Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Chiropractic Lingo: Subluxation

This the second in a series on Chiropractic Lingo to empower you to understand exactly what your chiropractor is talking about and why.

If you've been seeing a chiropractor for very long, you've probably heard the word subluxation - and you probably know that it's not a good thing! But what exactly is a subluxation, and why do chiropractors try to eliminate them?

Subluxation is probably the most important concept historically and philosophically within chiropractic. Basically, it's a theory that attempts to explain why chiropractic works.

The idea is that an subluxation is a fixated or misaligned spinal segment that can cause neuromusculoskeletal and organ-related problems. In simplest terms: Your spine is not where it should be, and that is causing direct and indirect related health problems. 

This concept has been hotly debated and contested since chiropractic's conception. This quote by Ted Koren, DC, from his paper titled "Does the Vertebral Subluxation Exist?", offers a helpful and well-rounded perspective for those who wish to know more:

The vertebral subluxation cannot be precisely defined because it is an abstraction, an intellectual construct used by chiropractors, chiropractic researchers, educators and others to explain the success of the chiropractic adjustment.This is not a unique state of affairs, abstract entities populate many branches of science... 
Subluxations, genes, gravity, the ego and life are all heuristic devices, "useful fictions" that are used to explain phenomenon that are far larger than our understanding. We use them as long as they work for us and discard or limit their application when they become unwieldy or unable to account for new observations... 
Critics of chiropractic have incorrectly assumed that chiropractic is based on the theory or principle that vertebral subluxations cause "pinched" nerves that cause disease. They have it backwards. Chiropractic is based on the success of the spinal adjustment. The theory attempting to explain the success of the adjustment (nerve impingement, disease, subluxations) followed its clinical discovery.... 
When chiropractors declare that "pinched nerves" "nerve impingement" "spinal fixations" or others mechanisms of action explain how subluxations affect the person and how chiropractic works they are making the same mistake medical critics make - assuming chiropractic is based on theory. Mechanisms and theories are useful tools, but their limitations should always be kept in mind.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Simple Guide to Getting Started With Essential Oils

Essential oils are a recent health trend and many people are interested in incorporating them in their daily routines. 

However, It can be hard to know where to start. There are many oils available and almost endless uses and applications for oils. They're expensive and many of them are marketed in a way that encourages you to spend a lot of money up front.

We sell DoTerra essential oils at Chudy Chiropractic Clinic and our goal in doing so is to benefit you and help you improve your health. If buying oils from us is convenient for you, please do so! Our online shop is here and you can pick up the oils you purchase at our clinic. However, oils are also available at health food/natural health stores and from private online retailers. Choose the option that works for you.

Be sure to check the quality of the product you're purchasing and buy from a reputable source (here's an article on identifying real, high-quality oils). 

These are five simple ways use essential oils. Get started here and as your confidence and experience grows, you can explore the many oil ideas and options available on the internet, in books, and from knowledgeable health professionals. 

1. Diffuse peppermint and/or lavender oil in your bedroom at night to promote great sleep. 

Diffusers are available online and at houseware stores - you can find a decent one for under $30. They're easy to use and a great way to add the benefits of essential oils to your home atmosphere.

2. Mix a drop of tea tree oil into your shampoo to discourage dandruff or other scalp irritations.

Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties and is an effective natural dandruff treatment.

3. Use a drop of lemon oil in homemade lemonade.

Generally, ingesting essential oils is a bad idea. However, adding a drop or two of lemon oil to a pitcher of homemade lemonade is a safe way to amp up the lemon flavor naturally.

4. Create a warm chest compress to help flu symptoms.

Combine 5-10 drops of eucalyptus oil with 2 cups hot water. Soak a cloth in this mixture, wring out thoroughly, and apply to your chest for congestion relief.

5. Diffuse ginger oil when you or your family members are fighting stomach flu or nausea. 

Ginger helps with digestion and nausea - try diffusing ginger oil in the room of a person with stomach flu to help them recover more quickly and feel better in the meantime. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Free Online Yoga Videos

This  great article from the American Chiropractic Association explains the complementary benefits of chiropractic and yoga perfectly: 
Chiropractic aims to enhance neurological function by improving the functional relationships of the spine and related structures. Once functional relationships (subluxations) are improved, yoga helps to strengthen the supporting muscles through a series of poses (called “asanas”), designed to improve posture and strength. 
 If you're interested in yoga but unsure of where to start - or feel unable to afford expensive studio classes - here are a few wonderful free online sources for yoga videos:

This website features 100+ excellent free yoga videos for all levels and styles. 
Even though this is a paid yoga video subscription website, they offer a selection of free videos. These free videos are also available as podcasts through the Apple Podcast app so you can practice with your smartphone. 
Adriene hosts a 30-day yoga challenge that is a great way for beginners to form a yoga habit. Her videos are short, professional, and accessible. 
Ekhart Yoga TV offers a small selection of quality free yoga videos, some of which are issue-specific (i.e. for dealing with depression or TMJ).

Also, try searching "community yoga classes" or "affordable yoga classes" in your area. Some studios offer $3-$5 classes for their budget-conscious students. In addition, many studios also have lower rates for your first month or first class if you're trying yoga for the first time.  Lastly, check out sites like Groupon and Living Social for significantly discounted yoga classes in your city. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Look at Chiropractic Research: Sports Nutrition

In our A Look at Chiropractic Research series, we'll summarize a recent piece of chiropractic research to help you stay informed.


"What Every Practitioner Needs To Know About Current Sports Nutrition Studies and the Implications With Weight Loss Options" by Christopher Fuzy, MS, RD, LD 

Key Points

Alternate-day calorie restriction and eating a higher-fat diet offers many health benefits. 
  • Alternate-day fasting has been shown to help reduce fat and maintain lean body mass; this means eating 500-600 calories every other day and a "normal" diet the remainder of the time (meaning not dieting or binging)
  • Also, study participants who consumed a diet composed calorically of 40% fat lost more weight compared to those who ate a 25% of their calories from fat
  •  The higher fat group also exhibited a drop in "bad" LDL cholesterol 
Fueling yourself with fats instead of carbs (called "ketosis") can improve your health and is worth trying. 
  • Consuming a diet that is 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs can lessen oxygen demand during sports activities and reduce your risk for some major diseases.
  • Shifting to a ketogenic diet is tough at first and not the right choice for everyone. However, it can help triathletes, long-distance runners, and powerlifters experience optimal performance. 


If you feel that your diet is not properly fueling your workouts and/or sports activities, or if your weight loss has stalled, consider investigating alternate-day fasting, focusing on fat in your diet, or even shifting to an almost-entirely fat based diet to promote ketosis. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

10 Quick Daily Habits to Revitalize Your Health

1. Get Upside Down 

 Practicing a simple beginner's yoga inversion pose for a minute each day provides many health benefits. Inversions are yoga poses in which the heart is higher than the head. They range from simple, easy poses like downward facing dog to more complicated poses like shoulder stand. Inversions can improve circulation, balance, and core strength, as well as strengthen the immune system (source). Check out's informative page about inversions, practice carefully, and have fun! 

2. Drink 80+ Ounces of Water Each Day

Here's a few easy ways to up your water intake:

  • Buy a 20-25 oz. water bottle and refill it each time you eat a meal or snack
  • Fill up a gallon water jug at the beginning of the day and see if you can empty it by the end
  • Before eating a snack, chug a glass of water to see if you are thirsty, not hungry

3. Prep Breakfast the Night Before

Starting your day with a healthy breakfast sets the tone for the rest of your day and helps with morning productivity. Make thinking about the next day's breakfast part of your bedtime routine. Here's a few simple ideas that can be prepped the night before or at the beginning of the week:
  • Make a basket of instant oatmeal packets, fresh fruit, Greek yogurt cups, and healthy protein bars and keep it in your fridge if you need grab-and-go breakfasts 
  • If you have time at home for breakfast, keep Ezekiel bread, nut butter, and healthy toppings like unsweetened coconut flakes and chia seeds on hand for healthy toast creations 
  • Bake a batch of healthy muffins on the weekend or boil a pot of eggs 
  • Make Greek yogurt parfaits 

4. Schedule Adjustment and Massage Appointments 

Take a few moments out of your day to call and schedule chiropractic appointments and therapeutic massages. Many clinics now also offer online scheduling. Making chiropractic and massage a part of your regular health maintenance will greatly improve your physical and mental health.

5. Take "Spine" Breaks

Practice Bruegger's Posture Breaks throughout your day to keep your spine mobile and relaxed. This only takes a few seconds!

6. Charge Your Phone Somewhere Other Than Your Bedroom

Studies have shown that using your phone right before bed can seriously disrupt your sleep. A simple way to avoid this is to keep your phone charger in your bathroom or kitchen - anywhere other than right next to your bed where you'll be tempted to use it at bedtime.

7. Hide Negative Online Influences

Go through your newsfeed and hide friends who complain, rant, share only negative news' stories, or maybe even intentionally post things that they know will hurt you. Making them part of your daily media intake is detrimental to your mental health.

8. Breathe

Experiment with Ujjayi breathing (a form of yoga breathing that increases the intentionality and health benefits of your breath). It's a great tool to have in times of stress or confusion.

9. Prepare a Quick Protein Source 

It's easy to avoid eating enough protein because many protein sources require preparation. Make a large batch of a protein source at the beginning of the week to make it easy to incorporate protein into your diet. This doesn't have to be difficult - try hard-boiled eggs, healthy chicken salad, a meat-based baked dish, lentil soup, or a frittata.

10. Stretch 

It can be easy to think of exercise in black and white terms - either do a punishing workout, or nothing at all. Try a more moderate approach and incorporate a brief session of stretching into your morning or evening routine. Even minimal movement adds up if performed regularly and stretching simply feels wonderful. Here's a few easy routines:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chiropractic Lingo: Wellness Care

"Wellness care" is a phrase that's used frequently in the chiropractic community today, but many people don't understand exactly what it means. This the first in a series on Chiropractic Lingo to empower you to understand exactly what your chiropractor is talking about and why. 

Wellness care is a simple concept. Think about it in terms of this metaphor:
If you were to injure your knee, you would probably go through a long-term program of rehab exercises in order to restore functionality to your knee. This rehab would be a response to an injury with the specific goal of healing your knee. 
However, if you exercise regularly, you are moving your body in order to maintain health and optimize your functioning in everyday life. You've made exercise a part of your lifestyle and it's a preventative measure you employ to invest in your long-term health.
Many people think of chiropractic care for when they have pain or injuries. They categorize it in the same group as the knee rehab described above. However, wellness care is akin to regular exercise.
Wellness care is regular chiropractic care (as infrequently as once every two months or as frequently as once every week, depending on your situation) that you receive when you don't have any specific pain but are seeking to prevent problems in the future.  

It's that simple! Include chiropractic care in your self-care habits and reap benefits for your joints, ligaments, nervous system, and overall health.

Friday, April 17, 2015

10 Ways to Make Your Chiropractor Happy

1. Get Your Babies and Kids Adjusted
In babies, chiropractic can help with colic and breastfeeding issues (studies on that here). Kids with ADHD, respiratory function issues, bed-wetting, and ear infections are all prime candidates for chiropractic care as well. Chiropractic is a safe, non-invasive option for treating health problems that decrease kids' quality of life. 

2. Stop Cracking Your Own Neck 
It's amazing how often people subconsciously crack their own necks around me, a chiropractor! It would be like squeezing zits in front of a dermatologist :) Conventional medical literature supports the fact that cracking your own neck regularly is very bad for your joints:
"Constant neck cracking can lead to perpetual instability. When an individual develops perpetual instability then the joint tends to grow a bridge bone between our two vertebrae, thus leading to a condition called ‘osteoarthritis’. Osteoarthritis is a serious and irreversible condition." (Quoted from this article.) 
3. Remember That Chiropractic Is For So Much More Than Back Pain
I became interested in a career in chiropractic because I saw first-hand how it helped me recover from an ankle injury. Chiropractors don't just adjust backs - they also work with hips, wrists, ankles, knees, shoulders, and even jaws. This means than issues like sciatica, carpal tunnel, sports injuries, and TMJ can be aided by chiropractic treatment.

4. Stretch Daily
Daily stretching, even for just a few minutes, helps with joint and ligament mobility, which are both very important to chiropractors. If you're unsure of where to to start, try these simple, easy yoga stretches from

5. Don't Sleep On Your Stomach
According to, "...sleep professionals don’t recommend sleeping on your stomach as it causes strain on your lower back and possible neck pain." Enough said.

6. Take Regular Spine Breaks 
Practice Bruegger's Spine Breaks during your daily routine to alleviate the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle on your posture and spine. Here's an informative video on how to perform these breaks.

7. Tell Us What You're Looking For
If you're struggling with specific issues or looking for a particular style or type of care, just ask! The more information you can give me, the better.

8. Ask Us In Person About What You Read Online 
There are many negative perspectives on chiropractic published online and we would love to have a conversation about these perspectives with you. Give us a chance to talk to you in person about why we do what we do so you can make an informed decision about chiropractic for yourself.

9. Understand the Truth About Your Chiropractor's Education
Chiropractors attend school for six and half years to obtain their licenses. They study the same curriculum as medical doctors (excluding pharmaceuticals). They learn physical therapy techniques, male and female exam protocol, how to draw blood, and concussion protocol. They take rigorous national board exams (five parts total) and attend yearly recertification seminars. They are also certified for emergency procedures. Becoming a chiropractor is not easy!

10. Tell Your Friends About Us!
If you appreciate the care you've received from your chiropractor, the best thing you can do is tell your friends. Next time you hear a friend or family member complaining about chronic pain or health issues with themselves or their kids, tell them about us and spread the power of chiropractic.

Dr. Zach Chudy
Chiropractor in Oconomowoc and Waukesha, WI