To keep your back as safe as possible during your vacation travels, here are a few simple tips:
- WATER: Drink a few ounces every hour and avoid caffeine. Water hydrates you, especially your muscles which are approximately 60% water. Keeping your muscles hydrated will decrease stiffness and spasms. This is especially important when flying, because the pressurization in a plane tends to be very drying.
- EXERCISE: When driving, try to get out of the car to walk around and stretch every hour for as little as two minutes. Go to a rest stop or parking lot and walk around your car, use the rest room or do a few leg and chest stretches. If flying, get up and stand in the aisle every hour. You can also perform some exercises while confined to your seat. Seated pelvic tilts, leg lifts, chest stretches, shoulder blade retraction and range of motion of your ankles are not only helpful for your back, but they also decrease the chance of forming blood clots while sitting too long. If you have a history of clots or are over 50 years of age, be sure to wear compression hose or supportive stockings. This will also help to keep the blood from pooling at your feet and ankles, thereby decreasing the possibility of clotting. For those with a history of back problems, lay over flights may be a better option, forcing you to get up and move around more frequently.
- SUPPLIES: Keep a large zip lock freezer bag to add ice to while at the airport or a drive through. This tends to be especially helpful to prevent flare ups or in the event that you feel a twinge while packing the car of lifting your carry on. Sitting with the ice pack behind your back for 10 minutes every half hour, can greatly diminish inflammation and swelling. Patients tend to prefer the feeling of heat on their back, however I strongly recommend ice over heat. Heat increases blood flow which can increase inflammation and swelling. It is also very dehydrating which leads to tightness and spasms. Although they might keep you warm in the winter months, keep the seat warmers off while traveling. If you have a history of back problems, consider traveling with a TENS unit. This portable, hand held, “electric stimulation” machine, runs on a battery and is applied with stickers to the area of pain. It is allowed through airport security in checked luggage. Do not use while driving unless you are the passenger. If you move around too much, the stickers can become unstuck, causing a shock with driving. We sell high quality, dual lead units that can be purchased through your flex spending and insurance reimbursement funds. Lumbar braces are also extremely helpful to prevent flare ups while packing the car or carrying luggage.
- MEDICATION: If all else fails and you end up with a twinge, have anti-inflammatory medication handy. Over the counter ibuprofen or Aleve are the most common medications. Natural options are terrific for both prevention and treatment. I suggest cold water fish oil at 2,000-4,000 mg per day (Metagenics and Standard Process are my favorites for quality and strength). Boswellia is a great herbal option for immediate relief. Consider using foods such as lemons, garlic, ginger, curcumin and turmeric. They have natural anti-inflammatory properties to assist with inflammation as well.
Grocery stores and farmer’s markets are exploding this time of year with an abundance of fresh, colorful vegetables. Take advantage of all that flavor with this simple recipe. You can easily customize it according to taste, allergies and what looks particularly good at the store.
Clean, peel and chop your favorite variety of vegetables. For the most flavor and nutrition, try a combination of colors. Broccoli, pea pods, sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, asparagus, squash, green beans, red onion and mushrooms….all of these work wonderfully. Toss in a couple tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil along with any combination of seasonings. I like a few drops of soy sauce with fresh ground pepper, garlic, oregano and thyme. For added texture and protein, try adding a handful of cashews, walnuts or chopped firm tofu. Place a cup of the mixture in the center of a 12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper on all sides, to make a 4-inch square. Be sure to make multiple folds, so the pocket stays closed. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your veggies.
This is an easy addition to your summer dinner party, since you can assemble the pockets ahead of time and just pop them in the oven when guests arrive. If you are creative, fold the parchment in different shapes for added fun.
The oil from cold water fish is very high in omega 3 essential fatty acids. Omega 3s are the “good fats” that keep our blood vessels and tendons elastic, decrease inflammation and prevent blockages in the heart and brain. Omega 3s contain EPAs and DHAs. EPAs are best when used as anti-inflammatories and DHAs are best for brain health, especially improving memory and attention deficit disorders. Omega 3s are also found in oils such as flax, walnut and hemp, however, fish oils are the only omega 3s that also work as natural anti-inflammatories. As a chiropractor, fish oil is the form of omega 3s that I strongly recommend. For quality, as well as potency, I recommend both Metagenics EPA-DHA 500, as well as Standard Process Tuna Omega 3 (which also comes in a rather pleasant chewable form). I suggest 2,000mg-4,000mg per day. Fish oils are not to be used by patients on prescription blood thinners, because it decreases blood clotting and can conflict with your medication.
I am not a fan of most over the counter fish oils. The common, mass produced brands are typically from farm raised, factory fish houses. This is where thousands of fish are raised in very small tanks. To keep the fish from becoming diseased in these cramped quarters, the water is treated with multiple chemicals, antibiotics and fungicides. Oils trap toxins and the unused oils in our bodies, as well as the bodies of animals, get stored as fat. Eating farm raised fish, and especially using the oils, is very toxic and potentially harmful to our nervous system.
Dr. Cathy is currently enrolled at the Cincinnati Yoga School and will be nationally certified as a yoga and meditation instructor in September. This has been an amazing adventure as she has personally experienced the numerous benefits of yoga. Many patients have stress as the root to their physical symptoms. Taking a short break each day to focus on alleviating this stress can be tremendously healing. By combining her experience and knowledge from her years as a chiropractor, with her experience and knowledge of yoga, she will specialize in “therapeutic yoga”. Yoga can be easily modified to meet an individual’s needs, so it is perfect for older patients or anyone with any physical limitations such as arthritis, joint replacements, balance difficulties, etc. Dr. Cathy will be offering a variety of therapeutic yoga classes in the community. Please inquire in the office for individual or group classes.
Thank you for 25 amazing years!
We hear it all the time…”time flies when you’re having fun”. Well, I have obviously been having a blast! I am baffled and amazed that I have been in practice for 25 years this July. I vividly remember receiving my job offer when I was in training in New Orleans. I immediately called my parents in Chicago to ask their permission to take this opportunity in Florence, Kentucky. I accepted the position, believing that it would only be for one year. It was meant to get my toes wet and learn how to run a practice, something not taught in school, before returning to my hometown. In truth, I ended up falling in love with the warmth and beauty of Northern Kentucky, the arts and dining of Cincinnati and most importantly, you all….or, as the water tower says, ya’ll. One of my favorite memories is my first Christmas here. It was a mixture of homesickness and awe at the never ending amounts of cards, cookies and gifts that I received from patients. It was then that I knew I had found a new home and my toes were more than wet, they were sunk in the Ohio River. Regardless of how homesick I was, you, my patients and staff, became my family. There obviously have been challenges along the way, especially with the ever changing insurance rules and regulations, but I still love to walk in the doors of my office every single day. That in and of itself, is an incredible feeling. I appreciate the opportunity to help you and I know what an amazing honor it is. To say “thank you” seems so little, but I hope you know how deep those words run. I am truly grateful and look forward to another year ahead.
Our adrenals are little glands that sit on top of our kidneys. Their main function is to help produce and balance hormones, control inflammation and regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. When these glands are not working optimally, our hormones (primarily estrogen, testosterone, cortisol and melatonin) become out of control and negatively affect our stress level, sleep cycle, weight and pain response. How do we ensure proper functioning of these glands? Practicing relaxation and stress control techniques along with eating a healthy, supportive diet is helpful. Unfortunately, this is not easily attainable for many of us living in this modern world. Nutritional support with specific vitamins, herbs and glandular products can be extremely beneficial and much more “doable” in combination with lifestyle modifications. Choosing the proper adrenal support supplements can be a little more tricky. If our adrenal glands are stressed and overworking, certain supplements will help to calm them down and begin producing properly again. However, when the glands have been overworking for long periods of time due to long term stress, these glands can crash and burn and become deficient. At this time, we need supplements to help jump start the glands and wake them up to function again. Thankfully, there are simple ways that nutritionally trained experts can help with this determination. Salivary testing several times a day, certain patterns that patients report and even our body temperature can give accurate clues for those trained in nutrition and natural healing. This testing is offered in our office, so please don’t hesitate to ask for more details. The proper working of these glands can truly unlock the door to better health and stress control.
These delicious little bites are the perfect healthy snack!
- 1 cup dry old-fashioned oats
- 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup ground flax seed
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
- 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
- Once chilled, roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Yields about 2 dozen energy bites.
No Bake Energy Bites are a great grab-and-go snack for the busy summer months ahead.
Meditation is such an important part of a balanced life. Since it requires no equipment and just a little time, anyone can do it. In a matter of moments, meditation can change your breathing, lower your blood pressure and relieve both mental and physical tension. Meditation is not a religious practice, nor is it just quiet time, when we sit and review the difficulties of the day. Meditation is simply a method of relaxation, focusing on “nothingness”.
Here are some steps I recommend for successful meditation.
- Find a quiet corner in your home and ask to not be disturbed for a period of 5-20 minutes.
- Eliminate outside noise and keep the ringer off your phone. I prefer complete silence for meditation, but some people prefer soft, instrumental music. Find what works best for you.
- Using a small pillow, sit cross legged on the floor. If this is too difficult, sit in a chair.
- Practice great posture and keep your spine tall to allow your lungs to expand.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in. Fill your entire lungs. Hold for a few seconds and slowly exhale. Repeat slowly for a few moments. Don’t breathe too fast or you will become lightheaded.
- You will be amazed at how difficult it is to keep your mind “empty”. Concentrate on your breathing to keep your mind from other thoughts. As you get comfortable with your breathing, however, you will notice your mind start to wander. Most of us will start thinking about our “to do” list or a stressful situation. When this happens, gently stop the thought and focus again on your breathing. If your mind continues to wander, try repeating a peaceful word. Another way to keep your mind “empty” is with your eyes closed, focus on the space between your eyes.
Some people choose to meditate in the morning, so they start the day calm and balanced. Others prefer to meditate at the end of the evening as a wind down in preparation for a good sleep. There is no “best time”, only the time that is best for you. Give meditation a try and see the benefits for yourself.