News & Blog Items

Nelson Chiropractic Online Support

 

We have been brainstorming on how we can connect with and help our patients and Pilates students during this trying time. We think we have come up with a plan that can support you emotionally, physically, and nutritionally since we are unable to see you at our office. We are excited to announce that we will be offering online support in the coming weeks to help you decrease inflammation and better prepare your body and mind to deal with any potential health issues that might arise related to COVID-19 or any other issue you might be dealing with. 

Recent studies have indicated what may be the root cause for so many younger, otherwise healthy COVID-19 patients to suddenly worsen leading to mechanical ventilation and sometimes death. According to doctors and researchers, in at least some cases, the body's own immune system is overreacting to the virus causing a cytokine storm. "A cytokine storm can happen when the immune system triggers a runaway response that causes more damage to its own cells than to the invader it's trying to fight."* This can quickly lead to multi organ failure and death. This information is leading doctors to some promising new treatments to target the body's immune response to the virus.

Interestingly, pro-inflammatory cytokine production is a response to stress and injury. Emotional stress, poor sleep, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet choices can all lead to higher levels of cytokines. It makes sense for us to decrease as many of these contributors as we can, now, before we may become infected. Finally, something we can control in a time when we have very little control over much else!

Before COVID-19 required us to shut our chiropractic practice and Pilates studio down, we had planned on doing an in-person Breathe, Stabilize, and Move Spring Workshop Series. Since this is currently not possible, beginning next week, we will start providing online educational workshops on nutrition, breathing, and exercise. These 30-45 minute workshops are designed to keep you informed, teach you something practical and new, and get you moving better!

On Monday nights, we will provide free webinars on diet and nutrition. Starting Monday, April 13th at 7:00 pm EST, the topic will be "Decreasing Cytokines Through Diet!" We will discuss how and why your body produces cytokines and other inflammatory chemicals and how to decrease them through better dietary choices.

If you can't attend live, a recording will be available. We will be sending out a separate email soon with instructions on how to join us online.

We are also working with Anabolic Labs, the high quality company that supplies our vitamins and supplements, to ship directly to our patients to make it easier for you to get everything you need to deflame your diet!

Starting next Wednesday night, April 15th, you will have the opportunity to join us live each week as we focus on Breathing. These classes will introduce the Nelson 3 Part Breathing Technique to help decrease stress and improve your stability. Our first class will take a deeper look into nasal breathing! The cost for these live Wednesday Breathing Workshops will be $10 and a separate email will be sent out with instructions on how to join us online.

The final pillar of our plan to help you decrease inflammation is to help you become less sedentary through movement based classes. On Fridays at 1pm EST, we hope you will join us for a 30 minute Movement Flow Class using breathing techniques, proper core stabilization, and joint mobility exercises.

These $10 classes are good for every patient and student, and will incorporate our breathing technique with exercises based in state of the art rehab methods including Pilates and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS). Watch for a follow up email on how to register.

To Recap, Please Join Us Online:

  • Nutrition Mondays @ 7pm - Free
  • Breathing Wednesdays @ 7pm - $10
  • Movement Fridays @ 1pm - $10
While there is so much doctors and scientists still do not know about this virus, it makes sense for all of us to do our part at decreasing any known stressors that put our bodies in an elevated cytokine production (inflammatory) state. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, working on keeping your lungs healthy, and moving with stability would be a simple start.We hope to connect with you all online next week! Please respond to this email if you are interested in any of these learning opportunities. Also, please let us know if you may be interested in one-on-one Telehealth visits. We are available for consultations or movement based therapy techniques from your home. If you have any other suggestions on ways for us to help, please let us know! We are here for you!

Drs. Kerri and Eric Nelson, DC

Help! I’m in pain! But I didn’t do anything?!

Because of the nature of our profession, we regularly see people in pain searching for answers as to why. Sometimes the reasons why are obvious and due to physical trauma. A slip on the ice, too much weight on a barbell or a car accident can be some classic examples of traumatic events that lead to pain and dysfunction. Far more often, people in pain have no such instances to point to, or they can only point to something benign; like bending over and placing a golf ball on a tee or putting laundry in the dryer. Essentially these instances are just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The reality is that pain is multidimensional, complicated, and can have many contributing factors that don’t include just actual physical damage to tissues. It can be very difficult to discern the origin of the problem, since the site of pain can have very little to do with the actual source of the problem. The brain actually plays a very critical role in the pain process. That is because pain is essentially a conclusion made by the brain from a summary of information that it receives from the body. This conclusion is basically an alarm alerting us to take action and make some changes.

Compensation and avoidance are survival strategies that the brain and body seamlessly utilize to avoid pain or weakness. You twist an ankle, the body adapts and limps to avoid the pain. Your ankle feels better, the body seemingly adapts and the pain goes away. But that protective mechanism and compensation can often persist long after the pain is gone. Our bodies also compensate due to postural stresses, old injuries, or in order to combat our daily repetitive actions from work or play. These strategies are helpful and necessary in the short term to help produce pain free movement. However, when perpetuated for too long, or specifically stressed in a time of weakness, these strategies can overload an adjacent structure and cause pain; essentially sounding the alarm. When the alarm sounds… do something about it!! Often, the more you feel the same type of pain, the more sensitive your body becomes to it, and the more likely you are to feel it getting worse. So the earlier you do something about it, the better.

So what can we do? The good news is that there are many things we can do to put ourselves in better position to avoid pain and be comfortably active! Much of what we can do is intuitive, but many of us could use some guidance. Our bodies are extremely resilient and capable of amazing things when we take proper care of them. Good food, proper hydration, and adequate rest are some important aspects of the process. Learning proper breathing, stabilization, and movement strategies can also go a long way towards addressing or avoiding pain.

Having a good chiropractor or therapist is a very important piece of the puzzle. Because of the complicated nature of pain, we can help to identify the source of the problem and mitigate the severity and incidence of your pain. At Nelson Chiropractic and Pilates Center, due to the nature of our experience, expertise, and processes, we are very good at narrowing down the possible pain generators and treat accordingly. We follow up that treatment with specific exercises that act as both reinforcement to treatment and can serve to improve your confidence in using a painful area of the body. We also act as an important sounding board to help narrow down what might be harming you, how serious (or not serious) it is and give you strategies in what to avoid or improve. Once out of pain, we don’t need to see you often, but a regular check in is a great idea to keep all cylinders firing and can be part of a plan to avoid pain in the future.

Interested in hearing more? Ask one of us at Nelson Chiropractic and Pilates Center! 

 

By: Dr. David Velez

Burn Your MRI Report

Just kidding…but not really. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve had to talk a patient off the ledge after seeing his or her imaging report, I’d be a rich woman. The story often goes a little like this. Bob, a 54 year old HVAC repairman, comes in to see me because he hurt his shoulder or foot or whatever and the first thing I notice is that Bob clearly also has pain in his back. When I ask him about it, he says that it has been hurt for a while. Once or twice a year, his back “goes out” and he’s laid up for a few days but there’s nothing he can do about it because he has some bad discs. You see, Bob went to his family doc a couple years ago to get his back checked out. The family doc sent him for an MRI and the MRI showed, you guessed it, degenerative disc disease at L4-L5, disc bulges at multiple levels, perhaps a herniation or two, and maybe some foraminal or central canal stenosis. Although Bob is pretty depressed about the state of his spine, he finds some comfort in the fact that at least he knows why his back has been giving him trouble for years. And here’s where my job gets tricky, I have to tell Bob that there’s a pretty good chance that he’s wrong.

You see, Bob has become a Victim Of Medical Imaging Technology (thanks APTEI for the witty, yet disgusting, acronym that I have chosen to omit). While MRIs can be invaluable tools when you need to rule out red flags or when frank nerve root compression signs are present, for the most part, they tend to do more harm than good. Why, you may ask? Two reasons:

Reason #1 - What’s on your MRI report often has NOTHING to do with your pain

According to a recent study by Brinjikji et al, “signs of degeneration are present in very high percentages of healthy people with no problem at all. Many imaging-based degenerative features are likely part of normal aging and unassociated with pain.”1 The chart below indicates the prevalence of MRI findings in people with NO BACK PAIN.1 It shows that if we MRI’ed 10 pain-free 54 year olds, 8 of them would have disc degeneration findings and 6 would have disc bulges just like Bob but he has 7/10 pain and the others have none. How is that possible? Likely because Bob’s MRI findings aren’t what is causing his pain. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly times where a degenerative disc issue could be the culprit but in the vast majority of cases, disc degeneration is just a normal part of aging, like wrinkles on the spine.2

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Reason #2 - People who know what’s on their MRI report tend to feel WORSE

Seriously, MRIs for low back pain can sometimes do more harm than good! Several studies have shown that patient knowledge of imaging findings leads to more doctor’s visits, longer lasting pain, more disability, and a lesser sense of well-being.3,4 This is likely because many patients interpret their imaging findings to mean that the back needs to be protected, resulting in unnecessary fear avoidance of movement and activity.5 This type of avoidance can actually make the back pain worse. This certainly lends credence to the idea that ignorance is bliss, at least when it comes to your spine.

So what’s the bottom line? You are NOT your MRI findings. Get evaluated by a competent practitioner (like one of the fabulous docs at Nelson Chiropractic and Pilates) who can help you figure out what’s really causing your pain. And when you’re ready to burn that MRI report, give me a call…I’ll provide the matches.

  1. Brinjikji W, Luetmer PH, Comstock B, et al. Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015 Apr;36(4):811-6.
  2. Brinjikji W, Diehn FE, Jarvik JG, et al. MRI findings of disc degeneration are more prevalent in adults with low back pain than in asymptomatic controls: A systematic review and meta-analysis. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015 Sep.
  3. Ash LM, Modic MT, Obuchowski NA, et al. Effects of diagnostic information, per se, on patient outcomes in acute radiculopathy and low back pain. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2008 Jun;29(6): 1098-103.
  4. Modic MT, Obuchowski NA, Ross JS, et al. Acute low back pain and radiculopathy: MR imaging findings and their prognostic role and effect on outcome. Radiology. 2005 Nov;237(2):597-604.
  5. Darlow B, Dowell A, Baxter GD, et al. The enduring impact of what clinicians say to people with low back pain. Ann Fam Med 2013;527-34.

 

Dr. Kelli Velez

Building a Strong Foundation

                Recently, as my wife and I were looking for a new home, we found what seemed to be the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood. As we prepared our offer, we asked a contractor to come over to assess how much it would cost to renovate the kitchen. Interestingly, when he got there, the first thing he did was walk around the perimeter of the house. Then he walked through the basement. Before he even looked at the kitchen, he gave us his assessment: find another house. The verdict? The house had a poor foundation, and fixing the kitchen would do nothing to change that.

                While I was disappointed, I completely understood. His assessment mirrored what I do every day in the office. At the beginning and end of every visit, we guide our patients through a movement assessment called the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). We do this to determine our patient’s capacity of the most basic and foundational movements. Can they flex, extend and rotate their head, neck and torso with full range of motion and without pain? Can they stand on one leg without falling over? Are they able to squat? These basic movements lay the foundation for the more complex movement patterns that occur in life and in sport. When the simple movements are dysfunctional, everything built on that foundation will be suspect, and only a matter of time before repetition and load lead to injury. Similar to my prospective home, only time stands in between a problematic foundation and a major problem that needs fixing.

                Thankfully, the basic movements of the human body can be much easier to evaluate and fix than the foundation of a house. To differentiate between the two, let’s talk about why these building block movements might be suboptimal. Every joint, muscle, ligament and tendon in the body has a set of responsibilities, all of which are modulated by the brain. When something isn’t quite working properly, the brain seamlessly creates compensatory survival strategies to help us make up for the deficit. The issue occurs when we perpetuate that survival strategy over time, and adopt that strategy as our new normal. When these patterns become problematic, they essentially require a reprogramming or reboot back to normal. That is where we come in.

For example, the glute max is a strong, powerful muscle. It has a main responsibility to extend the leg- a very important component of every step we take. When the glute max is weak, the brain calls upon helpers to help facilitate that movement. Oftentimes one of those helpers is the quadtratus lumborum, or QL. The QL is a stabilizing muscle in the low back, which can also assist in leg extension. The QL can help the glute max out in the short term, but since the QL is a stabilizer and not a powerful mover, it tires quickly. This compensation strategy often results in a weak, tight and tender low back and QL. This compensation can be a common causes of idiopathic low back pain, and can be very easily uncovered and treated with a movement assessment and subsequent treatment.

This example is just one of countless survival strategies that we see every day in our office. When these strategies have been perpetuated for too long, you are left with painful, weak and tight muscles that alter the function of joints, ligaments and tendons. This altered functionality can most definitely be caught by a movement assessment after an injury has occurred. However, the best part is that this it can be caught by a movement assessment BEFORE it ever turns into a debilitating injury. Screening movement on a regular basis can help to reduce the risk of a previous injury recurring, or an injury ever happening in the first place. Once the building block movements are acceptable, other factors like strength, endurance and coordination become significantly more important. Similarly, a new kitchen in my prospective house would only be acceptable if we had first fixed the issues that presented in the foundation of the house.

As Gray Cook states, “Our bodies are miracles capable of unbelievable durability and resiliency, with an amazing performance and physical capacity.” When our foundational movements are without limitation and pain free, we can fully grasp how truly amazing our bodies can be.

 

David Velez, DC

Act Like a Baby and Get Stronger

It's pretty amazing, if you've ever stopped to think about it, that a human baby can go from lying helplessly when born to crawling, standing and walking within the span of about 15 months without ever being taught.

Imagine what that rapid progression would mean to an adult! The medical/rehabilitation profession studying the development of human movement has identified milestones in the baby's first year that represent ideal posture and stabilization. More importantly, we can use these milestone positions to not only rehab movement dysfunction, but enhance performance!

At the core of these findings is the Integrated Spinal Stabilization System or ISSS which is made up of the diaphragm, pelvic floor, abdominal muscles and short stabilizers of the spine. They work together to increase pressure in the abdomen which creates better congruency at joint surfaces and balances the back extensors for an elongated and upright posture. Using the ISSS while practicing milestone movements from a baby's development integrate the entire movement system and will trigger familiar pathways in your brain that helped you learn how to walk when you were a baby.

At Nelson Chiropractic and Pilates Center, DNS is the foundation of our rehabilitation program. Everyone can benefit from practicing functional movement. Physical therapy is for everyone! From relieving pain to enhancing performance, we are here to help! If you have any questions or would like to learn how to improve your function, please give us a call to set up an appointment with our doctor of physical therapy! 856-767-8800

Check out this progression called the Czech Get Up. It's a variation of the Turkish Get Up using the principles of developmental kinesiology and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS).

Click here to watch a video of The Czech Get Up

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