Playing Safe: 10 Tips To Keeping Your Kids Injury-Free

1. Be fit first. Your child should be in proper physical condition for his or her sport before participating.
2. Get a physical exam. Take your child to the doctor before he or she begins participating in sports.
3. Know the proper techniques and rules of the game. Make sure your child is using the right positions and postures when playing.
4. Cool down and warm up before practices and games—and before any physical activity.
5. Wear protective gear at all times. Make sure the equipment fits properly and is appropriate for the sports in which your child is participating.
6. Stay hydrated. Make sure your child drinks adequate water or sports drinks before, during and after exercise.
7. Talk with the coach. Find out if your child’s coach has proper credentials, including experience coaching children and an understanding of their special needs, training in first aid, and knowledge about injury prevention and proper body mechanics, says Mathew Ryan, ATC-PTA, program manager of PAMF’s Sports Medicine and Athletic Training Department in Santa Cruz.
8. Ignore the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. If your child is too tired or in pain, he or she should stop playing says PAMF Dr. Harris.
9. Remember R.I.C.E. If your child does have a minor injury, remember Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
10. Don’t overdo it. Play only one sport per season to avoid over-taxing the body, and rest at least one day per week, PAMF Dr. Harris advises. It is also important to cross-train and avoid playing the same sport year round, adds Ryan. “Even professional athletes take at least two months off from their sport every year, and kids’ muscles and tendons need even more recovery time,” he says. “You can’t use the same muscles over and over again without rest and expect to remain injury-free.”
–Palo Alto Medical Foundation

Keeping Kids Safe This Summer,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

National Biking Month

May is National Biking Month and here is a list put together by the League of American Bicyclists on Overcoming Bike Commuting Excuses:

1. I’m out of shape
• Ride at an easy pace; in a few months you will be in great shape.
• Ride your route on a weekend to find the easiest way to work.
• You will improve your fitness level when you become a regular bike commuter.
2. It takes too long
• The average commuter travels at 10 mph; the more you ride, the faster you will become.
• Trips of less than three miles will be quicker by bike.
• Trips of five to seven miles in urban areas may take the same time or less as by car.
3. It’s too far
• Try riding to work and taking mass transit home, then alternating the next day.
• Combine riding and mass transit to shorten your commute.
• Ride to a coworker’s house and carpool to work.
4. No bike parking
• Look around for a storage area in your building or office.
• Stash your bike in a covered, secure place such as a closet or even your office.
• Formally request that your employer provide bike parking or lock it up outside.
5. My bike is beat up
• Tell a reputable bike shop that you are commuting and have them tune up your bike.
• If you can’t maintain your bike yourself, identify bike shops near your route.
• Make sure that your bike is reliable and in good working order before you ride.
6. No showers
• Most commuters don’t shower at work; ride at an easy pace to stay cool and dry.
• Ride home at a fast pace if you want a workout; shower when you get there.
• Health clubs offer showers; get a discounted membership for showers only.
7. I have to dress up
• Keep multiple sets of clothing at work; rotate them on days you drive.
• Have work clothes cleaned at nearby laundromats or dry cleaners.
• Pack clothes with you and change at work; try rolling clothes instead of folding.
8. It’s raining
• Fenders for your bike and raingear for your body will keep you dry.
• If you are at work, take transit or carpool to get home; ride home the next day.
• Take transit or drive if you don’t have the gear to ride comfortably in the rain.
9. The roads aren’t safe
• Obey traffic signs, ride on the right, signal turns, and stop at lights.
• Wear bright clothing.
• You are at no greater risk than driving a car.
• Wear a helmet every time you ride.
10. I have to run errands
• Bolt a rack to the back of your bike to add carrying capacity.
• Make sure that you have a lock to secure your bike while you are in a building.
• Allow extra time to get to scheduled appointments and find parking.
• Encourage your employer to provide a bicycle fleet for office use.

For more information on how to make your workplace more bicycle friendly visit
www.bikeleague.org.

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

Slipped Ribs

Slip, flop, pop right out.

It’s hard to imagine that our ribs have the ability to slip out of their normal alignment.

Before I explain a little more about this situation, let’s explore the anatomy surrounding our ribs. We have 12 ribs total on each side of our body. The first seven ribs from top to bottom on either side are called true ribs because they attach to both our vertebral bones in the back and to a piece of cartilage in the front of our chest that then attaches to our sternum. The next three ribs down from those on either side, called false ribs, attach to the vertebral bodies in the back and then come around the front to attach to a longer strip of cartilage without fully connecting to the sternum. And then ribs 11 and 12 on either side connect to the vertebral bones in the back but have no connection to any cartilage in the front, therefore, being completely unattached to the sternum. These last two ribs are called floating ribs.

We rely on our ribcage to be fully moveable for full inspiration and expiration of our lungs. The ribs rotate ourward with inspiration and then rotate back inward with expiration thanks to the muscles between the ribs (intercostal muscles) and the nerves that innervate them (intercostal nerves).

But there can be many forces working against us that prevent normal ribcage movement. The part of the spine (the thoracic spine) that the ribs attach to provides us with most of our ability to rotate our body (although it also provides elements of flexion, extension, side-bending). We can twist and turn thanks to this part of our spine–which also requires our ribs, attached to these rotating vertebrae, to accomodate and rotate at the joint where they attach to the vertebrae. Poor flexibility of our muscles, tendons, and ligaments that attach to these joints can prevent the ribs from completing their full range of motion, possibly even forcing them to slightly slip from the cartilage or bone to which they attach if the demand we place on them is too great for them to handle due to their lack of flexibility.

Patients usually report a pain in the front of their chest or in the back of their chest, most commonly felt with rotation of their trunk, caughing, sneezing, a hard laugh, pushing or pulling items or lifting a heavier object. Often, the pain of a slipped rib radiates from the back of the chest or front of the chest all the way around to the opposite side at the same level (pain along the intercostal nerve). Sometimes a clicking/popping/clunking noise is also associated with certain movements.

The best form of diagnosing a slipped rib is to get a proper case history and then to palpate the area around the painful region. Specific maneuvers requested to be performed during the exam may also indicate a slipped rib.

And then finally, what many people care about most, is the treatment of a slipped rib. The chiropractic adjustment to correct the slippage is extremely important. In conjunction with adjusting, it is important to loosen the tissue around the ribs with a stretching protocol and to monitor/adjust aggravating activities.

Should you want to learn more about slipped ribs or want to correct a slipped rip, please give me a call.

In correcting slipped ribs,
Dr. Phil Kotzan

Chiropractic Most Effective Therapy

 

On April 6th, 2009, the Consumer Reports Health Rating Center released the survey results of more than 14,000 Americans that asked participants to rate the most effective treatment option for people suffering with low back pain.

The survey rated doctors of chiropractic as the top practitioner, with survey respondents noting that they were more likely to be “highly satisfied” with the care received from their doctor of chiropractic (59 percent) than their primary care physician (34 percent).

 

“For the treatment of back pain, few options are better than chiropractic,” says the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) President Glenn Manceaux, DC. “As shown in this latest survey, chiropractic spinal manipulation is an evidence-based and effective treatment for low-back pain and other musculoskeletal injuries. Coupled with the high-levels of patient satisfaction, patients should turn to chiropractic as their first choice.”

 

To compare which treatments helped most, Consumer Reports asked its subscribers to rate a comprehensive list of potential remedies along with their satisfaction with the health care professionals they visited. Most survey respondents had tried five or six different treatments on average, and many found that their back pain interfered with their daily activities, including sleep and their sex life.

 

Doctors of chiropractic provide drug-free, non-invasive treatment options for many types of pain and inflammation. For example, chronic back pain, neck pain, joint pain and headaches can often be reduced with the appropriate combination of chiropractic manipulation, rehabilitative exercises and lifestyle counseling – all of which are offered by doctors of chiropractic in a patient’s personalized treatment plan.

 

A significant amount of evidence has shown that the use of chiropractic care for certain conditions can be more effective than traditional medical care, with many patients feeling improvement shortly after their first chiropractic visit.

 

To read the article as it appears on the Consumer Reports Web site, click hereThe American Chiropractic Association, based in Arlington, Va., is the largest professional association in the world representing doctors of chiropractic. The ACA provides lobbying, public relations, professional and educational opportunities for doctors of chiropractic, and offers leadership for the advancement of the profession.

Reported by the American Chiropractic Association.

Promoting Chiropractic,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Patient Thank-You Party!

As a thank-you to all of my patients and their continued support and great friendships, I am having a party on Tuesday, April 14th from 5:30-7:30pm.  Please come and enjoy an evening of appetizers, champagne, chair-massages, health product demonstrations, and great conversation.

Looking forward to seeing you Tuesday the 14th at my office,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

The “Quiet”practor

How could I do anything but laugh when a three-year-old patient of mine misprounounced the term “chiropractor” into “quietpractor.”  Ha.  Although Ella, and all of her three years of vocabulary, simply misprounounced my title of “chiropractor” into “quiet”practor, she sparked a train of thought that made me think about just how vocal I am about what I do for a living and how beneficial my work truly is.  And then I thought I am anything but a “quiet”practor. 

I’ve spent my career thus far promoting the benefits of chiropractic and, therefore, my services of chiropractic and Active Release Technique (ART) treatments.  I’ve done lectures, fairs, and trainings in which I have highlighted that chiropractic adjustments are simply mandatory for so many different people.  People’s joints are continuously mal-aligning, locking up and inflaming the local area…therefore, causing many other symptoms such as pain, muscle tension, stiffness, numbness, and a poor quality of life. 

I’m proud of chiropractic and proud of my role within healthcare.  The next time you hear that I’m quiet, know that it’s a false accusation.  Ha.

I’m Dr. Kotzan and am proud of being the non-“Quiet”practor.  Cheers Ella!

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Traction For Low Back and Neck Pain

It surprises me that many of my patients are unfamiliar with the therapeutic procedure of traction.  Traction is perhaps one of the best adjunct procedures to chiropractic care when treating a variety of symptoms.  Although there are many different types of traction that are utilized for many different reasons, I’m going to focus on the benefits of a type of traction I perform in the office that uses flexion upon the part being tractioned, often called flexion-distraction.

This type of traction involves me applying pressure to the spine manually, yet gently, so that the joints are ever-so-slightly gapped.  The benefits include:

  • Increasing the height of the discs in-between the vertebrae.
  • Decreasing the pressure placed downward and upward on the discs between the vertebrae.
  • Restoring full movement to the vertebral joints.
  • Improving posture.
  • Improving the locomotion of the body.
  • Relieving pain.
  • Improving body function.
  • Restoring a state of well-being.

This technique is beneficial to everyone, but especially those with any degree of vertebral disc bulges, low back pain, neck pain, low back or neck tightness, sciatica, and/or extremity numbness/tingling/radiations.  Should you have any questions about how traction could be added to a treatment plan for you, please don’t hesitate to call.

Tractioning the spine,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Reduce Calories, Improve Memory

A new study found a incredibly interesting link:  cutting calories may boost your memory.  Dr. Agnes Floel published an article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that examined this question.

Fifty healthy women (either normal weight or slightly overweight), between the ages of 50 to 80 showed an improved verbal memory test by 20% when they reduced their calorie intake by 30 percent for three months (besides also obviously losing weight as a beneficial side-effect).

The improved memory capability is believed to be caused by a decrease in inflammation.  When inflammation decreases (as does the C-reactive protein), our cells become more sensitive to insulin.  A lack of insulin sensitivity has been linked to poor neurological function, including poor memory function (as well as Type II Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease).

The study suggests that reducing caloric intake long-term has one more positive effect–increasing our brain function…possibly from preventing the aging of the body (and, therefore, aging of the brain).  The author states that we need to live in a state of undernutrition without creating malnutrition.

Down With Calories!,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Beating Inflammation—The Healthy Way

The body is meant to experience periods of inflammation.  But the body’s proteins and cells function differently, causing negative effects, during periods of long-term inflammation.  Dr. Kotzan has created a list of 25 easy ways of incorporating inflammation-reducing practices into our daily lives.  Below is a brief outline that summarizes the 25 points.  For the full list, please contact Dr. Kotzan.

  1. Improving your nutrition: HUGE!  (There are so many lifestyle changes related to cooking style and diet that can be incorporated into your routine to reduce inflammation.)
  2. Exercise routines that improve one’s cardiovascular, strenthgening, and flexibility levels of fitness.
  3. Ways to reduce environmental levels of impact upon your health to prevent inflammatory responses.
  4. Ways to rethink our daily practices and activities that can lower inflammation.

Please see Dr. Kotzan before implementing any of the previous ideas into your daily routine or if you have any questions about how these lifestyle factors should be implemented.  Inflammation can be beneficial.  But all too often it can lead to serious problems.  Be a part of reducing its negative effects on your life by grabbing a copy of the 25 easy ways of beating inflammation from a healthier perspective.

 

Helping to Reduce Inflammation,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

 

 

 

“Sciatica”

Sciatic Nerve

Sciatic Nerve

Sciatica is one of the most loosly used terms when diagnosing symptoms.  I want to spend a little time providing some background to this diagnosis.

Sciatica is a very broad term given to any type of pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling sensations felt in the lower back, buttocks (usually only one-sided), or down into the leg and/or foot (usually only one-sided).  The term sciatica, itself, is not a diagnosis but a catch-all term for any of the symptoms listed above.

Pain, numbness, weakness and tingling arise from pressure or irritation on the sciatic nerve itself or from pressure on the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve (4th and 5th lumbar nerves and 1st, 2nd and 3rd sacral nerves).  Pressure or irritation on any of these nerves could arise from the following different conditions:

  • Spinal Disc Herniations/Protrusions: Disc herniations and protrusions can result from two common occurances.  The first is when the fluid that resides inside the discs of the vertebrae leak outside the disc into the nerve canal.  The second is when the outside cartilage of the disc bulges into the nerve canal.  Each of these places inflammation and pressure on the nerve roots of the low back, resulting in sciatic symptoms.
  • Spinal Disc Stenosis: The canals of the vertebrae in which the nerve roots (that form the sciatic nerve) exit sometimes begin to compress the nerve root that travels through this already tight space.  Bone spurs, inflammation and vertebral misalignment can cause this narrowing that results in friction of the nerve with different types of movement of the body.  Sciatic symptoms are the result.
  • Piriformis Syndrome: Around 15-20% of people’s sciatic nerve runs between their piriformis muscle deep to their glutes in their buttocks.  Overuse of this muscle can result in a tightening of the muscle around the nerve or an inflammation/pressure of the nerve that results in sciatic symptoms.
  • Trigger Points: Trigger points are knots that develop within muscles that are chronically overused or partially damaged from micro-tears.  The muscle becomes ischemic (lacks oxygen) and develops  these nodules that refer pain along the same nerves that are affected by sciatica. 
  • Personal Habits: There are many personal daily activities that can cause these symptoms.  For example, sitting on a wallet in your back pocket, crossing your legs while sitting, and wearing heavy tool belts and/or clothing that places pressure on the lower back.
  • Pregnancy: When the uterus presses on the sciatic nerve, these symptoms can sometimes arise.  Or sometimes the weight of the uterus can cause pressure or misalignment of the vertebrae that compresses the spinal nerve roots, resulting in symptoms.

Since sciatica is a broad term, the true causes of the symptoms need to be diagnosed.  I spend time with patients performing specific orthopedic tests that reveal the cause of the symptoms and then create a treatment plan based on the diagnosis.  Chiropractic adjustments of the low back and pelvis are extremely important in resolving the symptoms.  Soft tissue pressure/massage to select muscles (ART), traction, stretching, ergonomic advice, and lifestyle modifications are all common elements to the common treatment plan.

In the prevention of sciatica,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC