Weekly News & Insights

Structural Issues, An Integrated Approach

on October 24, 2019

When treating structural conditions, my first goal is the elimination of the patient’s pain; however, just getting the patient out of pain is not the end goal. The end goal is for the patient to be fully functional, long term. To achieve this, an integrated approach is absolutely necessary. I recommend the following steps when developing a personalized treatment plan for structural and non-structural issues:

  • A Non-Invasive Comprehensive History & Examination
  • Progressive Objective Testing
  • An Individualized Structural Health Care Program

Treatment may include any or all the following strategies in various combinations:

  • Chiropractic Care
  • Functional Neurology
  • Health Coaching
  • Physical Therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Functional Exercise Therapy
  • Physiologic Modalities

The goal of implementing these strategies is the reversal or elimination of problematic structural and functional conditions.

A Structural Case Study

A 44-year-old gentleman, who had knee surgery about three months earlier was still suffering from chronic knee issues. He went to physical therapy, had his normal strengthening and stretching routines, but appropriate proprioceptive rehab was never established for him. During this time the gentleman was wearing orthotic devices.

Orthotics are customized foot devices that slip into the shoe allowing the foot to function and transfer energy throughout the system. There is something called the kinetic chain, which starts at the base of the heel, or the back of the heel during heel strike and ends at the opposite base of the skull. That is why we “cross-crawl” or when we walk. It’s the way energy transfers through our bodies as we walk or run.

When an orthotic is necessary, it allows the individual to transfer that energy correctly, so there’s no abnormal stress on the joints as they walk, run or stand. This patient’s orthotics were never reassessed after the knee surgery. The first step was to bring him in, reassess him, rebuild orthotics and give him an appropriate rehabilitation protocol.

After evaluation and treatment he was pain free in just two weeks, with no additional complications from surgery. The moral of this story is to make certain you reset the neurological control around an injured area after surgery, and make sure it’s solidified through appropriate training and treatment.

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

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Scared of an Adjustment?

on October 17, 2019

Sometimes, first-time patients are a little nervous about getting an adjustment. They soon discover that it rarely causes any discomfort at all. In fact, it makes them feel much better almost immediately – at least for the majority of patients. On rare occasions, they might feel a mild sense of soreness, like an aching, following treatment. This is similar to how someone feels after an intense workout and this feeling usually fades within 12 hours or so.

At my clinic, I have a number of patients who come in with lower-back pain. Chiropractic care often becomes their primary method of treatment due to the immediate and positive results they get. We also treat patients with other conditions. In these cases, I use chiropractic adjustments to enhance or support medical treatment by relieving the musculoskeletal aspects associated with their particular condition.


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, Kinesio® Taping, and anything else must be used to help a patient improve their health and well-being.

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B.E. H.E.A.L.T.H.Y. – Simple Steps to a Healthier You!

on October 10, 2019


Be Engaged: Pay attention to your body and to the world around you.

Eating: Certain Foods are inflammatory: Stay away from Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Corn, Sugar, Sugar Substitutes, processed foods, caffeine, NO SODA Try this for a two weeks and see how you feel. You may not notice in the first couple of days but you would be amazed at the difference in the way you feel in two weeks. Give it time and you will feel a night and day difference.

Habits: Set your routine: We are creatures of habit, so make them good ones.

Elimination: This pertains to metabolic waste as well as toxic aspects of your life, such as relationships, work environments, and excuses: There are a million excuses for why we can’t do something, but none of them are as good as the reason to do it.

Activity: Stay in motion: We are not meant to be sedentary so get your butt moving! It doesn’t have to be 30 min 3X per week but it is about the discipline to stay in motion; conditioning will come with this habit.

Liquids: This means water: Caffeine, juice, soda, alcohol do not count. Stay Hydrated:

Thinking: Link your thinking to your actions and your actions to your thinking:

  • a. Your body’s patterns of behavior are linked to the way you think and the opposite is also true.
  • b. If you’re not feeling great that day, go do something that makes you feel great, i.e.: hobbies, exercise or reading read a fun book

Heal: Let your body heal and rest. Take the necessary time off and take the time to rehab an injury correctly. Jumping back in too soon only leads to further injuries and less productive performance. Don't forget to get enough sleep: Sleep is the time when your body heals

Y: “Why” & Comply

1. Don’t just accept that you have an issue; ask yourself and your doctor why is this happening and what are we doing that is causing/has caused health issues to occur.

2. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, fire your doctor! “Satisfactory” does not mean the answer you want to hear, by the way.

3. Comply! Once you have received your answers, follow through with the prescribed treatment plan. That is your obligation as the patient.


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How Can Hormone Testing Help?

on October 3, 2019

Hormone levels affect many aspects of our bodies, both emotionally and physically. Included in these aspects are irritability, weight gain, memory lapses, insomnia, depression and fatigue.

Women in particular need to be aware of how hormones affect their everyday lives. Our hormone levels change as we age and they can change significantly, even in the course of a single day. Some are higher in the morning, some at night. These fluctuations may lead to deeper issues that need to be addressed. I say this because many of my female patients have suffered for years with their symptoms prior to being seen only to find a simple hormone test uncovered easily treatable imbalances.

My office offers several different hormone tests, but I am partial to saliva testing as it measures your hormones throughout the day. It also measures the metabolites of hormones or more plainly, how much of the hormone is used by our bodies. A blood test on the other hand, is a snap shot of a single point in time. It measures the amount of a certain hormone and not what our body is actually using. To better explain, I’ll use the analogy of money. You can determine how much money you have overall, which is like what the blood test would measure for hormones, but it is not about how much money you have when the bills come due, it is how much you are spending. The saliva test, in comparison, is equated to how much your spending. That way we can determine the hormone demand on your body and fill in the gaps or overages.

A deeper dive would be a Comprehensive Female Panel that will determine if your hormones are functioning properly. In addition to what is in the Basic Check–Up panel, we include Estradiol, LH, Progesterone, FSH, and DHEA–S tests. A reliable practitioner should always have comprehensive testing like the ones I described to get an in depth view to your hormonal health.

As I stated earlier, hormones affect many aspects of our lives so knowing where you stand is a good step in getting better. Visit our office or talk to your health care provider to get more information on the link between your symptoms and hormonal health – it’s an important piece of your healthcare puzzle.

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Nutrient Demands On The Body If It Gets Injured

on September 26, 2019

The nutrient demand on a simple musculoskeletal injury increases by at least 20 to 25 percent. An injured person will need to increase their proteins as they synthesize proteins to make immunoglobulins. With the correct type and quantity of nutrients, your immune system can actually work properly to break down the damaged tissue and/or repair tissue to a normal, healthy state.

Improper healing and remodeling of tissue would be considered scar tissue. Scar tissue does not have the same physical properties as normal tissue and, therefore, does not let the body perform in the same manner.

Trauma, whether it’s skeletal or otherwise, such as a sprained ankle, an injured back, a broken arm, or whatever it may be, imposes one of the highest load demands on energy utilization. So, without a doubt, you must increase energy production in all ways possible when you are injured.

During times of injury or trauma, our energy demands go up, and our need for cellular synthesis goes up as well. We must remove damaged tissue through waste elimination and replace it with new, healthy tissue.


There is a two to four-week window, known as the acute/sub-acute phases. The acute phase (1st and 2nd week) is critical for removal of some injured tissue and for beginning of repair work for damaged tissue. During the sub- acute phase (3rd and 4th week), the body is repairing and remodeling new tissue that is to be used by the body for healing. If the injury is muscular in nature, the body remodels muscle tissue in this phase.

These first four weeks are clearly the most critical to the long-term injury outcome. This is why you should seek treatment immediately if you are injured. If you start to remodel muscle using scar tissue, your performance will decrease.

We’ve mentioned this earlier; scar tissue doesn’t have the same contractile force as muscle tissue. It doesn’t have the same stretch-ability or pliability, and you are liable to experience another injury while your performance continues to decline. This is why it is so important to address nutritional demands directly after injury. This acute/sub-acute phase is a critical time when the immune system clearly needs to be supported. The injury also needs to be treated properly and promptly to reduce the risk of the acute injury becoming chronic.

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

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Successful Athletes Feed Their Brains Well

on September 19, 2019

The brain is the organ in the body that is most nutrient and energy dependent; it is also the organ most vulnerable to toxins in our system. The higher the quality of fuel you give it to work the greater capacity the brain has to perform at its best. Considering your brain controls all voluntary and involuntary coordination throughout your entire body processes, your body can’t be at peak performance if your brain is in a nutrient-poor environment.

Because the brain is so energy-dependent (or glucose-dependent, as I mentioned earlier), it’s also vulnerable to the poisons in our body’s waste elimination system. This is related to the toxic overload previously discussed.

Most athletes have the drive to succeed because they feed their brains well. If you give your brain high- quality fuel it can better control and coordinate the body’s movement at a much higher capacity than if you’re feeding it junk.

You want your brain to consume the highest quality fuel possible, so the higher quality nutrition you eat the better you perform.

What follows next are two lists of foods – the do’s and don’ts. These are very important to understand and follow as you build your strength and vitality through proper nutrition.

Do Not Eat


Artificial Colors

Artificial Flavorings

Artificial Sweeteners: YES, I mean all of them!!!!!!!!

Benzoate Preservatives (BHT, BHA, TBHQ)

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)


Enriched Flours

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)


MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)


Polysorbate 60

Propylene Glycol Alginate

Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils: (Palm, Soy bean and others)

Textured Soy Protein

These ingredients in their own way have been linked to dysfunction Some examples are:

Allergies, Asthma, Dermatitis, Eczema, Hyperactivity, Headaches, Cancer, Autoimmune Disorders, Digestive Disorders, Inflammatory Disorders, Liver Disease, Kidney Disease, Fatigue, Obesity, Heart Disease, Stroke, and many, many more.

Good To Eat


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


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acassaraSuccessful Athletes Feed Their Brains Well

Food Fortification - What Does It Really Mean?

on September 12, 2019

Suppose I am a dairy producer and I have to add fortifications of Calcium to my milk; the first question any wise milk drinker should ask is, “Why would you have to fortify milk with Calcium. Doesn’t milk already contain Calcium?” As the producer, I’m not required to put on the carton packaging what chemical compound of Calcium is being used to bolster the milk.

The next question should be “What chemical form of Calcium do you use to fortify the milk?”

From a financial perspective, the dairy producer is going to use the cheapest form of Calcium that he can legally get away with using.

Last question, “Is the chemical make-up of the Calcium used the most efficient and effective for the absorption and utilization of Calcium in my body?”

And, of course that last question is the big one; usually the chemical is not that efficiently absorbed and utilized by the body.

Now, this scenario may not be 100% accurate, but it’s worth thinking about, and it gives us an easy example of what fortified means when you see it on food packaging.


The terms enriched and fortified in the food world are a gold mine to the industry and a curse for the consumer.

You believe that you’re eating something nutritious and actually you are unwittingly increasing the toxic load on your body.

What the food industry is doing is removing the high-quality nutrients, adding poor, lower-quality, cheaper nutrients, and your body doesn’t utilize them properly.

The same is true for supplements. Since they are not regulated, the quality standard for supplements isn’t about quality at all. What the supplement company claims is in the bottle may not be in there at all, or the formulation of the compound may be cheap and non-absorbable. Unfortunately, it’s more about their bottom line than your health.

For example, there are different compounds that are all considered Vitamin C, but they are not all equally absorbed and utilized by the body.

This is another reason working with a professional, with access to known reputable “nutraceutical” companies, is essential. That doesn’t mean that you can only get high quality supplements by going to a professional, but it makes it easier. Do the research on the companies; make sure they are at least GMP certified and don’t go by marketing testimonials.

Price is not always the determining factor for quality. Many of the cheaper supplements manufactured by the leading chain brands, are exactly what they advertise … cheap. And some of the more expensive supplements are just that … more expensive. They don’t necessarily work either, so it’s absolutely crucial that you’re working with a professional, a health coach or someone who thoroughly understands nutrition and can teach you as you develop, grow and perform.

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

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acassaraFood Fortification - What Does It Really Mean?

Your Eating Schedule

on September 5, 2019

The best time of the day for you to eat, should be based upon eating unusually small frequent meals, containing only high-quality foods. In terms of sports performance, priming comes anywhere between four hours to a half-hour before an event, training or practice. Be sure you’re taking in higher carbohydrate-rich meals all the way up to 30 to 60 minutes before your athletic performance.

During training and exercise, your body requires an intake of carbs and protein at about a 4 to 1 ratio by weight consumption. During recovery after exercise, training, or an event, a carbohydrate to protein ratio of about 2 to 1 is more appropriate.


Optimal recovery requires that you are eating the right recovery foods within that 45 to 60-minute window of opportunity. Make sure the carbohydrates to protein ratio is correct – 2:1. Some research indicates that you have about two hours of time to take in the right nutrients for recovery, but my recommendation is that it would be best for you to keep it to under 1-hour, post exercise.

It is recommended that you develop the desire for and a lifestyle that includes mostly complex carbohydrates, high quality fats and lean high- quality proteins. You can easily achieve this by getting added supplements through a protein shake or a high-quality medical food.

Included in optimal recovery is rest in-between training sessions. Then high-quality sleep (a deep, sound sleep on a bed with a good firm mattress for 7-9 hours every night). During your sleep cycle, your body gets the opportunity to heal and repair without disruption from activities.

The result is the next day you can perform at your best once again.



Nutrition timing varies between athletes and between sports. One key underlying factor is your fluid intake. Water is your primary liquid in sports and in life. I recommend 64 oz. for children and 96 oz. for adults per day. Sports drinks are added to the 64-96 oz. requirement. Consumption of water during exercise or event is also essential.

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

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acassaraYour Eating Schedule


on August 29, 2019

Electrical muscle stimulation, or EMS therapy, is used to treat a variety of painful issues, much like therapeutic massage, from muscle strain and injury to fibromyalgia symptoms. This commonly sought after treatment uses an electrotherapy device that delivers a small, pulsating current to the muscles and nerve endings. This current encourages blood circulation, muscle stimulation and healing.

One of the greater benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is that it can be used to treat weak or atrophied muscles resulting from an injury or from long periods of immobility. This works by stimulating muscles, which causes them to contract and relax, much like normal physical activity. Electrical Muscular.

Stimulation helps develop strength in the affected area and can be used to treat completely incapacitated patients by creating involuntary muscle contraction responses, thereby improving and also maintaining muscle tone without any actual physical activity.

Many sports-related injuries reduce the range of motion in joints, especially in the shoulders, elbows and knees. EMS can be used on an impeded joint to increase range of motion and promote healing in the injured area by increasing blood flood and thereby reducing inflammation.

Many of my patients suggest that EMS helps relieve their chronic pain in joints and muscles, as well as their suffering from stress and tension. This therapy is great for relieving pain in patients with fibromyalgia and also can be used to treat chronic headaches, muscle weakness and fatigue, as well as overall body aches and pain.

Because of the restricted range of motion in tender and swollen joints, EMS therapy works well for arthritis sufferers by increasing range of motion in their joints and reducing pain and inflammation. EMS does this by channeling a low-frequency electrical current through muscle nerves and the connective tissue. Pain relief is accomplished when the body begins secreting additional amounts of endorphins and other natural pain relievers to the affected area.

How EMS Works

Electrical Muscular Stimulation works by placing electrodes at the site of the injury and gradually increasing the electrical current output. What the patient feels in the beginning is a tingling sensation. As the electrical current increases, the tingling feels stronger but not uncomfortable in any way. Over a short period of time, the patient’s body adapts to the electrical current, which necessitates an increase in the electrical current level every few minutes. A typical treatment lasts from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the condition being treated.

Some of the more common injuries that are treated with EMS include strained ligaments, muscle sprains, strains and spasms.

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The Benefits of Massage Therapy in Injury Care

on August 22, 2019

Therapeutic Massage involves the use of a state licensed massage therapist to manipulate superficial and deeper muscle layers and connective tissue through various massage techniques that tend to enhance function, aid in natural healing, decrease muscle reflex reactions, promote relaxation, and improve health.

In a therapeutic massage, the patient is massaged while lying on a special table built for massage therapy, or while sitting on chair especially designed for massage. The patient may be fully or partially clothed.

If you are injured, massage therapy plays a vital role in your healing process. Massage involves working with acting on muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, joints or connective tissue. Areas targeted by the massage therapist, under the guidance of your doctor, might include hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, or feet, as well as the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine as well as your stomach. Massage can also assist in the proper drainage of the lymphatic system. Proper drainage is critical for the elimination of waste products from the body. Massage therapy promotes this elimination process while mobilizing soft tissue at the same time.

Massage Therapy provides great benefit for the following conditions:

  • Muscle spasms, tension, and stiffness
  • Limited ROM (range of motion) of the muscles and joints
  • Restricted circulation of blood and movement of lymph flows
  • Promotion of faster healing of soft tissue injuries
  • Reduction of scar tissue
  • Improvement in posture
  • Reduction in overall stress and anxiety, thus creating a feeling of well-being
  • Promotion of a relaxed state of mental awareness

It is never wise to have massage therapy performed on an injury prior to a professional examination and diagnosis. Improper care of an injury can lead to further damage and longer healing periods. When receiving any type of therapy, make sure you are being treated by a qualified professional and be fully involved in the process. Whether at our office or another clinic, therapeutic massage can be a useful tool in getting you back to doing the activities that you love.

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

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acassaraThe Benefits of Massage Therapy in Injury Care