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Best Foods for Good Joint Health

Aside from avoiding damage to your joints your diet is the number one contributor to your joint health. Joint health can be affected positively by nutrients that help repair damage and promote strong, flexible joints. On the flip side, food can also damage your joints by causing inflammation or by depriving your body of much-needed nutrients. A low inflammation diet combined with nutrient-rich foods is the best combination for healthy joints. If you’re looking for meal ideas, which foods are best for joint health, or which vitamins & nutrients contribute most to joint health and lower inflammation, we got you covered. What Should You Eat? Less processed is usually better. Eating whole foods helps you avoid trans fats and other additives that can cause inflammation. Fried foods and charred meat can also negatively contribute to inflammation. There isn’t a single superfood that will cure all your joint pain. Rather, a well-balanced diet filled with food that causes minimal inflammation is the way to go. Anthocyanins Cherries and other rich colored berries contain a flavonoid called Anthocyanins. This flavonoid has several health benefits including reducing inflammation. Some foods that have been found to contain high amounts of anthocyanins include most richly colored berries, acai, kidney beans, pomegranates, red onions, grapes, and tomatoes. Vitamin C Foods that promote collagen growth are key to good joint health. Collagen affects cartilage, tendons, ligaments and the tissue that cushions your joints. Vitamin C assists in the process of making collagen, therefore foods that are high in Vitamin C are great for maintaining good joint health. Red peppers and citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins, and tangerines are a great source of vitamin C. Tomatoes (also a great source of anthocyanins) and pineapples are some great alternatives as well. Calcium Everyone knows that for strong bones you need calcium. One thing we don’t often think of is that joint health is greatly affected by bone health. Many foods that contain calcium also contain Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids which are also great for joint health. Salmon and other naturally oily fish such as trout have a lot of omega-3s which have a positive effect on inflammation. Yogurt and milk are both high in calcium and vitamin D as well. But beware, dairy products can cause inflammation. Milk alternatives such as almond, cashew, or hemp milk are a great option. Many yogurt products add a lot of sugar as well so make sure to read the label. Whole Grains There are going to be times when you’ll have to eat foods that cause inflammation. When eating grains it’s best to avoid refined grains such as flour. Whole grains like oatmeal have been linked to lower levels of inflammation. Quinoa, barley, and brown rice are a few grains that are linked to lower levels of inflammation as well. Curcumin Similar to cinnamon and ginger, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. This comes from the chemical curcumin. You can simply add turmeric (or curry powder) to your recipes or take it as a supplement. Either way, you’re bound to reduce inflammation and improve your joint health. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Oily fish like salmon and trout can have high levels of omega-3s. I don’t know about you but I can’t eat fish every day. The good news is that there...

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Winter Warning: Engage Your Core

Winter Warning: Engage Your Core

Ice and snow are a real possibility in Portland every winter. While it may not be consistent, snow can come out of nowhere and catch us off guard. Combine that with our lack of experience in such conditions and it becomes even more important. Be prepared with a strong core to avoid injury. Whether your shoveling snow or hitting the slopes your core is key to staying healthy. Signs You Need To Strengthen Your Core Weak core muscles can cause back pain, as well as increased risk of injury. The following are some common signs that you have a weak core that’s in need of strengthening. Lower back pain – The first sign of weak core muscles is lower back pain. Low back pain can be caused by other issues such as pre-existing injury, but it’s the first sign of a weak core. Poor posture – If practicing good posture is tiring, chances are you have a weak core. Slouching when you sit isn’t just a habit. If sitting up straight causes your lower back and abdominal muscles to get tired, you probably have a weak core. Bad balance – Most of your balance while standing comes from your feet, hips, and core. Testing your balance could help you identify whether or not strengthening your core should be a priority. If poor posture and lower back pain are both present, bad balance will further indicate your core weakness. General weakness – Muscular weakness is identified when you have to strain for certain movements that shouldn’t require strain. Extreme weakness can be identified if bending over, reaching, or twisting motions cause strain. Moderate weakness can be identified if strain occurs when performing a throwing or kicking motion. If mild exercise leaves your lower back or abdominal muscles feeling sore, chances are you have some moderate muscular weakness. Mild weakness in your core might go unnoticed until you go snowboarding for the first time in the season. If you’re curious about other signs you may have a weak core, there are a lot of great resources online for you to do more research. Passivly Strengthening Your Core Here are a few simple techniques to engage your core and build strength during everyday activities. Much of your day is spent sitting or walking without being conscious of your core muscles. Simply engaging your core while sitting & walking can go a long way in improving your core strength. A little bit goes a long way. This conscious effort can have lasting impacts. Whether you’re walking or sitting while doing this mindful exercise the steps are relatively similar: Focus on your position. If you’re sitting focus on how your glutes are positioned under you, how your hips are positioned, how your back feals, etc. If you’re standing/walking make sure your feet are parallel to each other, focus on balance as you move. Focus on your back and shoulders. Don’t overcompensate bad posture by pulling your shoulders back too far or arching your lower back more than normal. A good queue for good posture is to lift your chest. This will align your shoulders in the correct position and prompt your back to the correct position. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep them tight. If you’re sitting and feel comfortable with some movement, lean...

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Benefits of Foam Rolling

Benefits of Foam Rolling

There are many benefits to using a foam roller. The biggest of them being due to myofascial release. Myofascial release is certainly no secret in the fitness world. In fact, many therapists and masseuses use the basic concept of myofascial release to treat athletes and other patients. What if you could get those same benefits of visiting a therapist or masseuse in your own home? News Flash! You can by using a foam roller. Foam rollers are inexpensive and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores or online. We recommend a good quality high density foam roller to get the most of your experience. Below are a few examples of the many benefits of using a foam roller as part of your overall health routine.   Improved Range of Motion – Looser, better hydrated muscles move past other muscles with less friction. This means that during a physical activity your movements will be smoother and overall muscles are less likely to get damaged or pulled. Use the foam roller as part of your pre-workout warm-up routine to get the most of these benefits. Increased Blood Flow – Foam rolling exercises causes Myofascial release, releasing blood from your muscles and allowing fresh blood to flow in. Blood carries essential nutrients to muscles, especially during physical activities. Decreased Risk of Injury – During myofascial release overall coordination of the body is improved. This means during strenuous activities such as running, or intense physical activity that there is a decreased risk of injury from an improper movement. And if an injury does happen to occur, a foam roller is a great way to keep mobile and decrease healing times. Stay tuned for our next blog post about some of the many exercises you can do with a foam roller that help you reap all of the benefits we just...

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Chiropractic Care for Headaches

Chiropractic Care for Headaches

Nearly 50% of the population suffers from headaches; a majority is burdened with types readily treatable by CHIROPRACTIC CARE. Many of us have had one or more of those “debilitating” headaches in our life. If you have, then you know that it is no fun and you would do almost anything to make it stop. Chiropractic treatment for headaches is often overlooked , but can be a great way to get the relief you have been searching for.   The most common types of headaches include: 1. Tension headaches: most common; described as pressure or tightness, like a band around the head, sometimes spreading into or from the neck. Typically affects both sides. 2. Cervicogenic headaches: pain originating from the upper cervical spine, precipitated by neck movements or prolonged postural positions. Typically affects one-side. 3. Migraines: common or classic types. Migraine is recurrent, often life-long, and characterized by attacks with nausea, vomiting, light/sound sensitivity. 4. Cluster headaches: relatively uncommon, episodic or chronic forms. Brief recurrent attacks but extremely severe headache associated with pain around the eye with tearing and redness. 5. Medication over-use headache: caused by chronic and excessive use of medication to treat headache. Other secondary causes of headaches may be dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, stress or sinusitis. Good News! Your physicians at Starkwood Chiropractic treat all of the most common types of headaches. Specializing in treating the musculoskeletal root of the problem they are able to determine whether muscle tissue, vertebral joints, or nutrition are the culprit. Research continues to show chiropractic adjustments and manual therapies are effective treatment alternatives to medication for tension, cervicogenic, and migraine...

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Chiropractic Care For Knee Pain

Chiropractic Care For Knee Pain

The knee is a complex structure that involves 3 bones, 3 compartments, 2 menisci, 4 ligaments, cartilage, and many muscles and tendons. Balanced and coordinated motion of all of these structures allows the knee to move optimally and pain free. Pain, popping and less than optimal function of the knee can occur when any one of these components is not working properly. This can happen from injury, overly tight muscles, joint degeneration and even from foot, ankle or hip problems that shift the way the knee is used. Knee pain is a common musculoskeletal problem in all types of people. There are many causes of knee dysfunction, most of which are treatable with conservative care such as chiropractic manipulation, myofascial release, and rehabilitation. Some of the common diagnoses associated with knee pain are the following: • IT band syndrome- tightness in a tendinous muscle along the side of the leg that pulls on the knee and causes pain on the outside of the knee. • Meniscus tear- a tear or irritation of the fibrous cushioning between the joints of the knee. • Runner’s knee- pain in the front of the knee from the quads pulling on their attachment. • Arthritis- a narrowing and roughening of the joint space in the knee. • Patello-femoral pain syndrome- a general term used to describe knee pain from various causes. Each of these conditions is complex and can have many different causes. It is important to consult with a specialist familiar with knee conditions to determine the cause of your pain. Chiropractic care may be helpful for many of the causes of knee pain. Causes and Symptoms One of the more common causes of knee pain is sports activity. In cycling, running, or any activity that requires repetitive motion, some of the muscles are worked more than others, which can lead to muscular imbalances and general wear and tear. Each stride you take when running can place up to 550% more force on your knee than just standing, so whether you are running, playing soccer, walking, dancing, or hiking, all that force can wear on the structures of your knee. Old injuries, either minor or major, can commonly cause scar tissue, which can change the way you use your knee, potentially leading to pain and arthritis (degeneration). Another common cause of knee pain is arthritis, essentially degeneration and narrowing of the joint space, which can cause swelling, stiffness and pain. Other problem areas along the kinetic chain can cause knee pain. For example: foot, ankle and hip pain alters the way you use your lower leg and this can lead to knee dysfunction and pain. Increased body weight also causes more pressure on the joints, which on a daily, repetitive basis can lead to pain. Each extra pound of weight on the body adds 4 pounds of stress through the knee. Common symptoms and indicators that you may need to see a chiropractor for knee pain include the following: • Pain • Stiffness • Clicking • Popping • Swelling • Feeling the knee might buckle • Weakness Biomechanical issues With each stride, pedal, squat or plié the alignment of your knee joint and the muscles around it are vitally important for proper pain-free function. Each repetition of these activities reinforces the good body...

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Spinal Health Tips for Auto Mechanics

Spinal Health Tips for Auto Mechanics

If you’re an automotive mechanic, chances are you’re familiar with back pain. All the bending, twisting, and working in compromising positions is incredibly strenuous on the lower back. Luckily, there are myriad ways to protect your back and keep you as pain-free as possible while working. Strengthen your core One of the most overlooked aspects of back health is having a strong core. This means abdominal exercises. Aim to start slowly—many ab exercises require a solid foundation before they should be attempted. Standard crunches and in-and-outs are excellent places to begin. Crunches – Begin with your back flat on the floor. You legs should be bent and your feet should together or roughly hip-width apart. Cross your arms in front of your chest with your fingertips resting on either side of your collarbone (you can also place your hands behind your head with your fingertips by your ears, and this can make crunches more challenging). Focus on contracting your abdominal muscles as you sit up until your elbows touch your knees or until your shoulder blades are clearly off the floor, and then gently lower back down. Pattern your breathing so you are exhaling as you sit up and inhaling while you lie back down. In-and-Outs – Start in a seated position as if you were at the top of a crunch. You may place your hands behind you for stability. In a controlled motion, extend your legs out straight in front of you while you lean back slightly, and then bring your knees back to your chest. Pattern your breathing so you are exhaling as your extend your legs and inhaling as you bring them back towards you. Stretch Lower back pain is often caused by overuse and tightness. While there are many stretches designed to help the different levels of the spine, but cat/camel and the gluteal stretch are excellent for the lumbar spine, specifically. Cat/Camel – Begin on your hands and knees. Your knees should be in line with your hips and your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Begin by inhaling while you look forward, keeping your neck long, and arching your back to lower your belly towards the floor. As you exhale, arch your back upwards and turn your head inwards to look at your belly button. Repeat this slow, rhythmic breathing 3-5 times, then return to neutral spine for a few breaths. Then switch your breathing so that you are inhaling while you arch your spine upwards and look towards your stomach, and exhaling while you look forwards and ease your belly towards the floor. Gluteal Stretch – Begin by lying on your back as though you were about to begin crunches. Cross your right leg over your left so that your ankle or calf muscle is resting on your left thigh. Reach your right hand through the gap in your legs and your left hand around the outside, grabbing around the front of your knee. Grabbing behind the knee can cause hyperextension, so be sure to reach all the way around if possible. Pull your knee towards your chest until you feel the stretch. Breathe here 5-10 times, easing deeper into the stretch on each exhale, and then switch sides and repeat. Don’t Fear the Foam Roller The foam roller...

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Tips to Avoid and Treat Whiplash

Tips to Avoid and Treat Whiplash

Whiplash is a common injury following automobile accidents. Notable symptoms include neck pain, headaches, tightness, and decreased range of motion.     An Ounce of Prevention It is always easier to avoid a car crash than recuperate from one. Stay focused on the road and get rid of distractions so that you are driving safely. Starve – Not really. Just don’t eat while you’re driving. If you’re on a long trip, it is safest to eat inside a restaurant stop or after pulling over to the side of the road. Do Not Disturb – If you can’t hear or see the text message you just received, you’re 100% less likely to check it, which is a 100% chance to bring the 2300% increased crash risk down to 0%. Silence that phone. Better yet, put it in the backseat out of reach so you can’t give into temptation. Don’t Be a Lousy Copilot – There’s an old warsong my grandfather used to sing that begins with, “I’m a lousy copilot, I sit on the right.” Don’t just sit on the right. Help your driver stay focused and all “whiplash” will be to you is a great song by Metallica. A Pound of Cure I understand, sometimes crashes happen that aren’t your fault—you can blame the people who didn’t listen to my tips. Fortunately, whiplash is simple enough to treat. Cool Off – Icing your neck for 15 minutes, 2-3 times a day, 3-4 hours apart will alleviate pain, swelling, and your air conditioning bill in the upcoming summer days. Be Supportive of Yourself – Neck braces or collars won’t have any effects on self-esteem, but they’ll keep your neck in place so you can’t injure it further. Only use one if your doctor recommends it, though, as using it for too long can actually weaken your neck muscles. Everyone’s Least-Favorite Word – Apply moist heat, like with a warm moist towel or by taking a warm bath, if the swelling has gone after 2-3 days. Don’t apply heat, even moist heat, to muscles that are still swollen. Get a Massage – Hey! Starkwood Chiropractic does those. Give us a call...

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Pet Chiropractors – It’s a “Thing”

Pet Chiropractors – It’s a “Thing”

We all want what’s best for our pets. We buy them the most nutritious food, the coolest toys, and sometimes we treat them even better than our children. So why not give them the best healthcare possible? In today’s pet-crazy world, caring for your pet entails far more than simply feeding them and providing shelter. Like us, our pets have complex bodies, so keeping those bodies healthy and working properly is a complicated task. Enter chiropractic treatment for pets – the latest and greatest in animal healthcare. What is chiropractic treatment, and how does it apply to your pets? Chiropractic treatment is a form of alternative medicine that is primarily concerned with treating the body’s neuromuscular skeletal system. Chiropractors tend to specialize in treating the spine and lower back pain, believing that issues with either can affect your body’s general well-being through your nervous system. Like us, animals have spines (well, except invertebrates and sea anemones). And when something goes wrong with the spine, it can drag down your pet’s entire quality of existence. Even the most happy-go-lucky dog loses a step when it’s in constant back pain. Every animal chiropractor’s goal is to help restore function and mobility to your animal’s afflicted vertebra by restoring neurological transmissions. Chiropractic treatment can help with many animal ailments, including: · Back Trauma · Arthritis · Muscle Spasms · Nerve Problems · Bowel and Bladder Disorders · Post-Surgical Recovery Chiropractic treatment isn’t just for those animals who are suffering from an injury or pain. It can also be used as a preventive tool, or as a means to keep competitive animals – like race horses – in the best shape possible. So who are these animal chiropractors? Animal chiropractors are certified through either the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) or the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA). They are not meant to be substitutions for your general care veterinarian. Instead, they augment the treatment and specialize in areas that other veterinarians do not. Chiropractic treatment began cropping up as a branch of animal care in the 1990s, and has been steadily growing in influence, number of practitioners, and amount of patients ever since. If you have any further questions about chiropractic treatments, or you would like to schedule a visit, please give us a call today at Starkwood Chiropractic! (503)...

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Desk Job Back Pain – 6 Stretches That Help

So you’ve finally landed that new gig – the one in the fancy air-conditioned office generic cubicle with poor air circulation, overlooking a vast city skyline an ever-amassing pile of post-its. Your first day nearly causes you a heart-attack goes swimmingly, but afterwards as you recline at home you begin to feel some unfamiliar aches and pains. You have two options at this point. You could ask Human Resources to drop a cool half-thousand on an ergonomic desk chair and listen to them laugh in your face be told a polite “no,” or you could do the following stretches to stay loose, limber, and pain-free at at work and at the end of the day.   Forward arm stretch – Interlock your fingers and press your palms away from your body, and hold for 10-20 seconds. Overhead arm stretch – The same as the forward arm stretch, but this time press your palms straight into the air. Hold for 10-20 seconds, easing your arms backwards as you keep them straight. Cross-body arm stretch – Reach one arm straight across your chest so that the inside of that elbow is close to your collarbone. Hug that arm with your other arm and breathe slowly, gently pulling that arm a little further with each exhale. Repeat 3-5 times and then switch arms. Chair twists – Using either your chair’s arms or back as support, cross your right leg over your left leg and slowly turn to your right. Focus on keeping your back upright and straight and take 3-5 deep breaths, holding the stretch as you inhale and turning a little further each time you exhale. Do this for directions. Standing side lean – Stand with your feet either together or shoulder-width apart, whichever is more comfortable. Inhale slowly as you raise both arms straight above your head, and the lower one arm as you exhale, and lean to that side. Keep your other arm straight as you lean, and feel the stretch from shoulder blade down to your hips. Breathe deeply there 3-5 times and switch sides. Chicken wing – Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Reach both hands behind your back and grab your left wrist with your right hand. Slowly pull your left arm across until your right elbow is bent slightly. Lean your head towards your right shoulder and take 3-5 slow, deep breaths, and let your left arm relax deeper into the stretch with each exhale. Switch sides and repeat. For even more tips and tricks on how to stay pain-free and healthy, please contact Starkwood Chiropractic at (503)...

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8 Exercises for Contractors to Stay Healthy & Avoid Injury

In a world where most industries are dominated by desk jobs and where people find their extra pay by driving, it is easy to focus on fitness solutions for the problems that plague those sedentary lifestyles. It is equally easy to take for granted the contractors and workers who construct those offices in which those workers live those sedentary lives, and easy to overlook the much more varied and complex physiological challenges those contractors face. From head to toe, manual workers face myriad opportunities for injuries and chronic pain. Fortunately, there are myriad stretches and exercises to prevent those problems. Below are just a few that will help protect the most important areas.   Neck and Shoulder Tension Relief Neck rolls – Relax your shoulders and lean your head towards your right shoulder like your trapezius is trying to whisper something to your ear. Without tensing, reach your arms downward to elongate the stretch. After 2-3 deep breaths, roll your chin smoothly to your chest and across to your other shoulder. Repeat for a total of 6-8 repetitions (3-4 stretches to each side). Shoulder rolls – Shrug your shoulders in a circular motion from front to back. Keep your neck relaxed as much as possible. Repeat for 6-8, and then switch sides.   Chest and Back Tension Relief Cross-body reach – Hold your right arm straight across your chest so that the inside of that elbow is close to your collarbone. Hug your right arm with your left arm and breathe slowly, gently pulling that arm a little further during each exhale. Repeat 3-5 times and then switch arms. Behind-the-neck reach – Reach both arms up, and bend one elbow to reach that hand to between your shoulder blades. Use your other hand to gently pull the elbow inwards to deepen the stretch. Hold for 3-5 breaths, deepening the stretch with each exhale. Chest/back stretch – Interlink your hands in front of you and round your back to stretch your shoulder blades. Hold this stretch for 3-5 deep breaths. Then interlink your hands behind your back. Pull down and away for 3-5 breaths to stretch your chest. Repeat each side.   Leg Tension Relief Straight leg forward bend – Stand with your feet either together or hip-width apart, whichever is more comfortable. Bend forward at the waist and reach your hands to your shins or as low as is comfortable towards the floor. Take 3-5 deep breaths here, easing your hands further down with each exhale. Wide-leg forward bend – Stand with your feet one leg’s length apart and bend forward at the waist. Cross your arms and bend as low as you comfortably can towards the floor. Take 3-5 breaths here, easing deeper into the stretch with each exhale. You can also relax your lower back here and rock gently from side to side as you stretch. Runner stretch – Stay in your wide-leg forward bend and turn towards your right leg. Frame your right foot with both your hands and stretch in that forward lunge. Take 3-5 slow breaths there, easing into the stretch with each exhale. Straighten your right leg, using your arms for balance if you need, and lift your toes off the floor to stretch from your hamstring down to your calf muscle. Take...

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