Thursday, December 22, 2016

Oh no, not the Flu Season!

Is your immune system remaining strong this flu season?  The immune system helps the body defend against everyday and acute stressors.  Stress, inadequate sleep, poor diet, and general aging can leave the body vulnerable and less equipped to fight off seasonal immune system challenges.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of adults do not get the recommended amount of sleep on a daily basis.  Numerous studies have shown a link between inadequate sleep and impaired immune system function.  Additionally, proper nutrition which includes fruits and vegetables provide the body with resources (like vitamins) to help fight off infections.  Maintaining an exercise routine is also helpful for blood and lymph circulation as well as decreasing stress.  Long-term or extreme stress can have health consequences and adversely affect the immune system.  

Prioritize these areas to help boost immune function:

1.  Sufficient sleep—At least seven hours a night for adults ages 18-70 is recommended by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Research Society.

2.  Good Nutrition—In a season where sweets are readily accessible, remember moderation is key.  Sugar renders nerve endings more susceptible to virus infection.

3.  Exercise/MovementLymph vessels do not have valves like blood vessels, so they rely on body movement to maintain good circulation of immune cells throughout the body.

4. Spinal Alignment—Pressure on the nervous system can impair proper immune system function.  Make sure to be checked and adjusted (if needed) so that your body is functioning at its best during this season!




Friday, April 8, 2016

Running for Research

I’m very excited about the Run for Research coming to Rockford on May 14th!  The following is a transcript from a recent interview about the Run.


Question: What exactly is the Run for Research?


Dr. Orem: The Run for Research is an annual event where participants run, walk, or jog as many miles as possible in a two-hour time period.  This year our office Upper Cervical Care Center – Rockford will be hosting the Run on May 14th from 10am-12pm.


Question:  That sounds intense!  Will you be participating in the Run? 


Dr. Orem: Yes, it is definitely challenging! I have participated in previous years, and I’ll be running again this year.


Question:  What is the goal of the Run for Research?


Dr. Orem: The goal is to raise awareness and funding for the Upper Cervical Research Foundation (UCRF), which is a big deal!  The UCRF is what makes research possible for understanding how upper cervical care helps people and how we can give the best possible care to patients.


Question: Both Dr. Schalow and you are pretty passionate about upper cervical research.  Why is that?


Dr. Orem: Research has so many implications, but a key one is simply letting people know about upper cervical care.  One of the most common questions we get from patients is “Why didn’t I know about this type of care sooner?”  Many patients search for answers to their health problems for months, years, and sometimes even decades before finding an upper cervical chiropractor.  Unfortunately, many health care providers also don’t know about upper cervical care to refer patients who may be good candidates.  Research is one way we can get the word out about upper cervical care to other doctors and patients alike.


Question: That’s really important.  Now have you been training for the Run?  Do you have a personal goal on the amount of miles you want to run?


Dr. Orem: I actually started training for the Run at the beginning of the year with the hopes of completing more than the 3 miles I had been running!  My longest run recently is 8 miles, and my goal is to run double-digit mileage for the Run.


Question:  Is there an opportunity for people who aren’t runners to be a part of the Run for Research?


Dr. Orem: Definitely!  Dr. Schalow will be teaching an interesting class about the fascinating research backing up upper cervical care and the new frontiers that are being explored.  The class will take place during the Run so that is a great opportunity for people to see the start of the Run and then enjoy the class while participants are working on all those miles!  


Question: What is the best way to participate in the Run or sponsor someone who is running?


Dr. Orem: The easiest thing to do is contact the office at 815-398-4500.  You can make a single donation or pledge to donate per mile which is a big incentive for me to try to push through the pain and run more miles! 


Question: Any final thoughts about the Run?


Dr. Orem: I just want to thank everyone who is supporting me for the Run.  The UCRF relies on donations like these to continue essential research projects!  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

What’s at the Top of your Christmas List?

“So what do you want for Christmas?” my parents probed while I was on fall break.  As a poor college student, there seemed to be many things that could have made that list, but only one was at the forefront of my mind: “A new pair of hamstrings.”

While my classes were going well, my collegiate running career seemed to be running on its last leg (pun intended).  My freshman year of college, I strained my right hamstring.  Then sophomore year, I strained my left hamstring.  I was sure things would be different my junior year: I had no more hamstrings left to strain!  However, my struggles continued with hip and knee problems.   With injury after injury, I hadn’t run a personal best in my main track event in three years.   I was ready to sign up for a new pair of legs, but at least a new pair of hamstrings should provide significant improvement! 

Unfortunately, Santa did not bring me a new pair of hamstrings.  But six months later, I found myself in a NUCCA office.  Being adjusted, regaining my health and strength, and finally being able to fulfill many of my long-term goals on the track was truly better than any “thing” I could have been given for Christmas.  Health is something that cannot be replaced with “things,” which is a reality that became so clear to me that year. 

Each Christmas, I reflect on those rough days when simply walking created pain in my legs.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to heal from my injuries that could have easily continued long past my college years.  And now I have something additional to be thankful for – the ability to give other people that same opportunity to experience healing in their own bodies. 

 I’m grateful to be a part of restoring health to individuals who have yet to have their first birthday to those individuals who are nearing 100 years of age.  There is no time better than the present to receive the gift of health.  May you be blessed with health, joy, and peace this season as we celebrate the ultimate gift of our Savior’s birth. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ask the Doc: What's the Hardest Part of your Job?

A recent Ask the Doc question inquired about the hardest part of the work I do; first, let’s start with what makes it incredibly rewarding.  The best part of being a NUCCA doctor is helping people who are hungry to experience true health.  The NUCCA work creates health through restoring connection between the brain and the body.  When the brain cannot give the body correct information, people continually experience pain, dysfunction, and/or weakness.  My job is to get the brain back in control so that the body can heal itself.

There are numerous things that make this work challenging.  The doctor needs to have an understanding of physics, biomechanics, the nervous system and spine – especially the intricate upper cervical region.  Precision and specificity are critical.  However, I would say the hardest part is also one of my favorite parts – teaching other people about this type of work.

Before I became a NUCCA patient, I didn’t know anything about this type of work.  I didn’t understand how a gentle adjustment at the top of my spine could do anything, let alone solve the leg problems I had been struggling with for three years.  After a life-changing experience, I researched the science behind NUCCA.  It made sense.  I wanted to do this work so that I could help other people. 

As a doctor, I labor to explain the “why” behind the NUCCA work’s dramatic effect on body function.  Some people comprehend these concepts quite readily, others do not.  I can’t blame them; we live in a society that often focuses on treating the symptom instead of the root cause of the problem.  That is why education is so important; it is one of the most challenging, yet hope-giving, parts of being a NUCCA doctor.        

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Shots, Ear Flushes and "Metacations"

In March, there are a number of important birthdays – one of them is my dear Papa, who turned 77 at the beginning of this month.  Ever since I was a little girl, my grandfather was an important person in my life; in fact, he was one of my very first “patients.” 
While visiting my medical doctor was a terror for me as a child, I had no problem “playing doctor” with Papa.  I recently came across a notebook that I wrote as an eight-year-old.  Amongst drawings of horses, my friends, and funny-looking faces, were a number of doctor exam results – here is one example:

Docter [Doctor]: Hannah

Asstitant [Assistant]: Gabe [my brother – five years old at the time]

Paisent [Patient]: Manny [I always made Papa sign his own name]

Coughing, pain ears, tierd [tired], knee pains – over night, headacs [headaches]

Work: Reipr [Repair] Cars

Heart: normal

Blood: normal

Temp: 100

Legs: little high [my version of checking the knee reflexes]

Ears: Very waxy [I seemed to find that all my patients had waxy ears]

Metacation [Medication]: Coughing medisine [medicine]

 I’d like to think that my fascination with being an eight-year-old doctor began because I enjoyed helping people, but truthfully, I think it was more the Papa’s hysterical faces while I was “giving him a shot” or telling him that he “needs his ears flushed because there is too much wax” that I found most enjoyable.   

 Today I enjoy being a doctor who doesn’t give shots, flush ears, or prescribe medications.  While we may need doctors to help with those things, I decided to become a doctor who focuses on creating healing from the inside out as opposed to the typical Western medical model of trying to initiate health from the outside in.  Can the body heal itself?  Of course! When a child falls and scraps his knee, is it the band-aid that heals the knee?  No, it is the body itself that does the healing!

But now, can this be applied to other health problems?  Yes!  We know that nerves control every part of our body – proper body balance, function, and healing are a reflection of the status of the nervous system.  The spine should act as a protector of nerves as they exit the brain and travel to deliver information to the organs and other tissues of the body.  However, accidents and injuries tear loose the connective tissues that hold the spine together.  This creates a weakness in the structure of the spine that leads to breakdown of the body as it locks into a stressed position.  Spinal misalignments interfere with nerve signals, resulting in an inability to deliver proper messages to the body.  Organs and tissues fail to respond correctly.  This process is degenerative and worsens over time.

However, we get used to living like this and resolve that our pain and physical limitations are “normal.”  But this is not normal.  Our body has the capacity to heal itself.   NUCCA chiropractic restores correct spinal alignment which creates a whole-body healing effect.  This kind of health is the result of proper body (structure) balance, which allows for proper communication of nerves to help the body function as it should be as well as .   Are you ready to take the 1st Step in healing?  If so, call the office (815.398.4500) and schedule a consultation – and I promise, I won’t be giving you a shot or flushing your ears! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

That 1 Question

This February marks 9 years since a very important question changed my thinking, and thereby, changed my life.
           I played basketball in high school and loved it.  In fact, my goal was to play basketball in college.  However, I thought after the high school winter basketball season, perhaps I’d try another sport in the spring to stay in shape and have fun.  It could be any sport, really – but not track.  What could be worse than running in circles over and over again: that just sounded painful and pointless.  Besides, being a member of our high school’s track and cross country teams meant that you weren’t just a runner, but a stoic warrior – braving wind, rain, cold and snow – all during Coach Moore’s gut-wrenching workouts. 
          Unfortunately, my plan to avoid the track team was thwarted when my basketball coach became an assistant track coach.  As soon as I received that news, I knew I was destined to join the ranks of Coach Moore’s distance crew.  Nevertheless, I resisted my impending doom.
          “Have you seen what they do for workouts?!”  I balked at my basketball coach (ie, soon-to-be assistant track coach) as she was doing paperwork in her office.  I had just done an example workout with a friend who was a member of both the basketball and track teams.  I rambled off the “outrageous” intervals the mid-distance runners were expected to do for an average training workout.
          “That’s not bad,” she replied nonchalantly as she continued filing her papers.
          “Yah, not until you have to do them as fast as you can!” I snarked with appropriate dramatization.

          Coach set down her papers and turned toward me, “So you’re telling me that you’re not going to do it just because it’s going to be hard?”
          Her pointed question seemed to bounce off every wall in her office and abruptly stop as it nailed me in the face.  She was right.  Running may be painful, but it wasn’t pointless – at the very least, it would help me become a better athlete.  As she succinctly pointed out, I could not allow my underlying fears and apprehensions govern my decisions; I could not let my uncertainty dictate my future.
          So I joined the track team (still somewhat kicking and screaming).  And no doubt, it was one of the most mentally challenging things I’ve done.  However, it was also greatly rewarding – not to mention foundational for the events to come in the future. 
        Coach’s question continued to follow me through college, chiropractic school, and now into my practice.  I’ve found that my doubt and questions can lead to answers and progress – but way too often, it can lead to procrastination, apathy, and frustration.  What things would you being doing now if you weren’t being stopped because it’s going to be hard?  There are many answers to that question, but what we focus on in our office is helping people take that next step in their health.  A spinal imbalance can be a significant cause of health problems – from headaches to asthma to athletic injuries (as I know from personal experience) to increased fatigue – the 1st step to take is balancing your spine so that long-term healing can take place.  Are you ready to take the 1st step?  


Monday, February 3, 2014

Ice Attack

A few weeks ago, we were (again) hit by winter ice storm, leaving the parking lot with a strong resemblance to ice skating rink.   I shuffled to my car – balancing a laptop bag in one hand and a handbag in the other – as if I were a 90 year old lady (I suppose as a tech-savy 90-year old lady considering the laptop bag). 

“I’m not afraid of ice!”
proclaimed our intern Matt as he strutted onto the skating rink/parking lot as if he were Jesus walking on water.   I wish I had his confidence, but flashbacks of my personal ice fall experience continued to keep me over-cautious…

I was almost to the end of my third Minnesota winter in college and was quite happy that I’d avoided any winter weather mishaps.  Unfortunately, my streak came to a halt one fateful February Friday night in the Target parking lot.  It was an innocent grocery run with my roommates when I struck a patch of black ice, sending me straight down to the pavement.  The first thing to contact the ground was the outside of my right knee cap, which took the majority of the blow.  I bounced right back up: I was an ex-basketball player whose knee had slammed onto the court numerous times while diving for a loose ball.  How was this any different?
The next day, I proudly sported a huge bruise and a good amount of stiffness in my knee from swelling.  But that was not about to stop me – after a day of rest on Sunday and walking through campus on Monday during the school day, my knee loosened up and was ready for track practice (I had a big race to prep for that Saturday!).  Track practice was manageable, but Tuesday morning I woke to a painful surprise – enough swelling in my knee to hinder walking, let alone running. 

My new best friends were a black and red compression knee brace and the notoriously teeth-chattering ice bath.  A few days later, I was back to running (escorted by my new knee brace, of course), and the decision needed to be made if I was actually going to race that weekend.  I hadn’t even planned to enter this competition, but after a leg cramp deterred a potential season best time two weeks ago, I decided I wanted to take one last stab at my indoor 800m personal best before ending my indoor season.

Motivated by my desire to finish the indoor season strong, the fact that my coach said he would drive 3 hours to watch me (and only one other runner) race, and that my dad would also be in attendance at the meet, I decided that a little knee “owy” was not going to stop me.  I was encouraged by my trainer to wear the knee brace during the race to provide more support, but while I was warming up, Coach said if I was going to race, I needed to go all: ditch the brace!
I’m still not sure how it was physically possible, but not only did I run a personal indoor best in the 800m that day, and I also somehow forgot about the pain in my knee!  It turned out to be one of my most memorable races – one with a lot of spunk (and a lot of grace!). 

However, while the swelling in my knee decreased and eventually was gone, the pain in my knee did not leave.  Additional work with my trainer revealed that my knee cap was not staying in place while I ran; it continued to be pulled to the side of my knee, creating significant discomfort while I ran.  I trained and competed that outdoor season with my knee taped – every practice, every race.  I was thankful to be able to continue running with limited or no pain in my knee (most of the time), but it was another frustrating injury to add to the laundry list of the others I was managing.
I didn’t expect NUCCA care to help the problem I had with my knee – but it did.  In fact, within three months of starting care, I felt like someone had given me a new pair of legs, and there was no need for taping my knee!

Are you nursing old injuries from falls, sporting events, or other accidents?  If so, putting your body back in balance can help you heal.  I wish I would have known that sooner.  But as for now, I will always be able to identify any pictures from my junior outdoor track season (just check the right knee for a huge square of tape), and I think I will continue to take care to avoid another ice attack and to make sure my body stays balanced.