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The latest from the Alternative Family Medicine team.
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January 10, 2018 Ann BarterConditionsPain

Concussions are a form of traumatic injury to the head accompanied by temporary impairment of brain function. This kind of damage is often referred to as mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or mild head injury (MHI) and is one of the most common kinds of external damage in the head and neck region.

In 2013,  about 2.8 million traumatic brain injury-related visits to the emergency department took place in the United States. Modern studies reveal that the most common mechanisms of TBI are:

  •         Road traffic accidents
  •         Falls
  •         A hit by or against a certain object

Roughly speaking, all concussions can be divided into two major groups: sports-related and not related to sports. Although the treatment in both cases is roughly universal, patients who had received a sport-related concussion often worry about how quickly they would be able to return to their training sessions, games and tournaments. A major part of the functional treatment of TBI is in explaining the importance of complete recovery before going back to physical activities: this is crucial not only for the patient’s health but also for his or her optimal physical performance. read more


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January 10, 2018 Ann BarterConditionsPain

Among all health complaints, head pain is one of the most common. Recent studies indicate that as much as 48.9% of the population may be suffering from recurrent headaches, and this number is most likely to raise even higher throughout the following years.

Head pain tends to be a multifactorial problem.  This basically means that it needs to be approached with multiple different approaches.  The structural component of head pain can easily be corrected by interventions like chiropractic care.  The muscular component can easily be addressed with muscle techniques including graston (scar tissue removal technique), dry needling, and focused muscle work addressing the cranials and TMJ.  An underlying biochemical component can be causing or contributing to head pain, including possible hormonal imbalances.  Such biochemical imbalances may stem from food allergies or sensitivities, unregulated blood sugar, or thyroid problems.  Many other factors can contribute to head pain and it is important to get at the root of the problem rather than papering it over with ibuprofen — your body is letting you know that something is not right and needs to be addressed. read more


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Close to 700,000 Americans have their gallbladder removed each year in the US. The goal of this surgery is to alleviate digestive distress, chronic abdominal and referred pain patterns, and prevent dangerous lodging of gallstones in the common bile duct. In many instances, this surgery is an absolute and cannot be avoided.

Postcholecystectomy syndrome (Post-gallbladder removal syndrome) is defined as a complex of diverse symptoms consisting of:

  • Gallbladder or non-gallbladder-like abdominal pains
  • Indigestion
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal disorders and jaundice
  • Bloating, gas, and diarrhea
  • And Cholangitis (infection of the bile ducts of the liver)

The most common cause of this syndrome is bile stones that were likely present at the time of surgery, or developed after the surgery as a result of bile stagnation. Stagnant bile is usually the reason stones form in the gallbladder in the first place. As bile is made in the liver, it is important to address why you are producing sluggish, thick bile in the first place. This can be addressed both nutritionally with herbal remedies as well as changes in diet.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3473449/ (1) read more


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Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most commonly diagnosed disabling condition of the upper extremities (your arms). CTS can very dramatically decrease your quality of life, interfering with sleep, productivity at work, focus, and takes the enjoyment out of leisure activities. This condition has such a chronic nature it can have a negative impact on  your mood as well.  People with CTS suffer from chronic numbness and/or tingling in the hands, loss of grip strength and dexterity, discomfort in the forearms, difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position due to numbness and tingling, and they often have head and neck complaints. read more


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Neck pain is a common complaint in our office. Often times presenting not only as pain but also limited range of motion, headaches, and face and jaw pain. Neck pain can be caused by many different factors. There are the obvious causes like sleeping on the wrong pillow or in an unnatural position, poor computer posture, trauma, whiplash, etc. One common, but uncommonly thought of reason for neck pain, however, can be your shoulder.

This can be better explained by examining how the shoulder is put together. Your shoulder anchors itself to your rib cage and neck via muscles, tendons and fascia. When your shoulder is working properly, it recruits from these anchors in a very balanced manner. When your shoulder is injured or imbalanced, however, the shoulder starts recruiting from the the neck and the rib cage in an unbalanced way. read more


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Dry needling is a very safe and effective treatment that we offer in our clinic. It is used to restore proper muscle balance, relieve restrictions in the fascia and nervous system, treat inflammation, and alleviate pain. But this procedure tends to strike fear in the hearts of the bravest, strongest women we know (sorry fellas, when it comes to pain tolerance you don’t hold a candle to your female counterparts).

So we have taken time to write this post to address some concerns about dry needling you may have. read more


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Have you ever had an injury you didn’t consider to be “that bad” come back to bite you years later? Remember that time you rolled your ankle playing tennis? Or that embarrassing “yard sale” you had on the mountain? What about that fender bender 20 years ago?

Chronic pain and old injuries all have one thing in common: scar tissue.

When you initially get injured your body lays down collagen fibers in every which way to stabilize the area, i.e. scar tissue.  Your body is bracing for the next traumatic event.  The stabilizing mechanism of your body is incredible but later on does not serve you.  Muscle fiber should lay down parallel to allow the muscle to stretch.  If the muscle fibers are perpendicular, this does not allow the muscle to stretch and contract properly without feeling tight or painful.   read more


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In my practice I see a lot of patients suffering the effects of past head traumas without even knowing it. The origin of these injuries have a variety of causes from the common whiplash to blunt force trauma by way of horse hoof or fist.

The solution is sometimes as simple as cranial adjusting.

These patients have symptoms ranging from mild and chronic to severe interference with their quality of living. Typically they present with chronic headaches, migraines, neck pain, breathing difficulties (deviated septum), brain fog, difficulty concentrating, mild loss of coordination, head and eye pressure, and sinus congestion symptoms. I have seen many of these patients symptoms not only decrease in severity, but often times alleviate all together. read more


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Low back pain is one of the most common complaints we see in our office, and one we are adept at treating. Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability in the US. 4 out of 5 americans will suffer from disabling low back pain in their lifetimes. Mechanical or non-organic low back pain, meaning it is not caused by any serious conditions such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer can be a complicated subject, because it varies so much in nature. A trigger point or tight muscle might cause excruciating back pain in a 20 something year-old, while the 74 year-old woman with severe arthritis might be completely pain-free. What we do know about low back pain is that there can be a combination of factors playing in. read more


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Allow me to share my 5 best golden rules to alleviate low back pain. It is important to not only alleviate low back pain but also learn how to not have a re-occurrence.

Golden Rule # 1, lose weight

The reasoning behind the importance of losing weight is excessive weight creates additional stress on the low back, especially abdominal fat. Remember, if you have additional fat in the abdomen region then the structures in your low back are required to support the extra weight. Over time this puts unnecessary stress on joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons creating small micro-traumas that can result in pain and discomfort. read more