Weekly News & Insights

Injury Prevention

on January 3, 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

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Nutrient Demands On The Body If It Gets Injured

on December 27, 2018

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 ©read more

acassaraNutrient Demands On The Body If It Gets Injured

Successful Athletes Feed Their Brains Well

on December 20, 2018

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 December 13, 2018

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 ©read more

acassaraFood Fortification - What Does It Really Mean?

Your Eating Schedule

on December 6, 2018

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 ©read more

acassaraYour Eating Schedule

Stress Relief Tips

on November 29, 2018

Do you know anyone who isn't at times stressed out these days?

The pace of modern life makes stress management a necessary skill for everyone.

Many people juggle multiple responsibilities, work, home life, caregiving and relationships. Learning to identify problems and implement solutions is the key to successful stress reduction.

The first step in successful stress relief is deciding to make stress management an ongoing goal, and to monitor your stress level.

Once you start monitoring your stress level, the next step is identifying your stress triggers. When or under what situations do you experience the most stress? Some causes of stress are easy to identify, such as job pressures, relationship problems or financial difficulties. But daily hassles and demands, such as commuting, arranging child care or being over-committed at work, also can contribute to your stress level.

Positive events also can be stressful. If you got married, started a new job and bought a new house in the same year, you could have a high stress level. While negative events in general are more stressful, be sure to also assess positive changes in your life.

Once you've identified your stress triggers, you can start thinking about strategies for dealing with them. Identifying what aspect of the situation you can control is a good starting point.

For example, if you have a difficult time falling asleep because you're stressed out, the solution may be as easy as turning off the TV when the evening news is too distressing. Other times, such as high demands at work or when a loved one is ill, you may only be able to change how you react to the situation.

And don't feel like you have to figure it out all on your own. Seek help and support from family and friends. You may want to ask them what stress-relief techniques have worked well for them.

And many people benefit from daily practice of stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing, massage, tai chi or yoga. Many people manage stress through practicing mindfulness in meditation or being in nature.

And remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle to help manage stress — eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Having a healthy lifestyle will help you manage periods of high stress.

Stress won't disappear from your life. And stress management isn't an overnight cure. But with ongoing practice and incorporation of resiliency into your lifestyle, you can learn to manage your stress level and increase your ability to cope with life's challenges

Story continued at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/basics/stress-relief/hlv-20049495read more

acassaraStress Relief Tips

Smartphones and TVs in the Bedroom: What's the Harm?

on November 22, 2018

The presence of a television in a child's bedroom can have detrimental effects on sleep quality and duration.

However, relatively few studies have assessed the potential detrimental effects of smaller screens, such as those on handheld devices. In addition to the light from screens and the potential alterations of sleep cues that might be induced by the light, handheld devices or tablets can also alarm with emails or texts, potentially creating even more sleep disruption.

This study assessed seventh- and fourth-grade children in public schools in Massachusetts to correlate nocturnal screen use with perceived sleep sufficiency. The data were collected in 2012 as part of a statewide obesity research effort. There were two primary outcomes of interest. One was the children's weeknight sleep duration.

The second outcome was a measure of whether the children perceived that they had received sufficient sleep during the previous week. Sleep duration was calculated by subtracting the child's usual weeknight bedtime from reported usual weekday awakening times. Sleep adequacy was assessed by asking the students about how many days in the past week they felt that they needed more sleep.

This response was dichotomized into those who indicated that they needed more sleep on 3 or fewer days per week (sufficient sleep) vs those who needed more sleep on 4 or more days per week (insufficient sleep).

The students were asked how often they slept with a device near their bed, and they again responded with the number of days per week. They also indicated whether they had a TV in the room.

Analyses accounted for sex, grade in school, race/ethnicity, and reported physical activity. Complete data were provided by 2000 students (mean age: 10.6 years; 40% Hispanic, 38% non-Hispanic white, 10% non-Hispanic black). Slightly more than half (54%) of the students reported sleeping near small screens, and 75% slept in a room with a television.

When looking at differences by grade, 65% of the seventh graders slept near a small screen compared with 46% of fourth graders. The seventh graders reported a mean sleep time of 8.8 hours compared with 9.8 hours for the fourth graders. Children who slept near a small screen averaged 20.6 fewer minutes of sleep per night (95% confidence interval, 29.9-11.4) compared with those who did not sleep near a small screen. A similar association was seen in children who slept with a television in the room.

The differences in sleep among the groups were mainly accounted for by a delay of bedtime.

When looking at the effects on perceived sufficiency of sleep, the prevalence ratio for sleeping near a small screen was 1.38, indicating that the presence of a small screen was associated with a higher prevalence of reporting insufficient sleep.

Demographic variables did not generally correlate with reports of insufficient sleep. Even among those exposed to small screens, the duration of screen time was associated with a greater prevalence ratio of reporting insufficient sleep. The investigators concluded that sleeping in proximity to a small screen, having a television in the bedroom, and longer duration of screen time were all associated with shorter sleep durations. Presence of a small screen (but not a TV) and longer screen time were associated with perceived insufficiency of sleep.

Source: William T. Basco, Jr, MD, MS, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/839529read more

acassaraSmartphones and TVs in the Bedroom: What's the Harm?

Muscle Cramp Prevention

on November 15, 2018

To avoid future cramps, work toward better overall fitness. Do regular flexibility exercises before and after you work out to stretch muscle groups most prone to cramping.

Quadriceps Muscle Stretch

You should feel this stretch in the front of your thigh.

Hold on to a wall or the back of a chair for balance. Lift one foot and bring your heel up toward your buttocks. Grasp your ankle with your hand and pull your heel closer to your body. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

Do: Keep your knees close together. Stop bringing your heel closer when you feel the stretch.

Do not: Arch or twist your back.

Hold each stretch briefly, then release. Never stretch to the point of pain.

Source: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00200read more

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Osteoporosis Prevention

on November 8, 2018

What we have learned about bone health is especially important as Americans are living longer.

By 2020, half of all Americans over age 50 will have weak bones, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

We can improve this outcome by making changes to our diet and lifestyle, and preventing bone loss in people who are most at risk.

The good news is, no matter what your age, there are many things you can do to improve your bone health.

Source: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00315read more

acassaraOsteoporosis Prevention

Structural Issues, An Integrated Approach

on October 25, 2018

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 ©read more

acassaraStructural Issues, An Integrated Approach