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Month: July 2014

How Coffee Affects Your Health

We seem to hear different things from the medical community every few years about either the positive or negative effect that coffee has on our health. So what is the most current information? Is coffee good or bad for your health? The answer, in short, is that it’s a little of both.

Too much coffee can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure, anxiety and upset stomach, in addition to its ability to become addictive. And don’t forget that added cream and sugar contribute to weight gain. For example, a 24-ounce Starbucks venti double chocolate chip frappucino contains a mind-boggling 520 calories!coffee-cup-200-300

Despite these drawbacks, moderate coffee consumption can actually have a protective effect, helping to reduce your risk of many problems, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver cancer, gallstones and Type 2 diabetes, to name a few. It can also lower the risk of stroke in women.

Current research has indicated that there is no increased risk of heart disease or cancer from moderate coffee drinking. The studies done earlier that reached that conclusion were flawed in that they did not take into consideration other lifestyle habits that went along with increased coffee drinking, such as smoking and lack of exercise, two major causes of these diseases. In fact, coffee has been shown to protect against many kinds of cancer.

A recent study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that there was a 25 percent reduction in cases of endometrial cancer in women who drank four or more cups of coffee per day. Scientists believe this may be due to the fact that coffee has the ability to lower concentrations of free estradiol and insulin, in addition to the cancer-fighting effect of coffee’s antioxidant phenols.

Even a few cups of coffee every day can cut men’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 30 percent, with those consuming six cups of coffee a day reducing their risk of a dangerous form of the cancer by a whopping 60 percent.

Coffee also reduces your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by up to 20 percent, according to scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who drink coffee (four cups per day) have a 20 percent lower risk of depression than those who drink no coffee at all.

It is recommended that you get no more than 500-600 mg of caffeine intake per day, the equivalent of about 6 to 8 cups of brewed coffee. Obviously, the amount of caffeine in a cup of espresso will be more than that in the equivalent amount drip coffee.

The key point to keep in mind is to consume coffee in moderate amounts, especially if you are pregnant. But all in all, the benefits of coffee consumption far outweigh the risks for most people, so grab a café grande and drink up!

Nutrition is a very complex and our understanding of it is constantly evolving. If you have questions about your current nutrition or supplement plan, please ask. We are here to help!

How Does Chiropractic Help Relieve Pain?

The impetus for many people to seek chiropractic help is acute or chronic pain, most commonly in the lower back or neck and shoulders. Although patients want the chiropractor to help with the underlying problem, lessening their pain is a very important part of allowing them to get on with life in some degree of comfort.

Chiropractic treatment for pain rests on the principle that healing will occur as a natural function of the body once it is in correct alignment. Conversely, misalignment will lead to excess strain and wear on the body, resulting in pain. Misalignment can occur over time as the result of bad posture, repetitive activities (such as performing certain sports or occupations) and degenerative disease. It may also happen suddenly due to trauma from a road accident, a fall or a particular sports injury.

In addition to pain relief, cchiropractic-adjustment-200-300hiropractic treatment aims to restore natural functioning and range of motion to the problem area. In practice, the two go hand-in-hand. Pain occurs in the shoulder, for example, because of a lack of movement from an injury or strain, and once this is treated, the shoulder will be both pain-free and able to move normally.

The body is comprised of many muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves, all of which have the potential to cause pain when stressed or damaged. Muscle strain and spasm can occur on its own or as the result of a postural problem. In the latter case, a spasm may not only be causing pain but may also prevent the body from returning to its natural alignment. Soft tissue massage is used by chiropractors to ease muscle spasms and relax the spine back into position. At this point, pain should be considerably lessened, if not relieved completely.

If soft tissue massage alone is insufficient, spinal manipulation will often be used to correct any underlying postural problems. Manipulation helps the spine and joints to resume their natural position and eases the muscle strain associated with being out of balance, thus relieving pain. Trapped nerves, which may also cause considerable pain (as in the case of sciatica), are often released through spinal manipulation.

Some painful injuries may require time to heal, such as shoulder rotator cuff injuries and slipped discs. In these cases, spinal manipulation and soft tissue massage are important in order to give the injury the best possible conditions for repair to take place. Patients will often involuntarily tense their muscles around an area of pain, which can both prolong the healing time and increase their discomfort. In these cases, chiropractic treatment is important to both relieve the pain felt by the patient and to promote natural healing in the affected area.

Although spinal manipulation and soft tissue massage are very helpful in the treatment of both acute and chronic pain, sometimes additional measures may be needed for short-term pain control. In these cases, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications may be considered to provide pain relief for the patient until sufficient healing has taken place. Whereas the ultimate aim of chiropractic care is to restore function to the body, relieving pain is an important part of treatment and your chiropractor will do their utmost to provide relief.

Patients’ Satisfaction with Chiropractic Care

When it comes to making important choices about treatment options for back pain, it’s worth looking at the experiences of others who have found something that works. In recent years, the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center has surveyed the magazine’s subscribers to do just that. In April and May 2009, Consumer Reports released some of its findings publicly. A summary appears below.

 

satisfaction-form-200-300About the Survey Participants

  • More than 14,000 participants who had suffered from lower-back pain in the prior year but had never had back surgery.
  • More than half reported that pain severely limited their daily routine for a week or longer.
  • Many reported that pain interfered with sleep, sex and efforts to maintain a healthy weight.
  • 88% reported that the pain recurred through the year.
  • Most had tried five or six different treatments.

How Respondents Ranked the Healthcare Providers Who Had Treated Them

Healthcare ProviderPercent Who Were Highly Satisfied With Treatment and Advice*
Chiropractor59%
Physical Therapist+55%
Acupuncturist53%
Physician, Specialist44%
Physician, Primary Care34%
 
*Defined as either Completely Satisfied or Very Satisfied.
+Difference in ranking for Physical Therapist and Acupuncturist were not statistically significant.

 

How Respondents Ranked Selected Back Pain Therapies

TherapyPercentage Who Reported that the Therapy Helped a Lot
Chiropractic Manipulation58%
Prescription Drugs45%
Over-the-Counter Drugs22%

 

In July 2011, Consumer Reports published an updated report describing how Americans use alternative approaches to healthcare as well as their experience with various therapies and their providers. Chiropractic care once again was reported to be the most popular approach to back pain relief and was ranked most highly in terms of patient satisfaction.

Your Doctor of Chiropractic can help relieve back pain and restore mobility by using a drug-free, hands-on technique called “spinal manipulation” or “chiropractic adjustment”. He or she may also use other manual therapies, such as massage, to complement this primary treatment. In addition, many chiropractors are skilled in designing exercise and nutrition programs for their patients that will help their bodies resist injury and function properly. By focusing on both immediate pain relief and the underlying causes of back pain, your chiropractor can help you achieve a healthier overall lifestyle.

Every body is different. If you have questions about this article or whether chiropractic is an appropriate choice for your specific situation, please ask. We are here to help!