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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Arm Yourself Against Viruses & Bacteria

Posted on November 7, 2014. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, detox, Healing, Health, Immune System | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Improves-immune-system

By Dr. Gregory Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic Clinic

 

It seems these days that people use disinfectant sprays and hand sanitizers like they’re going out of style – all for the protection against germs, bacteria, and viruses.  The awareness is definitely there, but there are other things that can also be done to protect our health.  One of those is building a strong immune system so that when those nasty “invaders” come knocking at our door, we’ve got fierce, invincible “soldiers” that can fight them off!

Taking herbs are a great way to build the body’s defenses.  Some are great to help prevent sickness as well as help your body heal faster if it does catch a bug.  Good ones to try include:

Garlic – Known to help prevent colds & strengthen resistance to illness.  Also renowned use as an antibacterial and antifungal.  Russian soldiers were known to have used crushed garlic to treat wounds with in order to prevent infection and promote healing.

Ginseng – Can help prevent colds and reduce their severity.  Helps strengthen the immune system by stimulating production of virus fighting cells in the body.

Echinacea – Commonly used cure-all against cold and influenza.  Used to prevent & shorten duration of colds as well as reducing symptoms caused by them.  A popular natural anti-biotic.

As colder weather and holidays quickly approach, people tend to get sick more often because they’re in a more closed environment.  This is especially true in office buildings.  More often than not, the ventilation system is just blowing “bugs” that are there from one room to another.  This is a good reason to try a natural approach such as acupuncture or chiropractic.

Acupuncture is an amazing system of medicine because it restores balance to the body. When the body is out of balance, it cannot respond to pathogens, pain, stress, or injury properly. In balance, the body can effectively respond to said insults and heal much more quickly.  Having a balanced system is key to maintain and improving health, and acupuncture is an effective and safe method to do so.

Chiropractic care is well known for pain relief (neck, back, etc…) but it can also help with illnesses!  Our bodies have nerves everywhere and if they are out of “whack” or alignment, their functionality is reduced.  For example, if the nerves on the sides of the spine to the intestines aren’t in the right placement, improper nerve pressure can cause the intestines to work at a sub-optimal level.  One of the effects could be creating a slower transit time to move bacteria out of the system.  The nerves in our body are the command and control.  When something turns on, something else should turn off.  If they’re out of sequence, problems start to happen…

Watching what you eat makes a big difference in the health of your immune system.  Sugar and alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on your defenses.  And don’t forget to drink lots of water to help flush out those nasty “bugs” from your body.

 

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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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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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Kids Backpacks – Preventing Injury & Pain

Posted on August 6, 2012. Filed under: Chiropractic, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

~by Dr. Gregory Steiner

The beginning of the new school year brings excitement and enthusiasm.  With that, the inevitable purchases for school supplies including those brand new back packs!  Unfortunately, overloaded, heavy and improperly worn kid’s backpacks have accounted for several thousand visits to the doctor and ER room each year.  Most of these visits can easily be avoided.  Kids should not be in pain when carrying their school books to classes each day.   The following tips serve as a great guideline in prevention for improper use of school back packs.  Use these proactive solutions to help prevent injuries:

  • Make sure the backpack is a good fit for the child.  Bigger bags encourage over filling.  Many back packs are now equipped with wheels, provided the handle extends long enough to allow the child to stand upright while pulling it.
  • Shoulder straps should be adjustable, wide and padded.
  • Never carry the pack on just one side of the shoulder.  It produces an uneven distribution of weight on one side forcing the child to lean, which can result in a pinching of the shoulder muscle causing it to not function properly and creating uncomfortable pain on one side.  Always use both shoulder straps.
  • Make sure the shoulder straps are tight enough so the pack hangs slightly below the shoulders with no more than 4 inches hanging below the waist.
  • Use waist and chest straps – it improves how the bag is positioned on the body and encourages the bag to be worn over both shoulders.
  • Doctors suggest that no one carry more than 15% of their weight in the backpack.  If a child weighs 70 lbs, they should not be carrying more than 10 ½  lbs in their pack.  No one should carry more than 25 lbs in a backpack.
  • Pack the heavier items at the bottom.  The goal here is to transfer the weight to the hips.  A backpack with compartments helps keep the load in place.

Inform kids on the importance of keeping a light backpack and to store their unnecessary items in their locker or desk.  Other options would be to keep a second set of the heavy text books at home if possible.  Don’t be afraid to discuss the issue with the teachers if the backpacks are too heavy with all the books the children are required to take home.

The downside of improper back pack use and too much weight are many.  With heavy backpacks, kids begin to lean forward and thereby throw off their natural state of balance.  Eventually, they may experience an alteration in the curve of the middle and lower back as well as increase muscle strain and irritating the spinal joints resulting in a rounding of the shoulders.  Be sure to ask your child how comfortable they feel with their loaded back packs and take notice to see if their shoulders are equally level and whether they are hunching forward.  If you’ve taken the above precautions but your child complains of pain or doesn’t stand correctly when at ease (with or without a back pack) a doctor should be consulted.

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What Makes a Child Hyper?

Posted on October 27, 2011. Filed under: Allergies, Healing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

What Makes a Child Hyper?

If you were to speak frankly with your neighbors you would find that it seems every other kid is on some type of medication for an attention disorder. Sometimes it almost seems as though the odd child is the one not on medication! Let’s look at fact, fantasy and alternatives.

Teachers, parents and doctors argue over just what constitutes an attention disorder. The very first issue concerns a conflict over what is natural behavior for a child versus what is expected of a child in various circumstances. The obvious first answer is children move, and are made to move a lot! Children have an urge to communicate, but with a limited vocabulary they will often “show” what’s on their minds. In addition, movement is what strengthens their bodies, creates manual dexterity, and actually “programs” their developing nervous systems. By the way, it also keeps them lean.

The big “However….” is that movement and the desire to move at an inappropriate time can be a real pain in the backside, in school, church and restaurants. While it’s a matter of parental principle on how much squirming to permit, it’s important to realize that squirming is the way of children, and trying to stop it is like fighting the tide itself. It can be done, but usually at an energetic cost to the parent!

They also talk a lot, and usually out of turn as they learn the rules of social convention. The energy most kids possess is astounding – including the energy of healing – but until they learn directed behavior and frustration tolerance most of that energy shoots out in every direction. Don’t we parents know this all too well!

One Time in India…

The point I’m trying to make is that there are fundamental contradictions between the conflicting demands of nature and social expectation. Once while travelling in a village in southern India I strongly recall watching a group of children playing and exploring. They would run to one end of the village and look at animals and plants, then run to the other edge and play a game, then sit for a time and talk, then run and explore something else. It wasn’t as chaotic as it looked, as the mothers throughout the village each loosely looked after the group of children as they went about their daily tasks.

Though informal, there was more than just pointless play going on. The children were learning to move, to interact as a group, and about their surroundings. There were very few cars, by the way…..

I note that much of parental stress is based on urban life and “don’t.” Don’t shout, or you’ll annoy the neighbors. Don’t cross the street or you’ll get squished. Don’t walk home alone. Don’t go outside in the rain. Etc.! While such prohibitions are what make our kids mature in our culture, it’s a great struggle that goes against their natural grain, I think.

Often the result is a kinetic but bored child glued to the television, computer or video game. Of course there are downsides to this as well, as we all know! There is evidence that too much fast-change television actually “hardwires” the growing brain to accept this hyper stimulation as the normal state of affairs. It’s therefore not much of a jump to understand that the sedate and focused life of school becomes difficult for a brain so-wired to endure.

Attention disorders are a big topic, and we’ll look more at them in future articles. To set the stage though, let’s say for now that the mind and body are joined at the hip – what affects the one invariably affects the other, for better or worse.

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