Flagler Chiropractor Blog - Image of a spine next to flowers

Flagler Chiropractor Blog

My name is Dr. Rachelle Kirk. I'm a Flagler Beach Chiropractor. I'm also a wife and a mom. I decided to start writing a small blog on health tips, home remedies, chronic pain, headache relief, back pain information, women's health, and more.

What Can Cause People to Sneeze?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

People sneeze for a variety of reasons, not only when they are sick with a cold. Using medical terminology, the technical term for sneezing is “sternutation.” The process of sneezing involves a sudden expulsion of air from the nasal passageway due to a strong contraction of the diaphragm muscle below the lungs. Its typical function is to forcibly remove foreign particles from the nose, sinuses, and adjoining airways. Here are some of the reasons why people sneeze:

Allergies. Exposure to an allergen (something that can trigger an allergic response) can lead to sneezing and sinus inflammation. Examples of common allergens include dust, pollen, mold spores, perfumes, mildew, and pet dander.

Illness. Respiratory infections can cause people to sneeze. In order to prevent spraying tens of thousands of germ-filled droplets into the surrounding air, politely cover your sneeze with a tissue or by sneezing into the crook of your elbow.

Irritants. Examples of irritants that can trigger sneezing include smoke, dust, chemicals, and air pollutants.

Cold air. Sneezing can be triggered by the presence of cold air.

Eyebrow plucking. While plucking your eyebrows you risk inadvertently stimulating one of the cranial nerves known as the Trigeminal nerve. This can sometimes trigger an attack of sneezing.

Bright light. For some people are particularly sensitive to bright light, gazing at a bright light can cause sneezing. This is referred to as a photic sneeze reflex.

10 Natural Ways to Protect Your Heart

Friday, November 18, 2011

Heart and cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death on this planet. Fortunately, there are several simple and natural steps that you can take to protect your heart:

  1. Enjoy fresh produce. Snack on antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables rather than greasy or overly salty foods. Visit a farmer’s market or keep a small garden.
  2. Start each day with breakfast. This will jump start your metabolism and provide energy for your heart and the rest of your body.
  3. Stop smoking. We all know that smoking is unhealthy. Tobacco smoke contains over 250 separate chemicals that are harmful to the body. 20% of all heart-related deaths are directly related to tobacco smoke.
  4. Control portion size. This will help you to maintain a healthy weight which is important for heart health.
  5. Drink healthy tea. Instead of drinking so much carbonated soda, select healthier alternatives such as tea.
  6. Exercise. Create a simple but consistent exercise program and stick to it.
  7. Manage stress. Chronic stress increases the heart rate and elevates blood pressure. Try to avoid highly stressful situations and people who continually make you feel anxious.
  8. Go easy on the alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and even heart failure.
  9. Schedule downtime. Listen to music, get a massage, take a warm bath, and schedule time with friends and loved ones. Watch a funny movie, read a good book and have a good laugh at least once a day.
  10. Don’t skip your yearly checkup. Your annual exam helps your doctor to monitor any changes with your heart, blood pressure, and overall health.


Eating Pumpkin Is Healthier Than You Imagine

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Most people associate pumpkins with jack-o-lanterns and Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. However this brightly colored member of the squash family is full of healthy nutrients and antioxidants. Pumpkin is biologically a fruit (not a vegetable like most folks think). It contains a high concentration of vitamin A plus vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and potassium. Researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory properties of pumpkins may help individuals with arthritis pain and joint pain, such as arthritis knee pain, hip pain, wrist pain and elbow pain. Pumpkin is also believed to lower cholesterol, promote prostate health, and reduce the risk of various types of cancer.

Although the pumpkin meat you find in the canned food aisle seems to have a creamy texture, pumpkin is actually a wonderful natural source of fiber. The fiber content is more noticeable as you carve up your jack-o-lantern and detach the little orange strands of meat from the myriad of seeds. Speaking of which, pumpkin seeds are high in protein plus vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and magnesium. Pumpkin is an amazing plant, most parts of which are edible including the meat, shell, leaves, and delicate golden flowers.


What Are the Top Natural Sources of Antioxidants?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Antioxidants are important substances because they stop certain unhealthy chemical reactions from happening inside our bodies. If these chemical reactions are not stopped by the presence of antioxidants, a destructive process known as oxidation can occur, resulting in the production of harmful free radicals. Antioxidants product the tissues inside our bodies, and help our bodies to repair.

Antioxidants occur naturally in fruits and vegetables throughout the world. The highest concentrations of antioxidants are found in berries (blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries), apples (they do help keep the doctor away!), pecans, pears, kale, spinach, plums, green and black tea, grapes, beans, walnuts, carrots, raw honey, coffee, oregano, and ground cinnamon. Even dark chocolate contains a healthy natural supply of antioxidants if used without so much milk and sweeteners.

In order to receive plenty of natural antioxidants, provide your body with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables throughout the week. Always try to keep a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables available for snacking. Diets rich in healthy antioxidants are linked to decreased risk of cancer and heart disease.


Why Do People's Joints Ache When It Rains?

Monday, October 10, 2011

For the past three days our little town of Flagler Beach has been experiencing heavy winds and rain from a storm system known as a northeaster. Damp, rainy conditions such as these can prompt phone calls to our chiropractic clinic from people experiencing painful aching joints. Did you know that some people are actually able to forecast the weather based on their aching hip or aching knees? In fact, years ago ancient sailors often valued crew members who had the ability to detect weather changes based on how their joints felt.

Some people are especially sensitive to fluctuations in humidity and barometric pressure. They may get headaches, sinus pressure and joint pain with changes in the weather. Individuals with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis are particularly sensitive because they already have inflammation in some of their joints. Any fluctuations in the surrounding environment will cause changes in the internal pressure inside the fluid-filled capsules of special joints in the body called synovial joints. Synovial joints are found in the following areas: the elbows, shoulders, knees, hips, spine, and the carpal bones of the wrist. These joints are also loaded with sensory receptors (nerve endings) that quickly convey pressure and pain signals to the brain.


Different Types of Headaches - Which One Do You Have?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's easy to confuse one type of headache pain for another, so I thought I'd list some of the main types of headaches that I see at our chiropractic clinic.

Migraine Headache - a vascular type of headache with throbbing pain, nausea and sensitivity to light. Some people experience "prodromal" symptoms (early warning symptoms) before they get a migraine, such as seeing an aura or flashing lights, or smelling odors that aren't there.

Sinus Headache - these can be acute (from infection) or chronic (from allergies). Sinus headaches usually cause pain over and around the eyes, or near the cheekbones.

Tension Headache - also called a stress headache. Tension headaches are caused by lack of sleep, anxiety, or depression. Characterized by a feeling of pressure or a tight band of muscle in the scalp, temples, and back of the neck. Sometimes with shoulder pain.

Occipital Headache - also called Occipital Neuralgia because of irritation of the occipital nerve. This is headache pain at the base of the skull and upper neck from sleeping wrong, strained neck muscles, or from a whiplash injury after a car accident. Occipital headaches are frequently misdiagnosed because people often have occipital headaches along with another type of headache such as a migraine or tension headache.

Caffeine Headache - happens when you miss your daily cup of coffee. Caffeine withdrawal can cause throbbing painful headaches, sluggishness, and irritability. Solution: slowly decrease your caffeine intake over time and drink fewer mocha lattes!


The Difference Between Acute Pain and Chronic Pain

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pain can be described as being more than just an extremely unpleasant physical feeling. People who are experiencing pain somewhere in their body will often share that there are mental, psychological, and emotional aspects to their pain as well. Pain can be categorized in different ways. One common way that doctors classify pain is into the categories of acute pain and chronic pain. Today I thought I’d share a little bit about each type of pain.

Acute Pain: Acute pain is usually sharp, severe pain caused by something easily recognizable (i.e. you sprained your ankle, you burned your thumb, or you just your wisdom teeth removed). Acute pain usually lasts for a specific period of time, and then as your body heals, the pain goes away. Conventional medicine is very good at handling this type of pain.

Chronic Pain: Chronic pain is less understood by the medical community because it involves lasting pain that doesn’t respond well to medication. Chronic pain occurs when the body’s sensory receptors that normally detect tissue damage (called nociceptors) keep sending pain signals to the brain, even when there is no tissue damage or very little tissue damage. In effect, the brain keeps being bombarded by pain signals for days, weeks, months, and even years for no apparent reason. Chronic pain has more of a psychological element. People who struggle with chronic pain can become frustrated, anxious or depressed about their situation.

The good news is that alternative therapies and treatments offered by doctors of chiropractic, massage therapists, and doctors of acupuncture and Oriental medicine offer relief to many people with chronic pain.


Best Ergonomics and Comfort When Using a Computer Desk

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ergonomics is a fancy word for the science of keeping people comfortable and efficient while they work. It involves looking at how an object, such as a chair or a computer desk, is designed so that it's both effective and comfortable for the person using it.

Here are some ergonomic and posture tips that I use at my home computer station to prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, neck pain, and back injuries:

  • Keep the monitor eye level and directly in front of you
  • Use a chair with an adjustable height and back that fits you properly.
  • Don't reach too far for the mouse. Keep it at a comfortable distance.
  • Choose a computer mouse that fits your hand properly and isn't too large or wide.
  • Select a comfortable wrist-rest for your mouse hand.
  • When on the phone for more than 15 minutes, use a headset or other hands-free device.
  • Get up and move around every hour or so. Even if only for a few seconds.
  • If you tend to carry a lot of tension in your lower neck and across your shoulders, consider purchasing a keypad that is split or contoured.
  • Take a break if you begin to feel neck pain, wrist pain, or a backache.


What Happens When Your Chiropractor Manages to Hurt Her Own Back?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Contrary to popular belief, we chiropractors aren't immune to back pain. Over the summer I managed to twist my back while gardening. Being a chiropractor, I know how to get rid of back pain fast. So here's what I did:

The moment I noticed that I had hurt my back, I stopped gardening. Although I was tempted to finish that last row of sunflowers, I knew I had to take care of my back or I was going to injure it more and make it worse. I went back inside the house and did slow gentle stretches (yoga stretches work great for this) for a couple minutes to keep it from locking up on me. Next, I laid down on the floor on my back with my legs bent. I put a cold pack between my low back and the floor and stayed there for 20 minutes.

Then I carefully got up and tested out my back. Yep, it was still sore. I knew I had a lovely case of back strain. So I did the best thing possible: I called my chiropractor for an appointment. (Yes, of course I have a chiropractor that I see. What were you thinking?) After I got my spine checked and adjusted by my chiropractor I saw my massage therapist.

By the next day my back ache was much better. If I hadn't immediately stopped gardening and relaxed, began stretching, and using a cold pack, it would've taken another day or two to heal.

Flagler Chiropractor Blog Image of Coffee Mug

Time to think outside of the proverbial box and explore alternative health and chiro blog topics:

About Dr. Rachelle Kirk

One thing I love about being a Flagler Beach chiropractor is that I get to see the beach every morning on the way to the office. Flagler Beach, Florida is a beautiful little beach-side community. The people who live here are pretty laid-back. Few people are in a hurry and most folks are very nice.

My husband and I own Back In Action Chiropractors. Our clinic is about two blocks from the beach, across from the Farmer's Market and not far from the Flagler Beach Pier.

The walls in our office are covered with framed images of wildlife, beaches, and scenes from Flagler Beach and Flagler County (Palm Coast and Bunnell). These images are all supplied by our local photographers from the Flagler Photography Club.

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