3755 E. Main St., Suite 185, St. Charles
Issue No. 23                                                                      April 2014

In This Issue

  Hydration Nation:
Do We Drink Enough Water? 
Americans drink over 9 billion gallons of bottled water each year, up from 5 billion in 2001. However, most people still believe that they go through life chronically dehydrated. At least, that is what we've been led to believe by certain experts and bottled water companies who have suggested that everyone drink eight glasses of water a day for the sake of their health.

However, that advice has no basis in scientific evidence, according to Scottish physician Dr. Margaret McCartney, who says that the need to drink that much water to prevent dehydration is "not only nonsense, but is thoroughly debunked nonsense."

It's easy to find articles all over the Internet on the health benefits of drinking more water. From better skin to weight loss, all manner of health improvements have been attributed to drinking more  water. But according to Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a nephrologist at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, who looked for evidence to support these health claims, "We found that there really is no evidence that drinking more water makes you perform better. It doesn't reduce appetite, it doesn't lead to long-term weight loss, and it can't possibly improve your complexion. It won't clear your body of toxins or reduce headaches."

If you drink when you are thirsty, then you are likely getting enough fluids. Goldfarb notes, "Thirst is a highly developed sensation, powerfully motivated. When you're thirsty, all you want to do is drink. But being thirsty doesn't mean you are ill at this point or dehydrated to the point that there are consequences."

Another myth is that coffee, tea and soft drinks cannot be counted in the amount of fluids you take in each day. We get thirst-satiating fluids not only from these beverages, but also from other things we eat, such as fruits and vegetables, many of which have a relatively high water content. Excess caffeine and sugar intake from various beverages can affect health negatively, which is why physicians do not advise these in place of water, but they do contribute to the amount of fluids you get each day.

Those who should be more concerned about drinking sufficient amounts of water are athletes and those who work at jobs that require a lot of physical activity, as water is lost through sweating. But the average person who sits at a desk most of the day and commutes by car to and from work is not at high risk of dehydration. All you need to do is to drink water when you are thirsty, and tap water is just as good, despite what the bottled water companies will tell you.
Barefoot Running

Now that the snow has finally gone for good (we hope!), you can kick off your shoes when you go for a run. But should you?

Until recently, most of us considered athletic shoes an important and essential part of our athletic training gear. This belief was fortified by the advent of the modern running shoe in the mid-1970s. Every year since then, the big running shoe companies have introduced new product lines based on shoes with increased cushion and support.

Today, however, there has been an uprising among subgroups of runners, cross-fitness enthusiasts, and weight lifters: Less shoe is better, and no shoe is best. The topic of barefoot running is gaining traction.

Why Go Barefoot?
The premise behind barefoot running is essentially that the intrinsic muscles, joints, ligaments and mechanoreceptors of the feet require stimulation to function properly. And this optimal function is inhibited by highly supportive and cushioned shoes. Intrinsic foot muscle atrophy and mechanoreceptor activity combine to cause injury and reduced performance. Also, the thickly padded heels of running shoes have produced a world of runners who now strike heavily on their heels, producing a gait that is (reportedly) quite different from those who run without shoes.

Whether or not barefoot running is better for humans has yet to be determined scientifically, but advocates have made some very compelling arguments in favor of it.

Injury Risks
Bunions, neuromas, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures can all be the result of inappropriate shoes. Yet, barefoot running can also produce its share of injuries-from frostbite to tendinitis, metatarsal stress fractures, lacerations, puncture wounds, abrasions, and stone bruising.

Advice for Running Barefoot
While running barefoot is most certainly what our ancestors did and our aboriginal cousins  still do, we currently lack the knowledge to say irrefutably that it is more healthful than running with shoes. If you're interested in trying out barefoot running, consider this advice before you begin.
  •     Start with walking barefoot or in minimalist shoes, and gradually work into running.
  •     Progress to short runs. Begin with only five minutes per run, and gradually increase.
  •     It's a good idea to use a minimalist shoe to protect your feet from thorns and debris.
  •     Stop barefoot running at the earliest sign of pain.
  •     Be prepared for blisters and calluses to form as you transition to barefoot running.
Red Flag
If you switch from shoes to bare feet, you must allow time for your bones and soft tissue to adapt to the new stresses that barefoot running will place on the lower extremities. Achilles' tendons are particularly susceptible to injury if there is a sudden change in their position of function. Most conventional running shoes place the Achilles' tendon in shortened position. So by suddenly switching to barefoot running, you will place an unaccustomed strain on the Achilles' tendon, making it more susceptible to rupture and strain. Use discretion and prudence in transitioning from supportive shoes to barefoot or minimalist shoe wear.

For the most part, our bare feet would work great if we stayed on soft, loamy soil or a sandy beach. People with the gift of optimal biomechanics will thrive with barefoot running regardless of where they run. But other people's foot biomechanics will require shoes to prevent injury, and still others will require additional supportive or corrective shoes to function near normally. As further research uncovers the effects of shoes on our feet, alterations and modifications in shoe design will continue.


Traveling Can Be a Pain in the Back

Summer time means vacation time, which often involves long-distance travel by car or plane. Traveling can be rough on the body; long hours in a car or an airplane can leave you stressed, tired, stiff and sore.

The American Chiropractic Association's (ACA) Council on Occupational Health suggests the following tips and advice to fight the pains and strains of travel before they occur. First, treat travel as an athletic event: warm up before settling into a car or plane, and cool down once you reach your destination by taking a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles.

In the Car:
  • Adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible. Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips. Place four fingers behind the back of your thigh closest to your knee. If you cannot easily slide your fingers in and out of that space, you need to re-adjust your seat.
  • Using a support behind your back may reduce the risk of low-back strain, pain or injury. The widest part of the support should be between the bottom of your rib cage and your waistline.
  • Exercise your legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue or discomfort. Open your toes as wide as you can, and count to 10. Count to five while you tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, then your gluteal muscles. Roll your shoulders forward and back, making sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.
  • To minimize arm and hand tension while driving, hold the steering wheel at approximately 3 o'clock and 7 o'clock, periodically switching to 10 o'clock and 5 o'clock.
  • Do not grip the steering wheel. Instead, tighten and loosen your grip to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms, wrists and hands.
  • Take rest breaks. Never underestimate the potential consequences of fatigue to yourself, your passengers and other drivers.
In an Airplane:
  • Stand up straight and feel the normal "S" curve of your spine. Then use rolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain that curve when you sit in your seat. Tuck a pillow behind your back and just above the beltline and lay another pillow across the gap between your neck and the headrest. If the seat is hollowed from wear, use folded blankets to raise your buttocks a little.
  • Check all bags heavier than 5-10 percent of your body weight. Overhead lifting of any significant amount of weight should be avoided to reduce the risk of pain in the lower back or neck. While lifting your bags, stand right in front of the overhead compartment so the spine is not rotated. Do not lift your bags over your head, or turn or twist your head and neck in the process.
  • When stowing belongings under the seat, do not force the object with an awkward motion using your legs, feet or arms. This may cause muscle strain or spasms in the upper thighs and lower back muscles. Instead, sit in your seat first, and using your hands and feet, gently guide your bags under the seat directly in front of you.
  • While seated, vary your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps. Massage legs and calves. Bring your legs in, and move your knees up and down. Prop your legs up on a book or a bag under your seat.
  • Do not sit directly under the air controls. The draft can increase tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.
If you do experience pain and stress on your back, Dr. Hertz and other doctors of chiropractic are trained and licensed to diagnose and treat problems of the spine and nervous system.
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Massage: It Feels Good and It's Good For You!
Massage Therapist Carol Hayes is nationally certified and a member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), and been doing massage for three years. She graduated from the Elgin Community College Massage Program and is certified in both prenatal and post-partum massage. Stop in to meet Carol or call 630-513-7770 to make your appointment and take advantage of her one-hour massage for just $40.  
Dr. J
Dr. Jacob M. Hertz
is a Cum Laude graduate of the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. Following graduation, Dr. Hertz practiced as an Associate Chiropractor in Peoria and for four years successfully treated over 5,000 patients and their families with many different health conditions. He moved to St. Charles in 2010 to open his own practice. 


He has been involved with chiropractic almost since he was born -- he was adjusted as an infant by his uncle, a chiropractor in Wisconsin where Dr. Hertz grew up.


Dr. Hertz uses a number of gentle and safe chiropractic techniques for adjusting the spine including Diversified, Activator, and Drop Table. He is also Nationally Board Certified in Physiotherapy and uses exercise and rehabilitation to help patients heal faster and reach optimum health.  


St. Charles Pain & Wellness Center also offers nutritional aids for those who seek to supplement their diet and improve their health, which have proved successful in preventing unnecessary surgeries for many patients.   

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