Archive for December 2013

How Chiropractic Care Has Helped Me: Introducing Hines Ward

December 31, 2013

If you follow football at all—even if you’re not a Steelers fan—you’ve probably heard the name Hines Ward. He wore number 86 for the Pittsburg Steelers from 1998 to 2011. He was Super Bowl XL MVP, and is one of very few football players who have made 1,000 receptions or more in his career. Only seven others can claim that feat. During his time on the field, he was a truly exceptional wide receiver, the sort of player who repeatedly did things that others never could.

Being a professional athlete in any sport has its challenges. In terms of sheer physical punishment, football has more than most. Ward summed this up, saying, “In this game you have to take care of your body. Over the course of a game your body just feels wrecked. Every Monday it hurts to get out of bed. I told my chiropractor, I want to feel good in the morning. A lot of my credit goes to him for keeping me healthy.”

He found ways to bounce back from injuries and played harder at winning than most. Life, however, had not always been so sweet for this starring wide receiver. Ward was born in Seoul, Korea of a Korean mother and an African-American father. Soon after the family moved to Atlanta, his father left. His mother worked two or three jobs, seven days a week, to make ends meet. His estranged father fought for custody, but his mother persisted, building a life for herself by gaining custody of her son and buying her own house. She did these things despite her inability to speak English. Ward learned to appreciate his mother’s hard work and perseverance. That attitude served him well later on the field, earning him admiration from many of his fellow players.


In college, Ward gave a stellar performance on the field, attracting the attention of professional teams. With the University of Georgia Bulldogs, he achieved a second-best in team history with 1,965 yards and 149 career receptions. After graduation he was drafted by the Steelers.

As a devout fan of chiropractic, Hines Ward is no stranger to unconventional therapy. Like many other athletes, he swears by the hyperbaric chamber, an oxygen-rich environment which seems to help many sports stars heal more quickly. He calls it his “fountain of youth.”

As much as anyone, Ward understood that his body was his most important piece of equipment and needed to be kept in tip-top condition. And he has been very appreciative of the help he has received in accomplishing that daunting goal. He wrote to his Pittsburgh chiropractor, Dr. Brad Klueber, “To Dr. Brad, Thanks for the help.”
After retiring from the Steelers, Ward has continued to lead a busy life. He returned to Korea and used a million dollars of his own money to create the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation in support of multiracial children in Korea. He also won season 12 of Dancing With the Stars, along with partner Kym Johnson.
Hines Ward remains a hero to many in every sense of the word.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Best Exercises for Hip Health and Mobility

December 17, 2013

When it comes to ease-of-movement, problems with our hips usually take a back seat to other joint problems that become more obvious as our musculoskeletal system ages. In particular, our back and knees are prone to problems that can restrict our activities and cause chronic pain. However, the health of our hips is actually crucially important in ensuring that we maintain mobility into old age because they are the center around which the forces of movement revolve.

Pain in both our back and our knees is often due to decreased hip mobility. A chronic lack of exercise combined with long hours of sitting, which is common to people with a desk job, causes the muscles around the hips (particularly the hip flexors) to become shorter and weaker. When this happens, range of motion is decreased and the back and knees take on much of the work that healthy mobile hips normally would. This causes the back and knees to work harder and can result in overuse injuries. If you’ve ever strained your back when picking up a heavy object, it may have been due to a lack of strength and mobility in your hips. In order to help prevent future injury to your back and knees, following are some of the best exercises for hip health and mobility.

Hip swings – Steady yourself with one hand on the back of a chair or similar object. Swing one leg forward and back, keeping it straight, and being sure to move from the hip and not the thigh. Do fifteen of these on each leg. Then change direction and practice swinging your leg across the front of your body and out to the side. Do fifteen sets of these as well. Try to move your torso as little as possible when doing this exercise for the greatest benefit.

Forward lunge – Standing with your feet hip-width apart, lunge forward with your right leg, bringing your left knee to the floor. Shift your weight forward until your right knee is perpendicular over your foot and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat lunge on opposite side.

buttocks workout-leg raises

Dog at the hydrant – While on hands and knees, lift one leg out to the side and draw small clockwise circles in the air with your knee, gradually making them larger. Then do the same using counter-clockwise circles. Repeat with the other leg.

Lying butterfly and variation – While lying on your back, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, with your knees pointing out to the sides. Hold for 30 seconds. Then bring your knees up so you are lying with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Bring the outside of your left ankle to rest on your right knee. Reach with your left hand through the little triangle made by your left leg to interlace your fingers behind your right thigh and gently pull your right leg toward your body (with your ankle still resting on the front of your knee). Repeat with the other leg.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Knees Younger Longer

December 10, 2013

Some aches and pains are normal as we age, but there’s no reason why we should not try to keep them to a minimum. Knee health is important in keeping you mobile as you get older, and experts agree that the best way to keep them in good shape is (ideally) to avoid receiving a knee injury. Even old injuries to the knee that may have happened when you were in your 20s can come back to haunt you in your retirement years. You may not be able to go back in time and avoid the injury, but there are some things you can do to help keep your knees from being prone to injury. Following are the top 5 ways experts recommend to keep your knees younger longer.

Wear the proper shoes for your needs – If your feet are overpronated (roll to the inside) or supinated (roll to the outside), or if you have fallen arches, it can affect your knees. You can buy orthotic inserts for your shoes to help correct the problem and take the pressure off your knees. You should also avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time, as studies have shown that wearing them leads to an increased risk of knee osteoarthritis.
Don’t overdo it on the exercise – This can be a particular problem with “weekend warriors” who feel they must fit in as much exercise as possible over the weekend because they don’t have time during the week. This can contribute to an overloading of the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the knee that are not accustomed to regular exercise, leading to an injury or even micro-tears that may not show up immediately, but which increase over time.

Lose weight – Any high-impact activities are extra hard on the knees if you are overweight. If you are overweight, running and other sports that have great impact on the knees should be avoided until you have achieved a normal weight. Practice other forms of exercise in the meantime that take the pressure off the knee, such as swimming or cycling.


Increase strength and flexibility – Concentrate on stretching and strengthening the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) muscles, as these provide the greatest support to the knees and ensure that the patella tracks properly. Women are especially prone to improper patellar tracking, which places more stress on the ligaments of the knee. This creates a popping or grinding sound when you bend the knee, often accompanied by pain. Yoga and pilates are good ways to keep the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the leg and knee strong and flexible.

Have regular chiropractic adjustments – If your spine or hips are misaligned, the stress your knees have to bear is much greater. Sacroiliac and lumbar misalignments can make one leg shorter than the other so your gait is not straight. A study of 18 people who had knee pain due to muscle tightness showed there was a significant improvement of the condition in all subjects after having a chiropractic adjustment to the sacroiliac joint. Regular chiropractic care can help keep excessive strain off your knees and increase range of motion.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Does Being Married Really Lead to a Healthier, Longer Life?

December 6, 2013

A number of studies have shown that married people (particularly men) tend to live longer, healthier lives than their single counterparts. However, is it just being married that confers this benefit, or is it the quality of the relationship that is important?

A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology performed by researchers at the University of Missouri found that those who reported that they were in a happy marriage lived longer, healthier lives than their less happy married peers. This is not surprising, since the lower levels of stress, higher combined incomes and emotional support that a happy marriage provides are all elements that contribute to better health.

The press release issued for the study, “The Longitudinal Associations between Marital Happiness, Problems, and Self-Rated Health,” said that “Research shows that married people have better mental and physical health than their unmarried peers and are less likely to develop chronic conditions than their widowed or divorced counterparts.” However, this statement was inaccurate. According to the study’s lead researcher Christine Proulx, an assistant professor in the University of Missouri Department of Human Development and Family Studies, only married couples were included in the study, so it was not a study that compared the health of married people as opposed to that of single people, but rather the effect of marital happiness on health.

Proulx said, “We often think about the aging process as something we can treat medically with a pill or more exercise, but working on your marriage also might benefit your health as you age. Engaging with your spouse is not going to cure cancer,” she added, “but building stronger relationships can improve both people’s spirits and well-being and lower their stress.”

two hands with the rings

Although studies show that married couples are slightly healthier than cohabiting couples, being in a long-term stable relationship seems to be the key to health and longevity. Men, in particular, benefit from this. A study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that unmarried men living alone had a 66% higher risk of a coronary event than those who were cohabiting. In addition, married men drink significantly less than men who are single. Data taken from almost 200,000 people in a national health survey shows that the risk of mortality for men in a cohabiting relationship drops by 80%, whereas the drop for women is only 59%. In addition, married women tend to drink more than when they were single. Experts believe this could be due to the fact that couples tend to adjust their drinking to equal their partner’s level, so men drink less and women drink more when cohabiting.

So although being happily married or in a happy long-term relationship is decidedly beneficial for health and longevity, remember that being in a bad marriage can be detrimental to health. So, not to worry, if you are single and have just not yet found the right person, you are still likely to be healthier than someone in an unhappy relationship.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

More Hospitals Should Discover the Benefits of Chiropractic Care

December 4, 2013

Doctors of conventional medicine have not always seen eye-to-eye with chiropractors. In fact, the American Medical Association (AMA) once famously forbade its licensed physicians to have any contact with chiropractors. In 1976, chiropractors won an antitrust lawsuit in which a Federal judge ruled that the AMA had conspired “to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession.” Things have come a long way since then. While some medical doctors are still reticent to refer their patients to chiropractors, the numbers are encouraging. A 2002 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that 65% of the doctors surveyed referred their patients to chiropractors. And the proven benefits of chiropractic have become more widely known since then.

In contrast, 98% of chiropractors have referred patients to a medical doctor when they felt it was necessary. Chiropractors are highly aware of the types of conditions that chiropractic can treat and will not hesitate to refer patients to a medical doctor in cases where the patient’s condition goes beyond a chiropractor’s scope of practice. However, there are also a number of conditions that regularly bring patients into hospital emergency rooms but that could easily and effectively be treated by chiropractors in a more appropriate setting. This would certainly produce better patient outcomes in most cases while at the same time freeing up overworked hospital staff to treat patients with more serious medical emergencies.

For example, a patient may show up in the ER suffering from severe low back pain. In most cases, the patient will be prescribed pain killers and/or muscle relaxants and then sent home. However, these drugs can only be taken for a short period of time and eventually the patient is likely to return to the hospital with the same problem. If a chiropractor is on staff, he or she can perform a chiropractic adjustment that can alleviate pain and provide a more long-term, drug-free solution to the problem that can help lift the burden from both doctors and hospital support staff in terms of time and money spent. Studies have consistently shown that chiropractic care is more effective in the treatment of back pain than conventional medical treatment.

There are several other situations where having chiropractors on staff at hospitals is already providing real benefits to patients. The initial treatment of victims of minor car accidents (where whiplash is often a concern) is one such scenario. The treatment of pregnant women who are experiencing low back pain and need drug-free relief is a second. Physical rehabilitation is a third. Better for patients and better for hospitals.
Being in a hospital setting can also help make chiropractors themselves more effective in a couple of important ways. Having access to advanced diagnostic testing facilities onsite is one way. Being able to work closely with other specialists as part of a broader healthcare team is another.


Unfortunately, relatively few hospitals currently have chiropractors working on staff. The US government has recognized the advantages of offering chiropractic care to veterans and has put them on staff in many VA hospitals. Many chiropractors are also practicing in military hospitals and clinics as part of the Chiropractic Health Care Program available to all military personnel on active duty. By bringing chiropractic physicians into the hospital environment, everyone benefits—patients, hospitals and chiropractors.

Chiropractic care can also be used to help patients who are being treated for cancer and whose musculoskeletal systems are stressed due to radiation and chemotherapy treatments. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) offer chiropractic services to their patients. Dr. James Rosenberg, national director of chiropractic care at CTCA, says, “Overall patient health improves with the noninvasive, non-drug approach of chiropractic care. Doctors of chiropractic are able to reduce stress to the nervous system by providing conservative care to musculoskeletal dysfunctions, which helps to improve the patient’s healing ability and functionality.”

With the Affordable Care Act’s twin goals of expanding healthcare coverage AND reducing costs, efficiency and coordination matter more than ever. So does making sure patients have access to the most appropriate type of care at the right time and in the right environment. Adding chiropractors to the hospital’s medical team can help make these things happen.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

Best Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis

December 2, 2013

Plantar fasciitis can cause more inconvenience than almost any other type of ligament inflammation, since the injured ligament is put to use every time you take a step. This means that resting it is difficult and recovery is prone to setbacks. The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel to the ball of your foot. When extra stress is placed on it, or if it is stretched in an irregular manner, it can become inflamed and cause pain in your heel. Luckily, it does not have to become a chronic condition and can be managed with some extra care and specific exercises.

First of all, you should be aware of the types of exercise that make the condition worse. Anything that involves using your foot in a repetitive motion that involves force against a hard surface should be avoided, such as running and jogging.

People who are at greater risk of developing plantar fasciitis are those who have either flat feet (“fallen arches”) or high arches, and whose foot tends to roll inward (overpronation). These all contribute to a weakness in the foot, so strengthening the foot muscles is particularly important for these people. Other factors that contribute to plantar fasciitis are short and tight calf muscles, standing for long periods of time, particularly in improper footwear, and being overweight, which puts undue strain on the bottom of the sole.

plantar fasciitis

Stretching the Achilles tendon (which attaches your calf muscle to your heel) is important, as tightness here can keep you from flexing your foot freely, putting more strain on the plantar fascia. And the plantar fascia itself should be stretched gently on a regular basis as well to keep inflammation from becoming a problem. These both tend to tighten overnight, which is why those with plantar fasciitis tend to find their condition worse first thing in the morning when taking their first few steps from bed.

Following are some simple exercises you can do to help treat plantar fasciitis:
• Sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, loop a towel or belt around the ball of your foot and pull back slowly until you feel a good pull in your calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Repeat with the other leg.

• Stand facing a wall at about arm’s length and lunge forward with one leg while keeping the other behind you with the heel flat on the floor. You should feel the stretch in the calf muscle. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg. Repeat the sequence a few times a day.

• To stretch the plantar fascia, use a wall or stair to press the bottom your toes against so that they extend upward, while the ball of your foot remains touching the floor. Hold for 45-60 seconds on each foot and repeat twice. Sports doctors recommend this be done twice a day.
Massaging the plantar fascia by rolling your foot slowly back and forth over a rolling pin or drink can for a few minutes each day can also help to relieve plantar fasciitis.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (404) 781-2800 (Southwest Atlanta) for your appointment.

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