Health Tips

Once a month, Dr. Bronson will post a new health tip. Please check back often.

Best Time to Exercise

Some people like to exercise in the morning, some in the evenings, and some just on weekends. Many have adopted the concept of exercising 3 times per week. Personally, I like to exercise every morning of every day. Simply roll out of bed onto the floor, and spend 15 to 18 minutes on an exercise routine before starting your day. You might think that 15 to 18 minutes is not enough to make a difference in your health. But do the math. By the end of the week, you have exercised for 2 hours! The best part is that when you do this each morning, you set your body’s metabolic rate early, feel more energetic, and burn more calories throughout the day. There is also a tremendous emotional benefit in knowing that no matter what the day brings, you have done some exercise. Feel free to relax in the evening, go hang out in the gym, or whatever. Just remember, you have to start every morning with your exercises.


Self Adjusting

Patients sometimes ask, “Is it ok if I pop my own back (or neck)?” My answer is that it is only ok when you are stretching for exercise and you feel or hear the joints release. It is never ok to forcefully pop your own back. In my office, I use a demonstration tool to show patients that each joint in the spine is supposed to move a little in order to accomplish overall motion. If one or more joints are stuck or move improperly, then other joints have to move too far, creating hypermobility. It is usually those joints that tend to wear out. Chiropractors focus on individual joints that need correction, and leave the others alone. Our goal is to achieve proper joint function throughout the spine, and proper nerve function throughout the body.


Icing Instructions

Last month, we discussed the issue of cold vs. heat when treating musculoskeletal conditions. Now I will provide exact instructions on how to properly apply ice to the neck, back, or an injured extremity. It is best to use a flexible, reusable ice pack in order to achieve an effective cold temperature and to conform to the curves of the body part. Wrap the ice pack with a paper towel, not a bath towel. The paper towel gives just the right amount of insulation against your skin to avoid freezer burn. Put the wrapped ice pack directly against your skin, not over clothing. Keep the ice pack on for 20 minutes, then off for one hour. Repeat as directed. When icing, expect to experience 3 stages: 1) the area will feel very cold for a couple of minutes, 2) the area will start to “burn” for about a minute, then 3) the area will become numb. When the area is numb, you cannot feel a gentle scratch with your fingernail. This is the stage where swelling and pain will decrease. Remember, “Ice is Nice!”


Heat and Ice

Patients often ask, “Should I apply heat or cold for this?” My answer always depends on the condition we are treating. Injuries usually respond best to cold packs, whereas spasms and arthritis may do better with heat. For most conditions, we want to increase blood flow. Interestingly, both heat and cold will increase blood flow. The reason is that our bodies are constantly regulating the temperature of all our parts, and whether we heat or chill an area, our body responds by opening blood channels. Sometimes we even choose to use both by alternating heat and cold. Ice usually works best to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain from acute injuries such as strains and sprains. I always give specific instructions on the proper use of ice, since like most other forms of treatment, there are right ways and wrong ways to apply the therapy. Next month, I will post a tip on how to properly apply an ice pack to your body.


Athletes and Chiropractic

Athletic injuries are commonly treated by chiropractors across the nation and around the world. Many of the U.S. Olympic athletes rely on chiropractors because of the rules against drugs, including prescription medicines. They need to stay well and recuperate from injuries quickly without taking any banned substances. They believe in chiropractic not only for rehabilitation purposes, but also because they feel it gives them an edge in their competitions. Likewise, many of our patients feel that chiropractic adjustments give them an edge in their daily life.


Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Restless Legs Syndrome

Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide health problem that has been linked to musculoskeletal dysfunctions, cancers, autoimmune diseases, and hypertension. Count among these disorders restless legs syndrome (RLS), the neurological disorder that is characterized by an irresistible urge to move the extremities to stop uncomfortable or odd sensations. Sleep disruption is the primary side effect of RLS. A study published in the journal Acta Neurologica Belgica assessed the connection between RLS, sleep quality, and vitamin D deficiency to discover whether vitamin D supplementation might alleviate RLS and its sleep difficulties. The findings of this study—preliminary as they are—support the hypothesis that RLS is more frequent, and sleep quality poorer, in patients with vitamin D deficiency. Source: Çakır T, Doğan G, Subaşı V, et al. An evaluation of sleep quality and the prevalence of restless leg syndrome in vitamin D deficiency. Acta Neurol Belg. 2015 Apr 23.


Ask your Doctor if Spinal Decompression is Right for You!

How does your doctor know if you might be a good candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy (SDT) as a treatment for your lower back pain (LBP)? The best way is simply to check patients during a routine spinal exam. A recent study published in an orthopedics and sports medicine journal confirms the validity of our evaluation methods. During our patients’ examination in the Bronson Clinic, Dr. Bronson asks the patient to bend in in each direction and tell him which bending motions either increase or relieve the back pain. This is one way that Dr. Bronson determines if the “pain generator” is the disc, the joint, or the muscle. He may then apply gentle traction to your back to see if that relieves your pain. In the study mentioned above, patients with chronic LBP consistently reported an improvement in symptoms with tests proposed to decrease the axial load on the spine. These tests are a quick and effective way to determine if spinal decompression therapy should be a part of the patient’s plan of care. Please share this information with your primary care doctor as well as your friends with lower back pain. The answer to lower back pain is often right here at the Bronson Clinic. Ref: J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2012;42(2):105-113, Epub 25 October 2011.


Duty to Diagnose

Did you know that all but a small fraction of licensed chiropractors are trained in diagnosing illnesses? Some chiropractors see their only job as to correct the subluxations (misalignments) in a person’s spine. But most DC’s consider all medical possibilities before reaching a diagnosis, so that nothing is overlooked. If the chiropractor’s examination indicates that a medical condition might be present, then an appropriate referral will be made. If the condition is within the scope of chiropractic, then treatment is initiated for the purpose of correcting the subluxation or misalignment. Even though the vast majority of "aches and pains" that walk in our door are from muscle, nerve, and joint dysfunction, we thoroughly screen our patients to make sure we’re not missing anything that is outside our scope of practice.



Vertebral Subluxation

Is it possible that a spinal bone misalignment (sometimes called “vertebral subluxation”) can be causing your pain or ailment? Is it possible that getting it fixed can relieve your pain or cure your ailment? The only person qualified to tell you is a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic. All doctors have read (or should have read) textbooks such as Gray’s Anatomy, Guyton’s Physiology, and Turek’s Orthopedics. The science of Chiropractic is based upon the knowledge base contained in books such as these. But the only way for you to know for sure is to find out for yourself by having a chiropractic examination.


Informed Consent


Whenever you meet with your doctor, whether it’s your medicine prescriber or your chiropractor, ask a lot of questions. Ask “why?” over and over again until satisfied that your questions are answered. You should always obtain enough information so that you feel totally informed. That’s called “Informed Consent.” It is the doctor’s responsibility to make sure that each patient is fully aware of the risks of the recommended treatment, and any alternatives that may be available with less risk. While no treatment is without risk, research has proven that there is less risk with receiving a chiropractic adjustment than with taking most medicines, whether they are prescription or over-the-counter. Documentation is available in the clinic or on the ACA website. See Links.


Don’t Ever See a Chiropractor

Have you ever been told by your medical doctor not to see a chiropractor? My guess is that many of you have. Some medical doctors routinely refer patients to chiropractors, but some still discriminate against the chiropractic profession based upon preconceived notions or from medical school misinformation. If you are already a chiropractic patient, then perhaps you have done your own research and trust your own judgment. If your medical doctor tells you not to seek chiropractic care when you feel this is what you need, invite him or her accompany you to the Bronson Clinic to find out first-hand what we have to offer. We will welcome them and help them to understand the current scientific basis of chiropractic. The fact is that some local medical doctors are themselves chiropractic patients in this clinic; and many physicians and surgeons send their patients and family members to us for chiropractic care.


More On Scoliosis

Scoliosis may be preventable, or at least minimized, if detected early. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” Although the human body is more complicated than that, the concept is basically the same. In orthopedic textbooks, Wolfe’s Law essentially states that bone structure is always altered according to pressure placed upon it. If there is more pressure on one side of the spine than the other, because of postural distortion patterns, the problem will soon become structural and permanent. However, if we can detect the muscle imbalance early enough, chiropractic treatment may prevent structural deformity.


Scoliosis in Children

Check your own children for scoliosis twice a year. Think about it when you set your clocks backward or forward for the time change, or perhaps mark your calendar. Checking for spinal curvature is easier than you may think. Stand behind the child and look to see if the ears are level. Then check the shoulders, then the hips. Then stand to the side of the child and look to see if the ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle are in a vertical line. Then go behind the child again and have him or her bend forward. Look for any humps of the ribcage. If you see anything that looks off line, have the child checked by a chiropractor who is trained in evaluating and treating scoliosis.






Order of Healthcare


Natural first, drugs second, and surgery last. That’s the logical order of proper healthcare when you really think about it. Chiropractic doctors are well trained and uniquely qualified to help restore the human body to normal function through natural methods. We do this by relieving interference to the nervous system through spinal adjustments, by promoting normal physiology through nutritional modification, and by encouraging a balance between mind and body with lifestyle enhancement. Drugs and surgery may be necessary, but should be reserved for disease and damaged tissue, not generally just to deal with pain. Many primary care physicians now recognize this approach and refer patients to the Bronson Clinic for chiropractic care prior to increasing medications or sending them to the surgeon.




Benefits of Electronic Health Records


Continuing our conversation about over-exposure to radiation from common medical imaging procedures, we will now touch on how Electronic Health Records might save your life. Since radiation exposure is cumulative, it’s important to keep a tally of all of your medical imaging procedures that use ionizing radiation. Now this can be done through cooperation among all healthcare professionals using Electronic Health (Medical) Records. The Bronson Clinic began using EHR in August 2012 as another way of looking after each of our patients as “the whole person.” Even though my practice is limited to my specialty, just as most other doctors are specialized in some area of medicine or alternative healthcare, we all must communicate effectively in the best interest of our patients.




Body and Mind


The body and mind are inseparable, at least from a neurological standpoint. What you think about tends to manifest physically. That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending upon your perspective. Stress can make you physically ill while meditation, a positive mental attitude, prayer, and a focus on serving others can contribute to wellness. After all, the mind is the control center and processor of the central nervous system. Our thoughts expand, and ultimately dictate what we do and how our bodies function.




Order Of Healthcare

Natural first, drugs second, and surgery last. That’s the logical order of proper healthcare when you really think about it. Chiropractic doctors are well trained and uniquely qualified to help restore the human body to normal function through natural methods. We do this by relieving interference to the nervous system through spinal adjustments, by promoting normal physiology through nutritional modification, and by encouraging a balance between mind and body with lifestyle enhancement. Drugs and surgery may be necessary, but should be reserved for disease and damaged tissue, not generally just to deal with pain. Many primary care physicians now recognize this approach and refer patients to the Bronson Clinic for chiropractic care prior to increasing medications or sending them to the surgeonPatients often ask, “Should I apply heat or cold for this?” My answer always depends on the condition we are treating. Injuries usually respond best to cold packs, whereas spasms and arthritis may do better with heat. For most conditions, we want to increase blood flow. Interestingly, both heat and cold will increase blood flow. The reason is that our bodies are constantly regulating the temperature of all our parts, and whether we heat or chill an area, our body responds by opening blood channels. Sometimes we even choose to use both by alternating heat and cold. Ice usually works best to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain from acute injuries such as strains and sprains. I always give specific instructions on the proper use of ice, since like most other forms of treatment, there are right ways and wrong ways to apply the therapy. Next month, I will post a tip on how to properly apply an ice pack to your body.Icing Instructions Last month, we discussed the issue of cold vs. heat when treating musculoskeletal conditions. Now I will provide exact instructions on how to properly apply ice to the neck, back, or an injured extremity. It is best to use a flexible, reusable ice pack in order to achieve an effective cold temperature and to conform to the curves of the body part. Wrap the ice pack with a paper towel, not a bath towel. The paper towel gives just the right amount of insulation against your skin to avoid freezer burn. Put the wrapped ice pack directly against your skin, not over clothing. Keep the ice pack on for 20 minutes, then off for one hour. Repeat as directed. When icing, expect to experience 3 stages: 1) the area will feel very cold for a couple of minutes, 2) the area will start to “burn” for about a minute, then 3) the area will become numb. When the area is numb, you cannot feel a gentle scratch with your fingernail. This is the stage where swelling and pain will decrease. Remember, “Ice is Nice!”