Inside this Issue
Condition of the Month
Detoxify your Body
Stress and your weight
Condition of the Month- Sprains
As spring rolls around, everyone is eager to get outside to garden, exercise or spring clean in the eagerly awaited warmer weather. It’s this time of year that we tend to push ourselves too far, too soon, after being idle during the cold months. This type of activity increases your risk of straining muscles and ligaments when participating in activities that you are not conditioned to be doing.
What is a sprain?
Many of you have experienced sprains to your back, neck, shoulder, ankle or any other of a number of possible locations. A sprain is an overstretching and/or tearing of a ligament. They usually occur during a twisting movement of some sort when your muscles are caught off-guard or overloaded. Sprains are mostly diagnosed by painful ranges of motions—pain during bending forward/back/sideways and/or twisting. Ligament over-stretching, tearing and inflammation result.
Ligaments are very strong bands of elastic tissues which hold your bones together. They provide the stable foundation needed so that your muscles can work to allow you to move and live.
How can you tell if you have one?
Ligament injuries can be extremely painful and restricting. Simple movements will be difficult or even temporarily impossible. Diagnostic testing such as MRIs and x-rays have limited usefulness in diagnosing sprains.
Muscle strains are usually not as severe as sprains. If a muscle is hurt, your ligaments can still hold you together. Tear your ligaments, however, and your body is in a crisis. That’s why even strong pain pills and muscle relaxers typically give very minimal relief with sprains. Your body “wants” you to feel the pain to keep you from doing things which could make the problem worse. The spasms, likewise, serve a protective function to stop you from further damaging the injured area.
Can Chiropractic help?
Definitely! Sprains result in misaligned joints and abnormal movement patterns. Chiropractic adjustments restore normal alignment and motion during the healing process. They can vastly speed up the recovery. Your body is self-healing and will heal with scar tissue whether you treat it or not. Chiropractic care guides the healing process so that you heal properly. It is similar to an orthopedic’s role in broken bones; the bone heals on its own. The orthopedic’s goal is to make sure it heals properly in good alignment.
How long does a sprain take to heal?
Research has provided the general healing times needed depending on the severity of the sprain. Insurance companies frequently use these to determine if care is medically necessary and reasonable:
Mild sprains 3-6 weeks
Moderate sprains 6-12 weeks
Severe sprains 3-6 months or longer!
Those numbers may seem daunting if you’re hurting, but take heart. You can get relief from sharp pain and spasms in about 1-4 weeks. You can become totally pain free before maximum healing has occurred.
You do need to understand, however, that relapses are likely if you push too hard, too soon. Until full healing has taken place, it is relatively easy to re-injure or exacerbate your condition. That’s why it is wise to continue your chiropractic care beyond pain relief . Joint evaluation and adjustments keep the healing process on course, resulting in faster and optimal healing, along with fewer flare-ups.
Chiropractors recognize that many factors affect your health, including exercise, nutrition, sleep, environment and heredity. Chiropractic focuses on maintaining your health, naturally, to help your body resist disease, rather than simply treating the symptoms of disease.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION:
Why do my problems come back?
Q: “Yes, I feel much better when I get adjusted but why do
my same problems seem to return again over time?”
A: Any soft tissue (ligaments, muscles, skin) injury heals with scar tissue. Scar tissue is a generic patch-up tissue that helps repair damaged areas; however, this tissue is NOT the same as the original tissue; it is much weaker, less flexible and is more pain sensitive. This explains why even the best recovery may be more vulnerable to recurrent flare ups.
Also, some tissues in our bodies suffer permanent damage either from major trauma, repetitive stress, or long-term wear-and-tear (tooth decay is the best understood example of this). Disc degeneration in the spine is very common; once the damage is done, the involved joint will tend to keep misaligning and locking up.
Some problems are created over and over again by your everyday activities. Prolonged sitting at a computer, mental/emotional stress, swinging a golf club or baseball bat, lots of bending and twisting at work, are just a few examples. Chiropractic care helps keep things functioning and feeling better but it is an ongoing battle against daily wear and tear.
So even though many conditions require periodic check-ups and adjustments, the benefit is that you can feel your best and remain more active. How long you choose to benefit from care is always up to you. Making spinal care a regular part of your healthy lifestyle is a wise investment in your health now and for the years to come. Regular exercise and maintaining proper weight are also essential to long-term good health. Chiropractic adjustments can result in impressive improvements in your condition . But without well-conditioned muscles and ligaments, relapses are almost inevitable .
Highmark adds new Physical Medicine Management Program
Insurance companies are changing the conditions under which you can receive chiropractic care and physical therapy services. Highmark and several others now require an authorization for spinal manipulation and physical therapy to insure coverage. Highmark’s new Physical Medicine Management Program (PMMP) may limit your benefits and the amount of care you are able to receive. In general, most plans will allow you to receive 8 visits per year within a certain time period. If you do not use your 8 visits by the end of the allotted time period, you are required to fill out additional paperwork regarding your current condition and progress. They will use this information to decide whether to authorize further treatment.
Up until April 30 th , Highmark will have a “soft implementation” of their PMMP, giving doctors’ offices time to adjust to the new program. Beginning May 1 st , those visits that do not meet their definition of “medical necessity” may be denied. If denied, you would have 3 choices: appeal the decision, sign a waiver form that acknowledges you are responsible for payment if your future visits are denied, or you may choose to discontinue care until you have a new problem or a change in your condition.
We want you to be well informed about your healthcare choices as much as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to call the office Monday-Friday and speak to Colleen or Maria. You may also call Highmark Member Services at the number on the back of your insurance card.
These new insurance revisions apply ONLY to certain Highmark plans. Many of you will not be affected by these changes.
Without this additional information, the insurance company may deny your benefits. Please be patient with us and all the additional paperwork.
To all patients with UPMC coverage:
We want to let you know about our efforts to gain you in-network coverage in our office. We have been trying to enter their network since 2003.
On March 25, 2013, we submitted another letter of application to UPMC. We should hear about our status in 4 to 6 weeks from then.
We appreciate every patient that comes to our office and has UPMC coverage. We are doing our best every year to enter their network and gain better benefits for our patients. We encourage you to call your customer service representative and let them know that you would like to see Dr. Wohar’s office be in the UPMC chiropractic network.
Stress, Cortisol and Weight Gain
Throughout our lives, we are exposed to stress on a daily basis; whether it be bills, traffic, work, family, mental, emotional, or imagined stress. Our body responds the same in any case by releasing its primary stress hormone, Cortisol .
Cortisol is released by the body during periods of stress to restore energy stores after a stress response. However, if we are exposed to stressful events on a constant basis, our bodies cannot effectively rid the body of the stressor and cortisol levels remain elevated. If cortisol levels persist, it stimulates the release of glucose, fats and amino acid for energy production. This prepares the body for the “fight or flight” reaction. From a physical standpoint, this means that fatty acids are released by fat tissue and amino acids are released by skeletal muscle for immediate use by the muscles for energy or sent to the liver for conversion into glucose. If this scenario continues (chronic stress) a significant amount of muscle mass may be lost and fat gain will occur.
The primary role of cortisol is to tell the body to refuel by increasing the appetite and food cravings. Thus, high levels of cortisol keep the appetite ramped up so that you feel hungry all the time!
The best response to high cortisol levels is to either change your stress level, the way that you handle stress, or the ways our body responds to stress through diet, exercise and supplements.
However, it is not always possible to change your stress level (work), but we can change the way we respond to stress:
- Take walks during lunch hour to blow off some steam
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes a day
- Join a gym and get involved in yoga, cycling or swimming
- Get regular adjustments to keep your nervous system functioning at its best
- Confront real or imagined stress under relaxed circumstances
Detox; Spring Clean Your Body!
As Spring rolls around, we are all looking for ways to clean house, detox or diet at the start of a new season. But dieting and detox doesn’t always require expensive diet pills or shakes, sometimes detox simply requires eliminating toxic foods or consuming more nutritious ones.
Dietary detoxification is simple: ingest fewer congesting foods and more nourishing ones. For example, congesting foods include drugs, sugar, fried foods, meats, dairy, etc. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and legumes.
Another simple detox is to eliminate or reduce caffeinated drinks, sodas, or sweetened teas and replace them with water. Water is the most alkaline and lowest calorie drink on the planet (zero calories!) with no hidden sweeteners or chemicals. It allows the body to flush toxins out of the body that we accumulate as metabolic by-products from our diet. -Maria Wohar, B.S.
(Maria will soon be offering nutritional consulting services in the office.)
Headaches Frequent colds Mood changes
Joint pains Irritated eyes Anxiety
Coughs Immune weakness Depression
Wheezing Constipation Fatigue
Sore throat Sinus congestion Skin rashes
Runny nose Hives Nausea
Circulatory deficits Insomnia Indigestion
High blood fats Bad breath Anorexia
Itchy nose Backaches Fever
Positive thinking is not one of our natural senses. Knowing how to think positive isn't like breathing. We are not born with this ability. Positive thinking techniques are not taught in schools and few of us have had the luxury of having parents who knew what positive thinking was all about. Positive thinking is, however, very important to maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Many of us know what positive thinking is, but not all of us know how to be positive or how to maintain a positive attitude. So for those of you who need a little help, I have put together a list of positive thinking tips to help you maintain a positive attitude:
- Set goals
- Recite positive affirmations or positive statements
- Listen to uplifting music
- Find an inspirational quote
- Get a hair cut
- Avoid negative people
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Turn your face towards the sun
- Find the positive in every situation
“ A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
~ Winston Churchill
- Tired of the same music over and over again? So are we! The office has recently upgraded to Pandora radio.
- The office is now accepting credit cards including Visa, MasterCard and Discover effective immediately.