Use Chiropractic to Stay Healthy This Winter

By Lisa Arkowski, DC at  Gonstead, Stangl & Arkowski Gonstead, Stangl & Arkowski

Once again, cold and flu season is upon us. There’s an endless list of things that we can do to keep ourselves healthy this time of year. Maintaining good sleep, drinking water, and keeping sugar intake and stress levels down are all things we often know we should be doing. Making sure we’re eating our veggies and possibly adding some supplements can all help us stay healthy through the winter season.

But could chiropractic play a role in this too? Chiropractic care is often thought of when your back “goes out,” when you sleep funny, get a headache, or if your hands or feet start to tingle. But how can it help you get through the winter season? This time of year we tend to go into hibernation mode—we’re inside more, outside less. We bundle up when we go outside (and sometimes inside), and often we just start to feel tight all over just from the thought of the first snowfall. Spending hours in the kitchen cooking big meals for large family gatherings, sitting in the car to drive to see the ones you love, or even just sleeping in a different bed than usual are all activities that are necessary to see the friends and family we care dearly about. Unfortunately they can also lead to their own aches and pains down the line.

Sugar and stress often take more of a toll than we realize, leading to inflammation in the body. This in turn may make us more susceptible to both those holiday aches and pains as well as the more acute neck and back pain injuries.

Once the holidays are over we still don’t get off easy. The snow keeps falling and you have to put it somewhere. Icy sidewalks and parking lots create a slippery surface that creates extra work just to keep yourself up on your feet. Even those winter illnesses lead to more problems. Starting to get that cough going around the office? After a little while you may start straining your ribs and back, and you’ll get a quick reminder of just how many muscles and parts of your spine are involved in something as simple as a cough.

Chiropractic care can have a large impact on how comfortably you make it through this season. Chiropractors address the body as a whole, which leads to improved function, alleviated pain, and support for the body’s natural ability to heal itself. They evaluate the body and spine to see what’s working, and more importantly, what isn’t. In addition, chiropractors can teach you ergonomics so you’re moving right when you’re clearing those snow piles and skidding across those icy patches. They can give advice on what to do with all the driving and travel. Many chiropractors have additional training in nutritional counseling so they can help you get your body what it needs to stay healthy. They can help you address your health top to bottom, inside out.

Whether it’s staying proactive and taking care of yourself before those holiday aches and pain set in, or after you get through those activities and your body starts to tell you how much you’ve put it through, chiropractic can help you feel your best so you can focus on enjoying the season. Which is what it’s all supposed to be about anyway!

Gaining Perspective of Chiropractic

By Dr. Judy Soborowicz 

During a recent interview, I asked what experience my applicant had with chiropractic care. She shuttered slightly, and stated she really had none—except for one time when she went along with a friend who had a chiropractic appointment. She offered, “There was a lot of cracking, and it was, well…different.” The tone accompanying the words said it all, and I was both intrigued and grateful for her candor. It seemed to be neither a good nor bad experience, but one she did not fully understand. As a chiropractor, I have the opportunity to address the purpose and goals of my approach with patients during their visits. I have also had years of watching, receiving, and providing chiropractic adjustments so much so, that my comfort with the process is replete. It is for this reason I was so grateful for her comment; for a moment I could see chiropractic through her eyes, and see an opportunity.

Even though chiropractic is the second largest healing profession in the world, and even as bodywork and healing modalities that rely on care and maintenance of our bodies’ own natural healing ability grow, there are still people who resist the benefits of chiropractic care simply due to unfamiliarity with the approach. Chiropractic literally means “done by hand.” Without the use of drugs or surgery, subtle changes in movement patterns are corrected.
Movement patterns are neurological, meaning they initiate via the brain and spinal cord.

As a mutually beneficial relationship to overall health, movement patterns essentially initiate three things: growth and maintenance of the brain, muscle tone and responsiveness, and organ health. Research is conclusive on movement because it is essential to life. Intelligence, memory, balance, bone density, hormone balance, stress management, heart health, and more are all maintained by our movement. Elegant coordinated movements are reliant on both input to the brain and spinal cord and output from the brain and spinal cord. Communication is both instantaneous and continuous when the signals are not interrupted.

For example, our feet have twenty-six bones and thirty-three joints. As we stand and move with our feet, each healthy joint space allows movement and friction. The specialized pancake-shaped bone at the base of the foot moves in multiple directions, and each tiny movement excites nerve receptors. The healthy movement between this and all the joints in the body activates special nerve receptors resulting in signals that initiate the brain to output specific coordinated muscle contractions. This allows the body to responsively handle the sequential movements. Without health in the joint, the friction between the joint space is reduced, and not detected by the brain. Gross movement will still occur, however, it will have a compensation for any missing joint movement, causing an alteration in the pattern. Alterations in movement patterns and compensations over time result in chronic and repetitive injuries and can limit training and or reduce healthy life choices.

Chiropractic addresses the bigger picture of why certain parts of the body, back, and neck are displaying dysfunction. This dysfunction expresses as inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, weakness, and pain. It is time to benefit from chiropractic when you first notice an issue. Chiropractic adjustments restore natural movements between joint space and the nervous system, allowing improved body and brain communication. Restoring communication allows for the natural loads of movement across joint spaces and muscles reducing stressors in the body. The applicant had it right, chiropractic is different. It is a natural way to honor the design of our bodies and improve our lives. With each adjustment, the brain and spinal cord cells are activated and are communicating efficiently. Results of better brain and body communication include greater coordination in movements, a healthier spine and frame, improved balance, tone, and life.

For more information, contact Dr. Judy Soborowicz at Active Health Chiropractic, 715-834-6333.

The Best Kept Secret in Chiropractic

by Michael J. Court, D.C., Chippewa Valley Wellness

I was traveling on Hwy. 94 south of Eau Claire this past weekend and came up to a huge traffic jam that stretched for miles. We waited in frustration as we inched along the highway. The delay added about an hour to our already long trip. I was thinking that there must be a bad accident way up the road. As we approached the source of the bottleneck, it was painfully obvious that it was simply traffic being routed to a one-lane access!  I thought to myself, “all this backup and waste of time due to a simple lane closure.” You may have had a similar thing happen to you in the past. I thought if someone was able to open up traffic at the blockage point, it could really free up movement.

This same type of backup happens in the body when you get a misalignment of the upper two bones in the neck. We call this area the upper cervical spine. It is located at the junction between the head and the neck. It is also where a majority of the nerve “traffic” flows through. This backup in the nervous system can cause a whole range of symptoms from neck and back pain to headaches, digestive problems, numbness in the hands and feet to overall bad posture. A chiropractor trained in upper cervical chiropractic is able to identify and gently correct such misalignments.

If you or someone you know does not like to get their necks “cracked,” or has a chronic condition, then upper cervical care may be what is needed. There is hope for people who have tried other therapies and have not gotten the results they desire. If this is something you would like to change, then see if you could benefit from upper cervical care today!

Move Right for Brain Health

by Dr. Judy Soborowicz, Active Health Chiropractic

From our earliest days, we have had opportunity to observe our brain as the main controller of our expression, movement, and essential life processes. Our conscious impulse to move a finger, touch our toes, hug our child; or our unconscious regulation of our heart rate, breathing, healing, or digestion. Our brain function is the main organ responsible for control and coordination of the operation of both intentional and automatic body systems. Successful performance of our brain depends upon the ability for constant monitoring. Both incoming and outgoing nerve signals, to and from our brain and body, provide opportunity for instantaneous adjustments necessary for our success and survival. Our brain cell signals travel via our spinal cord and nerves that exit our spine. Like the roots of a tree, the nerves branch throughout our entire body and are constantly monitoring for our health.

Brain-body communication requires a process called “nerve firing.” When we consider how our nerves work, “firing” is a good thing! The cells in our brain are maintained in size and quantity by the very process of nerve firing. Nerve cells must be called upon to fire because the size and landscape of our entire brain depends upon it. Research has revealed that as our brain cells go through the process of nerve firing, they are prompted to build essential “insulation” around their own structure. This insulation is similar in function to the insulation on our household wiring. The efficiency, and speed, of messages traveling from our brain to our body rely upon good insulation for both protection and function. Nerve firing also initiates a process, which promotes new nerve growth; the cells in the brain actually multiply in number. Nerve cells, which do not fire, are not maintained and diminish in quantity and quality. The very act of movement in our body produces nerve firing, which travels from our body to our brain.

Because of the necessity of nerve firing, movement patterns play an essential role in maintaining the size and quantity of nerve cells and are essential to the physical landscape, and performance, of our brain. Recent research has revealed that changes in movement patterns, or gait, can begin to occur ten years prior to the onset of negative changes in the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease. The feedback to our brain from our movements is essential for the maintenance of our brain structure. When our joints do not move properly, they do not have the same ability to signal back to the brain and produce the proper firing. The quality of both the outcome and income of signals traveling from our brain through our spinal cord is affected by the movement of the bones and joints in our body. Lack of movement interrupts the maintenance of our very brain cells. Simply put, our memory and cognition are dependent upon proper movement. Having movement patterns checked could reveal that subtle skips or compensations, an old ankle sprain, or bum knee, or that back pain that always seem to hang around could be the result of a faulty movement pattern, which can be corrected with the chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments in combination with neurological movement pattern analysis can restore proper nerve firing and help keep our brain functioning well for life.

Chiropractic and Healing Potential

by Dr. Judy Soborwicz

Chiropractic is a powerful way to preserve our connection to our internal healing systems. From our immune function, stress response, digestion, hormone health, to everything in between; our internal regulation and optimization occurs at the connection between our brain and body. Chiropractic health care focuses specifically on maintaining this special connection at the highest potential throughout our lifetime.

Our frame and structure are made up of finely sculpted boney connective joints/tissues with large and fine muscle groups for moving.  The immense precision intended during the creation of our structure induces wonder and respect by anyone who has taken the time to truly observe it in action.  In other words, our system is set up, self regulated—for expression of vitality and health.  To suffer with conditions of the body without addressing our prime regulator of health and well-being is akin to a novice baking a soufflé without direction.  When given the option to have help, we would no question, take it.

We are our most powerful at healing and vitality when we are using our design in a directed way to express our potential. Our movement and balance of our frame is one hundred percent initiated by our brain and relayed through our nerve system.  The direction of our body from our brain is mutually beneficial, as movement of our body also maintains size and quantity of nerve cells deep within our brain.  This input/output interplay between our brain and body is dependent on motion.

When movement patterns are altered due to sports injury, slips, falls, auto accidents, even the birth process itself, our brain begins an adaptive process.  This adaptation is based on our brains best alternative available at the time of insult.  At it’s best, the brain will preserve energy and insure survival.  When our brain directs our body in an adaptive state we experience a lowered state of health.  Arthritis, heavy legs, muscle pain, loss of energy, nerve pain, back pain, joint pain, high blood pressure, digestive issues are some signs of our body being unable to flip our switch to a more efficient, less stressful pattern.  Our body becomes less able to correct on its own when stress has been prolonged or injuries multiplied.

Chiropractic gait analysis allows for a window into the efficiency of our brain and body communication.  Movement of our frame reveals stress points, adaptations, and compensations, this observation is used to reveal injuries old and new, and reverse our inefficient energy draining patterns.  Identification provides a gateway to correction; the coordinated interplay between the brain, joint, and muscle patterns provides the method to identify faults.

Specific gentle chiropractic adjustments are used to address areas requiring correction. This process enhances our ability to express an overall optimal level of health. A seven year study showed that patients whose primary physician was a chiropractor, experienced: 60 percent fewer hospital admissions, 59 percent fewer days in the hospital, 62 percent fewer outpatients surgery, and 85 percent fewer pharmaceutical costs.

Chiropractic is an exceptional method to explore our fullest human potential and experience uncommon healing.

Dr. Judy has personally experienced the benefits of chiropractic care for years. Her inspiration to help build health through natural methods, led to Palmer College of Chiropractic where she obtained her doctorate degree.  Dr. Judy actively pursues advanced studies in chiropractic methods, nutrition and pediatric chiropractic.