changes that have occurred:

  • Increased reliance on grains and grain products
  • Decline in soil quality (slight decline in nutrient density of foods grown)
  • Increase in exposure of food and environmental toxins
  • Reduction in animal fat consumption

As mentioned we recommend to turn to real food whenever possible to meet your body’s nutrient requirements.

There are instances where your body may not be getting the vital nutrition it needs through food and supplementation is necessary.


There are two key 2 Essential Supplements we recommend to make sure your body is getting everything it needs. The best available evidence says most Americans are deficient in the following:

1. Omega 3 Fatty Acidsfish oil

People used to get essential fatty acids from many sources like wild game, seafood, grubs, and insects.  All fatty acids are essential, but it is optimal to have them  within a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio (Omega 3 : Omega 6). Most western cultures are expected to have a ratio of 1:10 and even up to 1:50. The higher the ratio, the more likely inflammation is present in the body which creates an environment ripe for disease.

Supplementing with a pharmaceutical-grade fish oil has been proven to be the best way to re-balance this ratio. It also is helpful to decrease sources of Omega 6 you consume (whole grain bread, vegetable oils, cereal, nuts, etc).

How much do you need?

This largely depends on the supplements you’re taking, but typically 2-4 grams of EPA/DHA per day. Please consult your preferred health provider before beginning supplementation.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a critical nutrient that is essential in immune function. Vitamin D deficiency can happen for different reasons:

  • Lack of sun exposure (w/o sunscreen)
  • Aging (increased age = decreased capacity to produce Vitamin D)
  • Darker skin tone
  • Excess body fat

In Des Moines, Iowa to get your daily dose of Vitamin D, it takes about 15 minutes of sitting in the sun with as much skin exposed as possible (swimsuit, or shorts and tank top). This is possible to achieve from May through September.

It is hard to obtain enough Vitamin D during October through April, so we recommend Vitamin D supplementation especially during the winter months.

To recap:

  1. Focus on eating real food – fruits, veggies, healthy fat, lean meats, fermented foods (high in probiotics)
  2. Omega 3 supplementation
  3. Vitamin D supplementation September thru April
  4. If your budget allows: a high quality probiotic and multi-vitamin

At Keystone Chiropractic we do NOT recommend every supplement under the sun and only carry the highest quality supplements including Omega 3 and Vitamin D. A bonus is that both of these nutrients are vital in supporting an optimal functioning nervous system.

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Concussions: They’re Happening in West Des Moines Schools Too

If concussions are happening in professional sports, they’re happening at your child’s school in West Des Moines, too.


3 Tips for Healthy Hydration

It is important to keep in mind at all times of the year, but as the mercury rises, it’s more important than ever to focus on how much fluids your body receives each day. Water is one of the most essential components of the human body; it makes up over half of it! It regulates body temperature, cushions and protects vital organs & joints,  aids in digestion, and waste elimination.

You may see how dehydration may cause a variety of issues. Look for the following signs & symptoms to see if dehydration may be part of the problem:water

  • Increased thirst
  • Decreased energy
  • Dizziness
  • Dry skin
  • Headaches
  • Dark yellow urine or decreased urine output
  • Sticky or dry mouth
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Irritability

It is important to drink water even before signs of thirst appear. Thirst is a signal that your body is already on the way to dehydration. It is important to drink more than thirst demands and to continue to drink throughout the day.

In one hour of exercise the body can lose more than a quart of water, depending on the workout intensity and air temperature. If there is not enough water for the body to cool itself through sweating, the body enters a state of dehydration. The efficiency of Oxygen delivery to muscle tissue and waste removal is decreased which allows fatigue to set in sooner. In other words, exercise performance suffers.

During exercise, water is the best fluid replenisher for most people, although electrolyte drinks help replace lost store through high-intensity exercise exceeding 45 to 60 minutes. Individuals who sweat profusely during exercise and whose sweat contains high amounts of sodium (you may notice salt rings on your clothes or “gritty” feel to your skin) you may benefit from an electrolyte drink.

Tips for Healthy Hydration


Have a Goal

A general recommendation is to drink half of your body weight in ounces (Example: a 150 lb person should drink 75 ounces per day).

If you exercise, you’ll need more.

Carry a water bottle with hash marks so you can keep track throughout the day. Set reminders to help you stay accountable. Track your progress in a journal or using a smart phone app like this one.

Sample hydration schedule for an average 150 lb person:

  • Wake up – 8oz
  • Breakfast – 8oz 30 min before and after
  • Mid-morning – 8 oz
  • Lunch – 8 oz 30 min before & after
  • Midday – 8 oz
  • Dinner – 8 oz 30 min before & after
  • Before bed – 8 oz

Drinking water both before and after meals help aid digestion and can help curb appetite, which may be helpful for weight loss.

Flavor Up

If you find it hard to choke down plain water all day to get enough, try infusing it with flavorful fruits like lemon and raspberries. There are many fresh recipes for fruit infused water here.

flavor water

What about coffee?

You may have heard to avoid coffee if you want to stay hydrated. A recent study debunks the myth that it also causes dehydration. A daily cup can contribute to your water needs, coffee can also give you a sharper memory and boost athletic endurance and performance.

Eat Your Water

Eating foods high in water content (fruits and vegetables) also provide an added bonus of fiber, electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals.

Foods with 90% or more water content include watermelon, cucumbers, celery, strawberries, bell pepper, cantaloupe, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, pineapple, carrots, grapefruit, broccoli, and tomatoes.


Many people are conscious about the types of foods they include and exclude from their diet to optimize their health. Make sure you don’t overlook one of the most important nutrients you body needs to properly function each and every day – WATER!


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Gain an Athletic Edge

Learn how to reach the Next Level of your athletic performance in West Des Moines.


Is Your Child Living to Their Potential?

“One day I felt fine, and then the next day I was just miserable…”child

Have you heard someone say this? Probably enough that it’s hard to recognize the absurdity of that statement.  Except for severe trauma like car accidents, major falls, poisoning, etc., people do not suddenly become ill. Disease is not happen spontaneously.

Small repetitive traumas, long-term abuse and negligence, though unnoticeable at first, takes a toll on the body over a period of time. When the first secondary issues (symptoms) appear, the body has already been malfunctioning for some period of time – months to even years.

Studies have shown that a significant percentage of children undergo trauma during the birthing process. Chiropractors focusing on NeuroStructural Correction are trained to located structural abnormalities in the spine that may be impairing nervous system function.

No only will this spinal and neurological imbalance become part of a child’s structure as they develop, but many of them will go 30 or 40 years – and possible the rest of their lives – with the effects of that initial damage to the spine and nerve system affecting both their health and quality of life.

Any obstruction to the body’s master control system results in a lessening in every aspect of that child’s function. An impaired nerve system could reduce immune function, concentration, recovery from illness and injury; it could lessen athletic performance and digestive function. It could even alter behavior.

While it is true that people often see a chiropractor to help them recover from physical health problems, that is not the purpose of chiropractic care. Chiropractic adjustments are aimed at correcting structural abnormalities that compromise neurological integrity. This is vital for everyone to reach their full health potential.

Some may be concerned about the forcefulness of an adjustment for a growing child. That would be a legitimate concern if all people received the same adjustment. Thankfully, they do not. Age and size are taken into consideration; providing a spinal correction for a baby uses no more pressure than one uses to check the ripeness of a tomato.

If we understand that health means 100% function, not merely being symptom-fee, then the function of the nerve and spinal system needs to be addressed.

Who has more potential to benefit from chiropractic care than our kids?


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Answering Your Questions in West Des Moines: Dowager’s Hump

This week we describe Dowager’s Hump, its causes, and how it may be corrected.


Tips for Optimizing Balance and Coordination

Have you ever wondered how you are able to walk through your house in the middle of the night, and still with a reasonable amount of confidence, not run into walls?

It is pretty obvious that being in your own house you have seen it numerous times during the day that you are able to recall from memory, to a relatively accurate degree, where dangers would be when navigating the hallways and stairs at night.

This might seem like a simple concept, but it is a very important part of having optimal balance and coordination. Try this for a moment:

Stand up from your chair, have your hands at your sides, and now try and touch the tip of your nose with the tip of your left index finger.

How did you go?  Chances are you were successful, but why? How does this work?

Your brain is always in constant communication with your body and your body is in constant communication with your brain, this information going from your body to your brain is called PROPRIOCEPTION.  Proprioception is what allows your brain to have an internal map of where your body is in space, as well as where your body is relative to other objects, even with your eyes closed.

How does this relate to balance?

If for some reason your brain does not have a clear internal map of where your body is relative to its environment, then your balance and coordination would be compromised. Think about it like this; if you are walking through a dark house, but instead of your own house it is one you have never seen before. How do you think you would do? I would imagine a few yells in the dark as you stub your toe or bump your head. In a similar way, if there is a breakdown in the communication between your brain and your body, your brain won’t have an accurate internal map of your body relative to its environment and your balance and coordination will suffer.

Structural Shifts in the spine obstruct the communication between your brain and body, affecting the brains internal map of your body relative to its environment. When your brain does not have an accurate internal map of the body relative to its environment your balance and coordination will suffer.

Now you might be saying: “My Balance is Fine” 

Your balance may be fine compared to a clumsy sibling, but is it good as it can be? If you have a Structural Shift in your spine obstructing the communication between your brain and your body, then your balance may not be as good as it can be.balance west des moines

Altered Proprioception is not just an issue that affects your balance; it might mean you get injured more often (not just injuring your back or neck, but your shoulder, ankle etc.). It affects your workouts or ability to play sports; think about how important coordination is to golf, tennis, cross-fit etc.).

Whether you have poor balance, want to perform at your best in sports or just get injured less often, it is important to have a clear communication between your brain and your body (Proprioception).  Structural Chiropractic focuses on correcting structural shifts in the spine, clearing up the communication between your brain and body, leading to better function, less accidents & falls, and a healthier you.  Allowing your brain to have a clear internal map of your body and how it relates to its environment, just like when you were walking through your house in the dark.

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NeuroStructural Correction vs Conventional Manipulation

The most recent video from Keystone Chiropractic discusses the difference between NeuroStructural Chiropractic and conventional manipulation in West Des Moines.

Choosing the Best Chiropractor for You in West Des Moines

Finding the right Chiropractor for YOU can be difficult.  Watch these great tips on choosing the Best Chiropractor for you in West Des Moines.



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.


Are Sit-Ups Bad for You?

What to do about Migraines?

When was the last time you had a headache?  Perhaps it was it was last month, it may have been a few days ago, or maybe you have one right now! Headaches are a well-known and common discomfort that most people experience in their lives. They can range from a dull discomfort the morning after a few too many alcoholic beverages to an intense migraine with a variety of unpleasant symptoms.  Our focus in this post is to more closely examine migraines, a severe condition that millions of people suffer from each year.

Phases of Migraines

To determine whether or not you are experiencing a migraine there are a few key components that distinguish them from other types of headaches. The most unique thing is that there are four different phases:


The predrome phase is characterized by subtle changes that are indicative of body chemistry changes. They may include secondary conditions (symptoms) such as constipation, depression, irritability, craving of certain foods, or possibly a stiff neck. These changes serve as a warning of a beginning of an episode and signal a person to take action.  Acting quickly may stop an episode before it becomes a full-blown migraine.


The aura phase is unique to migraine headaches. Aura describes the visual, auditory, or speech disturbances experienced by a migraine sufferer. There may be flashes of light, sensitivity to sound, or inability to speak clearly. Thankfully, most people do NOT experience an aura during an episode and therefore have what are called “common migraines.” Those that do experience an aura have “classic migraines.” These symptoms can typically last anywhere from 20-60 minutes.


In the pain or attack phase there is typically a one-sided pain that is experienced in the head. In some cases the pain involved both sides of the head (bilateral). The pain usually occurs after the aura phase is over and can last anywhere from one to 72 hours.


The postdrome stage is the phase of decreasing secondary conditions and pain and the onset of fatigue. Migraine sufferers usually report feeling rundown and worn out. They are similar to the ones experienced in the predrome phase. Things such as head/neck pain, digestive issues, mood swings, and even mild euphoria have been noted.

Major Causes

How is it that some people can eat the salty or processed foods that can cause migraines without issues while others avoid them entirely because they would cause a migraine? Or, why do some women get migraines that occur during their menstrual cycle while other women don’t experience them at all?

There are varying causes for migraine headaches. However, a common theme is that they rely on the body’s inability to adapt to its environment.  In part, migraines can result from a chemical imbalance. That is why they typically come on during menstrual cycles, after consuming certain things such as aged cheese, processed/salty foods, or alcohol.  A period of prolonged stress can also trigger an episode.

Proper communication of messages to and from the brain are critical to how your body perceives and is able to adapt to its changing environment. As you may know, there are tiny webs of nerves surrounding the vessels that allow blood to pass into the outer areas of your skull. When the electronic signals to that area are obstructed (via a structural shift in the spine), the result is a release of an excessive amount of blood into the outer area of the skull – resulting in a migraine. Even if a migraine is triggered by a glass of wine, the primary cause is typically a structural abnormality.

Anterior Head Syndrome

Structural abnormalities like AHS can result in secondary conditions such as migraines.

What Are My Treatment Options?

There are various trigger for migraines just as there are a variety of treatment options. The most common is over the counter medications such as Excedrin. Typically, if that fails to work, someone would obtain a prescription that may help lessen the chance of a full-blown migraine when in the predrome phase.  This may also help decrease the effects of secondary conditions in the aura or attack phases. Acupuncture has also been shown to decrease the frequency and intensity of migraines. If those options don’t work, more invasive procedures are typically explored. Devices such as neurostimulators may be implanted or decompression surgeries of the nerves affected may be used.


At Keystone Chiropractic, we focus on NeuroStructural Correction of the spine.   By correcting the abnormality, we allow the nerves to function like a highway absent of any traffic. Thus, the person who had to worry about drinking a glass of wine no longer has an issue.

If you suffer from migraines, feel free to contact us to see if our unique focus on Neuro-Strucutral Correction could be the right approach for you.

Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Stretching and Warming Up

training-603981_1920As the New Year began, you may have started a new exercise regime or class.  Whether you’re new to exercise or not, many people, especially if pressed fro time tend to skip the warm-up, figuring the main workout is what really counts. Warming up before exercise is neither the fun nor glamorous part of your routine, but forgoing it sets you up to decrease your performance and increase risk of injury.

Many people get to the gym and start doing a few static stretches before they get going.  You may not know that stretching and warming up is not the same thing. You may think stretching is a warm-up, but this is a common mistake. In fact, stretching before an activity is not doing much for you at all.

What the Research Says

Traditionally, it was thought that you should stretch before strenuous activity to reduce the risk of injury.

Studies have shown stretching before activity does nothing for the reduction of injuries.  According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, injuries are believed to occur during the eccentric phase of contraction, which is part of a muscle’s normal range of motion.  If injuries occur during the normal range of motion, then why would increasing that range of motion prevent injuries?  So, if stretching before activity is not going to help prevent injuries, what is the answer?

What to Do Before a Workout

It is really simple.  Warm-up in a way that is specific to the activity in which you plan to participate.  Here’s something profound, a warm-up must actually make you warm.  The goal is to slightly raise your body temperature, just enough so you break a sweat. This, in turn, allows for less strains, tears, and sprains and results in a safer, more efficient workout.

Then consider that the warm up must match the movements you will be doing during your more strenuous activity. Perhaps an easier way to think of this is with weight training. If your workout calls for weighted squats, then a good warm-up would be body weight squats. This begins to activate the muscles around the hip, knee, ankle, and core.

Remember, the goal is to warm up with the same movements or as close as you can get to the actual movements required by your workout or sport.

Examples of versatile warm up moves that can be performed before most workouts include: jumping jacks, arm circles, walking lunges, butt kicks, air squats, and trunk rotations.  Start out with 30 seconds of each move.

The Takeaway

In order to get the most out of your exercise session, focus on warm-up movements that mirror the movements of the activities in which you plan to do. Do as many reps as you need until you feel ready.  Save foam rolling or static stretching for after training or at night. Unless you are a professional athlete, your training time is limited. By following the steps above, you will place your body in the right situation in the time you do have for increased performance and reduced risk of injury.

*Also, in winter your warm up is even more critical. We are in the middle of the season of tight, cold muscles and decreased mobility.  For optimum performance all winter long and an injury-free return to spring, a serious warm-up is your best friend.

Healthy New Year!

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!


Do You Work With Kids?

People are often surprised to find out that we work with so many kids in the office. Most people are under the impression that children are way too young to have a structural problem in the spine.  It is true that some kids we check in the office have no structural problems at all.

However, statistics from the Center for Disease Control show some alarming numbers. Each year, over 1 million children between the ages of 0-5 will be hospitalized due to a fall. Another 700,000 will be hospitalized from an accidental trauma. That’s not even including the number of kids who will suffer a trauma to the spine, but are never taken to the ER!

Most people will never even know or think about taking their kids to a chiropractor following a fall or trauma. The great news is, that kids are extraordinarily resilient to injury. They bounce back up, and their ability to heal is just much better than that of an average adult. However, structural problems in the spine don’t necessarily cause neck pain and back pain, especially in children. What they can do is create other secondary conditions. Whenever there is obstruction on the nerves from a structural misalignment of the spine, many kids can have conditions such as:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Immune problems
  • Ear infections
  • ADHD
  • Torticollis

These are just a few of the common conditions that parents bring their children to chiropractors for. While it’s not a chiropractor’s job to treat these symptoms, they are signs that the nerve supply from a child’s spine is compromised. For many kids, this can be tied to a difficult or traumatic birth process.


infant birth traumaThe best part of all is how much kids love getting gentle adjustments. It’s often times a parent’s worst nightmare to take their kids to a doctor. The screaming and tantrums on display at a pediatrician or a dentist can unnerve even the strongest parent. A child and infant adjustment is very different than an adult’s, and you’ll usually see kids that are excited to be checked!  The amount of pressure used to adjust an infant no more than you would use to check the ripeness of a tomato.

But the most important reason that kids should be checked early is just because it makes sense. When most adults develop acute or chronic secondary conditions, x-rays usually show that a problem has been growing in the spine for 15+ years. Why let kids develop the same problems that us adults have had?

Just like we take our kids for a dental check-up to ensure that they are free of cavities, our kids deserve a structural check-up to prevent the damage of a structural shift.

What You Need to Know about H2O

Often times, when describing Neuro-Structural Correction to a patient, we’ll liken it to the alignment of a car.  If there is a shift within the frame of the car, or a structural issue, secondary problems are likely to occur.  Similarly, when there are structural shifts of the spine, secondary conditions are likely to arise.  And, just like your car, your body also requires the proper fluid levels to operate efficiently.

Did you know that your body is mostly water; over 60 percent, in fact.  Even the lightest of activities throughout the day can begin to deplete that percentage, leading to dehydration.  This lack of fluids could ultimately lead to a lack of proper function of your body.

How do I know if I’m dehydrated?hydration

Indicators of dehydration include:

  • fatigue
  • headache
  • light headedness/ dizziness
  • dark urine (urine should be clear when properly hydrated)
  • muscle cramps

One would also think that thirst would be a sign of dehydration, but it is a bad indicator.  Most likely, fluid levels have been depleted for some time before someone becomes thirsty.  The best way to fight dehydration is to drink water before you’re thirsty.

Hydration and Your Health

Since our bodies are mostly water, maintaining proper hydration is essential to optimal health.  Decreased water intake could potentially lead to a variety of health problems that could affect every organ system, from your heart and lungs, to your skin, and even your brain and nervous system.

Some specific effects of chronic dehydration may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma & Allergies
  • Skin disorders
  • High cholesterol
  • Bladder or kidney issues
  • Digestive disorders/Constipation
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Weight gain

Keeping hydrated allows your heart to pump blood with less force through blood vessels and to the body so everything can work efficiently.  It allows your lungs to expand and contract appropriately when you take a breath in and out.  Maintaining proper fluid levels allows you to seat when you exercise, cooling your body when it’s needed.  And, most importantly it can help your brain and nervous system function correctly by helping ensure the proper concentration of neurotransmitters, which the brain and nerve cells use to communicate.

water-830374_1920Choosing the right Beverage

Many people believe that if you’re putting fluid into your body, you are helping to maintain proper hydration.  While intensive exercise may require you to use a sports drink (which is best used diluted; 50% sports drink, 50% water), regular hydration is best achieved by drinking WATER.  In fact, a goal to aim for is to drink half of you body weight, in ounces.

For example, if someone weighs 160 pounds, they should try to drink approximately 80 ounces of water each day.

Some beverages can actually lead to dehydration.  These include alcohol and caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, soda).  Beverages, such as these, are actually diuretics (they make you urinate) and therefore deplete the fluid levels of your body.

Choose the right Foodshydration foods

As you may know, many foods contain high amounts of H2O.  If you find it hard to guzzle water during the day, many fruits and vegetables can help fulfill your fluid requirements in addition to providing key nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Fruits: watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe all have over 90% water content per volume.

Vegetables: cucumber, lettuce, zucchini, radish, celery, tomatoes, green cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, red cabbage, peppers, spinach, and broccoli are all over 90% water by volume.

Keys to staying hydrated

Drink early, drink often, and drink after!

Drink early – if you are planning to work out, make sure you are drinking water well in advance of your activity (1-2 hours).  And, remember you should drink water before you become thirsty.

Drink often – your body will function better if you take small drinks or sips of water rather than chugging a large amount all at once.

Drink after – no matter how hard you try to maintain fluid levels during a workout, or throughout the day, it is important to drink water after you finish an activity, or at the end of the day to ensure you are hydrated properly.

Proper hydration is essential to a properly functioning body.  Follow these simple steps to help ensure optimal health.




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Is Running Bad for My Body?


Many people look forward to this time of year due to the high number of running and walking races across the Des Moines area, including the IMT Des Moines Marathon that was a few weeks ago.  Running is a common form of exercise chosen by people that want to increase their fitness abilities. Programs like Couch to 5k have encouraged millions of Americans to get off the couch, lace up some running shoes, and hit the pavement toward better health.

However, running is also a very common source of sports related injury in this country.  Injuries to the foot/ankle, knee, hip, and low back can often sideline a runner for weeks, while delaying them from reaching their fitness and weight loss goals. We have seen this far too often when taking care of runners with chronic injuries.

Many times, the problem isn’t the sport itself, but the specific technique used while running.  Improper running form from poor running posture or repetitive heel striking are the most common culprits. Over the course of dozens of miles, heel striking can jar all of the joints of the lower extremity causing the spine to shift out of place. Of course, once the spine shifts out of place, then secondary conditions will inevitably result.


Keep these steps in mind to help safeguard against structural breakdown while running.

So how can you make running safe?

  1. Change your form. The 4 steps above are a good start, but for personalized instruction, go to a local running store like Fleet Feet Sports or Heartland Soles. These establishments often have great classes and resources on proper running form.
  2. Evaluate your footwear. If you’re wearing the wrong shoes, then you will continue to get injured. The local running stores noted above have experts ready to fit you for the right shoe for your specific foot.
  3. Get checked for any underlying structural shifts that may be causing weak running posture, altered gait, and reducing your body’s ability to heal and repair.  It is hard to achieve proper form and be evaluated for proper footwear without first having a structurally sound foundation.

Don’t let injury slow you down from achieving your goals. Run safe!




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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.