What Can You Learn From the Tour de France?

Ever since taking a class in graduate school titled “Comparative Anatomy and Physiology” where we compared humans to other mammals, I realized that we humans are actually one of the slowest of all mammals. Try racing a dog, horse or rabbit, you name it, over a short distance and you will lose time after time. Make the race a long-distance affair and you will beat them all.  Humans have the capacity to do amazing endurance events.  One of the reasons is our ability to sweat all over our bodies making it very efficient at cooling. So, why even bother to try to go fast when we can go long!?!

I have always been intrigued by endurance events and have participated in them over the past 25+ years.  I am writing this blog on the final day of the Tour de France which is arguably the hardest endurance event in the world. Cyclists race, on average, over 100 miles per day for essentially 20 straight days. I thought I would share some of the fascinating facts of the Tour de France and some health lessons that we can learn from this amazing event.

Cycling is one of the best forms of exercise allowing you to really work your cardiovascular system for long periods of time without a lot of impact. Lance Armstrong was quoted as saying that the bicycle is the best piece of exercise equipment ever made.  There is one down side to this though, and one lesson we can all learn from the Tour. Cycling, as great of an exercise as it is, does not help promote bone density – in fact, the average Tour de France cyclist loses bone density throughout the 3-week race. This is due to the fact that the Tour cyclists are essentially non-weight bearing for 3 weeks! They are taught to stay off their feet during every waking moment before and after their race stages. Exercising at extremely intense levels for 5-6 hours for 20 days straight will cause the body to start to catabolize – including muscle and even calcium stores. So, for those of you who do cycling as your primary exercise make sure to add some weight bearing exercise(s) to your routine. One suggestion is weight training – which is a great way to help maintain your muscle mass and maintain your bone density.

A lot of cutting-edge nutritional strategies have been developed by studying the demands of Tour de France cyclists. The average cyclist consumes 7,500 calories per day during the Tour. That is a feat in itself, or should I say feast! Hydration and electrolyte balance are critical and a lot of the sports drinks we all use today have been developed with the Tour de France in mind.

All 180+ cyclists that race in the Tour get daily body work done including Active Release Techniques and Chiropractic adjustments. Lance Armstrong was quoted as saying the most important person on his staff during the Tour de France, as far as keeping the team healthy, was the team Chiropractor.

And as promised some fascinating facts from the Tour:

It may come as a huge surprise, but once upon a time the Tour de France used to be just a bunch of cigarette-smoking, booze-guzzling men riding their bikes on unpaved roads through the French Alps.

The Tour de France Was Originally A Sales Gimick! (Then vs now). In November of 1902, Geo Lefevre, a journalist from the newspaper L’Auto had an idea to boost circulation of the newspaper. The idea was the Tour de France. Two months later in January of 1903, the very first Tour de France was had but the circumstances and details were very different than what they are today. There were only 6 fairly flat stages over the course of 18 days vs. the 21 rather mountainous stages over 23 days of today. There were 60 entrants in the 1903 race vs. the nearly 200 entrants of 2014. 39 riders, roughly 60% of the 60 entrants of the first Tour de France of 1903 did NOT complete the race while only 18% of riders of the nearly 200 entrants completed the race of 2014.

As a result of the Tour de France, not only did Geo Lefevre succeed at boosting circulation of the newspaper, he created a cycling event that would go on to become one of the biggest racing events in the world of sports altogether. That original paper was printed on yellow paper- hence the leader was to wear a yellow jersey, something that they still do today.

The route of the course, and the total distance of the Tour de France changes every year, however the 21 competing teams of 9 riders from around the world can expect to cycle over 2000 miles (3,500 kilometers), up and down many hills and on routes that alternate between clockwise and counter clockwise circuits of France. In the original 1903 tour, the length was 2,428 kilometers.

The average Tour de France rider burns between 7,000-8,000 calories per day. That’s a whopping 123,900 calories over the course of the 21-day race – 123,900! That’s the calorie equivalent of eating 1,625 apples, or 872 slices of cheese pizza from Pizza Hut, or 252 McDonalds double cheeseburgers, or 619 original glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts! Over the course of the roughly 3,500 kilometers Tour de France; a cyclist will sweat about 1.5 liters per hour totaling 130 liters (32 gallons) for the entire race.

In the 1920’s it was not uncommon for cyclists to share cigarettes while riding. Believe it or not, it was believed that smoking would help “open the lungs” before big climbs.   Now that is crazy!

So, another Tour de France has been completed providing millions of spectators a magnificent event to watch and learn from. Can’t wait until next year’s Tour starts!Tour

If you have any questions about this blog or your health in general or you just want to talk about the Tour you can reach me at drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

 

Ice Therapy AKA Cryotherapy

Happy summer! We wait all year for these sunny days with long daylight hours. Keep enjoying the HOT weather folks!

This month I want to talk about “Ice therapy” or in medical terms, it is called “cryotherapy.”  You can’t have pain without inflammation. Ice numbs the pain and “shrinks” the inflammation.  It is the natural alternative to Ibuprofen.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is similar to infection. In both, we are dealing with an area of the body that is warm to the touch, red, swollen and painful. The only difference is that infection has a bacterial component called pus, inflammation does not.

Inflammation is the result of an area in your body that is in distress. For example, too much constant pressure on your low back from sitting all day at your desk. Quick, sudden trauma such as a fall, or slow repetitive trauma such as bending over to pick something up, over and over again. Inflammation creates pain, and pain is the body’s way of protecting you, by letting you know something is wrong. It also stops you from moving, so you don’t get hurt further.

Icing is a “spot treatment” only to be used on the area of concern. Taking an ice cold shower is not the same effect.

So, HOW do you ice?

Let’s use your low back in this example. Say you’re “sore” from sitting all day at your desk. Whenever icing, ALWAYS use an ice pack that is SOFT when frozen. Never use the rock hard ones that belong in coolers. If you ever need a good one, we sell them here at our office for $10.

  1. Lay the ice pack on a blanket on the floor, or on your bed. Never on the couch, couches are not designed to be supportive and you’ll just sink into it.
  2. Take 2 warm/damp paper towels with all the water squeezed out, and lay them ON TOP of the ice pack. They make contact with your skin, not the ice pack. Otherwise you’re just freezing the skin, the towels allow the cold to penetrate to the muscles.
  3. Now lay on your back, on top of the towels. Wherever the soreness is, let it be “front row and center” on the ice.
  4. Have something under your knees so they are bent. Ex. Pillow, foam roller or rolled up blanket under knees, or even feet up on a chair. This takes pressure off your low back. It also flattens your back, so there is more contact between you and the ice.

Contraindications to using Ice:

Open wounds. Skin damage. History of frostbite. Raynaud’s disease. Blood pressure problems involving vasoconstriction.

Indications to using Ice:

Reduced pain. Reduced swelling. Numbs the pain naturally. Natural anti-inflammatory treatment.

Ice is a great way to manage pain. You’re not going to feel better, until the inflammation is down and the pain is reduced. This therapy is a very beneficial addition to your treatment during the healing process.

It’s just one of many treatments that we can incorporate on your road to recovery here with us, at Performance Health Center.

For more information, please contact me at:  drel-turkmani@performancehealthcenter.com

 

 

Breaking News: The Aspirin Myth Debunked

Since the 1970’s the American Heart Association has recommended daily doses of baby aspirin to prevent or manage heart disease.  Millions of Americans have followed that advice for years.

Three (3) major clinical trials in 2018 questioned the validity and safety of a daily dose of aspirin.  Earlier this year the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology changed the clinical guidelines “recommending against the routine use of aspirin in people older than 70 years or people with increased risk of bleeding who do not have existing cardiovascular disease.”  A new study published on July 22, 2019, in the Annals of Internal Medicine, by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, show the risk of taking daily aspirin out ways any benefit.  These findings affect over 30 million Americans older than 40 taking aspirin on a daily basis to prevent heart disease.  6 million Americans taking aspirin daily do so without their doctor’s recommendations.

If you are taking daily aspirin to “prevent” heart disease you should probably stop ASAP.  Please don’t do so without first consulting your PCP.  The only group of patients where the benefit out-ways the risks is those who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke.

I share this breaking news because you, or someone you care about, may be taking a daily aspirin thinking it is a good thing to do only to find out it is causing more harm than good.  Please don’t stop taking any medications without first consulting your PCP or specialist.

Dynamic Compression for Rapid Recovery of Your Health

As a Chiropractic Physician at Performance Health Center, I am always thinking of ways that we can assist our patients with their recovery and rehab from injuries, and ways to help them maintain a pain free and active lifestyle.  Physicians have long used dynamic compression to prevent blood clots and to speed the healing of their patients after surgery.  Researchers and Exercise Physiologists have now developed units that utilize this same principle of dynamic compression to help us all recover faster from whatever it is that we may be recovering from, whether it be a triathlon, or hours of working in your yard.  We are lucky enough to have partnered with NormaTec to offer a state of the art “Dynamic Compression Recovery System” here at Performance Health Center.

We will be offering a “Free Trial” period for the first two weeks of July.  To schedule your appointment please stop by or call the front desk at (508) 655-9008.  For more information on this state of the art recovery system please see below:

NormaTec is the leader in rapid recovery—our systems give a competitive edge to the world’s elite athletes, coaches, and trainers. Our goal is to establish recovery as an integral part of every athlete’s training, and we feel NormaTec systems are the best way to accomplish that. The NormaTec PULSE Recovery Systems are dynamic compression devices designed for recovery and rehab. All of our systems use NormaTec’s patented PULSE technology to help athletes recover faster between trainings and after performance.

Our systems include a control unit and attachments which go on the legs, arms, or hips. They use compressed air to massage your limbs, mobilize fluid, and speed recovery with our patented NormaTec Pulse Massage Pattern. When you use our systems, you will first experience a pre-inflate cycle, during which the connected attachments are molded to your exact body shape. The session will then begin by compressing your feet, hands, or upper quad (depending on which attachment you are using). Similar to the kneading and stroking done during a massage, each segment of the attachment will first compress in a pulsing manner and then release. This will repeat for each segment of the attachment as the compression pattern works its way up your limb.

Created by a physician bioengineer (MD, PhD) to enhance blood flow and speed recovery, NormaTec Pulse Massage Pattern employs three key techniques to maximize your recovery:

PULSING: Instead of using static compression (squeezing) to transport fluid out of the limbs, Sequential Pulse Technology uses dynamic compression (pulsing). Our patented pulsing action more effectively mimics the muscle pump of the legs and arms, greatly enhancing the movement of fluid and metabolites out of the limbs after an intense workout.

GRADIENTS: Veins and lymphatic vessels have one-way valves that prevent fluid backflow. Similarly, NormaTec Pulse Technology uses hold pressures to keep fluids from being forced in the wrong direction. Because of this enhancement, instead of tapering pressure off, the PULSE and PULSE PRO can deliver maximum pressure in every zone.

DISTAL RELEASE: Because extended static pressure can be detrimental to the body’s normal circulatory flow, Sequential Pulse Technology releases the hold pressures once they are no longer needed to prevent backflow. By releasing the hold pressure in each zone as soon as possible, each portion of the limb gains maximal rest time without a significant pause between compression cycles.

To learn more about this amazing recovery system check out these short videos on this link:

https://www.normatecrecovery.com/news/

So the next time you are in for an appointment stop by the front desk to schedule your appointment and experience this massage like recovery system first hand!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at: drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

Intersegmental Traction

Happy summer! Hoping everyone has a nice 4th of July, enjoy the fireworks and the HOT weather!

This month I want to talk about “Intersegmental Traction” or sometimes we here in the office call it “the rollers.” We have a whole section in our office dedicated to this service.  It is an evidence-based therapeutic treatment, for inducing “passive motion” into the spine. “Passive motion” means when someone or something moves your body for you.

How does it work?

Feel those little bony bumps on your back? Those are spinal bones or vertebrae. In between those verbebrae are discs, you cannot feel the discs with your fingers. “Discs” are basically pillows between your bones. They provide shock absorption and motion throughout your whole back. These discs do NOT have a blood supply. They are designed to move, and therefore get their nutrients through motion. If your back is “tight and stiff” it’s usually because your bones and discs are not moving. The purpose of Intersegmental traction, is to put motion into joints that are not moving on their own. This allows the circulating spinal fluids to lubricate the discs, so that they do not “thin out” from lack of motion or lack of nutrients.

So, what’s the experience like in OUR office?

We take you to our therapy room, and have you lay on your back on a bench table in a private setting. You are fully dressed. We turn on the Intersegmental traction beneath you, and the rollers move up and down your spine. The rollers travel from your hips all the way up to just below your neck. There are different levels of intensity, we communicate with you and find your tolerance level first, then show you how to control it on the machine, and how to turn it off if needed. Then we let you relax and enjoy for 10 minutes, the standard amount of time to make a difference but also not leave you feeling too sore. The rollers feel like “waves” beneath your spine. I’ve never had a patient tell me it “hurts.” When 10 minutes are up, the machine turns itself off and you can simply get yourself up and head to the front desk.

Contraindications to use Intersegmental Traction:

Open wounds. Pregnancy. Fractures that are currently healing. Severe osteoporosis. Ligamentous instability. Infection of the discs or spinal cord.

Indications to use Intersegmental Traction:

Reduced pain. Reduced swelling. Provides motion into places that are not moving on their own. Helps restore normal circulation of spinal fluids and nutrients to the discs. Prevention of disc “thinning” or degeneration. Preservation of the disc height that you already have.

Intersegmental traction is a great way to re-enforce a chiropractic adjustment, because it helps maintain the motion that was just put into your spine by your chiropractor. Movement is medicine, and this service is a very beneficial addition to your treatment during the healing process.

It’s just one of many treatments that we can incorporate on your road to recovery here with us, at Performance Health Center.  For more information on Intersegmental Traction, or any of the therapies offer, please contact me at drel@performancehealthcenter.com

 

 

 

Please Wear A Helmet!

I just finished a nice Sunday morning bicycle ride, and I am amazed at how many other cyclists that I saw out there riding without a helmet!  I do not get it… it makes ZERO sense!  When I ask people why they are not wearing a helmet I get responses like this… “I know how to ride”; “I am not going to fall so I don’t need one”; “It’s uncomfortable and hot”; “It messes up my hair”; “It isn’t cool”; “I’m only going a short distance”.

I can tell you from personal experience a bicycle helmet can save your life!  In September of 2012 I was riding in the CRW century ride in New Hampshire.  I was with a group of fast cyclists passing some other cyclists that had started earlier.  We were descending a hill around mile 60, and as we approached one nervous looking cyclist we yelled “on your left”, as we were passing this cyclist he suddenly turned left and took out my front wheel, and before I could even react, I was landing on my head at 30 mph!  I sustained a severe concussion and a broken neck and back, a dislocated shoulder and multiple rib fractures to boot.  I was transported by ambulance to the nearest trauma center.  The 3 doctors in the trauma center all said that my helmet saved my life.

It is not just for cycling that you should be wearing a helmet.  Other activities such as roller skating, inline skating, riding a scooter or motorcycle, or engaging in any other potentially risky outdoor activities, i.e. rock climbing.

Trauma to the brain can occur as a result of an impact, which can cause a concussion or open skull fracture, or a jarring motion, such as a quick turn or sudden stop. Even seemingly mild head injuries, where you don’t lose consciousness, can cause permanent behavioral and cognitive problems, such as memory loss, inability to concentrate, sleep disorders and, in some cases, permanent disability or death.

Studies have shown that wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of a serious brain injury and death because during a fall or collision, most of the impact energy is absorbed by the helmet, rather than your head and brain.

But just as important as wearing a helmet is wearing the right helmet. A helmet that doesn’t fit properly or offer sufficient cushioning can give you a false sense of security while not actually providing the level of protection you need.

Nicole Levy, MD a primary care sports medicine specialist at Rush University Medical Center offers the following five tips to help you effectively safeguard your gray matter:

  1. All helmets are not created equal.

There are, in fact, different helmets for different activities, and each type of helmet is designed to protect your head from the impact common to a particular activity or sport. You should always wear a helmet that is appropriate for the activity you’re involved in because other types of helmets may not protect you adequately.

“Some helmets can be worn for multiple activities, but don’t assume,” says Levy. “Check the manufacturer’s instructions for guidelines before buying a helmet.”

  1. If the helmet doesn’t fit, don’t buy it.

To ensure optimal protection, your helmet should meet the following criteria:

  • Feel comfortable but snug.
  • Sit evenly on your head (not be tilted back on the top of the head or pulled too low over your forehead).
  • Not move in any direction, back to front or side to side.
  • Have a secure buckle to keep it from moving or falling off on either a first or second impact. So, if you are riding your bike and collide with something (first impact), the helmet will still be firmly in place if you then fall onto the pavement (second impact).
  • Be easy to adjust and fit properly without a lot of adjustments. And once adjustments have been made, they should stay put. 
  1. Kids have special helmet needs.

It can be especially challenging getting kids to always wear a helmet, Levy says, so it’s up to parents to set hard and fast rules.

“Be consistent and firm,” she says. “Don’t negotiate. Don’t compromise. Don’t give them a choice: Either they wear the helmet or they don’t ride their bike, scooter, etc. That way, they know you take it seriously and they make it a habit.”

Parents should also lead by example and always wear their helmets.  This is a great point, just this morning I saw a man cycling with his 2 young children, and while the kids had on their helmets the adult did not!

As for the helmets themselves, while it’s OK to purchase your child’s clothes in a size larger than he or she wears, the same is not true of helmets; helmets should fit perfectly when you purchase them.

Test your children’s sizing by having them try on a variety of helmets. When fastened and tightened, the helmet should not move from side to side or front to back, and your child’s forehead should be properly covered to keep it protected.

Helmets for children or toddlers should also have a buckle that holds firm in a crash but releases after five seconds of steady pull to avoid potential strangulation. A child’s helmet will usually fit for several years, and most models have removable fitting pads that can be replaced with thinner ones as the child’s head grows.

Those guidelines apply to children who are at least 1 year old. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under 1 year of age should not be on bicycles at all.

“It’s simply not safe to take a baby on a bicycle,” Levy affirms. “Babies haven’t developed sufficient bone mass and muscle tone to enable them to sit unsupported with their backs straight. And, just as important, their necks aren’t strong enough to support the weight of even the lightest helmets. So even though baby-sized helmets are available, they are not advisable.”

  1. Helmets aren’t forever.

Some helmets are manufactured to withstand one impact, while others are made to withstand multiple impacts.

Bicycle helmets are designed to protect against a single severe impact, such as a fall onto the pavement. The foam material in the helmet will crush to absorb the impact energy during a fall and can’t protect you again from a subsequent impact. So even if there are no visible signs of damage, you must replace it.

Other helmets are designed to protect against multiple moderate impacts, including football and hockey helmets. However, you may still have to replace these helmets after one severe impact, particularly if the helmet has visible signs of damage, such as a cracked shell or a permanent dent.

  1. A helmet is just part of the safety equation.

Just remember that while helmets are protective, they aren’t perfect: You can sustain a head injury even if you always wear one, Levy cautions.

That’s why it’s important to further reduce your risk by exercising caution during recreational activities. “Watch your speed, and obey posted traffic signs and signals,” she says. “Also, be mindful of cars, pedestrians, animals, uneven pavement and other impediments that may cause a collision or fall.”

Also remember that any fall can also knock your spine out of alignment or give you whiplash or both.  If you do sustain a fall, it is a good idea to get your spinal alignment checked by your Chiropractor ASAP.

If you have any questions about this blog or your health in general, please feel free to contact me at drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com

 

Electrical Therapy Speeds Up Healing!

Hello, and welcome June! There is definitely no excuse for cold weather now, we have officially entered into sandal and T-shirt season, celebrate and enjoy!

This month I want to talk about “Interferential Current” or “IFC.” We offer this service in our office.  It is an evidence-based therapeutic treatment, for natural pain relief and the promotion of healing muscle. It does this using gentle electrical current. We have a whole section of our office dedicated to this service. Its powerful effects are a beneficial addition to your treatment plan during the healing process.

How does it work?

Low frequency stimulations are pulsated into the muscle that has gone into “spasm.” Another way of saying this, the muscle that is “tight.” These electrical waves criss-cross below the surface of the skin and penetrate into the muscle. Throughout the course of 10 minutes, the body is prompted to secrete endorphins. This occurs in response to the muscle relaxing from spasm. Endorphins, are a natural hormone secreted by the brain that activates the body’s opiate receptors, causing an “analgesic”, or pain-relieving  effect.

So, what’s the experience like in OUR office?

Let’s say your whole low back is “tight and achy.” We have you lay face down in a private setting on a supported therapy table. You are fully dressed. 4 “sticky pads” are placed on the skin of your low back under your shirt. Above the belt line, and below the bra line. The electronic current feels like a gentle “pins and needles” sensation. We communicate with you on your comfort level of the intensity of the current. Generally, a little more is better, but only enough to feel therapeutic. If it feels “pinchy” we’ll dial it back down. I’ve never had a patient tell me it “hurts.”

Contraindications to use IFC:

Open wounds. Sun burns. Excessively sweaty/wet skin. Pacemakers. Pregnancy.

Indications to use IFC:

Reduced pain. Reduced swelling. Promotes muscle tone. Helps restore normal muscle movement. Speeds up cellular metabolism in the muscle to accelerate the healing process.

IFC is a great addition to getting adjusted. It can be used on every muscle in the body. It’s just one of many treatments that we can incorporate on your road to recovery with us, here at PHC.

For more information please email me at: drel@performancehealthcenter.com

New Study Confirms Chiropractic Reduces Opioid Use

Opioid addiction and death is still out of control.  New guidelines and regulations are reducing the number prescriptions for opioid medications.  The death rate for opioid deaths dropped 4% in 2018 relative to 2017, but it was still close to 2000 in Massachusetts alone.

It’s crazy.  The US makes of 5% of the world’s population and consumes approximately 80% of prescribed pain medication.  Is it because culturally we can’t live with pain?  Or is the medical community only masking symptoms, not getting to the cause of the pain contributing to pain medication abuse and addiction?

Another fact- According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse nearly 80% of heroin users started with prescription opioids.

We can and should talk about causes of pain in the US.  We are meant to move, but we don’t.  Many of us sit all day at work, then go home and watch TV and go on our computers.   According a paper published in April 2019 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)  the average amount of TV/video viewing time averages 2 hours a day and outside-of-work computer time increased by over an hour.  Total sitting time on a daily basis continues to increase.

“Sitting is the new smoking” now goes the mantra.  Sitting has been attributed to increased musculoskeletal pain in addition to increased risk of multiple diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer.   A recent study suggests it takes 1 hour of exercise on a daily basis to counteract the detrimental effects of sitting 8 hours.  Not enough of you reading this exercise one hour a day.  One solution is Active Sitting, and there is only one chair that can do that.  (Read More about Active Sitting)

Yes there are traumatic causes of pain including car accidents and injuries, and probably more commonly repetitive stress. The key to correct treatment is a detailed history and examination.  The majority of neck or back pain in the medical literature is labeled as “non-specific”. That means there is no obvious cause.  It is not caused by an apparent pathology or disc lesion.  From 34 years of clinical experience it is my opinion that these “non-specific” causes of pain are in fact caused by dysfunction in the mechanical movement of the body.  The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae, over 125 moveable joints, ligaments that hold them together and muscles that move them.  That doesn’t include the spinal cord which runs through it with a pair of spinal nerves exiting through small holes on either side of the spine (33 pair of spinal nerves in total).  Abnormal movement or restriction in any of these structures can cause pain.

A functional exam can usually uncover the cause of pain caused by dysfunction.  If the pain is more pathological of course imaging and referral is in the best interest of the patient. If the pain is functional than chiropractic care treats the symptoms and offer pain relief, but more importantly works to correct the cause.

Medications whether NSAIDs or opioids which are prescribed for pain relief only mask symptoms.  The goal of chiropractic care is correct the cause and advice patients on how to improve their lifestyle and ergonomics so they don’t keep hurting themselves.

At the American Association of Pain Management’s Annual Meeting in March 2019, a study from Yale University was presented titled, “Is the Use of Chiropractic Care Associated with the Receipt of Opioid Prescriptions?  A Systematic Review”.  This was a Meta-analysis with a 95% confidence interval.  The results found that 49% of chiropractic patients were less likely to receive an opioid prescription than those who went the medical route for pain.  That is a huge difference.

One solution is for primary care doctors to refer to chiropractors before prescribing opioids or any medications for musculoskeletal pain.  That is not just my opinion.  Another JAMA study from May 2018 found that patients who had “usual medical care” plus chiropractic care felt better faster, with less medications and greater satisfaction than those with just “usual medical care” alone.  In this study the patients with “plus chiropractic are” were referred by their PCP to a chiropractor. (read more about this study)

The key to preventing opioid deaths is to stop the prescription of pain medications.  An excellent start is to refer musculoskeletal pain patients for chiropractic care as the first treatment.  The research has been done repeatedly in some of the most respected medical journals in the world.  Why aren’t medical physician groups encouraging treatments that are more effective and safer than medication?  Why aren’t insurance companies encouraging a greater use of chiropractic care?  I don’t have the answer.  They should!  There is a cost savings as well as faster outcomes in pain relief, without the dangerous side-effects of medications and addiction.  With this information please make sure you and your loved ones make better choices when it comes to pain relief.

If you have any questions, please email me at drbradweiss@performancehealthcenter.com

Quick Spring Gardening Tips

Month 2 at Performance Health Center! I am loving my work here. Treating patients every day and watching their pain levels decrease and their functional ability increase, is an amazing thing to be a part of.
Spring is finally here! This month I want to talk about outdoor chores. I have already had so many back pain complaints from people working hard outside for hours doing chores such as gardening, raking, lawn mowing etc.
Quick tips from your chiropractor for all your outdoor chores:
#1: STRETCH FIRST. Stretching prevents injury. Think “long and strong.” Long muscles are strong muscles. Short/tight muscles are weak, and vulnerable to rips and tears. Stretch for at least 5 minutes, ideally 10 before physical work.
#2: Have a seat! Winston Churchill said “Why stand when you can sit?” Bending over puts ½ your body weight on your low back, that’s 100lbs for the average person. Sit on a low stool for ground level activities. Have your legs and hips open, and knees and feet turned out, away from your body. Then lean forward and work between your knees. In this position, always support your upper body weight with your elbows on your knees.
#3: Knee pads! A pillow, blanket, something thick/foam-like material if you are working on your knees for long periods. Example, tending your garden.
#4: Switch sides! Don’t rake your entire lawn on your dominant side. If you start on your right side, switch to the left in 5 min, then switch back. This will balance out the physical demand you are putting on your body.
#5: PUSH don’t pull. We are strongest when we get behind something and push it forward. We are vulnerable when we pull something heavy. Pulling puts excessive strain on your back, neck and shoulders, your body has to fight to keep something from slipping or tearing. When mowing your lawn for example, or anything that involves moving a heavy object across the ground/floor, please always PUSH!

From all of us at Performance Health Center, have a great Spring! See you next month!

For more info contact me at: drel@performancehealthcenter.com

 

May Flowers and UV Rays

Happy May!  We are just finishing an unusually wet April here in New England, as I write this on April 29th we have had 20 days of at least some rain in the 29 days of April so far.  Well… get ready for a little sun!  They say April showers bring May flowers, and I believe that we will see a lot more of the sun for sure in May.  This is the time of year that we really start spending more time in the sun, and with that we are exposed to more ultra violet radiation. We really should be using some form of protection from the sun all year long, but especially starting now and through the summer as the days are getting longer and warmer and we are spending more time outside.

The President of The Skin Cancer Foundation Dr. Perry Robins warns us… “It’s not just the sunburns that usually occur during the summer or on summer vacations that are associated with skin cancer, it is all of your lifetime sun exposure that adds to your risk of skin cancer.”

Remember that clouds filter out the light from the sun, but not the UV rays from the sun. Ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) light are the cancer causing wavelengths. UVA is present year round, at all times of day, and is unaffected by a cloudy day.

UVA:

Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout our lifetime. UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Although they are less intense than UVB, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass.

UVA, which penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, has long been known to play a major part in skin aging and wrinkling (photo aging), but until recently scientists believed it did not cause significant damage in areas of the epidermis (outermost skin layer) where most skin cancers occur. Studies over the past two decades, however, show that UVA damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur. (Basal and squamous cells are types of keratinocytes.) UVA contributes to and may even initiate the development of skin cancers.

UVA is the dominant tanning ray, and we now know that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, cause cumulative damage over time. A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer.

Tanning booths primarily emit UVA. The high-pressure sunlamps used in tanning salons emit doses of UVA as much as 12 times that of the sun. Not surprisingly, people who use tanning salons are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. According to recent research, first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.

UVB:

UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photo aging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.

Preventative Measures:

Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.

Do not burn.  Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.

For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.  Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months. Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.  See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

I definitely recommend that you do get outside and enjoy the great spring weather New England has to offer, just do not forget to use your sunscreen.

If you have any questions about this Blog, or about your health in general, please feel free to contact me at:  drtomball@performancehealthcenter.com