Monthly Wellness Topics

Your Ice Pack Can Be Your Best Friend!

If you’re reading this, then you have at least some faith in chiropractic care. Regular adjustments can improve on a healthy lifestyle for almost any individual. But we all experience those aches and pains in between our adjustments too. So what then? Go to the freezer!

Using ice packs for musculoskeletal pain can accomplish 2 important goals: reducing pain and encouraging healing.

While cold packs may not be all that pleasant initially, within 4-5 minutes the skin becomes numb. After 20 minutes, the numbing effect actually decreases nerve activity and therefore relieves the pain. By relieving the pain, muscles then relax and the tension reduces. In more acute cases, the tension may return after the muscles warm up. In these instances, multiple sessions of icing may be helpful.

#2: Icing encourages healing. This is accomplished through good blood flow. After 20 minutes, the body recognizes the area under the ice pack is too cold and tries to warm it up by increasing blood flow. This response lasts approximately 1-2 hours. In cases needing multiple sessions of icing, it is best to wait 2 hours between icing to allow time for optimal blood flow.

If you have any questions about how icing can help you with your pain,

feel free to ask Dr. Christy or the staff!

But how do you know when to use

HEAT or ICE ????

Both heating and icing are proven methods of pain relief.  However, the question remains, when is the appropriate time to use these therapies?

HEAT is for MUSCLES - Heat works well to rehab a pulled muscle, but should NOT be used on a joint.  Heat should NOT be used immediately after an injury.  It will make any inflammation worse, which in turn, could make the pain more severe.

ICE is for INJURIES - Ice works well to calm inflamed, swollen, red or warm to the touch areas.  Ice will not work on sore muscles or muscle spasms (it could even trigger a spasm!)

You should only use your ice pack for 20-30 minutes, then give the area a rest.  Let the skin return to normal, or about 20-30 minutes and repeat the process as needed.

Natural Homemade Cleaners

Have you ever read the ingredients (or the warnings) on the labels of your household cleaners? It’s scary stuff! “Warning!” “Caution!” “Hazardous!” “Call poison control….” Yikes!

How about trying something a little less terrifying? The common household agents listed below can be very effective in cleaning your home – and they won’t kill you if it touches your skin! Most of them are actually found in your food cupboards and are common ingredients in many baked goods!

Click HERE to download a list of natural homemade cleaners!

The Benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is packed full of nutrients your body needs – inside and out – to feel great and look great! Many people are aware of the benefits aloe vera can offer for your skin (treating sunburns, cuts, rashes, etc) but few people know about the benefits of taking aloe vera internally. Enter: aloe vera juice!

Aloe vera juice is completely safe and very versatile. It’s often called an “adaptogen” meaning it can adapt to whatever the body needs. This versatility comes from the fact that it contains so many different nutrients: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and more. The specific nutrients in aloe vera are vitally necessary for the body to do its work of healing itself. Instead of pumping medications into your body, why not try an all-natural avenue and let your body do what it is designed to do: self-heal!

Keep in mind, aloe vera is a vegetable – not a drug. It is all natural. There are no real side effects from drinking aloe vera juice when done in proper doses. It is recommended for adults to drink only 2 fluid ounces a day (1 or ½ oz. for children). Problems have only arisen for people who drink too much juice per day. It is best to drink it on an empty stomach, and then to wait 10 minutes before eating anything else. The taste can be rather pungent, so if you don’t like drinking straight aloe vera juice, try mixing it with a bit of honey, a fruit smoothie, or a glass of fruit juice.

Because it’s a vegetable, it is always best to buy organic aloe vera juice. Hy-Vee carries aloe vera juice or you can order it online to have it shipped to your door! Try or check out to see their vast array of aloe products! Talk with your medical doctor about starting an aloe vera juice regimen soon!

Here are 10 benefits of drinking aloe vera juice (in no particular order):

1. Detox Aloe vera juice is a great natural aid to detox. With our stressful lives, the pollution around us and the junk foods we eat, we all need to cleanse our systems from time to time. Some people more often than others! Drinking aloe vera juice provides a fantastically rich cocktail of vitamins, minerals and trace elements to help our bodies deal with these stresses and strains everyday.

2. Healthy Digestion A healthy digestive system makes sure that we absorb as many of the nutrients as possible from the foods we eat. Aloe vera juice has natural detoxifying abilities; and drinking aloe vera juice seems to improve bowel regularity and increases protein absorption. It also helps to decrease the amount of unfriendly bacteria and yeast in our gut. Aloe vera has been shown to help reduce and soothe heartburn and other digestive problems.

3. Natural Immune Support Aloe vera is full of anti-oxidants – natural immune enhancers which fight free radicals within our body. Free radicals are the unstable compounds produced as a side-effect of our metabolism. They are thought to cause various ailments, as well as contributing to the ageing process. Drinking aloe vera juice regularly gives the body a regular supply of anti-oxidants, which can boost and enhance the immune system.

4. Reduce Inflammation Aloe vera juice contains 12 substances which can slow down or inhibit inflammation, without any side-effects. Some people say that drinking aloe vera juice helps with their stiff, swollen or painful joints.

5. Collagen and Elastin Repair for Healthy Skin Drinking aloe vera juice adds a rich supply of raw materials to your diet, which can produce and maintain really healthy skin. The skin replaces itself every 28 days. Using the nutritional building blocks of aloe vera, the skin can use these nutrients daily to help combat the effects of ageing. Aloe vera also helps in soothing minor burns, cuts, scrapes and skin irritations.

6. Regulate Weight and Energy Levels Drinking aloe vera juice naturally allows the body to cleanse the digestive system. Our diets include many substances which can cause fatigue and exhaustion. Taken regularly, aloe vera juice ensures a greater feeling of well-being, allowing energy levels to increase and helps maintain a healthy body weight.

7. Daily Dose of Vitamins & Minerals Aloe vera juice contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12 (the aloe vera plant is one of the few plants in the world to contain vitamin B12), C, E, Folic Acid and Niacin. The human body cannot store some of these vitamins, so we need to supplement them regularly through our diet. The minerals found in aloe vera include Calcium, Sodium, Iron, Potassium, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Magnesium, Chromium and more… Plenty of good nutrition in aloe vera juice!

8. Amino Acids The human body requires 20 amino acids to build protein; 8 of these amino acids are ‘essential’ which means the body can’t make them itself. Aloe vera contains 19 of these amino acids, and 7 of the essential amino acids. So drinking aloe vera juice tops up your body’s daily supply.

9. Dental Health Aloe vera is extremely helpful for your mouth and gums. As well as its natural anti-bacterial and anti-microbial actions, it contains vitamins and minerals which promote cell growth and healing. There are some aloe vera toothgels available which contain a high level of pure aloe vera, which may help with bleeding gums and mouth ulcers.

10. Better than Nutritional Supplements Recent research has shown that adding good foods to our diets, rich in naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, is far better than adding supplements alone. The good news is that aloe vera juice is considered a food, rather than a manufactured supplement. So drinking aloe vera juice is probably better than taking supplements alone, because our bodies can absorb all the nutrients in aloe vera more easily, and utilize them more effectively.

Prenatal & Newborn

Chiropractic Care

Children can benefit from chiropractic care even before they are born – by having a mother who receives regular prenatal chiropractic check-ups. Adjustments can benefit the developing baby and help with delivery. Studies have even shown that regular prenatal chiropractic care can shorten labor time – and whether you’re the mother or the father, who wouldn’t want shorter labor time?!

There is a great deal of tension put on a woman’s spine while she is pregnant. There is added stress to the nervous system to meet the demands of a growing fetus, and a good deal of weight is added to the front of the body while relatively little added to the back. That’s certainly enough to throw anyone’s spine off kilter.

And then there’s labor and delivery. Muscles contracting, bones moving, ligaments stretching…. Giving birth is hard on a mother’s body, to say nothing of the baby’s. The birth process may be one of the most traumatic events of a child’s life. Even “natural” birthing methods can still stress a young, still-developing spine. The resulting irritation to the nervous system can be the cause of many newborn health complaints. Colic, unexplained crying, poor appetite, breathing problems, allergic reactions, and bedwetting later in life can often be traced to nervous system dysfunction caused by a malfunctioning spine.

During pregnancy, modifications can be made to the way adjustments are administered. The modern chiropractic tables naturally give to accommodate a mother’s growing abdomen. Special care is taken to ensure the complete safety of both mother and baby. As for the treatment of the infant, the doctor will do an exam to assess the movements of the baby’s spine and pelvis. If any abnormalities are detected, adjustments are done with gentle, finger-tip pressure. Many times, relief is felt almost instantly in the child (and parents!).

Why not give chiropractic adjustments a try?



Young children are explorers – always curious about a new part of the world they haven’t been yet. From the moment a baby can roll, he is forever trying to escape his current location! There are a lot of motor-skill-milestones achieved in the first 2 years of a child’s life: rolling, sitting, standing, walking, running, climbing. And of course there’s a lot of physical development that happens during those 2 years too! Regular chiropractic care can be hugely beneficial to growing children.

Head support, followed by crawling, and a baby’s first few steps should be followed by chiropractic check-ups (this is also when natural spinal curves are established). Consider how it would feel for you to fall from a standing position and land squarely on your tailbone…quite a shock to your back, right? Now consider how many times each day a toddler does exactly that. Sure, kids are resilient. But why let them “shake it off” if they don’t have to? If neglected, the bumps and falls during this period of rapid growth may lead to serious spinal deformities later in life. This can set the stage for scoliosis, “growing pains,” and a weakened immune system response. Many spinal problems seen in adults actually begin in childhood.

Chiropractic adjusting techniques are modified to fit a child’s size, weight, and unique spinal problem. The doctor will do a full exam of the child and will have lots of questions for the parents. Rarely would X-Rays be taken for a young child; exceptions may be for an older child who has sustained some kind of trauma or back injury (for example, playing football or from an auto accident). With young children, the doctor will use finger-tip pressure to adjust his or her spine while the child lies across or sits in a parent’s lap. Older children may use the high-low bed or bench for their adjustments.

So consider the benefits – do you know a child who may be in need of chiropractic care?

It’s always worth a try!

Chiropractic Care

for Older Children

As children grow, so do their activity levels! They go from crawling to walking to running in no time at all! They begin climbing and jumping, and then rough-housing and playing sports. Kids are naturally very physical and that can be hard on a developing body. Chiropractic care throughout childhood can help kids maintain their level of activity and well-being. It also teaches them the routine of regular check-ups that should be continued into adulthood.

When the nervous system is allowed to function properly – the body can develop as it should. But when nerves are compromised (do to a misalignment in the vertebrae or other bones), then organs, muscles, bones, and other tissues cannot develop properly. Think of how many times a child falls as they’re learning to walk (let alone playing sports, or just plain playing!)…every one of those times could be jolting their spine out of alignment. Bedwetting, ear infections, upset stomach, poor appetite, even allergies and asthma can be attributed to a spinal misalignment.

Chiropractic adjusting techniques are modified to fit a child’s size, weight, and unique spinal problem. The doctor will do a full exam of the child and will have lots of questions for the child and parents. Rarely would X-Rays be taken for a child; exceptions may be for an older child who has sustained some kind of trauma or back injury (for example, playing football or from an auto accident). The doctor will run his scope along the child’s spine to pinpoint the exact area in need of adjustment. Older children may lie on the high-low bed or bench for their adjustments. The doctor may want to adjust the child over the course of several days, depending on the severity of the case.

So consider the benefits – do you know a young person who may need chiropractic care? It’s always worth a try!

What's "G-Free" All About?

Gluten is a substance present in cereal grains (especially wheat) that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. Gluten has its hand in just about everything in our world today: bread, cereal, pasta, beer, sauces and marinades, even lip gloss! Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease of the intestines cause by sensitivity to gluten. While there are varying degrees of celiac disease, many people have an intolerance to gluten even though they’ve never been diagnosed, or have never even realized exactly why they feel so crummy every time they eat.

An intolerance to gluten means that the intestines cannot absorb the necessary nutrients from the food we eat. This in turn can lead to intense abdominal pain and malnutrition. Sometimes children who have difficulty gaining weight can benefit from a gluten free diet; once their intestines can absorb the food they eat, they begin to gain weight at a more normal rate.

How do you stay away from gluten? It’s not all that difficult actually. Start by reading the labels on your food. Avoid words like:

  • o Wheat (including duram, graham, semolina, and spelt), barley & rye
  • o Malt and malt flavorings
  • o Vegetable protein
  • o Starches (except for specified corn starch , which is gluten-free)

So what CAN I eat?

It may seem like a long list you should AVOID, but there’s a lot you can HAVE too!

  • · Broiled or roasted meat (beef, poultry, fish)
  • · Plain vegetables (unbreaded, and be careful of seasonings and sauces – they may contain gluten themselves)
  • · Potatoes (white, sweet, yams)
  • · Corn, Rice, Beans
  • · Fruits
  • · Breads and baked goods made from alternative flours (rice, soy, potato)

Check out your local grocery store – they may have a “Gluten-Free” section. Some items are more pricey than usual, but your health and comfort may be worth a couple extra dollars!

What’s so great about WHOLE-GRAINS?

Whole-grain breads aren’t necessarily that much better for you than white bread — unless you’re eating 100 percent whole-grain bread . A 100 percent whole grain means that the grain hasn’t been altered in any way. So it’s still got three key components for health: the outer shell (or bran) that contains fiber and B vitamins; germ, which contains phytochemicals and B vitamins; and the endosperm, which has carbs and protein. White bread, meanwhile, is made from wheat grain that has been stripped of the outer shell and germ.

Why is this a bad thing? When you eat breads and pastas made from this type of wheat — also called enriched, bleached, unbleached, semolina or durum flour — or rice flour, your body quickly converts this carbohydrate to sugar in your bloodstream. Your brain likes the feel-good rush of the sugar and sends out the message, more, more, more! Your arteries — not so much.

Essentially, regularly raising your blood sugar can damage proteins called glycosylates. One of that protein’s jobs is to hold your cells and arteries together. When the arteries aren’t held together properly, your body tries to plaster the holes with LDL (bad) cholesterol. The result: atherosclerosis, which means your arteries are hardening and thickening, thanks to the fatty deposits, putting you at a high risk of heart attack and stroke.

One-hundred percent whole grains, meanwhile, take longer to convert to sugar, are much less addictive than white flour/bread, and they also stay in your intestines longer, which means you stay fuller longer. That’s pretty fantastic, don’t you think? The bottom line: Stay away from bread or pasta that doesn’t say 100 percent whole grain.

Making Sense of Nutritional Supplements

Staring at the vitamin aisle can be overwhelming. Reading the label can be misleading. Perusing the ingredient list seems to require an advanced degree. So how do you know what to look for?? Here’s some help:

Stay Away From Words Like:



Calcium Stearate



Propylene Glycol

“Carbonate” and “Oxide” forms are not absorbed well into our bodies. Others are just plain toxic! But remember: no vitamin/supplement is 100% perfect – just stay away from these words as much as possible, especially if they’re in the top 3-5 ingredients. Beware of artificial colors – they’re chemicals extracted from coal tar (who cares what color your vitamins are anyway!) And watch for fillers too: “ partially hydrogenated oils ” (of any kind) are extremely toxic and have been linked to heart attacks and strokes!













Other tips:

  • READ THE INGREDIENTS ! Labels can be misleading (and are sometimes meant to be that way).
  • You want “ pharmaceutical grade ” (meaning that it meets pharmacy standards) – as opposed to food grade (okay for humans) or feed grade (okay for animals).
  • Be aware of what you’re taking together

Sugar’s Effect on Your Health

The average American consumes 2-3 pounds of sugar each week. In a word, yikes.

Sugar – in its many forms – is sneaking its way into many of our common foods and condiments: bread, cereal, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce…the list goes on. In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. from 26 pounds to 135 pounds per person per year! In the 1800s (1887-1890), the average consumption was only 5 pounds! Coincidentally, cardiovascular disease and cancer were virtually unknown in the early 1900’s (granted, medicine has come a long way since then…but still…it makes you wonder…).

The “glycemic index” is a measure of how a food affects blood-glucose levels, with each food being assigned a numbered rating. The lower the rating, the slower the digestion process – this provides for a more gradual, healthier infusion of sugars into the bloodstream. A high rating means that blood-glucose levels are increased rapidly – which stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin to drop blood-sugar levels. These rapid fluctuations in blood-sugar levels are not healthy because of the stress they place on the body.

It’s a domino effect: sugar raises the insulin levels, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which depresses the immune system, which allows illness and disease to run rampant. Again, yikes. In addition, higher insulin levels (brought on by higher blood-sugar levels) promotes the storage of body fat.

The Solution

Admittedly, it’s not quite as easy as “stay away from sugar.” So let’s make it: “stay away from added sugar.”

  • Stick with natural foods for your meals and snacks. Try having an apple, an orange, or a banana as a snack or side dish. Have squash but skip the step of adding sugar (you’ll come to appreciate the natural flavor of the vegetable!
  • READ FOOD LABELS! If the words sugar, sucrose, dextrose, or high-fructose corn syrup are in there, reach for something else. Honey (unless it is raw and unheated) is not necessarily a good alternative. It’s best to stick with unsweetened foods.
  • Shop smart, plan ahead. Plan extra time into your grocery store trip. Read labels. Select foods that are low in sugar in the store and it’ll be easier to select foods low in sugar at home. An apple already on your counter is easier and faster to grab than a candy bar that’s aaaaaaaalllllllllllllll the way down at the grocery store!!

Things You Need to Know About

Artificial Sweeteners

  • “Sugar-free” does NOT mean “diet-friendly.” In other words, you’re still taking in calories despite the absence of sugar. In some cases, artificial sweeteners actually increase your appetite. Some sugar-free products have ingredients that can dramatically raise your blood sugar (like the white flour in sugar-free cookies).
  • Aspartame is a common chemical sweetener with possible side effects that’d scare the boogey monster. NutraSweet, Equal, NatraSweet, Canderel, Spoonfuls, and DiabetiSweet are just a few examples of the aspartame products out there. With side effects ranging from hallucinations to seizures to brain tumors, it’s hardly worth consuming for the sake of a few saved calories.
  • Sucralose (aka: Splenda) is just as scary. Recent research suggests that Splenda can enlarge both the liver and kidneys, and shrink the thymus glands. In addition, Splenda can also cause skin rashes, panic, diarrhea, headaches, bladder issues, and stomach pain just to name a few.

Instead of Artificial Sweeteners:

  • Look for natural sweeteners instead . Things like honey (that’s raw and has never been heated), organic maple syrup, molasses, and stevia are good alternatives to artificial sweeteners.
  • Let your food go au natural ! Hold off on the sweeteners altogether and learn to enjoy food and drink for its natural flavor. Try squash or sweet potatoes without the brown sugar. Hate the thought of black coffee? Try tea instead!


We ALL know the harmful effects of smoking.  Yet every day, more than 3,200 kids (under the age of 18) smoke their first cigarette.  Every day more than 2,100 occasional smokers become daily smokers.  Help our future generations become smoke free, and learn how to quit yourself!

70% of smokers want to you?

It is often said by smokers, "Don't tell me why to quit, tell me how."

1. Quit at your own pace. Quit on your terms, but get the help you need, when you need it.

2. Conquer your urges to smoke. Gain the skills you need to control cravings, urges and situations involving tobacco.

3. Use medications so they really work. Learn how to supercharge your quit attempt with the proper use of nicotine substitutes or medications.

4. Don't just quit, become a non-smoker! Once you've stopped using tobacco, learn never again to have that "first" cigarette.

Quitline Iowa is a program designed for Iowa residents 14 years and older to help kick their nicotine habit.  When you join their FREE program they'll help you create an easy-to-follow quitting plan that will show you how to get ready, take action and then live the rest of your life as a non-smoker.  With Quitline Iowa, you get a personal Quit Coach.  These coaches are there to help you with what type, dose and duration of nicotine substitute to use, provide you with a workbook for reference whenever you need it, and expert support from coaches over the phone who specialize in helping people quit!  To enroll go to or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW

What’s all the hype about


Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are polyunsaturated fats that our bodies need but cannot produce. Therefore, they must be consumed through food or supplements. There are two families of EFAs: omega-3 and omega-6, which need to be consumed in a balanced ratio. The problem is that, in our modern industrialized food system, omega-3s have become largely absent from the food chain while omega-6s have become overabundant. This imbalance can contribute to chronic inflammation and a variety of chronic health issues. The most beneficial omega-3s that we’re missing are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Purified fish oil is the best direct source of EPA and DHA .

Relying on diet alone for your EFAs may fall short, even if you eat a lot of fish. Americans (especially those living in the Midwest) don’t get enough fish in their diet. And what they do get is typically farm-raised, lacking significant amounts of EPA and DHA.

The benefits of fish oil are many and varied: better circulation and overall cardiovascular health, improved immune function, better neurological health (including mood and memory), improved joint flexibility, and even healthier skin and hair! Omega-3s are also good at lowering bad cholesterol while helping to absorb the good.

So where do you begin? There are lots of companies that sell fish oil – so do your homework.

  • Look for third-party test results for purity and freshness (which monitors levels of purity from environmental toxins).
  • Avoid anything that smells or tastes fishy – quality fish oil products should not smell or taste like fish! The fishy taste/smell comes from products that have oxidized (become rancid).
  • Seek scientific research showing the efficacy of the company.
  • Support sustainable fishing practices – if they aren’t willing to offer transparency into their fishing practices, they’re probably hiding something you don’t want to support.
    The Vinton Chiropractic Center offers a variety of products by Nordic Naturals. They excel at these guidelines and many more – look for literature and samples of Nordic Naturals products at our front desk.

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