My Blog
By High Desert Family Medicine
October 29, 2021
Category: Osteopathic Care
Tags: Yoga  
YogaWhen people imagine yoga, they think of deep stretches, meditation, and an amazing tool for wellness and stress relief. Indeed, yoga is an ancient technique that has been proven to be an effective relaxation, mindfulness, and all-around health tool.

The benefits of yoga are extensive and well-documented. In addition, yoga can be easily done with little or no extra tools, making it the perfect exercise for those with limited means or on the go.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. Yoga brings together physical, mental, and spiritual practices.

Yoga involves various methods for mindfulness, including deep breathing, physical poses, relaxation of muscles, stretching, and concentration. Yoga is now widely practiced by many Americans, with a survey showing that one out of every seven people practice yoga! The name yoga literally means "to join," and comes from the word "Yuj" in Sanskrit. 

Physical Benefits

Besides being physical exercise, yoga is a great way to combine the body, mind, and spirit to better increase overall health. Physically, yoga helps people:
  • Build muscle strength
  • Increase flexibility
  • Reduce muscle tension and stress
  • Improve sleep through relaxation
It's estimated that people burn an average of 180 to 460 calories during a single yoga session. This is, of course, based on the type of yoga done, the intensity of the session and length of time, and if the person doing yoga is male or female. Because of the number of calories burned, yoga is a great weight-loss tool when combined with healthy eating habits and other lifestyle changes.

Mindfulness Benefits

Because yoga incorporates mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, it is thought to be beneficial to those undergoing treatment for chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that, after practicing Hatha yoga, people's PHQ-9 scores (measuring depression) dropped 3.7 points.

In addition, deep breathing during yoga has been found to be one of the best ways to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to slow down anxious thinking and stop anxiety in its tracks.

Although yoga shouldn't completely replace other therapies or treatments for mental disorders, it can be a powerful tool to help those struggling with anxiety and depression. By helping people increase mindfulness, people are better able to reduce stress and manage anxious and negative thoughts.

Starting Yoga

Talk to your osteopath about starting a new exercise such as yoga. After you get the OK, there are ample videos online and even free yoga classes to help you increase your overall health.
By High Desert Family Medicine
October 15, 2021
Category: Osteopathic Care
Tags: Muscle Cramps   Stretching  
Muscle CrampsThere are a variety of reasons why people can get muscle cramps. From dehydration to lack of vitamins and minerals, muscle cramps can be painful and even scary. Luckily, most muscle cramps are thought to be due to the overuse of muscles, muscle strains, or holding a position for too long.

Stretching can help tackle these common causes of muscle cramps and help people find relief from cramps. In addition, stretching can help prevent future muscle cramps from forming and strengthen your body overall.

How Can Stretching Help my Muscle Cramps?

Stretching your muscles helps cramps by massaging out the affected muscle and allowing it to relax again. Cramps are caused by muscles not being able to relax, causing a contraction that is uncontrollable. Stretching, using a warm compress, and making sure to stay hydrated can all help alleviate even the most painful muscle cramps.

Proper Stretching Techniques

No matter the muscle you stretch, it's important to never over-extend muscles through stretching. This can cause increased injury and can even lead to muscle sprains and strains. Instead, when stretching your muscles, start off slow and warm up your muscles by walking or doing gentle movements. For the arms, arm circles are a good start. For the legs, doing gentle running in place or walking can help.
Every muscle can benefit from different stretches. For instance, intense back cramps can benefit from the child's pose in yoga, which involves kneeling on the ground and placing your front torso forward with outstretched arms. Alternatively, you can try knees to chest stretch, or a lumbar rotation stretch.
More common muscle cramps that involve the calf can be treated with gentle stretching by pulling the toes toward the body while keeping the knees as straight as possible. 

How Long Do I Stretch For?

Whatever stretch you choose to do, it's important to remember to hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds. It takes time for the muscle to fully benefit from the stretch. However, if you find yourself in extreme pain, do not continue with the stretch. Instead, go back to the least painful position and hold the stretch from there.

Other Benefits of Stretching

Besides being good for muscle cramps, stretching can also help people with:
  • Stress relief
  • Improve their posture
  • Improve blood flow to the muscles
  • Improve flexibility
  • Help range of motion
Stretching can help you feel immediate relief from cramps and are a great alternative to muscle relaxers and other pain medication. However, if you feel stretching doesn't help your cramps, or your cramps continue, speak to your osteopath today.
By High Desert Family Medicine
September 29, 2021
Tags: Carpal Tunnel  
Carpal TunnelWhen the large nerve within the hand, known as the median nerve, is compressed you may develop numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hand and wrist. This is known as carpal tunnel syndrome, and it’s more common than you might realize; however, carpal tunnel does require proper treatment to prevent permanent damage. An osteopath is a doctor that focuses on providing therapeutic and hands-on care to improve not just how the hand and wrist function but also how the body functions as a whole.

How is carpal tunnel typically treated?

How carpal tunnel is usually treated will depend on the severity of your symptoms. For most, rest is important; however, this may be more challenging for people who have to type or perform certain labor-intensive tasks for work. Splinting the wrist at night can help to reduce numbness and tingling while you sleep, while cortisone injections may be beneficial for those dealing with more moderate to severe pain.
 
Of course, when conservative treatment hasn’t worked, many doctors recommend surgery; however, surgery should not be taken lightly. In fact, an osteopath may be able to provide you with the treatment and relief you need from carpal tunnel syndrome without ever needing to resort to surgery.

How can an osteopath help me?

Through spinal adjustments and manipulative techniques, an osteopath can realign the spine, improve blood flow to the wrists (and other areas of the body), stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms, and also improve the nervous and lymphatic systems. The techniques that an osteopath will employ will focus on taking pressure off of the median nerve to improve wrist functionality and range of motion, while also reducing pain and swelling. By improving circulation within the wrist, we can also stimulate better blood flow and healing to the tissue and nerves of the wrist and hands.

You must see an osteopath regularly for manipulation therapy. Yes, many people experience relief from their symptoms after a single session but most people will benefit the most from several sessions. Even once the problem has been fully addressed, coming in for maintenance sessions can also prevent a relapse.

If you are dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome, you must seek the proper medical care you need to prevent further complications, and an osteopath is just the physician for the job.
By High Desert Family Medicine
September 27, 2021
Tags: Migraines  
MigrainesWhen you’re dealing with debilitating migraines you may think your first stop would be to visit a neurologist. While a neurologist may put you on medication that can lessen the symptoms once a migraine starts, wouldn’t it be better to find a treatment plan that actually pinpoints the root cause of your migraines and works to stop the cause rather than just treating the symptoms? This is why many people turn to an osteopath for migraine treatment.

Migraines are brutal, sometimes lasting for days. Migraines can make it challenging for people to go about their daily routines, and sufferers truly experience intense and unrelenting pain. If you have migraines, you know the impact these severe headaches have on your life. Fortunately, an osteopath can help.

Treating Migraines with Osteopathic Therapy

Osteopathic medicine provides patients with an alternative therapy that avoids simply using pain medications to mask pain. An osteopath is a holistic practitioner that takes a whole-body approach to treatment. After all, migraines can have several causes, and it’s up to your osteopath to figure out what’s triggering your symptoms. An osteopath will take into account all factors that could be playing a role, ensuring that you get the answers you need as quickly as possible.

There are several strategies and techniques that osteopaths will employ to help alleviate tension and reduce the risk for migraines. These treatment options include:
  • Manipulative therapy, which involves stretching the joints and ligaments of the body to improve blood flow and mobility
  • Myofascial release, which breaks apart knots in the muscles
  • Soft tissue massage, which improves misalignments and imbalances in the soft tissues of the body
  • Cranial therapy, which applies gentle pressure to the head to prevent tension-elated migraines
  • Ergonomic and posture training and education
Since an osteopath utilizes a more complementary and drug-free way of care, they will also look into your medical history and consider whether natural remedies and supplementation may also benefit your migraines. In some cases, people who take magnesium found some relief from their symptoms, as this mineral helps alleviate muscle tension and promotes relaxation. Of course, you should always speak with your doctor before starting any new vitamins or supplements to make sure that they are right for you.

If you are dealing with migraines and you’re looking for safe, effective, and drug-free relief, an osteopath might just be the ideal doctor for you to turn to for care.
By High Desert Family Medicine
August 27, 2021
Tags: Hormonal Imbalance  
Hormonal ImbalanceAre you dealing with fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and hair loss? If so, your hormones could be to blame. There are many reasons that both men and women deal with hormonal imbalances, from certain health problems to menopause, and it’s important to know where to turn for help. An osteopath can provide you with the alternative solutions and holistic care you’re looking for, including hormone balancing services to improve your health and wellbeing.

Signs of Hormonal Imbalances

While doctors often see women for hormonal imbalances, the truth is that this problem can impact both men and women, especially as they age. Warning signs of hormonal imbalances include:
  • Thinning hair
  • Weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Bowel changes
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Decreased libido
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping issues
For men, hormonal imbalances can also lead to muscle loss, erectile dysfunction, and increased breast tissue development.

Women are more likely to deal with hormonal imbalances due to:
  • Pregnancy
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Menopause
If you are experiencing symptoms of a hormone imbalance, you must seek an expert medical professional who will listen to your needs and concerns and provide you with the thorough and unique care you deserve. An osteopath may just be the ideal physician to help correct your hormonal imbalance.

An osteopath can provide a variety of integrated treatment plans that take your unique health factors, age, and lifestyle into account to ensure that you get the proper and most effective solutions.
Your treatment plan may include,
  • Supplementation
  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise
  • Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
  • Stress management
When you come into the clinic for an evaluation, an osteopath will perform an extensive physical examination and go through your medical history. They will also ask a variety of questions about your symptoms. Your osteopath may also recommend a blood test to be able to look at and analyze hormone levels including:
  • TSH, free T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones)
  • DHEA
  • Estradiol
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone and free testosterone
  • Growth hormone (IGF-1)
Once blood testing has been performed and your osteopath understands what hormones are out of whack, your doctor will provide you with an integrative and holistic plan to help restore hormone balance naturally and effectively.




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