Monday, January 13, 2014

CTS, Exercise, and Chiropractic | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson, DC

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition characterized by numbness, tingling,
and/or pain located on the palm side of the wrist, hand and into the index,
third, and half of the ring finger. It’s caused by pressure exerted on the
median nerve as it passes through the “tunnel” located in the wrist. The “floor”
of the tunnel is a ligament while the “walls” are made up of eight small carpal
bones that lock together in the shape of a tunnel. There are nine tendons
(tendons attach muscles to bones allowing us to move our fingers), sheaths
covering the tendons, blood vessels, and the median nerve that ALL travel
through the tunnel, so it’s packed pretty tight. ANYTHING that increases the
size of any of these structures or anything “extra” that shouldn’t be there can
increase the pressure inside the tunnel, pinch the median nerve, and result in
the classic numb/tingling symptoms that wake people up at night, or interfere
with work or driving.

In the Unites States (US), about 1 out of 20 people will suffer from CTS.
Caucasians have the highest incidence rate and women are affected more than men
by a 3:1 ratio between ages of 45-60 years old. Only 10% of the reported cases
of CTS are under 30 years old. Occupational CTS (as of 2010) affects 8% of US
workers with 24% attributed to manufacturing industry jobs. This equates to
approximately 3.1 million cases of work-related CTS in 2010. The risk of
developing CTS increases with age, diabetes, hypothyroid, pregnancy, taking
birth control pills, having an inflammatory arthritis, being obese, pinched
nerves in the neck, thoracic outlet, elbow, and others. Therefore, managing CTS
requires a thorough evaluation in order to assure accuracy in the diagnosis.
With this background information, let’s look at the question, WHAT CAN YOU DO TO
HELP CTS? One answer is, don’t age – good luck with that! In addition to keeping
your weight under control, exercise can be VERY effective and YOU can be in
charge of that process, but we have to teach you the exercises.

1)  The Carpal Stretch (“nerve gliding”): Place your palm on the wall near
shoulder height with the fingers pointing down at the floor and press the palm
of the hand flat on the wall. Lastly, reach across with the opposite hand and
pull your thumb back off of the wall and hold for 5-15 seconds.
2)  The Wrist Extensor Stretch: Do the same as #1 but place the back of the hand
on the wall in front of you, again fingers pointing downward. Here, there is no
need to stretch the thumb.
3)  The “Bear Claw”: Make a fist and then open up the hand. Keep the small
finger joints flexed while extending the knuckles at the base of each finger
straight (not bent). Repeat 5-10x.
4)  Putty Squeeze: Simply squeeze putty in your hand for two to five minutes
until fatigued.
5)  Yoga has been shown to reduce pain and improve grip strength in CTS
Now the question, “…can these exercises prevent surgery?” The answer is “maybe.”
They certainly help in some cases, but a multi-dimensional treatment plan is the
BEST approach. This includes:  1) Chiropractic manipulation of the hand, wrist,
elbow, shoulder, and neck; 2) Soft tissue “release” techniques of the muscles in
the forearm, upper arm, shoulder, and neck; 3) Cock-up wrist splint to be used
at night, and in some cases, at times during the day; 4) Ergonomic management of
your work station or situation (to minimize repetitive insult to the area); 5)
Nutritional support that may include an anti-inflammatory diet and nutrients
(vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.), and 6) Managing any contributing conditions
like diabetes, hypothyroid, and/or the others. Here’s the GOOD NEWS:
CHIROPRACTIC can manage these six steps, though some cases will require
co-management with primary care and/or specialist.

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision
and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.
If you, a friend, or family member requires care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, we
would be honored to render our services.  Visit for more information.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Low Back "ON-THE-GO" Exercises (Part 1) | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson DC

Low back pain (LBP) is a reality in most of our lives at one point or another.
It can range from being a “nag” to being totally disabling. Let’s look at some
exercises for the low back that can be done from a SITTING position so that they
can be: 1) Performed in public (without drawing too much attention) and 2)
Repeated every one to two hours with the objective to AVOID LBP from gradually
getting out of control (STOP the “vicious cycle” so LBP stays “self-managed”).
RULES: 1) DON’T do any exercise that creates SHARP pain; 2) Stay within
“reasonable” pain boundaries; 3) DO these multiple times a day WHEN you feel
tight, stiff, sore (take 10-30 sec. every hour rather than 15 min. twice a day).

1)  SITTING BEND OVERS: 1) Slowly bend forward from a seated position and
attempt to reach the floor; 2) Spread the knees as needed to allow for a full
range of motion; 3) Hold for 3-10 seconds or until it feels “loose.” 4) Do the
opposite – sit and arch your low back as far back as is comfortable. Repeat
frequently for short hold-times – make it “fit” your time limitations/schedule!
2)  SITTING HIP / BACK STRETCH: 1) Cross your leg; 2) Raise the knee to the
opposite shoulder; 3) Arch the lower back until you feel an increase stretch in
your buttocks; 4) Twist your trunk to the side the knee is raised; 5) Move your
knee up/down and around to “feel” for the tightest “knots” and “work” them
loose; 6) Modify by bending forward 7) REPEAT on the opposite side.
3)  SITTING TRUNK ROTATIONS: 1) Slowly twist your shoulders and trunk to one
side while keeping your knees straight; 2) Reach back and pull for additional
stretch if comfortable; 3) Hold for 3-10 seconds or, until it feels “loose;” 4)
REPEAT on the opposite side.
Remember, DO these MANY times a day (at least once every hour). We have many
others as well (ask us)!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision
and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.
If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be
honored to render our services.  Visit for more information.

Friday, January 3, 2014

What Kind of Headache Do I Have Part 2 | Yankton Chiropractor | Brian Olson DC

Last month, we discussed three types of headaches: Tension Headache (the most
common), Cluster Headaches (a vascular headache – less common, short duration
but REALLY painful), and Sinus Headaches. Migraine headaches were discussed the
month before last. In keeping with the theme, ONE more headache type will be
discussed: Rebound Headaches, followed by anti-inflammatory herbal remedies, and
finally, “Headache Triggers.”

Rebound headaches are the result of pain killer overuse. Of course, one would
think of pain killers like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen
(Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.) as well as many prescription drugs as being
“friendly” and commonly reached for when a headache or any other ache or pain
occurs. But, as the old saying goes, “…too much of a good thing can be bad!”
These culprits, instead of helping, can actually hurt you! One theory for the
cause of rebound headaches is that too much of these meds can cause the brain to
shift into an excited state that triggers the headache. Another theory is that
these headaches result from too sudden of a drop of the medicine in the
bloodstream, which would only occur if the medication was being taken at a high
dose for a relatively long period of time. According to the Migraine Research
Foundation, EVERY 10 SECONDS, someone in the United States goes to the emergency
room with a migraine or headache due to the intense pain, severe nausea or
dehydration, drug interactions, or side effects from headache medications! DON’T

As mentioned last month, PLEASE FIRST try an anti-inflammatory herb like ginger
(Zingiber officinale), turmeric (Curcuma longa), Feverfew, passionflower
(Passiflora alata), Peppermint (menthe piperita), ginko (ginko biloba), caffeine
(Coffea Arabica), black or green tea, Valerian (Valeriana officinalis),
Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum), Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Lavender Oil
(Lavandula angustifolia), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Lime or Linden
(Tilia spp.), horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), honeysuckle (Lonicera
japonica), and more!

So what triggers headaches? Here are a few of the more commonly researched
triggers: weight [in females, a BMI of 30 (mild obesity) = 35% greater risk, and
BMI of 40 (“severe obesity”) = 80%]; personality (traits such as rigidity,
reserve, and obsessivity); “let-down” or weekend headaches (breaking your
routine, like staying in bed until noon); odors and fumes (e.g., fresh paint);
dehydration (drink water AND eat fruits / veggies to get more water); skipping
meals (hunger is a common trigger); physical exertion (certain sports like
running, weight lifting); too much caffeine (small amounts help, but too much
can trigger headaches); inactivity (sedentary lifestyles trigger – 30 min./day
cardio, 5x/week is ideal); sleep deprivation (those averaging six hours have
more frequent & severe headaches); and certain foods like red wine, beer, MSG,
chocolate, aged cheese, sauerkraut, and processed meats like pepperoni, ham, and
salami. Foods that can reduce headaches include those high in magnesium—spinach,
tofu, oat bran, barely, fish oil, olive oil, white beans, sunflower, and pumpkin
seeds. In addition to GOOD CHIROPRACTIC CARE, headache management requires a
multidimensional approach for best results!

We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision
and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.
If you, a friend, or family member requires care for headaches, we would be
honored to render our services.  Visit for more information.