Article written by Barbro Brost, DC, the Brost Clinic, Wayzata

Pain comes in many forms, ranging from a dull ache to sharp stabbing pain.  We have all experienced pain in various forms going through life.  Most low grade pain such as mild strains or sprains we can shrug off, because we know that it will be gone in a day or two.  Sharp pains, when we stub a toe or hit an elbow, disappear quickly but is very intense at the moment.  Of course there is pain from more significant injuries and chronic pain such as from arthritis or other illness.

In our culture we are very quick at swallowing a pain pill to numb the pain. We have all been trained by ads and the media that this pain pill or that are more superior or more long lasting.

We need to rethink this approach because of recent new research.  Harvard research recently published in July 2015 show that NSAIDs drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), and Naproxen (Aleve and Naprosyn) and Celebrex increases the risk of stroke and heart attacks or death from other reasons by 47% in people with high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease.

So if you are taking blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, or are being treated for more serious heart or cardiovascular disease, the advice is to totally stay away from NSAIDs.  It has previously been known that these medications can also cause gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney damage.

The opioid medications, like Oxycodone and Vicodin, are very addictive and should only be used short term for extreme pain.  Opioids are what they sound like, opium like substances (basically synthetic heroine).  More people are now at drug rehab centers treated for addictions to opioids than for street drugs and alcohol combined!

So what to do if you are in pain?  First of all, pain is not a disease but a signal that there is something wrong.  Sometimes it’s obvious if you just fell or injured yourself.  There are other times when the cause is not so apparent.  Covering up the pain signal can be like turning off the fire alarm instead of looking where the fire is.  It makes more sense to figure out what causes the pain, treat that and the pain will leave naturally.  A good doctor should get to the bottom of the cause and correct it (if possible) instead of leaving the problem to get worse while covering up the pain.  Chiropractic and acupuncture are good resources for most types of pain. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to diagnose and find the cause of pain and treat the cause or refer you to the appropriate health care provider for appropriate treatments.

For home therapy, ice is often as effective than over the counter medications without the side effects and complications.

Flu Vaccine – or not?

Article written by Barbro Brost, DC, the Brost Clinic, Wayzata

This time of the year we frequently get asked, should I take a flu shot or not?

My answer is always, find out the facts and make an educated decision. Since we all have access to information on our computers and smart phones, you can easily find pertinent information. The risk and consequences of getting the flu has to be weighed against the potential risks and side effects of the flu vaccine.

The vaccine distributed each year is based on last year’s flu viruses. Viruses mutate and change so the vaccine given is usually only about 50% effective at preventing the flu.

A healthy child or adult gets sick for a few days if contracting the flu. In the process we build natural immunity and usually don’t get the flu for many years again. The flu vaccine used to be recommended to vulnerable populations, people over 60 and immune compromised children. Now the recommendation by the CDC is that everyone get a shot. Is this based on fact or financial incentive? Flu vaccines are a multi-billion dollar business……

All vaccines contain a trace amount of mercury in the preservative Thimerosal. Mercury accumulates in your brain tissue. Taking the flu shot every year may not be a good idea in the long run. Google “flu vaccine ingredients” to see further ingredients that you may think twice about having injected into your body!

An alternative to the flu vaccine is boosting your immune system naturally by eating healthy and taking a few supplements. Did you ever stop and think about why we call winter the flu season? Why doesn’t the flu happen in the summer? You might think of the answer when 5000 IUs of Vitamin D per day prevents the flu as well as the flu shot! Vitamin A, C, Zinc, Elderberry, and Echinacea also boost immunity naturally.

A separate topic is all the currently recommended childhood vaccines. I will write about that topic next month!

Car Accidents Happen

Article written by Barbro Brost, DC, the Brost Clinic, Wayzata

The Minnesota winter is fast approaching and roads are getting slippery.  Driving defensively, keeping longer distances between vehicles on the roads, and using good judgement regarding speed becomes more important!   Despite being a cautious driver, we are more likely to get into accidents in the winter, since we have no control over other drivers on the roads.  Fender benders at 5-10 mph can cause significant neck injuries even if your car does not have much damage.  Bodies are a lot more vulnerable than cars!  Your 10-12 pound head is like a bowling ball on top of your very vulnerable neck and creates a violent “whip” back and forth even in a minor accident.  A whiplash injury strains muscles, sprains ligaments, misaligns vertebra and can damage discs.

Our first thought, after an accident, is to call the insurance company to get an estimate for car repairs.  They will send an adjuster to assess the car damage which isn’t always obvious from the outside inspection.

The other call, which is often not made, is to a chiropractor experienced in whiplash injuries, to assess the injuries to your neck and the rest of your body.  Just as with cars, these injuries are often not apparent on the surface.  It takes expertise to evaluate the delicate structure of your spine and to treat any injuries that result from the accident.

Often there is pain, swelling, or muscle spasm to let your know that you got hurt, but whip lash injuries can be sneaky and not produce a lot of symptoms the first few days, sometimes not for weeks.  It is best to get an evaluation as soon as possible after an accident so any injuries related to the incident can be documented and thereby covered by your car insurance.

Surprisingly many people don’t realize that care for bodily injuries resulting “from the operation, care or maintenance of a vehicle” as the law reads, are 100% covered by your car insurance.  Care for these injuries are not handled by your regular health insurance, so you are free to see any doctor you choose and are not restricted to your particular health insurance network.  Medical and chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy, etc., are all covered when you have been injured in a car accident.

Don’t let injuries go untreated, since they can come back to haunt you years down the line with degenerating discs and arthritis.

Drive carefully this winter, but if an accident happens remember that your body is actually a lot more important than your car!