Saturday, September 27, 2008

Your eyes will get stuck that way!

Our moms always told us not to crack our knuckles because it would cause arthritis. Well, that was just a creative way of them not having to hear the kids cracking their knuckles all the time. In fact, the opposite is actually true as far as joint health is concerned. A healthy joint should have movement in it. Lack of movement in a joint can lead to scar tissue and calcium build up which can cause osteoarthritis. Our spine is made up of many vertebrae which help protect our spinal cord. We have 7 vertebrae in the neck (cervical spine), 12 vertebrae in the upper back (thoracic spine), and 5 vertebrae in the low back (lumbar spine) . The joints that connect these vertebrae (facet/zygapophysial joints) are what allow our spine to move and twist. Sometimes, through injury, repetitive movement, bad posture, or general daily activities, a vertebrae can become stuck out of the normal position (known as a subluxation). Most of the time, this causes no pain or symptoms. However, it can cause a pinched nerve, muscle tightness, scar tissue, calcification, and can put pressure on the intervertebral disc. Therefore, by helping to correct the positioning of the vertebrae, it can help reduce the symptoms by addressing the problem...

Welcome to a chiropractic manipulation. You may also have heard it called a chiropractic adjustment or "crack". After finding the "subluxations" in your spine, a chiropractor then uses a gentle hands-on approach to help reposition the vertebrae and take pressure off of the surrounding nerves and soft tissue. Yes, it does make a "cracking" noise, but that is just gas bubbles being released from the normal fluid that allows your joints to move. Someone with arthritis in the spine usually doesn't get that "cracking" sound because the fluid and mobility in the joint has been lost. Keeping the joints healthy and mobile is very important to keeping your entire spine and you healthy!

BTW, feel free to continue to use the cracking the knuckles story with your kids, but just as cracking your knuckles is safe, so is chiropractic care for you and your kids!!

Here is a good link to let you get a good visual of the anatomy and function of the spine...

As always, I love to read comments, so please feel free to leave a comment, question, topic for another discussion, chiropractic experience, or just to say hello!

Happy Weekend!

Live well.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What to Expect...

In my last post, I gave you a general idea of why you would go to a chiropractic physician. Now, I want to let you know what to expect on your first visit. There are many different types of treatment styles used by chiropractic physicians, so my approach to a patient may be different from another chiropractor. When a new patient comes to my office, I spend a lot of time talking with them not only about the history and description of their present symptoms, but I also like to get information about about their general lifestyle as far as diet, sleep, stress, exercise, etc. Usually after talking with the patient, I have a pretty good idea of the different things that could be causing the symptoms. I then put the patient through a very non-invasive exam (looking at posture, orthopedic tests, muscle testing, reflexes, range of motion, etc.) to help determine the most likely cause of the symptoms and give a diagnosis. Getting the correct diagnosis is very important since we want to treat the cause (spinal disc, nerve, muscle, vertebrae, tendon, ligament, diet, etc.) and not the symptoms. A variety of therapies can then be used to help the patient start to fix the problem (chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, ultrasound, massage therapy, nutrition, diet modification, at-home exercises, etc.). If I feel the patient would not respond well to chiropractic care, I give them as many options as I feel necessary to help them find a way to fix the problem. Every patient's case is unique, so the treament approach to each person is based on how they will respond best!

Have a great week!!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Don't Hit the Snooze on that Alarm!!

If you have never had chiropractic treatment, but have always been curious about how it might help you...this and the next few blogs are just for you!
Chiropractic medicine is based on the principle of allowing the body to heal itself. Whether it's a headache, low back pain, neck pain, stomach aches, fatigue, numbness or tingling, or any other symptoms, we all experience discomfort from time to time. Sure we can take something for the pain and it might make us feel better, but what usually happens? The symptoms come back and we take something more for the pain! But what exactly is causing these symptoms? As much as we don't like having discomfort, these symptoms are our body's alarm system telling us that something is just not right. I am by no means downplaying the role and effectiveness of medications in fighting chronic disease, but I do feel that we, as a society, tend to turn to the quick fix without first considering all our options. That's where chiropractic medicine might be able to help you.

As chiropractic physicians, with a thorough consultation and examination, we try to determine the cause of the discomfort and then work with you to help fix the problem. I always tell new patients that I will do everything I can to help them get out of pain, but the ultimate goal is to keep the pain from coming back! A good analogy to this is having a leaky roof. You can put a bucket (medicine) under the leak (symptoms) and your floor isn't going to get wet (you feel better), but what about the big hole in your roof (cause of the symptoms)?!!

To be continued with discussion about chiropractic treatment, chiropractic myths vs. reality, and more fun stuff!

As always, please feel free to leave a comment and/or question and I will be sure to get back to you.

Live Well.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday's Top Ten!

With the popularity of organic foods these days, there is definitely mass marketing of organic products everywhere we go. In fact, I think I heard that Walmart is now the leading seller of organic goods in the US...which is a whole other story for another day! With all the new organic products and with the economy, a few people have made comments (make sure to read the comments for other info.) asking about the best things to buy organic. Obviously, the more you try to avoid chemicals, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics in your food and cleaning and personal care products, the less you are exposing yourself to things that can be potentially harmful to your health. But it can get expensive! If you go to the grocery store, you will notice all kinds of things that are "organic." I'm surprised they haven't come out with organic twinkies yet! An organic chocolate chip cookie is still a chocolate chip cookie, so still isn't healthy for you. Don't be fooled, organic doesn't necessarily equal good for you. That being said, here are some things that I think are most important to buy if possible...

1. Milk (Hormone and antibiotic free)
2. Eggs (Hormone and antibiotic free)
3. Cheese (Hormone and antibiotic free)
4. Chicken (Hormone and antibiotic free)
5. Fish (Wild, not Farmed)
6. Vegetables (Organic, Local, and/or pesticide and chemical free)
7. Fruits (Organic, Local, and/or pesticide and chemical free)
8. Sea Salt instead of regular table salt
9. Olive Oil instead of vegetable or canola oil
10. Stevia instead of sugar or artificial sweetners

I realize this is still a long list, so just choose a few things off of it that you use the most. I hope this helps.

For those of you who have never been to a chiropractor, in my next blog, I will talk a little bit about chiropractic and how it can help.

As always, feel free to post a comment and I will do my best to reply. You can also e-mail me at or visit our website at

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Food for Thought

Today, I went over to our vegetable garden at a plot that we rented from the village to pick some of our tomatoes and beans. Many towns offer plots for rent for the year that you can use for anything that you would like to grow or you can just pick a spot in your yard to grow some vegetables and herbs. This is the first year that Dawn and I did this and it was a great experience. We really knew nothing about planting vegetables before this year, so we kind of just winged it. There are 80 plots for rent and we randomly chose one that just so happened to have a gigantic oak tree on the side of it. I guess that's why it was still available. So, it definitely wasn't the best location as far as sun goes.

We planted lettuce, tomatoes, beans, carrots, broccoli, and cucumbers. We went to a farmer's market in Madison, WI at the beginning of the year and got 4 types of small starter organic lettuce plants and 4 types of small starter organic tomato plants and a starter organic broccoli plant. We used organic seeds for the other vegetables. We didn't use any pesticides and we probably didn't get over to the plot as much as we should, but the garden still did pretty well. I think the plots around us probably thought we were just growing weeds because they sure do grow fast, but it was nice not using chemicals. Our lettuce, tomatoes, and beans all grew great and we were able to eat a lot of them. The broccoli and cucumbers didn't grow and our carrots are still growing. So, although we had a shady plot, hardly weeded, didn't water as much as we should have, and didn't use pesticides or chemicals, we were still able to eat a lot of great veggies. The point of the story is that a vegetable garden is a great way to have your own fresh, inexpensive vegetables and you can put in as little or as much time and effort as you would like. If you don't have the space or availability to grow a vegetable garden, you can grow herbs in a pot or visit your local farmer's market!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Simple Grocery Changes

Dawn and I really like going grocery shopping together because we like to find new things to create for meals...and try the free samples at Trader Joe's of course. We love Trader Joe's! It has unique items and a great selection of organic and healthy foods. I realize that with our economy right now and the prices of food, buying organic foods might sound unrealistic. However, if you could make just a few changes to your grocery list, it could make a big difference in your overall health and not hurt your pocket book too much.

The two easiest things that you can do is to start buying hormone-free and antibiotic-free milk and eggs. There are non-organic options that are hormone and antibiotic free, which are also good. Just read the label and it will specifically state this. The problem with the hormones that are used in the production of regular eggs and milk is that it mimics our own hormones especially estrogen in women. This creates a false increase in estrogen in the body. Some problems that have been shown to develop from an increase in estrogen in women are irregular periods, endometriosis, infertility, ovarian cysts, and others. I am not saying that just by eating eggs and milk that are not hormone-free, you will develop these problems. However, eggs and milk are probably 2 of the most common things that most of us eat, so just changing these is a great start!
Some other things that can be found at Trader Joe's:

Organic fruits and vegetables
Organic frozen strawberries and strawberries (used in our smoothies)
Hormone and antibiotic free chicken
Organic flax seed oil (great source of omega 3 fatty acids)
Organic aloe vera juice (helps aid with digestion)
Organic apple cider vinegar (good for digestion)

Doc Nate

Friday, September 5, 2008

September Special

I was looking forward to coming home and enjoying a Friday night watching the Cubs. However, considering they are down 9-0 and are on a 5 game losing streak, I don't like that idea anymore. Hopefully they can turn it around fast!

You may have noticed the "September Special" on our website for the detoxification program. Patients ask me all the time about different detox programs and/or diets. Anything from fasting to the lemonade diet to the watermelon diet or whatever the newest fad diet. All of those things may help you in the short term to lose weight, but they are not realistic approaches to healthy long-term eating. The thing that I really like about the detox program that we offer is that it gets back to the basics of how we should be eating. It focuses on fruits, vegetables, and lean meats (chicken and fish) and over the course of 21 days shows you that you don't need all the other "junk." Our society is so fast paced now, so we are always looking for the quick options. Unfortunately, those options are usually not healthy. They are usually made with partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and/or sugars and corn syrups. I'll talk more later why these are not good for us and more about healthy eating options.

Doc Nate

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hello Blog World

Well, I really know nothing about blogging, but I stumbled on this site and decided to give this a try. I have a lot of patients that ask me a lot of good questions at the office. Sometimes I can answer them and sometimes I have to get back to them, but I always wish that I could share the information with more people. So here we go! I plan to use this as a health forum for various questions and answers, ongoing chat about a certain topic, health tidbits, and just ideas on how to live a healthier and better life! Or if you would rather just talk sports, we can do that also! This may or may not be effective, but let's give it a shot! So, if anyone has any questions or topics they want to talk about, please make a post and we'll get this blogging thing going. I will do my best to check back everyday! Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon!

Doc Nate