Chiropractic Tips & Advice To Improve Your Golf Game & Save your Back

by The American Chiropractic Association

Many avid golfers contort their bodies into oddly twisted postures, generating a great deal of torque. Couple this motion with a bent-over stance, repeat 120 times over three or four hours, add the fatigue that comes with several miles of walking, and you’ve got a good workout-and a recipe for potential lower-back trouble.

As America’s love affair with the game continues to grow, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has advice on how to take a proactive approach that will prepare your body for many years of pain-free play.

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How Long Do Shoes Last?

Once you have purchased a pair of athletic shoes, don’t run them into the ground. While estimates vary as to when the best time to replace old shoes is, most experts agree that between 300 and 500 miles is optimal.

In fact, most shoes should be replaced even before they begin to show signs of moderate wear. Once shoes show wear, especially in the cushioning layer called the midsole, they also begin to lose their shock absorption. Failure to replace worn shoes is a common cause of injuries like shin splints, heel spurs,
and plantar fasciitis.

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Shoe Purchasing Tips

Consider the following tips before you purchase your next pair of athletic shoes:

• Match the shoe to the activity. Select a shoe specific for the sport in which you will participate. Running shoes are primarily made to absorb shock as the heel strikes the ground. In contrast, tennis shoes provide more side-to-side stability. Walking shoes allow the foot to roll and push off naturally during walking, and they usually have a fairly rigid arch, a well cushioned sole, and a stiff heel support for stability.

• If possible, shop at a specialty store. It’s best to shop at a store that specializes in athletic shoes. Employees at these stores are often trained to recommend a shoe that best matches your foot type (shown above) and stride pattern.

• Shop late in the day. If possible, shop for shoes at the end of the day or after a workout when your feet are generally at their largest. Wear the type of socks you usually wear during exercise, and if you use orthotic devices for postural support, make sure you wear them when trying on shoes.

• Have your feet measured every time. It’s important to have the length and width of both feet measured every time you shop for shoes, since foot size often changes with age and most people have 1 foot that is larger than the other. Also, many podiatrists suggest that you measure your foot while standing in a weight bearing position because the foot elongates and flattens when you stand, affecting the measurement and the fit of the shoe.

• Make sure the shoe fits correctly. Choose shoes for their fit, not by the size you’ve worn in the past. The shoe should fit with an index finger’s width between the end of the shoe and the longest toe. The toe box should have adequate room and not feel tight. The heel of your foot should fit snugly against the back of the shoe without sliding up or down as you walk or run. If possible, keep the shoe on for 10 minutes to make sure it remains comfortable.

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The Role of Orthotics

Feet are to the skeletal system what a foundation is to a house. If a structural abnormality exists in the foot, the body must compensate—often to the detriment of other areas such as the legs or low back. Orthotics are custom-designed shoe inserts that are intended to correct an abnormal, or irregular, walking pattern.

Although commonly referred to as “arch supports,” orthotics actually alter the angle at which the foot strikes the ground, improving the way your feet function, and in many cases reducing pain.

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Match type of foot with the right shoe

by American Chiropractic Association

The Normal Foot
Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and will leave a wet footprint that has a flare, but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a broad band. A normal foot ands on the outside of the heel and rolls slightly inward to absorb shock.

Best shoes: Stability shoes with a slightly curved shape.

The Flat Foot
This type of foot has a low arch and leaves a print that looks like the whole sole of the foot. It usually indicates an overpronated foot—one that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls excessively inward (pronates). Over time, this can cause overuse injuries.

Best shoes: Motion-control shoes or high- stability shoes with firm midsoles. These shoes should be fairly resistant to twisting or bending. Stay away from highly cushioned, highly curved shoes, which lack stability features.

The High Arched Foot
The high-arched foot leaves a print showing a very narrow band—or no band at all—between the forefoot and the heel. A curved, highly arched foot is generally supinated or underpronated. Because the foot doesn’t pronate enough, usually it’s not an effective shock absorber.

Best shoes: Cushioned shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Stay away from motion-control or stability shoes, which reduce foot mobility. When determining your foot type, consult with your doctor of chiropractic. He or she can help determine your specific foot type, assess your gait, and then suggest the best shoe match.

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How to Select Athletic Shoes

by American Chiropractic Association

Because footwear plays such an important role in the function of bones and joints—especially for runners and other athletes—choosing the right shoe can help prevent pain in your back, hips, knees, and feet.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the very best athletic shoe—every pair of feet is different, every shoe has different features, and overall comfort is a very personal decision. For this reason, it is recommended that you first determine your foot type: normal, flat, or high-arched.

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What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?

Dr. McClelland says your doctor of chiropractic may do one or more of the following if you suffer from a primary headache:

• Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system.

• Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition of B complex vitamins.

• Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.

“Doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive training to help their patients in many ways – not just back pain,” says Dr. McClelland. “They know how tension in the spine relates to problems in other parts of the body, and they can take steps to relieve those problems.”

If your headache is symptomatic of a health problem that needs the care of another discipline, your doctor of chiropractic will refer you to an appropriate specialist.

Chiropractic Care Can Help…
Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about other ways to improve your lifestyle. Doctors of chiropractic are trained and licensed to examine and treat the entire body with specific emphasis on the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. They can also help people lead healthier lives by focusing on wellness and prevention.

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What Can You Do?

The ACA suggests the following:

• If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.

• Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.

• Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.

• Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.

In addition, the ACA and its Council on Nutrition suggest you avoid the following food “triggers”:

• Avoid caffeine. Foods such as chocolate, coffee, sodas and cocoa contain high levels of the stimulant.

• Avoid foods with a high salt or sugar content. These foods may cause migraines, resulting in sensitivity to light, noise, or abrupt movements.

• Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. These drinks can dehydrate you and cause headache pain.

• Other headache sufferers may want to avoid not only caffeine, but also high-protein foods, dairy products, red meat and salty foods.

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Have a Splitting Headache? Chiropractic Care Can Help

by The American Chiropractic Association

If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.

What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Do you grit your teeth and carry on? Lie down? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? There is a better alternative.

New research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.

A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.

Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.

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Chiropractic Road to the Olympics
North American DCs are poised to make their mark at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

By Caitlin Lukacs

If you’ve ever had an Olympic dream, you know about all of the hard work and training it takes to get to the Games. The same holds true for members of the medical staff. Olympic-caliber athletes need medical care in the unfortunate event of an injury, but they also need help pushing their bodies to perform at their maximum potential. Doctors of chiropractic who specialize in sports injuries and physical fitness are the ideal practitioners to provide that care, being uniquely equipped to handle both injury and recovery treatment, as well as to help athletes prepare for the competition. And the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) agrees.
Since the 1980 Games, when George Goodheart, DC, was selected to be Team USA’s chiropractor for the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., DCs have been included on the U.S. Medical Team. In 2008, a record number of four chiropractors were sent to Beijing, China, with Team USA for the Summer Games. There were approximately 600 athletes to care for on the U.S. team. This winter, the USOC will take five DCs to Vancouver, Canada, for the 2010 Olympics. They’ll have about 200 athletic competitors to work with.
“Chiropractors have really come a long way in terms of the Olympic Games,” says Michael Reed, DC, MS, DACBSP, medical director for the USOC. “And the demands of athletes are one of the main reasons why.”
Simply put, elite athletes are asking for chiropractic treatment. Sports-focused DCs are able to treat pain and injury with spinal manipulation, but they are also trained in many other modalities that help athletes avoid injury and prepare their bodies for competition—including taping, icing and stretching, explains Dr. Reed. At the 2008 Summer Games, for example, the U.S. beach volleyball team requested that Ernest Ferrel, MA, DC, CCSP, serve as the medical staff member to accompany them to their matches.

Preparing for Vancouver
One of the five DCs chosen by the USOC to work at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Blase Toto, DC, DACBSP, will be working at the medical clinic in the Olympic Village in Vancouver. The clinic will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. He’ll provide care for several different sports teams, including figure skating, hockey and curling, as well as for those athletes whose sport does not have a team chiropractor.
“These athletes are used to receiving chiropractic care at their home training centers because they know that it helps them to perform at their top level,” Dr. Toto says. “Since we’ll all be there for about a month, the athletes will need someone to continue their regular chiropractic routine.” In addition to maintenance and performance care, Dr. Toto will also be available for acute-injury treatment.
Richard Robinson, DC, CSCS, who practices in Calgary, Canada, will attend the Olympics with the Canadian team and work with the freestyle skiing, speed skating, women’s ice hockey and alpine ski teams. “I wasn’t hired by the Canadian team just to treat injuries,” he says. “I was hired because the team recognized the value in what I do to make them go faster and perform better. If we plan to treat injuries after they’ve happened, we’re already too late; we need to get to the Olympics performing our absolute best.”
Competition actually begins a week prior to the opening ceremonies, and Dr. Robinson will be moving into the Olympic Village in the first week of February. “I’ll spend time working in the clinic in the village, but I’ll also be onsite for every training session and competition for speed skating and freestyle skiing,” he says. Luckily, the speed skating events will take place in the mornings, while freestyle will be under the lights in the evenings.
Greg Uchacz, DC, FCCSS(C), CSCS, who practices in Calgary, Canada, will also be a part of the Canadian medical staff. He will focus on the bobsled and skeleton teams and was chosen because of athlete requests. He, too, will prepare the athletes, rather than just treat their injuries. “As DCs, we focus on ensuring that the athletes are performing to their optimum biomechanical function,” he explains. “If you think about athletes as racecars, we are essentially fine-tuning them all the way through training. I’ll be present at competition time, helping to make sure the athletes are in ideal condition by stimulating nervous system responses and stretching, among other things. I’m the last person they’ll interact with before stepping onto the course,” Dr. Uchacz continues.
According to Dr. Reed, each of the five DCs on the U.S. medical team will have slightly different responsibilities come February, but one thing they’ll have in common is competition preparation. Tetsuya Hasegawa, DC, MS, ATC, CSCS, will work with the bobsled and skeleton teams onsite at the sliding center and also out of the Olympic Village in Whistler. Eric St. Pierre, DC, DACBSP, CCSP, CSCS, who is employed by U.S. Speed Skating, will focus his attention on that team from the Olympic Village in Vancouver. Both Drs. Hasegawa and St. Pierre will be expected to care for any injuries, but their main focus will be stretching and other preparatory care—whatever it takes to have the athletes ready to compete.
Dr. Toto will work in the medical center in the Olympic Village in Vancouver and Josh Sandell, DC, DACBSP, CSCS, will be stationed at the performance service center in Whistler, doing recovery work for injured athletes. The fifth DC, Dr. Reed, is in charge of organizing the U.S. medical staff for the Games and providing care for the athletes in the Whistler Olympic Village. “It’s becoming more and more paperwork, but I’ll be available to jump in and treat athletes, if help is needed,” he says.

How They Got There
As an athlete, you can’t just sign up to compete at the Olympic Games. It takes years and years of training, and you must prove your skills at Olympic trials or team try-outs. The same holds true for doctors of chiropractic who want to work at the event. The road to the Olympics is a long one, and it often requires relationship building, as well as physical training.
To be considered for inclusion on the U.S. medical staff, DCs must first go through the USOC’s Sports Medicine Volunteer Program—a 15-day rotation at one of the U.S. Olympic Training Centers, in which they treat any athletes that need rehab or long-term care. (DCs can apply for a volunteer position by logging onto www.teamusa.org/medical.)
And it may take years before you get selected to work in an official capacity. Dr. Toto completed the volunteer program for the first time in 1995. In spring 2009, he was invited back to the training center in Colorado Springs. Shortly after he returned home, Dr. Toto received a letter stating that he had been selected to go to Vancouver for the Winter Games. “It had been a goal of mine for a long time, but I didn’t think it would ever happen because it had been 14 years since I’d first worked with the USOC,” Dr. Toto says. “I’m humbled and grateful and excited. I’ve never served in the military, so this is my opportunity to serve my country by caring for the best athletes it has to offer.”
For Dr. Robinson, it all started when he was a student at Palmer College of Chiropractic West. Having always been interested in sports, he worked with the faculty and students to start a sports chiropractic program and student sports council. After graduation, he returned home to Canada with the goal of working with athletes. “I was always looking for opportunities to get involved with sports, and I discovered that there really are a lot of ways to do that,” he says.
About 10 years ago, he started working with a trainer and a strength and conditioning coach who happened to treat elite freestyle skiers. The skiers had never had chiropractic care before, and they immediately noticed a big advantage to their bodies, particularly with the soft-tissue work Dr. Robinson was providing. Within six to nine months, Dr. Robinson was asked to travel with the freestyle ski team, and he began treating them at the national center for winter sports training in Calgary, where he was noticed by athletes from numerous other sports.
Eventually, Dr. Robinson became a contractor to the sports center, treating many of the national team members that came through. For the 2010 Olympics, those teams put in a referral for Dr. Robinson to join the Canadian team’s medical staff. “All of my opportunities have come from word-of-mouth endorsements from athletes,” he says.
Dr. Uchacz had a similar experience. When its time to select the medical staff for the Winter Games, all of the Canadian national organizations for the various sports put in applications for the practitioners that they want to be there. The bobsled and skeleton team requested Dr. Uchacz. That endorsement, along with his training and credentials, secured him a spot on the Canadian team’s staff.
Getting Started in Sports Chiropractic
If you’re interested in working within the sports arena, take the CCSP program, says Dr. Reed. There’s a lot more to working with athletes than simply giving treatments, he explains. You have to understand the team environment and know that there is a proper protocol for making decisions about an athlete’s care and communicating with other practitioners, coaches and team members.
“Then just get out there and work,” continues Dr. Reed. “The athletic population utilizes chiropractic more than the general public, and there are so many sports out there—from youth programs to local high schools or universities to semi-professional and professional teams. Volunteer your services, and opportunities will continue to open up.”

Dr. Reed also suggests finding a sports medicine mentor, or two. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a DC, but find someone working in sports and just follow them around and take in as much knowledge as you possibly can,” he says. “Pay particular attention to how they interact with other practitioners and members of the sports community because that is such a huge part of working in sports medicine.”
“Your focus should never be that you want to go to the Olympics; it should be that you want to serve athletes and provide them with the best care possible,” says Dr. Uchacz. “If you do a good job, the athletes will tell each other, and there’s no end to the opportunities that can come your way.”

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