Do You Get Leg Cramps At Night?

Nocturnal leg cramps are contractions of the calf muscles and/or cramping of the soles of the feet that occur while you are sleeping or at rest. Middle-aged and older people most commonly get them, but it can happen at any age.  The cramps can affect persons in any age group, but they tend to occur in middle-aged and older populations.

There has not been any clear research results that have shown the cause of what causes nocturnal leg cramps. It has been hypothesized that nerves controlling your muscles cause the contractions. It is common to have leg cramps during dream sleep.  This is why some researchers think these cramps are because of a malfunction in the nervous system.  Our brain is not sending the proper messages to our muscles when we are dreaming.

Often, nighttime cramps are caused by overexertion of the muscles, having flat feet, standing on hard surfaces, long periods of sitting, improper leg positions while sitting, or dehydration.  Muscular individuals get leg cramps much more often than lean body types.  This can be because tight muscles do not get the proper blood supply and tighten the nerves, which then irritate them. Keeping your calves loose can often prevent night cramps.   Applying heat to your calves may help because this will increase the blood flow.

Low levels electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium) can contribute to cramps.  Vegetables and fruits contain electrolytes and there are many lists online to follow.  Please look them up and add some to your diet.  Here is a brief list to get you started:

Potassium:  Beef, liver, fish, fruit (esp. bananas), apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, peas, bean, potatoes. The daily recommended amount (DRA) is 3500mg.

Magnesium: Beef, poultry, fish, nuts, grains, legumes, and green vegetables. DRA is 400mg.

Calcium: Milk products, leafy, green vegetables, soybeans, broccoli, and tofu. DRA is 1000mg.

Sodium: Table salt. DRA is 2400mg

When cramping happens, walking on the affected leg or elevating it may help.   Take a hot shower or warm bath; this may help relax your muscles.

To keep cramps at a minimum or get rid of them for good, I would suggest drinking a lot of water, eating foods with electrolytes in them.  You may be surprised by the results.

Can Chiropractic Help With Fertility?

Well, since the nerves that regulate and control your reproductive system exit from the spine, it would make sense that if there is anything preventing impulses to be sent to and from your reproductive system, infertility may result.  When we remove that interference through a gentle adjustment, your body has the capacity to heal itself.  This is when we start seeing great results from chiropractic.

A study on infertility and Chiropractic

In a study published in (JVSR),  Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research,  this study examined the effectiveness of chiropractic for infertility.  15 women, who ranged in age from 22 to 64. They were adjusted using a different techniques and nerve interference was removed from the system.  Until this study, they all had problems becoming pregnant.

The Results with Chiropractic:

After receiving chiropractic care, 14 of the 15 subjects became pregnant within 2 to 20 months of starting chiropractic care. The 64 year-old woman was the only one who did not conceive.

This is just one study showing results from chiropractic care.  Other case studies on infertile women have similar results and I have witnessed it first hand with my patients.   So, if you are having a hard time conceiving, you may want to check us out.

Good Posture Is Important

Why is posture so important?

Posture is as important as eating a healthy diet, sleeping 7-9 hours a day, avoiding harmful substances like drugs, alcohol and tobacco.  Keeping good posture means that your bones, joints, ligaments are working the way that they should.  It also means that there is no pulling or tugging on your organs so they can function properly.  It also contributes to normal function of your nervous system.

When posture is bad, your health and function are compromised.  Long term effects may effect your digestion, breathing, muscles, joints and ligaments.  It can also effect your bodies ability to release toxins in your body.  We can avoid these problems caused by bad posture and  The good news is that most everyone can avoid problems caused by bad posture and it doesn’t matter how old you are, improvements can happen and you can get great results!

How Does it Happen?

Often, poor posture develops as a result of an accident or fall. In the majority of cases, it develops from environmental factors or bad habits. This means that you have control and can avoid getting symptoms.
In most cases, poor posture results from a combination of several factors, which can include:
1. Accidents, injuries and falls
2. Poor sleep support (mattress)
3. Excessive weight
4. Visual or emotional difficulties
5. Foot problems or improper shoes
6. Weak muscles, muscle imbalance
7. Careless sitting, standing, sleeping habits
8. Negative self image
9. Occupational stress
10. Poorly designed work space

Poor Posture & Pain – A lifetime of poor posture can start a progression of symptoms in the average adult. It can start with:

1. Fatigue – Your muscles have to work hard just to hold you up if you have poor posture. You waste energy just moving, leaving you without the extra energy you need to feel good.

2. Tight, achy muscles in the neck, back, arms and legs – By this stage, there may be a change in your muscles and ligaments and you may have a stiff, tight painful feeling. More than 80% of the neck and back problems are the result of tight, achy muscles brought on by years of bad posture.

3. Joint stiffness and pain – At risk for “wear and tear” arthritis, or what is termed degenerative osteoarthritis. Poor posture and limited mobility increase the likelihood of this condition in later years.

What are some common symptoms of poor posture?

Headaches, neck pain, arthritis, muscle strain, muscle spasms, pinched nerves, disc injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, TMJ, fibromyalgia, fatigue, numbness or tingling in hands/legs, and low back pain.

From the ICA web page. For more information write to: International Chiropractors Association, 1110 N. Glebe Road, Suite 1000, Arlington, VA 22201 (703) 528-5000.

16 Reasons for Constipation: Why And What To Do

Constipation is very common these days with our busy schedules.  People don’t make the time to eat the foods that are necessary for optimal food breakdown and elimination.   In some cases it can be caused by a disorder of bowel dysfunction and/or a structural problem. Here are some reasons for constipation:

•    Obstructed nerve and muscle function in the bowel.
•    Not drinking enough water.
•    Not enough fiber in the diet.
•    Changes in diet regular diet (traveling).
•    Sedentary lifestyle (decrease physical activity)
•    Eating large amounts of dairy products.
•    Increased Stress.
•    Resisting the urge to have a bowel movement.  This can result in hemorrhoids
•    Overuse of stool softeners which decrease bowel muscle strength.
•    Hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
•    Too much calcium or aluminum
•    Strong pain medicines, narcotics, anti-depressants or iron pills).
•    Depression.
•    Eating disorders (disrupt bowel function)
•    Pregnancy.
•    An obstruction in the colon (cancer)

What Are the Symptoms of Constipation?

•    Infrequent bowel movements and/or difficulty having bowel movements.
•    Swollen abdomen or abdominal pain.
•    Pain.
•    Vomiting.

If you have constipation for more than two weeks, you should see a doctor so he or she can determine the source of your problem and treat it.  It can become dangerous if you are unable to release your bowel.

How Can I Prevent Constipation?

1. Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fiber. Good sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain bread and cereal (especially bran). Fiber and water help the colon pass stool.

2. Drink 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water and other fluids a day.  Drinks which have caffeine should be avoided because they dehydrate you.  as dairy products may be constipating for them.

3. Get into an exercise program.

4. Do not hold in your bowels.  Go to the bathroom when you need to.

What Should I Do If I Am Constipated?

•    Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day (unless fluid restricted).
•    Try warm liquids, especially in the morning.
•    Add fruits and vegetables to your diet.
•    Eat prunes and/or bran cereal.
•    If needed, use a very mild stool softener or laxative (such as Peri-Colace or Milk of Magnesia). Do not use laxatives for more than two weeks without calling your doctor, as laxative overuse can aggravate your symptoms.

Sometimes I have patients with this problem and in most cases, they have lumbar or pelvis misalignments.  After consulting them about their diet, a gentle adjustment to their hips and lumbar spine allows the constipation subsides.  It can really be that easy!  Adding the proper foods and making sure the body is aligned properly may make the difference.  Call our Redwood City Wellness Center for more information.

 

Pubic Pain During Pregnancy

Pubic pain during pregnancy is called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction and can be pretty severe.  During pregnancy your body changes and the baby grows larger putting more stress on the round ligament, sacrum, hips and low back. SPD is one problem that is fairly easy to rectify by chiropractors.  Aligning the pelvis is key along with taking pressure off the round ligament.

What is SPD?

First, lets talk about how your body changes during pregnancy.  Your pelvis becomes more easily moveable getting ready for child birth.  Your body begins releasing a chemical called “relaxin” to loosen ligaments in your body and make the birth process easier.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) can occur in 25% of pregnant women because the pelvis can rotate, move forward or shift to the side causing the fibrocartilage tissue to inflame and cause pain.  If you have ever had this, you know how painful this can be.

What are the symptoms?

Discomfort in the pelvic region (usually the center).  Pain may also occur in your low back, hips, legs and the sacroiliac joint.  You may hear a popping or clicking when walking and have difficulty climbing the stairs.

How can I help?

The Webster Technique has proven to be quite successful when used on my pregnant patients experiencing SPD pain.   It is primarily used to turn breech babies but it also alleviates aches and pains that most pregnant women feel are “normal” during pregnancy.  Relaxin stays in the mother’s system for 9 months after the baby is born.  Keeping the whole body aligned is important so that when the ligaments and bones are now back to pre-pregnancy status, the body functions the way it ought to.  Chiropractic is non-invasive, safe and effective.

Rotator Cuff Injuries Can Creep Up On You

Your rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons on the upper part of your shoulder.  These muscles are responsible for rotating your arm outward (Teres Minor and Infraspinatus), rotating it inward (Subscapularis) and moving it away from your body (Supraspinatus).  Since we use our arms a lot, irritation or damage to the rotator cuff is fairly common.

Injuries to the area can result from falling on the shoulder, lifting and repetitive arm movements.  The most common cause of a rotator cuff injury occurs when you lift our arm over your head to throw a baseball or to open shelves that are above the shoulders.  Athletes and chefs commonly have problems with the shoulder.

Here are some common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury:

Pain and tenderness in your shoulder, especially when reaching overhead, reaching behind your back, lifting, pulling or sleeping on your side
Weakness
Limited movement in the shoulder
avoidance of lifting your arm over your head for fear of pain.

What causes a rotator cuff problem?

Normal wear and tear. Increasingly after age 40, normal wear and tear on your rotator cuff can cause a breakdown of fibrous protein (collagen) in the cuff’s tendons and muscles. This makes them more prone to degeneration and injury. With age, you may also develop calcium deposits within the cuff or arthritic bone spurs that can pinch or irritate your rotator cuff.
Poor posture. When you slouch your neck and shoulders forward, the space where the rotator cuff muscles reside can become smaller. This can allow a muscle or tendon to become pinched under your shoulder bones (including your collarbone), especially during overhead activities, such as throwing.
Falling. Using your arm to break a fall or falling on your arm can bruise or tear a rotator cuff tendon or muscle.
Lifting or pulling. Lifting an object that’s too heavy or doing so improperly — especially overhead — can strain or tear your tendons or muscles. Likewise, pulling something, such as a high-poundage archery bow, may cause an injury.
Repetitive stress. Repetitive overhead movement of your arms can stress your rotator cuff muscles and tendons, causing inflammation and eventually tearing. This occurs often in athletes, especially baseball pitchers, swimmers and tennis players. It’s also common among people in the building trades, such as painters and carpenters.
Being an athlete. Athletes who regularly use repetitive motions, such as baseball pitchers, archers and tennis players, have a greater risk of having a rotator cuff injury.
Working in the construction trades. Carpenters and painters, who also use repetitive motions, have an increased risk of injury.
Having weak shoulder muscles. This risk factor can be decreased or eliminated with shoulder-strengthening exercises, especially for the less commonly strengthened muscles on the back of the shoulder and around the shoulder blades.

Problems in your shoulder can be a long term problem.  When tissues are damaged it can take 8-12 weeks to heal.  Even after reconditioning the area you must keep up with it especially if you have a job that calls for repetitive shoulder movement.  I have had great success with S.A.S.T.M. to recondition the tissue along with proper alignment of the shoulder.  Incorporating exercises to strengthen the area really helps!  You don’t have to live with shoulder pain and limitation.  Give us a call and we will guide you to health.

Chondromalacia (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

Your knee is responsible for absorbing a lot of stress when you walk, jump or run.  Cartilage located underneath the surface of your kneecap (patella) can sometimes be scraped or damaged during overuse, leg malposition, injury or tightness of surrounding muscles.   When the under surface is irritated, Chondromalacia of the patella occurs.  It is also called “Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome”.  Basically, the tissues underneath your kneecap have become inflammed.

Symptoms: Usually a dull, aching pain in the front of your knee especially when walking uphill or downhill, kneeling, squatting or sitting for long periods of time with your legs bent.  You may also experience a grating or grinding sensation when you straighten your leg.

When there is a flare-up, ice can help with the pain and inflammation.   I have found in my practice that a common reason why Chondromalacia occurs is because of tightness of either the Vastis-medialis or Vasits-Lateralis muscle.  This leads to a bio-mechanical problem where the knee does not move efficiently.  Finding out which muscle needs to be strengthened and which one needs to be stretched is key.  When there is an imbalance in the thigh, one muscle begins to pull your kneecap and rub against the tibia (leg).  This results in cartilage damage.

Proper stretching and strengthening exercises can prevent incidence of pain and prevent further damage to the tissues.

So, who commonly gets Chondromalacia?  Surprisingly, adolescents and young adults!  Most likely athletes who participate in running or jumping sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball.  Running can add 3-5x pounds of body weight force to the joints and Jumping can add 5 to 7x pounds.   This means if you weight 200lbs, running can add 1,000 pounds of forc and jumping can add up to 1,400 pounds.  That is a lot of strain to the joint and body.  Over time, squatting or or climbing stairs can become quite painful and sometimes even unbearable.

Proper body mechanics is important for taking the stress out of our bodies and allowing our joints to move the way they should.  Make sure you understand that this can be a repetitive injury which may take some time to heal but you can certainly get through it and even continue participating in the sport of your choice.  Specific exercises along with chiropractic alignments can greatly reduce flare-ups and chronic problems.

If you are experiencing knee pain, we can help!

We Are In Downtown Redwood City!

We are conveniently in the heart of downtown where there is an event almost every night.  Our new location is just one block from the downtown courthouse and just blocks from Caltrain and local bus stations.  Come on in, relax and we will release accumulated stress from your body so you can feel relaxed and ready for some entertainment.  Here is a list of some of the events happening downtown!

Thursdays: Movie night.  June through September.  Shows start at sundown (approximately 8:45pm).  Come early for the best seats (a limited number of chairs and tables are available).   Feel free to bring your blankets and chairs. Pick up take-out food from the nearby restaurants and watch selected movies on the outdoor 25 foot screen.

Friday: Music. May through October.  Enjoy rock, blues, Celtic, swing, salsa, country, jazz and more.  You may bring your own food but Redwood City does not allow you to save a spot until 3:00pm so if you have chairs to put in place, you can not do so until 3pm. Dance the evening away listening to your favorite tunes!  This is highly attended and the music is outstanding.

Saturday: Farmers Market from 8:00am to Noon.  Located at Broadway at Marshall street right next to Caltrain.  This market has tons of local farmers with fresh organic produce.

You can’t find a better place to enjoy a a day or night out with family and friends.

11 Ways To Help Your Baby Turn From The Breech Position

Being told you have a breech baby can be scary. Years ago obstetricians were prepared and trained for vaginal breech births. Now, Cesarean dates are given to expectant mothers weeks before their due date if ultrasound shows the baby is breech, including:

1. Footling breech – feet first
2. Complete breech – baby sitting on heels (Buddha Style)
3. Frank breech – bottom first, with feet up by head

Breech babies make up about 4 percent of pregnancies. Here are some great tips to do help your baby turn head down.

  • Webster Breech Technique from a certified chiropractor
  • Acupuncture choose one that specializes in pregnancy and knows the points to stimulate for turning a breech baby.
  • Swimming as often as possible. This keeps your body and pelvis loose and relaxed. Do in conjunction with headstand below if you have help.

There are also some remedies you can try at home. These include:

  • Breech Tilt – begin at 32-35 weeks gestation. Do 3 times daily for 10-15 minutes each time, when you have an empty stomach, and the baby is active. Prop one end of an ironing board securely on a sofa or chair 12 to 18 inches high (or may use slant board). Lie down, bend knees but keep feet flat on board. Relax, breathe deeply, avoid tensing. May also use pillows on a flat surface to raise hips 12-18″ above shoulders. Gravity pushes the baby’s head into the fundus, tucks it, and baby can then do a somersault to a vertex position.
  • Flashlight or rolling pin – try moving slowly down from the top of the uterus toward your pubic bone while you are in a breech tilt position.
  • Massage – start with your left hand at the bottom of the abdomen and your right hand just above it. Move move your hands clockwise around the right side of your tummy. As your right hand reaches the top of your abdomen, slide the left one over your right and move it down the left side of your tummy. Your left hand leads as you you come full circle, continuing clockwise. Massage gently as you would to apply lotion. Massage for ten minutes or more up to several times each day.
  • Clothespin – place on the small toe of each foot at the outside corner of the toenail; sideways so that the toenail and toepad are stimulated for 30 minutes per day, this is an acupressure point that is a “moving down” point. You can also do this with just finger pressure as you remember to do it.
  • Motion Sickness band – place with the bead four fingerwidths above the inner ankle bone – another acupressure point that is used for stimulation of the uterus. Do not use this point if you are experiencing any pre-term labor.
  • Glass of orange or other juice – follow this with a side-lying position with your hips positioned higher than your feet. Babies move more after a sugar high!
  • Pelvic Tilt- with an ice pack on the top of your tummy on an empty stomach, 10 minutes twice a day. Do this while lying on your back on the floor with knees flexed and feet on the floor with three large pillows placed under your buttocks. Try this in conjunction with headphones and visualization.
  • Cat stretch – start with all fours, then lay your head and chest flat on the floor with your buttocks in the air, as you round your back and return to all fours.
  • Knee-chest position – by kneeling with hips flexed slightly more than 90 degree, but with thighs not pressing against your tummy and your head, shoulders and upper chest are flat on a mattress for 15 minutes every two waking hours for five days.
  • Visualizing the baby moving down with the head very deep in your pelvis, several times a day; especially in conjunction with positions and exercises below.
  • Belly Relaxing followed by Inversion – Partner places a shawl, sheet, towel or rebozo under mom’s hips as she lays on the floor. Lift up on the corners of the cloth and shimmy her from side to side moving your hands up and down to wiggle her belly from side to side. These should be very small movements which mom should find very relaxing. Do this for about 5 minutes. Then mother kneels on the stairway landing. Walk your hands down 2 or 3 stairs into an all fours position; have your partner support your shoulders to balance you. Remain in this position for about 5-10 minutes or as long as comfortable. Also do this on an empty stomach.

Dr. Amie Gregory is Webster Certified.  This is a technique specifically for babies in the breech position and it is effective about 80% of the time. It is painfree, gentle and helps get you ready for delivery as well.  It can also help with pelvic pain and low back pain.

  • Medical Professionals will recommend External Version after around 37 weeks.  This is uncomfortable and quite invasive.  If you have a breech baby, this may be the best way to get your baby face down and ready for birth.

Sources: Brenda Lane: Turning a Breech Baby