What’s the Problem with Stress?

Kuna Chiropractic - Stress

What’s the Problem with Stress?

We live in stressful times. The economy is tough, global conflicts rage, severe weather events are affecting people in every corner of the globe, and our numerous technological devices don’t seem to be making things any easier. Of course, this is nothing new. Every generation thinks theirs is the best of times and the worst of times. But the result is that people everywhere have high levels of stress.

Sometimes stress is a good thing. Mechanical stress, such as exercise, causes your muscles and bones to become stronger and your nerve system to become smarter. Taking on a new assignment at work or taking a challenging class in school may be stressful, but the effort involved in achieving a successful result will cause you to grow and develop in ways that you might not have imagined. After all, the great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

But chronic, ongoing physical and mental stress, the kind that affects us every day, is not good for us. Chronic stress causes real psychological and physical problems. People undergoing chronic stress may develop anxiety, which if not managed effectively may lead to depression. Chronic stress may lead to a variety of disorders and diseases, including arthritis, inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease, gastrointestinal problems such as peptic ulcer, diabetes,1 high blood pressure,2 and even heart attacks and stroke.3 As we are all subject to numerous stresses every day, both personal and work-related, it’s very important for us to develop strategies that will be successful in helping us manage ongoing stresses.

The most important method for managing stress is to attempt to focus your point-of-view, your frame of reference, on the present moment. Our minds are constantly in motion, constantly at work creating new thoughts and new scenarios regarding some potentially stressful situation, or rehashing old conversations, old conflicts, and old problems. The result is that we’re almost never at peace. When we try to sit down and relax for a bit, it’s never too long before our minds start bringing up the exact things we’d like to be able to forget or ignore, at least for a little while. Most of us can’t flip a metaphorical switch and shut off our incessant stream of mostly negative self-talk. But we can learn to remind ourselves to return to the present, to come back to this moment, the one that’s happening now.


The best way to do this is to ask yourself, “is this [what I’m thinking about] happening right now?” If you can see that what’s happening now is that you’re sitting in a chair reading the newspaper, you have a good chance of being able to let go of what your mind is talking to you about. Say to yourself, “I’m right here, right now, and none of that other stuff is actually happening right now.” This will help you create some distance from your self-talk, and the self-talk may even recede into the background for a while. The feeling of calm you might then experience is one you can build on. The more you practice returning to the moment, the more power you gain in being able to manage the stress in your life.

meditation

Dr Kevin Roselund, DC, NMD uses various techniques and methods to restore proper spinal alignment. The direct result is improved functioning of your nerve system, which directly improves the functioning of all your other body systems.

One of the structural problems addressed by chiropractic care is a “facilitated segment.” This is a section of your spinal cord that is being bombarded by too many nerve signals. These nerve signals arrive at the wrong times and in too great a quantity. Physical pain and other diseases and disorders can develop as a result of a facilitated segment.

Stress makes facilitated segments (and their effects) worse. By aligning your spine, Dr Rosenlund is helping to reduce and resolve these irritated segments of your spinal cord. As a result, the stresses in your life have less physiological impact. You become better able to interact with people and situations, and become better able to manage stress.

1Bener A, et al: Association between psychological distress and gastrointestinal symptoms in diabetes mellitus. World J Diabetes 3(6):123-129, 2012
2van Dijk, AE, et al: The association between prenatal psychosocial stress and blood pressure in the child at age 5-7 years. PLoS One 7(8):e43548, 2012
3Pereira VH, et al: Stressed brain, diseased heart: A review on the pathophysiologic mechanisms of neurocardiology. Int J Cardiol 2012 Apr 20 [Epub ahead of print]

Posted on behalf of Dr. Kevin Rosenlund, DC, NMD

by Brent C. Johns of Tree Frog Media Design

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The Three Ps

Kuna Chiropractic Care and the Road to Good Health

Kuna Chiropractic Care and the Road to Good Health

The Three Ps

Pasta, pizza, and peanut butter. We’ve all been there. For some of us, these three delicious, yet nutritionally limited, pantry items constituted our three main food groups for months, if not years of our 20s and 30s, possibly even our 40s. But there comes a time when the party’s over and we need to deal with reality in the form of tight clothes that used to fit nicely, expanding waistlines, and other unwanted signs of overweight and general lack of fitness.

The fact is that each of the three Ps is high in nutritive value when they are composed of organic ingredients. Pasta that is not organic probably is manufactured from processed flour and has lost most of its original nutritional quality. The same is true for pizza and peanut butter. Organic pizza actually covers three food groups – grains, fruits and vegetables, and dairy. Organic peanut butter is high in protein and essential fatty acids. So the three Ps are good for you. The problem, of course, is when they represent the majority of your weekly food intake.

What is a “well-rounded, healthful food plan”, actually? The basic answer is provided by the well-known food pyramid. The federal government (the U.S. Department of Agriculture) has recently replaced the traditional food pyramid with MyPlate, which is simplistic and not necessary an improvement. The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has designed a Healthy Eating Plate graphic which is more detailed and provides better guidance. The general rules are to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, fill one-quarter of your plate with whole grains, and fill one-quarter of your plate with a protein source such as fish, chicken, beans, and/or nuts. The Healthy Eating Plate reminds people to drink plenty of water and to use healthy oils. The graphic contains information on choosing whole grains and how to select healthy fruits and vegetables.

Overall, this tool is an excellent resource and may be used in combination with the Healthy Eating Pyramid, created by the Department of Nutrition at HSPH. When a family takes the action steps recommended by these tools and applies the “five to stay alive” rule (the recommendation to eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day),1 both adults and children will be well on their way to improved health and wellness.2

Eating a well-rounded diet takes some effort. That’s a main reason why so many adults default to the three Ps. Pasta, pizza, and peanut butter are not only fun to eat, they are also easy to prepare. But over time, relying on the three Ps for your nutritional needs will lead to problems.3 In contrast, the guidelines recommended by the Healthy Eating Plate, in association with “five to stay alive” principle, will provide a delicious, nutritionally sound food plan. We greatly assist our long-term health and that of our children when we begin to recognize the value of these guidelines, and are willing to spend a little extra time and effort at the market and in the kitchen to put the recommendations into action.

1Liu RH: Potential synergy of phytochemicals in cancer prevention: mechanism of action. J Nutr 134(Suppl 12):3479S-3485S, 2004

2Wang YC, et al: Reaching the health people goals for reducing childhood obesity: closing the energy gap. Am J Prev Med 42(5):437-444, 2012

3Drewnowski A, et al: Sweetness and food preference. J Nutr 142(6):1142S-1148S, 2012

 

Posted on behalf of Dr. Kevin Rosenlund, DC, NMD

by Brent C. Johns of Tree Frog Media Design

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Your Personal Marathon

Kuna Chiropractic Care and Your Personal Marathon

Kuna Chiropractic Care and Your Personal Marathon

Your Personal Marathon

Marathon running is a sport that began in 1896 at the first modern Olympics held in Athens, Greece. Today, marathon road racing is big business. The Boston Marathon attracts about 20,000 participants. The New York City Marathon is twice as large, with more than 40,000 runners. Successful marathoners train for 4-6 months to be able to complete the 26-mile run and cross the finish line on their own two feet.
Marathon running is not for everyone, but the principles of successful marathon running can apply to all.1,2 If we conceive of a personal “marathon” as completing 6 months of a health-and-wellness program, we may accomplish a task as big and impactful as completing a 26-mile “regular” marathon.
In choosing your personal marathon, you may select an area of need or an area of interest. Often the two will intersect. For example, you could choose to commit the next 6 months to eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day. You could choose to consume an appropriate amount of well-balanced calories every day for the next 6 months (probably somewhere in the range of 1500 to 2000 calories per day). Or you could choose to begin a walking-for-exercise program, gradually building up to walking 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for the next 6 months. There is a wide variety of choices. The key is to choose an activity that is important and meaningful to you. Otherwise, your commitment probably won’t last for more than a couple of months, if that.
What will you get out of your personal marathon? First, discovering that you can set and then successfully achieve a long-term goal creates tremendous self-confidence. Many actual marathoners report that they were transformed by the process of completing their commitment and achieving their goal. Some marathoners had never run any kind of race at all prior to their 26-mile journey-of-a-lifetime. The personal power generated by leaping into the unknown and overcoming numerous obstacles is substantial. Applying this personal power to other areas of your life may lead to numerous unexpected and rewarding positive outcomes.
Next, you will likely derive substantial health benefits (the original goal of the process).3 Our bodies are remarkably adaptive mechanisms. They will change over time in accordance with our habits and activities. Consuming the right amount of calories for your body’s energy requirements, on average and over time, will result in attaining the appropriate weight for you. (For most people, the result will be consistent weight loss until the optimal weight has been achieved.) Regular vigorous exercise will, over time, result in gains in lean muscle mass and reductions in quantities of stored fat, leading to slimmed-down, trimmer physiques. All your healthy activities will result in positive changes with long-lasting benefits. These outcomes are available to everyone who is willing to take a chance and commit to such a personal marathon.
1Knechtle B, et al: Anthropometric and training variables related to half-marathon running performance in recreational female runners. Phys Sportsmed 39(2):158-166, 2011
2Yeung SS, et al: Interventions for preventing lower limb soft-tissue running injuries. Cochrane Database Syst Rev Jul 6(7):CD00125, 2011
3Lanier AB, et al: Descriptive assessment of exercise program on fitness and correlates of participation. Am J Health Behav 36(5):647-654, 2012

Posted on behalf of Dr. Kevin Rosenlund, DC, NMD

by Brent C. Johns of Tree Frog Media Design

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Top Two Tips for Reaching Your Normal Weight

Chiropractic Care and Lifestyle Counseling can contribute to Lifelong Health

Chiropractic Care and Lifestyle Counseling can contribute to Lifelong Health

Top Two Tips for Reaching Your Normal Weight

It’s well-known that one-third of American adults are overweight and an additional one-third are obese.1 In addition, 17% of U.S. children and adolescents are obese.2 Worldwide statistics are similar. These facts are strongly associated with ongoing epidemics in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Diabetes may cause loss of vision, kidney problems, and loss of circulation in the legs and feet. Cardiovascular disease includes high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attacks. Being overweight or obese may cause diseases which require lifelong treatment. Personal action is needed to begin to restore good health, but it’s important to understand the specific nature of the actions to take.

What is not required is a drastic reduction of body weight to some idealized norm of “thinness.” It is not appropriate for people to attempt to force themselves to look like runway models. What does work is applying simple techniques and strategies to encourage a gradual loss of weight. Over time persons on such a plan will achieve a body weight that is normal for them. There are two key steps to reaching your normal weight.

The first step is to reduce your overall intake of calories by eating six small meals a day. If five small meals works best for your schedule and daily needs, that’s fine. The main point involves total calories. With six small meals, each one is about 300 calories – a little less for women and a little more for men who are taller and more heavily muscled. For men the daily calorie intake is between 1800 and 2100 calories. For women, the daily calorie intake is between 1700 and 1800 calories. By experimenting a bit, you’ll find your optimal calorie level that results in consistent weight loss. Make sure to combine complex carbohydrates and protein at each small meal. The numerous benefits of food combining include maintaining insulin levels in a normal range and improved cognitive/mental function.

For many people, this reduction in daily calories will have an immediate and dramatic impact. There may be real hunger pangs, and it will be important to remember that the next small meal is only a couple of hours away. The pounds you lose in the first couple of weeks will likely provide plenty of reinforcement to help you through the times when you are really hungry.

The next and simultaneous step is to begin a program of regular, vigorous exercise. Of course, if you haven’t exercised in a long time you’ll need to start slowly. Your goal is to build up to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise five times per week.3 Ideally you’ll be doing both cardiovascular exercise and strength training, and in the process you’ll build lean muscle mass. The result is an elevation in your basal metabolic rate which causes your body to burn fat even while you’re resting!

As you follow these two health-promoting programs, you will notice that you’re steadily and gradually losing weight. There will come a time, anywhere from 6 months to a year after you’ve begun your new lifestyle, when your weight loss will stop. For example, you’ll notice you only lost half a pound over the previous week or two. Then you’ll know that you’ve reached your “ideal” body weight. You’ve reached the weight that is normal for you. It is very likely that your new body mass index (a ratio between your height and weight) is now in the normal range or very close to the high end of normal. You’ve taken control of your health and your life, and the very good news is that you’ve built new habits that will last a lifetime.

1Ogden CL, et al: Prevalence of obesity in the United States, 2009-2010.  NCHS Data Brief No. 82. National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 2012
2Waters E, et al: Interventions for preventing obesity in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 7(12):CD001871, 2011
3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vital signs: walking among adults – United States, 2005 and 2010. MMWR Morbid Mortal Wkly Rep 61:595-601, 2012



Posted on behalf of Dr. Kevin Rosenlund, DC, NMD

by Brent C. Johns of Tree Frog Media Design

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Is My Pain Serious?

Kuna Chiropractic Care and Pain Management

Chiropractic Care and Pain Management

Is My Pain Serious?

How do you know whether your pain needs to be evaluated by your chiropractor? This is the age-old question. The answer needs to be specific to your particular problem, rather than a one-size-fits all solution. But there are good guidelines that everyone can follow.

First, is your pain deep and boring (that is, does the pain feel like it’s boring into you)? Deep and boring pain usually means something is seriously wrong. If you’re woken up at night by this type of pain, a visit to your chiropractor or family physician is in order. Kidney stones and inflamed gallbladders are common causes for deep, boring pain that causes a person to awaken from sleep. Severe heartburn is in this category, too, and should be evaluated by your doctor.

But these types of problems are easy to categorize. You’ll probably know, instinctively, that something is wrong. Musculoskeletal pain is rather more difficult to analyze. For example, you lean over in a twisting motion to grab the glass of water on your nightstand and you feel a sharp pain in your lower back. Next morning you have great difficulty getting out of bed. Your lower back is stiff and sore. What should you do?1,2

Your best course of action will be based on a self-assessment. If you’re experiencing pain that radiates down your leg, or numbness or tingling sensations traveling down your leg, you should call your chiropractor’s office and ask to be seen right away. Or, if you don’t have any radiating pain, but sneezing or coughing does provoke a radiating sensation, take the same action. Similarly, the amount of pain you’re having will determine what you do. If the pain is severe, see your chiropractor.

If none of these criteria are present, decision-making gets a bit murky. How you handle your problem will depend on your tolerance for pain. If you have low tolerance, make an appointment to see your chiropractor and get some expert treatment. If you have a higher pain threshold, you might still call for an appointment just to make sure that nothing is seriously wrong. Certainly, if you haven’t improved at all after 48 hours, you need to see your chiropractor.

There is another important scenario. If you have a medical condition such as cancer, an endocrine disorder, or a systemic infection, a sudden occurrence of back pain needs immediate attention, regardless of how or why you think the pain occurred.3 This is not to be an alarmist, but rather the recommendation is based on precaution. If there is an existing problem, then new issues need to be looked at closely, just to be sure.

These guidelines provide a sound basis for decision-making, but please remember they are just that – guidelines. Each person needs to be comfortable with their own process. And, of course, it’s always much better to be safe than sorry. Your chiropractor is always available to help you sort out these kinds of problems.

1Smart KM, et al: The discriminative validity of “nociceptive,” “peripheral neuropathic,” and “central sensitization” as mechanisms-based classifications of musculoskeletal pain. Clin J Pain 27(8):655-653, 2011
2Arendt-Nielsen L, Graven-Nielsen T: Translational musculoskeletal pain research. Clin Rheumatol 25(2):209-226, 2011
3Casazza BA: Diagnosis and treatment of acute low back pain. Am Fam Physician 85(4):343-350, 2012

Posted on behalf of Dr. Kevin Rosenlund, DC, NMD

by Brent C. Johns of Tree Frog Media Design

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Top 3 Fitness Tips from the World of Dance

Chiropractic Care Helps You Get the Most from Exercise

Top 3 Fitness Tips from the World of Dance

Professional dancers are a pretty select group. These elite athletes are arguably among the fittest people in the world. Dance training provides flexibility, strength, speed, and agility – qualities of which we’d all like to have more. As a result, the dancer’s experience provides lifelong guidance for the rest of us as we pursue our own fitness-and-exercise quest.1,2,3

Here are three key fitness tips from the dance world:

1. Hard Work. Dance training provides everything an athlete needs. But there’s a lot of personal discipline and effort involved. That said, the results are magnificent. If we want comparable [for us] magnificent results, we must put in the time. We must do the hard work.

2. Process and Practice. Dancers know they’re in it for the long haul. They’re committed to the process of becoming a dancer and to the practice required to get where they want to go. It’s a goal that takes years to accomplish and it’s a goal that has no end-point.

Adults who want to get fit, be fit, and stay fit need to remember this long timeline. Fitness doesn’t happen in a month or even three months. Sure, you can make good fitness gains, getting slimmer and stronger, having more endurance. But the real power comes from embracing the process and practice of fitness. The real power comes from a long-term commitment to being fit, healthy, and well. To being willing to take small steps, just as dancers literally do, day after day.

3. Mind-Set. A dancer’s mind-set is all about the moment, it’s all about the work-at-hand. Looked at from this perspective, being a dancer is a Zen process. The work of dance is the work of right-now. Whatever a dancer is doing in the moment has to be the best that dancer can do. Otherwise, what’s the point? If the work of the moment isn’t the very best you can do, you’ll learn nothing, gain nothing, and your time and effort are wasted. More importantly, neither you, nor your body, nor your brain will grow.

Dancers learn these lessons in their very first class. Maximum effort is required all the time. It is supremely exciting and life-affirming to be part of such demanding activity. Strength training can be just like this. Running can be just like this. All our core exercise classes, spin classes, and yoga classes can be just like this, too.

What we can learn from dance and dancers is the value of bringing a total-commitment mind-set to all our fitness activities. Of course, there will be days when we don’t completely get our act together. That’s fine. That’s part of what it means to be human. Our level of commitment is what keeps us going. Dancers know this. Deep in their muscles, deep in their bones. We can all learn a great deal from their approach to health and fitness.

1Rinne MB, et al: Is generic physical activity or specific exercise associated with motor abilities? Med Sci Sports Exerc 42(9):1760-1768, 2010
2Cowen VS: Functional fitness improvements after a worksite-based yoga initiative. J Bodyw Mov Ther 14(1):50-54, 2010
3Granacher U, et al: Effects of a Salsa Dance Training on Balance and Strength Performance in Older Adults. Gerontology 2012 Jan 6 [Epub ahead of print]

Posted on behalf of Dr. Kevin Rosenlund, DC, NMD

by Brent C. Johns of Tree Frog Media Design

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Walking as a Lifestyle Choice

Kuna Chiropractic Health and Wellness

Chiropractic Care and Your Exercise Program

Walking as a Lifestyle Choice

Everyone knows he or she “should” be doing regular exercise, but most people have not exercised in so many years that they don’t know where to begin. As a result, people start and stop various training programs and routines. They join gyms, buy workout clothes, spend hard-earned income, and ultimately fail to follow-through because they don’t have a clear idea of how to exercise effectively.

One of the issues relates to the many choices available. You can lift weights, swim, ride a bicycle, run, take Pilates classes, take yoga classes, or play tennis. But the challenge lies in selecting the form of exercise that’s best for you, and then having the specific knowledge to begin training in a way that will be beneficial and not harmful.

It’s actually easy to hurt yourself if you’re returning to exercise after an absence of many years or, for some people, of decades. Doing too much too soon is a typical cause of an exercise-related injury. Doing the wrong type of exercise for your level of preparation is another major cause of these injuries. Getting hurt doing exercise is a real deal-breaker for people who didn’t really want to exercise in the first place. If you haven’t exercised in years, finally work up the motivation to start doing something, and hurt yourself after a few days or weeks of your new program, quitting and never going back becomes a very attractive option.

But exercise is a key factor in maintaining overall health and wellness. If you’re committed to the long-term health and well-being of yourself and your family, regular vigorous exercise is critical. The solution, at least in the initial phases of returning to fitness, is walking for exercise. Walking avoids the vast majority of pitfalls associated with other types of exercise. Walking is low-impact, requires minimal equipment, and no gym memberships are needed. Walking is done outside in fresh air and sunshine, providing many additional benefits beyond those gained by exercise as such.

Walking is excellent exercise,1 and yet it’s important to follow some basic guidelines. Starting slowly is the main consideration. If you haven’t done any vigorous physical activity for months or years, 10 minutes of walking at a modest pace should be sufficient for your first day of walking. Five minutes out and five minutes back. Make 10 minutes your limit even if that amount feels like too little. It’s always better to do a little less exercise than a little too much. Add approximately a minute a day, until you’re doing a 30-minute walk at a modest pace. With this quantity of comfortable walking, you can now begin to increase your pace. Ultimately, 30 minutes of walking at a brisk pace will provide sufficient health benefits for most people, based on the principle of five or six vigorous exercise sessions per week.

The long-term results of such a program are profound.2,3 Consistent vigorous exercise helps to lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, reduce the incidence of stroke, reduce the incidence of diabetes and obesity, and improve outcomes in patients with cancer. Walking for exercise is an efficient, enjoyable, and easy way to enable you and your family to begin obtaining these long-term health benefits.

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vital signs: walking among adults – United States, 2005 and 2010. MMWR Morbid Mortal Wkly Rep 61:595-601, 2012
2Lima LG, et al: Effect of a single session of aerobic walking exercise on arterial pressure in community-living elderly individuals. Hypertens Res 35(4):457-462, 2012
3Subramanian H, et al: Non-pharmacological Interventions in Hypertension: A Community-based Cross-over Randomized Controlled Trial. Indian J Community Med 36(3):191-196, 2011

Posted on behalf of Dr. Kevin Rosenlund, DC, NMD

by Brent C. Johns of Tree Frog Media Design

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