Monday, December 28, 2015

Health Goals are Better Than Resolutions

This is the time of year when people are seeing the effects of their holiday indulgences and determining to do something about it.  With the New Year come resolutions to lose weight, join a gym, get fit, etc.  The intent is generally good, but the follow-through is generally lacking.  Gyms report the highest number of new enrollments in January, along with peak usage, which generally tapers off within a few short weeks.

Resolutions are generally grand ideas that we intend to power through on the force of our own resolve. They rarely are accompanied by a specific and realistic plan of action.  Setting goals properly allows us to have measurable, attainable steps along the way to the "big idea."
For example, if the resolution is to "get in shape," what does that mean?  Typically it means you join a gym, hit it hard, suffer through the pain of over-using muscles that have been inactive for too long, and often give up.  In contrast, one can begin by taking a stretching class, which is a gentle way to activate those muscles.  Click here to learn more about the stretch class being offered in our office throughout January.

Resistance can be added to the routine, using your own body weight with traditional exercises like pushups and squats, or in smaller amounts, with resistance bands or light weights.  As your body adjusts to the new demands, you can increase your exercise routine until you are able to handle a more demanding workout.  This mini-goal approach makes it less likely that you will get frustrated and give up, or even worse, injure yourself and be forced to give up.  AS you meet your small goals, you are encouraged to work toward the next one.

The same thing goes for diet and nutrition goals.  If your diet has consisted of bacon and sugar cookies for the past six weeks, you may be disgusted with yourself for your lack of self-control and what it has done to your body, but going on a liquid fast or other crash diet will probably result in gastro-intestinal upset and do nothing to teach you healthier habits for the long run.

Instead, you may wish to try a stepped approach, similar to what we've suggested for your exercise routine. Start by eliminating refined sugar from your diet.  In a week or two, your palate will reset to appreciate the natural sweetness of foods and the cravings will be gone. 

Look at the fats you consume.  Reducing fats from conventionally raised animal products is a good step, as is eliminating all hydrogenated fats.  But not all fats are your enemy.  Avocado, coconut and olives are high-fat foods containing oils that are beneficial to our bodies.  Free-range organic egg yolks do contain cholesterol, but are also one of the few natural sources of highly absorbable vitamin D, which is essential during the winter months when you might not be absorbing much sunlight, which enables your body to produce its own.

Eat more beans, including lentils and chick peas to get plenty of protein and fiber, allowing you to reduce your dependence on meat and dairy products.  If you like Mexican food, think about your favorite dishes that use lots of beans and avocados, with small amounts of meat and cheese for flavor, texture and protein.

Pay attention to your carbohydrate intake.  Reduce the amount of grains you consume (because they contribute to inflammation), and choose whole grains over processed.  Choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes, and if you do eat white potatoes, eat the skin too, for its fiber content.
Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits to add vitamins, minerals and fiber.  They will make you feel more full on fewer calories.  If you've gotten this far in the program and are still not losing weight, you need to consider your portion sizes.  How full is your plate, and do you habitually go for seconds?

Other ways to support your fitness goals include the use of appropriate herbs and nutritional supplements.  We can advise you on those which would be most useful to your unique health situation.  And regular chiropractic adjustments can help prevent injury as you begin your journey toward fitness.  Bon voyage, and a happy, healthy New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Gift of Health for the Holidays

It's that holiday time of year when everyone's thoughts turn to family, entertaining, shopping, gifts, decorating and more.  As the holidays near, it becomes more and more difficult to find time to take care of yourself, so many people find themselves exhausted, achy, overweight and stressed by the time the new year rolls in.  It doesn't have to be that way.  The trick is to take time to do the little things that can make a big difference in your health.

You may be baking up a storm with holiday cookies and desserts for parties and family dinners, but make sure that's not the only thing around the house that can be eaten quickly.  While you're at the store buying the ingredients for your creations, make sure to stock up on some healthy quick eats too, like low-sugar yogurt, hummus and pre-cut carrots, pre-cooked hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, nuts and low-sugar/high protein energy bars.  That way, when you are rushed, stressed and hungry, there is something you can eat that takes no more time than stuffing holiday cookies in your mouth.

All of the standing, rushing and carrying of packages that is involved in shopping for holiday gifts and entertaining can take it's toll on your muscles and spine, causing pain and restricting your ability to enjoy the season.  Try to shop at less crowded times, lift and carry packages close to your body, and bend from the knees instead of the waist to minimize the stress these activities put on your body.  Small local retailers may be less crowded than the mega-stores, and you'll be helping the local economy by shopping there.

When decorating your home, you might be tempted to climb too high, lift too much. stretch too far or do too much at once.  Take the extra moment to get the right step stool or ladder, lift properly (as explained in the previous paragraph) and pace yourself.  If you make yourself so sore and tired that it takes three or more days to recover, did you really save any time?

When all of the cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, card writing and decorating becomes a literal pain in the neck (or shoulders or back), take the time to get a chiropractic adjustment.  Better yet, do it before you're in pain to prevent its occurrence. We can generally get patients in and our of our office in around 15 minutes, and it could be your best investment of time this holiday season, resulting in less pain and exhaustion and more enjoyment.

Happy holidays to you and yours from everyone at Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Chiropractic Care Safer for Most Seniors

Chiropractic treatment is widely accepted as a safe and effective treatment for spinal issues, including sciatica, back and neck pain.  With increasing age, the likelihood of suffering with one of these conditions increases.  Because of that, some researchers wanted to investigate whether chiropractic treatment is as safe for the elderly as it is for younger patients.  They undertook a study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and subsequently published in Spine.
They researched whether the risk of injury to people aged 66 and older after seeing a chiropractor for an issue involving the nervous system, muscles and spine was more, less or equal to the risk of injury following a visit to their primary care physician for that kind of issue.  Their study was based on recipients of Medicare Part B who were treated for these conditions in 2007.  They evaluated the risk of injury for seven days following their treatment.
They found that the risk of injury within seven days of a chiropractic treatment was 76% lower than the risk of injury within seven days of medical treatment for comparable neuromusculoskeletal conditions.  The risk of injury post-treatment was highest for males, older participants and those with co-existing serious conditions.  Chiropractic was determined to be a significantly safer treatment option for seniors experiencing conditions related to the nerves, muscles or bones, except for those with specific medical conditions such as coagulation defects (or long term use of blood thinners), inflammatory spondylopathy, osteoporosis, or aortic aneurysm and dissection, 
In short, if you, or someone you love is a senior who is experiencing pain or weakness related to the nerves, muscles and spine, you should talk to a trusted chiropractor and give them your complete medical history.  If you or they are a good candidate for chiropractic care, it may be the safer option for treatment in the long run.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Bitter Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup

Sugar is sugar?  Right?  Wrong!

Too much sugar of any kind can contribute to obesity and metabolic problems, but used in moderation, traditional cane sugar is considered relatively safe.  However, over the past couple of decades, food manufacturers, who are always putting profit ahead of the health of their customers have been replacing it more and more with high fructose corn syrup, which unlike pure cane sugar, is NOT a natural product.  Fructose does not occur naturally in corn, and is only developed through intensive chemical processing.

You may have heard that the term "natural" on labels doesn't mean much, but legislators are starting to change that because products that contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) are no longer allowed to use the word "natural" on their labels.

Since the introduction of HFCS into the American food supply, we are on the verge of an epidemic of lifestyle-induced health issues including obesity, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.  Excess consumption of fructose from HFCS has been associated with other health issues such as elevated triglyceride levels, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gout, and complications of diabetes.

If you drink soda, eat packaged cakes or cookies or use sweet spreads or syrups, you are most likely consuming a very large amount of high fructose corn syrup.   It is found in a surprising array of foods where you might not expect it, like ketchup, mayonnaise, bread, crackers and the snack that's thought to be healthy, but isn't - granola bars.  "Pancake syrup" as opposed to pure maple syrup is close to 100% high fructose corn syrup.  Many "juice drinks" contain HFCS.  Buy pure juice instead.  "Table sugar" may be cut with HFCS.  Look for "pure cane sugar" and make sure your honey is pure as well.

The food industry is always looking for ways to hide information like this from consumers and use ingredients that will increase their profits.  The healthiest foods to eat are fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts.  Low fat meats, poultry, and fish can also be good choices, as can free-range eggs and minimally processed dairy products.  Locally produced and/or organic varieties are best, both for you and the planet.  If you are going to eat packaged food products, please READ LABELS!  Don't assume anything, because HFCS and other harmful ingredients are routinely added to all kinds of processed food.

You may be tempted to substitute non-caloric sweeteners for both sugar and HFCS to save calories.  It's not a bad idea, but if you do, consider stevia or inulin, which are natural alternatives to saccharine, aspartame and the other artificial options.  Better yet, learn to appreciate the natural sweetness in foods like fruits and sweet vegetables, or use a small amount of honey, maple syrup or ground dates to sweeten your food.  You future will be much sweeter.

A carefully planned program of nutritional supplements (vitamins, minerals, etc.) can help protect the body from the negative effects of consuming too much HFCS, and may be used in addition to dietary changes that limit your intake of HFCS.  Beneficial nutrients include benfotiamine, alpha-lipoic acid, carnosine, pyridoxamine, acetyl-L-carnitine, vitamin C, and fish oil.

At Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness, we help our patients to live healthier lives with nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling in addition to chiropractic adjustments and other means of natural pain relief.  If you are hoping to retain your vitality well into your senior years, give up HFCS and come in to see us.  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Get in the Swing: Chiropractic Improves Your Golf Game

Golf is a year round sport in other parts of the country, and even here on Long Island, there are die-hard golfers who will brave any kind of weather to get a few rounds in, but summer is the time when everyone on Long Island who owns a golf club is out on the greens.  Long Island boasts roughly 125 golf courses between Nassau and Suffolk Counties, yet trying to reserve a tee time can be a challenge.

That means that there are a lot of people who are walking long distances over uneven terrain, standing around waiting, carrying heavy golf bags, bending, twisting and swinging, all in the name of fun.  It also means there are a lot of people suffering from golfer's back, and their game is suffering as well, because you can't perform at your best when you're in pain.

There are over 30 million golfers in the United States and surveys have shown that at least 80% of them experience back pain, which may be related to their favorite pastime.  "Golf back" is a recognized phenomenon, but the physical stresses associated with playing golf may also result in neck pain, shoulder, pain, elbow pain and hip pain. A proper golf swing puts the body in a awkward position and creates a tremendous amount of torque, which can leave you suffering from pain in various body parts, especially in older golfers.

You may choose to tough it out and work through the pain, but it's not advisable.  Not only will ignoring your pain probably make matters worse and continue to exacerbate the underlying condition, but your game will suffer as well.  How can you expect to execute the perfect swing when you can barely stand straight?

You might also choose to mask the pain with over the counter pain medication, like acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) or ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Motrin and Advil).  These remedies might be acceptable for use in the short term, but just because they are sold over the counter doesn't mean they are harmless.  Long term use of ibuprofen can contribute to stomach problems, including ulcers and exacerbate bleeding.  Acetaminophen, in large doses can be toxic to the liver.  One of our previous articles on this blog was about the dangers of acetaminophen.

Your other option is to seek safe, natural Chiropractic care to help treat your pain and avoid any further injury.  At Wantagh Woods Chiropractic, Dr. Barbara Rosinsky uses gentle Chiropractic manipulation and other passive therapies to treat pain and injuries.  Chiropractic adjustments help to keep the spine in optimal alignment, which can go a long way toward preventing injury during golf or other sports.

If you want to get back to enjoying your game, call us to make an appointment for a free Chiropractic evaluation.  Your game will thank you.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Injuries? Chiropractic Can Help

If your family is like most American families, summertime is your most active season.  The favorable weather gets you outdoors, engaging in your favorite sports and activities.  Perhaps your busy lifestyle keeps you from pursuing the physical activities you enjoy, but when you're on vacation, you tackle challenges that your body isn't used to doing.  And that's when the trouble begins...

You might take a fall, sprain or strain a joint or muscle and end up in pain.  Chiropractic is a safe and effective way to address the pain of injuries and overuse for both adults and children.

In the summer months, when school's out, children spend more time outdoors, running and playing, and unfortunately, often falling.  The jarring action of a fall can cause their young spine to go out of alignment, creating what chiropractors refer to as a subluxation.  Subluxations interfere with normal nerve function, and in a young child, could interfere with normal growth and development of the spine.

It's important to have a chiropractic examination after a fall or injury, especially if back or neck pain results.  If left untreated, the subluxation can develop into a longer term problem, especially in developing children.

Chiropractors are among the few types of doctors whose methods are completely safe and natural.  We don't use prescription drugs or surgery.  Chiropractic adjustments are performed manually.  They are painless, and covered by most health insurance companies.

Chiropractic adjustments help to restore normal functioning to the entire nervous system, which in turn, can improve a wide variety of conditions.  In addition to neck and back pain, chiropractic adjustments have helped many people with headaches, TMJ, sinus problems, issues with joints in the arms and legs and more.  At Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness, we see patients of all ages, with a variety of conditions for which we can provide relief.

Many professional athletes receive regular chiropractic care to speed healing of injuries, prevent new ones from occurring, improve their overall health and get a competitive edge.  Let us help you and your family to get and stay in the game with safe, natural chiropractic care.  To learn more about how we can help you and your family get and stay healthier, visit our website at or call us at 516-783-0088 for an appointment.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Texting is Dangerous Even When You're Not Driving

Everyone knows how dangerous it can be to use your smart phone for text messaging while driving.  Even a momentary distraction that takes your eyes off the road can have disastrous effects.  But it seems that not everyone knows how dangerous texting can be even when you're not driving.n Aside from the obvious dangers of being distracted while crossing a street or parking lot or going up or down stairs, the posture that people typical use for texting stresses the body in many ways, which if done frequently enough, over a long enough period of time can lead to permanent problems.

The picture above exaggerates, of course where the person's head falls off, but the other figures are accurate.  An adult human head weighs about 10 pounds, which when balanced properly in a good postural position (the ear should be directly above the tip of the shoulder) feels weightless.  As the head leans forward, as it does when focusing on a phone screen the pressure on the neck increases dramatically.  The graphic shows it in degrees.  Another way of expressing it is that for every inch the ear is ahead of the tip of the shoulder, add ten pounds. All of this additional stress strains the muscles, vertebrae and discs of the neck, causing pain, stiffness, and ultimately, permanent structural changes that can be quite serious.

A typical 18-24 year old sends or receives roughly 50 texts a day.  That's a lot of time spent looking down.  This is the first generation that has had such widespread use of a device which keeps them sedentary and focused on something that promotes an unhealthy posture.  If you must use your smartphone frequently, make an effort to hold the phone higher, so you won't have to bend your head as far forward to use it.  This simple strategy will help you to reduce the amount of stress on your neck.

Unfortunately, the potential risks of frequent cell phone use for texting and browsing don't end there.  Typically, while focusing on a phone or other hand-held device, the shoulders are slumped and the back is rounded - a posture which crowds the lungs.  Lungs may be further compromised by the quick shallow breaths we tend to take when we're concentrating on something.  Take the time to straighten your spine, roll your shoulders back and take deep breaths to help minimize the impact of the texting posture on your lungs.

Think about what texting can do to your hands.  Many people spend a large part of their day clutching their smartphone in their hands, which can lead to stiffness and even speed the development of arthritis.  Put the phone down when not in use, and take time to stretch your hands and fingers wide open periodically throughout the day to give them a break.

Parents - teach your teens and young adults how to take care of their bodies while they are still young and healthy.  And set a good example with your own texting habits.

Get some exercise on  a regular basis, even if you don't have much time, to counterbalance the time you spend texting, watching videos and surfing the web.  Stretch, jump, walk, run or do yoga.  It will help you to stay limber.  Regular chiropractic adjustments can also prevent the stresses of texting from becoming permanent structural problems.  At Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness, we treat the entire person in order to promote good health.  Contact us to make an appointment for a free consultation.