Archive for General Health
Professionals who are Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists (CSCSs) train athletes with the main goal of improving their athletic performance. To accomplish this, CSCSs apply scientific knowledge; carry out sport-specific testing, and they design safe and effective conditioning and strength plans for their clients. They also assist with injury prevention and proper nutrition. CSCSs also collaborate with and refer to professionals in other disciplines as needed, such as exercise physiologists, kinesiologists, personal trainers, chiropractors and physicians in order to optimize the program and results for their clients. CSCSs work with sports teams and individuals. In 1985, the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist program was developed in order to recognize individuals who have the knowledge and skills to create effective and safe training programs for athletes. The goal of the program is to raise the standard of quality in strength and conditioning training by ensuring a higher level of competence among CSCSs. There are now over 21,000 CSCSs. Chiropractors are among those professionals who hold this credential. Chiropractic doctors often work with athletes and are experts in the skeletal system, which combines well with the skills and knowledge gained in the CSCS program. Other professionals who commonly pursue the certification include elite athletes, athletic trainers, strength coaches, physical therapists, personal trainers, educators and researchers. Professionals with the certification usually offer services related to health and wellness, strength training, sports conditioning, endurance training, and weight loss. Those who wish to obtain the certification must have attained at least a bachelor’s degree or a degree in chiropractic medicine from an accredited institution. They must also have current CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and Automatic External Defibrillator certification. Receiving the certification involves taking an examination, which is offered several times a year in locations all over the US and in other countries. Once certified, CSCSs must maintain their specialist certification by staying current with evolving skills and knowledge in the fields of strength and conditioning. They maintain their certification by completing a certain number of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) each year, and submitting them to the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NCSA) for approval. Continuing education can be acquired by attending conferences, clinics, symposia, seminars, or workshops. Additional university work in the field, publication of articles in respected journals, and home study can also provide CEUs.
References NCSA Certification. Available at: http://www.nsca-cc.org/cscs/about.html. Sports Conditioning Services: http://www.sportsperformancecentres.com/fitness-services.html
Stretching is the part of our workout regimen many of us tend to skip. We might say it is because of lack of time, impatience or a feeling that stretching is “pointless.” However it is important that our joints are able to move in various directions with a certain degree of freedom. As our bodies age, we become stiffer and lose the flexibility we had when we were young. Chances are unless you’re a dancer or a gymnast, you’ll have lost that fluid flexibility you had as a child even in your twenties. However, it is never too late to regain enough flexibility to remain youthful and limber by training through stretching. Proper stretching allows us to continue doing our daily tasks into old age, such as reaching that high shelf, bending to pick up a dropped object, or accessing that hidden switch behind an awkward kitchen cabinet.
One reason it’s really important to stretch before working out is that we are likely to use muscles and tendons that are normally inactive. Without flexibility to those muscles, the risk of injury or of tearing those muscles and tendons when used, is higher. If stretching is done correctly before working out, it’s a good prevention against injury, and can also be used to treat injuries as well. Finally, when done properly, stretching simply feels good. It can be a great way to gently start the day or to wind down after work. Preparing the body for exercise by warming up the muscles by stretching is easy and need not take up much of your time. This will increase the blood flow to your muscles and loosen them up allowing you to exercise without having to worry about injury or being overly sore the next day. Simply warm up the various muscle groups with slow stretches of the joints towards the end of their range of motion; this should cause the feeling of a gentle “pull” being felt in the muscles. Hold the position for up to half a minute and then alternate side or muscle groups.
Not only does stretching prevent injury, but it also improves the mechanical efficiency of your body. Stretching prior to exercise means the muscles are stretched and warmed up, allowing them to undergo the full range of motion with less effort when exercising – this means the body’s overall performance is improved. Other added benefits to stretching include improved circulation to the muscles and joints, alleviating the pains felt post-workout, and stretching can also help to improve your posture. If you find at the end of the day stiff and achy from sitting at a desk all day – try stretching. You might find that you’ll feel instantly better. Regular stretching in your shoulders and neck may help you to maintain a better posture. As a result, this may help to prevent the onset of lower back pain.
References Used:  http://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/exercise/incorporating-stretching-your-exercise-routine Accessed October 2011  http://www.healthnewengland.com/newsletters/LivingWell/LW/Livewell13.pdf Accessed October 2011
Some of us feel that sleep is a luxury. Demanding jobs mean getting up early, and for some of us going to bed early feels like you’ve lost the day, so we compensate by sleeping less. But is that good enough? The oft-cited optimal level of sleep for an adult is the magic eight hours. However, individuals vary in their sleep needs from as little as five hours to as much as ten hours per night. Feeling drowsy during the day might mean you’re not getting enough winks, so how can you tell if you’re sleeping too much or too little?
A recent study conducted at the University of Westminster has concluded that there are people who are at their best and who are ready for action first thing in the morning, and another group who just cannot do mornings well. This may seem obvious, but why are some people early birds, and others night owls? The group who were awake early in the morning was found to have higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, than those who prefer to sleep in. The results of this study indicate that there may be a physiological difference between early risers and late sleepers. The difference in cortisol levels may also contribute to different temperaments between the different sleep groups.
Those who awaken early in the morning, tend to be busier and more concentrated, but are also angrier and have less energy at the end of the day than their late-rising counterparts. In late-riser group, people are more likely to be relaxed and less busy. Cortisol is a hormone known to affect both mood and concentration. While it’s hard to specify an ideal time to get up in the morning, if you’re feeling stressed there is an increased chance you’ll feel better if you add an extra half an hour of sleep to your night. What about the effects of sleep deprivation? It is well known that sleep deprivation can be dangerous, especially if you are driving or using heavy machinery. The effect on driving may be as dangerous as driving under the influence. Not sleeping enough can also suppress your immune system and increases your perception of pain. Most scientists believe eight hours of sleep is a safe amount and is enough to function comfortably.
If you’re alert during the day, then chances are you’re sleeping enough. However if you feel a dip during the day, then even a 10- or 15-minute nap can make a big difference in your concentration and performance. If you can’t get enough sleep on a certain day, you can always make it up afterwards. Sleep longer by going to bed earlier, sleep in on the weekend or even take a nap to help to replenish the sleep debt left. In general, however, try to have a regular sleep schedule to keep your body as rested and ready-to-go as possible.
References: Clow A, Hucklebridge F, Stalder T, Evans P, Thorn L. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2010 Sep;35(1):97-103. Epub 2009 Dec 22. Sleep Requirements. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-requirements Getting Enough Sleep. Available at: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/womenshealth/features/gettingenoughsleep.htm
Water is the elixir of life, but do we get enough of it? Many people think that substituting sodas, coffee and juice for water is enough to keep us hydrated and healthy, but nothing can beat the original and the best – water. Our bodies are made up of 43-75% water, and it’s an essential component of our health. The wide range in percentages comes from measuring different populations ranging from newborns (~75%) to obese people (~45%), with normal adult hydration at about 57-60%. We can survive a month without food, but we’ll die after a week without water. The body is able to absorb many nutrients and salts better thanks to water’s ability to transport these nutrients and oxygen to our body’s cells and organs. Detoxifying is vitally important to our health, since it cleans our bodies of impurities. The best way to excrete these impurities is through urine and sweat – both of which depend on our water intake. Upping your water intake may help to reduce the risk of kidney stone formation. The kidneys filter our waste products through the blood and out via urination. If the concentration of salt in our urine is high, and our water content low, this increases the risk of kidney stone formation. By drinking more water, this concentration of salts is reduced. We are at risk of sunstroke if our bodies become dehydrated. When we sweat, this cools our body down.
If dehydrated, the body cannot sweat and overheats, which can damage the body’s internal organs. If you suffer from high blood pressure, maybe it’s your water intake that is the problem. When our bodies excrete and lose more than the optimal amount of liquid, our blood vessels constrict, which can cause our blood pressure to increase. If blood pressure is increased by a deficiency in water, this may also increase the risk of heart disease. Because the constricted blood vessels cause an increase in blood pressure, the heart works harder to compensate for the reduced volume of blood. Lower blood pressure and greater consumption of water help lower stress on the heart. What’s more, drinking more water can help you stay younger looking. Drinking a lot of water helps keep the skin clean and fresh-looking by removing impurities through sweating. Water also helps to keep the skin hydrated, which means younger looking skin – sagging and wrinkled skin is usually a sign of dehydration. Drinking water also cuts hunger pangs and acts as a good filler. Water has zero calories, so consider trading in your sugary drinks and juices to help control your weight. If increasing your water intake seems like a chore, why not add lemon or mint to your bottle to make it taste better? Eat more fruits rich in water such as watermelon, and try to drink water more regularly over the course of the day. Having a glass of water or water bottle near you during the day has been shown to increase water consumption without effort.
References Used  http://www.jbc.org/content/203/1/359.full.pdf Accessed October 2011  http://thetaoofgoodhealth.com/10-health-reasons-why-you-should-drink-more-water-4/ Accessed October 2011  http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/generalhealth/ghea5288.html Accessed 2011
Migraine sufferers have to endure a pain that is recurring, severe and can last up to 72 hours. Warning signs such as an “aura”, which is a type of visual disturbance, and nausea, sometimes accompany migraines. Many sufferers find that conventional medicine and prescription drugs offer little relief from their condition, and many are turning to alternatives methods of treatment in order to manage the pain. One such alternative is chiropractic treatment. A holistic approach to pain relief, chiropractic treatment focuses on aiding numerous health issues through massage, spinal manipulation and adjustment of the body’s soft tissues and joints, predominantly in the back. But is it effective against migraines?
In February 2000, a study published by Dr. Tuchin et al.  cited the possible benefits of chiropractic treatment in alleviating or easing both the pain and frequency of recurring migraines. The study used a sample of 127 migraine patients, all of whom suffered from at least one migraine per month; this sample was divided into two groups – one control group who received inactive treatment, while the other group received chiropractic treatment, focusing on aligning and treating specific areas of vertebral swelling and misalignment. The study concluded that those who received chiropractic treatment experienced subsequent improvement in the duration of the study, showing reduced pain and frequency of their migraines within two months of treatment. The latter group also reported a decline in the need of migraine medications. Further results from the same study found that one in five sufferers from the chiropractic treatment group had a 90% reduction of migraine frequency, while 50% found significant improvement in the severity of their migraines. Recent studies conducted by R. Bryans et al. published in 2011 , concluded that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, were found to improve both cerviocogenic headaches as well as migraines.
A systematic literature search on controlled clinical trials on the topic of migraines and headaches involving chiropractic treatment, published through August 2009, was conducted using a selection of medical and alternative therapy databases. Research found that chiropractic treatments such as spinal manipulation and massage could significantly help patients who suffer from chronic or episodic migraines, whereas sufferers of tension-type headaches did not respond to such treatment. While using alternative methods of treatment such as chiropractic care can help sufferers to gain more control over their migraines, it should be treated as another form of support or extra help, instead of completely overlooking conventional medical care.
 P.J. Tuchin, H. Pollard, R. Bonello, A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for Migraine. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb. 2000: Vol. 23, No. 2, pp91-95. R. Bryans et al., J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jun;34(5):274-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008.
Functional medicine is an individualized, holistic approach to healthcare based on prevention and identification of the underlying causes of disease, rather than on symptoms. Functional medicine is based on the following principles:
• Every patient has a unique biochemical profile. While we all share certain biochemical processes, there are significant individual variations in our metabolic functioning due to genetics and environment.
• The focus is on patient care rather than disease care.
• There is a web of interconnections between physiological factors. Our biological systems function more like a network than like individual, autonomous processes. We now know that every organ and system can affect every other organ and system in the network, so the whole person needs to be treated rather than only the diseased part.
• Good health is more than the absence of disease. Conventional medicine compartmentalizes the body into specialties, such as cardiology, rheumatology, dermatology, and digestive disorders.
Functional medicine sees the body as an integrated system rather than a collection of independent organs. The approach uses principles of systems biology, which involve analyzing how all components of human biology interact with each other and with the environment. Imbalances in environmental inputs and physiological processes can cause the signs and symptoms of disease. Environmental inputs include diet, exercise, air quality, water quality, and trauma. Physiological processes include cell-cell communication, transformation of food into energy; cell, organ and system replication, repair and maintenance; elimination of waste; defenses, transport and circulation. Malfunctions in these systems can affect all other systems in the body, and may cause imbalances in hormonal function, cell replication, immune response, inflammatory response, digestion, and structural integrity.
Practitioners of functional medicine focus on the core imbalances that underlie medical conditions. Their goal is to intervene at multiple levels in order to restore balance, manage complex chronic disease, and return patients to good health. Most medical conditions are complex and don’t necessarily fall into simple, easy-to-treat categories. For example, digestive disorders often involve inflammation, immune response, digestive system function, psychological issues, and energy transformation issues. Each practitioner uses the patient’s unique physiological, mental, and emotional story as the basis for diagnosing illness.
A comprehensive and individualized treatment approach is then devised to improve the patient’s physiological function and environmental inputs, rather than focusing simply on symptom relief. Treatment may include typical medical approaches such as genetics, endocrinology, gastroenterology, psychology and immunology, as well as non-mainstream treatments and drugs such as homeopathy, orthomolecular medicine and detoxification. Rather than simply diagnose a condition and prescribe a pill for symptom relief, a functional medicine specialist will search for the root cause of disease and provide a multi-pronged approach to restoring balance and, ultimately, good patient health.
Do you know the difference between high glycemic foods and low glycemic foods? If you’ve ever felt light-headed or shaky (and very hungry) a few hours after eating certain foods, then you’ve experienced the “roller-coaster ride” of high glycemic foods. You’ve probably noticed that all foods don’t have this effect on you, and those that don’t are most likely low glycemic foods. The Glycemic Index or GI is a scale that ranks high-carbohydrate foods according to how much they raise your blood glucose levels after eating. The GI ranges from 0 to 100. Foods with a high GI are digested quickly and cause a significant spike in our blood sugar levels. This increase in blood sugar causes a corresponding increase in insulin to bring those sugar levels back down. Low glycemic foods have less of an impact on your body because they are digested and absorbed more slowly, so you need less insulin to control your blood sugar levels. When sugar and insulin aren’t spiking, you won’t get that light-headed or weak feeling. You just feel normal. There are many more advantages to choosing a low glycemic diet.
Low glycemic foods are beneficial to our health because controlling blood sugar and insulin levels is one of the keys to reducing our risk of heart disease and diabetes. Low GI diets are also useful for controlling our appetite and aiding in weight loss. When our blood sugar levels are maintained relatively stable, our bodies perform better. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health demonstrated that high GI diets are strongly linked to an increase in the risk of Type II diabetes and heart disease. The World Health Organization recommends that people in developed countries eat as many low-GI foods as possible, to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. A hundred years ago, our foods simply took longer to digest. They came straight from the farm to our table, in its natural state, containing the original fiber and other natural components they were grown with. Modern food processing practices have stripped our food of many of its natural properties, making it easy to package and store, and extremely quick to digest. And the faster we digest the food, the quicker we get hungry again. This is the “roller coaster” that happens when we consume too many high GI foods.
High glycemic index foods may give you a burst of energy, but this is followed by a “crash” as the insulin takes the blood sugar back down and you feel hungry again. To make things worse, these insulin spikes turn all that excess blood sugar into fat, which is usually stored right around the abdomen. On the other hand, when we consume low glycemic foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, the rise in blood sugar is slower and more sustained over time. That means you feel fuller longer and are less tempted to eat again so soon. Our energy levels are maintained throughout the day, which not only provides health benefits but also makes us feel better, because we’re not on that up and down cycle from morning to night. If you would like to increase your consumption of low glycemic foods, here are some suggestions.
Eat less of the following:
• Avoid sugary snacks, especially those made with refined sugar. Not only are they high GI foods, they are mostly empty calories.
• Many salad dressings are very high GI foods. • While potatoes are nutritious, especially with their skins intact, they are also very high GI foods.
Eat more of the following:
• Fruits and vegetables in their natural state, preferably organic. Many commercially grown fruits and vegetables have a higher sugar content than organic. Commercially grown foods also have added chemicals and pesticides.
• Eat foods with lots of fiber, which tends to lower the glycemic index of everything you eat.
• Choose breakfast cereals with whole grain barley, bran, and oats. Interestingly, the cooking method can affect the GI rating of a food. For example, boiled potatoes are rated an 81 on the glycemic index, while baked potatoes rate as 119 and mashed potatoes 104.
However, rather than obsess about individual GI food ratings, remember that the most important goal is to have a low glycemic diet overall. Eating the occasional high GI food is OK, especially if you also eat a low glycemic food along with it. Try to focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet including a wide variety of whole, natural, and fresh foods. By doing so, you won’t even have to consult the GI scale, because you’ll be eating a relatively low glycemic diet and gaining all the benefits described here.
With summer at an end, the leaves are turning brown and falling, cluttering up your yard and garden – so it’s only natural you’ll want to get the rake out. However, as with all physical tasks about the house and garden, it is very important you take the necessary precautions against accident and injury. Fall yard work, leaf raking and other outdoor maintenance activities carry numerous risks such as: upper and lower back strain, neck strain and shoulder pain. Just like with sports, if your body isn’t prepared for physical activity this can increase your chances of injury. You can avoid straining yourself by taking simple precautions, such as: doing warm ups, stretches and maintaining good posture.
Athletes are able to reduce the risk of strain and injury by doing warm ups. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends 10-15 minutes of stretching exercises: from trunk rotations, side-bends and knee-to-chest pulls. When these are also combined with a short walk, which helps to stimulate circulation, and with additional stretches at the end, this prepares the body for manual labor associated with raking and yard work. While raking your garden or yard, good posture can also prevent back problems – make sure you keep your back straight and your head up. Use common sense while working: lift with your legs and bend with your knees, taking care you don’t strain your back while picking up bundles of leaves and grass. If you’re likely to carry heavy items, hold them close to your body to help prevent back strain. In order to take the pressure off your back, rake using the “scissors” stance: put your right foot forward and the left one back, then reverse after a few minutes. When using a lawn mower, try to use your body weight to move it as opposed to your arms and back.
It is vitally important to take breaks. Pace yourself, and whenever your body feels tired take a respite – this is particularly important if the weather is hot, so drink lots of water and wear sun-protection such as a hat, sun block and protective glasses. Investing in extra protective gear, such as gloves to prevent blisters, a mask if you’re prone to allergies and protective eyewear, can make life easier while taking on outdoor chores. Ergonomic tools with extra padding, larger or curved handles are less strenuous to use over a long-time period. Changing tasks regularly helps to prevent repetitive strain injury of certain muscle groups – change positions, or simply move onto another task for a short period of time before returning to the previous one. Make plans for your gardening tasks; make sure they’re realistic and unlikely to cause strain or exhaust you too much. If you’re unaccustomed to physical labor, chances are you will feel sore and stiff the next day – in this case, use ice to soothe the discomfort, but if there is no improvement in your aches and pains, then see a chiropractor.
You’ve probably heard that trans fats are bad for you. You may even be looking for them on product labels. But what about all the foods that don’t have nutrition labels on them, such as French fries or doughnuts? When it comes to these foods, trans fats may be hiding in plain sight. That’s why it is important for you to have a basic understanding of where you are most likely to encounter them. By knowing a little more about trans fats, you can make more informed food choices. Trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids, come from the hydrogenation of polyunsaturated oils and are used in place of healthier oils in many foods. Say what?
Unless you majored in chemistry, that probably makes zero sense to you, so allow me to explain. Naturally occurring vegetable oils – such as canola, sunflower, or corn oil – don’t contain any trans fats. People have to intentionally create trans fats. So if we know they are bad for our health, why do we do it? There are several reasons – all of which serve the needs of the food industry, not individuals.
• Increase the shelf life of products
• Make vegetable oils more suitable for repeat use in deep fryers
• Decrease product refrigeration requirements
• Are less expensive than butter or lard Have you ever noticed that butter is stocked in the refrigerated section of grocery stores, but packaged baked goods like muffins aren’t? Yet the muffins still resist spoiling.
Why? It’s because the kinds of pure vegetable oils and butter we cook with at home are often substituted with trans fats when foods are prepared on a commercial scale. The trans fats come from adding hydrogen atoms (partially hydrogenating) to unsaturated fats. This process raises the melting point of the fat – so that it will be more solid at room temperature and won’t require refrigeration to hold its shape. Up until 2006, food manufacturers were not required to list trans fats on product labels. Now the FDA requires food manufacturers to list the presence of trans fats. And although the FDA did not set any limits on the amounts of trans fats that are allowed to be present in our foods, they did say that it should be “as low as possible.
Experts believe that there are nearly 50,000 products on the market that contain trans fatty acids. While the term “trans fats” might not specifically appear on the nutrition label, you will see terms such as shortening and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. The closer to the top of the nutrition label these trans fats appear, the higher the percentage that are present. Consumer health groups have begun to pressure food manufacturers to remove trans fats from their products altogether. Some have gone so far as to file law suits demanding that a particular product be removed from the shelves unless trans fats are eliminated from the ingredients. While that battle is fought at the highest levels, individuals can take control of their own health by recognizing the types of food likely to contain high levels of trans fat. Stay on the lookout for trans fats in fried foods, in unrefrigerated baked goods and in snack foods such as cookies and crackers.
Bibliography Dietary Fats Explained MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 5, 2011, from MedlinePlus Health Information from the National Library of Medicine: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000104.htm Trans fat. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 5, 2011, from Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_fat Trans fat definition Cholesterol Information Produced by Doctors For Patients Experiencing High Cholesterol Levels. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 5, 2011, from MedTerms.com: http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11091
Good spinal health is built from the ground up, starting with the feet. For years medical researchers and healthcare providers have recognized that problems there can cause posture changes that eventually trigger a variety of musculoskeletal issues in other parts of the body (particularly the ankle, knee, hip and back). Studies have also shown that even slight foot problems can negatively affect athletes’ performance and predispose them to a broad range of sports-related injuries. What Are Orthotics and How Can They Help? Orthotics are shoe inserts that are specially designed and manufactured to correct an abnormal or irregular walking pattern by promoting proper alignment and balance. They’ve improved the quality of life for millions of people, and it’s become very common for physicians to recommend them to address many different patient needs:
• Reducing pain and/or fatigue
• Providing targeted foot support
• Relieving pressure or stress on an injured or sensitive area
• Preventing or limiting deformity • Improving foot positioning and function
• Restoring balance
• Reinforcing or supplementing other therapies (particularly chiropractic adjustments)
Foot orthotics are medical devices that can significantly change the way a person stands, walks and runs (and therefore the way his or her body absorbs and distributes related forces). For this reason, it’s important that the person wearing them clearly understand their benefits, risks and limitations. It’s also important that the person use them correctly. What Every Patient Should Know About Orthotics
1. There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer when it comes to orthotics. What works for another family member or neighbor will probably not work for you! Getting the right prescription for your particular needs is all about working effectively with your healthcare provider to define your own goals and develop a complete understanding of your foot’s unique structure and function. For instance, orthotics can be very sport-specific—the performance requirements of a hiker will not be the same as those of a skier or a football player.
2. Not all orthotics are created equal, and the differences matter. The prefabricated orthotics that can be purchased at shoe stores, pharmacies and sporting goods stores are not the same as the custom orthotics prescribed by a healthcare provider. Do not confuse them! Mass-produced products are tailored for the “typical” foot and are unlikely to address problems specific to any one individual’s foot. In some situations, such products can actually make a medical condition worse, cause new problems or increase the risk of injury. So while they’re usually less expensive than custom orthotics, they may not actually solve your particular problem.
3. Orthotics don’t actually correct foot or ankle problems. They are intended to realign the structures of the foot to improve function, reduce pain and decrease the risk of injury.
4. Needs can change over time and your orthotics should too. The structure and function of the foot can change as people age. So too can people’s lifestyle and priorities. Your healthcare provider can work with you to ensure that your prescription is still the right one for you.
5. Long-term use of orthotics may pose its own risks. Any time that you provide outside help to the structures normally responsible for supporting and moving parts of your body (casts or braces are good examples), you are essentially asking them to do less. And if you provide that help over a sufficiently extended period, you run the risk that your bones, muscles and connective tissues may become weaker as a result. The unintended consequence is that you may actually become less capable and more reliant on your devices to do the work your body used to do. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about how to use your orthotics correctly and manage any long-term risk that he or she believes may exist.
6. Prescribing orthotics is arguably as much an art as a science. Don’t underestimate the role of professional judgment in prescribing orthotics. Experts acknowledge that there are few widely-accepted standards and that we can’t always predict successfully how an individual will respond to a particular prescription. In fact, recent research has demonstrated that individuals with the same condition can respond very differently to identical orthotic therapy. There’s even evidence that the same patient can respond to a prescription inconsistently or can respond just as favorably to two entirely different (even contrary) prescriptions. This means that some trial and error may be necessary to get the results both you and your healthcare provider are looking for and that good communication is critical. Without accurate and timely feedback from you about how well your orthotics are doing their job, it’s impossible for your healthcare provider to make the adjustments that will eventually lead to success.
How Your Chiropractor Can Help There’s a close relationship between the way your feet work and the way the rest of your musculoskeletal system supports your body. So even if your feet themselves don’t actually hurt, they could be contributing to other health problems that you’re experiencing. After your chiropractor has examined you carefully and talked with you about your situation, he or she can help you decide whether foot orthotics should be part of your broader treatment plan. Call our office today to learn more.
References and Resources Gina Kolata, Close Look at Orthotics Raises a Welter of Doubts. Orthotic Shoe Inserts May Work, but It’s Not Clear Why. New York Times Fitness and Nutrition. January 17, 2011. Accessed August 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/health/nutrition/18best.html?pagewanted=all Nigg, BM et. al., Effect of Shoe Inserts on Kinematics, Center of Pressure, and Leg Joint Movements During Running. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. February 2003. Accessed August 2011. http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Abstract/2003/02000/Effect_of_Shoe_Inserts_on_Kinematics,_Center_of.21.aspx Best Foot Forward with Chiropractic. Journal of the American Chiropractic Association. January 2001. Accessed August 2011. http://www.acatoday.org/pdf/focus_january2001.pdf