HealthBeat This month’s feature topics are
Chiropractic & Dental Health
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October: Chiropractic & Dental Health
Choosing a chiropractor If you have unexplained aches and pains, you may want to consult a chiropractor. These well trained medical professionals can help alleviate pain in your back, head or neck. Chiropractors believe that realigning your spine will help relieve pain and discomfort in the body. And it works for a lot of people. Many patients find immediate relief from pain before even leaving the chiropractor’s office. They report rapid improvements in their muscles, joints, bones and ligaments. Chiropractic care can also improve your overall health. The treatments administered by chiropractors can also treat minor ailments such as headaches and sinus pain. Thinking about the following factors can help you find the right chiropractor for your needs.
Chiropractors have some of the most stringent educational requirements in the health care industry. According to the American Chiropractic Association, accredited chiropractors go through at least 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and
clinical training time combined. Students must spend four years in a premedical program, in addition to four or five years of professional training. Not only do chiropractors study the body, they usually also study the muscular skeleton, pressure points, bone and joints, and nerves. Finding a chiropractor with these studies under their belt can give you a better experience and results. Prior to selecting a chiropractor, inquire about training and credentials. Make sure he or she is properly qualified, has a current license to practice, and has experience in the area you are looking for.
Many insurance carriers include chiropractic care as part of their regular coverage. Verify that your care will be covered. You might be offered a discount for choosing an “in-network” professional. But if you don’t have insurance, many chiropractors offer low cash rates or affordable plans to help patients. Even without health insurance, you can still
find a chiropractor offering quality, costeffective care. Check for discounts. Some chiropractors will offer incentive discounts for groups, referrals of new clients and other promotions.
Someone in your social or professional network has likely received excellent care from a chiropractor. Ask family, friends and co-workers for referrals. Inquire specifically about his or her demeanor and schedule. Is it easy to make an appointment? You should also find out about the chiropractor’s philosophy about health and other wellness issues. Some practitioners will suggest complementary forms of care, including massage. Given the results it can provide, chiropractic care is still affordable and well worth the money. With time and effort, you are likely to find a quality chiropractor in your area. Researching the chiropractors in your area will help ensure you get the type of care you want and need.
How to keep back pain at bay Back pain is a part of life for many people. The American Chiropractic Association says 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time, and experts estimate that up to 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. WebMD says back pain is the second most common reason people visit the doctor. Back pain can take on various forms, ranging from a dull ache to a sharp pain. Some may experience intermittent back pain, while others may have chronic back pain. The causes can be considerable, from injury to underlying medical conditions. Alleviating back pain — or preventing it in the first place — involves understanding the common causes and taking appropriate actions.
Routine exercise is not guaranteed to eliminate back pain, but it can make it less frequent, advises doctors at Harvard Medical School. Low back pain due to muscle strain or muscle spasm can be tamed by exercise. Yoga, or a similar stretch-based exercise, can be very effective at alleviating back pain. Yoga relaxes muscle tension and expands range of motion in the joints. It also can build muscle strength.
Maintain proper posture
Slouching over computers or looking
down at phones while texting may be doing damage to the back. Work ergonomically and take breaks to stretch. Sit up straight in chairs and try to keep a straight back while walking as well.
Shed some pounds
Extra pounds at the midsection can shift the center of gravity and put strain on the lower back, advises WebMD. Try to stay within a range of 5-10 pounds of your ideal weight.
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The Arthritis Foundation says research shows a high prevalence of spinal stenosis and back pain among smokers. It is believed that smoking can damage blood vessels that supply blood to the back. Smoking is also bad for the bones and is a risk factor for osteoporosis.
Try a different sleeping position
Talk with a doctor about the best position for sleeping to ease up back pain. It may include being on your side with knees pulled up, or placing a pillow under your knees if you’re a back-sleeper.
Always bend at the knees and use the legs to lift items. This can help you avoid straining your back.
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HealthBeat October: Chiropractic & Dental Health
No need to fear root canals
Procrastinating in regard to maintaining teeth and gums can prove harmful. Regular dental checkups and cleanings can reduce discomfort and expose conditions before they become especially problematic. Root canal is one treatment men and women fear when going to the dentist. But root canals are often less painful than the symptoms that require they be performed. A root canal is an endodontic therapy that can treat and save teeth. The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) says root canal treats inflammation or infection in the roots of a tooth. This procedure enables dentists to save a tooth rather than extract it. WebMD explains that, during a root canal, the nerve and pulp of the tooth are removed from the inside. If the tooth’s nerve or pulp chamber is damaged, it can eventually break down and bacteria can begin to form within. The most common causes of pulp inflammation or infection are a cracked or chipped tooth, a deep cavity or filling, or another serious injury to the tooth. All of these can allow bacteria to enter the pulp. Debris and bacteria can lead to infection or an abscessed tooth.
Abscesses can form at the ends of the tooth roots. Swelling, pain, bone loss, and drainage into the gums may occur if a root canal is not performed. The AAE says that people may avoid root canal treatment because they fear it is too painful. However, with modern technology and anesthetic medications, the pain that results from root canal is on par with having a cavity filled. Damaged tissues in the tooth and the severe toothache that ensues if root canal is not performed is generally much more severe than anything that occurs during the procedure. Patients who are worried about discomfort can speak with their dentists about pain management. In addition to anesthetic injections, some dentists specialize in medical sedation that can further calm patients’ nerves during procedures. The American Dental Association says this is what people can expect during a root canal. • The tooth is numbed for comfort. • A thin sheet of latex rubber is placed over the tooth to keep it dry, and an opening is made through the crown of the tooth.
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• The nerve or pulp is removed. The excavated canal is then cleaned and shaped. • Medicine may be placed in the pulp chamber to deter bacterial growth. • The root canal is then filled with a rubber-like material to seal it. A metal or plastic rod or post may be placed in the canal to help retain the filling material so it
can properly support the tooth. • A temporary filling is placed in the tooth. During a subsequent treatment, the temporary filling will be replaced with a permanent crown or filling. Root canals are nothing to fear. Such procedures are routine and generally produce little to no pain.
Did you know? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental caries, or tooth decay, is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that children with dental caries in their baby teeth are at much greater risk for cavities in their adult teeth. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel and make it more resistant to the acids that can contribute to tooth decay. Parents, even those whose
children do not yet have any teeth, can discuss fluoride drops or chewable fluoride tablets with their youngsters’ pediatricians. The CDC notes that more than 40 percent of children have tooth decay before reaching kindergarten, but dental caries is often preventable. Parents who are diligent about their children’s oral care and mindful of potential problems, such as stains on the teeth, can reduce their sons’ and daughters’ risk of tooth decay.