• Spring into Spring with a Healthy Back
    By Dr. Jane Scott

    Spring is here! Our return to the "Great Outdoors." Time for gardening and working in the yard… time for weekend warriors to flex their muscles… time for hiking and biking and touch football… Exuberance abounds… but unfortunately so do backaches! Many of these injuries could be avoided or resolved quickly with a little bit of knowledge and care.

    A little prevention goes a long way, and the surest way to prevent back injury is to build a strong healthy back. One rule of thumb in our office is that everyone is on therapeutic exercises to strengthen and rehabilitate their back. These should be life long habits… just like brushing your teeth. We brush our teeth daily to keep them from decaying… well, back exercises help to keep the spine from decaying which we call degeneration.

    Our back exercises are broken down into three stages. The first stage is stretching exercises. Think of a cat… the most agile animal there is. He wakes up from his nap and what does he do? He doesn't jump straight into activity… he stretches! Long, slow stretches. Three good stretches for the low back are:

    1) Lie flat on your back and bring one knee to your chest. Hold to the count of five and relax. Switch legs. Do each leg 5 x's.
    2) Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your buttock off the floor and squeeze buttock, back and thigh muscles. Hold to the count of five and relax. Repeat 5 x's.
    3) Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Push the small of your back into the floor and hold to the count of five. Repeat 5 x's.

    The second stage of exercises is one of strengthening exercises. These are very
    personalized according to each patient's problem. But I will go over two very important exercises that I have everyone do. One of the reasons so many of us have back problems is because we let our abdominal get weak and flaccid and these are muscles attached to the front of the pelvis. This pulls the pelvis out of alignment and weakens the low back. (Women add insult to injury by wearing high heels all day long). So our next goal is to strengthen the abdominal and stretch out the hamstrings. Half sit-ups are ok for some people but put strain on the back and neck if not done properly. I prefer to put my patients on what I call "sit backs."

    1) Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Cross arms in front and lean straight back until you feel the abdominal muscles contract. Hold to the count of five. Work up to 20-30 of these. When they get too easy, just lean back farther.
    2) Hamstring stretch- sit on floor with legs straight in front. Very slowly reach for your toes. Don't force and don't bounce. Hold to the count of five. Repeat 5 x's.

    The third stage of exercise is an aerobic activity. Brisk walking is one of the best forms of
    exercise without putting undue stress on the joints. Also swimming and cycling are great forms of "low impact" aerobics.

    Some additional tips for you gardeners. Don't stay in a bent position for any length of time without getting up to stretch and walk around. Be careful how you lift!!! Face the object straight on, bend at the knees and lift close to the body. Never twist and bend at the back to lift something. This is how many ruptures occur to the "criss-cross" annular fibers that surround the disk. Invest in a back brace for yard work as in the ones worn by employees at the large home improvement stores.

    If the injury does occur… STOP what your doing. Don't "work though" the pain. Get off your feet. Ice down for the first 24-48 hrs. 20 minutes at a time, every two hours. I know heat feels good, but stay away from heat for the first couple of days. Ice helps get rid of swelling and inflammation, then later we use heat to help heal and reduce muscle spasm. If the pain does not subside, see your Chiropractor.

    Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so exercise those backs and enjoy Spring!

  • Dealing with Stress Through the Holidays
    By Dr. Jane Scott


    In the past, I have written various articles on health… but time after time, the one that creates the most feedback is the article on dealing with stress through the holidays. It illustrates to me a common thread we all share in this high-pressured world we live in. So when given the opportunity to contribute an article on health… and with the holidays approaching… what better time to fulfill the many requests I have received to share it again with a few modifications…

    Although I am a Doctor of Chiropractic, it never ceases to amaze me how often my background in psychology is drawn upon in my practice. Stress, by far, is the biggest issue; and I see consistent increases in stress levels throughout the holidays.
    Stress is a thief. It can steal from your health, your happiness, your peace of mind, even your life… if you let it. Stress is here to stay and it invades every aspect of our lives… so what can we do about it? We can learn to manage it.

    Stress management is part of what may become the most important health care revolution of the century. People want to do more than just "cope" with over-whelming, ever-mounting stress. They are seeking new and effective ways of taking control of their lives, preventing disease and enhancing their health.

    What are some of the stress-induced physical ailments? Head-aches, high blood pressure, ulcers and stomach disorders, cardiovascular disease, lowered resistance to disease, heart attacks and strokes… to name a few.

    Hans Selye, the pioneer scientist who developed the concept of stress years ago, differentiated two kinds of stress: positive stress, (called eustress), which is non-injurious; and negative stress, (called distress), which is injurious to the body. It is the latter kind of stress that we must learn to manage.

    Keep in mind over the holidays what I call "THE BIG EIGHT." Avoid the eight known stress-inducers and practice over and over again the eight known antidotes to the stress. The inducers to avoid are: 1) fear/anxiety, 2) worry, 3) grief (prolonged), 4) lack of forgiveness, 5) resentment, 6) anger (that you don't own), 7) boredom, 8) depression. Antidotes we should practice are: 1) laughter, 2) flexibility, 3) forgiveness, 4) faith, 5) goals (believable and attainable), 6) quiet time each day, 7) removing the "super person" myth, 8) exercise, good nutrition and rest.

    Let me expound a little on the last antidote because I believe it is the answer to almost all that ails us. I see it in my practice, day after day, the change in my patients who follow through with the exercise recommendations. It's a simple first step that produces incredible changes in the quality of ones health and yes, even ones life. I'm not talking about becoming an exercise fanatic, just consistent moderate exercise that will affect your physical health, your emotional health and most importantly, how we deal with stress. Your exercise should consist of 1) stretching exercises for joint mobility, 2) resistance exercise to strengthen and tone muscles (and to prevent osteoporosis), 3) low impact aerobic exercise for heart and lungs. Walking is great! Do at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes.

    Other tips for handling stress through the holidays are to take action this month and get involved instead of feeling victimized. For instance, fulfill an underprivileged child's Christmas wish right here in Gwinnett or volunteer at the Quinn House Christmas function or their Thanksgiving dinner (call Quinn House, 770-962-0928) or invite a friend over for dinner who has no family nearby. Take care of your health; limit alcohol and overeating; lose those extra pounds; join an exercise class. When you feel the pressure mounting, stop and breathe deeply, contract and relax each muscle. If too much tension creates those neck, back or head aches, see your chiropractor. It's amazing how much spinal manipulation relaxes the body and relieves pain and tension buildup. Look forward with a positive outlook that this year is going to be a better year… set attainable goals, both personal and professional.

    This is the time of Thanksgiving, love, hope, and goodwill… something we should aspire to carry with us daily and throughout the year. This is also the time for peace on Earth and, just as important, the peace we all need to find within ourselves. Be as good to yourself as you are to others; and may you experience a wonderful holiday and many blessings in the year to come.

  • Everything I Need to Know I Learned on the Mountain
    By Dr. Jane Scott


    Spring is the time I usually write an article on health and exercise knowing people are wanting to get in shape for summer. Well, summer has come and gone, fall is waning fast. And winter is around the bend. What a great time, I thought to write an article on making a commitment to exercise, not only all year around, but for the rest of our lives. Anyone who knows me knows I have made that commitment and have always encouraged my patients to exercise regularly. It is the answer to almost all that ails us. It improves our emotional as well as physical health.

    As I thought about writing this article, I did not want to preach about the limitless value of life long exercise, but instead I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a group of very special and wonderful people I hold dear to me heart. Let me introduce to you the "6 a.m. Mountain Climbers." It all started when my younger sister, Lorraine- also a Chiropractor and my exercise buddy- told me about Mr. Jim Payne who owns the village gas station and climbs Stone Mountain at 6 a.m. every morning except Sundays. Lori and I have been walking up and down the mountain pretty regularly but I though 6 a.m.? Who in their right mind would do that?

    It was March and a very cold and dark morning when I decided to join them and the rest is history. There were four of us that cold morning, but it has grown to as many as eighteen of the most colorful, diverse characters ranging in age from sixteen to seventy-three.

    Jim Payne is our fearless leader who lost fifty pounds in a year, got his diabetes under control and is an inspiration to all of us. Not bad for a 65 year old. With a twinkle in his eye he can tell a story better than anybody and is usually the instigator of all our friendly pranks, and I'm frequently on the receiving end. Then there's Annette, born and raised in Stone Mountain, longer ago than she likes to admit. She says the mountain is her mountain and everyone else is a foreigner. She climbs with her cane talking about her six month old grandson who can "walk, talk and do long division." Her grown children were teenagers before they realized Stone Mountain was not really her mountain.

    Usually right beside Annette is Gerald, a 73-year-old retired minister who is nicknamed, "Tar Baby" because he is always closed lipped and never gossips. A gentle, gentle soul with a very sly and quiet sense of humor.

    Passing all of us every morning is Herta, a 68-year-old Yoga teacher whose mission is to greet the sunrise at the top of the mountain with a stop on her prayer rock. Every now and then if we are quick enough we can join her in prayer. When it's warm she climbs barefooted and on her 60th birthday she climbed the mountain 24 times in 26 hours, and that's a fact!

    Then there is Miss Ann, a preschool teacher as sweet as they come, who laughs heartily at all our stupid jokes. She teaches caring and compassion for others. If I ever come back as a preschooler, I want to be in Miss Ann's class.

    Then we have "Fluffy," the head cook at the local post office buffet. A mother of five and a grandmother of many more who still looks like a little girl in her ponytail and her bobby socks. She makes the best homemade biscuits in the world that at times await us at the end of our climb.

    Then my little sister Lori- my best friend and a fellow caring Chiropractor who keeps me on my toes with her sisterly chides and playful jokes. We call her the cheerleader, "no one should be that happy," growls Annette. She loves to rub it in that she was the baby of the group at 38 years old, but I am very pleased to announce many younger members have joined us.

    Then there is me, having a mild mid life crisis at 42. I am a single parent of two teenage sons, need I say more? Well, climbing the mountain before sunrise has a way of putting life into perspective. So many more wonderful people as diverse as the world we live in who all have one thing in common, commitment to life long exercise and love of climbing the mountain. The friendships, the laughter and the love keeps us coming back even when we want to shut off that 5 a.m. alarm and roll back to sleep. Nothing beats the joyful way we start our day. As Jim Payne says, "the optimist gets up in the morning, throws open the curtain and says Good Morning Lord! Whereas the pessimist peeks through the curtain and says, Lord it's morning." Give me the optimist any day.

    After the climb, we walk a mile back to Payne's gas station to shoot the breeze and enjoy a cup of coffee before work. Locals drive by and wave as we all line up on the park bench feeling a little like Mayberry RFD. Sometimes our honorary member, the real Santa, will drop by and say hi. On rainy days when we "flat walk" around the mountain he will pull up in his sleigh ( souped up red Silverado truck) and with a twinkle and grin tempt us to ride instead of walk. Our goal is to get Santa on top of that mountain and we don't mean by tram.

    So what have I learned on the mountain? Everyday is an adventure with the 6 a.m. Mountain Climbers. Sometimes we solve the problems of the world or at times I learn the history of the mountain and village. I have learned bible stories as we pass ancient trees that have lovingly been given Old Testament names; Ruth and Naomi stand right in our path. I learned little words of wisdom such as "love is like money, it ain't worth a flip unless you give it away." Most of the time we just laugh and share funny real life stories and then laugh some more. We have found our silver lining on this mountain and I cherish my time with my special friends. I'm nourishing my heart as wells as my body. There is so much more to write, so many stories to tell. Someday I'll write a book, but for now I challenge you to find that family of friends- climb your mountain whether it be walking in your neighborhood, in a park or on this mountain. Share the laughter, life and love. Walk as if your life depends on it, because it does.

  • In Our Defense.....A Chiropractors Viewpoint
    By Dr. Jane Scott


    As a conscientious, caring doctor of Chiropractic, I have usually let the "bad rap" on Chiropractic roll off my back. Many people are very misinformed about Chiropractors and what we do. Certainly there are "bad apples" in our profession, as there are in ANY profession, but they are not the norm. The aberrant few should not tarnish the image of the entire profession.

    In recent weeks I have been increasingly disturbed about some very irresponsible and misleading reporting I have seen on Chiropractic. This, NOT COINCIDENTALLY, comes at a time when in the next few months Congress will be deciding whether Chiropractors services should be included in national health care reform. There are powerful special interest groups and associations who will attempt to discredit us and the fact that our profession is making a big difference with millions of Americans.
    Let's look at the facts. Many research studies have concluded that Chiropractic care is not only effective, but also helps significantly reduce health-care costs. The respected RAND Corporation found that spinal manipulation is an appropriate method of treatment for back pain.

    A landmark Canadian study commissioned by the Ontario Ministry of health recently concluded that "highly significant' cost savings could be realized from the expanded use of Chiropractic care for the treatment of low back pain. It also recommended that Chiropractic care be "fully insured and integrated" in that governments health care system.
    A study published in the British Medical Journal found that Chiropractic treatment was more effective than hospital outpatient management for patients with chronic or severe back pain. Independent studies go on and on…

    Doctors of Chiropractic are licensed to practice in all 50 states and have received extensive training in a four year program, (after completing three years of pre-med courses), which emphasizes the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system and how the body is affected by abnormal spinal conditions. As in our office… the ethical Chiropractor threats those conditions within their scope of practice and refers patients when necessary.

    Recently an article was published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution implying that Chiropractic treatment is unsafe… before that a very damaging 20/20 report depicting a few Chiropractors that nowhere near represent "mainstream" Chiropractic. Other articles I have heard about published in different areas have made this very gentle, mild mannered Chiropractor want to stand up, slam her fist on the table and say ENOUGH! As a high-ranking official has said, "This is a smear campaign, pure and simple."

    There is very little risk in Chiropractic care when a patient is managed properly and especially with more and more low-force or non-force techniques being used. A Chiropractors mal-practice insurance is only a minor fraction of the cost of a medical doctor so let's paint an accurate picture.

    I am a responsible parent of two teenage sons, a good citizen, give my time and services to the homeless, am active in my community and am a caring and compassionate doctor who helps her patients… YET I am still prejudged by some.

    This is the 90's. Let's look at the facts on mainstream Chiropractic and the increasing positive medical research that is continually coming out. Let patients have the freedom to choose… that is the American way. I urge you who have experienced the value of Chiropractic care to contact your Congressman and let your voice be heard. For those few who may have had a not-so positive experience, do not judge Chiropractic, try another Chiropractor. Would you give up dental or medical treatment if you had one negative experience with one doctor?

    Presently, most major insurance companies cover Chiropractic care and we are considered primary health care providers. There is a push by certain powers to nudge us out of national health care. If this was to happen, I would survive because of a strong family practice, customary fees, and patients who value my care. Many will not survive and I feel for the new doctors coming out of school. But the ones who suffer the biggest loss are the patients who pay their premiums but lose their freedom of choice. I do believe we need reform with skyrocketing health care costs, increasing premiums, pre-existing conditions, etc. I feel too, for the physicians and their skyrocketing malpractice premiums. There are no easy answers, but anyone who has dealt with Medicare knows that a government run health care system is not the answer. People must take charge, become an informed consumer and let your voice be heard. Now is the time.

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