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!

Tips for Preventing the Spread of Viruses

Picture of an older woman washing her hands

Many of our patients have expressed concerns about the Coronavirus (a.k.a. COVID-19). We want you to know that your health and safety is our first priority, too. We’re continually taking steps to keep our clinics safe and prevent the spread of disease, and we hope you’ll join us in doing the same.

The following tips can help:

  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well – Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In some cases, symptoms may not appear for at least 2-14 days. Please call our clinic at 712-249-8231 at the first sign of a cold, cough or fever, and we’ll work with you to reschedule your appointment as needed. Additionally, if you have been around someone who is experiencing symptoms, consider limiting your contact with others for at least 2-14 days.
  • Wash hands frequently – Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, as recommended by the CDC. Simply check the label to determine if the product contains the required amount. (We prefer Thieves, OnGuard and EO products, which are free of many harmful ingredients typically found in traditional hand sanitizers yet still contain at least 60% alcohol.)
  • Limit physical contact with yourself and others – Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as well as shaking hands or giving high fives to reduce the spread of disease. It’s also best to maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands immediately to prevent passing germs onto others.
  • Keep common areas clean and disinfected – Clean your home and work area daily using disinfectant cleaning supplies. (We prefer Seventh Generation products because they’re free of many harmful ingredients typically found in household cleaners yet still kill 99.99% of germs.)
  • Load up on vitamins, especially Vitamin C – The old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” may have truth behind it after all. Eating nourishing foods that are rich in certain vitamins and minerals can help your immune system fight off illnesses. For those who need it, supplements can provide an extra boost of nutrition to protect your immune system. (Some of our favorite brands include Standard Process and Ortho Molecular Products, which are available for purchase through our clinic.)
  • Stay hydrated – Water helps your body produce lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells throughout the body. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half of your bodyweight in ounces of water. For example, a typical woman weighing 120 lbs. should drink approximately 60 ounces (or 12 standard glasses) of water per day. Additionally, limit beverages that can make you dehydrated, like coffee, and consider adding more hydrating foods, such as cucumbers, celery or watermelon, to your diet.
  • Be aware – Review best practices from local and state health officials as well as other respected healthcare professionals. (If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you probably know that one of our favorite mentors and leaders is Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD. Dr. Klinghardt has been instrumental in advancing various fields of medicine, including the treatment of chronic pain, Lyme disease and Autism. Recently, he published a presentation addressing COVID-19.)

For more information on tips for staying healthy, please contact us.

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.

Tips for Healthy Aging and Fall Prevention

Picture of person walking in sandalsEach year, one in three adults over the age of 65 experiences an unintentional fall, and 2.5 million older adults are treated in the emergency room for fall-related injuries, according to the Center for Disease Control. Join us at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 27 as Nate Wiechmann, D.C., shares tips for healthy aging and fall prevention at the Charles E. Lakin YMCA in Council Bluffs.

Dr. Wiechmann is a board-certified chiropractor and the owner of Pottawattamie County Sports & Family Chiropractic. Originally from Stilwell, Kan., he grew up visiting Western Iowa to help on his family farm. He earned his bachelor of science and doctor of chiropractic degrees from Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City, where he graduated cum laude. With strong family ties to the region, he moved to Western Iowa after college and opened Pott. County Sports & Family Chiropractic in 2016. Since then, he has helped patients of all ages relieve pain, restore movement and improve function.

During his presentation, Dr. Wiechmann will discuss:

  • Common orthopedic injuries caused by accidental falls.
  • Tips for healthy aging and fall prevention.
  • What to do if you experience a fall-related injury.

To register for the free educational presentation, call the Charles E. Lakin YMCA at 712-322-6606.

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.

Expanding Our Practice to Serve Western Iowa

Photo: Strada Healthcare

We are pleased to announce that we have teamed up with Strada Healthcare, a Direct Primary Care practice that gives patients unlimited access to primary care providers and other physicians for a flat monthly fee.

“We have a great opportunity to provide more comprehensive care by joining forces with Strada Healthcare,” said Nate Wiechmann, D.C., owner of Pott. County Sports & Family Chiropractic. “What they are doing to make personal and convenient healthcare more affordable for patients is truly amazing, and we are excited to work with them in Council Bluffs.”

Starting today, Dr. Wiechmann will be splitting his time between our Oakland clinic and Strada Healthcare (located at 928 Valley View Drive) in Council Bluffs. He will treat patients at Strada Healthcare on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as at our Oakland clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“While I’m thankful for the support of the Oakland community, I believe this partnership will allow me to better serve current and prospective patients. Many of my patients already drive to Council Bluffs or Omaha for work, so expanding my practice to serve multiple locations just felt like a natural progression,” said Dr. Wiechmann.

Since opening Pottawattamie County Sports & Family Chiropractic in June 2016, Dr. Wiechmann has helped patients in Oakland, Avoca, Carson and the surrounding areas relieve pain, restore movement and improve function. Recently, he added two new service lines to his lineup, trigger point dry needling and cupping therapy.

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

UPDATED HOURS (AS OF June 24, 2019):

Monday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Council Bluffs
Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Oakland
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Council Bluffs
Thursday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Oakland
Friday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Oakland | 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Council Bluffs
Saturday: By appointment only at either location
Sunday: Closed

Providing Chiropractic Care for Patients in Council Bluffs Starting January 2019

Dr. Nate Wiechmann, Chiropractor

Recognizing the growing need for access to personalized chiropractic care and wellness services, Nathaniel Wiechmann, D.C., is expanding his practice to Council Bluffs, Iowa, starting January 2019.

Since opening Pottawattamie County Sports and Family Chiropractic in 2016, Dr. Wiechmann has helped patients in Oakland, Avoca, Carson and the surrounding areas relieve pain, restore movement and improve function. He saw an opportunity to better serve the Pottawattamie County community by teaming up with Dan Kjeldgaard, D.C., at Advanced ChiroCare in Council Bluffs, while maintaining his practice in Oakland.

“I think it’s important to give back to the community that’s given so much to my family,” said Dr. Wiechmann, whose family has a long history of farming in the region. “Many of my patients already drive to Council Bluffs or Omaha for work, so expanding my practice to serve patients in multiple locations just felt like a natural progression.”

Beginning January 7, 2019, Dr. Wiechmann will treat patients at the following locations:

Monday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Council Bluffs
Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Oakland
Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Council Bluffs
Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Oakland
Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Council Bluffs
Saturday: By appointment only in Oakland
Sunday: Closed

Dr. Wiechmann will act as a private contractor for Advanced ChiroCare, treating patients part time in Council Bluffs. Together, Drs. Wiechmann and  Kjeldgaard will offer a broader range of services, including chiropractic manipulation, digital X-ray, soft tissue therapy, corrective exercise techniques, mobilization and nutritional counseling. Dr. Wiechmann will continue to provide similar treatments at his practice in Oakland.

Advanced ChiroCare is located at 7 N. 6th Street in Council Bluffs, just west of CHI Health Mercy Hospital and the Methodist Jenni Edmundson Hospital. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Wiechmann at either location, please call 712-249-8231.

Now Accepting Medicare Patients

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Wiechmann is now accepting Medicare patients. While we will continue to accept most commercial insurance plans as well as workers compensation, we believe this change will allow us to better serve patients in Oakland, Avoca and the surrounding areas. As a service to our patients, we verify insurance coverage prior to evaluation and/or treatment if time allows.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

Nate Wiechmann, D.C., Trained in McKenzie Method of MDT Part A: The Lumbar Spine

Picture of woman with lower back painGood news for patients with upper and lower back pain: Nathaniel Wiechmann, D.C., A.R.T., is now trained in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) Part A – the first in a four-part post-graduate series that focuses on identifying and correcting mechanical instabilities that cause pain.

Part A of the McKenzie Method of MDT focuses on assessing and treating conditions related to the lumbar spine. Part B focuses on the cervical/thoracic spine, while Parts C and D focus on the spine and extremities. This exercise-based assessment process helps provide patients with the tools and resources to manage musculoskeletal pain.

The following is a step-by-step guide to MDT (provided by the McKenzie Institute):

  1. Assessment – MDT clinicians begin by evaluating each patient’s medical history and symptoms. During the initial examination, you will be asked to perform specific functions and hold certain positions, which will help the clinician “classify” your condition.
  2. Classification – Each symptom will be addressed individually using specific mechanical procedures, including repeated movements and sustained postures.
  3. Treatment – Based on the information garnered from the assessment, the clinician will prescribe specific exercises and posture adjustments. Depending on your condition, the clinician may apply hands-on techniques to aid your treatment. The goal is to provide you with the knowledge and tools to manage your condition on your own.
  4. Prevention – By learning how to self-manage your condition, you will gain the knowledge and tools to help minimize the risk of recurrence. You will also be better equipped to address future symptoms, putting you in greater control of your condition.

Dr. Wiechmann completed the 26-hour Part A course at Cleveland University-Kansas City in November. He plans to complete Part B-D to earn his official certification as an MDT clinician. Contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Shoulder Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Picture of older male with shoulder painThe shoulder is the body’s most mobile joint, which makes it susceptible to shoulder injuries and other conditions that can cause shoulder pain. The most common causes of shoulder injuries include chronic wear and tear (such as repetitive overhead motion) and direct impact (such as a high-impact collision or fall).

While chiropractic care is often associated with treating neck pain and back pain, it is also a viable treatment option for shoulder pain. Below, I discuss the most common shoulder conditions that can cause shoulder pain and possible chiropractic treatment options.

Common shoulder conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Partial and/or full rotator cuff tears
  • Dislocated shoulders
  • Shoulder fractures or labral tears
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome

The key to successfully treating any musculoskeletal condition—including conditions associated with shoulder pain—is identifying the underlying cause of the pain, which is the overall goal of chiropractic care. This often starts by locating the restricted joints and muscles in the region, and then addressing the patient’s dysfunctional movement patterns or limitations.

Chiropractic treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition. In most cases, shoulder conditions can be treated with chiropractic manipulation, myofascial release and/or corrective exercise techniques. In addition, the following may be recommended:

  • Dietary supplements
  • Activity restrictions
  • Rehabilitative taping (e.g. KinesioTaping)
  • Dry needling

Learn more about our chiropractic services.

If you suspect any of the above conditions, it is important to seek care as soon as possible. Contact Pottawattamie County Sports & Family Chiropractic today for more information or to schedule an appointment.