Survival Tips For The Holiday Season

Apples with engraved hearts

We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season! Follow these six survival tips to stay healthy and fit through the holidays and the celebrations that go along with them.

1. Avoid skipping meals period, but especially on the day of events. If you think you are saving calories by not eating before your event, you are setting yourself up to over indulge and will wind up taking in more calories instead. On the day of a special occasion, have your breakfast, snacks and lunch, but make sure they are well rounded and nutrient dense foods like: eggs with spinach and fruit, apple with nuts and a salad with grilled chicken.

2. Maintain your exercise routine. Your calendar can get busy with festivities, shopping, seeing family and your normal everyday life. Each week, look at your calendar to schedule in your workout. Schedule as you would a very important meeting! Because it is. Interval training or high intensity interval training can be an efficient way to get a higher burn in a shorter time. You will also be burning more calories for as long 48 hours after you train. Make sure to exercise the day of events and day after for sure.

3. Plan ahead. Find recipes to make meals and freeze for the week(s) that you know you will be too busy for. You will avoid deferring to take out or worse!

4. When at parties, fill your plate with the healthy stuff first. That way there is little room for junk. Get involved in conversations and avoid standing by food displays.

5. Do enjoy yourself and set realistic goals. Enjoy the fresh baked apple pie, but avoid the store bought junk. Allow yourself some of the festivities, but within reason and not regularly.

6. Wash your hands often. Especially after you take public transportation, use any public area and before you leave the gym. This will greatly reduce risk of infection.

Most of all, have a fun and healthy season with your friends and family. Give thanks for what you do have and celebrate the relationships that support you and bring you joy.

If you find that you need some additional help achieving the healthy life-style you desire, feel free to contact Valley Spinal Care Kierland for a consultation.

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back painIf you’ve ever groaned, “OH, MY ACHING BACK!” you are not alone. Back pain can range from a dull constant ache to a sudden sharp pain.

The American Chiropractic Association reports that 31 MILLION Americans experience low back pain at any given time and back pain is the single leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 year old.

There is a good chance that back pain has afflicted you or someone close to you. Whether you are a student, a stay at home caregiver, an avid athlete, a professional constrained to a desk all day, a senior, or an active career person, you can be affected by low back pain. And if it is left untreated, low back pain can significantly change your quality of life.

Low back pain can become chronic and can lead to poor health and depression. Respondents of a National Institute of Health Statistics survey indicated that at 27%, low back pain was the most common form of chronic pain.

Here are 3 SUPER SIMPLE early morning stretches you can use to help prevent low back pain:


1. Low back stretch:

Bring both knees to your chest by first raising one knee and holding it with both hands, then raising the other to join it. Gently pull both knees toward your chest and breathe. Hold for 20 seconds.

2. Pelvic tilt:

Lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your ab muscles so that the small of your back presses flat against the bed or floor. Hold for five seconds, then relax. Repeat three times.

3. Glute stretch:

Lying on your back with knees bent, cross left leg over your right. Gently pull your right knee toward your chest, so you feel a stretch in your left glute. Hold for 20 seconds; repeat on the other side. Exercises to reduce low back pain are not complicated and can be done at home without any special equipment.

Call your Chiropractor

For optimal health, get your spine aligned so that your nervous system is working at 100% potential! Regular chiropractic check-ups can prevent injury and keep you and your family functioning in top form.

Valley Spinal Care Kierland
6339 East Greenway Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
(480) 443-7678

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Happy Birthday to Chiropractic!

iStock_000001010453SmallThursday, Sept. 18th marks the 119th birthday of the profession of chiropractic!

The very first adjustment was given by D.D. Palmer in Davenport, Iowa to a partially deaf man named Harvey Lillard.

After his adjustment, the man’s hearing was said to have improved!

The word “chiropractic” was coined from Greek root words by Rev. Samel Weed. It was developed in 1895 and has been around longer than antibiotics or vaccines. Chiropractic works – it is much safer than drugs or surgery and has withstood the test of time.

Have you seen your chiropractor lately?

No one would entertain the thought of walking around with just one shoe on. Not only would it look funny, but it would be really bad for your feet, knees, hips, back and even your neck. Unfortunately, many people have been doing this very thing for years without knowing it!

When an otherwise healthy spine is forced to function in a Subluxated state (one or more vertebrae become misaligned and create biophysical deficiency) the resultant imbalance creates poor body mechanics and a higher risk for long term soft tissue damage. Postural distortions like uneven hips or a ‘functional short leg’ are signs that ‘something’s off’ in your spine and needs to be evaluated.

Just like driving a car with bad alignment can cause premature wear and tear on tires and brakes – walking around with a functional short leg from subluxations can cause premature wear and tear on your joints and discs (degenerative disc disease).

If you’re experiencing the warning signs of this type of imbalance – like leg, hip or back pain, call Valley Spinal Care Kierland at (480) 443-7678 for your tune-up!

Happy Birthday Chiropractic! Chiropractic’s all natural solutions can keep you balanced and feeling great!

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More Isn’t Always Better

Athlete Eating an AppleWe all know that simple nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes can radically change your appearance and health for the better.

Diet modifications such as cutting out grains, dairy, and processed foods will help loose the bloated belly, keep weight gain under control and will generally make us healthier. There typically doesn’t need to be drastic measures to attain good health.

In the case of exercise, drastic measures don’t need to be taken either to attain good sustaining health. Younger athletes may train for peak performance and strength and working harder and more intense is better. As we age, our focus should turn toward health and longevity rather than peak performance. In the 35-55 age range, more isn’t always better. Working out harder isn’t necessarily better for you.

Performance is an interesting topic. The majority of people choose to train because they find it fun and rewarding and they do so for the fringe benefits of optimal health and hopefully longevity.

The training that athletes need to do to be competitive may not necessarily be the training needed for optimal health, longevity, and sustainability. It is the sacrifice that they choose to make.

Training for performance will always be better than choosing to live a sedentary lifestyle, but it is best to focus on individual ability and the individual dosage of exercise. There was a study done by cardiologist, Dr. James O’Keefe by looking at endurance athletes and his research showed that more was not always better and exercise and mortality rates correlated to a dose response curve, similar to drugs.

Exercise, like medications, is dose dependent, and the ability of the body to deal with the dosage of exercise as one ages, changes. The therapeutic index narrows. Give too little of a drug or exercise, it does not work. Give too much, it’s toxic, give an appropriate dose, and it works great!

Check out these four ideals for health and longevity:


Build up lean muscle mass with strength work and rep ranges. The more lean muscle you have, the better off you are. We lose muscle as we age, or become diseased, or from being inactive.


Some joints are for stability and some joints are for mobility. Keep the mobility joints active with range of motion exercises and be aware of keeping both left and right sides equally active. This will help prevent injury and imbalances.

Aerobic Ability

Basic aerobic capacity decreases 1% every year after age 25. By being physically active you help to slow the age related declines in VO2 max. As we age, the ability to handle workouts as a good stress is dependent on hormonal levels. Older athletes should account for stress and hormonal levels in recovery rates. It is good to mix up the energy systems being worked. Going for a longer walk, bike ride, etc. at an easier pace for a longer period is good for optimal health and aerobic capacity, just as incorporating some sprints or HIIT into your training regimen is equally important.

Enhancing Longevity and Sustainability with Valley Spinal Care Kierland

The very basics of getting enough sleep, getting adjusting regularly and supplementing your diet on an individualized basis will keep you feeling your best and will be the perfect environment for longevity and sustainability. Contact us for more information on how we can help you through your workouts and through your everyday life!

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Enjoy for Good Health!

melonWe now find ourselves eating melons and other fruits throughout the year that were once traditionally known as “summer” fruits since produce grown from all over the world is now readily available in our local markets any time of the year.

Yet, watermelon seems to be the epitome of summer as the local harvest peaks during July.

This summer, be sure to include watermelon in your diet (in moderation of course) not only for the sheer pleasure of its refreshing and delicious nature but for its incredible benefits. You may be familiar with the list of benefits that watermelon offers but most likely, you may be surprised… so let’s dig in:

• L-citrulline, an amino acid in watermelon, seems to protect against muscle pain.

• Watermelon works similarly as COX-2 inhibitor drugs as it contains cucurbitacin E or tripterpenoid which blocks the activity of the pain and inflammation-causing enzyme, cyclooxygenase.

• New research showed citrulline and arginine supplements derived from watermelon extract lead to significant improvements in blood pressure and cardiac stress in obese study participants.

• Watermelon contains more of the antioxidant, lycopene, than fresh tomatoes.

• Black watermelon seeds are edible and actually quite healthy. They contain iron, zinc, protein, and fiber. (In case you were wondering, seedless watermelons aren’t genetically modified, as they’re the result of hybridization.)

• Watermelon rinds are edible and contain chlorophyll, therefore, very healthy.

• Watermelon contains 91% water and is great for keeping you hydrated.

Eat Healthy and Get Adjusted

Eating healthy foods, maintaining a good weight and getting regular adjustments can be the answer to a happy life for you and all your family. Call us at Valley Spinal Care Kierland in Scottsdale to schedule wellness care, corrective care and relief care. All natural methods don’t cause side effects and can fix a problem not just the symptom.

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Back Pain In Golfers

Couple Enjoying A Game Of GolfI’m sure that you are familiar with the saying, “It’s all in the swing.”

Your golf game may depend on it. So, how is your back affecting your golf game? Maybe, the more appropriate question is “How is golf affecting your back?”

The modern swing is one of the most unnatural positions for the body to be in. To swing correctly, you have to separate your hips and shoulders during the backswing. At the end of the swing, you are in a position of lumbar hyperextension. By contracting your abdominal muscles during the follow-up phase and rotating your trunk with feet planted in one place, the intervertebral disc is highly stressed.

Back injuries are common in golfers because of the increased pressure in the spine. The pressure is enough to cause serious injury especially in older adults since spinal mobility becomes an issue with age. A common golf injury is low back pain that comes on suddenly or pain that creeps up over time and can last 2-4 weeks.

Muscle tears are common with younger golfers. Treatment for this type of sports injury is rest and relaxation, core muscle strengthening sessions, and correcting the incorrect movement pattern that caused the injury to begin with.

Sports Health explains that lower back pain is very prevalent in golf even though the sport looks to be non-strenuous. The 26 million golfers can account for how grueling the game can be. To avoid low back pain and injury we put together a few pointers:

  • Make sure your club fits your body.
  • Try to play regularly to prevent the “de-conditioning” of your muscles. On the other hand, avoid sprees of 5x a week as well.
  • Push the golf cart. Don’t pull it.
  • Use a long putter during a round. This will decrease stress on the spine.
  • Use a dual backpack strap golf bag for carrying.
  • Lose any excess weight to help prevent injury.

    See Valley Spinal Care Kierland to ensure you’re using proper body mechanics to prevent back injuries from golf and everyday activities. Chiropractic care can keep your spine properly aligned to reduce your risk of herniated discs and pain from osteoarthritis.

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    Joint Pain

    Injury is an obvious cause for joint pain. However, a less obvious cause for joint pain is inflammation. Millions of Americans suffer from joint pain caused by inflammation and this isn’t triggered by overuse or abuse. The pain is real and yet there is no evidence of a break or damage to a joint such as a hip, elbow, wrist, knee, etc. The culprit may be inflammation brought on by diet. Your diet can be causing your joint pain. We are all vulnerable to inflammation which can become chronic unless we understand what causes inflammation and we make choices every day to keep our bodies in balance.

    What is inflammation and how can we control inflammation in our bodies?

    Inflammation is the body’s immune response to an allergen in diet. It is a biological response to try to remove it and heal- specifically with acute inflammation. Through trial and error, you can find what foods trigger your pain and inflammation markers. While there is no definitive diet for arthritis and joint point sufferers since triggers are unique to an individual, there are inflammatory foods that should be avoided or at least limited for a trial and error diet plan.

    Inflammatory Trigger Foods

    Fried Foods
    Processed Foods
    Refined Carbohydrates
    Dairy Products
    Corn Oil

    What can we do to counter inflammation?

    Adding more vegetables and fruits is usually a good diet for most individuals. Keeping your diet as pure and unprocessed as possible will help avoid various health concerns. There are foods with anti-inflammatory content that can be added to diet to see improvement in general health.

    Anti-Inflammatory Foods

    Omega-3 fatty acid fish such as salmon, mackeral, tuna & sardines
    Dark leafy greens
    Colorful vegetables such as peppers
    Nuts, particularly almonds
    Ginger and turmeric
    Garlic and onions
    Olive Oil
    Tart cherries – In a 2012 presentation, Oregon Health & Science University researchers suggested that tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.”

    Contact Us For Joint Pain

    As your chiropractor, Valley Spinal Care Kierland can help you determine what is causing your joint pain and offer solutions that are all natural and will get to the root of the problem. Masking the pain with drugs will not fix the cause of the problem. Contact us at (480) 443-7678 for real solutions.

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    Good Posture

    Posture is something that we tend to not give too much thought to, but in fact, posture is crucial to how we feel and how we present ourselves to the world.

    The American Chiropractic Association posts information on posture and it is worth reading and adhering to for good overall wellness and attitude.

    Their “Tips To Maintain Good Posture” is informative and can help you make a difference in your posture. Read below and make good posture part of your routine.

    As your chiropractor, we can help you with your specific lifestyle and habits. Reach out to us for more specific tips and treatments.

    Tips to Maintain Good Posture

    We often hear that good posture is essential for good health. We recognize poor posture when we see it formed as a result of bad habits carried out over years and evident in many adults. But only few people have a real grasp of the importance and necessity of good posture.

    Why is good posture important?

    Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. Correct posture:

    • Helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
    • Reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
    • Allows muscles to work more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue.
    • Helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain.

    Several factors contribute to poor posture-most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, and high-heeled shoes. In addition, decreased flexibility, a poor work environment, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning.

    How do I sit properly?

    • Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest, if they don’t reach the floor.
    • Don’t cross your legs. Your ankles should be in front of your knees.
    • Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
    • Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips.
    • Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support.
    • Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
    • Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.

    How do I stand properly?

    • Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
    • Keep your knees slightly bent.
    • Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
    • Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
    • Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
    • Tuck your stomach in.
    • Keep your head level-your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Do not push your head forward, backward, or to the side.
    • Shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you have to stand for a long time.

    What is the proper lying position?

    • Find the mattress that is right for you. While a firm mattress is generally recommended, some people find that softer mattresses reduce their back pain. Your comfort is important.
    • Sleep with a pillow. Special pillows are available to help with postural problems resulting from a poor sleeping position.
    • Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
    • Sleeping on your side or back is more often helpful for back pain.
    • If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs.
    • If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.

    Chiropractic Care

    Valley Spinal Care Kierland can assist you with proper posture, including recommending exercises to strengthen your core postural muscles. We can also assist you with choosing proper postures during your activities and helping reduce your risk of injury. Call Dr. Serafini at (480) 443-7678 for more information.

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    Allergies and Chiropractic

    Seasonal allergies affect many of us. As spring blossoms, the pollen, ragweed, grass, and mold may cause us to sneeze and have watery eyes. These allergic reactions are obvious and we consider these as typical allergy symptoms.

    However, there are other factors that we are exposed to daily such as foods and chemicals that may cause allergic reactions in our bodies. Allergic responses can show as joint pain, stomach issues, and other conditions that we don’t always relate to an allergy. Let’s see why the body reacts the way it does and how we can treat these symptoms with chiropractic care.

    A subluxation is a miscommunication between the spine and the nervous system. Three types of nervous system stressors cause subluxations: physical, emotional and biochemical. Eliminating subluxation may be key to reducing an allergic response.

    We encounter many biochemical stressors in our everyday lives – bad air quality to certain types of food. Every time we ingest a food source, our immune systems are activated and create antibodies. If these antibodies react adversely with the food, histamine and other chemicals can cause allergic reactions such as hives, asthma, facial swelling, stomach issues or other symptoms.

    If the body is exposed to stressors that cause subluxation, chiropractors help correct them through adjustments so the body can begin to heal itself. By combining the removal of subluxations with a patient’s better food choices, there will be a significantly reduced histamine responses throughout the body. Commonly problematic foods are soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, milk and seafood, especially shellfish.

    Valley Spinal Care Kierland

    Chiropractic care provided by Valley Spinal Care Kierland can help you and your family with allergy symptoms. The time to get started is now so you can live your live fully! Call us at (480) 443-7678 for a consultation.

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    The Power of Herbs

    Getting through the cold and flu season, you may inquire about herbs as natural remedies for your ailments. Herbs are so beneficial to our heath in so many ways and they should be recognized. Use herbs in your cooking and remember to incorporate them into your diet for overall health and wellness.

    Basil – This aromatic herb doesn’t just smell good, it is a great source for energy, reducing inflammation, and protecting cell DNA from radiation. Basil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium. Basil contains high quantitites of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful in treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

    Rosemary – This unique herb has been used in Chinese medicine for many years and is known to improve cognitive function, increase energy, and boost digestion and the immune system. It is also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. Rosemary contains an ingredient, carnosic acid, that is able to fight off free radical damage in the brain. A major component of rosemary, carnosic acid, can significantly promote eye health.

    Oregano - This herb is used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders. The herb is also applied topically to help treat a number of skin conditions, such as acne and dandruff. Oregano contains fiber, iron, manganese, vitamin E, iron, calcium, omega fatty acids, manganese, and typtophan. The essential oil of Himalayan oregano has strong antibacterial properties that can even kill the hospital superbug MRSA.

    Mint – This tasty herbal remedy is a fantastic tool for improving overall digestion, intestinal absorption, and relieving stomach discomfort. It is beneficial for asthma patients as it is a good relaxant and relieves congestion. Mint increases alertness, retention, and cognitive function and stimulates digestive enzymes.

    Chives – This onion relative is a source of vitamin C, calcium, and iron. It’s allicin content can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which improves your overall health, particularly that of your heart.

    Bay leaves – Traditionally the true bay leaf, Laurus nobilis, has been used as a diuretic to increase urination and remove excess water and an emetic to induce vomiting, bay leaves have astringent properties that help stop secretions due to infection and reduce excessive sweating brought on by illness.

    Recently, a 2009 study found that bay leaf can affect blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides. This is great news for diabetes patients who commonly have the risk of heart disease.

    Beware of Umbellularia californica, sometimes sold as “California bay leaves,” since they look like the true bay leaf but they can damage the central nervous system and cause respiratory distress when inhaled.

    Contact Us

    Good health and wellness is living a healthy lifestyle to prevent long term issues. Valley Spinal Care Kierland offers resources for good health and to stay on top of your game! Call us at (480) 443-7678 for quality chiropractic services!

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