My 5 Favorite Chiropractic Quotes

I collect quotes.

Quotes on all subjects from health and chiropractic, to motivation, to silly phrases.

Sometimes they speak to where I am in my life.

Sometimes they remind me of my goals or of something I love.

Chiropractic quotes remind me what I love about my profession and why I do what I do.

bj-palmer

This is probably one of the most well-known chiropractic quotes. BJ Palmer is known as the “Developer” of chiropractic. One of the major principles of chiropractic care echoes this quote. Our bodies all have innate potential which is present in all living beings. When the body is damaged or ill (dis-eased), it is important to unlock its potential and allow it to heal itself.

When I adjust the spine, I am moving the bones into a more normal alignment but most importantly, nerve interference is removed from the body. This unlocks our innate intelligence and allows the body to heal.

heal-better

This quote speaks to me on so many levels. As a Chiropractor, it is important for me to remember that sometimes it takes time for pain or discomfort to be relieved. However, I know that each and every person that I lay my hands on and make a correction to their spine is healthier after their adjustment.

This is also a phrase I quote to my patients. Chiropractic is unlike any other healing modality. When we remove the interference in the nervous system, I expect some immediate changes in symptoms… but pain relief is not the goal of the adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to make the body function more smoothly which will speed up healing.

patient-centered

This quote dovetails with the previous one. This definition hits on my 3 favorite aspects of Chiropractic.

Chiropractic is patient-centered:

I treat each patient as an individual, from assessment to treatment. In order for me to work with each person, we must build a relationship of trust and cooperation. Each treatment plan is unique and tailored to the patient.

There is nothing cookie-cutter about Chiropractic Care.

Chiropractic is hands-on:

I use my hands to gently and effectively assess, analyze, and correct the spine and joints of my patients. Think back … when was the last time that a doctor touched you other than to listen with a stethoscope or give a shot?

Chiropractic focuses on influencing bodily function through structural correction:

See: “The power that makes the body, heals the body”

whisper

Many times, I see patients for the first time when they are in crisis. We often ignore warning signs from our bodies (myself included). We dismiss that headache. We walk off the knot in our hamstrings or the pain in our low back because a heat pack gets rid of it for awhile. We go on roller coasters and get shaken about, then cover up our symptoms the next day with over the counter meds.

Eventually, we end up having to stop everything because our quick fixes are no longer enough. When you ignore the subtle hints from your body, it stops you in your tracks.

Chiropractic patients learn to listen to those whispers and nudges from their bodies. They learn to seek care when things are minor to avoid the screaming.

"When in sickness, look to the spine first"- Hippocrates

This quote sums up a lot of my feeling about Chiropractic.

The nerves that go to all of your organs, muscles, and tissues must pass through the spine.

It makes sense, therefore, that when the spine is not moving properly, the body will not function optimally.

Many times a patient seeks care because their low back was sore or they had pain in their leg. They neglect to mention that they suffer from constipation or menstrual cramps. After a few treatments, many patients casually mention that some of these “other things” have corrected themselves. What a great side effect!

Am I missing your favorite health or Chiropractic quote? Post it below!

Posture- Is it really important?!

Yes.

Posture is probably one of the most important things that I see in every person I come into contact with.

I check posture in every single exam and observe it before my patients get onto my table each visit.

Posture is an outward indicator of stresses within the body. It shows us where there are imbalances and chronic issues. It can predict future injuries.

Posture influences:

  • Blood Flow
  • Nerve Flow
  • Joint Function
  • Muscle Tension
  • Hormonal Balance in the Brain
  • Perceptions of Others
  • Perceptions of OURSELVES
  • Breathing
  • This list could go on forever!…

Posture really is that important.

So what is good posture anyway?

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The graphics above are mainly focused on the low back, pelvis, and lower body. However, we can see how a gravity line should be able to be drawn straight down our bodies from the side to demonstrate proper posture.

If I held a piece of string with a weight on it at the height of  your ear, it should fall through the shoulder, through the hip, just behind the knee and through your ankle to the ground.

When I think about what this feels like, imagine that someone has tied a string to the crown of your head and is gently tugging upward. Your chin will tuck slightly, your spine will lengthen, shoulders are able to relax, and tailbone tucks slightly. (This is seen in the far left photo, above. The photos to the right demonstrate increased forward head posture with hands rolled forward and low back rounded.

From the front, posture is focused on horizontal lines as well. I ask myself, “Is everything level and equal from side to side?”

  • Are the eyes level or is the head tilted?
  • Can I see an equal amount of ear on each side?
  • Are the shoulders level?
  • Are the hips and pelvis level?
  • Is the spine in midline?
  • Are the hands in front or at the sides?
  • Are the shoulders rounded?

Both of the photos above demonstrate asymmetries, but note how the left side photo demonstrates rounding of the shoulders, head tilt, right sided torso shift, etc. The photo on the right has far better posture.

How can I fix my Poor Posture?

Posture can be remedied in a number of ways.

What activities are causing the poor posture and can they be changed?

Often, poor posture is a response to a chronic position that we work in, relax in, or a repetitive activity. When this is the case, I look for ways to modify the activity or improve work ergonomics.

Is there a skeletal component?

Sometimes, we have held a posture for so long that we have, literally, changed the shape of our spine in response. In these cases, it usually takes chiropractic care and rehabilitative exercises to begin to make changes in the spine- resulting in changes in posture. As a chiropractor, there are many ways that I work with the spine and joints to help stabilize and improve posture.

Homework

All of my patients leave the office with some type of homework. We are creatures of habit and our brains rewire themselves to perpetuate these habits. This means that it takes consistent movement correction to repattern the brain. Remember the phrase: Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together. This means that we have to fire correct patterns of movement over and over again to train our brains and bodies to correct our posture.

Be diligent!

It is also immensely important to be aware of our posture in the moment. I set a timer when I am doing computer work (blogs like this, patient notes, etc). When the timer goes off, I get up and do some exercises to improve my posture. It is inevitable that when we sit at a computer, our head drifts forward, our shoulders round, and we generally sit poorly. The same stands true for watching TV, standing in lines, looking at your phone or tablet!

Overall, posture is one of the best things that we can pay attention to to know how our biomechanics (the way we move in daily life) are programmed. Take a look of the last few photos someone has taken of you (selfies don’t really work) and see if you notice any of the things I have mentioned above.

Take control of your posture and start changing your health!

As always, contact me if you would like help with meeting your health goals!

-Dr. Sharonrose Samelak, Chiropractic Physician

 

 

5 Things to Remember This Cold and Flu Season

I am so excited to co-blog this one with the wonderful Naturopaths from Clarity Natural Medicine in Fremont, Seattle! Check out their information below this post!

5 THINGS TO REMEMBER THIS COLD AND FLU SEASON

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Taking small actions in these 5 areas of your life can make a big difference for your wellness.

 

 

 

DIET DOs and DON’Ts:

Avoid eating common food allergens. If you know you have food allergies, now is not the time to ‘cheat’ because something tastes good or because the serving is very small. Any time you eat something you are allergic to, your body responds by attacking the food proteins in the same manner as it would attack a bacteria or a virus. This keeps your defense system is busy and may not allow for proper attention and resources to be spent on actual bacteria and viruses when they invade. If you do not know if you have any food allergies, it is still generally advised that you avoid consuming dairy products while you have the flu or a cold because they often cause the body to produce excess mucous.

fruits-320136_1280If you are sick or have been around people that were sick and wish to avoid falling ill, it is best to eat a whole foods diet- fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources. Avoid processed sugar and alcohol as these cause inflammation and depress immune system function.

WATER is your friend:

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During an illness, your number one job (other than resting) should be to maintain adequate hydration. Dehydration not only inhibits your immune system and lymph from circulating properly through your body tissues, but it also elevates your body temperature. Simple dehydration can cause a fever or cause an existing one to worsen. Additionally, consider that the mucous that drains from our nose, gets stuck in our ears or that builds up in our lungs is mostly water! When you are dehydrated, the mucous also dehydrates and becomes thicker and more difficult to get out.

 

MATTERS OF HYGEINE:

It’s not something we often think about, but many times our indoor air quality is more of a concern than the quality of our outdoor air. Persistent exposure to indoor mold, pet dander, dust and smoke irritates our mucous membranes (the lining of our nose, throat and lungs) also making it more likely that a bacteria or virus can invade. Clean and ventilate your home often. Avoiding second hand smoke and smoking counts helps, too. If you know you have a mold or dust allergy, consider installing an air filter in your home.  To reduce the spread of illness, wash your hands frequently and wipe down all shared surfaces: doorknobs, handles, children’s toys, even electronics.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE:

Chiropractic care can help you to combat both ear fullness and sinus congestion as well as boost the immune system.

The human body is an amazing machine. The anatomy of the head, face, and neck are closely related and can directly influence one another. Chiropractors utilize these relationships to help your stuffy sinuses drain or relieve pressure in your ears. The base of skull-31060the skull and the first bone in the neck, the atlas, can help the ears and sinuses drain by opening up the soft tissues in the throat. Sinuses are basically the spaces formed between the bones of the skull and can be gently manipulated to open up and improve drainage.

When working with the sinuses, gentle, rocking motions of the skull are combined with an adjustment to the upper neck and lymphatic drainage massage to maximize the efficacy of treatment. Most patients need a tissue within moments of their adjustment! This technique is gentle enough to use on little babies as well as their parents and grandparents.

One additional benefit of seeking out chiropractic care while sick is that an adjustment boosts the immune system.

The nervous system and, therefore, spine have a tremendous influence on the function of the immune system. In fact, one study demonstrates that Fighter T Cells work better for 24-48 hours after an adjustment for a review of literature click here. This means that getting adjusted regularly can help keep your immune system in top shape, but it also means that when you are sick, an adjustment can speed your recovery and help some of your symptoms.

PROPER SUPPLEMENTATION:

Nutritional and herbal supplements can help your immune system stay strong and are effective at helping fight colds or flus if one does come. While there are some overall recommendations that are safe for most people, such as extra vitamin C, elderberry syrup and probiotics, each individual has unique nutritional needs and immune system weaknesses that make a personalized treatment the best. Your naturopathic doctor or chiropractor can make specific treatment recommendations after discussing your past medical history and any current concerns in detail.

Hope you have learned a couple of new tricks from these tips!

Take a moment and check out Clarity Natural Medicine– I love having Dr. D and Dr. M as colleagues and friends!

clarity-logo

Clarity is the shared vision of Dr. Tamara Dickson and Dr. Kellyn Misser who provide individualized integrative care. At Clarity Natural Medicine, concerns are explored completely and options to care are presented fully.

206 Bones- Things you didn’t know about your skeleton!

As a chiropractor, my life revolves around the skeleton, the muscles, and the way that the human body moves. Both in school and afterward I have learned some fun facts about the human skeleton that I would love to share!

Skeleton

A newborn baby has roughly 300 bones, while the adult has only 206

How cool is it that our skeletons change so much as we grow up?! Bones fuse together as we age AND new bones are formed (like your kneecap) when little ones start to crawl.

The bones of your skull actually have joints with one another

skull-31060These joints move when you breath, chew, and with the movement of your cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that bathes the brain). This means that, as a chiropractor, I often work with the bones of the skull to influence sinuses and help people with migraines.

Babies with plagiocephaly (bulges or flat spots on their skulls) also benefit from chiropractic work with the skull!

The smallest bone in your body is located within the hardest bone!

The smallest bone in your body, the stapes, is shaped like a stirrup and is a bone that helps you hear. It is so small and delicate that it needsgiraffe a lot of protection. It is located in the most dense and strongest part of the temporal bone in the skull.

You have the same number of bones in your neck as a giraffe

Giraffes and humans both have 7 cervical bones in their necks. They are just very differently shaped! A giraffe’s neck is so long that it cannot cough like a human can because its lungs and epiglottis are too far apart to coordinate.

The hyoid bone is the only bone not connected to another bone by a joint

This bone is a delicate horse shoe shape and it sits in front of your neck. Many muscles connect to the hyoid bone, but it is not shown on most plastic skeletons.

Your femur, or thigh bone is the longest bone in your body

It is also one of the strongest bones of the body. This is because it supports our body weight in running and jumping.

receiving-hands-1920865_1920

There are 54 bones in each of your hands

This means that 108 of your 206 bones are contained in just 2 body parts! As a chiropractor, working on the wrists, elbows, and neck can help relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Do you have a fun fact about the skeleton that you would love to share? 

Comment below and let us know what you think!

Overcoming the “Gross” in Gross Anatomy

back-pain-1491801_1920This blog comes from a speech I recently gave.

I am passionate about anatomy and feel that it is an amazing and integral part of my practice. Each time that I work with a patient, I use the amazing skills that I gained working in the anatomy lab. I feel there was no better way for me to learn about the human body.

Enjoy!

On my first day of dissection for Gross Anatomy, I had no idea what to expect. I came to class prepared with gloves, dissection kit, lab coat, instructions, and a ton of anxiety.

I got to class about 15 minutes before my lab group so that I could see how I reacted in private. I opened the double doors and entered the lab full of cadavers in rank and file on metal tables. The smell of formalin and antifreeze assaulted my nose and I walked through the room to my assigned body. I pulled back the plastic and muslin, gagged once, and began my dissection.

I had no idea that first day how important that lab would become to my life.

Class by class, I learned more and more about the human body and uncovered its secrets. Soon the weirdness faded and the magic took over. I spent hours in the lab outside of class studying and teaching my fellow classmates. The anatomy lab woke me up and I found a new passion. Did you know that you have a tiny pulley system in your eye? Or that you have a pressure and chemical receptor in your neck? These facts and many more bring to light the incredibly intelligent design of the human body. I was hooked.

After completing my coursework in Anatomy, I took a job working as a professional dissector in the lab- dissecting the teaching body one step ahead of the class. I took up anatomical drawing. I loved integrating my anatomy with my chiropractic and adjusting skills. Even today, when I lay my hands on a patient, I can see the anatomy beneath my hands, guiding my touch and fine tuning my patient care.

Through tutoring I got to share my passion for anatomy with other students and pass along knowledge in a way that makes it come alive. From the student struggling in class, to those wanting a review before taking board exams, teaching others forced me to be better than average and hone my skills. I even became a guide for “Tours of the Body”- a program where nursing students, massage therapy students, and even future barbers are given the opportunity to visit the cadaver lab and bring book learning to life. In the anatomy lab, I found my home in chiropractic school and a lifelong obsession.skull-778073_1920

During the three and a half years that I worked in the anatomy lab, I worked on upwards of 30 cadavers and- as cliché as it sounds- we are all unique and individual snowflakes. Nerves take paths that aren’t in the books, we find muscles that aren’t supposed to be there or search in vain for a blood vessel that doesn’t exist in that body. Some of these are so common they are considered a normal abnormality. This is much to the chagrin of the studying anatomist… For example, in about 17% of the population the sciatic nerve, the large nerve that travels from your pelvis all the way to your big toe, pierces a muscle instead of diving underneath. If that muscle spasms… presto! Sciatica. In addition, new anatomical findings are still being made. While I was in school, a fellow prosector made an anatomical discovery that is now published in scholarly journals and in the new Gray’s Anatomy (no, not the TV show).

Dissection is an art form- much like sculpture. Its goal is to uncover and reveal the structures of the body hidden away beneath skin and tissue. These bones, organs, and muscles tell the story of a life. What kind of work did this person do? Did they smoke? Have children? Work with their hands? Through patient study, Gross anatomy becomes less gross. It becomes fascinating. While not everyone has access to an anatomy lab, I feel that it was one of the most important experiences of my education and I will take its lessons with me always.

Do you have anatomy questions? Comment below or email at seedoflifechiro@gmail.com

Sitting Too Much is Ruining Your Health (and Spine)

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How many hours do you sit each day?

How many days a week do you sit?

Do you ever sit for a period upwards of 11 hours in a day?

 

These are very important questions to ask yourself. As I sit here writing this blog, I am aware that I, myself have been sitting for the past hour researching statistics for this very article… with my posture suffering as minutes tick by.

In some sense, we all know that we shouldn’t sit too long. That prolonged sitting is detrimental to our health. What most of us don’t realize is that it is probably worse for us than we think…

According to Web MD, sitting too much is linked to worsened mental health as well as increased risk of heart disease and disability. Why? No one seems quite sure. What we do know is that the most detrimental data came from a study looking at women who sit for over 11 hours per day.

What’s worse is that it does not appear that your morning walk or jog is enough to combat your 8+ hours of sitting each day. These activities appear to be mutually exclusive. By no means should you stop your regular workout, but this does suggest that- as a society- we need to change how we function. We need to sit less and move more. Revolutionary!

Another study even suggests that sitting is harmful to our children. This study looked at sitting times of only 3 hours. It demonstrated a marked negative change in the blood flow through the arteries of the group that did not move out of chairs for a full 3 hours. However, the group that rode a bicycle (gently) for 10 minutes out of each hour had no change.

text-neck

How often do your kids sit for long periods? School has them seated for 8+ hours each day which is not even counting video game or TV time in the evenings. Our society asks kids to sit still and pay attention. We tend to squash the wiggles right out of them by the time they are in the first grade.

Maybe this is why kids are wiggly, naturally?! Maybe we are meant to move around a lot more than we do! Movement pumps our blood back to the heart through our veins. Movement causes positive changes in our cardiovascular health. Movement keeps our joints lubricated and healthy! Movement keeps us alive and healthy.

And guess what else comes along with too much sitting? Back pain!

Our spines are made with gentle curves that support our weight and absorb shock. When we sit, we often curve our spines into a C- shape, rounding the low back, hunching the shoulders, and thrusting the head forward.

We are simply  not built for this. These abnormal stresses on the spine overwork our muscles and can cause a lot of damage to our spines. They are often accompanied by low back pain and headaches!

Proper sitting, ie: sitting on the sit bones and tall through the spine, is far less detrimental to the spine and is difficult to maintain for long periods- necessitating movement.

I feel like I am sounding a bit repetitive, but movement is what we are made for. So… here are some tips to help you to improve your health, sit less, and MOVE MORE.

  • Use a standing desk– Your posture will automatically  be better and you are more likely to move about the office. It is also easy to incorporate simple exercises like heel raises, toe taps, glute squeezes, etc into your day when you are standing at work.
  • Be conscious of your posture– I sometimes place a ball between my middle back and the back of my chair. If the ball moves, I am slouching and probably need to get up and move about.
  • Set movement reminders– If you have a tendency to get locked into a task, try setting an alarm on your phone or computer that reminds you to get up and walk a bit. Remember, the study in young girls found that moving 10 minutes out of each hour made a dramatic change in their vascular condition.
  • Try sitting on an exercise ball– It is really hard to slouch on an exercise ball. Plus, your core will remain engaged and you can perform exercises like pelvic tilts while sitting at your desk.

Now, get out there and move! Remember that regular care for your spine includes an evaluation by a Doctor of Chiropractic as well as movement and good posture. Are you worried about your posture? What about your kids? Stay tuned for my next blog about posture- How to tell if you have good posture and what to do about it!

Get Your Flu Adjustment Here!

woman-698943Flu season is generally considered to be present from October-February. Many of us have experienced that we are more likely to “catch” a cold during this time of year. Signs pop up for you to “Get Your Flu Shot Here”. (For more info about the flu shot click here).

But why?

Flu and cold viruses are no more prevalent in the environment in the winter months… so why do we get sick!?

During the winter, our lifestyle drastically changes. We are enclosed with more people in work/school and are outdoors less. This also means that our Vitamin D levels are probably low because we aren’t getting as much sun exposure. Vitamin D plays a role in immune system function as well as mood and Seasonal Affect Disorder.

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It’s also no secret that stress levels rise in the holiday season with travel, family, and increased demands on our time. The holidays are also a time of increased sugar consumption. A study performed by Loma Linda University in 1973 found that 100g of sugar correlates with white blood cells being 40% less effective at killing germs for up to 5 hours.

These factors and many more mean that we are far more susceptible to colds and flu.

Don’t. Panic.

There are simple steps you can take to boost your immune system and protect yourself during the winter (and year round).

  1. Get Your Flu Adjustment Here!

patient-adjustmentThe nervous system and, therefore, spine have a tremendous influence on the function of the immune system. In fact, one study demonstrates that Fighter T Cells work better for 24-48 hours after an adjustment for a review of literature click here.

This means that getting adjusted regularly can help keep your immune system in top shape.BUT it also means that when you are sick, an adjustment can speed your recovery.

2. Monitor Your Sugar Intake

cake-727870It is recommended that women consume no more than 28g of added sugar, daily. By cutting sugary drinks, like pop and sports drinks, and keeping an eye on your cookie and dessert consumption you can improve your overall health and keep yourself from getting sick. If you want to learn more about sugar, join our book club which is reading Sugar Nation this January.

3. Get Your Vitamin D Levels Checked!

Vitamin D is essential for many bodily processes. Living far North of the equator, many of us are deficient in Vitamin D year round- and our levels plummet in the winter months. I love Biotics Vitamin D drops for easy and safe supplementation for both children and adults.

Is there a topic you would like to see me discuss?

What are your favorite ways to keep your immune system boosted?

Comment below!