Northwest Wellness's Blog

Useful information for a healthy lifestyle.

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The Health Benefits of Saunas

The Health Benefits of Saunas

I have personally been using the sauna after my workouts for about a year now. I have noticed drastic improvements in my overall well-being since using the sauna after workouts. I notice that each morning I use the sauna, I feel much better and have more energy throughout the day.

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Ice or Heat? Contrast therapy?

Ice or Heat? Contrast therapy?

We often discuss with our patients, the pain relief benefits of hot and/or cold therapy. It’s inexpensive, convenient and doesn’t require medication. An uncomplicated rule to use is, ice for acute, heat for chronic. But it’s not always that simple.

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Why Chose An Integrated Wellness Center for Your Healthcare Needs?

Why Chose An Integrated Wellness Center for Your Healthcare Needs?

Northwest Wellness was originally founded by Dr. Lorri Nichols as a Chiropractic Center in the 1989.  In recent years, the practice has evolved into a fully integrated, multi-disciplinary Wellness Center.  What does that mean to the patients, friends and families in our practice?

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How To Prevent Heat Stoke

How To Prevent Heat Stoke

In these last few weeks of summer we often experience the hottest temperatures.  Additionally many of us schedule our vacations and outdoor events during this time in anticipation of dry, sunny weather.  As a result heat stoke can become more prevalent during the latter weeks of summer.

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Natural Treatments For Chronic Pain

Natural Treatments For Chronic Pain

Chronic pain affects about 1 in 5 people in the U.S.  This type of pain interferes with the ability to work, enjoy family or any sort of social life.  Prescription medications are prescribed to these individuals in an attempt to manage their pain.   Sadly, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse National Overdose Deaths, there was a 2.8-fold increase in the total number of deaths from prescription drugs from 2001 to 2014.  Clearly prescription drugs are not the answer to the pain crisis facing America. If you are suffering from chronic pain here are the best natural and effective alternatives to dangerous medications:

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To Suncreen or Not to Sunscreen?

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This summer has been unusually hot, sunny and dry in Western Washington.  As a result, we will have to decide what type of sunblock, if any, we will be using.   This may come as a complete surprise to many of you who would never step out into the sunlight without some sort of sun protection.   I guarantee your dermatologist not only recommends sunblock but even long sleeves and a hat for the ultimate skin protection.   However, here are a few things to consider when enjoying our brief but beautiful Seattle summer.

Nearly all conventional sunscreen products contain chemicals that have been linked with cancer such a parabens, harsh alcohols, toxic chemical solvents and petroleum oils.  So although you might be protecting yourself from one form of cancer you could potentially be causing another.  For more information on this issue see http://www.naturalnews.com.

The FDA refuses to allow natural ingredients to be used in sunblock/sunscreen products with the exception of zinc oxide and titanium oxide.  What this means is that a product containing natural botanicals that are an effective form of sunblock may not be LABELED as a sunscreen or sunblock.  This makes it unclear to consumers that there are natural alternatives to the chemical concoctions and prohibits these companies from effectively marketing their valuable products.

The use of sunblock can also interfere with your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin D, a very important nutrient for healthy bones and teeth.  In addition, Vitamin D deficiency is linked to certain forms of cancer, depressed immune and depression.  In the Northwest it is estimated that 70% of our population is deficient in Vitamin D and should be taking an oral supplement in addition to sunlight exposure.  This is another area where you may be trading one health risk for another.

Many readers may also not realize that you can boost your internal sun resistance but eating and antioxidant-rich diet containing foods like salmon, blueberries, apples and red beans.  You can also supplement your diet with Omega 3s, Vitamin D drops, Vitamin A, E, C and glutathione.  Anti-oxidants fight the harmful effects of free radical production that is produced by stress, poor diet, smoking and even sunburn.

So what to do???  Personally, I spend a lot of time outside in the summer.   I do my best year round to eat a healthy, anti-oxidant rich diet and avoid bad things like smoking and toxic chemicals.  I also take anti-oxidant supplements like Fish Oil and Vitamin D.  When the sun does come out, I use a natural sunscreen until my body develops a base tan and then I only use the natural sunscreen on my face.  I find this is a healthy, balanced and reasonable approach to the sunscreen debate.

The importance of Maintenance Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care consists of three distinct stages of treatment; Relief Care, Corrective Care, and Maintenance Care.

Relief Care provides initial, temporary alleviation of your symptoms or pain. This typically occurs when inflammation is decreased and joint function restored through a spinal adjustment.  Ice, heat or cold laser may also be incorporated during this phase of care.   Relief care can be temporary if the underlying cause is not addressed.  In many cases there is trauma to the soft tissue which requires healing and strengthening.  Faulty muscle patterns consisting of weak or overly tight muscles also need to be addressed for lasting results.  These conditions are often due to poor posture, repetitive use or micro-trauma.

Corrective Care takes longer because it addresses the trauma and faulty muscle patterns described above.  Some considerations in the length of this treatment are the condition and integrity of the spinal column, the age and physical condition of the patient, the severity of the injury and the duration of the problem.  Corrective care often includes rehabilitative exercises and soft tissue therapies in addition to spinal adjustments.   

Maintenance Care is the final stage that ensures that the integrity of the spine is being sustained and supported.  Because day to day activities put biomechanical strain on our bodies, we must continue to monitor the health and condition of your spine through periodic evaluations.  Regular chiropractic adjustments will help insure you are living at your optimum level of health and function.

The benefits of maintenance care are that minor misalignments can be detected before they become symptomatic or well-established.  Maintenance chiropractic care allows for improved posture, enhanced function, better athletic performance, reduced injuries and an overall enjoyable pain-free lifestyle.  This type of preventative or wellness care can also save time and money by keeping minor problems from becoming more serious.

 

Should I ice or heat?

Most people know that if they sprain their ankle, they should ice it. But what do you do if your back is hurting or if you wake up with neck pain? Or what do you do for that ankle a week down the road when it is still achy but not necessarily swollen? When you learn more about the action of both ice and heat, it should help you decide which one would be best for you. Ice helps with inflammation. What is inflammation? When tissue gets injured, a few events happen. Blood vessels dilate to bring more blood to the injured area, capillaries (small blood vessels) become more permeable and allow bigger and more molecules to seep out of the vessels, and an immune response brings infection-fighting cells to the area. The increased amount of fluid causes redness, warmth, and pain from the pressure and chemical irritants. Ice helps to decrease the circumference of the blood vessels, therefore minimizing the amount of swelling.

It is important to remember that inflammation is a natural response and should not be suppressed completely. It is the body’s way of helping to heal the injured area. It is important to remember, though, that more ice isn’t better. As with heat, ice should not be left on for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.

Heat works the opposite of ice. It helps to bring fluid to the area and increase circulation. That is why heat is used on joint stiffness or chronically tight muscles. You can even use a combination of ice, then heat, then ice, then heat to create a pumping action to increase circulation. This is done after the acute phase of an injury.

So when do you ice and when do you heat? Below is a basic chart on when it is appropriate to ice, and when heat would be a better option. Just a reminder…you can often do more harm if you heat at the wrong time but rarely does choosing to ice cause problems.

 

Ice or Heat?
Ice Heat
When To Use Use ice after an acute injury, after activities that irritate a chronic injury, or whenever it feels better than using heat. Ex: sprains, shin splints, headache Use heat before activities that irritate chronic injuries, or to help ease stiffness. Heat can help loosen tissues and relax tight areas. Ex: arthritis, tense muscles.
How To Do It Ice pack, ice in a bag, ice cup, frozen veggies in a bag, ice bath (with caution) Heating pads, hot tubs, saunas, a hot shower. Stretching muscles while heating can help loosen the tissue as well.
For How Long Apply ice treatments for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. Too much ice can do harm, even cause frostbite. Wait at least 20 minutes after icing to reapply. It is not necessary to apply a heat treatment for more than about 20 minutes at a time. Never apply heat while sleeping.

Taken from http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/sportsmedicine/a/iceorheat.htm with some changes to content and format.