King Chiropractic

Coronavirus: What Makes This One Different

Like many people, I was initially skeptical of the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak. It seems like every year the media finds another disease to scare us with- SARS, swine flu, bird flu, Ebola, Zika- and I figured this was just another attempt to get ratings. However, after reviewing the data, I can see why this virus is a cause for concern. Two things you need to consider when dealing with viruses is 1) how contagious they are and 2) how deadly they are. Fortunately, the COVID-19 virus appears to have a relatively low mortality rate (current average is 3.4%, as low as 0.2% in young people and up to 20% in the elderly). Compare this to SARS, which killed about 1 out of 10 people who were infected (10%). However, COVID-19 is much more contagious. There were only about 8000 confirmed cases of SARS over the course of 8 months. COVID-19 has already infected over 100,000, and it is just getting started. To see a graph comparing the two, check out this link.

What does this mean for us? If you are under 60 and otherwise healthy, COVID-19 will likely just give you cold symptoms and you will recover without medical help. This may make it seem like COVID-19 is no big deal. However, not all of us are young and healthy. Between 10-20% of people infected will require hospitalization. Because the virus is spreading so quickly, this could quickly overwhelm the healthcare system and we could literally run out of hospital beds, masks, medications, etc.

So while COVID-19 may not ending up affecting you much personally, we all have a responsibility as a community to try to slow down the spread of this virus so it can be dealt with more effectively. We don’t need to panic and start hoarding toilet paper and canned goods, but we should be taking the precautions set forth by the CDC: washing hands frequently for 20 seconds, not touching your face, covering your sneezes/coughs, avoiding crowds if possible, and staying home if you are sick.

At King Chiropractic, we are continuing to do what we always do: disinfecting tables and tools between use and using hand sanitizer or washing hands between patients. We have also been doing extra cleaning with Clorox wipes to “high-touch” items such as doorknobs, toys, phones, etc. My staff has been advised to stay home if they are showing any signs of illness.

We ask that you please do you part as well to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you have a fever or feel unwell, please reschedule your appointment. If in the last 3 weeks, you have traveled or been in close contact from someone who has just returned from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, or Washington State please refrain from public contact as much as possible for 2 – 3 weeks to ensure you are not infected. We will also have a large bottle of hand sanitizer on the front desk for you to use when you come in.

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention one thing that everyone seems to be forgetting. In order for an illness to occur, you need two things- a virus and a host. We have been focusing solely on the virus but ignoring the host (your body). Now is the time to be boosting your immune system as much as possible. Eat healthy, avoid sugar and alcohol, take your vitamins (especially C and D), stay hydrated, reduce/quit smoking, get lots of sleep, and try to minimize stress.

We will get through this!

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The Problem With Pain

Most people visit a chiropractor because they are in pain. It is the chiropractor’s job to determine what is causing the pain and then take steps to fix the problem. In some cases, this can be quite tricky because of something called referred pain, meaning that the pain is felt in a different area than the actual problem. There are a few different types of referred pain:
Radicular: This type of pain is caused by a nerve that is being irritated or compressed. One example is shooting pain down the leg (aka sciatica) caused by a disc herniation in the lumbar spine. This type of pain is typically described as sharp and shooting like an electric shock, and it is often accompanied by numbness or tingling. True radicular pain is not very common; most people who come to see me complaining of sciatica actually have deep referred pain.
Deep referred pain: This type of pain is caused by inflammation and in the joints or ligaments or trigger points (“knots”) in the muscles or tendons. It occurs because of the way the body is wired. For example, nerves coming from your buttock and thigh connect to the spinal cord in the same area as nerves coming from the sacroiliac (pelvic) joint.  Sometimes the brain has difficulty telling where the signal is coming from, and you will perceive pain in both areas.  Therefore, if you have a sprain or misalignment of the sacroiliac joint, you might feel pain in the buttock and thigh even though there is nothing wrong in that area. Many people who think they have sciatica are actually suffering from deep referred pain from the lumbar spine, pelvis, and gluteal muscles.
Deep referred pain is by far the most common type of musculoskeletal pain; I can pretty much guarantee you have experienced it in some form before. It can be quite a good mimic; people will often come to my office with what they think is sciatica, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or a “pinched nerve”, only to find out the cause of their pain is being referred from adjacent joints or muscles.
Somatovisceral pain: Signals from the internal organs and musculoskeletal system can also be confused by the brain, causing organic diseases to refer to the musculoskeletal system and vice versa.  One example that you are probably familiar with is the pain that sometimes radiates into the neck, jaw, and down the arm during a heart attack. Fortunately I rarely see this type of pain in my office!
Whatever type of pain you have, don’t ignore it. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Come in and get checked out. If caught early, most problems are fairly simple and can be taken care of easily.
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Tart Cherry Juice for Arthritis Pain

If you watch Dr.Oz, you may have heard some of the recent hype about tart cherry juice and its amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Tart cherries contain a large amount of a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin. This antioxidant is thought to inhibit the same enzyme as aspirin (cyclooxygenase), which would explain why it would decrease inflammation and pain. In a small study done at Oregon Health & Science University, women drinking tart cherry juice for 3 weeks had a significant reduction in inflammatory markers and arthritis pain.

I am always looking for new things to help my patients, but also wary of new “miracle cures” that are being hyped up by the media, so I decided to do a little experiment myself. Since I do not have arthritis, I decided to use my parents as guinea pigs. They both have chronic pain due to severe osteoarthritis of the spine and knees.  After tasting the tart cherry juice, I decided to use tart cherry capsules instead.  The juice is very, well, tart, and I think it would be difficult to drink two whole glasses of it each day. There is also a lot of sugar and calories in that much juice. I bought the Solaray brand Tart Cherry Juice capsules on I had my parents track their pain levels for a week before starting the capsules in order to get a baseline. Then I had them take 2 capsules twice per day with breakfast and dinner for the next week and again record their pain levels.
Both of my parents reported a modest reduction in their arthritis pain.  My mother’s average pain level went from 5.71 to 5, and my father’s went from 7.71 to 4.57. I could tell when I saw my mother for her weekly chiropractic treatment that she was much less inflamed than usual. They also both reported increased pain when they stopped taking the capsules, and thus they have gone on themselves now and bought another two bottles. I am encouraging them to try 3 capsules twice per day to see if it further reduces their symptoms.
Neither of my parents reported any adverse side effects.  Both of them have a history of GERD and stomach ulcers, but the capsules did not seem to bother them.
Of course this was only a tiny study with no placebo controls, but I think the results are promising. Is tart cherry juice a miracle cure for arthritis? No, but it may help “take the edge off” and be an important part of managing osteoarthritis, along with a healthy diet, regular low-impact exercise, chiropractic & massage, etc. Because it is an antioxidant, it also has many other health benefits such as maintaining cardiovascular health and preventing free radical damage to cells. If you have chronic osteoarthritis pain, it may be worth trying. One word of caution: Check with your PCP first if you are taking blood thinners.  Since tart cherry juice acts similar to aspirin, it may have some blood thinning properties.
Click here to see Dr.Oz’s segment on tart cherry juice.
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