Joshua Spine and Health Center

Keep On Running

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The most important thing I’ve learned in my chiropractic practice when taking care of running athletes is that when injured, a serious runner doesn’t want to stop even after their body forces them to put their running on the shelf. My professional advice to all running athletes is to set the time aside to take care of the body, legs, and feet with an injury prevention program and smart training techniques before injury occurs.

Avoid chronic overuse problems that develop over time from poor running mechanics, worn-out or improper footwear, inconsistent preventative measures such as stretching, warming up, corrective exercise, massage, and chiropractic. Incorporating all of these into your injury prevention program can be helpful to make you a healthy and capable runner.

Here are the 3 most common overuse injuries that I see in my office.

1. Plantar Fasciitis or Heel Spurs

    Causes:

  • Excessive training
  • Poor shoe selection
  • Excessive shoe mileage
  • Heel strike or overstriding
  • Flat feet with no arch supports

     Treatment and Prevention:

  • Correcting Running Posture
  • Correction of any abnormal pelvic tilt with Chiropractic
  • Fixing muscle imbalances through corrective exercise
  • Diligent and consistent stretching, foam rolling, Chiropractic Care, and Massage Therapy
  • Myofascial Release Technique or Active Release Technique
  • Mid-foot strike running gait pattern
  • Tall relaxed posture while running
  • Arch supports or Orthotics

2. Leg Pain or IT Band Syndrome

     Causes:

  • Poor running posture, heel strike, and excessive bending at the waist
  • Inward drawn knees (Genu Valgum) or knocked knee running
  • Fallen foot arches
  • Foot pronation
  • Unaddressed pelvic issues

      Treatment and Prevention:

  • Correction of any joint misalignment occurring in the lower back, pelvis, knees, ankles or feet with Chiropractic
  • Massage, Myofascial Release Technique, and Active Release Technique
  • Stretching and foam rolling
  • Corrective exercise
  • Arch supports or Orthotics

3. Runner’s Knee or Patellar Tendinitis

      Causes: 

  • Poor running mechanics such as over-striding and heel strike
  • Poor shoe selection
  • Flat feet with no arch support
  • Weak quads and hip flexors
  • Tight hamstrings and calves

      Treatment and Prevention:

  • Rest
  • Ice to reduce inflammation
  • Cryotherapy
  • Address mechanical issues and running gait problems with corrective exercise and stretching
  • Address muscle weakness and stretch the tight muscles

The very best tip I can tell the runner’s out there is to get properly assessed by a healthcare professional and set the time aside to maintain your body before injury occurs because running is a very demanding sport or form of exercise. If your car needs it’s oil changed and tires rotated every 3000 to 5000 miles, what will your body require to keep going? Take care of your body because you only get one.

 

Keep on Running,

Dr. Joseph J. Thomas

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

 

 

 

 

 

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Health Community: Supporting Natural Immune Function

Healthier Families

Healthier Families

With the recent reports of measles state by state across the United States a question comes to my mind. No, I’m not going to ask if everyone in your family has gotten or is going get their measles vaccine. My question is, what are you doing to support you and your family’s natural immunity?

Recently, whether to vaccinate or not has be a controversial topic with the measles outbreaks at Disneyland and more recently across several states including my own state of Texas. Even politicians that once spoke out against vaccines and their adverse reactions are eating their words and are seen on national television receiving, the once again ineffective, flu vaccine to make the main stream media educated masses happy. Maybe it’s not about losing voters but maybe it’s losing the big pharmaceutical company’s campaign money that they’re worried about losing.  Pharmaceutical companies are some of the richest companies in the world with 70% of the U.S. population taking some kind of prescription drug and spending loads of money in Washington with all their lobbyists. After all, how educated is the average voter on the pros and cons of immunizations anyway? More than half the people that come in my office on their first visit don’t even know what prescription drugs they’re taking and why. So, I’m sure the average voter isn’t researching the dangers or effectiveness of vaccines at the library but they are probably seeing a nightly 30 second report on the evening news scaring them that we’re all going to get measles and die. I’m not writing this blog to tell you whether or not to vaccinate your children. I’m writing to help you find natural ways to support your body’s inborn natural immunity. I do encourage one and all to do the research before making the crucial decision of whether to receive vaccinations or not. Don’t let the media scare you but find out for yourself and make the best decision you can for your family. There will be some references at the bottom to help you start your search.

Before we go on, it’s important to know that our body has it’s own GOD given inborn innate ability to heal itself and defend itself from disease and illness. This “innate intelligence” is the same inborn ability that tells your body to carry functions such as cell division, all the way to digestion of what you ate for dinner. Your body’s ability to function is why some people get sick while others stay healthy even when exposed to the same germs or viruses. You see, when your body functions at it’s fullest potential it has the ability to stay in a state of good health. So, when your body functions at 100% your body stays 100% healthy. This is a fact and stated in the definition of what health is by the World Health Organization. So again,

100% FUNCTION = 100% HEALTH

Here’s question number one for you. How can we support our body’s natural immunity so we don’t get sick? Support proper FUNCTION! Now, let’s think deeper. How can we support the proper function of our bodies? If you’re not sure, then think even further. What controls all functions in your body? THE BRAIN and Nervous System! Our brain controls every single organ, tissue, and cell in our bodies and how they all function. Without the vital energy that our brain sends in the form of mental impulses down the spinal cord and through the nerves to our organs, tissues, and cells our body will cease to be healthy due to their own dysfunction. Knowing this law about our body, we can now answer the question of how to support our natural immunity.

Here’s 5 things you can do to support your natural immunity against illness and disease.

  1. Support the Brain/Body Connection with Chiropractic Care. Chiropractors correct misalignment in the spine called subluxations that put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves blocking mental impulses from the brain to the organs, tissues, and cells of the body. (A subluxation is like a kink in a hose that would block the water to your garden killing your plants). When your spine is subluxation free your brain is connected to your body thus allowing the mental impulses to travel freely supporting proper function of the organs, tissues, and cells of the body.
  2. Proper Nutrition. Getting the right amount of nutrients for your body we build a strong immune system. This includes the protein to regenerate and build tissues, carbohydrates to fuel your muscles and organs, fats to support cell membranes and brain health as well as vitamins and minerals. Try to get the most natural and organic foods possible. Organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed beef, wild caught fish, healthy fats like coconut oil and organic virgin olive oil are some examples. Locally grown foods are always better choices. Avoid processed foods!
  3. Drink more WATER! The most abundant nutrient in our bodies and on our planet has never been harder for us to get. First, drink enough to provide your body with the necessary amount it needs to thrive and not just survive.  Avoid caffeine, soft drinks, and alcohol that can dehydrate your body. Make sure your water isn’t contaminated with unhealthy toxins, pollutants, and additives.  Sometimes even filtered water isn’t filtered enough to remove all the toxins that can reduce our health. I will be writing more on water in the future so keep following our blog to get more info on our water in the future.  Alkaline Water is great to support a balanced pH in the body.
  4. Sleep: Rest for Recovery. Most of us aren’t getting nearly enough of the sleep we require. Recent studies say that we need 8-10 hours of sleep per night. If you’re not getting at least 8 hours your body isn’t going to recover from the craziness that our busy days have become in recent years.  Proper pillows, a firm mattress, a cool, dark room with no electronic disturbances is best.  Get rid of the digital alarm clock and replace it with an old wind-up clock. Get out of the habit of sleeping with the television on.  Either get your T.V. out of the bedroom or set the sleep timer to get the REM sleep that your body needs.
  5. Free your mind. Bad thoughts are a major factor in your health. These include negative thoughts, depression, anxiety and worrying about things that are out of our control. Try yoga, exercising, breathing techniques, or get a constructive hobby.  Use meditation techniques in the mornings or before bed. Set some time aside to read the Bible and get spiritually connected with your mind, body, and soul.

 

Thank you for reading my professional opinions on health. I hoped you enjoyed my thoughts and learned a little bit to think about what you do to and put in your body. For more information about the pros and cons of vaccines visit NVIC.org

Professionally and Responsibly Yours,

Joseph Thomas, D.C., C.C.S.P.

 

Joshua Spine and Health Center: Because healthier is happier.

Joshua Spine and Health Center: Because healthier is happier.

Proper Hydration and Healthier Discs

Are you drinking enough water to properly hydrate the intervertebral discs in you spinal column? Okay, maybe you’re getting your recommended  6-8 glasses of water a day but can I ask you this question. Is that enough water to replenish the water you lose in your intervertebral discs on a daily basis? This may not be enough.

Our adult bodies are 60% water at best and an infant’s body is approximately 78%. Water is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell and has many important properties. Water acts as the body’s first building material, it regulates our internal body temperature, helps metabolize our foods, is an important component for our blood, helps deliver oxygen throughout our body, and helps flush waste from our body. Water also acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord and helps lubricate all our joints.
CLEAR2GO SPLASH WOMAN ILLUSTRATION_small

At my chiropractic office in Joshua, Texas I commonly see patients with disc injuries and herniations. The intervertebral disc is a fibrous pad between the vertebrae in our spines. Intervertebral discs have an outer annulus that is made of of rings of collagen fibers and a liquid gel-like central nucleus that acts like a ball bearing allowing for better movement of the spine. The disc separates the vertebrae and allows our body a greater range of motion and also acts to absorb a small amount of mechanical stress on the spine. Our discs require water such as every cell in the body does and when our bodies are dehydrated so are our discs. Being dehydrated is not good for the health of our discs and can lead to injury when stresses are applied to our spinal column. A disc that is poorly hydrated has a much greater risk for injury than one that is adequately hydrated. Staying properly hydrated can help avoid injury to the intervertebral disc. Below are some things you should know about your intervertebral discs, risks of injury, and how to stay hydrated.

716_Intervertebral_Disk

THINGS TO KNOW: DISC HYDRATION

  • During the day our discs lose water due to stress and the weight of gravity
  • At night while lying asleep gives disc the chance to reabsorb water (We are taller in the mornings and shorter as the day goes by due to compression on the spine and discs causing them to lose water)
  • As we age our discs lose their ability to absorb as much water
  • Avoid sodas, teas, coffee, and alcohol that can dehydrate your body
  • Avoid nicotine and other diuretics that can dehydrate your body
  • Drink more water, double the amount recommended during the hot summer days in Texas heat
  • Athletes playing summer sports or subjected to heat should drink water before, during, and after competition and practice

Written by Joseph J. Thomas, D.C., CCSP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smart Travel Tips For Your Summer Vacation

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Summertime is here! School is finally out and many families are getting ready to take their summer vacations. Vacations are meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating escapes from the stresses of every day life. However, sometime vacations can turn out to be even more stressful and exhausting than the rat race we run in our cumbersome stress filled lives. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” While if you’ve ever caught yourself saying these words I’m here to help you avoid coming home from your summer vacation feeling exhausted and cheated. Here’s a few tips you can use to make the most out of your next vacation.

TRAVEL TIPS:

  1.  Proper Planning – Make yourself a checklist of what you need to pack to avoid forgetting important travel necessities. Make sure you have the proper directions if you’re visiting somewhere new. You may also may want to make a list of activities to allow for a smooth running vacation schedule. Don’t forget to make time for a little R&R (rest & relaxation). Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
  2. Use Proper Packing & Lifting Techniques – Don’t overload your bags heavier than you can carry without straining yourself. If you carry a backpack it should not be heavier than 20% of your body weight. Both straps on a backpack should be used when carrying it to avoid an uneven load that’s pressure can cause your spinal column to misalign. Make sure heavier luggage is equipped with wheels and a extractable handle to avoid awkward lifting. WHen loading your vehicle lift with legs and keep your back flat while holding your bags closer to your body. Try not to overextend, lean, or reach excessively because doing this puts your back and joints in unfavorable weakened positions. When storing bags overhead you should lift carefully and make sure the object is not heavier than 20 pounds or what you can handle comfortably. Ask for help with heavier luggage.
  3. Take Pitstops – The human body wasn’t made to be seated in a cramped car seat for hours upon hours. Making a few quick stops along the way is a great idea to stretch out and get the blood flowing again. Poor sitting posture in a car or airplane is hard on your pelvis, spine, nerves, and bad for circulation as well. If you’re flying get up every 30 minutes to stretch. Take a rest from the busy highways to give your nerves a break from stressful traffic. If the stress from other travelers speeding by is making you drive “white knuckled” then its definitely time to take a break from the roads. Driving breaks can vary from every 2 hours or less depending whether or not you already suffer from pre-existing back or spinal conditions. Besides, what’s the rush? You’re on vacation right?
  4. Stretch! – If you happen to be sitting in first class then you can skip this section. Back in coach with the rest of us the seats and isles are cramped! At 6’4″ I’m already feeling it as I duck and take my first step while boarding. Get up on a regular basis to stretch throughout the flight every 30 minutes. If you’re in my height bracket try to ask for an isle seat or to sit in the emergency exit row for more leg room. If you’re driving to your destination than stretch at every stop.
  5. Use Supports and Cushions – Most seats do not have enough support to maintain the proper alignment and curves of the spine while traveling resulting in fatigue and poor posture. Purchase a lumbar support cushion to maintain the curve in your lumbar spine and take pressure off of the intervertebral discs. U-shaped cervical pillows are a great way to support your neck form injury while sleeping on a flight. I suggest buying a higher quality cushion or support form Core Products that will last you for years. If you use a special cervical pillow for sleeping at home then take it along with you to prevent a stiff neck or worse. Hotels typically don’t have the same special pillows that people with neck issues require,
  6. Pre-Cautions for Pre-Existing Back and Neck Problems – If you’re already experiencing low back or neck discomfort, a muscle strain, or other injury you can pack a small cooler with reusable ice packs. Ice can be used for 20 minutes every 2 hours to reduce inflammation. If your pain is more serious you should consult with a health care professional and try to reschedule your trip for a different time. I hope some of there tips come in handy for your next trip.

 

Safe Travels and Happy Trails,

Dr. Joseph J. Thomas

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Controlling Inflammation with Supplementation

Inflammation within our bodies is a natural healing response that occurs to help our bodies heal from injury, exercise, infection, harmful chemicals, processed foods, and internal stressors such as emotional and mental stressors that can damage our body’s tissues and cells. Inflammation is the necessary protective response the body must undergo to facilitate the healing process. However, if inflammation becomes chronic and long lasting it can damage the body’s tissues causing the body to go into a state of distress and dis-ease. Chronic and frequent inflammation has been linked with many health conditions from Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Cardiovascular Disease, Allergies, Asthma, Celiac’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, multiple skin conditions, gingivitis, and even Cancer.

As you can see, it important to keep inflammation levels normal within the body in order to avoid chronic sickness and ill health. Controlling inflammation levels can be accomplished in a multitude of ways. In my chiropractic office, the first thing we do to reduce acute inflammation is apply ice to the inflamed and injured area. Secondly, in more severe cases I will recommend chronic inflammation sufferers to avoid any dairy and grain products. Dairy products contain proteins that are difficult for the body to breakdown causing inflammation in the intestines and joints. Grain products contain a protein known as gluten that causes severe inflammation in the gut thus irritating the intestinal tract. Proper nutrition plays a key role in how your body functions under stress and how it can balance out inflammation levels. Unfortunately, the “Modern American Diet” puts us all at risk because it is full of processed foods that causes high amounts of inflammation in the body. To find out more ways to keep your body in balance I highly recommend to visit http://www.deflame.com and to read all of Dr. David Seaman’s articles to learn more about eating healthier to avoid foods that can cause chronic inflammation in the body. Lastly, if needed I will suggest a natural herbal anti-inflammtory option for patients to use in order to avoid harmful stomach irritations that over-the-counter pharmaceutical anti-flammatory drugs produce. Herbal and other natural supplementation is almost always necessary in cases of chronic inflammation of joints and tissues. There are many supplements out there that can help reduce inflammation in the body as well as making changes to your diet. Listed below are some of my favorite natural supplements that I recommend to patients in my office.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids  – “Nature’s Natural Anti-Inflammatory” plays an important role in regulating inflammation response in our bodies. Our modern day diet of processed foods, sugars, and grains throws off the proper ratio between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Fatty Acids. An excessive amount of Omega-6 Fatty Acids in our diet can cause inflammation levels to be high in the body. Supplement with Omega-3 Fatty Acids in order to keep a more ideal ratio between the them and keep inflammation levels normal in your body. Food sources are salmon, wild game, grass fed meat, fresh and wild caught fish, and flax seed. Krill Oil is also a good source of Omega-3’s and has currently gained popularity as of late. I strictly stick with fish oils from Nordic Naturals or Standard Process of Texas because of the quality assurance of these two company’s supplements (Both companies test their fish oils for mercury). If a patient has Gout and cannot do fish oils I often recommend adding flax seed oil to their regime.
  • Turmeric (Curcumin) – The spice known as “Curry” in it’s concentrated from plays an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body. Studies have shown the societies that use the spice curry in their diets have less arthritis as a whole. Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant that is 5 to 8 times stronger than Vitamin E and it’s even stronger than Vitamin C too! A super supplement that has helped myself as well as many of my patients that I often recommend is Turmero-Active from Apex Energetics.
  • White Willow Bark (Salix Alba) – “Nature’s Natural Aspirin” has been used since the Ancient Greeks to reduce aches, pains, and fevers. It has all the benefits of aspirin but none of the side effects! Use this herb if you have a headache but don’t forget to get your chiropractic adjustment too!
  • Bromelain – Typically extracted from pineapples this supplement has been used to reduce swelling , bruising, and inflammation. It is capable of breaking down the proteins that cause inflammation. It is even used as a meat tenderizer in grocery stores because of this property. Use it to help your body to break down the proteins that produce inflammation. Who doesn’t love a little pineapple at breakfast?
  • Boswellia (Boswellia serreta) – Is yet another herbal option used for arthritis, inflammation and it has even been said to have some anti-cancer properties.
  • Vitamin D – Not actually a vitamin at all, Vitamin D is a hormone! It’s a super hormone that has many important jobs in our body. Our body is capable of making “Hormone D” by absorbing sunlight. Unfortunately, most of us are stuck indoors for 40 hour work weeks and locked inside during the winter months. Vitamin D supplementation is an absolute must for everyone. It promotes proper immune function, tissue regeneration, brain function, bone support, and helps fight depression. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and MS. We use vitamin D3 Gummies by Nordic Naturals for kids at our office because the important role Vitamin D plays in optimal development. Other Vitamin D products we like are Liquid Ultra-D form ApeX Energetics and Vitamin D from Garden of Life as well.

At our office in Joshua just south of Burleson, Texas we carry whole food nutritional supplements by Standard Process of Texas, Apex Energetics, Garden of Life, and Nordic Naturals because of their superior quality control. Please consult with a health care professional before using any of the above suggested nutritional supplements. Some of the above herbal/nutritional supplements may react adversely with medications and other health related conditions.

Written by Dr. Joseph J. Thomas (Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner by the ACBSP)

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Posture = Good Health

 

Leaning Tower

The month of May is “Posture Awareness Month”.  At Joshua Spine and Health Center our staff is challenging our patients to improve their posture and encourage their families and friends to improve their posture too. Do you have good posture? When you look at a person with slouched shoulders, head tilted towards the ground, and a rounded back, do you think they appear healthy? I don’t. When I see a person with poor posture I see a lack of muscular strength, weak structure, low energy – a defeated person with poor health. When you see a person with good posture what do you think of them? When I see a person with good upright posture I picture them as confident, youthful, full of energy, and healthy.

As you can imagine, not many people start off coming into our office with good posture. As a chiropractor it’s one of my first duties to improve this problem as it has many detrimental effects on a person’s overall health.  Poor posture can result in more than just back and neck pain. As a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner I know the importance of balance and symmetry for the body to function at it’s fullest potential.  Poor posture can be even more serious than you think as it progresses.  It can lead to severe problems such as headaches, breathing problems due to the compression of the lungs, mood problems, depression, blood pressure problems, degenerative joint or disc disease, and it can even cause problems with the body’s hormone production.

How can you tell if you have poor posture? Remember that your body is symmetrical from side to side. If a line is drawn down your center, everything on the right should match everything on the left.  Signs of structural and postural problems will be seen in uneven shoulders, uneven pelvic bones, inward pointing or uneven knees, or feet that show inward or outward pressure instead of an even stance.  When assessing posture from the side view of a person, you should be able to drop a line straight down from your ear that should pass through your shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. If any one of these structures is offline than you have structural issues that should be assessed by a healthcare professional. For example, forward head posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal weight to the spine. It can then lead to neck and upper back pain, headaches, arm and hand tingling and weakness, and sometimes carpal tunnel syndrome-like symptoms.

During Posture Awareness Month we are asking our Joshua Spine and Health Center friends to check the posture of their family members at home by using our postural grading chart. Be aware that poor posture leads to poor function and then poor health. If you should find a problem in a family member or yourself you should be scheduled for a complete postural and spinal evaluation. Here are some helpful tips to promote good posture:

  • Keep your shoulders in line with your ears and chest up at all times including sitting in front of your computer, couch, or in your car driving
  • Make sure your workspace is set up properly to prevent any forward head tilt down or excessive reaching
  • Do NOT sit on a wallet, sit on your leg, or cross your legs at the knees (crossing your legs at the ankles is permitted)
  • Do NOT spend hours looking down at your cell phone texting or reading your kindle (Hold your device up higher and maintain a chin that is level)
  • See your Chiropractor for preventive or wellness care adjustments to maintain proper spinal and pelvic alignment

If good posture feels bad and bad posture feels good, then you definitely have a problem and should seek out a qualified health care professional’s help.

Thank you,

Joseph J. Thomas, DC, CCSP

Joshua Spine and Health Center

 

 

New Frontiers: Texas, Sports Chiropractic, and Family

Dr. Joe, Jess, Bella (boxer). & Howie (dachshund)

Dr. Joe, Jess, Bella (boxer). & Howie (dachshund)

My name is Dr. Joseph Thomas and I am the chiropractor and owner of Joshua Spine and Health Center, PC.  My wife and I moved to Texas at the end of 2013 to start a new adventure by purchasing a chiropractic office in the town of Joshua.  For the past 11 years I worked in group practice in central Pennsylvania and felt it was long overdue to spread my wings and expand my horizons in my own practice. While in Pennsylvania I completed my Sports Chiropractic training and became a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner or CCSP for short. In order to fully utilize my expanded education I decided it was time to have a clinic of my own in a place with a great enthusiasm for sports and family life. After a long search of exploring different regions of the country, we decided that Texas was the right place for us.

Owning and operating a chiropractic clinic focused on family wellness and sports in the state of Texas was a perfect fit for us. We could raise our future family, grow a practice, and help people in need in an place that was focused on community togetherness through youth sports, family values, and a foundation of sound beliefs.

We are happy to be in Johnson County and look forward to sharing more about health, chiropractic, and ourselves with our healthy-living bloggers and family of patients.

Thank you for reading,

Dr. Joseph Thomas

Board Certified Sports Chiropractic Practitioner by the ACBSP

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support