It may not surprise you to hear that Dr. Ray Tuck is a very busy man. As the President and lead doctor of Tuck Chiropractic he divides his time between serving patients, serving with various professional organizations, and serving the local community. It’s possible you’ve run into him at a Virginia Tech Hokie Game or maybe you are a patient that has benefited from his expertise and skill as a chiropractor. No matter how well you know Dr. Tuck we thought you might enjoy a deeper look at who is and what he is all about.
Which Tuck Clinic do you work at?
I work with patients out of our Christiansburg office but also spend time at the corporate office working.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
What is a typical workday like for you?
I get things started bright and early with a workout at 5:30am. After that I head to the office to start my workday. On Monday and Tuesday I see patients. The rest of my week varies quite a bit. I serve on the American Chiropractic Association and the Virginia Board of Medicine; I travel a fair amount serving with these organizations.
What is your favorite part of your job?
That’s an easy one! Helping others achieve their goals.
If you had to live on a deserted island and could only bring 3 items, what would you bring—and why?
A chess set (to keep my mind occupied), some swim trunks (to swim in), and my wife (well…).
What’s it like being the only chiropractor on the Virginia board of medicine?
It has been awesome to work with providers of all backgrounds with the goal of patients in mind. I am truly treated as any other provider, even though I’m the only chiropractor on the board.
How does collaborating with other health care providers (such as those on the ACA or Board of Medicine) lead to better care for your patients?
The reality is that all of us in healthcare have a responsibility to keep the patients goals at the forefront of our minds. Globally, it really comes down to three things: First, achieving the best possible outcomes for the patient’s condition. Second, ensuring the patient feels very satisfied with their experience. Third, providing care in the most economical manner. The only way this can be done is through collaboration of all healthcare providers. This is being discussed by policy makers, insurance carriers, and by our patients.
What are essential qualities for a chiropractor to possess?
A chiropractor must always remember that they are there to serve their patients. Their role is to help guide them through our current healthcare system enabling them to obtain their health goals. The chiropractor must work diligently for the best possible outcome, patient satisfaction, and economical treatments. It really is all about the patient!
What inspired you to become a chiropractor?
Witnessing first-hand the ability of chiropractic to change lives for the better. When I was 19, I asked my father for a job in one of his clinics. While at one of the clinics I saw how he helped a severely acute patient. In fact, this fellow was a copy machine repairman who hurt his lower back lifting a copier. His injury was so bad that he had to be carried into the clinic. We stayed late that night working with him and I saw him walk out. That was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. The man was made well without drugs or surgery. I was hooked and knew I wanted to be part of a profession that could improve the lives of others in this way.
What do you love most about the New River Valley?
I love that this is home. I grew up in Pulaski, earned a degree from Radford University, and now serve patients in the New River Valley at our Christiansburg office.
What do you do for fun?
I garden on my land, play with my old cars, and cook for my family.
What motivates you to stay well?
I want to be in top performance for all the people that depend on me—my family, friends, patients and colleagues.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
My favorite quote was said by Zig Zigler, “You can get anything you want if you help enough people get what they want!” It points out that you first must serve others and trust your needs will be met in the process. If you put others first and ensure their success it will result in personal success.
How to Be Consistent With Your Health and Fitness
Sometimes it’s seemingly little things that make the biggest difference. Here are some small changes to your regular routine that, if you implement them, may help you accomplish your larger health goals.
Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect posits this simple formula for large-scale life change: “Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results.” Hardy explains how working out for 10 to 20 minutes each day can be more effective than waiting for the two or three days a month hit the gym for a full hour or two, how using the drive-time of your daily commute to listen to inspiring and informative audio can quickly add up to the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, how packing your lunch can lead to a hefty investment income, and other small steps that produce fantastic results when sustained over time.
Little Steps Lead to Big Strides
Step #1: Drink a full glass of water at each meal
Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, Director of Nutrition for WebMD recommends regular water consumption for a variety of health benefits, including reducing your calorie consumption (by substituting water for sugary drinks like sweet tea or sodas), maintaining healthy skin, energizing your muscles, and flushing your kidneys (which reduces your risk for kidney stones). Making a full glass of water part of your meal routine can keep you more energized throughout the day, helping you to stay motivated to make other healthy choices.
Step #2: Make time for fun each week
Adding a little fun to your schedule can go a long way towards strengthening relationships, maintaining balance, and improving your overall satisfaction. Although it may not be easy, taking steps to add fun to your life is actually important. To start, try to clear your schedule at least one night a week, even if that means saying “no” to something you previously said “yes” to. Researchers Wilcox and Dew suggest that establishing a regular weekly or biweekly date night can have significant positive effects on marital or relational health due to increased communication, building trust, and creating positive memories together. Other ways to add fun to your schedule include making exercise fun by trying a new sport or joining a dance class, making time for a family dinner and game night, or just being silly – like hosting a murder mystery or going to see a comedy show. All of these encourage real “face time” with the people around you, a key to fighting feelings of isolation, loneliness, and melancholy.
Step #3: Get up from your desk and walk around at least once every 2 hours
In a more and more sedentary culture, sitting disease poses a real problem for many people. According to Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. of the Mayo Clinic, “50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting per day” which can have several deleterious effects on our bodies. If you do work in sedentary position and you drive or can’t arrange for an adjustable sit-stand desk, set a timer so that you take a break from your chair at least once every two hours. Not only will taking a stretch break reduce potential risk factors for back pain and other more serious conditions (like obesity and metabolic syndrome), it also can help increase your focus and productivity. A few easy ways to incorporate more walking are:
- getting up to replenish your water bottle (which will probably result in more bathroom breaks – and more walking)
- taking 15 minutes of your lunch break to walk
- walking over to talk to someone instead of calling or sending an email.
Just a few simple changes to your workday routine can add up to better health and decreased risk of some diseases associated with excessive sitting.
Step #4: Stop the sugary drinks
As much as you may feel like you “need” that latte in the morning to wake up or “have to have” your Mountain Dew or Diet Coke, these caffeine drips actually have the reverse effect in the long run because of the sugar or caffeine crash. Your body gets used to having “energy help” which can actually reduce your metabolism. Diet drinks are no better; the key to fueling your body well is to stay away from sugar spikes (especially those caused by refined sugar or artificial sweeteners) and to maintain a relatively steady glucose baseline.
A few alternative ways to perk up in the morning or afternoon include:
- eating a cold, crisp apple (a natural source of caffeine)
- having a banana to raise your blood sugar when it dips in the mid to late afternoon (2 to 4 pm)
- reducing your carbs and replacing with veggie snacks and/or healthy protein sources (in moderate quantities).
These changes will help your body find its natural rhythm rather than depending on external sources for the energy you need. Cutting down the sugar and caffeine could also help you sleep more soundly, giving you more energy throughout the day. Be forewarned though, cutting out sugar and caffeine isn’t easy, especially if it’s been a long-standing habit. Ask for accountability and have natural alternatives (like your apple) available for when cravings make it tough to stand your ground.
Step #5: Get regular chiropractic adjustments
Routine chiropractic can be another small step toward a healthy lifestyle. Many patients may initially come in for help with a specific issue and find that their pain is greatly relieved or eliminated in a relatively short period of time. However, many people also receive periodic spinal checkups, maintenance care, or wellness care-all of which can be very valuable as preventive measures. Receiving Chiropractic care on a monthly or bimonthly basis can help you feel better by reducing pressure on nerves and improving range of motion. So, even if you aren’t suffering from any acute pain or chronic conditions, getting adjusted can still help you stay healthy and pain-free and keep you more limber and flexible.
The Bigger Picture
Changes, whether small or large, are often difficult to make. It is easy to give into the seemingly urgent demands of the moment without looking at the importance of the bigger picture. Saying “no” to Jimmy’s second sport of the season for date night or family time won’t be easy. Choosing water and an apple instead of a sports drink or diet coke could be tough to get used to at first, but in the long run, those small steps will carry you further than you thought you could go.
We’re Here To Help
As you work toward your personal goals this year, we’re here to help. Our doctors are committed to working with you to achieve your health goals one step at a time. Visit one of our 11 locations for a consultation to help you lay a foundation for personal success.
Tips and Tricks for Long Distance Runners
Runner’s World reports that seeking chiropractic treatment is a growing trend among elite runners, according to Dr. Ira Shapiro, a three-time member of the U.S. Olympic Committee medical team. In an interview with the site, Dr. Shapiro says, “I will be busy from the moment I walk into the tent [at an event], until the last athlete leaves the compound. It’s not the case of an isolated few taking advantage of my services; it’s the vast majority.”
This trend is unsurprising when you consider polls that point to about 60% of runners reporting injuries or chronic injuries—from knee pain to calf strain, shinsplints to stress fractures. Injuries can result from overtraining, not doing quality training, poor nutrition, the wrong shoes, or even something as simple as landing a stride incorrectly. While some factors are beyond a runner’s control—like the weather on race day—there are definitely some proactive steps you can take to a healthier marathon experience. Dr. Ed Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center offers several pre-race tips for runners prepping for their next distance race.
Soreness is Normal
While runners who push to greater PR’s and higher levels of training should expect some soreness, joint swelling could be a sign of something that requires more attention than an ice pack. Dr. Laskowski recommends runners have a professional evaluation if they are experiencing “pain associated with joint swelling or that causes the joint to feel unstable…. You should also seek an evaluation for pain that persists or intensifies after rest from running or pain that causes you to compensate, change your running, or change your gait.”
Drink, Eat, and Be Merry
Drinking and eating a nutrient-rich diet before the race and during training is essential to proper fueling. Dehydration can be an issue for long-distance runners with far-reaching consequences. The experts at both Runner’s World and the Mayo Clinic recommend starting a race well-hydrated with healthy carb loading three to eight hours before the start. Don’t depart from your normal routine, so how you’re training should reflect what you’ll do the day of your race. It’s also essential to drink during your run, particularly if you are doing more than five or six miles. Water with an electrolyte source, like a sports gel, or a drink that incorporates all-important nutrients like sodium and potassium should be consumed every mile or so (2 ounces is recommended—that equals about two swallows). While fairly, rare, it is important not to over-hydrate which can cause life-threatening conditions, like hypernatremia.
Pass On the Sweets
While most health professionals agree that limiting your sugar intake is a good idea anytime, cutting sugar and sweeteners out of your diet at least 24 hours before your race can help you avoid everyone’s least favorite leg – the sprint to the port-a-potty. Avoiding caffeine and high-fat foods during this timeframe can also be a great help for your digestive system.
Staying in Line
Just like the effort you put into having great shoes and gear that keeps you cool (or warm, depending on your climate), making sure everything is properly aligned is well worth the time and energy you’ll invest when you consider the benefits both for your training and on race day. Manual adjustments of ankles, knees, and the lower back can keep you pain-free and running steady as you rack up the miles.
For more information on how we can help you stay in top condition while training or after a race, make an appointment at any one of our eleven locations to talk with one of our doctors. We want to keep you running steady and reaching for your personal best.
Don’t Let Your Job Stand in the Way of Physical Fitness
We all know the importance of physical fitness, and many of us would love to spend more time at the gym, or workout and play more in the beautiful spring weather. But for so many of us, our jobs get in the way, especially when home demands and commuting time are added to the hours spent actually making a living.
For those whose jobs require long hours sitting at a desk or workbench, fitness is a particular concern, especially in light of recent studies showing the dangers of being sedentary for too many hours a day.
A research review by the University Health Network in Canada that appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting for long periods every day increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and death.
Sitting with bad posture can do a number on your health, too. Slouching, slumping the shoulders, and tipping the neck forward place excess weight on the spine, causing alignment problems that can lead to chronic back pain.
If we can’t just quit our jobs to get more active, what can we do during work hours to get moving and improve our physical fitness?
1) Don’t Sit Still
Limit sitting as much as you can. Consider getting a standing desk. If you must sit at your desk, take breaks often. Stand when you can stand instead of sitting, for instance when taking phone calls. Walk when you can walk instead of standing — instead of sending an email, walk to a colleague’s office to deliver a message. Check out this post for more ideas on how to sit less at the office.
2) Exercise at the Office
Beyond these changes, there are workouts you can integrate into your workday that include stretching, aerobics, resistance, and isometric exercise. Here are a few examples of exercises you can do at the office:
- Stretch at your desk. Try stretching your arms above your head, tilting your ears to your shoulders, and putting your hand on the back of your chair and twisting your torso. Here are some office stretches that can help reduce muscular stiffness and back pain.
- Find an open office or step outside for a quick cardio workout. Jogging in place, taking a lap around the parking lot, jumping jacks, lunges and squats are just a few ideas for quick exercises that won’t get you too sweaty and in need of a change of clothes.
- For increasing muscular strength, you can use dumbbells, resistance bands or tubes at your desk, or try these exercises from Men’s Fitness. They tone muscles by using the resistance of gravity, as well as isometric, or squeezing, exercises.
3) Walk or Bike to Work
If you live close enough to your office, try walking or biking to work instead of driving or taking public transportation. In addition the the physical fitness benefits, walking to work can also help get you in the right mindset for a productive work day. If walking or biking to work isn’t feasible, force yourself to walk more by parking farther away or taking the stairs rather than the elevator.
4) Get Active During Lunch
With a busy work schedule, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of dropping into a nearby restaurant or fast food joint, or ordering delivery. This usually means an unhealthy meal, and a lunch break without any extra time for yourself. Bringing lunch to work will not only make for a more nutritious meal, but it will also save you the time of waiting in line and ordering food. Use that time to go for a walk or even to the gym. Check out this article for tips on how to maximize a gym workout during your lunch break.
5) Challenge Yourself
Last but not least, don’t forget to set goals, whether that means walking a specific number of steps a day, doing desk exercises for a set number of minutes, or even bringing your lunch a certain number of days a week. It’s easy to get lost in the status quo of your work day. Challenge yourself to be active as much as possible, and set realistic goals to hold yourself accountable.
You’ll be glad you did.
Image Copyright: racorn /123RF.
Whether you’re chasing your grandchildren around the playground or chasing an Olympic gold, there’s nothing like feeling great so you can enjoy the activities that bring meaning to your life.
But sometimes, life’s aches and pains stand in the way. What then?
Athletes know the benefits offered by chiropractic: All NFL teams have an official chiropractor, and more than 50% of NCAA athletes choose alternative therapy — including chiropractic — to stay on top of their games.
What about your game? Whether it’s golf or tennis, or just taking a stroll in the park on a beautiful spring morning, is your body ready?
You don’t have to play golf or softball to see how the back, joints, and muscles coordinate to swing a club or bat. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation, or adjustment, to relieve pressure on joints and improve nerve function. They can also advise you on diet and exercise to maintain optimal health.
Even in people without symptoms, research has found that manipulation therapy increased joint motion and increased muscle strength. Here are some other examples of how chiropractic can help you but a spring in your step:
- The New Zealand College of Chiropractic’s Centre for Chiropractic Research found that spinal manipulation may prevent fatigue and boost muscle function.
- A similar study of 40 South African soccer players found that lumbar and sacroiliac joint manipulation increased kicking speed, and range of motion in lumbar extension, right rotation, and SI joint angular motions.
- Another published report found that a full range of treatment, including soft tissue therapy (massage) and manipulation, can assist with rotator cuff injuries.
- A study of various approaches showed that manipulation of the neck area produced increased flexibility at the hip.
Getting off to a Good Start
When you first get back into an active, outdoor lifestyle, overdoing it can lead to back and neck pain, and reduced mobility. Whether these come from months of cold weather, too much time in the easy chair, or taking on too much at once, a chiropractor can recommend a wide range of options including adjustment, exercise, and diet to get you and keep you healthy and active. Here are some common complaints, and how chiropractic can help.
If you don’t even want to lift your clubs or tennis racket, you’re not ready to play. Of the 22 million chiropractor visits annually, 7.7 million, or 35%, are from patients seeking relief from back pain, which can be caused by wear and tear, poor posture, diet, or lack of exercise. Studies published by the National Institutes of Health found strong evidence for the efficacy of manual treatment. Patients with acute pain showed strong evidence of improvement when compared to placebo treatment for pain, function, and health improvements. For chronic pain sufferers there was moderate to strong evidence in favor of chiropractic compared with placebo treatment for pain, function and overall health.
Neck pain is another leading complaint. Studies demonstrate that cervical manipulation increases active range of motion and decreases pain in patients with neck issues. All these improvements were maintained at 6-month follow-ups. One study showed that manipulation was 1.5 times more effective in reducing neck pain than massage-style mobilization therapy. Those receiving chiropractic care demonstrated a significant increase in joint flexibility over the group receiving other treatment.
Chronic headaches can keep you inside and in the dark, and poor posture — the same problem that can lead to backache — can contribute to frequent tension headaches. One study found that in the long run, one month of chiropractic care (approximately 2 visits per week) was more effective than a commonly prescribed drug for the condition.
A host of other conditions — even constipation, which might keep you indoors — can improve with proper treatment from a chiropractor. Chiropractic adjustments can remove blockages in the nervous system that are preventing the proper function of your body, slowing you down and keeping you planted on the couch. Getting your body in shape can help alleviate dizziness, tinnitus, osteoarthritis, stuffy ears, and numerous other symptoms.
Time to Get Moving!
Don’t let aches and pains keep you indoors when the sunshine is calling you outside. And as you head out the door with the clubs slung over your back, consider how much better your swing will be if your body is in perfect mechanical balance. You wouldn’t take off on a road trip without having your car checked out. Give your body the same essential tune-up with a visit to Tuck Chiropractic Clinic.
Want more tips about staying active and fit this spring? Stay tuned to our blog in April for a fitness-themed month of posts!
Location. Location. Location. Strategically located clinics allow Shannon to live the life she loves.
Shannon is a very busy and well-known real estate professional in the Roanoke Valley. When not working or spending time with her family she volunteers in a variety of capacities whether it is with a school organization, charitable foundations, or as a Sunday School teacher. Shannon’s story is an important one to tell because in spite of her high-demand and fast-paced lifestyle she is able to keep her health a top priority.
Shannon’s story begins many years ago, back when she was in middle school. She suffered a serious neck injury after falling down two flights of concrete stairs. At the time, she didn’t have access to chiropractic care so her neck injury was left untreated. Years later Shannon discovered the many benefits of chiropractic care and was able to get the treatment for her neck, that she so desperately needed. Shannon explained, “I truly believe, that if I had not started chiropractic care, I would not be able to move my neck.”
What initially began as treatment for a very specific injury has transformed into a means for maintaining optimal health. Shannon said, “I discovered many years ago, the many benefits of chiropractic care. My body, as a whole, functions so much better when I have consistent chiropractic adjustments.” Shannon resolved the immediate need, her neck injury, but elected to continue treatments because she knows adjustments are key to her living the life she loves. Shannon explained further:
Keeping my body in check, which I do by having chiropractic adjustments, benefits me greatly as a whole. I am a busy real estate professional, which means many hours of driving from place to place, sitting for long periods of time, and many hours of computer work, while sitting sedentary at a desk. If I were not benefiting from my chiropractic adjustments, I would not be able to continue with the long hours that my job demands.
Just like in Real Estate “location, location, location” is huge for Chiropractic care. A large reason Shannon is able to regularly get adjustments is because there are a variety of Clinic options to choose from strategically located across the Roanoke Valley and beyond. Shannon said, “With Tuck having several locations, it has helped me maintain my general well-being, my being able to stop in at any of the locations, when I am in between appointments, etc., to get my chiropractic adjustments.”
Since Shannon has visited many locations she has as a result experience treatments from a number of doctors, four to be specific. She has found the variety of doctor’s to be an asset to her health:
I absolutely love, what I would consider, one of the missions of Tuck Chiropractic, which is establishing themselves in many different communities, where their patients are able to drop in to any of the many offices, and know that their needs will be taken care of, in the same form and fashion, as if they were visiting with their primary, neighborhood Tuck doctor.
Her close relationship with the Tuck team was especially helpful when she developed sciatica while moving a heavy bird bath. This condition typically presents as pain or weakness in one leg and can also manifest as a tingling sensation or a sharp radiating pain. According to her x-rays the situation did not look good. However, with chiropractic treatments from Dr. LaBarbera she was able to avoid invasive medical procedures and medication. Not only that, Shannon’s personal diligence, keeping up with follow up exercises at home, has allowed her to live pain-free and overcome this injury.
We are inspired by Shannon’s commitment to stay on top of her health, even in the face of a fast-paced and demanding schedule. We are also thankful to be a part of Shannon’s journey to wellness. We are thankful that she trusts our doctors—across a number of clinics—to equip her to live the life she loves.
Copyright: alotofpeople / 123RF Stock Photo
While St. Patrick’s Day may have people contemplating pots of gold at the end of rainbows, four-leaf clovers, and the luck of the Irish, relying on luck for good health may not be your best strategy for a happy, fulfilled, active lifestyle. Being intentional and proactive are important pieces of becoming the best you – we can’t all be as lucky as the 67-year old grandmother that Mellanie True Hills mentions in her book:
In traveling from her home in Britain to her daughter’s wedding in Florida, [the grandmother] was on a flight to Orlando when she experienced back, chest, and arm pains, sweating, and vomiting, and realized that she was having a heart attack. When the flight attendant called to see if there was a doctor on board, fifteen cardiologists answered the call. All were headed to a cardiology conference in Orlando. They were able to save her, and the plane landed in North Carolina, where she spent five days in the hospital before proceeding to Orlando for her daughter’s wedding (Chap. 20).
As Hills says, “She was lucky, but luck doesn’t cut it for most of us.” Instead, we have to be intentional about taking responsibility for our own health, as far as we are able.
Hills recommends three preliminary steps for proactive health management:
1. Educate Yourself
Albert Einstein said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” (Carol Bogash, Americans for the Arts). While learning throughout our lifespan keeps our brains healthy and active, it also promotes happiness, and gives us new, helpful information for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Food fads, diet plans and the best way to exercise come and go, but there have been many noteworthy scientific discoveries, particularly in the area of neurological activity, in the last decade or so. There are also articles based on trustworthy studies that link certain foods and behaviors to increased serotonin levels (one of our “happy” hormones). Finding reliable sources that are based on peer-reviewed research with large sample sizes from a diverse population are your best bet for health education. Not all of these have to be hard to digest, sometimes popular sources like WebMD produces very readable adaptations of study findings. But make sure you check the facts and follow the hyperlink trail to make sure the claim that 50% of people whose eyesight improved by eating carrots everyday isn’t based on the debatable opinion polls of 10 people out of 20.
If you already know have a particular condition, like suffering from chronic back pain or headaches or seasonal affective disorder, educating yourself about your options is a good first step. Looking at how nutrition can affect your condition, the benefits of certain types of exercise, what supplements might help ease symptoms (like Vitamin D for people with S.A.D)., and other forms of alternative care are a good start, but it is advisable to always check with your primary care provider before making any significant changes to your regular routine.
2. Plan (and Attend) Regular Check-up Appointments
According to the World Health Organization, “early detection of cancer greatly increases the chances for successful treatment.” While that may be a more extreme circumstance, keeping tabs on your health consistently is definitely a good idea. Knowing your risk factors and visiting your primary care provider can help you stay on top of what you need to do to live vibrantly. Often organizations like the Red Cross offer complimentary or low cost exams that certain population groups should have regularly like mammograms. Stay informed about local events and be proactive!
This attitude is true not only for your physical health, but also for your emotional, spiritual, and relational health. Proactively investing in relationships via real conversation, dedicated time, and kind gestures can do a lot for strengthening your friendships, marriage, and other associations. Likewise, checking in with a friend, partner, or spouse regarding your attitude and emotional state may give you fresh perspective on your highs and lows and how to regulate them. Having friends and family that both share your values and beliefs and hold conflicting opinions also important for ensuring a healthy curiosity and equilibrium.
3. Partner with Your Healthcare Providers
Finally, partnering with those who are invested in your health is a great way to take a proactive stance toward healthy living. Setting goals with healthcare providers, following the advice of a trusted doctor and working with professionals to determine a routine of healthy lifestyle habits that fits your needs are all positive steps you can take. Our doctors at Tuck Chiropractic are committed to seeing you live the life you love and would be happy to consult with you regarding how chiropractic care might improve your well-being. They are also patient advocates, happy to refer you to another healthcare professional if they feel your needs would be better met by a doctor in another specialty.
If you are looking to proactively pursue a healthier lifestyle and think chiropractic care might help you on your journey, give us a call or drop by at any of our eleven locations. We’re here to help.
False—mostly. Like many things in life this isn’t a black and white issue. Chiropractic can be used as a short term acute treatment or as part of a long-term preventative and health maintenance protocol
Sometimes a person may get injured, which can result in pain or limited performance. This can happen due to a car accident, lifting heavy objects in an awkward manner, or perhaps taking a hard hit while playing sports. This can result in debilitating pain that prevents the ability to continue with the same lifestyle that existed prior to injury—whether that means having to modify one’s occupation, an exercise routine, hobbies, or a specific daily routine. Chiropractic adjustments are an excellent means to correct acute issues related to the spine. It is possible that a very short term stint of care will properly address the pain or performance issue and result in healing for the patient that requires no follow up.
The first experience Dr. Ray Tuck had witnessing the ability of adjustments to correct a painful injury was in his father’s Chiropractic Clinic. Dr. Tuck shared the story with us:
When I was 19, I asked my father for a job in one of his clinics and saw how he helped a severely acute patient. In fact, this fellow was a copy machine repairman who hurt his lower back lifting a copier and had to be carried in. We stayed late that night working with him and I saw him walk out. That was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. No drugs or anything. It was incredible!
Neither surgery nor medicine was required to make this patient well. This example powerfully depicts how chiropractic is able to immediately resolve functional issues, eliminate pain, and get the patient back to the life they love to live.
While there are instances where chiropractic can be used as an isolated treatment option there is also tremendous benefit to consistently using adjustments to maintain excellent health, manage and eliminate pain, and enjoy top physical performance. Many professional athletes such as Olympic hopefuls and NFL players include chiropractic as part of their training regimens. They know that their bodies perform optimally when their spine, joints, and nervous system are carefully maintained with chiropractic adjustments.
Think about it, you probably visit the dentist annually or semi-annually to ensure your pearly whites are in tip-top shape with a checkup and cleaning. Keeping a close watch on your spinal health and getting regular “check up” adjustments or treatments is an excellent proactive step towards ensuring optimal spinal health. Some studies have shown that regular chiropractic treatments promote increased lung capacity, visual acuity, reaction time, balance, and cardiovascular health. The spine has an impact on all other bodily systems and therefore should be a priority for routine maintenance and wellness.
Discuss your health goals and concerns with your chiropractor to determine if your health goals will best be met by consistent care over time or if perhaps reaching your goals will require a shorter duration of care.
At Tuck Chiropractic we think it is important to love the life you live. It’s easy to get stuck in the everyday grind that slowly squeezes the joy out of life. When you’re too busy, too stressed, and you can’t do the things you’re passionate about, it can be difficult to really enjoy the moment. Here are a few tips on how to seize the day:
Tips for Increased Happiness
1. Try something new
Katherine Zeratsky of the Mayo Clinic encourages everyone to “get into the habit of trying new things” as part of the Clinic’s 12 Habits of Highly Healthy People series. She notes that trying new things can help you overcome fear, build on past successes, capitalize on your strengths, approach new things with curiosity, find greater enjoyment in life, and experience benefits like increasing confidence and reducing loneliness. So whether it’s learning how to swim, going rock climbing, picking up a crossword puzzle, or joining a photography club, pick something that’s outside of your normal zone of daily and weekly activities and give it a go!
2. Be aware
Part of enjoying life and finding contentment is being present in the moment and engaging with the people and circumstances that surround you. When we are aware of how we feel and determine to acknowledge and work through negative emotions and practice positive emotions, like gratitude, we are building good habits and brain patterns that can increase our experience of and enjoyment in life.
According to research referenced by Harvard Health Publications, one study was conducted where two groups were instructed to journal weekly with one group focusing on what they were thankful for and the other on what aggravated them that week. After ten weeks, the group that focused on identifying what they were grateful for reported significantly higher levels of happiness and enjoyed other health benefits as well. Another study with a gratefulness exercise component also reported significant increases in the reported happiness scores that followed that week’s assignment. Being engaged and being grateful play an important role in how much we relish life.
3. Build in margin
Less stress generally equals greater happiness. One great way to reduce stress is to build margin into our lives. One means of doing this is to purposely plan to sleep more (aiming for 7 to 8 hours nightly). According to a study done at the University of Massachusetts, getting adequate sleep improves our capacity to make better decisions; and another study, published in Psychological Science suggests that getting enough sleep increases the probability that we will accomplish goals that we set for ourselves.
Adding margin to the day doesn’t end with getting more sleep though, it also includes ideas like the 15 Minute Rule – purposefully getting up 15 minutes earlier than needed to have time to make your coffee, journal, pray, or do whatever you need to do to proactively get a good start. This rule applies to making it to meetings, appointment scheduling (giving yourself 15 minutes to process what you’ve heard and make it to your next appointment), travel plans, etc. Margin reduces stress and less stress can lead to greater happiness.
4. Unplug occasionally
Experts in all sorts of field encourage us to cut out those things that are not driving us forward or supporting us in our goals. For many in the information age, this might mean having days or times of day that are “disconnected.” Max Blumberg, a University of London research psychologist, recently commented on how “Our brains were never designed to be always on and permanently connected with the amount of stimuli that we get [today].”
Darren Hardy, a personal success mentor for highly influential businessmen and other interested parties, agrees that giving our brains a break is essential to our health and productivity, citing how hard it is to really disconnect from email, social media, entertainment media, and the other digital “sirens” vying for your time and attention. He explains that implementing disconnected days, even at work occasionally, gives him time and space to think creatively, connect with the people around him, and focus his attention on the things that truly matter.
Getting our priorities straight may be one of the most difficult tasks of a human being. The key to getting the important things done is to be able to distinguish between what is simply urgent and what is truly important. For example, the email regarding the five things your team expects you to have done by Monday that comes in at 4:45pm on Friday may feel like the end of the world, but the dinner date with your husband or your child’s soccer game may actually have the greater long-term impact. It’s different for everyone, but figuring out what is most valuable in your life will help you align your actions with your values.
Just like it’s hard to love the life you live if your priorities are out of whack, it’s hard to do what you love if you aren’t aligned correctly. Joint pain, sciatica, headaches, back pain, spinal stenosis, and other conditions caused or aggravated by spinal misalignment can put a serious damper on doing what you love.
If you are struggling with any of these issues, we’re here to help. Whether it’s rough housing with your grandkids, running that half marathon, rock climbing, or your job, we want you to be free to do the things that mean the most to you. Chiropractic care supports long term health and wellness, important pieces of a healthy, happy lifestyle. Love the life you live, take care of yourself by making an appointment at one of our eleven clinics and finding out more about how chiropractic care can increase your capacity to enjoy life.
February is National Heart Health month, so it’s a good time to check in and evaluate whether or not you are doing everything you can for a happy, healthy heart. According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one cause of death for the majority of Americans and uncontrolled high blood pressure is the number one cause of heart disease and stroke.
Heart Disease Risk Factors
The statistics regarding death, disability, and reduced quality of life due to various forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are staggering, as you can see in the Healthline infographic below:
According to the National Institutes for Health, obesity, poor diet, smoking, and inactivity can all contribute to an increased risk for CVD, leading to massive problems like stroke, heart attacks, and heart failure. Other risk factors include: high blood pressure, diabetes and pre-diabetes, family history of heart disease, age, and high cholesterol.
How to Lower Your Risk for Heart Attacks, Strokes, and Other Heart Related Health Problems
While family history, age, or a pre-existing condition like diabetes are not always possible to correct, reducing your overall risk usually only requires commitment and follow-through.
- Heart-healthy foods
Changing your diet to include more heart healthy food may be as simple as trading out one regular meal a week for something lighter, like having fish and vegetables instead of spaghetti and garlic bread. Arteries that have plaque build-ups (which reduce blood flow and can increase blood pressure) can be instigated or worsened by diets high in saturated and trans fats, so it might be worth it to go through the pantry and toss the regular offenders that are tempting you to sabotage a heart healthy lifestyle. Prepackaged snack foods like cakes, crackers, cookies, pies, and frostings are often full of unhealthy fats. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat these things, but keeping them in the house regularly probably isn’t a good plan. Instead, be sure to stock healthier, unprocessed snacks, like fruit, baby carrots, hummus, trail mix that isn’t full of candy, and other natural, easy-to-grab foods that match your lifestyle needs.
- Being active
Exercise and active hobbies are an important part of maintaining a healthy weight. Because obesity is a very significant risk factor for heart disease, building time into your schedule to do aerobic and anaerobic activity 3-5 times weekly (aiming for 30-45 minutes of continuous activity) can make a significant difference. If you have struggled with maintaining a healthy weight, it is best to start more slowly, for example, walking for 20-40 minutes 3-5 times per week. Make it quality time by going with your partner, children, or pet or by calling a friend while you walk. Exercising with others is a great form of accountability and can make the process more fun as well.
- Stress less
Stress can be a major trigger point for heart attacks according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Oftentimes we have learned habits that cause us to rely on stress as way of life, either for getting things done, relating to our family and friends, or as a response to feeling like we don’t have control of our circumstances. There are several ways of breaking this habit, however, and replacing it with more healthy ways of thinking and relating to others. A few ideas for managing stress include having a few counseling sessions with your spouse or family focused on healthy, proactive communication; staying connected to your religious community through regular attendance at weekly gatherings; meditation; deep breathing practices; and relaxing exercises like yoga or other low impact, focus-enhancing workouts.
Can Chiropractic Care Help Play a Role in Reducing the Risk for Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure Management?
When working towards the prevention of heart disease, it is important to consider your individual risk factors. Both high blood pressure and reduced autonomic nervous activity can have adverse effects on heart health. Chiropractic care has been shown in some cases to reduce blood pressure. There are scientific studies and many articles discussing chiropractic care and its potential to work in cooperation with other treatments to reduce high blood pressure. According to Wolfson Integrative Cardiology, “The heart and blood vessels are connected to the central nervous system by millions of tiny connections. One major attachment is the vagus nerve (which comes from the brain) and the autonomic nervous system (which has input into the entire body).
These nerves control heart rate and blood pressure, both essential factors for heart health. And although chiropractic is not a cure for heart disease and high blood pressure, it does positively impact these nerves, so clients may experience benefits related to heart health.”
We’re Here to Help
The doctors at Tuck Chiropractic are trained to identify and expertly adjust subtle misalignments in the spinal bones that can put pressure on the nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to major organs and systems. This release of pressure may aid in lowering blood pressure, increasing nervous system health, and helping you stay active and pain-free. If you are looking to establish a routine that promotes heart health, we’re here to help. Just give us a call and set up an appointment at any of our eleven locations, where one of our doctors would be happy to talk with you about how chiropractic might help reduce your risk for heart disease.