Announcing Online Scheduling

Exciting news! Online scheduling has arrived!

Your time is valuable.  For your convenience, Dakota Chiropractic is now offering online scheduling for select hours at the clinic. This way you can easily schedule your chiropractic adjustment and get back to your busy day. 

Getting signed up is simple. Email, text or call Dr. Hannah, noting that you want to take advantage of online scheduling. Within 24 hours you will receive a link from 'Patient Ally'.  Click on the link and you will be guided through a brief automated process that will allow you to access your 'Patient Portal'.

From the Patient Portal you will be able to send secure messages to Dr. Hannah, pay outstanding balances and request appointments!

If you cannot find a time that works for you online or simply if it is your preference, you can always call or text Dr. Hannah at (612) 562-6694 for additional appointment options.  

Be well.

Photo by Rawpixel/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Rawpixel/iStock / Getty Images

Back to Sugar

Last month we discussed the abundance of sugar in the Standard American Diet and how that affects your energy levels throughout the day. I would like to continue this discussion and look a little closer at how carbohydrates (e.g. sugar) travel through your body and why that is important to understand.

Let’s say, for instance, you eat a piece of white bread. When it reaches your mouth, your salivary glands begin producing an enzyme called amylase. As amylase is beginning the process of breaking down the bread into its simple sugars, you will notice that the bread will become a sweet tasting glob in your mouth.

Once amylase gets stimulated, it also triggers the lower GI system to start producing other enzymes and hormones to continue this digestive process. The problem with products like white bread is that they become broken down so quickly and with such little effort by the body that the small intestine will quickly allow the simple sugars into the blood stream, causing a rapid increase in the level of sugar in the blood.

The response to this blood sugar increase is the release of the hormone insulin from the pancreas.  Insulin’s main job is to grab sugar from the blood and pull it into whatever tissue it can, mainly the liver and muscle tissue. Once the liver and muscle cells are full of this stored “glycogen”, the rest needs to go somewhere, so it mainly gets stored as fat.

The body wants to deal with this rapid sugar increase as quickly as possible. It aims to keep your blood sugar tightly regulated for a reason; that free sugar isn’t very good for your blood vessels. You can picture it like a sticky piece of cotton candy floating around. It can cling onto things and wreak havoc.

As mentioned earlier, over time your cells get tired of responding to the constant signal coming from insulin, and the body will try to protect itself by storing the excess sugar as adipose tissue or in other words body fat. 

So what can be done to prevent these issues? As you might have guessed it is to cut down on your intake of excess sugar. The solution is simple but also can be difficult. First look at your beverages; sodas and juices contain enormous amounts of added sugar. Next, keep yourself satiated and energized throughout the day with snacks that contain healthy fats like almonds, avocados or walnuts. This will help you avoid the temptation of sweets throughout the day.

As always, feel free to reach out with questions on this topic. We only scratched the surface today. Or ask about what you can do to incorporate healthy fats into your diet at your next appointment. Call to schedule at 612-562-6694.

Be well.

Written by: Mitchell Rasmussen, Functional Movement Specialist
Edited by: Hannah Steinmetz, D.C.

Want a Healthy Relationship with Sugar?

Let’s talk today about sugar! This month I would like to discuss this essential dietary issue and dispel some old myths about nutrition and sugar.

We will begin by looking at our ancestors. Mark Sisson, an author who was one of the first to begin throwing out red flags about excess glucose (sugar), looks at these things from an evolutionary standpoint. He explains that we evolved from a time where the only true carbohydrate sources were locked into a “very fibrous matrix”.  In other words, the sources of sugar we were eating were bound tightly into the whole berries, sweet roots or the shoots of certain plants. We were getting the fiber and the anti-oxidants, as well as the carbohydrates (e.g. sugars). He states that we probably only ate about 80 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Fast forward to present day- Sugar is incredibly abundant and in many forms that are stripped of their original source and devoid of their naturally occurring nutrients.  The Washington Post reported that Americans, on average, consume more than 126 grams of sugar per day!

Facts like this prompted the American Heart Association to acknowledge that too much sugar is detrimental to one’s health, that we do not need sugar to function properly and they suggest no more than 24 to 36 grams of added sugar per day for women and men, respectively. For most of recent history the AHA were the big pushers of lowering fat intake, now as the paradigm about fats and sugars is changing several health organizations are noticing.

In fact, the World Health Organization guidelines for sugar consumption conclude through meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials in adults that there is an association between reducing the intake of free sugars and reduced body weight.

So, we as humans like sugar, but excess sugar is bad for us. Then where do we begin a healthy relationship with sugar and carbohydrates in general? Let’s start in the morning:

Don’t begin any day of digestion with just carbohydrates. Instead try some fat and a little bit of protein if needed. You can add healthy fat to your breakfast in many ways. I love cooking a couple eggs in coconut oil and adding coconut oil to my coffee. You can also add things like chia seeds to a whole fat or Greek yogurt for an extra boost.

Things to avoid would be toast or cereal for example. That afternoon crash that many of us experience is often a response to those first things we eat in the morning and when we start our day with carbs this crash is much more likely. It takes much more effort for the body to break down fats, and this leads to fewer blood sugar spikes, which leads to fewer mood swings, energy dips, reliance on carbs and more smiles at 3 pm!

Next month we will continue this discussion on sugar. We will talk about how it moves through the body and how that relates to diabetes. If you have any questions in the meantime feel free to ask about them at your next appointment. As always, you can schedule at (612) 562-6694. 

Be Well.

Written by: Mitchell Rasmussen, Functional Movement Specialist
Edited by: Hannah Steinmetz, D.C. 

My Favorite Workplace Exercise

So many of us have difficulty with neck and back pain while at work.

Whether you are sitting at a desk for work or you have a more physical job, chances are you are spending a lot of your day with your arms out in front of you and your head forward. 

This can create a pattern of tightness in the pecs, upper traps and muscles at the base of your skull while leaving the muscles in the front of your neck and mid back weak. This pattern will leave your body sore and achy and can lead to joint dysfunction if not corrected. 

The National Institute of Health found that hyperkyphosis (an excessive rounding of the mid back) associated with a rounding of the shoulders and forward head position, can "impair pulmonary function and activities of daily living performance, reduce quality of life, and predict mortality.." along with "contributing to degenerative changes of the spine". These are serious issues, but what can be done?

There are TWO things that I suggest to correct this pattern of dysfunction: 

1. Get Adjusted

2. Practice Bruegerr's Relief Position

This simple exercise can be done over and over at work with great ease. Let me show you how it goes:

1. Pull shoulder blades together in the back. Like you are trying to crush a can between them.

2. Keep shoulders down. They will want to raise, keep them down. 

3. Pull chin backward. So that your head is directly over your shoulders.

4. Breathe deeply. Hold for 5 seconds. 

This will likely feel odd at first. If your body is used to a pattern of poor posture it will resist changing that at first, your body is a very efficient machine! So keep practicing, the frequency of this exercise is the key to its success. You are looking to rewire some patterns you have developed over a long period of time so repetition will be very important. 

If you can do this 10 times per day you will begin to see results. 10 times per day at 5 seconds per round is less than a minute a day! I promise you, you have the time.




Spinal Stability for Your Every Day

An understanding of your body's core is a topic of great importance.  Specifically, the ability of that core to maintain enough stability to allow the rest of your body proper movement capability. A mentor of mine, Kelly Starrett (Doctor of Physical Therapy), likens the body to a car. He talks about the necessity to create a "stiff chassis" (a stable spine) so that the "wheels can move fast" (the arms and legs are able to do their work).  Another way of putting this would be in the words of Craig Liebenson (Doctor of Chiropractic) who preaches the concept of creating "proximal stability in order to achieve distal mobility".

Generally, when we think of doing core training, we think of endless crunches and maybe a few planks here and there.  The problem with that is in those instances we are creating dominance in certain muscles and neglecting other core muscles all together. When we talk about "core training", let us get better at using all the muscles of the core. Instead of focusing heavily on our "six-pack muscles" to dynamically force the spine into odd contortions, let us teach our core to do what it was really meant to do - reflexively stabilize and protect the spine.

One of those very important and often neglected core muscles is your diaphragm.  A report in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy stresses the importance of the diaphragm (your breathing organ) in a healthy spine. Researchers found that patients who suffered from low back pain had an abnormal position of their diaphragm.

Okay, you get it. Stop doing crunches and start feeling/using all these other core muscles. How about a quick and easy routine each day to get you up and going with a strong an durable body?

Give yourself and extra 2-4 minutes each morning before you get out of bed. No, that doesn't mean hitting the snooze button. What you want to do is simple:

  • Lying on your back, bend your knees and bring your feet a little closer to your butt so that your low back is comfortable.
  • Place one hand over your belly button and the other over your chest. Allow your shoulders to be relaxed into your sleeping surface and feel yourself relax your neck and jaw muscles. Be emotionally and physically open to a better and more healthful breathing pattern.
  • For the next 25 calm, deep breaths, breathe in a way that your hand over your stomach is the one that rises for the first two thirds of the breath in. Once you feel like your stomach and sides are fully filled, finish the inhalation with a slight chest rise.

The goal here is to get the focus on the diaphragm and deep core muscles and not on the scalene and pectoral muscles, common places for people to use during improper breathing.

This is an extremely basic yet beneficial way to begin implementing strength and stability in your deep core muscles. Once you have mastered this we can begin to implement more advanced core stabilization and glute activation exercises. Make sure to ask about them at your next appointment!

Be well.

Written by: Mitchell Rasmussen, Functional Movement Specialist
Edited by: Hannah Steinmetz, D.C.