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Chiropractic care and weight loss

Are aches and pains getting in the way of weight-loss goals? Dr. Mike Headlee, a Bemidji chiropractor, has some advice.

This fall, doctors of chiropractic across the country are highlighting how they can help patients focus on getting past the roadblocks to fitness and better health during National Chiropractic Health Month.

The theme for the 2010 observance is "Why Weight? Get Healthy!"

More than 60 percent of adults in the United States are either overweight or obese, according to statistics from the Center for Communicable Disease. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and some types of cancer.

However, many people are unaware that even modest weight loss, such as 5 to 10 percent of a person's total body weight, could improve blood pressure as well as blood cholesterol and blood sugars levels.

That's only 10-20 pounds for a person who weighs 200 pounds, Headlee noted.

Yet losing weight can be a struggle, and many people wonder where to begin. The answer for some may be in chiropractic care.

"Diet pills and extreme diets do not offer long-term solutions," said Dr. Rick McMichael, president of the American Chiropractic Association. "Doctors of chiropractic, on the other hand, offer natural approaches such as exercise, diet and hands-on care to help keep you active and able to achieve your weight-loss goals in the short term, and also help you maintain your fitness level and thereby avoid some chronic conditions down the line."

The effects of obesity on the musculoskeletal system -- osteoarthritis, back pain, neck pain and joint pain -- often cause overweight people to avoid physical activity and exercise when they need it most, Headlee said.

"If you're carrying more weight than the load-bearing structures of your body -- spine, legs, etc. -- can handle, there's going to be pain, loss of movement and degeneration in the joints," Headlee said. "Particularly if you're carrying most of your weight in your abdomen, the low back and the spine will need to work harder to hold you upright. This adds extra stress and tension on your muscles, which in turn creates stiffness."

Sponsored by ACA, National Chiropractic Health Month is held each October. The event helps raise public awareness of the benefits of chiropractic care and its natural, whole-person, patient-centered approach to health and wellness.

Headlee, who practices at Explore Chiropractic in Bemidji, is a graduate of Northwestern College of Chiropractic. He has been in practice for more than 17 years. For details, visit or call 333-8811.