Dr. Brooke Joins “The Team Behind the Team” In Colorado
For two weeks this summer, I was a member of the Sports Medicine team at the United States Olympic Training campus (USOC) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have always been an avid sports fan so to have this experience was a dream come true. The one word that best sums up my experience for the two weeks that I spent with the Sports Medicine team is ‘affirming.’ After reflecting on my experience, I am certain that I am practicing in a manner that is congruent with the absolute best care that can be provided to athletes—or patients– of any level.
Dr. Bill Moreau is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for the United States Olympic Sports Medicine program, the CMO for the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, and will be the CMO at the 2016 Rio De Janiero Olympics. He is also the one who inspired me to begin this journey in the first place. My favorite fact about Dr. Moreau is that he is a chiropractor! He is brilliant, a consummate professional, an amazing speaker and to top it off, an inspiration. There is a team of full time employees at the USOC but that team relies heavily on the volunteers to uphold high standards of care for all the athletes. Dr. Moreau called us “the team behind the team.”
Our team was a multi-disciplinary medical team and comprised of a massage therapist, athletic trainer, and orthopedic surgeon. The four of us worked together brilliantly and collaboratively for the betterment of many of the athletes. This collective and team-based approach is necessary to understand and meet the full spectrum of an athlete or patient’s needs. It is the approach I am accustomed to and I found it hugely affirming that at the highest-level the expectation is collaboration.
The days I spent in clinic were busy and non-stop. Some days I saw 15 athletes over the course of eight hours; the demand for my skills was high. I was amazed and encouraged to regularly hear athletes requesting to see me at the front desk. As it turns out, the two full-time chiropractors on staff were only able to focus on recovery from injury, which is an all too common situation. That left me the ability to provide preventative chiropractic to athletes, often wrestlers, gymnasts, and weight lifters. These groups understand the benefit of the keeping their body aligned as a means of maintaining health and also securing a competitive advantage.
Our mission was to keep the athletes on the court, field, pitch, pool or venue. We were there to support those seeking to stand on the podium at an Olympic games; those that are training to proudly represent our country and achieve their dreams. We were also there to give athletes the extra edge needed that can mean the difference between a gold and silver medal, in some events it comes down to .001 of a second!
One particular athlete, with whom I spent a considerable amount of time, is preparing to compete in his fifth Olympic games. I’m excited to follow him over the next few months and would love nothing more than to see him standing on the podium receiving a medal in the 2016 Olympics. Regardless of whether he medals or not I’m thrilled to know that I was able to have a role in his training and health as an athlete.
Walking away from this experience will leave me with many wonderful memories and lessons for my career. First, being a chiropractor puts me in an ideal position to evaluate, care for and inspire athletes of any age, shape, and size. I loved seeing that the main treatment modality in the Sports Medicine clinic was the use of manual care, the laying on of hands. Second, our accomplishments in the clinical care of the athletes were done so, in no small part, as a team. Being a vital member of that team proves that working together with other disciplines is the future of health care.
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Which Foods Are “Cures” Or “Causes” For Triggering Your Migraines?
It’s fall! And with the changing seasons comes shifting temperatures and the resurgence of festive foods – both potential triggers for migraines and headaches. When you can’t afford downtime because there’s work to be done or the kids have soccer practice, the last thing you need is a debilitating headache causing you to lose focus. Here are a few nutritional tips for heading off these nuisances before they start.
You may have heard that certain foods can trigger migraines – that’s true, and while some people’s “cure” foods might be others’ “cause” foods, like caffeine, there are a few foods that are pretty sure to help nearly everyone prevent the onset of a migraine.
Dr. Majid Fotuhi, a neuroscientist from John’s Hopkins recommends the following nutrients for brain health and headache prevention:
Riboflavin – also known as vitamin B2 – helps improve brain energy metabolism and the brain’s muscle cells according to Dr. Fotuhi. The good news is, it’s also fairly easy to find, appearing in star foods like spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, and quinoa. If none of these are on your top ten list, throw some spinach in an omelet or a smoothie and remember how much better spinach is than a headache.
Magnesium – especially effective for women who suffer from hormonal triggers, magnesium is found in spinach (apparently an all-purpose win for headache prevention), swiss chard, sweet potatoes, bananas, millet, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. Due to changes in water filtration, people are often magnesium deficient without even knowing it. Dr. Fotuhi recommends getting 450mg of magnesium per day as a good goal. You can also check with your doctor to see if you need an extra boost of this mineral.
CoQ10 – or CoenzymeQ10 as it is also called – is a major source of energy and contributes to healthy blood vessels, says Dr. Fotuhi. If you suffer from tension headaches or stress triggers your migraines, upping your CoQ10 intake may help. This little nutrient is also a neutralizer of free radicals (which are often stress-induced), meaning it prevents premature cell aging. If you are in Blacksburg or Radford, you can find CoQ10 locally at the Indigo Farms Seafood truck (mackerel and tuna are good sources) as well as in eggs, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Omega-3s – The fatty acids contained in fish and some seeds are also important immune-supporting factors. These powerful little anti-inflammatories can be found in fish, especially salmon, and flaxseed (a nearly untasteable addition to your spinach smoothie).
Last but not least, water is, without a doubt, the most important nutritional preventative measure you can take. Many of the beverages that we enjoy, like coffee, tea, alcohol, soda, or other sugary drinks actually dehydrate the body. Dehydrated cells are much more prone to illnesses of all kinds, including headaches and migraines. Opt for water and sparkling water when choosing what to drink and stay away from artificial sweeteners and excessive caffeine (known migraine triggers according to Dr. Deborah Friedman, M.D., a professor of neurology and neurotherapeutics at University of Texas-Southwestern). There are also some excellent water-rich fruits that can help you stay hydrated, including strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapefruit.
Just as there are a few foods that are very likely to help prevent migraine onsets, there are also some pretty common triggers; several experts, including Dr. Anne MacGregor, author of “Understanding Migraines and Other Headaches,” recommend journaling your food intake and activities throughout the day if you are headache-prone to help identify those things that lower your threshold for a migraine. These men and women suggest that excess caffeine (in coffee and chocolate), monosodium glutamate (or MSG – found in some Chinese food, processed meats, some canned vegetables, gravy, soup, and dip mixes, and soy-based foods), aged meats and cheeses, beer and wine, artificial sweeteners, and some preservatives, like nitrates and nitrites (found in some deli meats, bacon, etc.) can and should be avoided if you suffer from frequent headaches and/or migraines.
While avoiding foods can be less than fun, finding healthy, nutrient-rich, seasonal recipes with preventative value can help ease the pain. As we’ve mentioned above, smoothies are an excellent way to get many of these nutrients. We’ve included links to recipes for fun fall drinks featuring spinach, flax, and fruits listed above for you to add to your daily routine.
When headaches are making life miserable, we’re here to help. Prevent migraines and headaches through these proactive nutrition tips, stress-reducing activities like yoga, stretching, daily exercise, and chiropractic care for a healthy, happy fall.
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200 Miles? 500 Miles? When Should You Replace Your Running Shoes?
Ryan Hall won his first NCAA championship in 2005 when he ran the 5000 meter race in 13:22.32, beating his teammate by less than a second. That’s just off a 4 minute pace, for those of you who are counting. Gina Kolata from the New York Times wellness blog, caught him standing still long enough to ask him when he decides a shoe is ready to retire. He explained that he replaces his shoes every 200 miles, saying, “I know that my shoes could probably handle a couple of hundred more miles before they are worn out, but my health is so important to me that I like to always make sure my equipment is fresh.” Dr. Jeremy Keene, from our clinic in Roanoke-Cave Spring, Virginia echoed Hall’s emphasis on maintaining your gear; encouraging runners to remember that, “Injury prevention and increased performance are the results of shoes that provide the proper support.”
Replacing shoes every couple hundred miles isn’t quite as daunting when your shoes come from a corporate sponsor, but when the rest of us are looking at spending between $90-$120, new shoes don’t seem quite so necessary, regardless of the stern warnings about possible injuries from tired-out treads. Gina Kolata decided to get a few other opinions on the topic as well, asking a friend who runs 100+ miles each week how often she purchases replacements. Ms. Davis guesstimated her gear logs about 500 miles before she heads to her local running store. A range of 200 to 500 miles is fairly large though and neither Mr. Hall nor Ms. Davis had too much to say about how they determine when the time is right to start looking for new shoes.
The experts at REI recommend 500 miles as a general guideline but offer an easy set of tests for you to determine for yourself whether or not your shoes need to be benched.
The Press Test: Use your thumb to push on the bottom of your shoe up into the midsole. With new shoes, the midsole should visibly compress into lines or wrinkles. A more worn shoe will compress less when subjected to the same amount of pressure. Heavily compressed midsoles offer little stability or protection and are a sign that it’s time for a new pair.
Further Examination: Check out the wear your shoes have sustained. Are the heels intact? Have you worn parts of the outsole down? Have your shoes molded to your feet (i.e. heel pockets inside the shoe)? If so, your shoes may be ready for retirement.
Feelin’ Good: Finally, pay attention to how your feet, ankles, knees, hops, and back feel after you run. Are you noticing new aches and pains lately? If so, it may be time to change shoes. Alternatively, unexpected friction or blisters may signal overstretched shoes that allow your feet to move around more than they should.
While tests and expert advice are helpful, the real answer for when to replace your shoes rests with you. According to Runner’s World, shoe wear has a variety of causes including:
- The running surface – asphalt wears shoes down faster than grass or dirt,
- The runner’s weight – runners over 200 pounds wear their shoes down more quickly than lighter runners
- Strike style – heel strikers tend to wear out their midsoles more quickly than other running styles
- Shoe type – more protective shoes tend to last longer than minimalist shoe types.
With all those variables, you are the only one who can really say if your shoes are ready for retirement. Using the tests mentioned above should help you determine if you’re ready for a new pair. While rotating between two different pairs of shoes and using your running shoes exclusively for workouts will help shoes last longer, when you know your shoes are past their prime, it’s worth the investment to get a new pair that will help keep you running pain-free.
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