Back Pain and Depression

Posted by on 5:49 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Does chronic back pain cause depression or does depression cause back pain? Well, the answer to that is… both.

For those with back pain that doesn’t seem to go away, the pain disrupts their everyday routine. Back pain means not being able to be in public easily. They may have to sit or lie down while everyone else is standing around. Back pain can also interrupt what should otherwise be a normal, nice night’s sleep. Because it hurts so bad, “normal” exercises like taking a walk in the park or bicycling to the store might be out of the question. A person with a chronic back ache is more likely to want to spend time in bed, eating junk food and watching TV to pass the time and forget their troubles. Unfortunately, it’s that kind of inactivity, coupled with poor nutrition, that easily leads to feelings of depression.

Bad back pain can interfere with people’s lives in every single way, from not being able to do their job to annoying romantic partners who want their loved one to be able to do things with them “but they can’t.” Emotionally, a bad back takes its toll on a person, causing them to be grumpy, sad, and depressed. If you’ve ever had chronic pain, you know the feeling(s).

Meanwhile, depression can lead to back pain. Think about this way: if you’re feeling depressed, what are some of the symptoms? If you guessed body aches, first, then you’re right! Research has shown that depression causes increased pain and inflammation in the body. Proteins known as cytokines were found to be front and center in depressed patients. Cytokines affect the immune system’s response to both infections and disease. In other words, the more cytokines your body’s making, the less vigilant your immune system…which can lead to back pain.
Furthermore, a depressed person tends to avoid exercise. In fact, he or she may have a hard time getting out of bed everyday, let alone moving their body in order to strengthen core muscles. Thus, more pressure and stress is put on joints, ligaments and other things found in a person’s back. Literally, depression, with its chemical processes and physical effects, can cause back pain. It should be noted that research has even shown that depression has a negative effect on how well a patient heals after spinal surgery.

So what’s a person with depression and/or back pain to do? A chiropractor can help guide a person toward feeling better in several ways. Besides making “adjustments” to the person’s back so that things are “more in alignment,” a chiropractor can also offer relaxation training as well as advice on what to eat and what not to eat. The less inflammation and stress a person has in their life, the better their body will feel. A chiropractor’s role in treating back pain can take a holistic approach, in order to consider alternative ways for a person to heal in due time.

Exercises can help a person’s back feel better when they’re done under the supervision and advice of an expert. Oftentimes, people try to heal their back with “whatever,” but to no avail. However, under the trained eye of a watchful, helpful person such as a chiropractor, there are certain ways to move one’s body that will help alleviate back pain naturally!

It has been said that a person’s mood improves after exercising, as it gives people a natural high. If a person is willing to take small steps toward improving their flexibility and strengthening their core and back muscles, both back pain and depression can be lessened.

Missing Sleep Can Make You Over Weight?

Posted by on 8:21 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Could your sleeping habits be a possible cause for why you’ve packed on the pounds? It turns out that missing valuable sleep time could indeed be contributing to obesity.

When you don’t get enough sleep time you are depriving your body in several ways. Without ample sleep time your body lacks the needed time to repair and restore itself. This can negatively affect your cognitive functioning, messing with your memory, reaction times, and even the ability to make decisions.

As for weight gain, losing sleep time means your body increases its levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This, in turn, increases your appetite. You can guess what happens next– if you’re like most people you reach for whatever food is ready to eat and readily available where you’re at. For most of us, it’s junk food. After all, it’s easier to eat a box of cookies when we’re hungry than it is to prepare a salad, right?

Meanwhile, our bodies produce serotonin when stressed. While this is intended to calm us down naturally, it can also be coupled with a desire for high-fat, high-carb “comfort foods.” Thus, a bag of potato chips is typically chosen over a hard-boiled egg, for example. We have a lot of neurochemical reactions going on, and it can be easy to make poor food and drink choices thanks to being sleep deprived.

Did you know that a lack of proper sleep causes the mitochondria in your cells to shut down, leaving sugar in the blood? Instead of getting used for fuel, that sugar ends up giving the person a high blood sugar level. Over time, the body cannot effectively deal with insulin, either. On top of that, missing important sleep time puts your hormones out of whack. In particular, there are two– ghrelin and leptin–that, under normal conditions dictate when your feel hungry or satiated. Sleep deprivation, however, makes you feel more hungry and less satiated– so you’ll crave more and more food– not a good cycle to be stuck in, right?

Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that people who slept four hours in bed over the course of a week gained almost two pounds more than those who slept ten hours. When it comes to sleep, time is of the essence.

Be mindful of your sleeping habits. The less “good sleep” you get, the more likely your metabolism slows down and you tend to pack on pounds. Therefore, to lose weight and feel better, you’ll need to start and stick to a specific schedule of sleep which can benefit your body overall. Try setting a nightly bedtime you can stick to every night of the week and planning for at least seven and a half to eight hours of sleep before your alarm clock wakes you up. Also, avoid caffeinated drinks at dinner or before bedtime.

Pain-Free does not mean Disease- or Injury-Free

Posted by on 9:30 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Some people are born with problems. These problems can show up later in life where they go to their doctor and are told, “Well, it’s genetic and there’s not much we can do about it.”

If you’re afflicted with a problem, and you have an injury or a disease, that doesn’t mean you can’t be pain free while still having that injury or disease.

Generally, pain comes after physical damage is done. A chiropractor’s job is to help relieve your pain through chiropractic adjustments, massage and other non-invasive methods.

It’s possible that you can live with an injury or disease that’s physically “there,” but without the horrible associated pain that comes with it. How can this happen? Well, it involves several factors.

Take, for example, a patient who has had chronic back problems. She has two discs in her spinal column which are no longer functioning the way they should. It’s genetic and perhaps a major surgery could help– though there are no guarantees. This patient has injured discs. Those discs mess with her sciatic nerve and she gets pain not only in her lower back but up and down her leg all the way to the foot.

The pain from spinal problems can be debilitating. Many people miss work because of it. However, there are ways to deal with such pain to make it as minimal as possible, despite there still being problems internally.

For example, the lady with the disc problems not only sees a chiropractor once a week but also visits a massage therapist. And when her pain got so bad that she could barely function for three months, she ended up getting a cortisone shot that ultimately helped with the pain. Now she’s able to stand up, sit down, drive, bend, go out with friends, and live life in a relatively “normal” way. Without the care of her doctors, chiropractor and masseuse, she’d be bed-ridden, in terrible pain, cursing the world!

Chiropractors like the ones at Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake have natural and good ways to help people relieve their pain. If you have a disease or injury that’s not going away anytime soon, but you’d like help minimizing the pain, call 651-464-0800 today

Optimal Wellness: A Laughing Matter

Posted by on 3:40 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Did you ever notice people who seem to have a healthy glow laugh often, while those who don’t look pale, bland and, if we’re honest, a bit out of it?

Laughter is so good for us. Why do you think people flock to movies, TV shows and events to hear and see comedians deliver jokes, people fall down, and the tried-and-true favorite: a pie in the face? Laughter lightens our mood; it makes us feel much better. And with the way the world is today, where we’re constantly barraged with bad news, laughter is vital to our wellness.

Here’s where it gets interesting: laughter actually functions like a mild workout. When you laugh, your body is getting exercise! Laughter involves muscles moving, blood flowing, a decrease in blood pressure, and an increase in both memory and mental performance. It’s no wonder that companies want to use humor to teach/reach their workers and/or customers… people are more open to hearing something funny than to being lectured at… And laughter means people are feeling good!

Chiropractors often deal with people who have tensed up to the point where there’s some sort of interference going on in their nervous system causing a painful problem. If you’re really tense all day, your body will respond to that negatively. Stress messes people up.

How can you loosen up and laugh more everyday?

First, give yourself permission to be imperfect. Think in terms of “less serious, more playful” in your approach to daily life. People flock to funny people and oftentimes avoid the oh-so-serious ones. Ask your chiropractor for some practical ways to loosen up and not take life so seriously. Something as simple as finding a sitcom to watch everyday for a laugh could help transform your overall attitude.

Next, you are in charge of yourself and how you react to things. When things are out of your control and they “go wrong,” look for the irony of the situation and comment on it. Make yourself laugh. Chances are, if others are around, they’ll laugh too. Then you’ll be the person who puts others at ease, and they’ll appreciate you for that. Laughter helps defuse tension and stress.

Finally, find funny people and spend time in their presence. Perhaps some of their quirky sense of humor will rub off on you. Even better, they’ll get you laughing a lot, which is good for optimal wellness.

Neck Pain Doctor Forest Lake

Posted by on 5:27 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

In the old days, a person would often refer to another person whom they didn’t care for as “a real pain the neck.” Today, though, the phrase is more likely to be used by people who spend way too much time with their neck stuck in one position, looking at a computer screen or smartphone screen for hours on end.

What can be done to prevent neck pain? Typically the pain is caused by muscle strains and spasms. Before you have to make an appointment with Lakewoods Chiropractic, there are some things you can do to get your neck in good shape.

First, when’s the last time you changed the pillow you sleep on at night? You spend a lot of time in bed, and it’s important that your neck is comfortable and supported while sleeping. How about trying a new pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck? Do some research and you’re likely to find certain pillows are made with “preventing neck pain” in mind.

Have you tried sleeping on your back? It’s the ideal position in order for your spine to rest properly. You can also try sleeping with a slight incline. Many people use foam wedge pillows for this purpose or they even go so far as to buy and use an adjustable bed. Whatever position you choose to sleep, make sure you’re comfortable. If you’re not, then you’re likely to develop neck pain as well as other problems.

Besides time in bed, most people spend the majority of their hours everyday looking at screens. This can strain your neck. We often look up or down at various screens. Ideally, though, if you use a computer monitor, for example, make sure it’s at eye level. If you are currently reading this on a screen in front of you and you’re looking downward rather than gazing directly into the middle of your screen, make an adjustment for the benefit of your neck. When possible, if you’re using a smartphone, do your best to raise it to eye level so you’re not always looking downward. Minimize your texting time, if possible, and take breaks away from your screen(s) at least every 15 to 20 minutes so your neck isn’t “stuck” in one position too long.

Simply exercising and stretching your neck several times daily can help prevent neck pain. Try “tucking your chin down” as well as turning your head side-to-side. Loosen up the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Furthermore, stay hydrated. Have a water bottle with you and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water is very good for your discs, which are spongy structures between the vertebrae in your neck.

If and when your neck pain gets “out of control” to the point where it won’t go away and you hurt, consider making an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic for help. Call 651-464-0800.

Junk Food and Depression

Posted by on 10:34 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Have you ever felt depressed? Most Americans have. It could be that what we’re eating contributes to our feelings of depression. A report published in the journal Public Health Nutrition noted a study showing those who eat fast food and commercial baked goods are 51% more likely to develop depression than those who eat little to none.

Almost 9,000 people were tested for this study over a six month period. Junk food was defined as things like cakes, doughnuts and croissants. Fast food was defined as things like hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza. Basically, this was stuff the average American eats, right? Researchers found that the more junk/fast food a person eats, the more likely they are to be depressed.

Interestingly, it’s not “all” about the foods a person eats. Other factors contributing to depression included being single and lazy while also smoking and working more than 45 hours a week. Furthermore, the less fruits and vegetables a person ate (as well as fish, nuts and olive oil), the more likely they were to be depressed.

Other studies, including one published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found similar results.

Think about it this way: junk/fast food is highly processed. It’s not natural. When it goes into your body, your body isn’t exactly sure how to deal with it. In addition, that kind of food is typically deficient when it comes to nutrients. Therefore, your body isn’t getting proper nutrition in order to function at its best. If your body isn’t getting needed nutrients to make neurotransmitters, you’re likely to develop and/or deal with mental or behavioral problems.

So, if you’ve been feeling low, living on Pepsi and pizza every single day, what can you do to combat depression? Try adding more natural foods into your diet, and look for ones that supply you with omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium and zinc. In addition, eat foods rich in Vitamins C, D and E. A “Mediterranean diet” might be the kind of thing to follow if you want to lessen depression.

Specifically, beans, spinach, avocado, tomatoes, egg yolks, and even fatty fish can help, too.

Lakewoods Chiropractic can help you figure out what foods to eat and what foods to avoid in your battle with depression. Please call 651-464-0800 to make an appointment 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

Acid Reflux Doctor Forest Lake

Posted by on 4:49 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

There’s a valve at the entrance to your stomach. It’s actually a ring of muscle and it closes as soon as food passes through it. Think of it like the door to your stomach, letting in food when appropriate.

Now in your stomach there’s acid. If that valve doesn’t shut correctly, guess what can happen? The acid can sneak through and move up into your esophagus. When this happens, you’ll probably get a burning pain in your chest, known as heartburn. Should this occur more than twice a week, chances are you’ve got acid reflux disease.

One of the main reasons the valve isn’t working properly is because of a hiatal hernia. The hernia means your stomach and its valve have shifted above the diaphragm. As a muscle which separates the stomach from the chest, the diaphragm usually helps keep acid in your stomach where it belongs. But, if things get out of place, then you get acid reflux– not fun!

Other factors that contribute to acid reflux can include being obese, eating certain spicy/fatty foods like tomatoes, garlic, and chocolate, as well as smoking, pregnancy, or taking muscle relaxers.

How do you know if you’ve got acid reflux? Besides heartburn, you may have a sour/bitter taste in your mouth from the acid regurgitating. Burping, bloating, hiccups, nausea, and a feeling of food being stuck in your throat are also symptoms.

Ways to combat acid reflux include wearing non-tight clothing, not eating at least three hours before lying down, and eating slower, smaller meals during the day, choosing foods that don’t agitate you.

Consider making an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic if acid reflux is bothering you. The chiropractor can use hand manipulation to relieve your chest pain. Furthermore, the doctor can use gentle tissue manipulation to pull your stomach back down below the diaphragm where it belongs. This, in turn, lets the valve close as intended. In other words, the hiatal hernia can be corrected so that things are back in their normal place in the body.

Call 651-464-0800 to schedule an appointment at Lakewoods Chiropractic in Forest Lake, MN, if you want to alleviate the problems associated with acid reflux disease.

High Blood Pressure

Posted by on 5:40 pm in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is when the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels is consistently too high. It’d be like trying to force a whole lot of liquid through thin tubes quickly and forcefully– the tubes can’t handle that for a prolonged amount of time, right? Eventually, they burst!

Right now oxygenated blood is running through your body’s circulatory system. Your heart is beating, creating pressure that pushes blood through a network of vessels. High blood pressure puts stress on your heart and your blood vessels– they cannot work as well when this happens.

How do you get high blood pressure? Factors include your family history, as well as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and obesity.

What does high blood pressure often lead to? Well, it can cause strokes, heart attacks, heart failure or kidney disease. Not good, right?

For the record, if you get your blood pressure measured, it’s high if it’s greater than 140/90 for those under age 60 or greater than 150/90 for those over age 60.

In order to lower your blood pressure, you could take drugs, of which there are several. Many people have been put on beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and other medications. You can also take a more natural approach, by eating a healthier diet, losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking/alcohol, and reducing the amount of sodium in your overall diet.

Chiropractors can help those with high blood pressure by offering adjustments. For example, an adjustment to the C-1 vertebra, which holds up the head, can work wonders for affecting blood flow in the arteries at the base of the skull. If this vertebra is misaligned, the arteries contract. That’s not good. So a chiropractor aligning this vertebra allows for blood to flow better throughout the arteries. Chiropractic care essentially takes away the stress on the body’s pathways so that blood flows at an appropriate pressure.

Need help managing your high blood pressure with the intent to lower it? Call Dr. Gerard’s chiropractic office in Forest Lake at 651-464-0800 to make an appointment today.

Bed Rest is Bad for your Back Pain!

Posted by on 12:13 am in Blog, Chiropractic, Forest Lake Chiro | 0 comments

Drama queens love milking their back pain for everything it’s worth. “Stuck” in bed, they’ll ask their significant other to wait on them hand-and-foot. But is bed the best place for those with a bad back?
Conventional wisdom has had us all thinking, “Well, if I have lower back pain, then I should just stay in bed and rest.” Conventional wisdom, however, was/is wrong about this. It turns out that bed rest is not good for back pain.

Research has been done on this topic, and groups like the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Pain Society (APS) agree that people with lower back pain should stay active rather than resting in bed.

Our bodies were designed for movement and activity. Imagine if you stayed in bed the rest of your life– it wouldn’t be a pretty picture, right? Indeed, our bodies need to move and stay active in order to be healthy and in good condition.

If and when we rest “too long,” our muscles get stiff. They weaken. Ligaments and tendons lose flexibility. Meanwhile, our intervertebral discs can become dry and therefore less flexible, too.

All this is to say that those with lower back pain should not become idle. Instead, they should stay as active as possible despite their “bad back.”

Three things to consider doing when you have back pain include any activities that help strengthen your core, any stretches that help your flexibility, and any low-impact aerobic exercise.

If your back pain is so bad that you feel you can’t move, of course you can rest a little while. That said, don’t rest too long or you could become psychologically depressed and prolong your back pain. It’s important to get up, get moving, and determine in your mind that despite some hurting, you’re going to survive your lower back pain.

People with back pain often utilize hot or cold packs to relieve their suffering. They may also take non-prescription analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (such as Advil) or naproxen (such as Aleve). Better yet, instead of relying on drugs to relieve the pain, consider making an appointment with Lakewoods Chiropractic to deal with your lower back pain. Relief through chiropractic care helps many a bad back. Schedule your appointment today by calling 651-464-0800.