Insomnia | Optimal Chiropractic Post Falls

One of the most common and often devastating problems a person can experience is insomnia. This problem can be the cause (and also effect) of many physical and emotional conditions.Each of us at one point or another has experienced some sort of sleeplessness or waking several times throughout the night. For many, this experience is short term. One or two nights of restless sleep when our schedule has been thrown off that will later return to normal. There are millions, however, who suffer with this difficulty almost every night.This can be an incredibly frustrating experience for those who live with this challenge. It can have a negative effect on many aspects of life including poor work performance, difficulty in school, emotional distress, and physical exhaustion.There are many remedies to this problem, some of which have the potential to be dangerous. Sleeping pills often do not work and can become very addictive. If pain or anxiety is the root cause of the problem, medications are simply masking the effects of a deeper issue.It is very important to identify triggers of insomnia to properly treat the condition. Diet related changes can have a significant effect on not only getting to sleep, but staying asleep throughout the night. Often we will have patients keep a food diary and/or a sleep diary to track not only what they are eating, but when they are eating it throughout the day.One other significant technique for insomnia is to simply breathe deeply for five full minutes prior to lying down. The breath should be slow with a full exhale each time. This technique helps to relax the entire nervous system prior to sleep. Regular chiropractic care can also help with insomnia, because it also is focused on optimizing the nervous system. Regular adjustments also help to relieve tension from anxiety and stress, and are also very effective for relief of pain anywhere in the body.For more information regarding insomnia and how it can be treated, please contact the doctors at Optimal Chiropractic in Post Falls, Idaho.

The Importance of Symptoms

Although many symptoms of an injury or illness can be a nuisance, they are actually extremely important. Things like headaches, dizziness, insomnia, acid reflux, and many other types of pain are like a built in warning system. It is our body’s way of telling us that something has gone wrong, or that something is not functioning properly.At times, it may be easy to determine when and where a particular symptom may come from. For example, if you get a splinter or cut your finger, it is very easy to see specifically why that injury is painful. At other times, however, it can be more difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of certain symptoms. Why do some people experience heartburn or migraines while others do not? These are not necessarily genetic traits handed down, but may actually point to an underlying problem somewhere in the body.Medication TeeNow, the first thought that may come to many peoples mind is, “I take _(fill in the blank)_ medication for my problem, and it goes away.” My usual follow up to a statement like this is to ask “How long before it comes back?” The reason for this, is that it ALWAYS DOES come back! These medications, whether over-the-counter or prescribed only mask the symptoms you may be having. In addition, many of them also have side effects of their own to contend with, and eventually, something else may be added again to cover up the new symptoms.In our chiropractic office, while we do not base our entire treatment approach off of the pain or symptoms you may be having, we do pay close attention to what each patient is feeling or how those symptoms are changing. Symptoms are like a fire alarm, they let you know something isn’t right in the building, but they don’t necessarily tell you where or how severe the problem is. It wouldn’t make sense to shut off the alarm and ignore the fire, but rather to investigate the problem and find the best way to put it out.At Optimal Chiropractic, we take time to listen to our patients and develop the best possible course of treatment for each individual patient. If you are looking for a chiropractor in the Post Falls or North Idaho region, give our office a call today to see how we can help you achieve your best health.

What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

After our blog earlier this week about the harmful side of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), we wanted to follow up with a more natural and safe way to fight some of those long standing inflammatory conditions. While acute inflammation in response to injury is a necessary process, chronic inflammation can lead to many more serious conditions.The causes of pain and disease can be broken down into 3 simple categories. These categories include things which you are doing, thinking, or eating.A question we often get asked by patients, is what can they do at home to help with healing? Among stretches and exercises which may help with an injury or condition, nutritional changes can be a huge factor to aid in healing. And while NSAIDs may delay healing times, a proper diet ensures that the body is receiving vital nutrients to fight off chronic illness and injury.Inflammatory diagramAgain, it is important to remember, inflammation in itself is not a bad thing. Acute inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to injury or irritants which may be harmful. Take a look at the image on the left, chronic inflammation in the body can lead to any and all of these conditions.So what exactly is an anti-inflammatory diet? Basically, any diet that does not contain sugar, flour, omega-6 oils, and trans-fats can be considered anti-inflammatory. A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, lean meats, chicken, and fish is ideal. It is important to minimize or eliminate gains including bread, pasta, crackers, and cereals. Dairy products are also important to minimize in the diet. Fried, processed or packaged foods, and many oils and salad dressings also contribute to inflammation in the body. It is generally recommended that each meal should contain about 25% protein, and 75% vegetables.Supplementation may often be recommended to combat the negative side effects of inflammation and chemical imbalances in the body. The correct supplements may actually normalize the production of various inflammatory chemicals in the body. A high quality multi-vitamin is important for nutritional deficiencies in the typical diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are also critical, which can be found in certain foods and fish oil supplements. High ratios of Omega-6 fatty acids (found in grains and processed foods) to Omega-3s may lead to uncontrolled/chronic inflammation.Fruit and Veggie HeartMaking the change to an anti-inflammatory diet may not be easy, however, the benefits are numerous. It is important to remember that these changes take time. Along with decreasing inflammation and preventing disease, you’ll likely sleep better, increase energy, and recover from pain faster. Before making any significant changes to your diet, it is a good idea to talk with a health care professional first.If you are interested in more information on this topic, go to, or contact Dr. Chris and Dr. Emily at Optimal Chiropractic in Post Falls, ID at (208) 777-4305.

Causes of Spinal Degeneration

Arthritis in the spine is referred to as Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). It occurs from biomechanical changes in the bony structures and soft tissues of the body. Physical, chemical, and psychological stressors to the body can both lead to these changes. Degeneration should not be thought of as a "normal wear and tear" condition, it is a response to something that has gone wrong in the body.Normal vs DegeneratedBiomechanics is the study of the structure and function of the body and systems. Trauma or postural abnormalities can alter the body’s biomechanics in many ways. A car accident, for example, may cause a whiplash injury in the neck. This is going to cause overstretching and inflammation of the ligaments and soft tissues of the cervical spine. If left untreated, these joints can become unstable. As the injury heals, some areas can have too much motion and some may develop too little motion or fixation.This lack of motion, or hypomobility, can progress and cause muscle hypertonicity and spasm, fibrosis, and eventually calcification of soft tissues and bone spurring. It is important for soft tissue injuries to heal with motion so that the tissues are not able to become fixed and degenerated. If tissues heal incorrectly, it can lead to compensation and improper movement of the joints and the body as a whole.Stress is one psychological factor that can also effect the body in a negative way. Click HERE to read our previous blog about stress and its effect on the nervous system. Constant activation of our sympathetic nervous system (controlling “fight or flight” response) from stress causes our body to continually remain in a heightened state. Irritation of the sympathetic system prevents our parasympathetic system (“rest and digest”) from allowing the body to heal correctly.Chemical stressors include things such as nutrition or medications. Dietary factors may lead to chronic inflammation in the body. Nutritional deficiencies may also rob the body of essential vitamins and minerals needed for proper healing. Often times certain medications are designed to mask symptoms of an injury. Those which provide relief of pain may lead to a delay in healing if proper measures are not taken to correct the problem simultaneously.Chiropractic care can have a significant effect on the body when it comes to healing. At Optimal Chiropractic, we focus not only on mobility of the spine and extremities, but stabilizing and strengthening for the greatest healing outcomes. We develop treatments individual to each patient based on their specific presentation and possible dysfunctions. Our goal is to not only get you out of pain, but to correct the problem and educate each patient to improve their overall quality of life and prevent future problems.Interested in seeing how we can help you or someone you know? Give our office a call at (208) 777-4305. Get on the right track to your optimal health today.

Do you suffer from Depression?

Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality, it is a major public health problem and a treatable condition. There are different types of depression as well, including seasonal, postpartum, and even anxiety can be considered a form of depression.Many of us feel down or sad at times, however, it becomes a problem when that feeling lingers day after day. Lack of interest in activities and the persistent down-in-the-dumps feeling is a sign that something more serious may be going on. When these feelings interfere with the ability to carry out daily functions and appreciate things in life, then the condition may require treatment. These feelings can last for weeks, months, or even years with a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms.The exact cause of depression is unknown. Events in a person’s life may be a trigger among other risk factors. Certain types of brain chemistry may also be a contributing factor, certain circuits in the brain which regulate mood may not work Depression Crosswordas efficiently. Women may be more likely to suffer from depression, although men are also susceptible. Some other common risk factors include:• Family history, or spouse with depression• Stress, fatigue, decreased energy• Illness, persistent aches or pain, headaches• Hormonal changes• Anxiety, insomnia, personality disorders• Concussion or other traumatic brain injury• Drug/alcohol abuse• Domestic violence• ObesitySocial and emotional factors can also play a role in depression. Negative thoughts and beliefs can bring a person down. Lack of social support or lack of control over certain circumstances can cause a feeling of helplessness. These factors as well as lifestyle choices may lead to low self-esteem.Symptoms and risk factors can be very similar, and can vary from person to person depending on how they deal with stress. Symptoms can change over time, some of which include:• Persistent sadness, anxiety, emptiness• Hopelessness• Guilt, helpless• Tired or exhausted• Restless, irritability, insomnia• Trouble concentrating or remembering• Appetite changes, weight loss or gain• Thoughts of death or suicideIf you have any of these symptoms it is important to seek help or treatment. There are no specific diagnostic tests for the condition. Personal and family history may be taken into account with a focus on the above symptoms. Mental health exams may be done to give the doctor more detailed information about thoughts and memory to rule out a number of causes.Treatment in the chiropractic office may be quite different from that of a medical office. Chiropractic focuses more on lifestyle changes to help decrease the feelings of depression. Dietary changes or supplementation may be helpful. Certain B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce symptoms. St. John’s wort is an herbal supplement that has shown some evidence to fight mild depression, be sure to talk to your health care professionals to make sure any medications will not be affected by supplementation. A regular exercise program has also been shown to relieve some symptoms of depression, especially in cases connected to obesity or dissatisfaction with self-image.Treatment options can vary depending on the severity. More serious cases of depression may need to be treated with medication or therapy such as counseling designed to help cope with personal difficulties. Medications used to treat depression are believed to improve the communication between nerve cells, the goal is to make them run normally. There are many other treatment options, the goal is to find what works best for each individual in each situation. Depression is a treatable condition which should not be ignored.