Posts for category: Osteopathic Care
By High Desert Family Medicine
October 15, 2021
There 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
August 11, 2021
Tags: Breast Thermography
It doesn’t need to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month for us to talk about the importance of screening for breast cancer. Patients must understand all of their options when it comes to screening for and protecting against breast cancer. An osteopath may not be the first doctor you would think to turn to; however, an osteopath focuses on ways to improve your health to reduce risk factors while also providing you with preventive measures and screening tools to prevent health problems from occurring in the first place. If this is your first time getting screened for breast cancer, you may have questions. Luckily, we have answers.
What is breast thermography?
This proactive screening tool utilizes highly sensitive infrared cameras to evaluate the physiology of the breasts to look for possible risk factors that could increase your chances of breast cancer. This non-invasive thermal imaging test can be performed by your osteopath and it looks for patterns or changes in temperature between the left and right breast.
It can also look at the vascular system and detect inflammation. Just as a Pap smear checks the cells of the cervix or a blood test monitors your blood sugar levels for the presence of diabetes, breast thermography does the same for possible malignant tumors and growth.
Does this test take the place of a mammogram?
While this test is valuable it should not take the place of traditional mammography. Breast thermography is often performed between mammograms (especially in women who may have a higher risk for developing breast cancer) or for women who are under 50 years old who aren’t old enough to begin getting mammograms. Women with denser breast tissue, which can make it more challenging to detect suspicious growths, may also benefit from getting breast thermography.
Malignant tumors often grow rapidly, particularly in women under 50 years old. This growth generates more heat, which can easily be detected on breast thermography. So, by getting this diagnostic screening, there is an increased chance of detecting cancerous lesions quickly, which can save lives.
When should I get my first breast thermography?
Breast thermography is ideal for women between the ages of 30-50, as well as women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer. How often you require this screening will depend on your age, medical history, risk factors, and the results of past thermography screenings. Patients can get screened every 3, 6, or 12 months.
Whether you have questions about your upcoming breast thermography or you’d like to schedule your screening today, turn to an osteopath who can provide you with the comprehensive alternative care you’re looking for today.
By High Desert Family Medicine
July 13, 2021
Tags: Essential Oils
From diffusing essential oils to diluting them and placing them directly on your skin, there are many ways to utilize these popular products. Maybe you know someone who uses essential oils and swears by them. After all, essential oils have been touted as providing a variety of benefits, from reducing stress to improving circulation. So, are essential oils everything they’re cracked up to be? While the debate might still be out, an osteopath can show you effective ways to incorporate these safe and therapeutic oils into your daily routine.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are plant extracts that come from the flower, leaves, or fruit of a plant. Along with capturing and bottling the fragrance of the plant, essential oils may also capture some of the benefits that these plants offer. Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils. While people may inhale these oils to trigger the emotional centers of the brain, essential oils can also be diluted and applied to the skin for fast absorption. During a massage therapy session, an osteopath may employ essential oils to help create a calming, relaxing environment while also easing tight, stiff muscles.
What are the benefits of essential oils?
While there are studies out there that have found benefits to essential oils, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done. While essential oils can be used for a wide range of conditions and ailments, here are some of the most common:
- Stress and anxiety
- Muscle aches, pain, and stiffness
- Sinusitis and other respiratory infections
- Stomachaches and nausea
- Sleep disturbances
The reason essential oils have become so popular is that it provides many people with relief through natural, drug-free remedies that can easily be utilized from the comfort of your own home with little to no possible side effects.
It is important to note that essential oils are incredibly powerful and should not be placed directly on the skin without first being diluted, otherwise you risk severe burns. You must test a drop or two on a very small patch of skin to see how it reacts before applying to a larger surface.
While essential oils may alleviate headaches for some, the fragrances and scents may cause headaches in others. If you are particularly sensitive to scents, then essential oils may not be right for you. People with allergies and asthma may also be more at risk for asthma attacks and breathing issues when inhaling essential oils so it’s important to speak with your osteopath about these possible side effects before using essential oils.
If you are looking for a safe, drug-free, and natural way to improve your wellbeing and wellness then adding essential oils into your daily routine may provide you with additional relief. If you’re not sure where to begin, an osteopath can help guide you on the path to essential oil use.
By High Desert Family Medicine
June 02, 2021
From certain foods to pollen many substances can cause allergy symptoms. If you are dealing with allergies you may be surprised to hear that an osteopath may be able to help you with your itchy nose, cough, and watery eyes. Of course, before you turn to a doctor for treatment it’s best to turn to them first for allergy testing.
Should I get tested for allergies?
Not everyone will need to undergo allergy testing. People who will benefit the most from turning to their osteopath for allergy testing include,
- Those dealing with allergy symptoms that are severe, recurrent, or last for more than two weeks
- Those who aren’t experiencing relief through over-the-counter allergy medications
- Those who are still dealing with symptoms despite avoiding the supposed allergen
- Those who have a decreased quality of life due to their allergies
- Those who have trouble breathing, chest tightness, or have asthma symptoms as a result of their allergies
Some people may think they know what they are allergic to, but you might be surprised to discover that you may have several things that you’re allergic to. This is where an allergy test can be beneficial, as it can isolate which allergens you have reactions to and then provide you with customized treatment.
What types of allergy testing is available?
The two most common types of allergy tests are a skin prick test and a blood test. Before getting an allergy test, particularly a skin prick test, it’s important to talk with your osteopath about any severe allergic reactions you’ve had in the past or whether you have certain chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, as a skin prick test may not be the ideal allergy testing for you.
Allergy skin prick testing can be used to test suspect allergies to indoor and outdoor allergens, foods, insects, and certain medications. Most reactions will occur in as little as 15 minutes. Blood tests may be used if a patient is unable to undergo a skin prick test or if they experience angioedema or hives when they come in contact with a suspected allergen.
While less common, a patch test may be used if your osteopath suspects that you might have an allergy to certain fragrances, skincare products, fabrics, or metals.
Are you interested in getting allergy testing? If so, an osteopath can provide you with a comprehensive allergy panel and create an effective treatment plan to help you get your allergies under control. Before you treat your allergies it’s important to find out what’s triggering your symptoms.
By High Desert Family Medicine
May 13, 2021
Tags: Lower Back Pain
If like millions of Americans, you sit for most of the day, then chances are good that you’re going to deal with lower back pain at some point during your lifetime. In fact, back pain is one of the common issues that bring people to see an osteopath. An osteopath is a medical doctor that specializes in osteopathic manipulative therapy and alternative approaches to alleviate pain, swelling, and inflammation of the musculoskeletal system.
What could be causing my lower back pain?
Your body works together as a whole, so while you might think that your back pain might have something to do with your back or spine, you may be surprised to discover that imbalances or other issues with the feet, ankles, thighs, and hips can also lead to problems with your back. Common causes of lower back pain include,
- Foot imbalances and alignment issues (e.g. flat feet; pronation)
- Straining or lifting heavy objects
- Sitting in the same position for long periods of time
- Using non-ergonomic workspaces
- Accidents or injuries
- Tight or weak muscles
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
- Strains and sprains
How can an osteopath ease my lower back pain?
When you visit an osteopathic practitioner, the first thing they will do is gather detailed medical history to determine factors such as previous surgeries or accidents that may be contributing factors to your back pain. Once an osteopath determines the root cause then they can get to work devising a customized treatment plan to help you feel better. Osteopathic medication is focused on gentle, treatments that,
- Improve blood flow
- Speed up the healing process
- Improve mobility and range of motion
- Reduce tension and stiffness
- Restore joint flexibility and mobility
- Support lymphatic drainage
- Reduce pain and inflammation
Osteopathic medicine involves hands-on manipulation therapy that applies pressure to certain areas of the body to eliminate pain and inflammation. An osteopath will also recommend other types of self-healing measures such as exercises you can perform at home, ergonomic recommendations, and lifestyle and dietary changes. An osteopath will take a natural, medicine-free approach to heal.
If you are dealing with persistent or severe lower back pain that is making it difficult to get through your daily routine, then you should turn to an osteopath who can provide you with gentle but effective methods to improve how your body feels and functions as a whole.