Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | February 7, 2013

How to Heal from a Strain or Sprain Injury – Part 2

So, it has been 2 weeks since my “humbling experience” and my knee is gradually improving.  The swelling is going down.  I can walk and do a full squat with very little pain.  Running or jogging is still too painful.  As you can imagine, jumping is out of the question.  Gradual, steady improvement – just like I expected.

In Part 2, I want to give you 3 simple, practical things you can do to recover in the best possible way.  These are things I do for myself when I get injured.  I hope you’ll give these a try.  However, be smart about it.

If you feel like your injury is severe enough, you should get checked out by a healthcare professional.  Also, understand that these tips can’t be taken as official medical advice for all the legal reasons you can possibly imagine. 🙂

Okay let’s get started…

1) Use pain as your guide.  Pain is your body’s way of communicating with you about the nature of your injury and whether or not you are causing re-injury.  You’ve got to listen to it.  If certain movements or activities increase the pain significantly, then they should be avoided.  Trying to push through the pain, usually leads to re-injury.

I recommend rating your pain from 0-10, with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain ever.  You’ll want to avoid activity that increases your pain over a 3.

Just Say No!

Just Say No!

Medication – Taking a bunch of medication like ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc. might not be the best idea. Why?  Because it blocks the pain signals that are so vital for you to feel through the healing process.  It is very possible that people taking meds, actually take longer to heal because they keep re-injuring themselves.  They can’t feel when they are causing more injury!  So, don’t take anything unless you absolutely feel like you need pain relief.

  • Example)  Your sprained ankle is throbbing with pain so bad that it is difficult to concentrate, or difficult to sleep.  Consider taking meds to help with sleep or concentration when at rest.  However, don’t take meds so you can do some physical activity and not feel the pain.  That would be bad and could lead to re-injury.

IceIcing the injured area may help or hurt.  Either way, don’t expect some kind of miracle with icing.  There is not much evidence that icing speeds up recovery.  Some people think icing will actually slow down the healing time.  Others are convinced it’s the worst thing you could ever do for an injury.

I’m kind of in the middle on the icing issue.  I think there is evidence on both sides of the aisle.  With my knee injury, I used ice a couple times a day for the first 3 days or so.  Funny thing… as soon as I stopped icing, my knee started to feel much better.  Maybe it IS bad to ice?!?

2) Take it easy, but not too easy.  Look, you just ripped some tissues.  All the pain, swelling, and restricted motion is there for a reason.  It’s your body’s way of saying “slow down”.  However, that doesn’t mean curling up on the couch with a bowl of bon-bons all day.  Try to maintain your normal routine as much as you can, just slower and easier.

  • Example)  I run on a regular basis.  The first week after straining my knee, I slowed it down to easy walking with a slight limp.  I didn’t go as far in distance.  I did what I could do.  I let pain be my guide.

So, you need to keep moving your body and the injury site somewhat throughout the day.  Start with easy range-of-motion movements without resistance.  Remember to keep the pain at a 3 or lower with your movement.

  • Example)  With my right knee strain, the next day I began bending my knee up and down in positions that didn’t hurt much.  I was able to do this standing or sitting.  I would do about 40 bends about 4 times throughout the day.  You could do the same type of thing for a shoulder, elbow, ankle, or  neck strain or sprain.  Just keep the movements at a 3 or lower on the pain scale.
Slow, easy bending of a strained or sprained area is one of the best self-treatments.

Slow, easy bending of a strained or sprained area is one of the best self-treatments.

3) Movement is the key.  You’re aiming for a good strong heal for your injury, right?  Well, movement is what will get you there.  See, you have to understand there are 3 stages of healing with a strain or sprain.

  • Inflammatory Stage (3-7 days) – pain, swelling, loss of motion.  Light movement required.
  • Repair Stage (4-6 weeks) – scar tissue is laid down.  Medium movement required.
  • Remodeling Stage (3-12+ months) – scar tissue slowly turns into more normal tissue.  Full movement required.

For your torn fibers to heal in the strongest way possible, movement stimulation is the key to making it happen.  Without proper movement, the torn fibers heal in a weak, more pain-sensitive way.

Start with easy range-of-motion in the beginning, then gradually increase the intensity and resistance over time as the tissue continues healing and strengthening.  Remember to use pain as your guide and avoid doing movements that push the injury site over a 3 on the pain scale.

  • Example)  I started with non-weight bearing knee bends in the first few days.  Then, on day 6 my injury felt good enough that I could do a full standing squat.  So I did 3 sets of squats for a total of 100.  My knee didn’t hurt much at all during the squats, so I knew they weren’t harming my knee.  My knee was more sore the next day, but not too bad.  This should be done at least 2 days a week with at least 2-3 days in between.
As your injury heals, add resistance and weighted movement.  Make sure the pain does not go over a 3.

As your injury heals, add resistance and weighted movement.
Make sure the pain does not go over a 3.

With time and movement, I’m confident that the recuperative power of my body, and yours, has everything it needs to heal strong and sure.  Oh yeah, don’t forget that eating well and thinking well are also vitally important for optimal healing!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now.  I hope these tips help you out.  If you have any questions or need clarification on any of these things, please contact me here or in the comment section below.

Also, feel free to share any other natural and healthy strategies you have found helpful in healing from a strain or sprain injury in the comments below.

Have a great week!
Dr. Dyson

Dr. Jamey Dyson is a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) and Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner (CCWP) who has been in private practice at Advanced Chiropractic in Salem, Oregon since 2000.

Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | January 24, 2013

How to Heal from a Strain or Sprain Injury – Part 1

A humbling experience:  Two nights ago, after my son’s basketball practice, we were hanging shooting baskets together.  At some point, I got the bright idea to see if I could still touch the rim.  Despite my knees feeling like they were going to snap in half, I proceeded to jump multiple times in an attempt to get as close as I could.  Boy, was I humbled.  I could only get about 1/2 way up the net!

I was very disappointed, a bit demasculinized. next morning was “the icing on the cake”.  As I got out of bed, I noticed a new pain below my right knee cap.  It was painful to bend and move in certain ways.  It was tender to the touch at the bottom, outer part of my kneecap.

Diagnosis:  Patellar tendon strain and patellar tendinitis.

Now, I’m limping around, feeling like an old man!  I’m 41 – is this what being over-the-hill is all about?

So, what to do about this injury?  How do I go about recovering?  Well the first thing I start with is the confident belief that my body will heal the injury.  That is what my body is programmed to do – heal when it gets injured.  That’s what all the pain and inflammation is for in the beginning, the first part of the healing process.  As long as I’m not doing anything to screw up that healing process, I’m going to get better.  It’s inevitable.

The second thing is understanding that it will take a some time.  Most strain injuries (muscles or tendons) take 1-6 weeks to fully recover.  Sprain injuries (ligaments) take can take 6 weeks to over 12 months to fully recover.  So, based on the location of my pain and an understanding of the under-lying anatomical structures, I’m really certain that it is an injury to my tendon, not a ligament.  I’m thinking 1-6 weeks for recovery.

Most folks would do great to start with those 2 things when they are “humbled” by a strain or sprain injury:  1) Believe that healing is going to happen, and 2) Understanding that it will take time.  This mindset is so crucial to getting through an injury like this!

In Part 2, I’ll share some simple actions you can take that will allow your injury to heal better and what you can expect as it goes through the healing process.

Be Well,

Dr. Dyson

Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | August 7, 2012

One Treatment Can Change Your Life.

Recently, I had 2 separate new patients come in looking for help with low back pain.  They were both females who had been hurting for quite a few months.

The first was a 16-year-old volleyball player.  She had been suffering with low back pain for about 6 months.  Her pain would show up during and after volleyball matches.  The pain wasn’t debilitating, but definitely bothersome.  A personal trainer at her gym recommended that she get check-out by a chiropractor to see if there was anything out of alignment in her low back.

Her dad had heard some good things about the treatment I provide and so she came in for an evaluation and treatment.  After checking her spine, I found underlying joint misalignment and restriction at multiple levels in her spine, especially in her low back.  I went ahead and adjusted and treated her with my unique combination of hands-on and instrument work.  She felt great after the treatment without any increased soreness.

I followed up with her 5 days later for another treatment.  Lo and behold, she greets me with a big smile and says “the evening after you worked on me, I went and played volleyball and had NO pain during or after!”  She was thrilled, I was thrilled.  One treatment has changed her life.   

The second patient was a 31-year-old mother of 3 who works as a nursing assistant.  She had been suffering with low back pain since November 2010… that’s 20 months!  It all started with a lifting injury at work.  Her work sent her to a medical doctor who sent her to physical therapy.  After weeks of therapy she was still in pain.  She went back to the medical doctor who told her that these things just take time and he sent her on her way with a prescription.

She followed his advice and waited-it-out.  The pain persisted.  She works 12 hour shifts and is in extreme pain by the end of a long day.  Sometimes the pain would bring her to tears.  She finally realized that it was NOT getting better with time and actually seemed to be getting worse.

After suffering for 20 months, she was ready to seek out help.  She called our clinic and came in.  After evaluating her spine, I found underlying misalignment and restriction throughout her spine, but especially in her lower back.  She was adjusted and treated with my hands-on and instrument work.  No increased soreness was experienced immediately following the treatment.

She returned 3 days later for a follow-up and was so excited to share the news!  She had worked for the last 3 days virtually pain free!  This was the first time in 20 months she did not feel pain in her low back.  Needless to say, she was thrilled beyond belief and kept saying how “AMAZING” our treatment was for her.  She grabbed a bunch of our business cards to give out to her co-workers, many of whom suffer with similar aches and pains.  One treatment has changed her life.

Now, I hope you understand that pain does not always get resolved this quickly.  But I think of all the people out there suffering with pain every day, who have never given chiropractic care (especially our style) a try.  It saddens me because they don’t even realize that their life could be changed dramatically with just one treatment.

Jamey Dyson, DC

Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | April 11, 2012

The Sitting Rule

Sitting – one of the most common activities of modern humans.  Experts now say the average person spends 9.3 hours per day sitting.  Now that’s a lot of tush-time!

As a chiropractor, my biggest concern with sitting is that it can be damaging to the joints, discs, muscles, and other tissues of the spine – especially when you sit incorrectly.  You can usually tell if you are damaging your spine based on the amount of pain and stiffness you feel.  As  pain and stiffness levels increase, you can bet your spine is heading down a rocky road.  Pain is your friend.  Pain is your body communicating with you.  Learn to listen to it.

It is estimated that 80% of the population will battle severe, disabling back pain at some point in their lifetime.  Back pain now accounts for 1 in 5 doctor visits and costs more than $100 billion per year in medical bills, disability and lost productivity at work.  And now, sales of addictive opiate pain killers like oxycodone and hydrocodone are at all-time highs.  Basically, it has become blatantly obvious that spinal problems are a HUGE drain on individuals, families, and communities.

What if most of this could be prevented?  What if the cause of much of the pain is from the way in which people are sitting and the amount of time they spend sitting?  Well, I believe sitting (especially incorrect sitting) is one of the fundamental causes of spinal pain and disability.

In my clinical practice, I treat people for spinal pain and dysfunction that results, in part, from sitting incorrectly.  One of the most important skills my patients can learn is how to sit correctly.

I’ve created a short video to explain and demonstrate one of the fundamental rules of correct sitting.  Check it out:

So, after watching, you can see that the key to sitting upright without using a lot of muscle effort is to keep your pelvis from rolling backward.  The simplest way to accomplish this for most people is to keep your knees lower than your bottom.

As seen in the video, you can use the “Slump Test” to evaluate whatever surface you are sitting on.  In this test, you are simply breathing in and out and letting all your postural muscles relax.  If it makes you slump, it’s BAD for your back.

Many times you will need to use something under your bottom, like a seat wedge, folded towels, or some type of cushion.  This helps get your bottom up higher than your knees, allowing your pelvis to stay in the correct position.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.  And remember… don’t let gravity get you down!

Be Well,
Dr. D.

Dr. Jamey Dyson is a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) and Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner (CCWP) who has been in private practice at Advanced Chiropractic in Salem, Oregon since 2000.

Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | March 21, 2012

Do Germs Make You Sick?

The boys at a Blazer game.

Recently, our 8 year-old son, Alec, came down with symptoms of fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and chills.

His fever was 101-102 degrees.  It lasted about 5 1/2 days.  He slept a lot and we kept him well-hydrated.  Although it was generally a very yucky experience for him, his body eventually defeated the evil germs that had apparently “invaded” his helpless body.

A funny thing happened… none of the rest of our family-of-four got sick.  How could this be?

We sat in the same room with him.  He slept in our bed a few nights.  We even kissed him and hugged him a little more than usual during his ailing days.  In fact, I am certain we were exposed to his scary germs!  So why didn’t the rest of us get sick?

Makes you think, huh?  It begs the question… “Do germs really make you sick?”

Author's unscientific rendition of a Scary Germ magnified 100,000 X.

Maybe there is something deeper and more profound at work here.  Maybe, just maybe, germs don’t make you sick, but instead, a stressed body allows germs to grow.

I know, it’s a profound concept.  However, it’s very close to the truth when you understand how living things work.  You see, our bodies are an ecosystem.  Ecosystems will always strive for balance.  When we make choices that throw our ecosystem out of balance, our bodies become more prone to germs going crazy.  This is how we get sick.

Looking back, we asked the question with Alec, “What stressed his body recently?”  Bingo!  We remembered what it was!  The day before his symptoms kicked in, he neglected to wear appropriate warm clothing to his sister’s outdoor soccer game.  The temperature was about 40 degrees, the wind was whipping and all I remember is him huddled up under a blanket complaining about how cold he was.

Side note:  I know some of you may be thinking we are terrible parents for letting our kid go out in the cold without proper clothing.  We try to follow the Love & Logic philosophy with our kids, which allows them to learn from their mistakes within a loving environment.   I suggest reading up on this method of child rearing because it is probably the best way to raise kids that I know of.

So, putting it all together, the yucky symptoms our son suffered from for 5 1/2 days were merely his body doing what needed to be done to correct the imbalance.  He stressed his ecosystem, the germs had a little party, and his body rebalanced everything with fever, sleep, and diarrhea.

My hope is that you consider looking at colds and flus the same way I do.  Understand, it is not the germs that are causing the problem.  The problem starts with your ecosystem getting stressed in some way.  Handle the stress and allow your body to re-balance your ecosystem without using medications if at all possible.  The use of meds for colds and flus is a whole other issue I’ll write about another time.

Be Well,

Dr. D.

Dr. Jamey Dyson is a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) and Certified Chiropractic Wellness Practitioner (CCWP) who has been in private practice at Advanced Chiropractic in Salem, Oregon since 2000. 

Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | January 11, 2012

Do you have a Wheat Belly?

The book I’m currently reading is Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD.  Dr. Davis dives into the science of the modern wheat plant and it’s incredibly detrimental effects on human health.  Believe me – you will never look at a bagel the same way after reading this book.  Sorry, bagel shop owners!  I’ve only read 4 chapters and I already feel that way.

Not only does modern wheat make you fat around the belly (thus, the term “wheat belly”), but it is also addictive – acting as an “exorphin” – which is an opiate-like protein created from the digestion process of gluten.  These exorphins cross the blood-brain barrier and attach themselves to the morphine receptors in our brains… ahhhhh that feels good… I waaaaant some more… gimmee another bagel NOW!!!  For many people, bread is their “crack”.

Other deleterious effects of wheat in the book:

  • causes digestive irritability, leaky gut, and Celiac Disease.
  • one of the primary foods that leads to insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • changes our body pH to acidic and leads to osteoporosis.
  • speeds up the aging process.
  • increases the number of small dense LDL particles which is the primary cause of heart disease.
  • can lead to cerebellar ataxia and peripheral neuropathy.
  • affects the skin, resulting in all types of rashes and skin conditions, including acne and hair loss.

I can hear you crying out, “But wheat is a foundation of our whole grain-based government food pyramid!  Wheat is biblical!  Wheat is so American… “amber waves of grain” and all!  Why the clobber on wheat?”

It turns out that the wheat plant has changed dramatically in the past 50 years.  It has been geneticized, hybridized, and cultivized into a plant that the human species has never been exposed to in history.  All the changes to the wheat plant have been done with plenty of good intentions… easier to harvest, larger yield per acre, ability to grow in a variety of climates, etc.  Very virtuous efforts to help feed the world and prevent mass starvation.  But, have the scientists created a ‘super-grain’, or a ‘franken-grain’?

Based on what I’ve read so far, FRANKEN-GRAIN wins by a landslide.  The plant scientists made a critical error in their grand efforts to solve world hunger… they improved the wheat plant for production, but failed to test this new plant on human health.  They just assumed that people would be fine with it.  BIG MISTAKE!  This new wheat is turning out to be pretty darn nasty.  It looks like modern wheat is screwing up millions, if not billions of people across the planet.  For all the nitty-gritty, “grainy” details, I highly recommend this book.

Be Well,

Dr. D.

Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | December 11, 2011

Keys to Living Well – Winter 2011

Here is the latest and greatest issue of “Keys to Living Well”, our quarterly newsletter mailer.   Our newsletter has been out of publication for a while and we recently decided to get it going again.  It’s another way for us to share vital health info with the folks we serve.  Enjoy!

  Keys to Living Well – Winter 2011

Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | June 16, 2011

Exercise and Weight Loss

This week’s white board is all about exercise and weight loss.  I’ve been reading Gary Taubes’ latest book “Why We Get Fat” and it has been excellent.  I highly recommend this book for everyone who wants to change their beliefs about food.

He tears into the current beliefs, that obesity is caused by overeating and under-exercising, and lays out the scientific facts with excellent clarity and logic.  He knows how to weed his way through good science and bad science to uncover the simple, yet powerful truth.   To summarize the book – carbohydrate toxicity is the ultimate cause of obesity and is strongly linked to all of the big killers like heart disease, cancer and stroke.  If you want to lose weight and live longer, then you must cut out the toxic carbs.

Trying to lose weight by focusing on cutting calories and exercising more has proven to be a dead-end failure zone for most people.  Anyone who is successful at long-term weight loss can only get there successfully by cutting the fattening carbs in their diet, not necessarily the total calories.  This is crucial to understand!  It’s not the number of calories that we eat, it’s the type of calories that really matters.  Carbohydrate = Bad Calories.  Protein & Fat = Good Calories.  We need to count carbs, not calories.

Did you know that there is not an essential carbohydrate?  That’s right, there are essential proteins and essential fats, but no essential carbs.   What does this mean?  Believe it or not, it means we do not need carbs to live, nor do we need carbs to thrive.  All we really need is protein, fat, veggies, and water.  What did Forest Gump say … “Simple is as simple does”?

We need to move toward a low carb diet as individuals and as a nation if we are going to have any hope of fixing the rising obesity and chronic illness epidemic.  Things will eventually change out of economic necessity.  We can no longer afford the rising cost of treating chronic illness that is being caused by eating fattening carbohydrates.

Are you ready to make the change and cut out the fattening carbs?  The only thing you have to lose is a worse, shorter life.  I dare you!

Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | June 1, 2011

Do You Move For Food?

Posted by: Dr. Jamey Dyson | May 1, 2011

Are you Weak or Strong?


Your beliefs determine the quality and quantity of you life.  Do you believe you are inherently weak and broken?  Do you believe you are inherently strong and whole?  Your answers determine everything.

Why do medical doctors inject newborn babies with chemical-laden vaccines and think it is a “healthy” option to formula-feed?

Why do wellness chiropractors say “no” to vaccines and “yes” to breast-feeding for a minimum of 1 year?

The quality of your health and your life depends heavily on who you are listening to.

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