Are Your Bones “Under Construction” or “Under Demolition”?

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Julius Wolff was a German Anatomist and Surgeon who discovered that bones build and rebuild depending on the types and amounts of weight placed up on them. It was this discovery that lead us to understand how it is that exercise increases bone density. This is especially important to those concerned with or suffering from osteoporosis or degenerative joint disease.

Your bones have multiple parts. If you’ve ever looked at a bone in a steak or out in the wild, you might have noticed there to be a smooth shell on the outer part. You might have also noticed that there was a kind of “web-looking” inner part as well. The outer part is called the “Cortex” and the layer beneath it is called the ” trabeculae“; which actually means comes from the Latin word for “bar” or “beam”. That’s apropos since it acts as scaffolding; creating the framing of the structure resulting your ability to maintain form against gravity.Image

When bones are stressed, they build trabeculae in direct resistance to that stress. When bone is not stressed, bone reabsorbs that trabeculae and loses it’s density. We see this at work in Tennis players. The bones in their racket-holding wrists are more dense due to the repetitive vibrations of hitting a tennis ball over and over. Martial Artists who regularly break boards with their elbows, develop denser bones right where they strike their target. We also know that because astronauts are under a fraction of the stress due to the lack in gravity, they often return with a greatly diminished bone density. Their bones have begun to lose their trabeculae because there is very little stress placed up on them in space.

Now, other factors play into bone density other than mechanical stress. Your body’s ability to take Calcium from your diet and place into bone also depends on things like Stress Level, Vitamin D levels, Blood pH and to some extent, genetics.

I see the results of what is now called “Wolff’s Law” in my office every day. You see, when a spine is not aligned correctly, your body begins to build bone where it needs to be, in order to deal with the change in force on the joint. When it does this due to inordinate stress on a joint, we call these bone formations, osteophytes or “spurs”. The most come place you hear about these is in a heel “spur”.

When forces on bones and joints are not even, degenerative disc and joint disease, along with osteophytes and spurs are almost inevitable, and unfortunately ubiquitous.

Make sure your body is properly aligned, you exercise more days than not and maintain a diet high in fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Also, check your Vitamin D levels regularly to ensure your bones are “Under Construction” like the Tennis Player and not “Under Demolition” like the astronaut.

Aaron L. Wiegand, DC, CCST

What if My Legs are Uneven?

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Chiropractic has been around for over 100 years now, so I often see patients who have seen at least one other doctor of chiropractic in their lifetime. They want to make sure I know everything I can in order to help them with their condition. My patients will often say, “Doc, you should know that I have a short leg.”. But, what does it really mean to have a “short leg”? Is it really that one leg is longer than the other, and what does that have to do with your low back pain?

First, let’s describe the 2 types of “short legs”. One, is called a “functional short leg”. This is often seen when a patient is laying on the adjusting table, and one foot appears to be above or below another. It’s not that the leg itself is actually shorter or longer. Uneven muscle tone in the low back can hike one hip up or down, causing one like to “pull up” short. The significance of this is the subject of much debate among chiropractors and researchers.

The second, and far more relevant, is the “anatomical short leg”. This is when one leg is actually a different length than the other. This can be due to one of the leg bones (Tibia or Femur) having grown longer on one side, due to a childhood injury or simple genetics. Dr. Friberg, MD, found that in nearly 75% of low back pain patients had a leg length inequality of 5mm or more. Even 43% of the patients with no low back pain had the same leg length inequality.

There are many other variables to consider when it comes to leg length inequality. Factors like degenerative joint disease, fallen arches and genetic spinal deformities can all contribute to this condition that causes a leg to be “shorter”, and a significant number of people to needlessly suffer from low back pain. This is why it’s so important to see a spinal specialist when it comes to low back pain. Chiropractors are specifically trained to get to the root cause, instead of simply writing your pain off as a “low back sprain, requiring medication”. I’ve never met someone suffering from low back pain because they were deficient in Aspirin. However, I have seen a significant number of my patients being treated for low back pain and degenerative disc disease for years due to a leg that was simply not as long as the one next to it.

Like a wobbly table at a restaurant, eventually someone’s got to get to the root of the problem and simply put a matchbook under the short leg so everyone can eat without spilling their soup. We call that matchbook a “foot lift” or a “heel lift”. By evening out the legs, we remove stress on the spine, and add years to its life. It’s a low tech fix to simple, but often overlooked cause of low back pain.

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC, CCST

Why Blood is Important When it Comes To Degenerative Disc Disease

According to the European Spine Journal, the discs in between the bones in your spine called, vertebrae, are the largest organs in your body lacking a blood supply. By the age 15-20, the growth plates in your spine become bone, and circulation to your discs diminishes significantly. The heart can no longer pump nutrients to the cells building the collagen that keeps you discs strong, yet moveable. From then on, your spinal discs rely on regular motion in order to pump nutrients in and waste out.

This is why I will regularly see the beginning stages of disc degeneration in my patients as early as age 25. Without nutrients, the cells of the disc begin to die and become replaced with stiff and weak scar tissue.

This is why I use multiple techniques in my office to reinstate normal spinal motion in my patients. By mobilizing the spine, we can increase circulation, and even break down scar tissue. By allowing the spine to move and function to a greater capacity, healing nutrients can deliver the relief patients suffering from back and neck pain need.

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand,DC,CCST

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Whiplash: How not to make mistakes after an accident.

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Getting into a rear-end-collision is a day killer to be sure. If not handled appropriately, it can become something much more than just a pain in the neck. Harvard researchers have found, using cadaver studies, that even an impact of just 10 MPH can cause damage to spinal disks and joints. It’s not surprising when you consider that a 10 pound head is connected to a 180+ body by something as complex and delicate as 7 cervical bones, a spinal cord and muscle. Imagine attaching a bowling ball to a rack of ribs and then whip it back and forth in under a second, and you get close to why something as seemingly innocuous as a “fender bender” can create so much soft tissue damage.

Getting your injury properly treated starts with a visit to an ER. Get cleared of any life-threatening injury, and then consult your local chiropractor to begin the rehabilitation process so proper healing can begin.

But, before any of that, what you do immediately after the accident can have a huge impact on your case down the road. Here are some suggestions to make sure you get the care you need and those responsible compensate you for you and your cars’ repair.

1. Call the police and get a copy of the police report.

2. Get the name and numbers/emails of any witnesses.

3. Get the drivers license and insurance information. DO NOT accept offers to handle this “under the table”.

4. Photograph damage to the cars with your phone or keep a disposable camera in the car.

5. Consult with an attorney – Working with an attorney can take the hassle by the insurance companies off of you so you can focus on getting well and getting back to life.

Whiplash injuries have a nasty habit of starting off feeling like a simple neck sprain, but can quickly become much worse over the course of weeks, even months. Take the right steps in the beginning to make sure you ultimately get the care you need.

Aaron L. Wiegand, DC,CCST

How Heavy Is Your Head?

Did you know that posture may have something to do with why you’re experiencing low back and even neck pain? It’s true!

“The human head weighs 8 pounds.” says the little boy from Jerry McGuire. In reality heads are not all created equal. Some are larger than others. The human head weighs between 8 and 12 pounds, with 10 pounds being the average. Lesser known is how your head can “gain weight” depending on you posture.

Look at people walking down the street. Many of them are suffering from “Forward Head Posture” (FHP). This is where, when you ‘re standing up straight, your ear is no longer in line with your shoulders when someone looks at you from the side. This is the scary part. For every inch forward your head goes, it adds an additional 10 pounds of weight that the muscles in your neck and shoulders must deal with to keep your head up, according to medical researcher Dr. Rene Calliet, MD. That’s like adding a bowling ball on your head for every inch!!!

FHP can also lead to accelerated Degenerative Disc Disease, Degenerative Joint Disease, Disc Herniation, Headaches, TMJ Pain and even reduce the diameter of your airway, making breathing difficult. The only people trained to correct this type of postural condition is a chiropractor. A chiropractor specifically trained in the restoration of Spinal Biomechanics.

So, check your posture today. Stand up straight and have someone take a picture of you with their camera on their phone from the side so you get a profile. Is your ear in front of your shoulder? How much? Make sure your ears and shoulders aren’t lining up simply because your shoulders are also rounding forward. That’s another postural condition which needs to be addressed. If you have low back and/or neck pain, and your posture is looking less like an “I” and more like a “C”, it’s time to see your chiropractor. Even without pain, these conditions need to be addressed. 

For questions, please go to www.spinebuilder.com or call my office at 623.587.7463.

Yours in health,

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand,DC,CCST

 

Don’t Grind Your Gears

“Hey doc, when I turn my head this way, I hear this…clicking…it’s like it’s GRINDING or something.”

Believe it or not, medicine has a name for this; “crepitus”. It’s the sound your joints make when you move. Sometimes, the sound can come from a tendon that is rolling over a bony bump or ridge which causes a kind of “snap”. This is usually heard in wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. Or, the surfaces of your joints are losing their smoothness due to joint degeneration, causing a kind of grinding sound. It’s like hearing tiny pebbles grind together when you move your neck.

Joint degeneration, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint/disk disease, subluxation degeneration, are all pretty much the same thing with much the same cause. When your joints are injured, the muscles will spasm around them to protect them from further injury. If left too long, the muscles will inhibit your joints ability to move and circulation is reduced as a result. Without proper nutrition, the cells in your joints begin to die and become replaced by scar tissue. This scar tissue accumulates and cause roughening of the joint surfaces, which leads to more inflammation, scar tissue, joint degeneration, etc. Without proper care, the joints, much like your brakes, will start to make noises as a result of the vibrations liberated by two roughening surfaces grinding together.

While joint degeneration does depend on time, most spinal joints do not degenerate evenly, despite being all the same age. This is why it’s important to get adjusted regularly. Chiropractic adjustments break the muscle spasms and resultant fibrotic adhesions to free the joints natural movement and restore normal health.

We all injure our spines. Whether it’s quickly in a car accident or sports injury; or, over years of working at a computer. Don’t wait until your spine starts talking to you to get help. And, if you notice turning your neck is beginning to sound a lot like a cement mixer, it’s even more important you get under some kind of regular chiropractic care. These grinding noises can be just the prelude to chronic spine pain.

Keep your spine moving and “quiet” by getting regular adjustments. How regular? Consult with your chiropractor to determine the best care plan for you.

Yours in health,

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand,DC,CCST

SpineBuilder.com

623.587.7463

22849 N. 19th AVE #115

Phoenix, AZ 85027

The Wizard of Dr. Oz

Dr Oz  Can you believe that up until 1983, The American Medical Association (AMA) deemed it “unethical” for a medical doctor to associate with a chiropractor?! It’s true. In an antitrust law suit, Wilk Vs. The AMA, a judged ruled that the AMA had engaged in an unlawful conspiracy “to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession.”

We’ve come a long way since then. Now, chiropractic physicians and medical physicians regularly work together so our patients can get the best care possible; which is what it should be about anyway.

Chiropractors have the unique opportunity of being able to spend time with their patients and get to know them, and often their entire families, as they care for and maintain their spine with regular adjustments. It allows us to develop the relationships necessary to affect real change in our patients’ health. So, I always get excited when someone like Dr. Oz shows chiropractic in a positive light. It means someone who has never seen a chiropractor, may now find the safe and natural relief that chiropractic care offers.

Watch Dr. Oz describe chiropractic adjustments on the Dr. Oz show. For not being a chiropractor, he does a pretty good job. And, I have to honest, I am a little jealous of his gigantic spine.

Let me know if you would like me to update your medical doctor about your chiropractic care on your next visit.

IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.

Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC

Moovin’ to the Groovin’

There are 5 things which scientists use as criteria for something being alive.

1. Respiration: Turning food and oxygen into energy. Our bodies convert so many different types of materials into fuel that we should get a tax credit for being a “hybrid” vehicle.

2. Reproduce: Make miniature genetic approximations of ourselves, we call “babies”. Even one-celled amoeba replicates by dividing itself. How romantic.

3. Irritation: Must respond and adapt to the environment. When it’s hot, you sweat. When it’s cold, you shiver. When we hurt, we get in the car and see your chiropractor.

4. Death: Yep. For something to be considered living, it must have the ability to die…so no vampires, zombies, or Volvo’s.

5. Movement: If something is alive, it must be able to MOVE! You know, that thing you do between sleeping and sitting.

3 out of 5 of these are factors that deeply determine your health status:
1)What you eat
2) Your environment
3) How you move. These all work together to determine your physical experience.

So, what’s so special about movement?

1. Movement stretches your arteries: We now know that one way exercise prevents artery hardening (arterial sclerosis) is by veraciously pumping blood through the arteries and stretching them out; keeping them loose.

2. Movement stretches your joints: After about age 15, your spinal discs no longer have blood circulation. Fluid must be pumped in and out in order to get nutrients in and waste out. This is accomplished through movement. Movement and stretching of the joints forces necessary fluid in and prevents joints from accumulating buildup of waste and becoming stiff.

3. Movement strengthens bones: We now know that nearly ALL exercise increases bone density. By contracting muscles, you pull on their bony attachments, causing stress along the bone. This stress signals your body to thicken the bone and make it stronger.  A tennis player’s racquet hand’s bones are always more dense than the opposite hand due to the stress of the vibrations coming off of the racquet.

4. Movement moves white blood cells: With more blood moving through the nooks and crannies of your tissues, white blood cells have more opportunities to run into viruses, bacteria and the daily cancerous cells your body produces.

5. Movement builds your brain: Did you know movement recharges your brain like driving your care recharges your battery? It’s true! In fact, exercise literally adds density to your brain by forcing the neurons to create more and more connections in your brain. This is why people who exercise have less depression and lower rates of Alzheimer’s. Children who exercise in the morning tend to score better on tests as well. For more about activity in the brain, check out the book “Spark” by John J. Rately.

IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.

 

 

 
Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC

Good Vibrations

No. I am not talking about the Theremin-laden 1966 Beach Boys hit. I’m talking about Whole Body Vibration (WBV). WBV is the reason I use the Power Plate in my treatment programs. So, what is WBV? Why do I use it? Why should you?

Did you know your spine contains a natural pain killer? It’s true. Every time a spinal joint moves, information is sent into the spinal cord and up to the brain. Along the way, this information literally sprays chemicals on the nerves that transmit pain which turns them off. That’s why we “walk it off”, or we rub our head when we bump it. Vibrations within the skin and joints activate your body’s natural pain killers. The more people move, the greater threshold for pain. That’s why athletes tolerate injuries much better than sedentary people.

THEY MOVE MORE!

It’s also why an adjustment can reduce pain. When a spinal joint can’t move, pain is free to send that message to your brain. After an adjustment, movement is restored, and your natural drug store dishes out endorphins like a Pez Dispenser!

Are you getting this? Movement reduces pain!

Now, what if I could activate all of those joints at once, creating a shower of your own pain killers without having to make you move which may be painful during an injury?

Now I can!!!

By using WBV, I can turn down the volume on pain, get people relief, and increase natural healing FASTER! The Power Plate not only increases endorphins, it also increases circulation. This is why when patients use it, the rush of blood to their ears and nose can cause them itch. So, increased circulation + natural pain killing = FASTER RELIEF!

For my patients suffering from whiplash or a low back spasm as a result of an inflamed disc, the Power Plate has become an invaluable addition to rehab protocols.

If you’d like to learn more about the Power Plate, and how WBV can make you reach your fitness goals of strength and flexibility, faster than traditional exercise, click here. Dr. Mercola, owner of the most viewed health and wellness site on the web, Mercola.com, reviews the health benefits of this amazing technology.

If you haven’t experienced WBV vibration before, ask me to show you a quick demonstration the next time you’re in for your regular adjustment.

IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.
Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC

Headaches Can Be a Pain In the Neck

There are many types of headaches. Migraine Headaches, Stress Headaches, Cluster Headaches and the absolute worst…Ice Cream Headaches!

Migraines:

Migraines typically last a 1-3 days, and are usually on one side of the head. There can be associated “blurred” vision and nausea. Often, there is a sensitivity to light, sounds and smells. Certain foods can also be triggers. In the patients suffering with Migraines I’ve treated, in most instances the pain is about an 8-10 out of 10. They can be debilitating.

Tension/Stress Headaches:

The most common headache, however, is the Tension/Stress Headache. These usually get progressively worse throughout the day, and end up feeling like a tight band wrapping around your head. Typically, the tension extends into the neck. They last a from a couple hours to a couple days.

The funny thing is that you may be reading this and still confused about what kind of headaches you suffer from. My patients have had what seem like Tension Headaches, but suffer light sensitivity like Migraine Headache sufferers. Or, I see Migraine sufferers who feel their headache is coming from tension in their neck.

How dare these patients not fit into the perfect molds as described on Web MD!!!

In reality, the scientific literature is filled with countless sub-categories of headaches. There’s even an entire journal dedicated to the subject.

So, how can chiropractic care help?

In my clinical experience, not all, but most headaches have a component which involves their cervical spine. Most headache sufferers, when examined, have tenderness around the base of the skull, just behind the ears and around the jaw.

Recent data suggests that there is a reflex which occurs when there is pain, even subconscious pain, involving the jaw and upper neck, which can cause spasms of the muscles around the head in a Tension Headache. These same reflexes may also be responsible for the blood vessel spasm in the brain associated with Migraines.

This is likely why numerous studies describe what has been noticed in chiropractic offices for over 100 years. Adjustments are effective and reducing the pain associated with Tension and Migraine Headaches.

Do you or someone you know suffer from Headaches? Bring them with you on your next visit for a free consultation. Chiropractic care may be able to help.

IF you have questions regarding low back or neck pain call our office at 623-587-7463 or check us out online.

 
Dr. Aaron L. Wiegand, DC