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11115 SE Stark St. Portland OR 97216

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What To Wear To A Chiropractor Appointment

What To Wear To A Chiropractor Appointment

If you’re about to go to your first chiropractic appointment you may be wondering what you should wear. This is completely normal as we often get asked this question when patients schedule visits. This guide will help you ensure that your chiropractic visit is unimpeded by your choice of clothing. The simplest piece of advice is to wear something comfortable. If you’re going for an adjustment, wear loosely fitting clothing that won’t get in your doctor’s way while they adjust you. Your body is going to be moving around, so avoid wearing anything that might give you an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. A t-shirt and shorts or leggings should suffice. Wear Something Comfortable The most important factor is that your movement is not restricted. Your clothing should be flexible and loose. You don’t want to have stiff jeans or a bulky belt stabbing you in the stomach. Loose clothing will help make your chiropractic visit go smoother. We often recommend running shorts, basketball shorts, yoga pants, leggings, and t-shirts or tank tops. Coming Straight From Work? If you’re coming straight from a job that requires you dress nice there are a couple of things you should do. If you’re wearing a suit take your tie off and leave your jacket in your car. You won’t be needing it in your appointment. You might be tempted to make a good impression by dressing your best. Don’t. We want to help you heal and we’re not worried about your appearance. If possible wear something comfortable underneath your formal attire or change before your appointment to avoid being uncomfortable. Leave The Heals At Home If you wear heels we recommend that you bring an extra pair of comfortable shoes to change into before your appointment. High heels can snag on the table and break or cause damage to the table itself. Sneakers or running shoes are the best choices for shoes at your appointment. Avoid Dresses While dresses do conform to our advice of loose fitting comfortable clothes it can be difficult to adjust a patient who’s wearing a dress. In addition to getting your legs tangled in the dress, many fabrics also become wrinkled easily. Dresses and skirts also come with the possibility of wardrobe malfunctions. We want you to feel comfortable and safe and to avoid this, we recommend that you don’t wear dresses or skirts. Avoid Too Many Layers The Northwest is cold and wet. And then all of a sudden it’s warm and sunny. We wear layers in Portland. When you wear layers on the day of your chiropractic appointment make sure you’re able to remove a few of them to avoid having a bunch of bulky sweaters and jackets. Our office is kept at a comfortable temperature which is just a few feet from our parking lot. So you should be fine with just a shirt or two. No Jewelry Please Rings should be fine but necklaces and bracelets can get tangled and cause issues during an adjustment. The last thing you want is to get stabbed or accidentally stab your chiropractor with a sharp piece of metal from your bracelet. We recommend you leave your jewelry at home but if you forget we may ask that you remove it during your appointment. Advice For Men We understand...

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Relax in Moderation: How Sedentary Habits Cause Long Term Damage

Relax in Moderation: How Sedentary Habits Cause Long Term Damage

Treating yourself could be the cause of many of your health problems. Health professionals will often tell you that relaxation is key to improving your mental and physical health. The modern culture of “treating yourself” can create a lifestyle of relaxation. This is also known as a sedentary lifestyle which can be extremely bad for your health. If you’re like most folks you work hard almost every day. Whether or not your work is physical, by the end of the day, you’re exhausted. The typical workday starts by commuting to work in your car or on a bus/train. Then at work chances are you’re sitting for a long period of time followed by a similar commute home. The possibility that you spend most of your workday sitting is actually quite high. On average, Americans sit about 10 hours a day. Sitting In The Workplace The average person works for about 50 years of their life. The time at work adds up to about 13 years. That’s about a sixth of your entire life spent at work. While working is a necessity, there are a number of things you can do around the office to improve your health. The first thing to do is to get yourself a standing desk or a desk that converts from sitting to standing. Standing desks can be instrumental in improving your posture, reducing back pain, and burning more calories. Standing, rather than sitting, can also have positive effects on your blood flow and heart health. In fact the dangers of sitting too much can be very severe. Sitting Is Killing Globally, physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for mortality. The numbers are quite staggering. Over 3 million deaths a year are related to physical inactivity. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. It also negatively affects things like weight gain, mental health, back/neck pain, and muscle degeneration. A new disease has even been named due to the negative effects of sitting. “Sitting Disease” as it’s called often involves metabolic syndrome and obesity. Scientists recommend sitting for no more than 4 hours per day. If you have to sit for prolonged periods of time, it’s recommended that you stand and are active for at least 10 minutes out of every hour. Apps and peripheral devices such as smartwatches can go a long way in helping combat sitting disease. Smartwatches & Fitness Technology Advancements in technology like television and computers are at the root of the increases in sedentary lifestyle habits. Technology is also playing a greater role in the fight against sedentary lifestyle habits. Wearable fitness devices such as Fitbits and Apple Watches come equipped with pedometers that track the number of steps you take per day. This can be a great way to remind you to walk every hour and track how active you are in order to live an active lifestyle. As technology draws us closer to a sedentary lifestyle it’s great to see technology keeping us active. The Streaming Service Revolution Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, oh my! There are now more ways to watch TV and play videogames than ever before. Barriers of entry are low, access is easy, and the quality of programming is better than ever. Relaxing is so easy it’s...

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How Tight Hamstrings Cause Back Pain & Other Problems

How Tight Hamstrings Cause Back Pain & Other Problems

There are a lot of factors that can cause tight hamstrings but one thing is certain. If you develop tight hamstrings you’re likely to develop other issues as well. Lifestyles involving a lot of sitting naturally cause tight hamstrings by keeping your legs at a constant right angle for prolonged periods of time. Other things like overworking, without stretching can cause tight short muscles in your hamstrings resulting in a multitude of other problems. Why are tight hamstrings bad? Tight hamstrings can lead to lower back pain, bad posture, imbalances of muscles, and knee pain. If your hamstrings aren’t flexible enough they will be more susceptible to injury. Once your hammies are tight, other muscle groups will follow resulting in stiff joints and posture problems. For instance, tight hamstrings can lead to tight hip flexors, glutes, and lower back muscles resulting in a posterior pelvic tilt. In addition to tightness, pain, and being prone to injury, tight muscles have reduced performance. Muscles that are tight have reduced blood flow which results in a decrease in capacity of performance. How can you tell if you have tight hamstrings? There are some tests that a chiropractor or physical therapist can perform to identify if you have tight hamstrings. The most well known is the 90/90 test. To complete this test lie on your back with both legs flat. Reach down and clasp your hands behind the thigh of one of your legs. Bring that leg up so that the angle of your hip (back to femur) is at 90 degrees. Then bring your foot up so that the angle of your knee is at 90 degrees. You then attempt to move your foot up so that your leg is in a straight line. The inability to get within 20-30 degrees at your knee implies tight hamstrings. This test is not perfect however and many other factors can contribute to the inability to straighten your leg including scar tissue and past injuries. There is another much simpler test of course. If you can’t touch your toes while keeping your knees locked you probably have tight hamstrings. When performing this kind of stretch it’s important to make sure your stable and safe. We recommend doing it in a seated position. When performing this kind of hamstring stretch take note of where you’re tightest. If your hamstrings feel fine but your lower back is hurting it might not be an issue with your hamstrings. Other signs that you have overly tight hamstrings include low back pain and stiffness, knee pain, and radiating pain in buttocks and back of leg (sciatica pain). The latter could be caused by the sciatica nerve being pinched but is often related to tight hamstrings as well. What causes tight hamstrings Aside from genetic reasons, the most common reasons for tight hamstrings include too much sitting, not enough stretching, and sciatic nerve issues. Sitting for 8 or more hours a day pretty common in modern America. This can cause the muscles of your posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, glutes, low back) to shorten, causing them to tighten. Sitting also results in lower blood flow which has other adverse effects on your muscles. It’s common knowledge that you should stretch after exercise. However, you don’t often think about stretching after sitting. If...

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Best Foods for Good Joint Health

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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