Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Chiropractic and Sleep Issues

Sleep problems can be defined in 3 different ways:  insomnia, disturbed sleep, and restless sleep.  Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep.  Disturbed sleep is the inability to stay asleep for a full night’s rest.  Restless sleep is when you can fall asleep and stay asleep, but the quality of sleep isn’t good.  The end result of any of these types of sleep problems is that you wake up tired, or even exhausted.
Poor sleep, especially if it’s chronic can manifest in many ways: § slower healing from injuries or disease
§  inefficient or ineffective functioning throughout the day 
§  impaired social relations
§  increased pain sensitivity
§  weakened immunity
§  reduced mental acuity; poor memory
§  irrational logic or behaviour
§  clumsiness, poorer coordination
§  irritability and hypersensitivity
Sleep issues rarely occur independently.  They are usually secondary to other, perhaps greater, issues.  Just like the vertebral subluxation complexes (VSCs) that chiropractors detect and correct for in their treatments, sleep issues can have physical, mental or chemical causes.  The causes can also be subdivided into external or internal factors.
Physical causes of sleep problems are those that affect the body in terms of discomfort or pain.  
External Physical Causes:
§  poor sleeping conditions (bed, pillow)
§  irritating lights, noises, odors
§  bedmates moving around
Internal Physical Causes:
§  pain inside the body (backache, shoulder pain)
§  organ dysfunction (waking to urinate, sleep apnea)
When your mind can’t relax enough to fall asleep or to get enough deep sleep, this is characterized as a mental cause of sleep problems.
External Mental Causes:
§  disturbed body clock from shiftwork, irregular sleep schedules
§  ignoring sleep cues by watching TV, using the computer, etc
Internal Mental Causes:
§  stress, worry, thinking too much § overexcitement, over fatigued
§  depression, mental disorders
§  dreaming too much, or nightmares
Sometimes the hardest causes to pinpoint are those that are electrochemical in nature.  These can alter body chemistry, enzyme functioning, and electric activity in the body.
External Electrochemical Causes:
§  medications and foods, stimulants
§  chemical irritants, off-gassing
§  electromagnetic fields from smart meters, hydro power lines, electronic devices
Internal Electrochemical Causes:
§  chemical imbalance from hormonal changes, disease processes
§  electrical imbalance along acupuncture meridians

When it comes to sleep issues, wellness chiropractors follow a five-step approach to helping patients.

1.      Listen.  We listen to patients to see if the case history can uncover the underlying cause(s) of the sleep issues, and whether it is physical, mental or electrochemical.  

2.      Simple Steps First.  If there are simple changes a patient can do to discontinue the cause(s) of the sleep issues, we will bring these up.  Most commonly it is addressing habits like sleep routines, sleep location, diet, and exercise.

3.      Chiropractic Examination.  This is especially important for chronic sleep issues, because the same stressors that result in sleep problems also cause Vertebral Subluxation Complexes (VSCs).  VSCs occur when stressors become imbedded in the spine and create problems in the body’s ability to take care of itself.  These problems can manifest as pain, dysfunction, hypersensitivity, and impairs healing.  

4.      Chiropractic Spinal Adjustments if Indicated.  Specific chiropractic adjustments can undo VSCs, allowing for better nerve transmission, resulting in more effective brain functioning, organ functioning and healing.  An adjustment to the upper neck area (C1 in particular) has the most direct impact on the sleep centre in the brainstem.  Other areas that may need help are those related to the area of pain, malfunctioning organs, compensatory areas, and perhaps elsewhere whose connection may not be fully understood at the time.  The goal of chiropractic adjustments is to help the body function the best it can, to improve the internal condition of the body, and to improve the resilience of the body (and mind) to external stressors.

5.      Keep in Mind the Bigger Picture.  As Holistic health practitioners, chiropractors keep an open mind that some causes cannot be easily avoided or resolved, even with an optimally functioning nervous system.  Some patients need to consult with other health professionals to overcome or manage challenges affecting their sleep, such as acupuncturists, counsellors, medical doctors, or massage therapists.  Other patients need the support of family, friends, or social services.  


For those who are suffering from sleep problems, there is hope.  It may take more than one type of health professional to get to the root of the problem and change it, and it may take some time and effort, but better sleep is possible.  If what you’ve tried isn’t helping, be open to other options out there.  To find out if chiropractic care may be right for you, please call Dr. Clemence's office for a complimentary consultation.

Learn more about Dr. Elton Clemence at the clinic at www.family1stchiro.ca or call us at 403-347-3261 for consultation and to set up a time to have your spine and nervous system checked.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

What is Craniosacral Therapy?

I like to describe CranioSacral Therapy as a very gentle, light touch therapy that releases tension deep within the central nervous system, so that every other system in the body can self-correct.
The Central Nervous System is the “command control center” of your entire body. It tells everything else in your body what to do; therefore, when restrictions are released in this system, full body healing can take place more easily.

CranioSacral Therapy is based on the idea that each person’s body contains the necessary information to uncover the underlying cause of any health problem. By using about 5gm of pressure, roughly the weight of a nickel, the CST practitioner evaluates the system by testing for ease of motion and the rhythm of cerebrospinal fluid pulsing within the membranes.  The therapist communicates with the body to obtain this information and help facilitate the person’s own self-healing process and self-regulating capabilities. Specific treatment techniques are then used to release restrictions in sutures, fasciae, membranes and any other tissues that may influence the craniosacral system. The result is an improved internal environment that frees the central nervous system to return to its optimal levels of health and performance.

SomatoEmotional Release is a therapeutic process that expands on the principles of CranioSacral Therapy to help rid the mind and body of the residual effects of trauma. Joint research efforts by Dr. John Upledger and biophysicist Dr. Zvi Karni led to the discovery that the body often retains (rather than dissipates) physical forces. This is often the result of an accident, injury, or emotional trauma. The dysfunctional area is isolated, creating what is called an “energy cyst”. Although a reasonably healthy body can adapt to “energy cysts”, extra energy is required to perform normal bodily functions. As time passes, the adaptive pattern of the body loses its effectiveness. Symptoms begin to appear and, over time, become more difficult to suppress. The SomatoEmotional Release process requires extreme sensitivity on the part of the therapist and trust from the client/patient.

Jeannette Raskin practices at Family First Chiropractic, 142 Erickson Drive, Red Deer, Alberta.  403-347-3261. www.family1stchiro.ca.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Arthritis and Joint Pain

350 million people worldwide are affected by arthritis. Painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints are common side effects. Arthritis can affects both young and elderly people. The most common form, osteoarthritis also known as degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is usually caused by repetitive joint trauma and more common in the elderly. Other forms such as Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis are a form of an autoimmune disease found in the younger population ranging from 30-60yrs of age.

How can you manage arthritis?

Weight bearing exercise can help reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis because it maintains mobility and keeps muscles strong enough to support joints. A balanced diet and a healthy weight are also vital, as well as is learning proper biomechanics. Helps patients avoid putting too much pressure on them. And when used alongside conventional medicines, complementary therapies such as chiropractic can be enormously beneficial in relieving the pain of arthritis. Whatever type of arthritis you're dealing with, you might well be relying on pain relief medication to function from day to day. But long-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs) are worth noting. Studies show side effects can range from Kidney damage, Liver damage and heart disease.

Chiropractic: holistic pain relief

     With regular Chiropractic treatment, you can take the edge off your pain, and increase mobility making life more manageability. Increased joint mobility, enables patients to enjoy their favourite activities with less restriction. In fact, according to William Lauretti, DC, professor at New York Chiropractic College, chiropractic patients with arthritis often improve without the need for pain medications.
One study, conducted in 2013 and published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, the official journal of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International, actually found that 12 chiropractic treatments in combination with a patient education program were more effective for hip osteoarthritis than a daily stretching program or patient education alone. And in 2010, a British analysis of nearly 100 studies found that chiropractic manipulation was helpful for a variety of conditions, including knee osteoarthritis.
How does chiropractic work to ease arthritis?
If the structure of a joint is not right, it’s unable to work as it is supposed to. This is where chiropractic shines by maximising the function of an arthritic joint. The resulting in decreased pain and better ability to cope in everyday activities.
At Family First, your chiropractor will take a detailed medical history, including a physical examination of every joint and X-rays if necessary. In this way, we will develop a treatment approach that is specific to your issues, always taking the time and care to listen to your concerns and how your arthritis is affecting your life.
Other treatment protocols such as ultrasound or muscle stim. In addition to chiropractic care can also be used to manage joint inflammation and mobility.
The help of a personalised treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes, you can find freedom from pain and retain more mobility and independence. Elderly people can perform their daily activity, younger people can stay active at work, meet the physical demands of looking after young children, and of course have the energy and ability to enjoy their hobbies.
If you have any questions feel free to email Dr. Elton Clemence at the clinic at www.family1stchiro.ca or call us at 403-3473261 for consultation and to set up a time to have your spine and nervous system checked.