Childhood Sports Injury Prevention

“The majority, if not all, sports are good, provided that the child prepares appropriately,” says Dr. Timothy Ray, a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries and Physical Fitness. “Without proper preparation, playing any sport can turn into a bad experience. There are structural and physical developmental issues that need to be taken into consideration before children undertake certain sports.”

Young athletes today often think they are invincible. The following American Chiropractic Association tips can help ensure your child does not miss a step when it comes to proper fitness, stretching, training and rest that the body needs to engage in sporting activities. Encourage your child to:

·Have Proper Nutrition And Hydration. Proper nutrition and hydration are also extremely vital. “While an ordinary person may need to drink eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water each day, athletes need to drink even more than that for proper absorption. Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day. Also, eating a healthy meal two to four hours before a practice or a game and another within one to two hours after a game or practice allows for proper replenishment and refuels the body,” adds Dr. Horwitz (member of the US Olympic medalist team).
· Wear The Proper Equipment. Certain contact sports, such as football and hockey, can be dangerous if the equipment is not properly fitted. Make sure all equipment, including helmets, pads and shoes fit your child or adolescent. Talk to your child’s coach or trainer if the equipment is damaged.
· Eat Healthy Meals. Make sure your young athlete is eating a well-balanced diet and does not skip meals. Avoid high-fat foods, such as candy bars and fast food. At home, provide fruit rather than cookies, and vegetables rather than potato chips.
· Maintain A Healthy Weight. Certain sports, such as gymnastics, wrestling and figure skating, may require your young athlete to follow strict dietary rules. Be sure your child does not feel pressured into being too thin and that he/she understands that proper nutrition and caloric intake is needed for optimal performance and endurance.
· Drink Water. Hydration is a key element to optimal fitness. Teenage athletes should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Younger athletes should drink five to eight 8-ounce glasses of water.
· Drink Milk. Make sure your child has enough calcium included in his/her diet. For children over 2 years of age, ACA recommends 1 percent or skim milk rather than whole milk. Milk is essential for healthy bones and reduces the risk of joint and muscle related injuries.
· Avoid Sugar-Loaded, Caffeinated And Carbonated Drinks. Sports drinks are a good source of replenishment for those kids engaged in long duration sports, such as track and field.
· Follow A Warm-Up Routine. Be sure your child or his/her coach includes a warm-up and stretching session before every practice, game or meet. A slow jog, jumping rope and/or lifting small weightsreduces the risk of torn or ripped muscles. Flexibility is key when pushing to score that extra goal or make that critical play.
· Take Vitamins Daily. A multi-vitamin and Vitamin C are good choices for the young athlete. Vitamin B and amino acids may help reduce the pain from contact sports. Thiamine can help promote healing. Also consider Vitamin A to strengthen scar tissue.
· Avoid Trendy Supplements. Kids under the age of 18 should avoid the use of performance-enhancing supplements, such as creatine. Instead, they should ask their coach or trainer to include weekly weight training and body-conditioning sessions in their workout.
· Get Plenty Of Rest. Eight hours of sleep is ideal for the young athlete. Lack of sleep and rest can decrease performance. Sluggishness, irritability and loss of interest could indicate that your child is fatigued.
·Chiropractic Care Can Help. Doctors of chiropractic are trained and licensed to treat the entire neuromusculoskeletal system and can provide advice on sports training, nutrition and injury prevention to young athletes.

Treating childhood sports injuries,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Chiropractic Approach To Ear Infections

Below, chiropractor and journalist, Matt Smith, explains how you can treat a common and painful dilemma for many kids. Ear problems can be excruciatingly painful, especially for children. With 10 million new cases every year, ear infections (otitis media) are the most common symptoms affecting babies and young children and the No.1 reason for visits to the pediatrician – accounting for more than 35 percent of all pediatric visits.

Almost half of all children will have at least one middle-ear infection before they’re 1 year old, and two-thirds of them will have had at least one such infection by age 3. The symptoms can include ear pain, fever and irritability.

Otitis media can be either bacterial or viral in origin, and frequently results from another illness such as a cold. For many children, it can become a chronic problem, requiring treatment year after year, and putting the child at risk of permanent hearing damage and associated speech and developmental problems.

Standard treatment for most cases of otitis media is with antibiotics, which can be effective if the culprit is bacterial (antibiotics, of course, do nothing to fight off viruses). But, according to many research studies, antibiotics are often not much more effective than the body’s own immune system. And repeated doses of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant bacteria that scoff at the drugs, while leaving the child screaming in pain.

Doing my part to reduce ear aches,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC
Frequent ear infections are also the second most common reason for surgery in children under 2 (with circumcision being the first). In severe cases, for example, when fluids from an ear infection haven’t cleared from the ear after several months, and hearing is affected, specialists sometimes prescribe myringotomy and tympanostomy, more commonly known as “ear tubes.”

During the surgical procedure, a small opening is made in the eardrum to place a tube inside. The tube relieves pressure in the ear and prevents repeated fluid buildup with the continuous venting of fresh air. In most cases, the membrane pushes the tube out after a couple of months and the hole in the eardrum closes. Although the treatment is effective, it has to be repeated in some 20 to 30 percent of cases. And this kind of surgery requires general anesthesia, never a minor thing in a small child. If the infection persists even after tube placement and removal, children sometimes undergo adenoidectomy (surgical removal of the adenoids) – an option that is effective mostly through the first year after surgery.

Before yet another round of “maybe-they’ll-work-and-maybe-they-won’t” antibiotics or the drastic step of surgery, more parents are considering a chiropractic approach to help children with chronic ear infections. Dr. Joan Fallon, a chiropractor who practices in Yonkers, has published research showing that, after receiving a series of chiropractic adjustments, nearly 80 percent of the children treated were free of ear infections for at least the six-month period following their initial visits (a period that also included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks).

Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of the ear in children, and if they can continue to drain without a buildup of fluid and subsequent infection, they build up their own antibodies and recover more quickly. Chiropractors use primarily upper-cervical manipulation on children with otitis media, focusing particularly on the occiput, or back of the skull, and atlas, or the first vertebra in the neck. Adjusting the occiput, in particular, will get the middle ear to drain.

Dr. Fallon, whose research garnered her the acclaim of childrearing magazines like Parenting and Baby Talk, often sees great success when she treats a child for otitis media. “Once they fight it themselves, my kids tend to do very well and stay away from ear infections completely. Unless there are environmental factors like smoking in the house, an abnormally shaped Eustachian tube, or something like that, they do very well,” she said.

Chiropractic care can help, so ask Dr. Kotzan about your child’s ear infections. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children.

Doing my part to reduce earaches,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Think Chiropractic Is Okay For Kids? ABSOLUTELY!!!


Fellow pediatric chiropractor Jeff Ludwick answers that easily. His explanation is that children with properly aligned spines have a better opportunity to be healthy—much better off than taking any of the 40 childrens’ over-the-counter cold and allergy medications being recalled (including Tylenol and Motrin). Beginning at birth, children go through many different micro-traumas and frequent falls as they learn to crawl, walk and eventually run. Chiropractic adjustments give children an edge by reducing many physical stressors they endure throughout life. The child’s spine is developing rapidly in the first 10 years of life. Apparently innocent events, such as wearing backpacks, increasing use of the computer, having poor posture and getting injured playing sports, can create spinal misalignments in the child’s spine. These can put inflammatory pressure on the child’s nervous system. When the nerve isn’t functioning correctly, it can result in symptoms such as colic, asthma, ear infections, stomach ache, bed wetting, poor posture, hyperactivity and frequent colds or flu. Through safe and gentle adjustments, a chiropractor can realign the child’s spine with specific contacts, reducing the pressure on the nervous system, allowing the body to heal and reduce symptoms. Like dentistry, many parents also see the benefits of providing preventive care for their children and see this as an important role in their child’s overall health and wellness. And working with kids is a fun part of the job! Bring your kids on in for treatments or just to come watch you being treated.

Looking forward to chiropractically treating your kids soon,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Health Care Reform Passed—When Will I See Changes???

Within This Coming Year
1.) Young adults will be able stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday.
2.) Insurers will be barred from imposing exclusions on children with pre-existing conditions. Pools will cover those with pre-existing health conditions until health care coverage exchanges are operational.
3.) Insurers will not be able to rescind policies to avoid paying medical bills when a person becomes ill.
4.) Lifetime limits on benefits and restrictive annual limits will be prohibited.
5.) New plans must provide coverage for preventive services without co-pays. All plans must comply by 2018.
6.) New plans will be required to implement an appeals process for coverage determinations and claims.
7.) Businesses with fewer than 50 employees will get tax credits covering 35 percent of their health care premiums, increasing to 50 percent by 2014.

Beginning January 1, 2011
1.) Medicare will provide free annual wellness visits and personalized prevention plans. New plans will be required to cover preventive services with no co-pay.
2.) A plan to provide a vehicle for small businesses to offer tax-free benefits will be created.

Beginning January 1, 2013
1.) Health plans must implement uniform standards for electronic exchange of health information to reduce paperwork and administrative costs.
2.) Contributions to flexible savings accounts will be limited to $2,500 per year, indexed by the Consumer Price Index in subsequent years.

Beginning January 1, 2014
1.) No health plan or insurer may discriminate against any health provider acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable state law (insurance companies cannot unfairly exclude doctors of chiropractic from practicing under state law, applicable to all health benefit plans both insured and self-insured).
2.) Chiropractors named as potential members of Community Health Teams to support the development of “medical homes” to enhance patient care, wellness and lifestyle improvements.
3.) Chiropractors are specifically included as part of the National Health Care Workforce Commission defined as “Health Care Professionals,” allowing them to provide comprehensive information to Congress and the Administration about how to align federal health care workforce resources with national needs.
4.) Citizens will be required to have acceptable coverage or pay a penalty of $95 in 2014, $325 in 2015, $695 (or up to 2.5 percent of income) in 2016. Families will pay half the amount for children, up to a cap of $2,250 per family. After 2016, penalties are indexed to Consumer Price Index.
5.) Workers who are exempt from individual responsibility for coverage but don’t qualify for tax credits can take their employer contribution and join an exchange plan.
6.) Companies with 50 or more employees must offer coverage to employees or pay a $2,000 penalty per employee after their first 30 if at least one of their employees receives a tax credit. Waiting periods before insurance takes effect is limited to 90 days. Employers who offer coverage but whose employees receive tax credits will pay $3,000 for each worker receiving a tax credit.
7.) Insurers can no longer refuse to sell or renew policies because of an individual’s health status. Health plans can no longer exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurers can’t charge higher rates because of heath status, gender or other factors.
8.) Health plans will be prohibited from imposing annual limits on coverage.
9.) Health insurance exchanges will open in each state to individuals and small employers to comparison shop for standardized health packages.
10.) Credits will be available through exchanges for those whose income is above Medicaid eligibility and below 400 percent of poverty level who are not eligible for or offered other acceptable coverage.

Looking Forward to Health Care Change,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

LOTS of Chiropractic Benefits In Health Care Reform

Chiropractic health care will see many important benefits as part of the new health reform law! First off, the law includes language that forces your health plans and insurers to pay for your chiropractic treatments–they can’t discriminate. Second, the law prevents health plans from excluding members based on pre-existing conditions–making it possible for many of you to even have coverage. The law increases the age from 24 to 26 in which one can still be covered under his or her parents’ health care policy. Also, the law allows chiropractors to become part of new “community-based” health care housing units. Another important benefit is that the law includes chiropractors as members of the National Health Care Workforce Commission that consistently keeps Congress and the president informed about America’s health care issues. And finally, the law allows for some government subsidies for your health care coverage.

Looking forward to positive chiropractic legislation,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Eat Your Seafood For Omega-3’s, But Responsibly

We know seafood has many of the omega-3-fatty acids that are good for you — but not when they come with a side order of mercury and habitat destruction.
Green America’s Safe Seafood Tip Sheet is the only source that looks at both the health and environmental issues surrounding your fish choices. They compiled the best data on environmental sustainability from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, along with the Environmental Working Group’s data on toxins, plus information from the FDA, EPA, and others, to create the most comprehensive safe seafood tipsheet around.
For a printable PDF of their safe seafood options, click here: SAFE SEAFOOD

See the column to the left for a product description of the Omega-3-Fatty Acids sold by Dr. Kotzan.

Value the benefits of Omega-3-Fatty Acids,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

FIRST Certified Bay Area Chiropractic Office!

Green is the color of the month–appropriate since Kotzan Chiropractic just became the first Bay Area Chiropractic office to be certified “GREEN”! Dr. Kotzan received award recognition in front of the San Carlos City Council on Monday February 8th and later from the California state Senate and Assembly. After all, chiropractic is a form of healthcare that requires nothing but our hands! You can feel comfortable knowing that you are receiving the best healthcare possible–and at the same time, having it take place in a very environmentally-friendly fashion.

The government-operated Bay Area Green Business Program verifies that businesses meet higher standards of environmental performance. The partnership of government agencies and utilities helps local businesses comply with environmental regulations and take actions to conserve resources, prevent pollution, minimize waste, and reduce their carbon footprint. The program offers businesses and agencies an easy-to-use framework for improving environmental performance. More than 1,800 businesses and public agencies have been certified since 1997–ours being the first chiropractic office! Here are a few of the following ways we are “GREEN”: an efficient full-office recycling program for almost all waste, low electricity and water useage, no fluorocarbon aerosols, energy efficient lighting, natural lighting, plant life both inside and outside the office, etc.

GREEN For Your Health,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Proper Ergonomics While Commuting

Sitting in cramped cars, trains or planes for long periods of time can be the recipe for muscle aches and pains. Taking a few simple precautions can make traveling fun and pain-free.

“Prolonged sitting can wreak havoc on your body,” says Dr. Scott Bautch, a member of the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Council on Occupational Health. “Even if you travel in the most comfortable car or opt to fly first class, certain pressures and forces from awkward positions can result in restricted blood flow and pain.” The California Chiropractic Association (CCA) offers the following health and wellness advice:

Treat travel as an athletic event. Warm up before settling into a car or plane, and cool down once you reach your destination. Take a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles. Fight the pains and strains of travel before they’ve got you saying “I need Dr. Kotzan!”.
In the car:
· Adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible (yet allowing proper airbag clearance). Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips.
· Consider a back support.
· Exercise your legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue or discomfort.
· Do not grip the steering wheel. Instead, tighten and loosen your grip to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms, wrists and hands.
In an airplane:
· Stand up straight and feel the normal “S” curve of your spine. Then use rolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain that curve when you sit in your seat.
· While seated, vary your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps.
· Do not sit directly under the air controls. The draft can increase tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.
Safe travel for children:
· Make sure the car seat is appropriate for the age and size of the child.
· Car seats for infants should always face the rear.
· Car seats should always be placed in the back seat of the car-ideally in the center.

If you do experience pain and stress on your back from traveling, call Dr. Kotzan to naturally help alleviate stress, tension, and the aches and pains that often accompany them and offer you advice on exercise and nutrition.

To The Best Of Travels,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Get Quality Sleep–Here’s How…

Many health problems are simply due to fatigue. Getting enough rest recharges and renews our bodies for the next day’s challenges.
With all of the stress of normal day life, rest often takes the backseat. But sleep is critical to good health and functioning. As wellness experts, doctors of chiropractic can provide patients with a different approach to their sleep problems-without the use of sleeping pills, which leave many people in a mental haze the next morning. The California Chiropractic Association (CCA) offers the following health and wellness advice:
General Sleeping Tips
· Exercise regularly. Working out in the morning is best, but if you must exercise in the evening, do so at least two or three hours before bedtime.
· Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, colas and tea. Try to avoid them altogether late in the day and near bedtime.
· If you have trouble sleeping and then get thirsty, drink tap water at room temperature (cold water may disturb the digestive system).
· Eat an early dinner. Eating after 6 p.m. may interfere with sleep as your body works to digest the food you’ve eaten.
· Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning. The routine will help your body know when it is time to rest.
· Keep your bedroom at a cool, comfortable temperature and try to make it as dark as possible when you’re ready for bed.
Useful Mattress Tips
· A mattress should provide uniform support from head to toe. If there are gaps between your body and your mattress (such as at the waist), you’re not getting the full support that you need.
· Every few months, turn your mattress clockwise, or upside down, so that body indentations are kept to a minimum.
· Be aware that changes in your life (weight loss or gain, a new spouse, etc.) can signal the need for a new mattress.
Useful Pillow Tips
After investing in a quality mattress, don’t forget to choose an equally supportive pillow. A good pillow will keep the cervical (neck) section of the spine aligned with the thoracic and lumbar (chest and lower back) sections. The sections move together and should be supported together.
· Be wary of pillows that are made out of mushy foam materials. Choose firmer foam and materials that press back and support the head.
· There is no such thing as a universal fit when it comes to pillows. Find one that is consistent with the shape and size of your body. Your doctor of chiropractic can help alleviate stress, tension, and the aches and pains that often accompany them naturally, and offer you advice on exercise and nutrition, so you can enjoy a quality night’s sleep.

Here’s To Better Sleep,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Be Smart With Winter Sports

Enjoy winter fun? Then follow these tips to help you fight back the winter weather injuries:

Derek Parra (Olympic speedskater gold and silver medalist) and the American Chiropractic Association suggest that you start with some light aerobic activity (jogging, biking, fast walking) for about 7-10 minutes. And then:
Skiing – do 10 to 15 squats. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, knees aligned over your feet. Slowly lower your buttocks as you bend your knees over your feet. Stand up straight again.
Skating – do lunges. Take a moderately advanced step with one foot. Let your back knee come down to the floor while keeping your shoulders in position over your hips. Repeat the process with your other foot.
Sledding/tobogganing – do knee-to-chest stretches to fight compression injuries caused by repetitive bouncing over the snow. Either sitting or lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and hold for up to 30 seconds.

Don’t forget cool-down stretching for all of these sports – At the bottom of the sledding hill, for instance, before trudging back up, do some more
knees-to-chest stretches, or repetitive squatting movements to restore flexibility.

See you on the slopes,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC