Category: Featured Articles

make injuries heal faster

What you can do to make injuries heal faster

You have an injury or flare-up. Your doctor prescribes a regimen of treatment to get you back to where you were before. The first thing you likely ask is “how long will this take”?

It’s very natural to ask this question. When patients come in to me suffering from pain, they are frustrated by how much it interferes with their life.

The pain makes their work day difficult, interferes with the housework, makes it difficult for them to lift their children or grandchildren, restricts them from their favorite sport, messes up their travel plans or interferes with their personal life.

More than anything, patients just want to get back to their normal life as fast as they can. So, if this is you, what can you do to make injuries heal faster and impact your recovery? Plenty.

 

Getting enough care and being compliant with your treatment plan

For starters, a treatment plan needs the frequency of care and compliance. You can impact both of these.

As a patient, it usually is going to take about 12 visits to make a significant change in your pain level and mobility. You may find that you are feeling much better in about six visits, but to get to normal activities, it usually takes at least 12 visits. Typically, the more often you come, the faster you will get well. In a perfect world, if you are in severe pain, you would come in three times a week. But I realize that is not always realistic due to schedules or finances. If you can come twice a week, you can still make pretty good progress. Less than that and progress is going to be slow – too slow for most people.

You can also impact how well you comply with treatment. Sticking with the full course of care really matters. It is like taking an antibiotic – you don’t want to take antibiotics unnecessarily, but when you are in crisis and have to take them, you have to finish the whole course of medication. You cannot take a 10-day antibiotic for two or three days and expect the infection to go away. It is the same with the treatment. You may feel a little better after one or two treatments, but you are not stabilized to a point where the pain will stay away for good.

 

Approaching the problem from multiple angles

You can often speed up your recovery by implementing more than one approach. That’s one of the reasons we offer so many different services to tackle recovery.  If you have a herniated disk and you sit at a desk all day, I’ll recommend stretching and strengthing your postural muscles, especially strengthening the core. If we only use chiropractic manipulation, you will improve, but you would improve much faster if we add in therapeutic exercise. I may even suggest massage therapy, electric stimulation or ultrasound to reduce muscle spasms and inflammation. A multi-faceted rather than single-faceted approach generally results in faster recovery.

 

make injuries heal fasterUsing nutrition and supplements

At our office, we carry a variety of vitamin and supplementation products to reduce pain and inflammation, helping to speed up healing. One of my favorites for acute injury is Zymain. Zymain includes enzymes that help your body break down the compounds in inflammation that stimulate your pain fibers.  Zymain helps to metabolize and “process out” the pain stimulating compounds. As well, I can educate you on the types of foods that increase or decrease inflammation so you can make better choices.

 

Home care

What you do at home matters when it comes to making injuries heal faster.

For acute pain, ice can be your best friend. Unfortunately, many patients don’t really understand how to use ice properly. Do not wrap ice up in kitchen towels where the cold doesn’t penetrate deep enough to therapeutically affect the tissue. Instead, use ice or an ice pack with nothing but a thin t-shirt or a few paper towels between the ice and skin. Ice the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes, first feeling cold, then burning, then numb. Ice for 15 to 20 minutes on, 15 to 20 minutes off, alternating for 60 to 90 minutes. This allows the blood vessels to alternately constrict and dilate, pumping out inflammation. Heat can relax muscles but increase inflammation – so ask before you use it at home.

Other important areas of home care include doing home exercises, changing techniques for activities of daily living and getting proper support for sleeping, driving and sitting at a computer station. I can make recommendations for all of these as a part of your treatment plan.

The good news is that the body is more resilient than you could ever imagine. By sticking to the frequency of care, completing the full course of care, approaching the problem with all available treatments, utilizing nutritional and supplement approaches and paying attention to home care, we can maximize the body’s healing potential. And if you do this, you can get back to doing all the things in life you love – what everyone ultimately wants!

 

Dr. Sharman

 

Photo at top by photo-nic.co.uk nic on Unsplash

 

antioxidant superfoods

15 Antioxidant superfoods (and why you should eat them)

Have you ever heard the phrase “food is medicine”?

Well, food CAN be medicine. We each need a variety of vitamins, minerals, good fats, enzymes, proteins and antioxidants from foods. These essential nutrients from foods allow our body to stay healthy and fight. They can help us fend off illness and slow the development of chronic conditions of aging. Certain foods, called Superfoods, are especially unique in that they are packed with a large amount and variety of these healthy nutrient building blocks.

Everyone can reap the benefits when they make these antioxidant superfoods a part of their regular diet. Read up on them when you can…but in the meantime, here are my top 15 superfoods with the reasons you should be eating them:

 

Blueberries

Blueberries are low in calories and high in nutrients and a great source of fiber…and who doesn’t need more fiber in their diet? They are high in vitamins K and C and antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which have been associated with improving memory and brain function as well as reducing risk cancer. Blueberries also turn down your inflammatory pathways. Studies show blueberries may reduce risk of heart disease and cancer and even improve memory!

 

Kale

On the whole, Americans don’t consume enough green leafy vegetables. People can benefit from eating more salads but kale is an exceptionally nutritious leafy option – so be sure to throw some in your salad. It can also be sautéed and served as a side vegetable. Kale has more antioxidants than most other fruits and veggies, has all essential amino acids and is a good source of fiber, iron and calcium.

 

Cabbage

Cabbage contains a large amount of indoles, which have been shown to reduce risk of cancer. It also stimulates the immune system. Remember the anthocyanins from the blueberries? Well, if you go for the red cabbage, you’ll also get a dose of those anthocyanins.

 

Broccoli

Cruciferous vegetables are known for their health benefits but broccoli contains more Vitamin C and folate than the others. Broccoli has several anti-cancer compounds and is a great source of fiber.

 

Chia

Did you know that chia seeds have more essential fatty acids than any known plant? They are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which lower inflammation. Chia seeds also contain the important minerals magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron.

 

Turmeric 

Turmeric has amazing anti-inflammatory effects, can regulate blood sugar and regulate immune function. Although turmeric is full of minerals, it’s most powerful healing ingredient is curcumin.

 

antioxidant superfoodsGreen Tea

There is a simple reason drinking green tea is an ancient tradition that has stood the test of time. It is full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that fight cancer. Today, you’ll find green tea baked into foods, in smoothies and of course, in a traditional hot cup of tea.

 

Almonds

Did you know that almonds have more nutrients than any other nut? They are a great source of fiber and magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron. Almonds also contain vitamin E, a known antioxidant. The combination of monounsaturated fat and fiber in almonds has been shown to reduce cholesterol.  Finally, almonds are a blood sugar stabilizer because they contain a good balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat leading to a very slow rise in blood sugar. See why almonds made the superfood list?!

 

Mushrooms

This one may surprise you. Mushrooms have been used in Chinese healing for years and can help prevent cancer – particularly Reishi and Chaga varieties. Eating mushrooms regularly can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

 

Avocados

Everyone is crazy for avocados these days…and for excellent reasons! Avocados are full of good fats and can help reduce heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Like almonds, they are good blood sugar stabilizers. They are also known to assist in blood and tissue regeneration. And they happen to taste fantastic!

 

Salmon, Sardines or Anchovies

These three fish are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, which turn down inflammatory pathways and slow or prevent chronic conditions of aging such as, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune illnesses. Omega 3s are vital for proper brain function and even for mood regulation. Most Americans are low in Omega 3s and are too high in Omega 6, keeping them systemically inflamed. This is so important to reverse, that we actually test Omega 6/Omega 3 ratios using our Brainspan test.

Note: Stay away from farm raised salmon, as it has many toxins, and look for wild caught Alaskan salmon.

 

RELATED: How to easily know your Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels

 

Eggs

Eggs have more protein than any other food source…and they can be incorporated into your diet in so many easy ways. They contain a variety of necessary amino acids, and the yolks contain choline, which is important for brain function and is protective of the heart.

 

antioxidant superfoodsPomegranates

Pomegranates and their juice have been known for their anti-aging and cancer-reducing properties. They are #1 in antioxidants of all the fruit.  And pomegranates have even more antioxidants than green tea!

 

Garlic

First, garlic reduces cholesterol. Second, because it is strongly antiviral and antibacterial, it also boosts immune function and helps to fight off infection. Finally, garlic can help detoxify the body of heavy metals. Who knew it could do more than ward off vampires?!

 

Maca

If you haven’t heard of maca, you’re not alone. Maca is a Peruvian root that packs a protein punch, is full of vitamins B1, B2, C and E and contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium and iron. What makes maca so different from many other superfoods is that it is an adaptogen. This means it affects the body’s hormones in ways that help build stamina and endurance, deal with the effects of stress, improve sexual health and positively affect mood. Ask your local grocer to start carrying maca!

 

Dark chocolate and red wine

I’ve paired these together because everyone needs a little indulgence! Whether it is chocolate, red wine or both, these have great health benefits if eaten and drank in moderation. Dark chocolate (70 percent or higher) is anti-inflammatory, which helps to reduce pain. It contains both antioxidants and magnesium and can elevate your mood.  Red wine reduces blood clots, raises HDL (the good cholesterol) and contains the antioxidant resveratrol.

 

Are you ready to head to the grocery store and shop for some superfoods?

This is just a sample of the antioxidant superfoods out there that will provide the building blocks to keep you healthy, slow aging, reduce inflammation and prevent disease. Include a variety of these healthy whole foods in your diet – by themselves, in smoothies or as part of a recipe. Have fun and feel better by knowing what these superfoods can do for you!

Want even more superfoods? Dr. Mercola has a great list.

 

Dr. Sharman

 

Featured Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash