Dr. Michael Kwast, DC

Educate, Inform, Empower

All or Nothing?

All or nothing is a common misconception I hear on a daily basis.  However, healthy choices are rarely all or nothing.  In fact, most lasting change takes small, incremental changes over time.  If you could eat one less doughnut a day, that would be better than eating that one more doughnut a day.

Treatments plans are the same way.  There is the best recommendation, and then there are endless other recommendations that can still provide benefit at various levels.  Ideally, everyone would do the best recommendation.  However, sometimes that is not realistic give time, location, and cost constraints.

Something is always better than nothing.  Think of it like this, if the dentist tells you to brush your teeth 3 times per day, and you can only do it once, should you throw your tooth brush away?  Obviously not, brushing at all is better than never.  You just need to know what results to expect, so you don’t have the wrong expectation given the level of effort you are applying.  Same with the gym.  Working out 3 days a week yields different results than working out once per month.  You won’t have the same level of results.  Sometimes people will say that they gym “doesn’t work”.  When you ask them how often they work out, and they say, once per month.  While they have been going to the gym, sometimes for years, the once a month frequency is not enough to change the muscles.  Working out once a month is still better than not working out at all, but you should have a realistic expectation as to what level of results that frequency will deliver.

In chiropractic, there are many options and levels of results that can be obtained.  The level of results are directly linked to the level of effort the patient participates.  Because adjustments change muscle, the patients who apply more frequency have better results than someone doing less frequency.  Patients who combine therapies also have better odds of success.  This means a patient who does chiropractic, massage, exercise, stretching, nutrition, yoga, eats healthy, sleeps good, will have better results than patients who do just one therapy.  Once an acceptable level of muscle change is obtained, frequency can be reduced to maintain that level.

When we give patients recommendations, we always give the recommendation that provides the patients with the highest chances of getting the best results.  Sometimes patients can not comply with the recommendations.  Does that mean they should do nothing?  Obviously not.  If a patient could receive a 10, 20 or 30% improvement, that would still be better than where they are now, or from doing nothing.  The patient would just need to understand the level of results and have an accurate expectation.  The amazing thing with chiropractic care, is that any decompression of the spine will help the patient.  Any level of care will benefit the patient as some level.  This allows patients to truly be empowered to choose the level of results they desire and the level of effort they would like to apply.  What level of results would you like?

Dr. Michael Kwast, DC, CSCS is the CEO of iChiro Clinics in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of the book, 7 Beliefs Destroying Your Health. The iChiro team has been voted the “Best of Grand Rapids“, three years in a row. They have also been awarded the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan’s Trust Award for Ethics, and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce EPIC award for Small Business of the Year 2016

What Results Do You Want?

Seem like everyone wants the quick fix.  This is true on many levels.  What many patients don’t understand, is that chiropractic adjustments change the deep stabilizer muscles, not bones.  Muscles hold the bones in the positions they are located.  These muscles will make vertebrae pull to one side or the other, creating the misalignment.  Many also believe that your spinal vertebrae “pop” out of joint.  This can happen with severe trauma and is unlikely to be seen in a chiropractic office, as these patients would typically have paralysis if they had a spinal facet joint dislocation, and would likely be in the emergency room.  Nevertheless, I still hear the familiar, “My back popped out” explanation.  This is simply not how it works.  Adjustments stretch and relax the deep stabilizer muscles.  The problem with muscles is that when they have been shortened for a long period of time, and you then stretch them, the muscle will pull back to the contracted state.  This is why it takes multiple adjustments to change chronic problems with muscles.

Believe me, I would love to go to the gym once a month and reap three times per week results.  Who wouldn’t?  Unfortunately, not realistic.  Make sure you are putting in the effort, and frequency to change the deep muscles.  If you don’t, don’t expect the same level of results.

 

Dr. Michael Kwast, DC, CSCS is the CEO of iChrio Clinics in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of the book, 7 Beliefs Destroying Your Health. The iChiro team has been voted the “Best of Grand Rapids“, three years in a row. They have also been awarded the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan’s Trust Award for Ethics, and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce EPIC award for Small Business of the Year 2016.

I Got Knocked out!

Yup, that is me laying on the ground…not really.  But that is certainly how I felt after my last battle with a bad cold.  I typically don’t get sick very often, but this time I was down for the count.  There are many things you can do to avoid getting sick, here are a few of the things I do:

1) Wash my hands.  Many people are totally into the hand sanitizer movement.  I like to think of it like this, if you smear poop all over your hands, and then use hand sanitizer, are your hands clean?  Or, would you prefer to wash them?  LOL.  Realize that if you sanitize poop, it is still poop. And in a few hours, the bacteria will start growing on the poop again.  My recommendation, wash your hands.

2) Sleep.  The last few times I have been sick, I have been really run down with lack of sleep.  With two little kids waking up in the night, it is no surprise. However, I have found that sleep is a major factor for me and my immune function.  Everyone is different, but lack of sleep wrecks me.  Most adults need 7-9 hours per day.

3) Nutrition.  I personally supplement with D3, Vit. C, drink greens daily, and try to eat as healthy as possible.  I also take glucosamine to prevent joint cartilage destruction, and an anti aging product called “new you”  (IT Works product) which helps your body metabolize growth hormone.

4) Sunlight.  Natural vitamin D is best.  I like to sit outside in the sun whenever I can.  The skin cancer danger is in getting sunburnt.  Try to limit exposure without the need for sunscreen, as it can block the vit. D and in some cases the chemicals are  horrible.  Spending time in the sun without getting burnt is the best way to boost your vitamin D.

5) Get adjusted.  Regular adjustments can boost your immune system, increase blood flow, increase range of motion by decreasing muscle tightness, and help overall body function.

6) Massage.  Massage helps relax muscles and increase mobility, as well as increase circulation and lymph flow.  The lymph system is how your white blood cells travel throughout the body.

There are a multitude of things you can do to try and boost your system so you don’t get sick.  These are just a few of the things that I personally do to help.  Stay healthy my friends!

Dr. Michael Kwast, DC, CSCS is the CEO of iChiro Clinics in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of the book, 7 Beliefs Destroying Your Health. The iChiro team has been voted the “Best of Grand Rapids“, three years in a row. They have also been awarded the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan’s Trust Award for Ethics, and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce EPIC award for Small Business of the Year 2016

How did you get hurt?

The vast majority of the patients I have seen over the last 18 years reported that they hurt themselves doing very minor and insignificant activities.  Some examples are, picking up a pencil, bending down to tie a shoe, coughing, looking up, head checking the blindspot while driving, reaching for the remote, and many others.  How on earth do these minor things hurt someone?  The answer is interesting.  Many chronic injuries are caused from numerous small and minor traumas, overtime, that build up until the muscles give and become injured.  It is like the last straw on the camel’s back.  It wasn’t the last straw that hurt the camel, it was the cumulative load that was already there.

So what do you do to avoid this?  By being checked out regularly, you can find areas that are under muscular tension.  Once identified, treatments can be delivered to those muscles to reduce the tension and contractions.  This essentially, unloads the camel’s back, reducing the chance of injury.  Who wouldn’t benefit from that?

Dr. Michael Kwast, DC, CSCS is the CEO of iChrio Clinics in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of the book, 7 Beliefs Destroying Your Health. The iChiro team has been voted the “Best of Grand Rapids“, three years in a row. They have also been awarded the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan’s Trust Award for Ethics, and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce EPIC award for Small Business of the Year 2016.

Be like Grandma?

Frequently, I have patients come in with problems they attribute to age.  While age is a contributing factor, it is rarely the CAUSE of the physical problems I see in the office.  Many of the problems could have been prevented, or minimized if the person had sought out care sooner.  The patients are often upset that they didn’t know they should have acted sooner.  While some of them truly were ignorant, others simply didn’t see the problem as a priority until it became severe.  Here are a few of the things I see:

1)  Arthritis.  Many people believe that arthritis is from age. If this were true, then every joint in your body would be worn out the same, since all the joints were born at the same time.  What happens is the muscles around joints are often injured from activities we do in life.  These muscle injuries cause the muscles to shorten and tighten around the joint.  This causes the joint to become compressed.  The compression causes excessive wear on the cartilage in the joint which is called arthritis.  Most people ignore this discomfort in the early stages, or mask it with anti inflammatories and pain medications.  This allows the problem to worsen over time, giving the impression that age is the culprit.  By intervening in the early stages, joint compression can be easily identified and treated with chiropractic, massage, exercise, stretching, and traction.  This allows the joint to function, and wear out slower.

2) The hunchback look is a part of age.  While this is a common belief, the hunched over posture can be restored.  By utilizing chiropractic, massage, exercise, stretching, and traction, this posture can be reversed over time.  However, preventing the problem would be an even more fruitful endeavor.  Imagine getting checked out regularly at the chiropractor.  As soon as any joint compression or postural hunch was found, treatment was applied, while the problem was minor.  This would keep the hunchback posture at bay, and actually be acting proactively to prevent it from occurring.  This would make much more sense, than wanting for the problem to be severe.

3) Poor mobility is a part of aging.  The physical mobility work you do now, can pay mobility dividends when you are old.  The old, “Use it or lose it”, is very true.  Staying active and watching for joint restrictions is critical to maintaining good mobility.  By utilizing chiropractic, massage, exercise, stretching, yoga, and traction, you can keep your joints working properly, so you can keep your quality of life active.

Dr. Michael Kwast, DC, CSCS is the CEO of iChiro Clinics in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author of the book, 7 Beliefs Destroying Your Health. The iChiro team has been voted the “Best of Grand Rapids“, three years in a row. They have also been awarded the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan’s Trust Award for Ethics, and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce EPIC award for Small Business of the Year 2016

 

Trade your health for wealth?

 

Over the years in practice, I have encountered many people with physical health problems.  Some of the problems were quite obvious.  What was interesting, was how many of these people minimized their problem, or pretended it didn’t exist.  Why would someone do that?  Especially since ignoring a problem only allows the problem to worsen over time, and addressing a problem early, typically requires less time, effort, and cost to resolve the problem.  After many discussions, I uncovered these reasons:

  1.  Tough guy.  Some guys and gals believe that admitting you have a health problem makes you a weak person.  If it is not life threatening, then it is not a big enough problem for them to act.
  2. Put out the “hottest fire first” time management system.  Some people don’t want to address anything until the problem is severely hampering something that is important to them.  If they can still do the things that are important to them, at an acceptable level of performance, then they do nothing about the problem.  Once the problem is negatively impacting them in a way that is unacceptable, they start to search out solutions.  Sometimes the problems has to get severe.
  3. Fear of failure.  Some people are so afraid to fail, that it is easier to do nothing.  They fear being wrong.  They fear being ridiculed by others for perceived “wrong” choices.
  4. Do it later.  Many people believe that they will be able to enact some type of “life saving” medical care that will save them when problems become severe.  With physical problems, this is not always possible.  Getting a “new” knee, doesn’t mean you are getting a knee that functions like your knee did when you were young.  Not to mention, drastic interventions typically carry drastic side effects, risks, and higher costs.
  5. Maskers.  Masking symptoms with pain medications and anti inflammatories is not a long term solution.  Too many people believe that masking is fixing.  This path leads to liver damage, stomach damage, kidney damage, and addiction.
  6. The “Dutch” phenomenon.  In Grand Rapids, there is a stereotypical joke that all of the Dutch people in our town are all tight with their money.  Some people believe that they are saving money now, by not addressing their problem.  What they don’t realize, is that it will likely cost them more by allowing the problem to exist and worsen over time.

Obviously, early intervention for physical health problems yields the highest levels of results.  Developing communication skills to allow effective communication with people is one of the best methods to help more people.  If a person really cares about helping others, then time and effort in the communication arena is very effective.  It is sad to see a person suffer with a condition that could have been prevented, simply because they were ignorant.

 

Dr. Michael Kwast, DC, CSCS is the CEO of iChrio Clinics in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He is the author of the book, 7 Beliefs Destroying Your Health.  The iChiro team has been voted the “Best of Grand Rapids“, three years in a row.  They have also been awarded the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan’s Trust Award for Ethics, and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce EPIC award for Small Business of the Year 2016.

I am a “Break Fix Kind of Guy”…

Had a patient tell me, “I am a break fix kind of guy”.  I am not sure what that exactly means.  Does that mean you don’t go to the dentist until your teeth hurt?  Do you not change your oil until it is low?  Do you only exercise when you are overweight?

It is hard to understand why anyone would want to come in hurting, when it could have been prevented.  The only thing I can imagine, is that he doesn’t understand the ramifications.  By waiting till it hurts, you are choosing to have more degeneration and osteoarthritis.  You are choosing to increase your chances of injury. You are choosing to have less range of motion.  You are choosing to suffer.  You are choosing to have an increase in whole body inflammation.  You are choosing to have a systemic stress hormone increase. Why would anyone pick this choice, unless they don’t “get it”.  Sad.

Ideally, a patient should come in and say, “Please check me out, find any areas of tightness, restricted motion, muscle knots, and imbalances, so I can have those corrected, so I have less chance of injury and arthritis, so I can perform better in all physical activities, and have an overall better and more active quality of life.”

Why are you waiting to hurt?

 

Dr. Michael Kwast is a Grand Rapids Chiropractor at iChiro Clinics.  iChiro Clinics has been awarded the Better Business Bureau of West Michigan’s Torch Award for Ethics in 2014, and voted the Best of Grand Rapids in 2015 and 2016.  Dr. Kwast is the author of the book, “7 Beliefs Destroying Your Health“.  He has been a speaker on television, and the host of the radio show, “Shattering the Status Quo“.

Approaching Your Health Holistically

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Many people in Grand Rapids don’t realize that chiropractors are trained in so much more than just adjustments. Chiropractors are trained to approach the body in a holistic manner utilizing natural methods. In our clinics, we have observed that patients who participate in a holistic treatment plan, enjoy the highest levels of results. An example of a holistic natural treatment plan would include: chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, exercise, stretching, healthy eating, taking nutritional supplements, stress management techniques, good ergonomics, healthy lifestyle choices, elimination of toxic habits and behaviors, and good sleep habits. To give you an example from a well known industry, look at dentistry. A patient who only brushes once and a while will have different outcomes than one who brushes daily. Adding flossing, protective rinses, regular checkups, regular cleanings, and eliminating sugar from their diet will all yield the best results. So, the question is what level of results are you looking for? To find out if a natural holistic approach could benefit your specific situation, contact our office and schedule an evaluation. iChiro Clinics has two locations in Grand Rapids. The north office is at 4150 E. Beltline, Grand Rapids, MI, 49525, 616-447-9888. The south office is at 6750 Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, MI, 49508, 616-656-1830.

Dr. Kwast is the CEO of iChiro Clinics in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a wellness speaker for the Foundation for Wellness Professionals, and the Employee Awareness Association.

Is there a CURE for that?

 

 

 

In my Grand Rapids chiropractic clinic, I often hear patients talk about “cures”.  This is an interesting idea.  My first thought is what do you mean by cure?  Do you mean get rid of your symptom?  Or, do you mean fix the underlying cause?  What I have discovered, is when most of the people I talk with refer to a cure, they simply mean getting rid of the symptom.  For example, if you have a headache and take an aspirin, you have “cured” your headache.  However, if you get a headache again tomorrow, that really wasn’t a cure.

In fact, most problems have NO “cure”.  Think about it, does the cholesterol medication you take cure the problem, or do you take the pill forever?  Does the high blood pressure medication cure the high blood pressure, or do you take the pills forever?  Does the acid reflux medication cure the problem, or do you have to take it forever?  Does the visit to the dentist cure the problem of plaque on your teeth?  Or, is there more plaque when you show up 6 months later?  Even surgery can’t cure everything.  About 80% of patients who have had a back surgery will have another.  The idea that removing an organ cures the organ is ridiculous.  If you remove your gallbladder or appendix, you certainly won’t have that problem again because the organ is now gone.  Some problems have no cure.  For example, many injuries will cause actual physical damage that rarely can be “cured” or made 100% normal again.   Same with degenerative arthritis, you can often make the joint feel and function better, however, it will never be the same as before.

I was talking with a guy the other day at a store.  He found out I was a chiropractor, and started talking.  It went something like this.  Him:  “My neck is a degenerated mess.  I go to so many doctors.  If I thought you could cure me, I would come in to see you.”  Me:  “What are you doing for the severe degeneration in your neck?”  Him:  “Well I take oxy and get steroid shots in my neck every week.”  Me:  “Hmmm, how is that fixing your neck?”  Him:  “Well…umm…I guess it’s not.”  Me:  “Right, so the other doctors can’t fix your neck, but you still are going to them?”  Him:  “Yeah…umm…”  Me:  “So, let me ask you, if you could be 10-20% improved would you be interested in that? Even though there is no cure for your problems?”  Him:  “Well…I guess…sure.”  Me:  “So what is holding you back?”  Him:  “If…umm…I…”.

Most of the people I talk with are simply not educated on their problems and really are not informed of the expectations of results, and what is meant by results and/or cure.  Really, you should be looking for improvement.  Not only in symptoms, but in your mobility and function.  These all combine to create your quality of life.

We all degenerate over time.  So there is no cure for life.  Well, there is, called death.  So the answer is not to try and find cures for everything, but to try and make you last as long as possible, with the highest qualtiy of life as possible.  By adopting this mindset, you will set yourself up for an attainable goal to be your best for as long as possible!

lastaslongasyoucan

Dr. Michael Kwast is a chiropractor in Grand Rapids Michigan, and the CEO of iChiro Clinics.  He is the author of the book, “7 Beliefs Destroying Your Health“.  His clinics have received the 2014 Better Business Bureau of West Michigan’s Trust Award for Ethics, and Grand Rapids Magazines Best of Grand Rapids for 2014.

Knee Pain?

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In Grand Rapids, knee pain is a common condition that many people endure. There are many causes from slips, falls, injuries, accidents, and cumulative traumas. The muscles around the knee, the ligaments, and the meniscus are tissues that can be injured. By addressing the muscles and ligaments, relief and improved function can often be obtained. By combining chiropractic adjustments to the muscles, massage therapy, nutrition, stretching, and exercises, knee pain can often be helped. By using multiple therapies, the benefits are compounded and results are more likely to be obtained.  A great tool to exercise the deep muscles is by utilizing a vibration plate.  To aid in decompressing the joints, an inversion table is also a great tool.  Nutritionally, glucosamine is another tool to help make the cartilage in your joints be more durable and healthy.  Our Grand Rapids chiropractors have helped many people recover, be able to function better, and enjoy physical activities again. If you, or someone you know are suffering with knee pain, give one of our Grand Rapids chiropractic offices a call and get started on your path to recovery.

Dr. Kwast is the CEO of iChiro Clinics in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and a wellness speaker for the Foundation for Wellness Professionals, and the Employee Awareness Association.

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