About Kerrin Kuntzman

Kerrin Kuntzman

Kerrin is the office manager at Texas Spine & Wellness. She often blogs about alternative medical care and nutrition. She is an ardent supporter of chiropractic medicine and uses chiropractic treatment not only for herself, but for her pets as well!

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Exercise Safety – 5 Ways to Begin Moving Again

Has it been a while since you were able to exercise? Even with the best intentions, life can get in the way. Before you know it, it’s been months since you were able to flex your muscles and build up a sweat. Now you’re eager to get back into the groove—but guess what? Your body isn’t too happy about the prospect of having to work again! You might need tips for exercise safety.

Senior citizens practicing exercise safetyConsider what happens to your body when you don’t exercise. When they aren’t used beyond the requirement to simply breathe, lungs tend to lose their elasticity. Lack of exercise causes your blood vessels to shrink, meaning decreased blood volume and less ability to draw oxygen from the blood cells. When that happens, your heart works harder just to get oxygen to your muscles. There goes your heart rate!

Equally important is how inactivity can lead to joint pain.

But even if you’re anxious to get back into shape, the last thing you need is to strain muscles or tendons in the effort. That would throw you right back out of the exercise mode and be painful, to boot.

Our Garland Chiropractic Clinic is all about being healthy and pain-free, so we have some tips to help you with exercise safety and ways to achieve your “back on the treadmill” goal.

  • Before you start any exercise program, Consult with your Doctor to determine your health ‘base line.’ Be sure you don’t have any underlying conditions that exercise could exacerbate.
  • Keep your goals realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure or disappointment by reaching for perfection. If you need to lose weight, go after the pounds a few at a time. Know your own body shape and accept that you might not end up like that model on a magazine cover. If you want to build muscle, strengthen yourself gradually and don’t focus on six-pack abs. The idea is to be slimmer, healthier, and energized.
  • Start Slowly! It took time to lose your physical edge; it’s going to take time to regain it. If you push yourself, you might stress parts of your body that aren’t ready for such attention. It’s OK to return to the same type of exercise you’re used to, but do so at a lower intensity. Intersperse your run with periods of walking. Break up aerobics with a few minutes of rest. If you do warm-ups, stretch them out so your body really has a change to loosen up. Same thing with cooling down. And keep the amount of time you engage in any exercise to a minimum until you’ve built up the strength and energy for longer periods.
  • Commit to a schedule. The easiest way to stick with a plan is to make it a habit. Select a time that works for you and try to keep it set aside strictly for that purpose.
  • Find an exercise buddy. You want exercise to be fun, so if you enjoy it more having a companion share the experience, then ask a friend to join you. It could make it easier to monitor yourself than if you do it alone. If you don’t have a human friend who can spare the time then bring along your dog if you’re running or walking.
  • Above all, be patient! Your body is adaptive, but don’t push it! And if you feel you have pushed it, ask your doctor to look you over to be sure you’re OK to keep exercising. He or she might recommend that you ease back, or they might recommend certain exercises that will help you get in shape without stressing your body.

Dr. Mixon and our staff at Texas Spine & Wellness know how everything connects in your body and can help you with exercise safety. We know common stress points and can help you avoid problems. Allow us to help you plan an exercise program that will enable you achieve your fitness goals without injury. Give us a call us at (972) 840-2520 and set up an appointment today.

Learning to Use the Healing Power of Music

Having studied the healing power of music for decades, scientists know it has a profound effect on the mind, body and emotions. Music has a way to move us that seems to go to our very core as living beings and can transcend borders, cultures and race.

Music can be highly therapeutic and healing. Stroke victims, for example, have recovered through intonation therapy when many other treatments have failed. Music triggers neurons in the brain in a way that few other therapies can, and its effectiveness as a healing tool should not be overlooked. Brain scans show that listening to harmonious music elevates activity in areas of the brain’s reward center triggering the release of dopamine,  a powerful brain chemical.woman experiencing the healing power of music

From pain, depression, epilepsy to even more extreme conditions such as heart disease, music has been shown to be incredibly effective.

Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have been shown to respond to music therapy, as songs and tunes from their younger days bring up memories that were seemingly lost to the disease. Incredibly, some doctors have given their patients a daily ‘playlist’ of songs timed so that the patients remember to do certain activities at certain times. Imagine, for example, The Beatles’ ‘When I’m 64’ reminding you to take your medicine or Mozart’s’ ‘Sonata in G Minor’ when it’s time to head to the cafeteria for lunch.

In June of 2006, the Journal of Advanced Nursing published a study that showed a reduction in pain and depression among patients who listened to music on a daily basis. It’s not hard to imagine that someone would cheer up when listening to a great rock and roll tune or a good Polka. However it boggles the mind to learn that an actual corollary between listening to music and pain reduction was found. That’s downright incredible.

These are some of the most interesting reasons that music can do all of these things:

  • Music has a way of organizing time that all humans seem to understand
  • Music encourages us to move, and that movement is enjoyable.
  • Music creates strong memories and even stronger emotions, which can last for decades.
  • Music can be mesmerizing and stimulates many areas of the brain at once.

Indeed, the power of music goes well beyond the pleasure that it gives when we hear it. It has an intense effect on our thoughts and our passions.

If you’re looking for alternative and complimentary therapies, don’t underestimate the power of music to calm, and to heal. Why not give it a try? The next time you wake up feeling stiff and achy, turn on the radio, find a pleasing, melodious tune and let your mind relax. You just might find this simple technique will help you get the day started with less pain.

If you are looking for safe and effective ways to treat joint and back pain, our Garland chiropractor’s office offers a wide range of available therapies including physical rehab, therapeutic massage and chiropractic treatment. We also offer advanced treatment options for pain, including injections using all natural remedies.  If you would like more information, please contact our office, Texas Spine & Wellness, at (972) 840-2520.

How Sleep Deprivation Impairs Immune System Functions

To avoid sleep deprivation, doctors recommend at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. That’s just for adults. For teenagers, the suggestion is for nine to 10 hours, because their minds and bodies are growing fast! Younger children should be allowed more than 10 hours. Some researchers believe the deepest period of sleep is when young children’s neural networks of are produced in the brain. That’s what generates cognition and memory.

immune system functionAt one time, the need for a certain amount of sleep was viewed by most as an “old wives’ tale”, but today there are many studies that prove sleep deprivation really can have a negative impact on our health.

Specifically, when you don’t get enough shut-eye, your immune system doesn’t work effectively. Your defense against catching common viruses and infectious diseases is compromised, as is your ability to fight them off. This is true for all age groups.

How Sleep Deprivation Affect Our Immune System?

Cytokines are protein molecules that are released by your immune system. Some of these molecules promote sleep, while others send signals from cell to cell, stimulating targeted cells to move toward areas of infection, trauma, and inflammation. This cell to cell communication is all about the immune system’s response to help the body, so having active cytokines is important. When you sleep, cytokine production is increased, however lack of sleep decreases the production. Infection-fighting antibodies are also reduced when you’re sleep deprived.

Let’s consider fevers. The body generates a higher temperature in an attempt to fight infections, and the our bodies create a better fever reaction during sleep. But when you’re not asleep, the fever response isn’t optimal and it’s more difficult to fight infections. Even vaccines are less effective in an exhausted individual because the body is simply unable to generate the antibodies the vaccine is intended to spur!

According to the director of the Sleep Center of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer facility, “We live in a 24-7 society and everyone has two jobs and is bombarded with media. So sleep seems expendable. But proper sleep is a fundamental component of a healthy lifestyle.”

Sleep Deprivation and Inflammation

Sleep deprivation simply doesn’t give your immune system an opportunity to work to its highest capacity. That’s why there’s such a long list of physical and mental health problems resulting from too little sleep.

One interesting fact is that when a person is really tired, the immune system reacts with an inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation can be harmful!

Another interesting point is that after a lengthy period without enough sleep, the immune system is more active; however, this particular type of activity tends to trigger more allergies and asthma than normal.

A study in the Netherlands and United Kingdom revealed that severe sleep loss causes the immune system to react the way it does in instances of stress! Disrupted sleep affects molecular mechanisms that produce white blood cells, increasing production. Now that’s stress!

5 Tips to a Better Night’s Rest

Let’s review a few basic ways to help you get a good night’s sleep.

  • Set up a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day will help your mind and body prepare for sleep.
  • Eat a good enough dinner so you won’t go to bed hungry, but don’t overdo it. Being hungry and being stuffed both tend to disturb sleep. Also don’t eat too late.
  • Stay away from stimulants like nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol before bedtime.
  • A nightly ritual preparing for bed is a relaxing reminder that sleep is coming. Take a bath, enjoy some music, or read a good book just before you go to bed. But—avoid your electronic devices because that stimulates your brain at a time when you’re trying to sooth it toward sleep!
  • Make your bed and sleeping space a place to achieve deep sleep. A dark, quiet room is restful, and a cooler temperature is not only more comfortable, it slows your body down. A good mattress and a pillow with just the right amount of firmness, or softness, are a must.

Sleep deprivation does more than make you sleepy and irritable; it’s detrimental to your health. Don’t let it a lack of sleep determine the quality of your life. Take the necessary steps to add those important additional hours to your sleep. Your body will thank you!