• Pregnancy and Motherhood: How Chiropractic in Utah Can Help

    In honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to offer some advice in particular to those pregnant Moms-To-Be.  Pregnancy should be a beautiful time as you contemplate the new life growing inside you as well as thinking about the positives of adding to your family.  However, many women are overwhelmed by the stresses of pregnancy, not only emotional but also physical. There are so many changes that occur in a pregnant woman's body that are meant to prepare an ideal environment for a developing fetus, and unfortunately, these same changes can be a challenge for the mother.

    The physical changes can result in spinal and pelvis misalignment due to protruding abdomen and an increased back curve. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for the baby, and may make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery.

    According to the American Pregnancy Association, potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:

    • Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
    • Controlling symptoms of nausea
    • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
    • Relieving back, neck or joint pain
    • Prevent a potential cesarean delivery

    Many pregnant women have found that chiropractic adjustments provide relief from the increased low-back pain brought on by pregnancy. Chiropractic manipulation is safe for the pregnant woman and her baby and can be especially attractive to those who are trying to avoid medications in treating their back pain.

    Those who have had babies know that the labor process and giving birth is a traumatic event for the body. The impact that it has on the pelvis, spine, hips and muscles has been well documented. Chiropractic care can help. In the eight weeks following labor and delivery, the ligaments that loosened during pregnancy begin to tighten up again. Ideally, joint problems brought on during pregnancy from improper lifting or reaching should be treated before the ligaments return to their pre-pregnancy state to prevent muscle tension, headaches, rib discomfort, and shoulder problems.

    If you have suffered through previous pregnancies without the benefit of chiropractic care or if this is your first time and wonder how you will handle all the physical changes and back pain, come in to see me at The Joint Cottonwood Heights in Salt Lake City, Utah. Let us work together to make you feel as well as you can for these joyous nine months!

    ~ Dr. Brad Hendricks

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  • Is better brainpower another benefit of chiropractic treatment and exercise?

    Can you boost brain power with physical activity? Several relevant studies were reported on at the annual Meeting of The Society of Psychophysiological Research in Montreal recently.

    The findings showed both immediate benefits from physical activity, as well as long-term effects. Physical activity seems to help your brain work more efficiently and actually may make you smarter. In one study, the thinking ability of subjects was tested. After the tests, they ran on a treadmill for thirty minutes. Then, when their hearts returned to normal resting levels they took the follow-up tests. For all tests the subjects were connected to an electroencephalogram (EEG), in order to track their brainwaves. The first thing researchers noted was that exercising had sped up the speed of their decision-making. It was a significant difference. Upon scoring the tests, it was also found that the subjects answered more accurately after the exercise than before. The study participants were between 18 and 24 years old, but researchers think the findings will hold true for other age groups as well.

    Utah residents have many great opportunities and venues for exercise that may help improve their mood and cognitive function. But if chronic pain or aching joints is stopping you from exercising, chiropractic treatment from one of our Salt Lake City locations may help get you back on track (or back in the gym, or back on the trail).

    Another study showed that just ten minutes of moderate exercise each day can improve mood and reduce fatigue. Brainpower specifically wasn't tested, but it seems likely that less fatigue means better brain power.

    The benefits of exercise include better sleep, a healthier immune system, weight control, and a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Now you can add better brain power to that list. If you are having difficulty exercising because you have aches and pains in your neck and back, come see us at The Joint Cottonwood Heights for chiropractic evaluation and treatments that can help relieve your pain so that you can get out and do some regular exercises.

    ~ Dr. Brad Hendricks

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  • How Does Posture Affect Your Mood?

    I've talked a lot about posture and health lately and that is because I see how important proper posture is for overall spine function in my Utah patients. Many aches and pains can be eliminated if you are able to practice good standing and sitting posture, and chiropractic is ideal for helping you straighten up. But a new study conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed that body posture also may be important to how we express emotions.
    The experiment assigned participants to two groups, one who they forced to sit in a slouched and slumped position and one that they had sit upright with good posture. They had the participants complete a series of tasks and the upright participants reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear, compared to slumped participants. Linguistic analysis showed slumped participants used more negative emotion words, first-person singular pronouns, affective process words, sadness words, and fewer positive emotion words and total words during the speech. The researchers concluded with this statement: “Adopting an upright seated posture in the face of stress can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture. Furthermore, sitting upright increases rate of speech and reduces self-focus”.

    So not only does good posture relieve physical symptoms, it may also affect your emotional health. If you find yourself sitting in a bad slouched position either at work or at home and you start to feel the strain in your back, take a break to reduce the stress. One of the most effective micro-break exercises is the Brugger's Relief Position developed by a European neurologist. Studies show it will help to reduce tension, improve breathing and improve posture within just a few weeks of practice.

    Performing the Brugger's Relief Position:
    If sitting:

    1. Sit or perch at the edge of your chair. You should feel the "sit bones" just around where the top of your legs meet your butt cheeks.
    2. Hold your head up high. Imagine a string fixed at the crown of your head pulling you toward the sky.
    3. Spread your legs slightly apart to the sides
    4. Turn your legs out slightly
    5. Rest your weight on your legs and feet and relax your abdominal muscles
    6. Tilt your pelvis forward and raise your breastbone up.
    7. Turn your hands palms-up
    8. Turn your arms slightly outward

    Hold this position and take deep "belly" breaths for 10 seconds
    Come in to The Joint Cottonwood Heights for a postural evaluation. Regular chiropractic adjustments at our Salt Lake City locations will help you maintain proper posture.

    ~ Dr. Brad Hendricks

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  • What exactly is a “slipped disc?” A Salt Lake City chiropractor explains

    For years, people have been referring to their back pain as having a “slipped disc.” The mental image that that evokes can be quite dramatic! Discs don't actually “slip,” that term is a misnomer, but they can be injured and be the cause of back pain and/or leg pain.  Let me explain first of all what the discs are.

    Technically discs are called Intervertebral Discs as they are found between each of the vertebral bones in the spine. They are made of cartilage with the outer fibers encircled around a gelatinous center.  They act as cushions and shock absorbers for the spine. They allow the spine to move in all directions.

    Because they are made of soft tissue, discs are vulnerable to injury, whether from sudden trauma or due to degenerative changes that occur over time. The other difficulty is that the discs do not have their own blood supply, so once they are injured, it is very hard for them to heal completely. When a disc is injured, instead of calling it a “slipped disc,” we call it a disc bulge or herniation or prolapse, and those terms basically define the extent of disc damage. What happens is that the outer fibers get damaged, causing the center gel to start to squirt out.

    Chiropractors have traditionally treated patients with disc injuries and have had success in relieving pain and restoring normal disc function. Newer treatments for disc herniations include spinal decompression therapy, which is a form of intense traction applied to the spine.  Recently a study reported in the Journal Phys. Ther. Sci. in 2014 compared treatments of manual mobilization therapy (chiropractic adjustments) and flexion-distraction therapy to spinal decompression therapy and the effects on pain and disc height. The study concluded that while both treatments showed significant decreases in pain, the chiropractic adjustment with flexion-distraction techniques also significantly increased the disc heights compared to the spinal decompression therapy.

    If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with disc injury, you may be a candidate for a course of chiropractic treatment in Utah to help reduce the pain and improve the disc health. Consult with the doctors of chiropractic at The Joint Cottonwood Heights to get started.

    ~ Dr. Brad Hendricks
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  • February is Heart Month – Take Care of Yours!

    Heart disease is still the #1 cause of death for men and women, with 25% of all deaths due to heart disease. As a chiropractor, I get to see people in all stages of life and with all kinds of health, but heart disease is something that affects us all. Many factors in our lives can cause early onset heart disease. For those who have heart disease in their family, lifestyle is even more important. It’s important to make lifestyle changes in order to prevent heart disease no matter how old or young you are. However, you do not want to wait until you are high risk because by then it may be too late to undo any damage you have already done to your heart.

    One of the major contributors to heart disease is diet and the foods we eat. You may be aware of the recent controversy surrounding the risk factors associated with fat and cholesterol in our diets and that is a topic for another discussion. What is becoming more clear in the research is that trans-fats and sugar are much worse culprits for contributing to heart disease.  Trans-fats generally are the fats that are normally liquid at room temperature but are chemically changed to be solids, like margarine and shortening and are typically found in packaged sweets and baked goods. Although eating that type of diet doesn’t usually cause problems until we are older, by then it is very difficult to change our eating habits. After you have eaten greasy, high fat and sugary foods for many years, the adjustment to healthier eating can be difficult. A good rule of thumb is to focus on whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains and quality proteins from a variety of sources.

    Leading a sedentary lifestyle is another cause of heart disease. Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of early onset heart disease, and cardiologists tie this into the sedentary lifestyle that many lead today. There is a need to increase the heart rate in order to stay healthy and sadly, for some, exercise is limited to pushing buttons on the remote control. If you have aches and pains that prevent you from exercising regularly, let the chiropractic physicians at The Joint Cottonwood Heights help relieve your pain so you can get out and get moving.

    The problem of obesity in Utah is on the rise, and as a result heart disease is on the rise as well. Nutritionists believe the problem lies in the fast food industry with the problem beginning in childhood. With two income families a necessity today, fewer children are eating healthy meals at home. The good part is that quick meals can be healthy meals if by choosing carefully. Remember, the choices you make early in life will affect you later in life.

    ~ Dr. Brad Hendricks

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  • Can a Frozen Shoulder Thaw Out?

    I have noticed lately an increased number of my patients here in the Salt Lake City area that present with severe shoulder pain and restricted range of motion.  This condition is known as Adhesive Capsulitis or “Frozen Shoulder” and is a fairly common malady. The causes are varied and can develop following some kind of trauma or just randomly occur.  Whatever the cause, it is painful and can be debilitating and the treatment is challenging.

    Chiropractors and other manual therapist have traditionally treated Frozen Shoulder with a series of range of motion exercises and stretches along with other modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation and cold laser treatment. There has not been much evidence to support or refute the use of these treatments and there is no clear consensus on how or when to apply different therapies.

    I recently read a research paper on a case study of treatment of Adhesive Capsulitis. This was reported in the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy in February 2012.  The researchers reviewed the treatment of a patient that presented with a classic case of Frozen Shoulder.  They initially treated with the standard stretches and exercises and manipulation focusing on the shoulder joint itself but after 10 visits there was only minimal improvement in the pain and range of motion. Next they added Thoracic spine manipulation to the treatment protocol and after only 4 visits, they noted substantial improvement in the pain and range of motion.

    I believe this case is significant in that it shows that Chiropractic adjustment applied to the Thoracic spine can be effective in “thawing out” a Frozen Shoulder. If you or someone you is suffering from this type of shoulder pain, come see us at The Joint Cottonwood Heights in Utah for evaluation and treatment to see if we can help.

    ~ Dr. Brad Hendricks
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  • Tips to keep your New Year's Resolutions

    According to many reports, here are the some of the most common New Year’s resolutions:
             Lose Weight
             Get Fit
             Quit Smoking
             Learn Something New
             Eat Healthier
             Get Out of Debt and Save Money
             Spend More Time with Family
             Be Less Stressed
             Drink Less

    I'm sure that at one time or another, most of us have resolved to make changes in at least some of these areas.  Unfortunately, studies also show that these same resolutions are frequently broken.  The answer is not to stop making resolutions but is to figure out ways to accomplish your goals.  Helping Salt Lake City residents achieve their health goals is a very rewarding part of my job as a chiropractor in Utah.  Here are a few tips to help you achieve your goals and resolutions.

    1.      Make it something that you really want.  Don't make a goal that you really aren't committed to or one that you think you 'should' do. Make it meaningful to you.

    2.      Be specific.  Instead of just making a goal to 'Lose Weight', make a goal for example to lose 20 pounds by April 1st, and then have a plan that breaks it up into daily, weekly and monthly tasks that will 'baby step' you to the end goal.

    3.      Limit your list of resolutions to a number that is easier to handle.  This helps focus your efforts on the things you really want.

    4.      Allow yourself to fail.  If your goal is something you really want and you have a specific plan, don't throw it all away if you mess up a few times.  Just realize that it is hard to change some habits and if you cannot perfectly follow your plan doesn't mean that you have to quit working at it. Just re-commit yourself and restart.

    5.      Write down your specific goals and visualize them regularly.  As you write down your goals, put them in a prominent place that you will see frequently, this will help you keep visualizing the completed goal.

    6.      Involve friends and family.  Having someone hold you accountable is a great way to stay on track. Changing your diet or exercising is easier if you have someone to act as a coach or cheerleader for you and you for them.

    The bottom line is that whether you have succeeded or failed at keeping resolutions in the past, the new year is always a natural time to re-assess your life and try to make a few positive changes.  Here at The Joint in Salt Lake City, we hope that you will make it a goal to keep your spine and joints healthier, and we are here to help you by making it convenient and affordable to get regular chiropractic adjustments.

    ~ Dr. Hendricks

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  • Improving your immune system with chiropractic in Salt Lake City

    Colder weather and more time spent indoors make staying healthy a real challenge this time of year. Millions of people face getting sidelined or made miserable by the common cold or the flu. Taking steps for prevention could make life a lot more pleasant in the wintertime. Building your body’s immune system with diet, exercise, and chiropractic treatments to help prevention is a good place to start.

    Some people’s typical eating patterns are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, unhealthy fats, and are lacking in fruits and vegetables. These eating habits fail to supply the body with adequate nutrition to truly support immunity. Numerous studies have found that natural vitamins and minerals found in whole foods improve immune function. Excellent food sources of immune boosting nutrients include vibrant green, red and orange vegetables, delicious nuts and seeds, fresh seafood, whole eggs, and poultry. Fresh herbs, such as basil, vegetables, like garlic and scallions add robust flavor to recipes and also add their own infection-fighting properties.

    Most people don't realize that the vast majority of the immune system is found in your guts. An imbalance of the friendly bacteria (Probiotics) found in the gut is one of the leading causes of lowered immunity. That is why I recommend supplementing with a good Probiotic that contains several strains of billions of friendly bacteria to re-inoculate your system. Check with your local health food store for a good quality brand. There are many quality probiotic supplements available now in Utah.

    Regular aerobic physical activity, about 30 minutes a day, has been shown to improve immune function and decrease the incidence of common viral infections. Most people decrease their physical activity, as the weather turns cold. Your sleep is an active time during which your body restores itself. Sleep deprivation in animals increases susceptibility to viral and bacterial infection, and, in humans, insomnia reduces activity of natural killer cells, your main defense against viral infection. The natural sleep requirement of adults varies from as little as six to as much as ten hours per day, with most people needing seven to nine hours, preferably without interruption.

    Chiropractic care has also shown to be effective in boosting your immunity. One of the most important studies showing the positive effect chiropractic care can have on the immune system and general health was performed by Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York's Preventive Medicine Institute and professor of medicine at New York University. Dr. Pero measured the immune systems of people under chiropractic care as compared to those in the general population and those with cancer and other serious diseases. In his initial three-year study of 107 individuals who had been under chiropractic care for five years or more, the chiropractic patients were found to have a 200% greater immune competence than people who had not received chiropractic care, and 400% greater immune competence than people with cancer and other serious diseases. The immune system superiority of those under chiropractic care did not diminish with age.
    Dr. Pero stated:

    “When applied in a clinical framework, I have never seen a group other than this chiropractic group to experience a 200% increase over the normal patients. This is why it is so dramatically important. We have never seen such a positive improvement in a group…”
    Pero R. "Medical Researcher Excited By CBSRF Project Results." The Chiropractic Journal, August 1989; 32
    This is why the doctors and staff at The Joint Cottonwood recommend regular, preventative chiropractic adjustments. If you typically struggle with frequent illnesses, make an appointment at The Joint in Salt Lake City and let us work together to see if we can boost your immunity and resistance to disease.

    - Dr. Hendricks
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  • How Prevalent is Back Pain in Your Kids?

    There have been many studies that indicate that most adults (80%) will have back pain at some point in their life, but not much has been studied in kids, until recently.

    The severity and course of back pain is poorly understood in adolescents. A study was designed to determine the prevalence and two-year incidence, as well as the course, frequency, and intensity of pain in the neck, mid back, and low back (spinal pain). The study was reported in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders in May 2014.

    The researchers studied 1,300 5th and 6th graders aged 11-13 in Denmark and followed them for two years.  They found a baseline of spinal pain prevalence of 86%.  What was interesting is that the frequency of pain was strongly associated to the intensity of pain.  That is, that those who reported relatively infrequent back pain also reported that the pain was not too intense; whereas those who reported more frequent back pain also reported that it was more severe.

    After two years, the researchers found that the pain was likely to progress from one to more locations, from less frequent to more frequent, and from less intense to more intense.

    There are a number of possible causes for back pain in children, teens and young adults. One thing that may lead to back pain is the regular use of a backpack that is too heavy or worn improperly. Many Salt Lake City students are overwhelmed by the weight of their textbooks and other school supplies that they must carry each day. It is also commonly popular to wear backpacks slung over one shoulder, with the straps adjusted too low, or in other ways that can contribute to developing back pain. Other risk factors may include poor posture, athletic injuries, or too much time spent hunched over a computer, phone, or tablet.

    Given these results, it is important to have your pre-teen and teenagers checked.  Whether your kids are sedentary or more active and athletic, they may be prone to neck and back pain.  At The Joint Cottonwood Heights, we offer free spinal screening for your kids, bring them in and let us help them improve their overall health.

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  • Could texting KILL you?

    We have known for many years that texting and driving causes impairment similar to drinking and driving and is associated with nearly 4000 deaths per year from car accidents.

    Chiropractors have also known for years that when people adopt a hunched-over posture while using phones or tablets, they tend to develop a forward head posture that causes neck and back pain and spinal dysfunction.

    Now a new study by the UK United Chiropractic Association (UCA) says that texting and using mobile devices for long periods of time could lead to a lower life expectancy. Poor posture could pose as big a risk to a person's health as obesity. They showed that the hunched-over, forward head position constricts breathing and blood flow, making the heart work harder.

    The new research suggests a link between forward-leaning postures that people use while texting, going online, sending emails and playing video games, and hyperkyphosis, which is associated with pulmonary disease and cardiovascular problems.

    The study suggests that when someone drops their head and rounds their shoulders while looking at a phone or tablet, it is harder for them to take a full breath because of the restriction to their muscles.

    In addition, the ribs cannot move properly so the heart and lungs cannot function to their full effectiveness.

    More often than not, people do not know they could be doing serious long-term damage to their body because the short-term effects are not as noticeable, the study says.

    It's only later in life that the effects are noticeable and can seriously affect the quality of life.  The biggest fear is that young people, who are by far the heaviest users of mobile technology, will develop irreversible problems that may lead to early death.

    Chiropractic procedures to help with texting-related posture

    In my practice I have noticed that the increased prevalence of forward head posture problems has coincided with the explosion of smart phone, tablet and laptop use for work and leisure.

    The study compares the risk of early death from poor posture to the risk of having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30, which places and individual in the obese range. Currently some estimates claim that obesity is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths in this country. It is startling to consider that poor posture from texting can equal that risk.

    We live our lives in such a way that oftentimes we are ruled by technology and we use our phones, tablets and computers so frequently that it is easy to overlook the effects it is having on our posture. 

    The good news is that we all have a degree of control over this issue.  We can limit the time we spend on our mobile devices, and we can bring them to eye level to reduce the poor posture.

    The recommendation that we make here at The Joint Cottonwood Heights is that you come in for a postural evaluation and appropriate chiropractic treatment to improve forward head posture and help lower the associated risks.

    ~ Dr. Hendricks
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