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Posts for: June, 2016

By Dr. Doug Williams
June 28, 2016
Tags: nutrition   diet   food  

This week's post is going to introduce you to our summer blog series on transforming your nutrition (and possibly your life)! A tall order for sure! 

Attention to nutrition has been a part of my (Dr. Doug) life since I was about 13. One day, my mom came home (it was just her and I in the house at the time), and said it was time to get healthy and start eating better. In one fell swoop, she replaced my Trix with granola, hamburgers with chicken, white bread with wheat bread.. and hey, what happened to the chips and ice cream? I wasn't worried about what we ate; I was just fine with all the food in the house! That was almost 40 years ago - what my mom started has trickled down and changed shape over time - but the underlying principle is and always has been the same: how you eat affects your health, if not now, then later in your life for sure. I can attest to this both personally and professionally.

How about you? Are you eating the same way you did when you were 13? Better? Worse? For so many of us, what we eat is a reflection of our own little cultures (family and friends). In today's busy world, we sometimes simply eat what is placed in front of us, or what we can make or pick-up easily from the grocery store or fast food restaurant without really thinking about it. There may have been a time in your life where you spent a lot of time considering your food choices, or those of your children, and did a pretty good job, but that has slipped away.

My own journey towards nutritional eating has taken a number of different paths over the years, but I would consider that most of them have reflected a combination of the following:

  1. Current scientific literature
  2. Our economic position in life
  3. Available emotional energy

As a practitioner, and through this blog, I can definitely help you with Number 1 (scientific literature) and give you some ideas on Number 2 (how to stretch your dollar regarding food choices) but Number 3 (emotional energy) is all up to you! I have spent a lot of time talking with people over the years about how food impacts their health, and you know what? EVERYONE AGREES! But not everyone makes a change. I would be lying if I told you I always make the right choices - I have had my share of watching the scale go up and down, and my energy and health ebb and flow with it. If you decide to work through this summer's blog series, I promise we will be doing it together and it won't stop when I start a different topic in the fall. Hopefully, we can lay down a foundation for you to move further on in your own journey to feeling, looking and being healthier.

Between now and next week's blog, take a few minutes to jot down answers to the following:

  1. Do you have some concerns about the food you eat?
  2. If you had to give your average food choices a grade (A, B, C, D, F), what would it be?
  3. If you currently have some concerns about disease, pain, obesity or overall phsycial condition (energy, fatigue, etc.), how likely are you to make changes (Very Likely, Likely, Fat Chance!)?

So, consider the question posed at the beginning: Do You Recognize Your Food? Is it a friend or foe? Ride along with us this summer as we explore how to eat for your optimal health!

To Your Good Health!

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic 
Lafayette, Indiana


These days, it seems like you can't turn around without bumping into someone who has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or is on their way in for carpal tunnel surgery. If you are like me, you may, at times, have wondered if you have or have had Carpal tunnel syndrome yourself! In today's blog post, we are going to review what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS for short) is, some practical ways to treat it and when you might want to consider surgical intervention.

The Carpal tunnel is composed of the bones on the back side of the wrist (carpal bones) and the transverse carpal ligament on the inside. The median nerve and nine flexor tendons (tendons from muscles that cause your fingers and wrist to curl) run through the middle. When the fingers and wrist are used in a neutral (non-bent) fashion, the flexor tendons glide along the tunnel walls, lubricated by their own fluid. However, using the wrist and fingers repetitively in a flexed (bent-forward inclination) posture can set off a cascade of events that creates CTS. Therein lies the rub... LITERALLY!

Continuous use of the wrist and fingers in a flexed posture does the following:

  • Creates an over-development of the flexor tendons (making them larger)

  • Creates a relative weakness of the extensor tendons (the opposing muscle group that would normally keep the wrist and fingers in a neutral inclination)

  • Increases fluid retention and inflammation in and about the Carpal tunnel

  • Causes fluid pressure on the median nerve, which produces the classic presentation of CTS

The Median nerve is the nerve that is impacted by compression of the Carpal tunnel. Though you can have wrist and forearm pain from a number of different sources, if it originates from CTS, you will have some pretty characteristic symptoms:

  1. Numbness along the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger

  2. Tapping over the wrist (palm side) will often give a shooting sensation into the same area, as described in number one above

  3. Placing the back of the hands together with the wrists bent at ninety degrees can also increase the numbness

  4. Shaking the hands can often relieve the symptoms for a short time

  5. In long standing conditions, a weakness in the muscles of the thumb and index finger can develop leading to an inability to grasp or hold onto items

What To Do?

First the bad news: Personally, I have had the privilege of working on a number of patients over the years who either had or were on their way to getting CTS. Typically, the ones who had constant numbness and or weakness were beyond conservative measures, and ended up with surgery.

But there is good news:  More often than not, those that did go in for CTS surgery did well, as long as it was not too far along (mostly aggressive muscle weakness). In addition, those patients who were not too advanced in the syndrome were often able to put surgery off, sometimes indefinitely!

The keys to keeping CTS from progressing, and possibly reversing its effects, revolve around balancing the relationship between the flexor muscles (those that close the hand and flex the wrist) and the extensor muscles (those that open the hand and extend the wrist) by focusing on the following:
  1. Stretch the flexor muscles of the wrist and fingers.

  2. Strengthen the extensor muscles of the wrist and fingers.

This can be done fairly easily with an exercise band or even a rubber band. The key to this approach is repetition - just as CTS doesn't "show up" overnight, neither will it go away instantly. You are really reforming the connective tissue in your wrist and forearm - it is a very specific workout program designed to reverse the cumulative effects of years of abnormal movement.

Typically, we encourage people to stretch and do their exercises three times per day, everyday for three months, before deciding this approach will not work for them. In addition to stretching and strengthening, two other things can be useful: a nighttime splint that keeps the wrist neutral, and vitamin B6. Both of these can reduce inflammation and help the nerve tissue heal itself.
 

 

Over the last month, we have posted multiple blog posts about conditions that impact the head, neck and wrist. We are completing a short video that will include demonstrations on neck and shoulder stretches, home trigger point therapy for problem muscles, and CTS stretches and exercises. Watch your email over the next week for the link!

Until then,
Eat well, think right and move a lot!


Dr. Doug Williams
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana


By Emily
June 07, 2016
Tags: exercise   ergonomics   standing  
A 2012 study found that, in a typical working week, people spend an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desk. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, conducted a study in which the participants were given a standardized diet and exercise regimen. Though all of the participants worked at sitting desks, only some gained weight while others stayed slim. Upon gathering further data, Levine found that the participants who weren't gaining weight were moving on average 2.25 more hours per day, whether walking to a colleague's office instead of emailing, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Below are a few of the health benefits of using a standing desk (which you can read more about here):
  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic problems
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced risk of cancer
  • Lower long-term mortality rate

Evidence suggests that the negative effects of extended sitting can't be countered by brief bouts of strenous exercise. The solution is to incorporate standing and other forms of activity into your normal day - and using a standing desk is one of the easiest ways to incorporate it into your work day.

If you are just starting to use your standing desk, split your time between standing and sitting. The easiest way to do this is to either use an adjustable or a tall chair that you can pull up to your standing desk when you need to sit. Ease into using your standing desk by standing for just a few hours a day at first while your body becomes used to this new position. Also, remember to move around a bit by shifting your position as your work and take brief breaks throughout the day!