Children

The Concussion & Whiplash Connection

Posted on October 4, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Children, Chiropractic, Health, injury, rebuild, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , |

football-playerBy Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

 

Head injuries can happen in a variety of ways and are more prevalent in activities that involve a lot of physical movement.  Playing an aggressive sport like football, soccer, wrestling, or any such type; one is bound to get knocked or bounced around a bit.  Following a hard hit to the head is a possible concussion.  A person can bounce back normally from a low-grade concussion but there are warning signs to look for and keep in mind:

Nausea and vomiting
Headache
Blurred vision
Dizziness
Lethargic and slow to move
Unable to concentrate or remember
Balancing or coordination problems
Slurred speech
Ringing in the ears

With these symptoms there is some varying degree of concussion experienced and should be looked over by a physician to be on the safe side. Simply put, the impact on the head causes the brain to bang against the inside of the skull and create swelling or trauma.  The extra pressure can lead to cognitive impairment and some of the symptoms seen.  Something else that is often overlooked is the neck trauma.  If a person gets concussed, they often get whiplashed.  Sometimes with a hit, the head snaps which jerks the neck back and forth.  Maybe there’s a fall, so there could be a twist in there too.  So, the secondary damage is what happens within the neck area.

Recently I had a patient who took quite a hard fall and had symptoms of a grade 1 concussion but also had a quite painful neck afterwards.  Often the neck or back issue isn’t felt until after the concussion settles down.  Even if the concussion problem heals, there can still be a problem in the neck which could last for several days or even months.   With whiplash, such as in an auto accident, if the person is young and healthy, there could be damage up to a point but if you deal with a slightly older individual, who has an arthritic neck and their joints don’t fit or align properly, their tissues and muscles are less elastic and they are likely to be damaged far more seriously.

Chiropractic care and acupuncture can be very helpful.  It is important to gently work and mobilize the neck and examine for proper function and proper movement very carefully.  The upper back should also be checked because a certain amount of neck pain often originates from the upper back.  All the muscles and tissues are connected to one another so we work with the upper back to make sure the spine, joints, and muscles are working properly because they are the base that the neck sits upon.  The acupuncture can help with relaxation of the injured muscles helping reduce inflammation and being able to help with decreasing pain as well.

Accidents happen, it’s a part of life, but getting the proper treatment and care is an important step which shouldn’t be missed.

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Thinking About Acupuncture, Don’t Fear the Needle

Posted on July 29, 2016. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Acupuncturist, Children, Health, inflammation, Pain, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

~by Dr. Gregory Steiner

Child receiving AcupunctureMany of us have heard about the benefits of natural healing, the thought of not being dependent on medications, the ability for the body to function optimally based upon proper diet and exercise, and holistic therapies that can heal us of afflictions. Eastern medicine has educated us on the benefits of massage, herbal and aromatherapy, and even acupuncture.  Unfortunately, many of us are reluctant to seek acupuncture treatment because we have a fear, a fear of the unknown and a fear of needles.  But what does the “typical” thought of needle conjure in the mind? Maybe we were traumatized when we received immunization shots as a child, anesthesia shots for fillings, or some other type of injection leaving our brains to associate needles with pain and uncomfortable situations.  Luckily, acupuncture performed correctly by a trained professional causes virtually no pain!

I’m afraid of needles, does acupuncture hurt?
Rest assured that acupuncture needles are in no way similar to hypodermic needles.  First of all, a medical hypodermic needle has a hollow point and sharp edge and must “break” the skin to either insert or withdraw fluid. Acupuncture needles are solid, round-point thin and wire-like and are sterilized and disposable.  With their small size, they are more comparable to a strand of hair.  They are hardly like needles at all.  The depth the needle goes is so shallow that it doesn’t even draw blood.  A helpful comparison is that  between 20 and 40 acupuncture needles can actually fit inside the hollow shaft point of a hypodermic needle (depending on size).  These needles are so small and thin that some of them can actually be passed through a balloon without popping it!

What does it feel like?
Many patients describe the feeling of the needle as either a tingling or pulsating sensation, or a dull ache which soon passes, or not feeling anything at all being inserted.  It only takes a second for the doctors to insert the needle and when working with an experienced practitioner, should relatively be painless.  If by chance, there is discomfort, the needle can be quickly removed and repositioned.  Pain isn’t something that should be felt or elicited; in fact, the acupuncture is used to do the opposite and help alleviate pain.

What is it used for?
Acupuncture can help with a variety of issues, including reduction or elimination of pain, whether it be for the back, neck, shoulders or joints to name a few.  It can help with headaches, stress & anxiety, and even help balance the body which in turn can positively affect the thyroid, menstruation issues, and hormones. It has also been used to increase energy levels and has been effective in weight loss and allergy symptom relief.  The list can go on and on for the benefits that acupuncture can provide.

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Is your child overworked with sports? Take the right precautions to prevent injury and keep them healthy!

Posted on October 13, 2015. Filed under: Children, Chiropractic, Exercise, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

drgregportrait1

By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

Pressures to succeed are considerable where children are in multiple or select sports exercising and practicing at a fairly very high level, often 6-7 times weekly.  Every child’s body is by constitution, different, and some bodies are better suited and more adaptable for excessive exercise and muscle strain than others.  Whether it be practicing gymnastics at an elite level, working out as much as 30 hours per week or select soccer or football, the repetitive movements these children go through can begin to show on their bodies.  The trouble is that even though kids are still pliable, springy and flexible, their bodies are still growing and they still need to repair and recover.   When an individual works out and exercises, there’s always a little bit of breaking down the muscle, but then the body needs to repair itself.

Problems stem from when the demands exceed the re-cooperation.  It’s similar to taking money from the bank but not putting it back in, it’s always running on a deficit. This can be done for a while, but eventually, it needs to be paid back.

I’ve worked with many young athletes, one being a 15 year old, very talented and motivated soccer player with persistent back pain.  He had worked out so much with the same repetitive motions that finally his back gave.  His back just wouldn’t get better and it mystified a lot of people. What he had was a stress fracture on his spine.  In his case, he had to completely stop the sport for a while and then rehab it.  He eventually was able to get back to it and it fortunately wasn’t a “career ending” injury, but if he had kept on, it could’ve turned for the worse.

There’s a fine line between working and overworking.  What happens eventually is that in the early teens, those children who have worked so hard for years, start to show damage and stress patterns.  Kids are exuberant; they have a good repair capacity and if they overwork it, it’s a bit more forgiving because they are still growing.  They have growth hormone and testosterone so they’ll repair up to a point.

To fix this situation, 1st there’s evaluation.  Even kids can break.  They are not supposed to have long term pain but short term pains aren’t uncommon:  growing pains, strains & sprains, etc… But if they complain about the same area week after week, there’s most likely a problem there, possibly ligament or bone issue of some kind.  The 2nd thing to look for is crooked posture, not just the slouch, but one shoulder or one hip higher than the other.  Watch them walk and observe if one foot is out or in more than the other one.   Helping correct these things on a child may take a short amount of work, but once they’ve grown and had the issue for years, the work required to reverse it could be extensive.

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Tips for Texting to Protect Our Neck & Spine

Posted on October 7, 2014. Filed under: Children, Chiropractic, Pain, Posture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

by Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinictexting_posture

It seems the entire world is immersed in digital media.  It has become a part of almost everything we do.  Cell phones, once considered a luxury item are now prevalent in most homes and viewed as a necessity.  Many parents see them as an important factor in keeping their kids safe by being able to contact them at any time or place.  While this solves some issues, it’s raising others…

Today’s younger generation, (toddlers to teens) are being raised with mobile devices.  Though kids’ slouching has been an ongoing issue (usually due to laziness or not knowing the proper way to sit or stand), kids today are developing terrible posture because of how they position their bodies while using these devices.  As they peer into the device, they are usually hunched over with their shoulders rolled forward, and heads down.

Poor posture can lead to constricting of the chest cavity, which in turn causes problems with blood flow and getting full deep breaths, and over time can cause a whole host of chronic health conditions.  When a person doesn’t get full enough breaths, the cardiovascular system doesn’t work at full efficiency because it’s compressed.  When proper lung capacity isn’t continuously utilized, it becomes a struggle to get deep breaths. Over the short-term, kids will most likely be tired and low on energy. But there’s more… There are nerves in the upper back that control the heart and lungs that can eventually deform.  If the spine deforms at an early age, there is constriction and the possibility of disrupting their nerve supply in the upper back which can further effects on heart, lungs and even stomach digestion.  And because there is constant tension on the neck as well, they are far more likely to develop chronic headaches.

Having the head bent forward too often can also produce ill effects.  Every inch of forward head posture places an additional 10 lbs of pressure on the muscles and joints of the neck.  Good news is that it can be corrected.  Young people can be fully corrected because the bones are still growing (usually until the early 20’s).  While the bones are still growing there is a possibility for full correction because you can literally guide the growth, But everyone can benefit with a combination of posture correction as well as chiropractic care and corrective exercises.

One thing I do in my clinic is show patients what good posture is.  When children are taught at a young age how to “stand up straight” it can virtually shape the way they carry themselves throughout life (not only with posture, but showing confidence as well!) Teach your kids an example of good posture by having them stand with their back against the wall with heels, glutes, upper back and back of head against the wall with the chin somewhat down.

And follow some of these Tips for Texting:

  • Maintain an upright posture while texting – Avoid bending your head down and rounding your shoulders
  • Hold your phone up to face level when using
  • Rest the thumbs by using alternative fingers
  • Utilize voice-to-text so you can speak you’re message that will be typed out
  • Use a neutral grip when holding the device. A neutral grip is when the wrist is straight, not bent in either direction
  • Reduce your keystrokes. More keystrokes equals more strain on your hands and thumbs—so keep your messages brief

 

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Using Chiropractic to Improve Posture & Reduce Pain

Posted on September 3, 2014. Filed under: Children, Chiropractic, Healing, Health, Posture | Tags: , , , , , , , |

incorrect neck alignmentJust being aware of the proper neck & shoulder posture is the beginning of correcting the problem. With so many people hunched over computers and work stations these days, developing a forward leaning head posture is becoming more and more common.  Today’s “Age of the Internet” persuades everyone of all ages, especially our youth to spend what most would consider “way too much time” with eyes glued to the computer or smartphone device.  More often than not, the head is kept in a prolonged position with the neck bent and  leaning forward.   The problem is worsened when a person stands up, but instead of pulling their shoulders back and standing tall, they round them and allow the head to lean forward.

One way to check yourself is to stand against a wall and have someone look at you from the side.  If you are in complete alignment, they would be able to see an imaginary line through the center of the shoulder and up to the head.  The line should land through the middle of the ear.   (see photo for illustration)

An excellent way to help correct poor neck posture is the use of retraction & nodding neck exercises.  These types of exercises are designed to help gain control over postural neck muscles which have become weak and fatigued over time.  There are many methods in addition to these varying from lifting weights, muscle therapy, vibrational traction, manipulations, and postural re-education.   The list is almost endless of simple home based measures to state of the art appliances & tools.  Any help in the right direction is beneficial.

One great exercise starts with moving the head backwards to a position over the shoulders, then nodding up and down (with the head as far back on the shoulders as possible).  This nodding action affects the deep flexor muscles and can bring on an immediate pain reduction response.  Impaired muscle function has been shown to be a feature in painful neck disorders and exercises to retrain performance of the muscles can be effective in long term pain relief.

A variation of this same technique is to place your finger on the front of your chin.  Next, draw your chin backwards (away from your finger).  Proceed with this motion and go back and forth without dropping your head or looking down.  Repeat the motion several times.  This can be done every 30 minutes or so when sitting for extended periods of time.

Recovery from an injury like whiplash or headache prevention requires more than a symptomatic approach.  There are many different exercises that can be prescribed.  Dr. Steiner can help identify the best ones for your particular situation.

 

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Time to Change Your Personal Care Products

Posted on March 4, 2014. Filed under: Allergies, Children, Health, Hormone | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Be sure to read ingredient labels

Be sure to read ingredient labels

~ By Dr. Greg Steiner

Have you ever looked at the label of ingredients on your personal care products?  Most of the words are near impossible to pronounce, and definitely don’t seem like things we’d find in nature.  With all the products we put on our body (i.e. shampoo, body wash, lotions, perfumes, etc…) it’s no wonder so many individuals have developed allergic reactions and skin issues.  If you’re one of the lucky ones who don’t seem to be affected by the chemicals found in personal care products, you can still be headed towards trouble in the future.  While small amounts of these products don’t usually overwhelm our system, an ongoing accumulation of toxins can make the body less able to withstand them.  While there are hundreds of different types of chemicals found in our personal care products, here are just a few you should try to avoid:

  • Sodium Lauryl and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)—Foaming agents which make products lather. Usually found in toothpaste, shampoo, body washes and soaps. These noxious substances are skin irritants.  Be wary of those labels that say “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (derived from coconut oil)” as they are trying to make it look like it’s natural but the way they make coconut oil into SLS is through a highly chemical and toxin producing process.
  • Parabens—Used to preserve products for longer shelf life.  Can also be disruptive to hormones
  • Artificial Fragrances aka Phthalates (like benzene and toluene)—Used to make things smell good, but have been found to be hormonal disruptors. Instead look for products that use essential oils for natural fragrance.
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)—Common preservative in skin care products. It’s been attributed to thyroid problems and has shown to cause reproductive disorders.
  • Propylene Glycol–Found in many industrial and commercial products, including antifreeze, liquid laundry detergent solvents & paint as well as personal care products. The side effects of this common product include irritation and sensitivity to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes,
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)—Often used in oven cleaner products as a powerful de-greaser. Found in many baby wipes, skin cleansers, lotions, shaving cream, lip balm, contact solution and laxatives.  PEG has been linked to kidney damage, leukemia, breast, uterine, and brain cancer.

As far as ingredients go, more is not better.  Try to choose natural products with a shorter list of ingredients.  Many of the ingredients found in bottles are just cheap fillers and not really important to the quality or effectiveness of the item.  Also, try to select products that can provide more than one use.  Shampoo can also work as a body wash, some facial moisturizers can also be used on the cuticles, etc…Or be bold and make your own personal care products.  There are dozens of recipes on the internet using coconut or olive oil, castile soap, vinegar, and essential oils which provide a great natural substitute and save money too!

 

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The Beautiful, The Ugly, and Your Health Effected

Posted on February 26, 2013. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Children, Chiropractic, Depression, Healing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

~By Dr. Greg Steiner

Maybe it’s because I was once studying to be an anthropologist; maybe it’s because I earned a master’s in psychology; or could be because I once spent two years living out of a backpack while traveling abroad; or even maybe it’s because I spent 30 years in serious study of martial arts and its allied healing disciplines. But whatever the cause, it is more than probably true that when I speak of  “health” I have something quite “other” in mind than what generally passes for the definition of that term.

Maybe once again the study of all those things created a different point of view – surely today, in our global culture of digits, widgets, and social engineering we live in the time of the specialist, in which each person, employee, and department within an organization has its own special and unique function, and shall perform none other. Quite a change from the time of Da Vinci, in which the person of distinction was to be a man of letters, of science, of art, of philosophy – and he or she would probably be quite a horseman and traveler to boot – in other words, the exemplary “Renaissance Man”.

Such a contrast today, in which “The Expert” is the path we travel. I see it in my own field – specialists for this, for that – probably soon we will have to see two different specialists – one for the right ear and another for the left!

A famous author of cutting edge science fiction – Robert Heinlein – once said: “Specialization is for insects.”

Keeping this backdrop in mind, a great part of my clinical life is invested in helping people regain energy and handle chronic stress. The usual Western way is to medicate, medicate – and while it can help calm the sick feeling in the stomach or quiet the heart palpitations, it does nothing to address the real issues behind the stress which sucks the enjoyment of living from so many educated and accomplished people.

Let’s abruptly jump tracks for a minute.  A few days ago I did an interesting “experiment” in which I compared the plot, characters, and speed of old black and white television shows with what I see today. If I said I was shocked, I would be understating by a huge margin.

What I was shocked by wasn’t the language, the inappropriate situations, or the seemingly mandatory inclusion of increasingly graphic sex, glorified violence and new-normal Machiavellian skullduggery, lies and treachery  in “just another day at the office.”  What shocked me were the portrayals of functional – yes, functional(!) families with violence as part of the story and not for gore effects; and the unfolding story development over the entire episode, without all the shaking ADHD camera angles and quick cuts (now shown to hard-wire young children’s brains into ADD, instant gratification processors). Nobody messed with anyone else’s husband or wife, either.

While all that touches on psychology, anthropology, and a bit of physiology – we may ask, “What is your point?”   Well, whatt is easy to see in music, art, and expressive media in probably any period up to but not including the recent is a valuation and attempt to seek or express many things, but most of all “Beauty”.  While “The Beautiful” is a big word and idea, seeing and feeling it in those pre-24/7, constantly-switched-on songs, shows, stories and paintings tells a tale all its own, and the tale it tells is the people who created  those expressions of visual and performing arts valued beauty over ugliness. And apparently the culture of the day liked that, because those were the big shows, big songs and esteemed works of art.

Enter satellite 1000 channels; creeper shows, stalker shows, dysfunctional real housewives, treacherous big brother houses, not to mention cyber bullying and no-holds-barred politics  – all for daily consumption. Of course as Solomon once stated, “There is nothing new under the sun,” but what has changed are the percentages of relative exposure to beauty and ugliness, and the desirability of each. It’s almost as if natural beauty, harmony, and balance are new-normed as worthy of ridicule, and a near-worship of distorted, manufactured “ugliness-as-beauty” is currently the way.

Don’t think there aren’t serious and lasting effects on your health depending on what you and your family have long-term exposure to……

Continued next issue.

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What Having Kids Taught Me as a Doctor

Posted on November 14, 2012. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Children, Chiropractic, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , |

~By Dr. Greg Steiner

It started before I even had children. I used acupuncture and chiropractic care consistently on my pregnant wife.  It definitely helped her to have an easier pregnancy.  I even used acupuncture on the day the children were born.  All of that made her experience so much easier.  It made her pregnancy less uncomfortable with a very quick recovery.  For example, with the first child, my wife was competing in a martial arts tournament (no fighting, just forms) two weeks before the baby came.  A day before she gave birth, we were climbing hills in Ireland, and a week afterward, we were walking the same hill again (this time with the baby).

I learned even before the children came, that it was important to keep my wife healthy, in really good shape, and with lots of energy.  Maybe that’s why I have four kids now!

Raising my own children has taught me that children are “little people”, they need to be viewed somewhat differently, they require a more sensitive and delicate process.  The orientation on how you treat them is a little different.   Being able to recognize the non-verbal cues and body language is crucial when they can’t describe what is wrong verbally.  I learned to listen to the tone of voice of which they complain, or don’t complain.  I learned to better read their facial expressions.

Kids oftentimes have different responses and physical reactions than adults.  For example, when children suffer from allergies or hyper-sensitivities, it isn’t always a cold.  A lot of times it’s identifiable food issues.

I once had a mom who thought she was feeding her child a good diet, but the child was still often sick.  From conducting some simple tests and Acupuncture treatments, we determined she should try eliminating sugar and milk from her diet.  About a week later, there was no more runny nose and her behavior had changed for the better.  She became healthy in a short amount of time.  The sugar had been depressing her particular immune system.  Sometimes, it’s diet that will effect behavior (kids can get hyper and adults often have the opposite effect and feel lethargic).

I’ve learned early intervention is important.  If a child falls off a bike and hits their head, or has a small concussion, it’s important to have their neck examined.  I’ve seen a number of patients who have had “little accidents” as a child.  Years later, some are finding themselves with a prematurely arthritic neck.  This can often be traced back to a childhood or teenage injury that was never treated or discovered so no corrective measures were ever taken.

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How to Help Children Overcome their Fear of “Needles”

Posted on November 7, 2012. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Acupuncturist, Children, Healing | Tags: , , , , , , |

Needles are the biggest concern among parents and children.  Oftentimes, when children hear “needle” they think of the last vaccination or flu shot they received conjuring up the frightening images a huge hypertrophic type needles.

Acupuncture needles are hardly needles at all.  With their small, thin size, they are more representative of a strand of hair.  Sterilized and disposable, most people don’t even feel them being inserted into the skin.  The depth of the needle is so shallow that it doesn’t even draw blood.

The best way to help children overcome their fear requires time and trust.  The first few visits will unlikely involve any needle at all but rather a “needle-less” buzzer which can still effectively stimulate the acupuncture points and deliver the same treatment without any needle insertions.

Steering completely away from the word “needle” and calling them “little hairs” or using a non-intimidating phrase such as “planting the flags” will also ease anxiety.  It’s all in the way it’s presented to the child.  Dr. Steiner will often show how it’s done on himself first.

Some young children may start off afraid of needles, but by the time they’re 8, 9, or 10, most of them think it’s “cool”.

Studies have shown acupuncture to be effective in treating pediatric conditions such as:

  • ADHD
  • Colic
  • Earache
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Jaundice (in newborns)
  • Myopia
  • Bedwetting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Weight-loss
  • Constipation
  • Allergy Rhinitis
  • Eczema
  • Epilepsy
  • Skin Rashes

Man people believe that children may avoid disease altogether if introduced to acupuncture at an early age. In Asian countries, this is common practice and a  good preventative measure that most children often enjoy.

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