Can Damaged Nerves Self-Repair?

Can Damaged Nerves Self-Repair?

Have you ever experienced that annoying tingly feeling in your limbs, like pins and needles? Well, that sensation can be a sign of nerve damage. 

Nerves are complex micro-structures that require a lot of oxygen to function properly. When our nerves don’t receive enough oxygen, it can lead to damage in their infrastructure, which is similar to a heart attack damaging the heart muscle.

Damaged Nerves can be classified into mild, moderate, and severe stages. The ability for nerves to regenerate depends on the extent of damage and how long it has been since the injury occurred. 

While nerves in the peripheral nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord can regenerate, those within the central nervous system generally do not.

However, there is hope for those with serious spinal cord injuries. Researchers have discovered molecular mechanisms that can promote axon regeneration in CNS injuries. Activation of the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) has been identified as an essential step for axonal regeneration to occur in adult CNS neurons.

Now that’s a lot of information to take in and you might be saying to yourself “Dr. Chad, I’m experiencing these symptoms – just tell me what I need to do”

Fair enough. If you have experienced nerve-related symptoms, it’s important to seek the help of a chiropractic professional. We can identify injuries to peripheral nerves and the spinal cord, and work closely with other experts to help you achieve the best possible recovery. 

With a personalized treatment plan, you’ll be on your way to feeling like your old self again!

Ready to schedule an appointment? Click Here to get started. 

Why Sleep is Not Overrated 

Why Sleep is Not Overrated 

Sleep. Every knows it is important, but how does it impact us?  

Sleep allows us to get what I call the “3 Rs”: Rest, Repair, and Recovery time. We all need REST from the busyness that has taken over our culture. During sleep our body is also REPAIRING from the physical stresses we placed on our bodies the previous day. Aside from the physical stress, sleep also allows us to rest our minds. Not enough sleep can make it difficult to focus and/or cause our bodies to not repair and be prepared for the next day. RECOVERING from the physical and mental stress allows us to feel more refreshed and ready to tackle the next day ahead.  

We are all different so figuring out how much sleep you specifically need to thrive is the most important. Oversleeping can also backfire and cause someone to be more tired throughout their day. Here is a link to a chart from the Mayo Clinic on recommended sleep by age group. These are general rules for hours of sleep.  

If sleep is important, why aren’t people getting enough? Here are a few things that can be part of the problem.  

Stress is certainly a big factor  

Working too many hours, or not turning off the work brain  

Being in front of a screen before bed can stimulating brain activity  

Alcohol or caffeine prior to bed can be disruptive 

Sleeping is a full-time job – about 6-10 hours per day. For the same reason ergonomics at a “workstation” are important, your “sleep station” (bed set up) is also important. An old mattress, or pillow can make people not rest as well due to being uncomfortable, or not supported well. A sign you might need a new pillow or mattress may be restless sleep or waking up stiff/sore.  

What can you do to help get better sleep? I’m glad you asked! Here are a few of my recommendations.  

The body likes routine. A simple way to get better sleep is to have a similar sleep/wake cycle. That means goes to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This helps program the body to get into a pattern.  

Try not drinking too close to bedtime, whether it be alcohol or regular liquids. This will decrease the need to use the bathroom, and no alcohol/caffeine also will improve the chances of more quality deep sleep. However, some herbal teas (decaffeinated) can be relaxing before bed.  

Reading before bed has been helpful for me to get my brain distracted from the day; I typically fall asleep easier.  

Try turning off any screens about one hour prior to bed. This reduces stimulation should make it easier to fall asleep. 

Make your bed for sleep and intimacy only. Doing things like work, watching tv, and being on the phone or other screen time confuses the brain when it is time to sleep. Training your brain to know that bedtime means sleep time is important.  

Staying cool. My body tends to run on the warm-hot end by nature and can interrupt sleep when I get too hot. I purchased a Chili Pad (not an endorsement, but I like it) which keeps me cool at night. Turning a fan on or setting the temperature to stay cool in the room may also be helpful.  

Magnesium before bed can also help people sleep or may decrease restless legs. 

Take time to relax: Epsom salt baths, calming yoga, deep breathing, meditation, prayer, or a gratitude journal before bed. Lavender scent can also be calming. (My wife loves this smell; I do not, but it works for many.)  

One of my new favorite things to do before I fall asleep is what I have named “little joys.” I don’t know about you, but my kids can make bedtime exhausting and put me in a bad mood at times. Sometimes my day had some hard moments. I have realized this can sometimes make my brain think the entire day was negative. What I have started to do is before I fall asleep is to do a mental movie of my day. I go back and relive some of the good moments or look for the “little joys.”

The day is full of them, but many get forgotten due to the frustrations of the day. This helps me end my day on a positive mental note, makes me have gratitude about my day, and helps me go to sleep not thinking about the 5-10% of my day that may have not been the best.  

I hope you find the information helpful. And if you find yourself with a stiff neck, or ever needing chiropractic services. I encourage you to call me or schedule an appointment at the clinic!

The 3 Check Mark Game

The 3 Check Mark Game

It’s a great day to talk about YOUR ultimate health!  

Today, I want to spend some time sharing the “3 Check Mark Game” that I created. I like to use this game for patients who are coming back from an injury. The game is used to self-assess where they are physically with increased activity.  

The goal of the game is to look at different delayed versions of inflammation or irritation to the injury area and self-assess your healing progress. We will use the example of an ankle sprain or low back strain as we play the game today. 

The first part of the game is when you are starting to resume or increase activity after the injury. The question to ask yourself is: how do I feel? Does the area get more sore during the exercise? In the case of the ankle sprain or the low back strain, you’ll assess how that particular area feels as you work through the activity. You’ll want to start the activity again slowly and controlled. Hopefully you are working with your health care professional, maybe even me, to guide you. The purpose of this is to check to see how you are doing with resumed activity.  

If you are feeling sore or it is difficult to complete the activity, it’s probably a sign that you are not ready to resume or you are doing too much, too fast. At this point, you’ll want to stop and reassess the intensity of the activity. Maybe you’ll want to start with a lighter activity. But, if you can do the full activity the whole way through and you feel pretty good, you can check the first box! 

The second question to ask during the check mark game is: how does that area feel a couple hours after the activity? If your ankle wants to swell up or your back is feeling sore a couple hours later, then you’ll go back to the first part of the game where you assess how you feel during the activity. Basically, you are starting over with the first check mark. Maybe you don’t go quite as intense this time. If you are feeling good a couple hours after the activity, then you get to check the second box!  

The goal at this point is to feel good during the activity (first check). Then remain feeling good a couple hours after completing the activity (second check). 
The third question is: how does the area feel the next day? For example, you do the activity and your ankle or back feel great, a couple hours after the activity things still feel good, but the next day you wake up and you are sore. That is a sign that maybe you are still doing too much activity for the healing injury. Remember to focus on the injury pain. Not normal muscle soreness that happens when you haven’t used certain muscles for a while. You will know the difference if you pay attention. If you can get to the next day and still feel good, then you get to check the third box! It’s a good sign you are on the right track and can continue at that level for a while.  

When you are ready to try increasing the intensity of the activity again, start over with the game to assess if you are truly ready for the increase. Again, I recommend that you work with a health care professional as you return to activity, particularly if the injury was serious.  

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions on the 3 Check Mark Game. Or if you want to discuss a specific injury you are recovering from. I would love to help you any way I can.