• Osteoporosis in Your Spine: What to Do

    You’ve probably heard a lot about osteoporosis in your lifetime, from warnings to drink your milk in elementary school to being lectured by your doctor as an adult.

    Here in the Chattanooga area, we take osteoporosis seriously—and not just general osteoporosis. It is possible to get osteoporosis in only one region of the body. Take the spine for example. How do you get it and what do you do to prevent it—or treat it?

    How Osteoporosis Works

    Not everyone with osteoporosis has it in every bone. In fact, many patients can have it just in the jaw, for example, or just the lower (lumbar) spine. And contrary to popular belief, women aren’t the only ones who can get it. Men are also susceptible. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the reason most men don’t consider themselves at risk for osteoporosis is that most women who get it, do so becuase of rapid bone loss after menopause. However, by age 65 or 70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate. So don’t disregard this post if you’re a man–you can get it in your twilight years just as easily as women.

    But how does this this low bone density disease occur? Your Chattanooga, TN chiropractor will tell you that genetics play a large role. Most people who get osteoporosis are older Caucasian women with small body frames. Also according to the NIH , it’s not just about eating enough calcium and vitamin D, either. Osteoporosis is most common in certain demographics (older white women with small frames who have a family history of the disease)—which is something you can’t change. But other factors are involved, like low levels of estrogen and missed menstrual cycles; smoking; drinking alcohol; anorexia; lack of exercise; and low intake of calcium and vitamin D.

    Since bone is a living tissue that replaces itself over time— your entire skeleton is replaced every 10 years—this makes bone density loss possible. When the body does not produce enough new bone, or too much existing bone is absorbed by the body, osteoporosis occurs. You do not feel osteoporosis happening, and usually only know you have it through a bone density scan or when a weakened bone fractures and you feel pain.

    Preventing Osteoporosis in the Spine

    Since you can’t feel osteoporosis happening, and since it’s such a slow process for anyone who does have it until they are past middle age (bone density loss occurs rapidly after menopause), you hear over and over again how important it is to drink your milk when you’re young. But when it comes to your spine, getting enough calcium and vitamin D isn’t the only thing you can do (and your Chattanooga, TN chiropractor will tell you that you can also get these vitamins through healthy foods like spinach and fish).

    Weight-bearing exercise is key for preventing spinal osteoporosis. Spine-health.com tells us this means exercise that you perform while standing up and working the bones and muscles against gravity. This type of exercise actually increases bone density in the spine. They recommend 20-30 minutes of these exercises three or four times per week to be effective in preventing osteoporosis in the spine.

    Treating Osteoporosis in the Spine

    Finally, in treating osteoporosis in the spine in Chattanooga, there are a few things you can do. You can take medications that stop the loss of bone density. And you can do exercises to strengthen your back muscles (thereby taking pressure off the vertebrae themselves) and learn new body mechanics. The National Osteoporosis Foundation tells us that if you bend backward or lean back instead of leaning forward, you will reduce stress on the front of the spine. You should also avoid heavy lifting and extreme twisting of your spine. This is all in an effort to prevent fractures in the vertebrae, which is the painful part of osteoporosis of the spine.

    Have you ever been diagnosed with osteoporosis?

    So while your elementary school teachers and adult doctors in Chattanooga, TN were right about milk, that’s not the only thing you can do to keep osteoporosis from restricting your movement later in life. Keep up a good diet and exercise regularly. And remember to continue doing weight-bearing exercises into your old age.

    Have you or has anyone you love been diagnosed with osteoporosis in Chattanooga? What are they doing about it? Tell us your story in the comment box below!

  • Chiropractic Has Specialties?

    Yes it certainly does. As the chiropractic field widens in both Chattanooga, TN and across the US, it’s only natural that chiropractors here and there will branch off to focus on different segments of the population, just like mainstream doctors.

    Just in case you fit into one of these population segments, we thought you’d like to know what’s available to you. Check out these specialties and see if your Chattanooga, TN chiropractor can point you in the right direction.

    Pediatric Chiropractics

    This one speaks for itself. Chiropractors are generally taught how to perform spinal manipulation properly on children, but if a chiropractor specifically treats children in Chattanooga, it means he is up to date on all things pediatric. He is probably part of a chiropractic pediatric guild like the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and attends seminars with other like-minded specialists to stay current on research discoveries.

    Rehabilitation

    Much like a physical therapist, this specialty focuses on rehabilitating damaged tissue. So it’s a combination of two worlds—muscle strengthening and re-coordination of damaged tissue so that patients fully recover from injuries. You can find out more at the American Chiropractic Association Rehab Council website .

    Chiropractic Acupuncture

    Since general chiropractic makes its goal to treat musculoskeletal problems, it only makes sense to combine chiropractic and acupuncture to create a chiropractor who can both crack your back and treat your tense muscles with acupuncture. Again, different councils exist to ensure these acupuncture chiropractors in Chattanooga and elsewhere stay current and well-trained, such as the Council of Chiropractic Acupuncture .

    Internal Disorders

    Basically, this specialty is the chiropractic version of primary care—the chiropractor diagnoses ailments and helps cure patients of things they might go to a primary care physician for. According to the ACA (American Chiropractic Association) , these chiropractic specialists do blood work, hormone testing, EKGs, and more. It’s an interesting approach to consider the next time you have pink eye or mysterious symptoms.

    Neurology

    This specialty provides patients with a non-surgical and medication-free approach to brain and nervous system dysfunctions. Most of the time, patients see medical neurologists or neurosurgeons when a brain complaint arises, and they will receive either medication or surgery, respectively. Chiropractic offers a holistic approach to the same maladies, as you can read about in this helpful article .

    Nutrition

    Chiropractors certified with this specialty (quite obviously) have a deeper knowledge of how nutrition affects the body. When chiropractors are certified by the Chiropractic Board of Clinical Nutrition , they can provide you with professional guidance about your nutrition in combination with any ailments you are experiencing.

    Orthopedics

    Since a lot of chiropractic is determining the pattern of patients’ walking gaits, it only makes sense for chiropractors to specialize in foot maladies. Once chiropractors are certified in orthopedics, they gain legitimacy among orthopedic surgeons, so that when they discuss patients, their opinions are upheld.

    Sports Chiropractic

    And finally, sports chiropractic has made strong headway over the last few decades: pretty much every team in the NFL and NBL have chiropractors on staff. Chiropractors are able to prepare athletes’ bodies in order to prevent injury, and treat injuries so they heal much more quickly. Again, there are several councils in place to give chiropractors opportunities to stay current through classes and seminars, such as the ACA’s Sports Council .

    Which specialist do you need?

    Now that you know what specialties exist in the world of chiropractic, you might take some time to search the Chattanooga area for a specialist. For example, if you have a kid who might benefit from chiropractic, find a pediatric chiropractor instead of a general chiropractor. You can trust that this Chattanooga, TN chiropractor is specifically trained to treat children properly. And so on for every specialty we’ve talked about today.

    Have you ever seen a chiropractic specialist, or at least thought about finding one? Leave a comment below and we’ll respond right away; we love hearing from our readers!

  • All About Metabolic Syndrome

    Metabolic syndrome encompasses a group of risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, low HDL cholesterol, and the presence of stomach fat, that all contribute to your risk of heart disease and diabetes. These risk factors can be mitigated or eliminated through weight loss, an active lifestyle, and certain medications. If you’re worried that you possess certain risk factors, joining a weight loss program in Chattanooga to lower your risk.

    Evaluating Your Risk Level
    Approximately one in every four people have the symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome. Your risk of acquiring metabolic syndrome can increase due to your age, genetics, race, and medical conditions, such as blood clots, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and gallstones. The primary contributing factors are a sedentary lifestyle, excess weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area, and a high carbohydrate diet. Insulin resistance has also been found to contribute to the likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome. If your body is unable to use or produce insulin efficiently, you may be predisposed to metabolic syndrome.

    Recognizing the Symptoms
    A healthcare provider or a doctor at a weight loss clinic can screen you to determine if you meet the risk factors of metabolic syndrome. Symptoms include a waist circumference of 40 inches or more for men, or 35 inches or more for women, triglycerides over 150 mg/dL, HDL cholesterol lower than 50 mg/dL, blood pressure higher than 130/85, and a blood glucose level of more than 100 mg/dL.

    Lowering Your Risk
    You can lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome by sticking to a healthy weight loss program, becoming more active, and eating a healthy diet. If you’re concerned that you meet some of the criteria for metabolic syndrome, visit a doctor at a weight loss clinic near you to help you lose weight. Weight loss companies can offer you diet, exercise, and weight loss tips to help you quickly meet your weight loss goals. This will greatly decrease your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, and consequently heart disease and diabetes.