Weekly News & Insights

Tissue Injury to the Body

on August 15, 2019

Tissue injury to the body is a common issue we see in our patients. It can be from a sports injury, such as improper lifting of weights, or one that occurs through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture while performing work duties or by improperly going through a sports training.

In any case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain and diminished function for the sufferer, all in a short period of time, and can last indefinitely if not properly treated. Spinal manipulation, or chiropractic adjustment, of the affected joint and tissues, begins the process of restoring mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness. This process permits tissues to heal naturally.

Evaluating the Patient

I find the most effective method to begin a treatment protocol is to evaluate patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging, and other diagnostic interventions to determine whether chiropractic treatment is right for the patient’s condition. Sometimes, I refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when I determine that chiropractic care is not suitable for their condition. Other times, the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of our health care team and we manage all necessary services within our clinic.

The primary focus of my chiropractic treatment, and any other procedures that we perform in our clinic, is to use the right approach to alleviate the health issue. That’s it!

Getting healthier is definitely about lifestyle improvement and the chiropractic adjustment is a powerful tool, but just one of many. The practice of chiropractic manipulative therapy is the most powerful tool that can be applied to physical conditions and does a lot of great things. However, it is not the end all/be all of healthcare. It has to be incorporated and used appropriately when needed, the same way nutrition, rehabilitation and anything else must be used to help a patient improve their health and well- being.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright ©read more

acassaraTissue Injury to the Body


on August 8, 2019

1. If you get injured, STOP PLAYING IMMEDIATELY! This is an extremely simple concept that those who get injured can put into action immediately and easily. “Suck it up” and “Walk it off” are not good strategies for caring for an injury.

2: The acronym RICE will help you remember what to do and in what order: RICE stands for: Rest it, Ice it, Compress it, and Elevate it. This is the gold standard in the athletic training world. Just to be clear: the ‘I’ in RICE stands for ICE, NOT heating pads and hot tubs. I would also like to add the letter “S” for the word “Support” to this acronym, as in the various support devices that help to stabilize the area. But, I believe the acronym RICES seems a bit strange and not as catchy for anyone to remember.

3: Seek out a health care professional or injury specialist. In this day and age it may be as simple as walking to the sideline. Many teams now have athletic trainers and coaches on staff that can handle the evaluation and, on occasion, care for some injuries. Side note: Athletic trainers do not receive the respect that they deserve. They are the top of the food chain when it comes to the evaluation of acute injuries, and they are often placed in difficult situations. They sometimes make life-altering judgment calls in a matter of seconds, and they, for the most part, do one heck of a great job. It is easy to criticize when you see an injury the next day in the comfort of a clinic, and the treatment plan and/or diagnosis might change, but that takes nothing away from what the trainer did for urgent care. I have tremendous respect for what they do!

4: Let your body heal! Jump back into the game too early because you feel “OK” and you will quickly learn what a second or secondary injury feels like. A complete healing cycle must occur for the injury to heal properly. This process can be accelerated but only through the help of a professional who treats injuries.

5: DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD! I do not go to my tax accountant to receive tax advice and then flush that advice down the toilet and do whatever I want. In sports, this behavior can get you seriously injured. If you have recommendations from a professional, listen and implement the advice, including:

  • Take the necessary time off to heal
  • Follow the treatment protocol diligently
  • Follow the rehabilitation plan to get yourself back to being able to perform

It’s sad to say but injuries do happen. Acute injuries can become chronic, and chronic injuries are the most prevalent cause of diminished sports performance. Decreased performance leads to the demise of the athlete. general, take responsibility for your health and seek help when necessary. Then you get to talk about what you are able to do now instead of what you “used to be able to do”.

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Injury Prevention: Don't neglect your nutrition

on July 25, 2019

INJURY PREVENTION: Don't neglect your nutrition

In general, food is often neglected or overlooked when, in fact, it should be the cornerstone of your routine. As an athlete, your body requires certain nutrients so that it can be prepared to perform at its best. That being said, don’t ever go out and grab the first diet/nutrition plan you see.

Everybody is different and so are athletes. What works for one may not work for another. I believe that having a customized nutritional program is your best bet to ensure that it’s tailored to your specific needs and your particular sport involvement.

Often poor nutrition is the cause of injury, and this type of injury doesn’t go away all by itself. These are the injuries that linger and you may never feel the same again if you don’t take proper action. Injury can also lead to chronic inflammation, which results in further injuries that your body can’t repair properly.

Its far more critical than you know

In short - make sure that you eat the right foods. It’s far more critical than you know. If you don’t have the right nutrients to perform your energy levels will be low, and you may sustain an injury. If you don’t have the proper nutrition, it will be more difficult for you to recover after exercise or injury. If you get hurt and your nutrition doesn’t feed your cellular structure, the tissue can’t be repaired and that may lead to a whole slew of other problems. If the tissue doesn’t heal properly, it can’t perform at its optimum, and optimum performance is what you strive for in your sports involvement.

Then, when you try to push yourself through your routine exercises, like you always would, you might end up hurting yourself. Damaged tissue is an injury. When it comes to food, getting what you need, and getting it at the right time, in the right form, can help you avoid injury. If you do get hurt, the right food can help in the reparation of damaged tissues.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright © 2013read more

acassaraInjury Prevention: Don't neglect your nutrition


on July 18, 2019

If you are a newbie, planning to use sports to build stamina, or participating in a rigorous exercise program to build up your body strength, no matter what your age, here is some information you need to know. These are basic preventive measures to help you avoid injuries through warm ups, routine fitness check-ups and stamina-building exercises.

To begin with you need:

1. A Routine Physical Fitness Test.

Before beginning any new program, you should always consult your functional sports medicine doctor first and foremost. Usually, the human body tends to react negatively to any new activity, and when the activity is forced, it creates a stress on the body and sometimes results in injury. In talking with your doctor, you can go into your own personal health history to hopefully reduce the risk of injury. Depending on your age and physical condition, a stress test may be required. Have a “True” athletic physical assessment to assess any risk of potential injury. This is required because you must modify your sports exercise and body building programs according to your current health condition. Your doctor will advise you on how to set your limits and suggest not only the right exercise for you, but also tell you the stress level that your body can endure under your particular fitness regimen.

2. Increase your physical activity in phases.

After you’ve been cleared by your doctor, this is the second most important concept to understand. All too often many beginning athletes, with lots of enthusiasm, overexert themselves with vigorous exercising and develop fatigue from over exertion that they aren’t yet ready for. You wouldn’t ask a small child to carry something too heavy for them, would you? Then why push yourself into physical activity you’re not yet ready for? Participation in sports is not a one-day camp event nor is it the buzzer round of a quiz competition. You’re not going to walk on to a field or into a gym the first day and work like a pro. You must build to that strength level. When people participate in this mad rush and over-enthusiastic approach they often seriously hurt themselves. The wise approach is to start with warm-ups and stretches, as mentioned earlier, and start with moderate exercises for 20 minutes at the beginning, then work out three times a week and gradually build the tempo based on this initial, slow momentum.

3. Never work out on an empty stomach.

It’s a really bad practice to exercise or participate in vigorous sports immediately after having a heavy or moderately heavy meal. Just as they told you not to go swimming after eating when you were a child, similarly no sports or exercises should be undertaken on an empty stomach. You must eat at least two hours before playing the sport or working out. This will help you maintain the adequate energy levels that are required to exercise and avoid fatigue during the workout and during sports performance.

4. Drink Water Before You Exercise.

Dehydration is a great killer of personal enthusiasm and performance. Therefore, keep your body well hydrated. Drink at least 16 oz. of purified water two hours before you start your workout or your game, and drink water during your exercise or sports and performance to replenish the fluids lost during the exertion.

5. Listen to Your Body as It Speaks to You.

If you experience any weakness, sharp pain or light-headedness while exercising or playing, do not ignore these symptoms. Pay proper attention to them. These signals are your body’s way of telling you that something is going wrong and you should take action immediately. If you ignore these warnings, that’s a sure way to develop severe and chronic problems and injuries. When you do not feel well, you should rest until your body recovers. If the body sends these signals repeatedly, get to your doctor right away.

6. Rest and Recover.

It is important to rest. Sleep is one of the best ways to recover your body’s energy level, but sleep alone might not be enough for some people with less stamina. If they work out too much for too long, it can lead to overtraining syndrome and possibly harm the body, by reducing the body’s immunity, instead of benefiting it.

7. Cross Train with Neuro-stabilization.

Human beings have a creative mindset. If they are asked to do the same work every day, they ultimately get bored. Similarly, people who perform the same exercises every day are prone to develop ‘workout boredom’. The best remedy for this is cross-training. It provides a complete workout for your body without overstressing certain muscle groups.

8. Wear the right gear for the specific sport.

You don’t wear workout sweats while going to a black-tie party, do you? No way! People would think you were nuts if you did! In the same way, wearing the proper sports gear and footwear is essential to prevent injuries as well as wearing the appropriate safety equipment, as advised by your coach or trainer. The proper gear is designed to protect from you from accidental injuries.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright © 2013read more


Injury vs. Soreness - Know the difference

on July 11, 2019

The first thing that you must understand is that there is a significant difference between an injury and physical soreness. As soreness is common, usually something you will feel directly after exercising, being in a game, or some other strenuous activity, you must become aware of what soreness feels like. It’s very different from an injury.

Injuries, on the other hand, are usually felt during an event and can hinder you from doing whatever you are doing, even after the event. If you are injured, when you try to resume normal workouts or game play, the damaged tissue continues to stress during any activity and you typically feel it at that time. The muscle or tissue becomes inflamed and that is something that you will notice as swelling in that part of your body. You will probably feel tenderness or a feeling of warmth to the touch.

You’re not expected to be an expert

Obviously, you’re not expected to be an expert on injury, but to know the difference between being sore and getting injured is something you must be able to determine. If you determine that you are injured, you must go to an expert for help. In the meantime, be extremely cautious! If you can’t recognize the difference between soreness and injury get yourself to an expert quickly to determine if you are sore or injured.

Please hear me clearly

I’m not saying that all nicks and dings that can occur whenever you are practicing or playing any particular sport need “medical” attention. But, injuries that go untreated can become lifelong issues. Rather than take chances with a lingering pain or discomfort from an injury, go see an expert.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright © 2013read more

acassaraInjury vs. Soreness - Know the difference

Injury Prevention

on July 4, 2019

From my viewpoint as a Chiropractic Physician who sees injuries daily, I think that statement is extraordinarily accurate. Wouldn’t you rather know how to prevent an injury than to deal with one after the fact, when you are in pain and suffering?

Whatever your answer is, do not worry. This book will take care of both situations. Here we’ll consider it all; from food to form and function. We’ll help you in every way, to put it all together for both the athletically inclined and for those who just want to get healthier.

Let’s analyze what’s required to prevent injuries in different situations.

The risk of injury will be significantly reduced by completing an effective warm up consisting of exercises that increase your heart rate and get your pulse up, followed by sport-specific, dynamic stretches (stretches while moving).

To further reduce the risk of injury:

  • Eat correctly for your body and your sport!
  • Apply Neuro-Stabilization Training.
  • Receive proper coaching.
  • Take at least 1 day off per week from your particular sport activity to permit the body to recover from the stresses.
  • Use the right gear. You need to wear proper protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear. This is basic, and younger athletes shouldn’t believe that protective gear protects them from performing dangerous or unwise activities. Nothing protects us from our own stupidity when we show off to others
  • Build your muscles. Performing conditioning exercises before games and during practice strengthens your muscles that get stressed during the game.
  • Improve your overall flexibility. Stretches before and after games or practices tend to benefit your body by increasing flexibility.
  • Use proper playing technique. This must be reinforced during the playing season and coaches must enforce this for player longevity.
  • Take breaks. Your body needs rest periods during practice and during games. These will reduce injuries and prevent heat illnesses.
  • Follow safety rules. Certain sports have ‘rules’ for safety including no headfirst sliding (softball and baseball), spearing (football), and body checking (ice hockey).
  • Avoid injuries from heat by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or games.
  • Decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/ humidity periods.
  • Wear light clothing during brutally hot weather.
  • And, above all, stop the activity if there is pain.

Prevention is something that all athletes can grasp. No one wants to get hurt: of course not. But no one can guarantee that reading this book will ever stop you from getting hurt. What will happen (hopefully) is that you will learn how to take care of yourself if you do get hurt and maybe how to make sure it doesn’t ever happen again. No matter what sport, activity or walk of life you work in, I think we can all agree on preparedness and care as beneficial toward prevention.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright © 2013read more

acassaraInjury Prevention

Results-Driven Health Care for Baby Boomers - Session Four

on June 27, 2019

“Never Too Late for Fitness (Volume One)” is a collaborative book series featuring leading health and fitness professionals from across the country who are passionate and committed to helping people over 50 get fit, stay fit and live longer, healthier and happier lives.

In this edition, Phil Faris has conversations with the fitness trendsetter, Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C.,CCSP.

Phil Faris: No matter how good the program is, everyone runs into obstacles. Otherwise, every program would be successful. What are some of the most common obstacles that your patients encounter, and how do you help them overcome those obstacles?

Dr. Mitchell: A lot of times their lifestyle is an obstacle. Their spheres of influence, their cycles of behavior are obstacles. We coach them through it. We give them options. We give them techniques and tips and tricks to get through certain parts of life that are obstacles for them. If we have them on a nutritional program and it's Christmas Day, what do they do? We discuss all that.

We don't expect everybody to be experts in healthcare, that's what we do. We do expect them to learn to be experts in themselves and to understand what works for them, and their bodies, and their lifestyle. Once they have that, once we can teach them that, then they can overcome almost anything. It's important for them to take control and be accountable for their health, and then they overcome everything that's thrown their way.

Phil Faris: I like concrete examples. Can you give me an example of an issue where someone came to you and said, " I'm not losing weight," or, "I still have pain," or, "I still have stiffness," whatever it is? How did you help them break through the wall so that they finally accomplished what they want to accomplish?

Dr. Mitchell: A concrete example on that is purely coaching and education. The first thing I do is figure out the “why” behind the issue. Let's say, somebody, came in and said, "hey, I'm still having knee pain." Why are they having knee pain? You must determine what that is; then you apply an approach. But, you must educate them on the things that they should do to help themselves avoid pain.

The Baby Boomer generation, at least from my perspective, is quite good at following directions and taking what a doctor says and taking it to heart and doing it. Sometimes that's to their detriment. For example, if their doctor just says, "hey, you're going to go on this medication," then suddenly, they're on that medication for the rest of their life without researching it. That's not so great. Typically, they follow directions so well, and so once you give them the why behind what they need to do, then those obstacles aren't there anymore.

The goal of this office, the goal of what we do, is to remove those obstacles, so they don't have anything to overcome, and when they do, we just coach them through that and get them to the other side of it. Then they keep losing weight, or their pain is no longer there, whatever the case may be. It's our job to educate that person so that they can overcome those obstacles.

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acassaraResults-Driven Health Care for Baby Boomers - Session Four

Results-Driven Health Care for Baby Boomers - Session Three

on June 20, 2019

“Never Too Late for Fitness (Volume One)” is a collaborative book series featuring leading health and fitness professionals from across the country who are passionate and committed to helping people over 50 get fit, stay fit and live longer, healthier and happier lives.

In this edition, Phil Faris has conversations with the fitness trendsetter, Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C.,CCSP.

Phil Faris: Perhaps you could give an example of how you use specific areas of a test, or results of a test, that may have identified something that allows you to be proactive in heading off a disease or potential disease.

Dr. Mitchell: I have a great example. A gentleman in his mid-fifties came to me as a diabetic. He's 58 with a hemoglobin A1c of an 8.8, which is high. Typically, 6.5 is diabetes. He was 310 pounds, and we ran all his blood work, and we did a typical workup. What we found was that his kidneys were starting to slow down and weren't working great. Along with that came high blood pressure, and he had high cholesterol. I saw him in my office on Wednesday, and this is now five months later…he’d started in October. His goal was to be below 270 pounds by Christmas. The day before Christmas, he was at 268 pounds. He is now at 249, off all his medication, and his last A1c was a 5.5, which is better than mine!

His kidney function was hampering a lot of the process. Once we fixed that or helped him fix that, then he could work on the other things so aggressively that he's no longer a diabetic. I mean, I guess technically he's a diabetic, but he doesn't have any medication, and his numbers are better than mine, so I can't really call him a diabetic anymore.

Phil Faris: That's great. You referred how you're different than a typical doctor. Most Baby Boomers, myself included, are used to going to the doctor's office and leaving with a prescription and a card saying, "please check back with me in 6 months." That's not necessarily the case with your office. Your patients, who are looking to have a program to improve their health and fitness, leave with what you call an Individualized Structural Health Care Program. Can you talk about the specifics that go into that and how you use it to help patients accomplish their goals?

Dr. Mitchell: I guess what I would say is everyone that I see gets a program structured for them. That's based off all the objective data that we have, which is the exam, the blood work, the hormone panels, the bio-impedance analysis, whatever's necessary for them. It could be x-rays, could be an MRI, could be anything. We do a consultation, we collect all the objective data, and then we just lay out a plan that we think fits them best. Then we coach them through it.

I call what I do health coaching. We sit down, and we re-run the objective data. Since you can't run blood work once a week or once every couple of weeks, we use the bio-impedance analysis a lot. We start working through that objective data so that, again, we can hold each other accountable, but if you can get the objective data to go in the right direction, the person doesn't get a choice but to get healthier. Their bodies are just getting healthier. They're losing weight; they're feeling better; things are just going better. Everything is individualized because there's no one-size-fits-all program out there that works. There are tons of those types programs out there, but if any one of them worked for everybody, that would be the last one we needed, right? That's just not the case.

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acassaraResults-Driven Health Care for Baby Boomers - Session Three

Results-Driven Health Care for Baby Boomers - Session Two

on June 13, 2019

“Never Too Late for Fitness (Volume One)” is a collaborative book series featuring leading health and fitness professionals from across the country who are passionate and committed to helping people over 50 get fit, stay fit and live longer, healthier and happier lives.

In this edition, Phil Faris has conversations with the fitness trendsetter, Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C.,CCSP.

Phil Faris: I thought it was interesting that although it was your back that influenced your healthcare journey, many of your Baby Boomer patients don't come to you about back pain. Can you describe some of the most common health issues that cause Baby Boomers to seek you out?

Dr. Mitchell: You're right. I am a chiropractor, so we do back pain, and we do neuromusculoskeletal care, like bones, muscles, and joints, but we also do a lot of functional medicine. I think what people come to me for is to find the answers to the why behind their health issues. Like, "why is this happening?" Then, they want results, like, "how do I get this better?" Not just, "how do I have less pain?" That comes with it sometimes too, but they want to reduce their dependency on medication. They want to live their lives without the encumbrances of what they think aging is.

A perfect example is, I had an 87-year-old man yesterday tell me he now feels like he's 21. Now this gentleman has had colon cancer and prostate cancer; he's had multiple back surgeries, he's had a knee replacement. I mean, he's had a lot of hardship, medically, in his life. He sat in front of me, and the only thing that he feels is a little tingling in his right hand. That's it. Pretty awesome.

Phil Faris: That is impressive for a man of 87 who feels like he’s 21. What are some of the other medical issues people might come to you for that people may not associate with a chiropractor?”

Dr. Mitchell: All kinds of things. From high blood pressure and high cholesterol to weight issues, diabetes. Autoimmune disorders seem to be a big thing in my office right now. We just seem to be getting a lot of patients that we're working with to stabilize their autoimmune disorders by reducing inflammation. The fun thing about what I do is, every person that walks through the door is unique, and you just figure out what's going on with them and you start to apply an approach that allows them to be healthy. We really work on a full gambit of things here.

Phil Faris: One of the things that stuck out from your practice is your use of progressive objective tests. Could share why testing is so important to you and your patients?

Dr. Mitchell: Honestly, Phil, it allows me to hold patients accountable for the things that we need them to do, but it also allows them to hold me accountable for the things that I'm asking them to do. We have something called a bio-impedance analysis in our office. It's a very easy, clinically accurate, clinically relevant test that looks at body composition, so it measures body fat, lean tissue, intracellular water, extracellular water. It gives us all kinds of great information that we can use with a patient, and it’s quick and easy to get. If we have somebody working a program that's structured for them, then that objective data allows us to, again, hold each other accountable and change gears when something's not working. Additionally, we run a lot of blood work and hormone panels, whatever's necessary to look at to get that person better.

The unique part of what I do, because the tests aren't necessarily unique, is our approach. We try to stem off diseases, as opposed to going, "okay, you're okay, you're okay, you're okay, and now you have this disease." You can see that transition in the objective data far before you can see it in an exam. We can see things heading in the wrong direction and stop them before they get too far, which is not how the allopathic model works, or the typical general practitioner works. Typically, theirs must be this black-and-white number where you're diseased, or you're not diseased when there's all that wiggle room in there, and that's where we shine.

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acassaraResults-Driven Health Care for Baby Boomers - Session Two

Getting on Track: Physical Activity and Healthy Eating for Men

on June 6, 2019

Take a minute to think about your weight, health, and lifestyle. Are you as fit and healthy as you would like to be? Do you think you might be carrying a little too much weight or body fat?

You can get on track with regular physical activity and healthy eating habits. By making small changes to your lifestyle, you may become leaner and energetic.

Keep reading for tips on how to get on track with healthy habits—chances are, you will find that it is not as hard as you thought.

What is a healthy weight?

Body mass index (BMI) is a tool that is often used to determine if a person is a healthy weight, overweight, or obese, and whether a person’s health is at risk due to his or her weight. BMI is a ratio of your weight to your height. You can refer to the chart below to find your BMI and see what a healthy weight range is for your height.

A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy. A person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and a person with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

Another way to determine if your health is at risk because of your weight is to measure your waist. Waist measurement does not tell if you are overweight, but it does show if you have excess fat in your stomach. You should know that extra fat around your waist may raise your health risks even more than fat elsewhere on your body. Also, men are more likely than women to carry their extra weight around their stomach.

Men whose waists measure more than 40 inches may be at an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and other problems.

A downside of using BMI is that it does not take into account whether body weight is due to muscle or fat. Therefore, someone who is very muscular may be thought to have excess fat, even if he has low or normal body fat. For the vast majority of Americans, though, BMI is a good way to tell if you have increased health risks due to your weight.

Why do weight and lifestyle matter?

Being overweight, obese, or physically inactive may increase your risk for:

  • coronary heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • some types of cancer, including colorectal and kidney cancer

On the other hand, being active, eating healthier, and achieving and staying at a healthy weight may help:

  • Improve mood and energy levels.
  • Increase fitness and strength.
  • Improve muscles.

Read full article: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/keeping-active-healthy-eating-menread more

acassaraGetting on Track: Physical Activity and Healthy Eating for Men