Clinic News Aug/Sept 2013

Jaw Pain  and Chiropractic

Does it hurt when you chew, open wide to yawn or use your jaw? Do you have pain or soreness in front of the ear or cheek? Do you have pain or soreness in your teeth? Does your jaw make noises loud enough to bother you or those around you?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
Signs may include:
• Radiating pain in the face, neck, or shoulders;
• Limited movement or locking of the jaw;
• Painful clicking or grating when opening or closing the mouth;
• A significant change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together;
• Headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing problems and difficulty swallowing.
For most people, pain or discomfort in the jaw muscles or joints is temporary and it may occur in cycles which will resolve once you stop moving the area. However, some people can develop chronic symptoms called TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders). In our office, we will help to determine the cause of you pain and provide conservative treatment if needed.
What Causes TMD?
Researchers agree that TMD falls into three categories:
• Myofascial pain—discomfort or pain in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and shoulders;
• A dislocated jaw or displaced disc- usually from a trauma: such as motor vehicle accidents, slip or fall, sports injury;
• Degenerative joint disease—rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the jaw joint.
In most cases, we can help relieve the symptoms with conservative treatment and we find that the following home care instructions are helpful.
1. Apply ice to the jaw to reduce inflammation and lessen the pain.
2. Avoid harmful joint movements; such as biting on an apple or hard candy.

All Sweeteners Are Not Created Equal
By Dawn Fichter, DC

Many people have been asking about Nectresse, the new monkfruit Sweetener! Is it really healthier than table sugar or Sucralose? Let’s find out.Nectresse is made by the makers of Splenda in response to the success of Stevia sweeteners on the market. It is said to be 100% natural and made from Monk Fruit. The problem is in the manufacturing. We can take even natural products like honey, maple syrup and molasses and move them from the natural state to a highly refined product by the way we process them and sell them in stores.
Monk fruit, like stevia, is 300 times sweeter than refined sugar. Lo Han sweetener and monk fruit sweetener have long been used in China and contain beneficial antioxidants. However, Nectresse, isn’t simply monk fruit. It also contains molasses, sugar and erythritol.
You might be wondering, how can this sugar substitute have 0 calories if it contains sugar? First of all, food producers can say something has 0 calories if it contains less than 5 calories per half teaspoon. Secondly, the sugar alcohol erythritol interferes with your body’s absorption of sugar, further lowering caloric intake. The problem with erythritol is that your body can’t completely absorb it and it can ferment in your digestive tract, causing bloating, diarrhea and gas. This kind of fermentation also raises acidity in your body.
Because foods are considered safe until proven otherwise, many food derivatives are put on the market without research beforehand. There just hasn’t been enough long-term and credible studies of many sugar substitutes. Of the studies that do exist, the FDA doesn’t consider those because they aren’t controlled and the results have not been validated by other researchers. Yale scientist Qing Yang conducted a mini-review of artificial sweeteners in 2010. He found that most of these were discovered when scientists violated laboratory protocol by tasting these substances and that most were never intended to be food products. Saccharin, for instance, came from research on coal tar derivatives. A scientist studying ulcer drugs produced aspartame and sucralose, and Splenda, was generated from a search for new pesticides.
While very direct physical effects may not yet be proven, there have been several substantiated studies that link the use of sugar substitutes to unhealthy eating and obesity. If you choose to use artificial sweeteners, please use them on a limited basis as much as possible. Also, make sure you read the ingredients of your favorite beverages; you may be surprised at what you find lurking inside.
Remember, we’re wired to crave sweet so you shouldn’t suppress that craving. Instead, discover the ways you can fulfill it as you’re meant to: eat real food. If you need to use a sweetener, consider minimally processed applesauce for baking, authentic Lo Han (monk fruit), raw honey or minimally processed maple syrup.

June/July 2013 Clinic News


Inflammatory Musculoskeletal Pain

By Dawn Fichter, DC

Inflammation is the body’s acute, natural response to damaged tissues. Most people normally think of this response when they have external injuries such as a sprain/strain or trauma to an area.
However, we are beginning to see chronic inflammation as a problem of the 21st century. Why you may ask? Our immune system is being overwhelmed by acquired toxins from the environment and our food supply. This leads to inflammatory reactions within our individual cells.

Science is discovering that chronic cellular inflammation can lead to health problems including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and chronic degenerative disease. Other factors that contribute to systemic inflammation include stress, inadequate sleep, and lack of exercise.

This systemic inflammation can then lead to inflammatory spinal pain. The fact that spinal pain may be inflammatory is evidenced by back pain patients who commonly find temporary relief with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). It would then be recommended that these patients embrace an anti- inflammatory diet.

An excellent example is the Mediterranean diet which includes olive oil, green vegetables and salads, fish as the primary protein, lean meat, eggs and cheese. What is absent in this diet is sugar, refined grains, and legumes which are overtly inflammatory. It is not an easy change but if you can commit to this for a period of 12 weeks, you will begin to see significant reductions in chronic systemic inflammation and its resulting effects.

Supplements can be added to support this anti-inflammatory diet. Examples include Boswelia, ginger and Omega-3 fatty acids which are helpful in reducing inflammation as well as pain management. For more specific information, I offer nutritional consultations. The initial appointment is 40 minutes and I will ask specific questions regarding your diet and overall health. Before the initial appointment, I do ask that you keep a food journal for two weeks. This will help me determine specific areas of nutritional imbalances in your body. I will then outline small, yet specific changes that can be made in your diet and/or the addition of supplements to address these concerns in order to help you regain balance in your overall health.

Electroacupuncture for Chronic Pain          

By Laura Camus, EAMP

On a recent episode of Dr. OZ, electro acupuncture was considered an effective treatment for low back pain. Electroacupuncture is quite similar to traditional acupuncture in that the same points are stimulated during treatment. As with traditional acupuncture, needles are inserted on specific points along the body. The needles (1/50th the size of a hypodermic needle) are then attached to a device that generates continuous electric pulses similar to muscle “stim” used in physical therapy settings. In the United States, electroacupuncture has been studied for a variety of conditions. It has also been effectively used as a form of anesthesia; as a pain reliever for muscle spasms; and a treatment for neurological disorders.
Traditional acupuncture has also been found to reduce some of the major inflammatory markers in the body as well as stimulation of the body’s own anti-inflammatory response. This results in pain relief, relaxation and the ability for the body to continue healing. The best way to find out how it will work for you is to try it! If you are interested in experiencing electroacupuncture or traditional acupuncture, schedule an appointment today.


Wolf Chiropractic Clinic Welcomes Lisa Bliss, MD

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Lisa Bliss.   Dr. Bliss is a Physiatrist (pronounced “fizz-EYE-a-trist”), or rehabilitation physician, who specializes in nerve, muscle, and bone illnesses that affect how you move.

The job of a rehabilitation physician is to treat any disability resulting from disease or injury, from sore shoulders to spinal cord injuries. The focus is on the development of a comprehensive program for putting the pieces of a person’s life back together after injury or disease – without surgery.

Rehabilitation physicians take the time needed to pinpoint accurately the source of an ailment. They then design a treatment plan that can be carried out by the patients themselves or with the help of the rehabilitation physician’s medical team. This team might include other physicians and health care professionals such as: neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, and physical therapists, massage therapists and acupuncturists. By providing an appropriate treatment plan, rehabilitation physicians helppeople stay as active aspossible at any age.  Dr. Bliss sees new patients by referral only.

Massage and Low Back Pain

                              By Colene Lange, LMP

Low back pain can be a very frustrating thing to deal with.  Repetitive movements like sitting, standing, and transitions from a seated position can be very difficult to do.  As a result, many people suffer with discomfort due to muscle weakness or disc conditions. 

Think of the low back as a teeter-totter.  Understand that muscles assist in moving the spine and joints.  The stronger muscles attach to pelvis and hip joint allowing for movement of the legs.  If any one of these muscle groups is tighter than another, then they will pull or tip the pelvis in that direction.   At the time this is happening, the lumbar spine is the victim of a powerful game of tug-of-war. And all you know, is that your back hurts. 

Massage can help by reducing this muscle tension in the low back which will allow you to move more freely and with less pain. 


January 2013 Clinic News

Don’t Let the Flu Get You Down!

by Dr. Fichter

It is that time of year, when many of us begin to have the winter blues and unfortunately sometimes winter colds and flu.

When going to the health food store, the natural alternatives can be overwhelming.  I would like to help shed some light on a few supplements that may be helpful for you and your family in restoring balance to the body and fighting the unpleasant symptoms of the flu and cold season. Two Powerful supplements to consider would be Zinc and Echinacea.

Zinc– Taking zinc, either as a syrup or lozenge, through the first few days of a cold may shorten the misery of an upper respiratory infection.  A recent research review of 15 studies also concluded that it is found to cut the number of sick days kids had in the school year. Zinc is believed to help fight colds by interfering with the viruses ability to reproduce in about 80% of all colds.  Experts, stress that more research is needed before the most effective kind of zinc can be determined, and they caution not to have doses above 35 milligrams per day. A great product I recommend is Garden of Life Raw Zinc which consists of 30 mg and is a whole food supplement.

Echinacea– Echinacea is a popular herb and can be used to support both short-term immune challenges.  Echinacea root is shown to boost the white cell count which assists in fighting against viruses and free radicals.   Alkylamides, a component found in Echinacea is reported to stimulate healthy immune responses.  It is also the substance that causes the tingling sensation in your mouth when taking a liquid form.   It is important to purchase a top quality form of Echinacea and the species used is very important.  I recommend Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea roots because they are considered to be the most valuable and effective species.   In our office, we have Mediherb Echinacea Premium for purchase and it is available in both tablets and liquid.   Please schedule a nutritional consultation with any further questions.

Boost the Immune System with Acupuncture

by Laura Camus, EAMP

Acupuncture is most commonly known as a treatment for pain management, but did you know that acupuncture can also boost the immune system?  There are many acupuncture points on the body designed to keep you healthy and boost the body’s natural defenses.  Acupuncture can also help improve circulation, metabolism and the digestive system all of which contribute to a healthy immune system.  Whether you have the common cold, a stuffy nose, cough or sore throat acupuncture can help. Try Laura’s home remedy on page 2 which can help relieve sinus congestion and a sore throat.

What are your Health Goals for 2013?

To work out every day, never eat another Twinkie?  Whatever your goals may be, they need to be realistic and obtainable otherwise we set ourselves up to fail.

I recommend eliminating the words never, every, and always from your vocabulary when developing a health plan.  We are going to have many good days and some bad days.  THAT IS OK, YOU’RE HUMAN!  DON’T FORGET THAT!


1) START A FOOD JOURNAL– This will help keep you on track and help you see where you are doing well and where you can improve.

2) GET MOVING– Exercise at least 10 minutes a day.  We all can find 10 minutes to exercise if we really want to.  A great place to find some 10 minute exercise routines for all fitness levels can be found on

3) EAT 4-5 SMALL MEALS EACH DAY– Include a variety of fruits and vegetables both raw and cooked. This will help provide a variety of important nutrients to sustain a healthier body.

4) DRINK WATER! – This does not include TEA, COFFEE, JUICE OR MILK.  In addition to those beverages you need on average 6-8 glasses of water a day.  We need water to live and our body relies on it to function.  Dehydration of the body is contributing to many health concerns including joint pain, disc problems, skin issues, and constipation.

Celebrate the NEW YEAR by developing a new positive habit and stick with it for 45 days and then it will become part of your lifestyle.

October 2012 Clinic News

Is your child’s backpack making the grade?

Carrying a backpack to and from school may seem harmless, but it can cause neck pain, back pain and headaches.  Remember, it is not normal for children to experience these symptoms.

Tips for a Safe Backpack

Lighten the Load:

A heavy backpack forces the wearer to bend forward. Choose to carry only those items that are required for the day. Each night remove articles that can be left at home. When organizing the contents of the backpack, distribute the weight evenly. Place the heaviest items on the bottom to keep the weight off of the shoulders and maintain better posture.

Wear Both Straps:

By wearing two shoulder straps, the weight of the backpack is distributed more evenly and it will help a child’s posture while wearing it.

Wear the backpack over the mid back:

The backpack should rest evenly in the middle of the back and not below the lower back.  The straps should not be too loose but adjusted enough to allow the child to freely move their shoulders and remove the backpack. A padded back reduces pressure on the back, shoulders, and under arms helping to enhance comfort.

Warning signs that a backpack is too heavy:

  • Change in posture when wearing the backpack
  • Difficulty putting on or taking off the backpack
  • Pain when wearing the backpack
  • Red marks, tingling or numbness

As Summer Fades…Remember the “Sunshine Vitamin”


The best source of vitamin D is the sun.  For decades we have been told to avoid the sun to reduce the risk of skin cancer but now many scientists criticize this approach.  We need moderate sun exposure by exposing our face, arms, hands, legs or back to the sun at least twice a week for 10 to 15 minutes. With the long winter months approaching, how do we do this in Spokane?  Because we cannot get sun, many of us have extremely low levels of Vitamin D.

Why is Vitamin D important?  In recent years there have been numerous research studies that show that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to osteoporosis, chronic inflammation, decreased immune system function, multiple sclerosis, mood disorders and increased risks for various cancers.  Remember, Vitamin D is activated by sunlight from the skin, which is then released into the bloodstream, where it travels to the liver and kidneys to become activated.  Production is increased or decreased in response to the body’s needs.

Many believe tanning beds are a great way to supplement natural sunlight.  Most tanning beds only give you UVA rays or UVB rays and you need both UVA and UVB.  The risks of tanning beds far outweigh the potential benefits.  The best way to counteract the lack of sun in the winter in the Pacific Northwest is to consume good dietary sources including salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and other fatty coldwater fish, shrimp, beef liver, egg yolks and sun-dried mushrooms.  Another healthy option is to supplement with Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Research studies are showing that most individuals will benefit by supplementing with 2,000 to 5,000 IU each day.  This is considered a very safe amount especially in the Northwest where many people have extremely low levels of Vitamin D.  If you have any questions or concerns, please schedule a nutritional consult with Dr. Fichter.