Dr. Bell's Blog

Chiropractic Care AFTER Back Surgery

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There are times where spinal surgery can be necessary and helpful, although it should be your last course of action. Well over 1 million spinal surgeries are performed every year in the U.S., and research shows the success rate comes in right around 50% or less. For every subsequent spinal surgery, that success rate decreases even further. So what is the answer? Whether you had a successful surgery, or one of the unfortunate one’s who did not, further conservative management of the problem will likely be needed. There are a few avenues you can take with this, but one of them is definitely chiropractic. Let’s explore how this is possible depending on the type of surgery…

4 Types of Spinal Surgeries:

  1. Laser: This is the newest and definitely the least invasive. This type is not done readily, and is only good at this time for certain types of problems.

  2. Microdiscectomy: For this type of surgery, they will “trim” away a portion of the disc that is protruding or bulging out, ultimately causing nerve impingement. It is a relatively small surgery with a fairly quick recovery.

  3. Laminetomy: With this surgery they remove a portion of the vertebrae called the lamina (essentially the roof of the spinal canal). This provides more room for the the spinal canal and spinal nerves in hope of reducing pressure. This is obviously a major surgery.

  4. Fusion: This is when two or more vertebrae are fused together to form one single immobile unit. This stabilizes the unit in an effort to help relieve pain and irritation. In some cases one or more discs are removed and replaced with a “spacer” of sorts.

Regardless of the type of surgery, chiropractic can help after the operation. There is always a period of healing that must happen before you can resume chiropractic (consult your surgeon for that time frame), but ultimately in most cases it can once again begin. We have relationships with many great surgeons in our area who many times not only send patients to us before surgery, but also after. This should speak to the safety of it. Of course, our method of spinal adjustments may change following surgery, but we can still help in providing significant palliative relief and management of the problem going forward. In many cases we will use instrument adjusting, which utilizes a gentle and very specific approach to spinal correction and care. This allows us to work in close proximity to the surgical site, but not disturb it. Remember, even if a spinal surgery becomes necessary, it does not mean that 100% of your pain and problem will be solved. In many cases there will need to be continued care to the area.

If you or someone you know is either contemplating having spinal surgery, or still suffering following surgery, please think about giving chiropractic care a try. It has been proven to help with a wide variety of problems both before and after surgery. Of course, we also prefer you do not have to go through a surgery, especially an invasive one. Be proactive. Take continuous action to improve your health, especially before symptoms occur, so you too can…

LIVE well. BE well.

Hurdles That May Be Holding You Back, And How To Respond To Them

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Every “hurdle” we face that is in our path has to be dealt with one way or the other. Learning what those hurdles are, and how we might be able to respond to them will prepare us for them.

How we see the hurdle makes a big impact with ultimately how we deal with it.

Let me explain…

Best Selling author and Former U.S. Navy Seal, David Goggins, says the secret to mental toughness is the 40% Rule. He says when your mind tells you that you’re done, you’re really only 40% done. Why does our mind do this? Self preservation. If it speaks to you loud enough most people will listen. I often think about this during endurance events, like when I compete in bike racing. When I feel at the end of my rope I try and ask myself “If a bear were chasing you right now, would you keep going and/or go harder?” The answer is yes, of course, you would find a way.

You don’t need to be a Navy Seal to incorporate this mentality in your everyday life. Lets take a look at two different categories of hurdles, and ways to navigate our way through them.

Outside Of Our Control

  • Bad Genetics: Sometimes we are not dealt the best hand, but you can’t let that define who you are. You may need to double down on other parts of your life that you are exceptional with. Don’t focus solely on your weakness, focus 90% of your energy on your strengths.

  • Accidents: Sometimes we get run over by a bus (hopefully figuratively). How will you respond? How will it motivate you? Remember the 40% rule. When you think you have run out of energy to keep fighting, you have a lot left to give.

Within Our Control

  • Poor Nutrition/Hydration: Health problems associated with poor nutrition and hydration choices account for a large percentage of the overall chronic diseases many suffer with today. Ultimately this one comes down to your habits. It can take some work and determination but if you want it bad enough, change will happen.

Sleep Habits: This was an entire blog topic I wrote about recently, and one that is very important. Poor sleep can have a serious effect on all aspects of our health. If you are not regularly sleeping well, and for long enough, your health will suffer sooner or later. Take the necessary steps to get regular and necessary rest for proper health and healing in your body.

The first step towards eliminating hurdles that are holding you back is identifying what they are. Some may be the ones I have touched on while some may not be. Take some time and do some soul searching. Chances are nearly everyone reading this has a long life to live still going forward. How will you live that life? Will it be full of energy and good health, or one filled with chronic sickness? Not everything is within our control, but simply focusing on what is and maximizing that will go a long way in helping you to…

LIVE well. BE well.

Where Do You Want To Be a Year From Now, and How Do You Get There?

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It is a cliché, but it can also be quite true…time flies. I’m sure all of you can think of some memorable moment in your life that is now 10, 15, 20 or more years old, which in many ways still feels like it happened yesterday. I can think of many, but one that sticks in my head the most is that I am now in my 18th year in practice. How is that possible!?!? One thing that is true is I have no regrets about the last 18 years in practice, and I would not change one bit of how it has progressed. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for me for the next 18 years.

That being said, if 18 years can fly by, just imagine how fast 1 year from now will arrive. Time to start planning and get to work! Summer is one of the best times to start moving on some new change in our lives. It’s always a little easier to get motivated when the weather is great and the days are longer. Lets talk a little about setting some realistic goals for 1 year from today. Maybe it’s trying something new, getting better at something you are already doing, and most importantly making it a new healthy habit. Remember, no one is perfect, and change is a part of life. Therefore the question is…

How Can I Change My Life For The Better?

Start a Healthy New Activity: There are so many outdoor activities you can try in the summer. Kayaking, biking, hiking, pickle ball, tennis, yoga, and so many more. Give something new a try, and figure out a way to continue it somehow during the winter months. For example if you begin to really like hiking, try to hike with snowshoes on when the snow begins to fly. This can not only be really fun, but also a great workout.

Get Out Of An Old Rut: Everyone of us gets stuck in some sort of rut from time to time. When it comes to your health, this can include poor eating habits, not being active enough, excessive drinking, and even smoking. Most of you know these habits are not health promoting but rather are health limiting, however we still continue them. Why? Habits and addiction. Find a friend who is struggling with the same or similar problems and commit to kicking these habits for good by the summer of 2020. Not sure where to start or what to do? Ask for help.

Find Your Motivation: Change can come in a lot of different forms, but the one common theme throughout to make change stick is finding your “why”. What will motivate you to make this happen? This is a very important step because without it, you will return to your rut in short order. Your “why” is your proverbial North Star of sorts, that will guide you constantly along the way as it is very easy to get off course if you are not constantly focusing on your purpose and calling.

As much as we’d all like a magic wand to deliver the changes we want in our life, we know it can’t and won’t. So much of the power found in change is unleashed through healthy relationships. There is such encouragement and inspiration to “stay the course” of change when we are journeying life with other people. Share your goals, dreams, and hopes with those closest to you. Ask them to ask you about how it is going. Letting them hold you accountable is not only NOT a sign of weakness, it shows tremendous grit and courage. Your success a year from now is rooted so much in the fertile soil of friendship and accountability. Embrace it. It’s the breeding ground that your change will flourish in.

And at the end of the year?

You’ll be far more likely to see the harvest of change that will help you to…

LIVE WELL. BE WELL.

Recharge Your Batteries and Enjoy The Moment

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Exhaustion can sneak up on you. Many of us think we are strong enough to handle virtually anything thrown at us. This may be true to some degree, but that doesn’t mean it will come without consequences. Problems with exhaustion and getting run down have always been around, but it is so much more prevalent today with the advent of smart phones. For some, they are accessible nearly 24 hours a day, This can be great for those that need you, but also very bad for your own mental and physical health. Sometimes we just need to step away for a while. This can be done daily (for minutes or hours) or in the form of a vacation or staycation.

Ways To Recharge Your Batteries Daily:

  1. Daily Tech Detox: Too much screen time has been proven by research to zap our energy and increase our overall stress level. Plan everyday to step away from your phone for an hour or two. Either turn it completely off (to avoid the temptation to check it) or shut off all notifications. The more you do this, the easier it will be, and the more freedom you will feel.

  2. Get Outside: Even if it is just for 20-30 minutes, get outside for some fresh air. Don’t worry if it is cold, those days can be even more refreshing if you dress properly.

  3. Take a 20 minute cat nap: A 20 minute power nap during the day can do wonders to re-energize you during the mid-afternoon. Research says 60 minutes is better, but let’s be honest, most of us don’t have that time luxury.

  4. Exercise: Interesting this comes after the nap right!? Yes, 30 minutes of high intensity exercise can help you boost your energy and re-focus. The hardest part is beginning. Your brain will try and convince you that you are too tired. Don’t listen. :)

When You Need A Longer Break:

Even if we takes regular mental breaks everyday, sometimes we also just need to shut it down for a longer period of time. Don’t have the money to go away on vacation? Don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways, but you will still have to make the time. Take the family camping, go stay with friends/relatives out of town, or just take time off and stay home. You can go for daily hikes, bike rides, etc., but just be sure and disconnect. We all need a break from time to time, no matter how much we love what we do, in order to keep our passion and energy high.

We all can get wrapped up in this society today that praises being busy and accomplishing great things. Just be sure you are not burning too many matches too quickly. You will burn out sooner or later. Life can go buy quickly, but understand that it is also a marathon. Take time and enjoy the moment. So instead of going on Facebook or Instagram one more time today, put the phone away, and recharge your mental, physical, and emotional batteries.

Making the commitment to rest and stay fresh is a key part of enjoying this journey called life and being able to…

Live Well. Be Well.