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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.

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.