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Drug-Free Management of Arthritis

Posted by on 5:09 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Nobody wants arthritis, yet too many people have it. It’s estimated that 40 to 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis. Chances are you or someone you know in Minnesota deals with it daily.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and while arthritis can affect people of all ages, arthritic pain is most common in people over the age of 65. It also tends to be more common in women than men as well as in people who are obese.

With arthritis, a person may see and feel swelling and/or redness from inflammation. Joint pain is often found in the hands and knees. They may experience feeling “stiff” in places they don’t want to be stiff. Of course this interferes with normal everyday life. For some, arthritic pain causes them to miss out on social events, such as playing with grandkids or going to a birthday party, because the pain hurts so bad.

Could you take medications for arthritis? Sure. But they come with side effects. Take, for instance, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These can cause edema (where your feet swell up), heartburn, upset stomach (to the point of developing stomach ulcers), an increased risk of blood clots, and possibly even heart attacks and/or a stroke. Not good, eh?

Some people with arthritis use DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) which can increase their susceptibility to infection and make their stomachs upset. For those who resort to cortiocosteroids (which are cortisone-like medicines), bone loss, cataracts, elevated blood sugar levels and an increased appetite are just some of their side effects.

Instead of using drugs to battle arthritis, people should consider consistent, preventative chiropractic care.

While chiropractic care may not be able to “cure” arthritis, it comes in handy because it can help prevent the damage arthritis creates. For instance, if you have a joint that becomes fixated and out of alignment, it’ll start to grind, causing inflammation. Left untreated, you’ll be in pain! However, with a chiropractor using hand manipulation to “unstick” a joint that wants to be fixated, then you won’t get micro-tears in your joint/disc. Therefore, the chiropractic care slows down or stops joint/disc deterioration.

Chiropractic care has helped many arthritis sufferers feel better over time. Best of all, it doesn’t require taking pills that may have negative side effects. Chiropractors are natural healers.

Time is of the essence with arthritis. Make an appointment to see Dr. Gerard at Lakewoods Chiropractic; call 651-464-0800.

Coffee: Pros and Cons

Posted by on 7:31 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Plenty of people “start the day” with a cup of coffee. Made from the roasted and ground bean-like seeds of a tropical shrub, coffee can be served hot or cold and is known for having caffeine. People typically drink coffee because it acts as a stimulant of the central nervous system thanks to its caffeine.

What are some of the good things coffee does for a person besides help wake/perk them up? Studies have shown that the more coffee you drink the more likely you’ll reduce your risk of getting diabetes. Coffee is a plant-based food. Coffee beans contain phytochemicals, which ultimately help protect cells from damages due to free radicals. In other words, coffee can help prevent disease because it supplies a person with antioxidants.

College students often drink coffee for good reason… did you know that coffee helps improve a person’s cognitive function and performance? Studies have shown that coffee drinkers perform better on exams because coffee helps a person sustain attention as well as remember stuff better.

While coffee has some pros, it also comes with cons, as most things in life do, right?

Even though coffee has antioxidants, it can cause your skin to wrinkle! That’s because coffee dehydrates the body. Therefore, it’s best to drink plenty of water after downing a couple cups of coffee.

Did you know coffee drinkers are more likely to end up with osteoporosis since there’s a loss of calcium involved when consuming it? Coffee drinkers pee out calcium. There is a way to fight this, though, and that’s by adding milk to your coffee.

Some coffee drinkers put on extra weight thanks to their coffee consumption habits. Think about it this way: what goes well with a morning coffee? How about a doughnut or sugary pastry? Meanwhile, after the high from caffeine wears off, people “crash,” and then they want and eat fatty foods to keep themselves going. So, over time, coffee can exacerbate weight gain.

Finally, coffee plants are often sprayed with chemicals. You end up ingesting those chemicals whether knowingly or not, unless you use organic coffee, which is free from chemicals, pesticides and herbicides. It may cost more, but it’s worth it for the sake of your health and well-being.

Consider “Going Vegan” One Day Per Week

Posted by on 4:53 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

If your diet consists of pepperoni pizza slices and Pepsi daily, you may be willfully contributing to inflammation in your body that ultimately causes problems.

While most people are animal meat eaters, it’s not that unusual anymore for people to “go vegan.” What does that mean? Well, a vegan is someone who primarily eats plant-based foods, cutting out animal meat from their diet. So, instead of steak, chicken, turkey and pork, a vegan’s going to eat things like kale, spinach, carrots and almonds.

Going vegan usually takes some time for the mind and body to “get used to” where it becomes “the new norm” for a person. You don’t just stop eating meat one day never to eat it again. Instead, you start to cut down on your meat intake while increasing your intake of nuts, fruits, veggies, etc. Why do this? The short answer is that it’s healthier!

Did you know there are vegan versions of pretty much every type of food people like? Just because someone is vegan doesn’t mean they’re the most healthy person on the planet, though, because there are vegan versions of “junk food” which aren’t the best for a person. That said, an overall vegan approach to what you put into your body is going to help take away inflammation and, most likely, going to make you look and feel healthier.

Veganism has been around since the 1940s. It must have benefits to people since there are still plenty of people who pursue the vegan lifestyle today. Generally, you get into the vegan world when someone you know recommends it and you’re willing to take their advice. Of course there are plenty of books, videos and more detailing “how to be a vegan,” so you’re welcome to seek those out if you’re interested in making a lifestyle change for the better.

Meat eaters and vegans can co-exist peacefully– it is possible. Depending on what you feel is right and best for your body and your health, veganism is a viable and healthy way to approach life. Vegans have often reported feeling happier, healthier and more energetic thanks to their plant-based eating habits compared to their sluggish and yucky feelings associated with eating potentially carcinogenic meat products.

Low Back Pain in Children

Posted by on 8:54 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

What are some potential causes of low back pain in children? Kids tend to wear backpacks, participate in sports, and physically grow bigger– all of which can impact the way their back feels and functions as they age.

There are two “big word” things that could happen to children’s backs: spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis. Spondylolysis involves a defect of the joint between vertebral bones. It may or may not involve a stress fracture injury. Oftentimes young gymnasts deal with this particular problem, which is typically agitated thanks to hyperextending the back a lot. Thus, if your child bends backwards for sports, they could have spondylolysis. Spondylolisthesis involves one vertebra slipping upon another– with back pain being a result.

If and when a child is playing extreme sports where they land hard on parts of their bodies, those moments of impactful force can fracture or damage vertebrae/intervertebral discs.

Should disc material extrude out of its normal position, spinal cord nerve roots can become compressed resulting in sciatica– nerve pain that can occur in the buttocks as well as down the back of the legs.

Children may also experience bacterial infections of the spine and spinal tumors.

Disc degeneration isn’t typically associated with children, but here’s the thing: it can develop at a young age. “Juvenile disc disorder” can start thanks to an injury or, perhaps, it’s genetic. This problem involves weak end plates of the vertebrae. Protrusions of disc cartilage end up agitating the end plate and/or vertebra causing low back pain.

One of the major reasons children end up seeing a chiropractor for low back pain stems from an all-too-common thing: backpacks. These days kids going to school often find themselves carrying ultra-heavy, book-loaded backpacks. Their little spines can’t easily handle all that weight and pressure! Thus, children’s backs get strained to the point where they’re hurting and need chiropractic adjustments.

Indeed, low back pain tends to come from overuse or strain. Basically, children experience some soft tissue damage regarding their ligaments, tendons and/or muscles. They may also experience a subluxation, which is a fancy word that means something is dislocated, like their spinal joint(s) or ligaments.

Chiropractors, like Dr. Gerard of Lakewoods Chiropractic, don’t just limit their practice to adults. If you have a child in your life who is experiencing low back pain, call 651-464-0800 to make an appointment for a chiropractic consultation with Dr. Gerard.

Middle Back Pain and Lakewoods Chiropractic

Posted by on 9:33 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Middle back pain is high on the list of reasons people visit a chiropractor. Why do people get middle back pain? Generally, it stems from something called a vertebral subluxation. This occurs if and when spinal movement is restricted and/or the spinal bones (aka the vertebrae) become misaligned. Dr. Gerard performs chiropractic adjustments on people with middle back pain in order to offer them much needed relief.

Did you know the technical name for your middle back is the thoracic area? This area goes from below your neck to above your waist. Within the thoracic area you’ve got your spine, which consists of 12 spinal bones (vertebrae). They interlock and form a rigid column around your spinal cord, offering it housing and protection. Furthermore, each vertebra is connected to one of your ribs. Interestingly, your rib cage is rigid, too, and generally keeps the thoracic area “in check.” So, middle back pain isn’t as common as, say, neck pain or lower back pain.

While the aforementioned vertebral subluxations are typically the cause of middle back pain, in some cases it could be something else. For example, perhaps there’s a fracture in your thoracic area caused by trauma. A fracture can occur if and when you get into a car accident, fall down unexpectedly, and/or you get hit by someone or something in a direct way, such as a punch or kick. It’s not unusual for athletes participating in sports like football or soccer to experience middle back pain at some point in their life.

Another thing that could cause middle back pain is a herniated disc. This is where the “cushion” between your vertebral discs, which has a gel-like center, ends up jutting out of its normal place. Chiropractic care can help those with herniated discs feel better.

In rare cases, middle back pain could be a symptom of cancer in the lungs or breasts. Other times it could mean a person has cardiovascular problems or kidney stones. X-rays can help determine what’s truly going on underneath the skin, if needed.

If you’re experiencing middle back pain, please make an appointment to see Dr. Gerard. Call Lakewoods Chiropractic today at 651-464-0800.

Is Coconut Oil Healthy?

Posted by on 4:43 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

If you fry eggs in a skillet everyday, try adding a tablespoon of coconut oil into the pan. This helps make the pan very easy to rinse and clean after you’re done getting the eggs out and onto your breakfast plate.

Coconut oil is old-fashioned, natural and good for you. Recently, it has become trendy and popular. At first, it was touted as a magical elixir with so many health benefits that it went flying off the shelves. More recently, some reports have come out saying it’s not good for you. What are we the people supposed to think?

Dr. Gerard believes there’s healthy fat in coconut oil that’s good for you. What makes it a superfood? Well, it has lauric acid, and with seven grams per tablespoon, it’s a great source of lauric acid– a saturated fatty acid often lacking in Western diets these days.

Years ago, the industry turned to highly processed vegetable oils, which can be found in tons of food products today. Traditional things, like coconut oil, were shunned with the thinking that they were the cause of people’s high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease. However, research has since shown coconut oil has health-promoting fat in it, the kind with powerful antioxidant qualities. Interestingly, the “right” kind of fat can actually reduce cholesterol levels. Coconut oil contains the “right” kind of fat that’s good for your body.

Coconut oil specifically can help prevent “bad” (LDL) cholesterol from oxidizing in artery walls. Furthermore, it boosts the level of “good” (HDL) cholesterol.

There have been over 1,500 studies of coconut oil and they’ve concluded it’s one of the healthiest things we could ingest! Also, it’s a good source of energy, quickly turning into fuel in a three step process, whereas other fats go through a 26-step process. The fatty acids found in coconut oil are easier to digest than long-chain fatty acids found in plant-based oils, and they’re not readily stored as fat. Meanwhile, they’re anti-fungal and anti-microbial. No wonder many people use coconut oil on their skin as a natural healer and moisturizer!

If you have specific questions about what foods are good for you to eat versus which ones you should avoid in order to feel better overall, don’t hesitate to call and talk to Dr. Gerard. Better yet, consider making an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic; please call 651-464-0800 to do so today.

Sunscreens: Are They Healthy?

Posted by on 7:49 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Sunscreens have become ubiquitous these days. You can find them for sale in gas stations, drug stores, department stores, mall kiosks, beach cabanas, grocery stores, and hotel gift shops. With so many products on the shelves, how do you know what to choose?

Dr. Gerard wants you to know that some products are better than others. You should know some basics about sunscreens before you go to the store and buy a bottle.

For starters, ultraviolet radiation rays found in sunlight can help your body make more Vitamin D, but then there’s the downside– too much of a good thing can be bad, and you get a sunburn.

All sunscreens contain ingredients to protect people from harmful ultraviolet rays. If you see a sunscreen labelled “broad-spectrum,” then it covers both UVB and UVA rays, so get it.

Keep in mind that your skin tends to absorb the ingredients found in sunscreen, so you want to avoid toxic ones. Avoid oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and can mess with your hormone system. Look for products with zinc oxide, 3 percent avobenzone or Mexoryl SX. They protect your skin from harmful UVA radiation.

There’s no rating to tell a person how good a sunscreen is at blocking UVA rays. These are some of the ingredients that do block UVA rays, however: ecamsule, avobenzone, titanium dioxide, and sulisobenzone.

The SPF factor rates how effective a sunscreen is in preventing sunburn caused by UVB rays. Look for one that’s SPF 15 or higher. Those with a history of skin cancer in the family, or conditions like lupus, should opt for SPF 30 or higher.

As for babies and kids, or those with sensitive skin (like people with rosacea), avoid sunscreens with para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and benzephenones like dioxybenzone, oxybenzone or sulisobenzone. Generally, sunscreens marketed to children use ingredients less likely to irritate the skin, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Finally, if you suffer from skin irritation or allergies, avoid sunscreens with alcohol, fragrances, or preservatives.

If you have specific questions about sunscreens or need help choosing the one that’s best for your skin type, age and overall health, don’t hesitate to call and talk to Dr. Gerard. Better yet, consider making an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic; please call 651-464-0800 to do so today.

Why Choose Chiropractic?

Posted by on 10:16 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Dr. Gerard is often asked this question: “Why should I choose chiropractic care over taking medications and/or having surgery?” His answer? Research has shown that chiropractic care works better for people suffering from back and neck pain. Furthermore, it’s all natural. Chiropractic care generally involves manipulating the spine to where it’s supposed to be so that you don’t have to have surgery or take pills.

So is there any proof for this claim? Consider an article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (2012) which said chiropractic care was more effective for neck pain compared to taking medication.

An experiment was conducted with 272 people, ages 18 to 65. These people had all said they were suffering with neck pain– some for as little as two weeks, others for as many as 12 weeks. Each person in the study ended up in one of three groups: 1) chiropractic care 2) medication or 3) home exercise. Their treatments lasted 12 weeks.

If you’re wondering what medication patients were given for this study, they included muscle relaxants and non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. Opioid painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet were also administered. Along the way standard medical tests were given at regular intervals to assess improvement. Are you curious about the results?

Interestingly, chiropractic care was found to be the most effective at relieving neck pain, followed by home exercise and then medication. Furthermore, those using medication(s) reported more adverse reactions and the need to use more and more medication as time went on.

Besides neck pain, chiropractic care has also been found to be effective for relieving sciatica, headaches, and other ailments many people deal with on a regular basis. There was a study of 40 patients with sciatica, for instance, whereas they were randomly assigned either surgery or chiropractic care. Sixty percent of those receiving chiropractic care reported feeling better, as if they had received the surgery. Meanwhile, chiropractic care studies have shown it helps people feel relief from their migraine headaches, often better than medication does.

If you’ve been suffering with pain in your neck, back, legs and/or head, consider making an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic for some much needed relief; please call 651-464-0800 to do so today.

Are you suffering with Muscle Spasms?

Posted by on 3:42 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

It’s a beautiful Minnesota day outside. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and you’re taking a nice stroll in the park. Suddenly, without warning, you feel a pain in your calf muscle. You’ve got an intense muscle spasm and it ruins your whole walk!

They’re unpredictable, painful, and quite often debilitating. Muscle spasm contractions are the worst, aren’t they?

Where do most people experience muscle spasms? Generally, they appear in the calves, feet, hands and/or back. Some of the reasons they may occur include dehydration, spinal misalignments, and/or as the side effects of taking certain drugs. Even something simple like forgetting to stretch before using certain muscles can trigger an attack.

Spasms are the result of involuntary muscle contractions. Mostly they’re benign in nature, but once in awhile they may indicate the presence of something more serious.

Chiropractic care is an effective, all-natural way to provide relief to people who suffer with muscle pain and problems. Dr. Gerard and his staff at Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake regularly help patients with muscle spasms so they can feel better.

Have you heard of vertebral subluxation? It’s a fancy term used to describe when spinal movement is restricted because the spine is misaligned. It’s not in its proper place where it should be, and therefore you have pain. Dr. Gerard’s job is to correct vertebral subluxations using safe and gentle maneuvers called chiropractic adjustments.

Besides problems with the vertebrae, people may experience joint subluxations. When misalignments occur in the body, people get things like headaches, backaches, and/or carpal tunnel syndrome, to give you a few examples. Interestingly, research shows that these conditions often go hand-in-hand with muscle spasms.

To explain it in simple terms, if and when bones get out of place, then the muscles attached to them do as well. This disruption triggers muscle spasms. Some of the reasons bones might get out of place may include poor posture, overusing certain muscles (exercising too hard), and/or getting into a car accident where your body is jolted quickly in a manner to which it’s unaccustomed. People with sore muscles don’t feel as able to move like they normally would, thereby increasing the risk of subluxations in the body.

Chiropractic adjustments have a unique way of changing the electrical signals in muscles. They encourage muscle activity in order to reduce the likelihood of spasms.

If you’ve been suffering with muscle spasms all too often, consider making an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic for some much needed relief; please call 651-464-0800 to do so today.

Chiropractic Alleviates Colic

Posted by on 5:20 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Since babies can’t talk– yet–they cry. This is the major way they communicate with others. When a baby cries for seemingly no reason, though, they may be showing signs of what’s known as “colic.” Now colic isn’t a disease. It’s more of a catch-all term used to describe a baby who is healthy but cries for long periods at odd times. It’s not because they have a dirty diaper. It’s not because they’re tired. They just cry… and cry… and cry. About one in five infants may be colicky.

When it happens, a baby can cry for hours and hours. This stresses parents out! Parents get so frustrated because they want to help their baby feel better and not cry, but the baby just wants to keep crying and crying and crying. They may swaddle the baby, bounce the baby, give it a pacifier, and play soothing music– to no avail.

How do you know if your baby has colic? If their crying lasts at least three hours at a stretch, occurs three or more days a week, and keeps up for more than three weeks in a row, you’ve got a colicky baby. Generally, this occurs between the age of 6 weeks to 12 weeks.

Some theories about colicky crying suggest that the baby’s senses are overstimulated, they have an immature digestive system, perhaps they’re experiencing infant acid reflux, or maybe they’re allergic to certain foods.

The power of human touch should not be underestimated. Did you know chiropractic care can help alleviate colic? The chiropractor can apply pressure to the baby’s tummy/abdomen for relief. Chiropractic adjustments– even for babies– can restore proper nervous system functioning, thus providing colic relief.

Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, Minnesota, can help your colicky baby. By the way, if you’re an adult and experiencing “abdominal colic,” where you have severe spasmodic pain in your abdomen, chiropractic care can help relieve that, too. Adults with this type of colic often feel restless. They may also have bad heartburn. Chiropractic care helps bring healing and balance to a person’s body systems, no matter what their age.

Schedule your appointment today by calling 651-464-0800 or email info@lakewoodschiropractic.com.