Four Reasons to Strengthen Your Core

Did you know core strength plays a crucial role in spinal health?

Your core muscles — found in your abdomen, back and pelvis — act as a stabilizing force for your spine, helping support proper posture and alignment. Benefits of having a strong core include:

  • Improved balance
  • Spinal support
  • Injury prevention
  • Enhanced performance

Try incorporating core-strengthening exercises like the curl-up, side plank and bird dog into your fitness routine. (Check out our instagram reel, “McGill’s Big 3 Exercises For Core Stability” for step-by-step directions on how to do these moves.) Your spine will thank you!

Experiencing back pain? Contact us for an appointment today. We’d love to help get you on the road to better health.

Five Ways Prolonged Sitting Impacts Your Health

Any extended sitting — at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a screen — can be harmful.

Research has linked sitting for prolonged periods with increased body fat, high blood pressure and musculoskeletal issues like low back pain. Too much sitting can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

While it may not be possible to get up all the time, it’s important to prioritize movement when you can. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting. Or, find ways to walk while you work. Here are some ideas:

  • Take a break from sitting every 30 mins.
  • Stand while talking on the phone.
  • If you work at a desk, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
  • Walk with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in a conference room.

Struggling with back pain, hip pain or other issues? Check out our instagram reel, “McGill’s Big 3 Exercises For Core Stability,” , or reach out for an appointment today.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Weightlifters and Crossfitters

Chiropractic care offers several benefits for people of all ages and walks of life, but athletes and weightlifters are among the groups that can benefit the most. If you’re a weightlifter or Crossfitter, read on to learn how it can help you.

Improves posture and performance

Weightlifting puts a lot of stress on the joints as well as the upper and lower back. This stress can increase the risk of misalignment and impact your performance. If your spine or other joints are misaligned, your body will distribute weight unevenly. When you’re lifting, this can cause one side of the body to bear more of the weight than the other side, which can lead to uneven gains.

Chiropractic adjustments help restore natural balance by ensuring the body is properly aligned. Adjustments also help restore proper function to the nervous system, which in turn helps regulate muscle function and promote recovery.

Prevents injuries

Weightlifters and Crossfitters expose themselves to a variety of injuries, including sprains, strains and pinched nerves that can affect the upper and lower back as well as the shoulders, hips and knees. With regular chiropractic adjustments, you can ensure your body has the proper mechanical balance, which in turn helps increase range of motion and optimize performance.

As a board-certified chiropractor and former personal trainer and collegiate athlete, Nate Wiechmann, D.C., understands the physical demands that are required to live an active lifestyle. He can recommend specific exercises that you can use to increase range of motion, build strength and prevent future injuries. (We also have a squat rack in our clinic to assist power lifters and athletes with proper form for injury prevention.)

Treats injuries

When injuries do occur, chiropractic care can help speed up the recovery process. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, some of the other treatment options we provide for weightlifters and Crossfitters include:

  • Cupping therapyCupping involves applying glass or silicone cups to the skin to create pressure. (We use silicone cups at our clinics.) The suction promotes blood flow to the affected areas, which in turn helps stimulate the natural healing process to relieve tension and inflammation in the muscles.
  • Graston Technique® – This type of soft tissue mobilization utilizes specially designed stainless steel instruments/tools to break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions in the body. As the instruments are moved over the affected area and come in contact with the adhesions, they break up scar tissue and fascial restrictions, which in turn helps relieve pain and restore movement.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy – Our newest treatment option, hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT, involves lying inside a pressurized chamber that releases 95-100% pure oxygen that’s increased two to three times the normal levels provided in our everyday environment. When your blood carries this extra oxygen throughout your body, it helps fight bacteria and stimulate the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing. (Typically a session goes for $80-100, but we’re offering 50% off your first session through the rest of the summer.)
  • Taping – Functional Movement Taping (FMT) helps provide support and stability for weak or injured muscles. It can be used on its own or in conjunction with other treatments. It’s important to have a certified practitioner, like a chiropractor, apply the tape to ensure it’s properly placed for optimal benefit.
  • TheraGun – TheraGun provides deep muscle massage that helps break up tension and increase range of motion. Oftentimes, this can be added on to other services for a minimal or complimentary fee.
  • Trigger point dry needling – This type of treatment involves inserting a dry needle (one without medicine) into a “knot” or trigger point in order to relieve pain and tension in the muscles.

In addition, we provide functional movement screens and sports physicals to help athletes address faulty movement patterns and reduce the risk of injury.

Of course, athletes aren’t the only ones who can benefit from regular chiropractic care. As a board-certified chiropractor, Dr. Wiechmann treats people of all ages and fitness levels, including elite athletes, weekend warriors, pregnant mothers and children. Call 712-249-8231 for more information, or use our online scheduling tool to book an appointment.

Seven Tips to Manage Stress

person grabbing faceElections are stressful — and this one particularly so. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed, helpless and anxious when it feels like the fate of our country is so precarious.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize conflict and take care of yourself.

  1. Seek chiropractic careChiropractic services, such as adjustments or manipulation, trigger point dry needling and soft tissue therapy, can help release muscle tension, soothe irritated spinal nerves and improve blood circulation — changes that can often alert the brain to switch off the fight-or-flight response and help your body relax.
  2. Schedule a massage – Regular massages can rebalance your hormones and release muscle tension caused by stress. Research also shows that it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as increase the production of “feel good” endorphins, serotonin and dopamine.
  3. Make time for fitness – Your body can fight off stress better when it’s physically fit. Consider going for a walk, lifting weights or swimming for at least 30 minutes most days per week to stay active and keep your body in shape.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques – Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi are great relaxation techniques for managing stress. Practicing these methods for even a few minutes each day can provide a sense of overall calmness as well as ease anxiety.
  5. Get adequate rest – In addition to regular exercise, your body needs proper time to recover. Give your body the rest it needs by taking breaks when necessary and getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep (more for children and teens) each night.
  6. Eat a balanced diet– Chronic stress can make you more susceptible to viral illnesses, GI issues and infections. Consuming processed food and beverages, like chips, soda and candy, actually increases the volume of stress on your body and contributes to other health issues. Consider reaching for nutrient-dense foods that promote good gut bacteria, such as prebiotics and probiotics. Fruits and vegetables with inulin, like asparagus, bananas, garlic and onions, contain prebiotics. Fermented foods, like kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and yogurt are great sources of probiotics.
  7. Avoid drugs and alcohol – If you typically reach for a cigarette or a glass of wine when you’re stressed, consider a new vice. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco can stress your body out even more and often lead to serious health issues like heart disease, liver disease, respiratory diseases and GI problems.

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate all stress from your life, the strategies above can help you manage your symptoms. Prioritizing self-care first can help you cope with what comes next. And remember, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 712-249-8231.

Caring for Your Body When You’re Stressed

Picture of man with hands over his faceIf the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has you stressed, you’re not alone. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming, causing strong emotions in adults and children. Below, we discuss the effects of stress and provide tips for caring for your body during stressful situations.

The Effects of Stress ON the body

Stress hormones trigger your body’s fight-or-flight response, which can help you cope with potentially serious situations by increasing your heart rate and readying your muscles to respond. However, when stress levels are elevated for prolonged periods of time, it can take a serious toll on your health. Symptoms of stress include:

  • Irritability and anxiety – Your central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your fight-or-flight response. In most cases, the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls the stress hormones that rev up your response in an emergency) tells all systems to return to normal when the perceived fear is gone. However, if the stressor doesn’t go away or the CNS doesn’t work properly, the prolonged fight-or-flight response can lead to irritability or anxiety.
  • Respiratory and cardiovascular issues – Stress can cause you to breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute more oxygen-rich blood to your body. This response helps protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react, but it can make it harder to breathe and causes your blood pressure to rise, which in turn, can increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
  • Tight muscles, aches and pains – When you’re stressed, your muscles tense up to protect your body from injury. They tend to release again once you relax, but if you’re constantly under stress, your muscles may not get the chance to relax. Chronically tight muscles can cause neck painback pain, shoulder pain and headaches.
  • Headaches – During stressful events, certain chemicals in the brain are released to combat the situation (known as the fight-or-flight response). The release of these chemicals can cause vascular changes that can lead to tension headaches and migraines. Repressed or bottled up emotions surrounding stress, such as anxiety, worry, excitement and fatigue, can also increase muscle tension and make migraines worse.
  • Weak immune systems – People under chronic stress are typically more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections due to high levels of cortisol (stress hormones). Stress can also increase the time it takes to recover from an illness or injury.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) issues  – Stress can wreck havoc on your gut and digestive system, leading to short-term issues like loss of appetite, overeating, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion and upset stomachs. Chronic stress (over prolonged periods) can also lead to more serious issues like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, colitis and other GI disorders.

Tips for Managing Stress

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to manage stress and lead a healthier life.

  • Chiropractic careChiropractic services, such as adjustments or manipulation, trigger point dry needling and soft tissue therapy, can help release muscle tension, soothe irritated spinal nerves and improve blood circulation—changes that can often alert the brain to switch off the fight-or-flight response and help your body relax.
  • Massage therapy – Regular massages can rebalance your hormones and release muscle tension caused by stress. Research also shows that it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as increase the production of “feel good” endorphins, serotonin and dopamine.
  • Regular exercise – Your body can fight off stress better when it’s physically fit. Consider going for a walk, lifting weights or swimming for at least 30 minutes most days per week to stay active and keep your body in shape.
  • Relaxation techniques – Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi are great relaxation techniques for managing stress. Practicing these methods for even a few minutes each day can provide a sense of overall calmness as well as ease anxiety.
  • Adequate rest – In addition to regular exercise, your body needs proper time to recover. Give your body the rest it needs by taking breaks when necessary and getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep (more for children and teens) each night.
  • Proper nutrition – As mentioned, chronic stress can make you more susceptible to viral illnesses, GI issues and infections. Consuming “junk food” actually increases the volume of stress on your body and contributes to other health issues. Consider reaching for foods that offer adequate nutrients and promote good gut bacteria, such as prebiotics and probiotics. Fruits and vegetables with inulin, like asparagus, bananas, garlic and onions, contain prebiotics. Fermented foods, like kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and yogurt are great sources of probiotics.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol – If you typically reach for a cigarette or a glass of wine when you’re stressed, it’s time to rethink your coping technique. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco can stress your body out even more and often lead to more serious issues like heart disease, liver disease, respiratory diseases and GI issues.

In today’s world it’s easy to find things to stress about. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate all stress, the strategies above can help you combat some of its effects and prevent long-term damage. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 712-249-8231.

We originally presented the above information to teachers and staff at Riverside High School as part of an in-service learning day on Feb. 19, 2020. Per request, we recapped the information on our blog. If you’re interested in having us out to your organization or place of work for a similar presentation, please contact us. We love sharing tips for helping people live healthier lives!

Five Things to Love About Chiropractic Care

Love scrabble tilesBeing a chiropractor is an unbelievable experience, and something I don’t take for granted. Every day, I get the opportunity to work with a variety of patients, who put their health and healing in my hands. It’s truly humbling to hear why they love chiropractic care and continually encourage their friends and family to seek it out as well.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we rounded up a list of the top five reasons why our patients love chiropractic care:

  1. Reduces pain and inflammation – One of the main purposes of a chiropractor is to alleviate pain, and it’s the primary reason patients love coming to Pott. County Sports & Family Chiropractic. Through a combination of manual therapies and advice on diet, exercise and positive lifestyle choices, we help your body heal itself and get you on the road toward better health, faster and more efficiently.
  2. Doesn’t require pills or surgery – We believe in treating you to relieve your pain and make you more mindful of your body. While certain conditions may require additional treatment, our goal is to get you back to doing the things you love by exhausting all forms of conservative care first.
  3. Improves sleep – Chiropractic care helps improve blood flow in the nervous system as well as addresses misalignments in the spine, which in turn allows patients to rest more easily.
  4. Reduces anxiety – The nervous system runs along the spinal cord, and studies show that any interruptions along the way can have negative impacts on mood and behavior. We offer a variety of treatment options to improve the nervous system and remove roadblocks that can cause stress and anxiety.
  5. Prevents injuries – As a former collegiate athlete, I understand the physical demands that are required to live a healthy and active lifestyle. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping other athletes prevent injury and get back in the game safely. In addition to chiropractic manipulation, soft tissue therapy and corrective exercise techniques, we offer discounted sports physicals and rehabilitative taping for student athletes. (A full list of our services is available on our website.)

Tell us: What do you love most about chiropractic care? Comment below to share your thoughts, or contact us to learn more about how we can help you get back to doing the things you love. To book an appointment, please use our online scheduling tool.

Class IV Laser Therapy for Pain and Inflammation

Picture of Class IV Laser Therapy treatment on patient's shoulderRecently our clinic added the industry’s leading and most powerful Class IV Laser. We are excited to bring this service to our patients as a way to help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation and accelerate recovery times. Read on to learn more about the benefits, or contact us to find out if it’s right for you.

How does Laser Therapy work?

Laser Therapy uses specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to create therapeutic effects, including:

  • Decreased pain levels
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased tissue proliferation and regeneration
  • Accelerated soft tissue and bone repair
  • Enhanced nerve regeneration and function
  • Increased circulation and lymphatic flow
  • Creation of new blood vessels
  • Increased tissue tensile strength
  • Optimized enzymatic responses
  • Increased collagen production

What type of conditions can be treated with Class IV Laser Therapy?

  • Auto and work-related injuries
  • Back and neck pain
  • Burns
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chondromalacia patellae (a.k.a “runner’s knee”)
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Edema
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Knee pain
  • Lateral epicondylitis (a.k.a. “tennis elbow”)
  • Ligament sprains
  • Muscle strains
  • Myofascial trigger points
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Tendinitis
  • Venous ulcers
  • Wrinkles and skin elasticity concerns

Is Laser Therapy approved by the FDA?

Laser Therapy has been widely used around the world in both human medical and veterinary settings since the 1970s. It was approved by the FDA in 2003 as a way to help patients alleviate pain, reduce inflammation and accelerate recovery times.

What does Laser Therapy feel like?

Laser Therapy is a pain-free, non-invasive treatment option. With the exception of a subtle warmth or brief feeling of sensitivity during treatment, most patients do not experience any discomfort.

How often should a patient receive Laser Therapy?

Most acute conditions should be treated daily, particularly if they are accompanied by significant or debilitating pain. Chronic conditions typically respond better when treatments are received 2-3 times a week, tapering to once a week or once every other week with improvement.

How many treatments does it take?

Treatment times vary depending on the condition. For most acute conditions, 3-6 treatments are usually sufficient. Patients with more chronic conditions may require 10 or more visits. Conditions like severe arthritis may require ongoing periodic treatments to control pain.

How quickly do patients see improvements?

Most patients note improvements after only 1-2 sessions. These sessions may be scheduled at 2-3 times per week for a number of weeks and then 1-2 times a week until the condition is under control. For more chronic conditions, 1-2 times a week is usually recommended.

Can Laser Therapy be used on patients with tattoos or scars?

We take extra caution when caring for patients with tattoos or scars, as the areas can heat up more easily. However, laser therapy can be a highly effective treatment option for healing wounds and scars.

For more information on Laser Therapy or to schedule an appointment, call 712-249-8231.

Herniated Discs: Sign, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Picture of male with lower back painWhen people say they have a “slipped” or “ruptured” disc in their neck or lower back, they are usually referring to a disc derangement or herniated disc, a common cause of lower back pain, neck pain, arm pain and leg pain.

In between each of the vertebra of your spinal column, you have intervertebral discs that act as ligaments to hold your spinal column together. Their main role is to take pressure off the joints in your back by absorbing shock and force. Each disc has two parts: the inner part, called the nucleus pulposus, and the outer part, called the annulus fibrosus. The nucleus pulposus is composed of a gel-like substance that is surrounded by the tough circular exterior of the annulus fibrous.

A disc bulge indicates the inner disc material has migrated into the outer substance, putting pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve in your back, which causes pain. A disc herniation indicates that the outer part of the disc is torn and the inner disc material has migrated away from the tear, putting pressure on the back. Similarly, an articular tear means a portion of the outer annulus fibrosus has torn, creating pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve in your back.

All disc derangements, including disc bulges and disc herniations, come with some form of pain. The pain can range from localized pain to a sharp, shooting pain that runs down one or both of your legs. The intensity, duration and symptoms associated with your pain can vary depending on your condition. Therefore, it is important to be evaluated by an experienced medical professional (such as a chiropractor) to properly diagnose and treat your condition. In some cases, your chiropractor may recommend diagnostic imaging or tests to further evaluate your condition. Your chiropractor may also refer you to an orthopedic specialist for additional treatment if necessary.

Depending on your condition, the following chiropractic services may provide relief from your symptoms:

  • Spinal manipulation
  • Myofascial release
  • Joint mobilization
  • Rehabilitative or corrective exercises to strengthen weakened muscles
  • End range loading to the effected disc to help remodel the tissue

If you are experiencing lower back pain, neck pain, arm pain or leg pain and suspect you may have a slipped, ruptured or herniated disc, contact us today to schedule an appointment. You can also view our services to learn more about the specific treatment options available at Pottawattamie County Sports & Family Chiropractic.