Easy Ways To Get Healthier This Year
It's the new year, yet again. That means that new year's resolutions to stay healthy, lose weight, etc are at an all-time high. There's a reason gyms and fitness studios see the most traffic in January. People tell themselves that they want to live healthier lifestyles, which is great, but their motivation and commitment tends to slowly fizzle out during the course of the year. In fact, a study from 2012 showed that nearly 2/3 of American adults make fitness-related new year's resolutions, but 73% of them give up before meeting their goal, many before even 6 weeks' time.
While this sounds disheartening, part of the problem lies in overzealous goal setting, which in turn makes fitness feel unattainable. Realistic goal setting and measuring progress in smaller increments is one of the keys to success. Here are some easy ways to get started on living a healthier lifestyle in 2019 and beyond.
Get A New Morning Routine
Living a healthy lifestyle is exactly that: a lifestyle. It's not starving yourself on a juice cleanse or participating in a fad diet only to return to old habits. It's fundamentally changing how you go about your day -- and it all starts in the morning. Are you the type of person that hits your snooze alarm 4 times before rolling out of bed, showering, dressing and leaving for work at the last minute? Yeah, that's pretty common -- and it needs to stop. One of the best ways to stay on-track with a healthy lifestyle is to start your day correctly. Start by:
Set Realistic Exercise Goals
Here lies the problem for the majority of aspiring fitness junkies. They may get a free trial at a gym, go for a week or two, and then become discouraged or intimidated despite enjoying their time. Don't go into it thinking you'll wake up at 4:00AM every day to workout for 2 hours before work. That's not realistic, you probably won't live up to that high bar (in the beginning, at least), and you'll begin to feel discouraged. Here are a few tips to keep things realistic:
Visit A Chiropractor
Regular visits for chiropractic care will help to keep you limber, increase your range of motion, and improve muscle recovery after your workouts. Chiropractic will help to keep you on track in your quest for fitness by helping to avoid injury and by providing supplemental assistance and motivation. Additionally, your chiropractor can give you overall health advice. For instance, one of my specialties is chiropractic for athletes. I make recommendations and perform treatments that are meant to bring athletes to peak physical condition so they can more effectively tackle their workout regimens. I also aid in injury recovery that may occur during extreme physical exertion.
If you're ready to get on the road to a healthier you, give me a call to schedule a consultation. Results may take a while -- the sooner you get started, the better!
This Winter, Slip Into A Chiropractor’s Office
It’s that time of year again. As the weather gets colder and the snow gently falls, it’s easy to be lulled into tranquility by the peacefulness that comes with winter. Unless, of course, you slip on the ice. An unfortunate byproduct that comes with these freezing Midwestern temperatures is frozen, hazardous patches of ice scattered throughout the streets and sidewalks. The last thing you need as you walk out of your house on your way to work in the morning is to slip and create a surprise snow angel in your driveway. But it still happens. In 2014 alone, there were over 42,000 workplace injuries due to falling on ice. That’s just in the workplace; who knows how many falls happen at home that never get reported or treated.
When you slip and fall (whether on ice or not), your body is susceptible to serious injury. If you experience an unexpected impact without bracing yourself, especially on the spine, it can cause serious subluxations, or misalignments, that lead to pinched nerves, vertebrae dislocation, and/or other issues. Ironically, your first reaction to slipping on ice would probably be to put ice on the injured area. And while that definitely helps with inflammation and may relieve some pain temporarily, it doesn’t help to correct the root of the problem. The spine is connected with the nervous system, so problems within them can cause significant, sometimes debilitating, conditions. I have extensive experience with treating injuries of all kinds. My individualized approach will:
Winter is notorious for causing an increase in accidental fall injuries. Take extra precaution this season by adequately salting your driveway, sidewalk and porch — but most of all, don’t rush. Take your time and watch your step when you’re not on your own property. You can’t always count on others to be as responsible as yourself.
But if you do wind up taking an unexpected winter tumble, schedule a consultation. There could be subtle injuries to your spine that you may not notice now, but will become worse over time. It’s better to be safe than sorry and nip those injuries in the bud before they become serious.
Orthotics and Chiropractic Care
In my practice of family-oriented chiropractic care, I’m able to treat a variety of issues in people of any age. From back and neck pain to headaches and migraines, chiropractic methods help to neutralize pain and fix subluxations (aka misalignments) in the spine. But what many people may not know is that chiropractic care can also assist in orthotic treatment to fix posture problems, foot and ankle pain, and issues with walking.
What is orthotics?
Orthotics is a medical method of correcting the bone and muscular structures of feet, ankles and legs using braces and other external support devices. It’s used to treat a variety of afflictions such as:
What is gait?
Gait is just another word for stride, or the way in which someone walks, but it is one of the major components of orthotics as a treatment method. The reason analyzing it is so important is because a number of gait abnormalities are caused by particular medical conditions. For example, Parkinsonian gait describes the posture and walk of somebody that suffers from Parkinson’s disease or other condition(s) that cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms such as chronic drug use.
How to analyze gait
One important part of analyzing the gait cycle in my practice is the heel strike to toe off. When I watch someone walk, I pay close attention to how their heel strikes the ground and then how their foot rolls to push off the big toe. Some may find it surprising that there are a lot of moving parts in between these two seemingly insignificant motions. The next step is that I look at their knees to see how they are moving during the gait cycle, especially if they have a knee valgus (knock-kneed) or knee varus (bow legged). Finally, I check the hips for rotation. Hip rotation will also play a big factor into how much pressure is being put on each leg. All of these play a big role in determining how that gait cycle is doing. Quality analysis means you really have to look at the entire chain (foot, ankle, knee and hip) to put the puzzle together.
By analyzing your gait, we are able to make more precise conclusions about any underlying conditions you may suffer from, which greatly affects your treatment regimen. We are able to analyze the way you (literally) go about daily life. Having improper gait means that your weight distribution is off and is probably exacerbating issues in the spine that stem from poor posture. By having a comprehensive gait analysis, I am more accurately able to assess any underlying issues to help improve your life on a day-to-day basis.
My practice also has the technology to do on-site creation of orthotics and perform your full gait analysis. Patients have been amazed at the difference they see when properly fitted with well-made orthotics. It also helps athletes train their movements properly in order to avoid injury and future wear and tear on the body. If you’re ready for your custom orthotics and gait analysis, schedule a consultation today.
Sciatica and Chiropractic: What’s The Connection?
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that causes pain in the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, branching at the buttocks and all the way down each leg. Typically, sciatica will only affect one side of the body, the pain shooting through the back of the thigh and throughout the leg. Occasionally, it can also affect the feet or even the toes. Although it’s sometimes described as a disorder, sciatica is actually more of a symptom of other disorders. The severity really depends on the person — in some cases the pain is constant and completely debilitating, but in others the pain could be occasional and annoying at worse. Even if the pain isn’t all that bad now, if left untreated, it has large potential to become much worse.
Chiropractic care is the safest, non-invasive and drug-free way to treat sciatica. But in order to understand the connection between sciatica and chiropractic, we first have to understand what causes the condition.
What Causes Sciatica?
The causes of sciatica vary, but there are a number of disorders and conditions that can trigger the pain at any time, including:
How Does Chiropractic Help With Sciatica?
The majority of disorders that cause sciatica start with subluxations (aka misalignments in the spine). Since sciatica is merely a symptom of a larger issue, chiropractors don’t necessarily treat sciatica — they treat the root issue of the cause. In my practice, I usually use several different adjusting techniques. There are a few different types of traction (to help take pressure off of the disc), and/or soft tissue release techniques to relax some of the musculature around the problem area. These techniques and modalities are dependent on the exam and my findings. I start by properly diagnosing what’s causing the sciatica, since this factor will drastically change the treatment method. Once a cause is determined, I’ll create a customized treatment plan specifically tailored to the patient’s needs.
If you or a loved one suffer from the nerve pain of sciatica, it’s important to get it checked out before it becomes a debilitating issue. Get in touch today to schedule an initial consultation and to start down the road to a healthier you.
4 Bad Habits That Affect Your Spine and How To Break Them
Back pain affects millions of Americans each year. While back pain is often written off as “part of the aging process” or “unavoidable”, there are actually a lot of common, everyday habits that contribute to the prevalence of it. There are a lot of factors that go into someone’s health and the same goes for those that suffer from back and neck pain. But by breaking these habits — and it’s not always easy — you drastically decrease your odds of suffering from back pain in the future.
Slouching is all-too-common, especially among those that work in office jobs. Sitting in front of a computer all day is uncomfortable. It’s an unavoidable fact. You’re bound to shift positions throughout the day and unfortunately, using a computer for 8+ hours every day will distract you as you shift into unhealthy positions without you even realizing it. Shoulders cocked forward, leaning in and head held forward — the worst possible position to work in all day. Experts estimate that for every inch you hold your head forward, you add an additional 10 pounds of weight for your spine to support. Over time, this wear and tear will cause lasting and serious damage.
To stop slouching, there are a few steps you can take. First off, if you notice at work that you’re slouching, STOP. Sit up straight, feet flat on the ground and head held high while you work. Take frequent breaks to do some simple stretches and go for a walk. Once you’re off work, don’t continue to be sedentary! Go work out, go for a light jog, go for a walk. Get the blood flowing and stand up straight. And lastly, look into an ergonomic chair. Many manufacturers realize the importance of good posture and have created perfectly affordable chairs so you can sit comfortably without sacrificing your spine.
Being overweight is one of the largest causes of back pain in Americans because it heavily restricts their movement. They lose flexibility and the ability to really bend the spine, which it needs to do in order to stay limber. Additionally, overweight people are less likely to exercise and are more likely in general to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity contributes to joint and muscle stiffness, which can create weakness and fragility in the spine. Additionally, the spine is also responsible for carrying the majority of a person’s weight. Having excess weight in addition to a weakening spine creates a perfect storm for conditions such as osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.
So, to start improving your spinal health, it’s important to take care of other aspects of your body. People tend to forget that the body is all interconnected — by improving one thing, you improve other things too. Simply by eating healthier, quitting smoking and getting some exercise you’ll drastically improve your overall health and your spine will thank you!
Yes, working out and improving your overall health is important to your spine’s integrity. But don’t forget that you need to work out properly! Whether you work in general labor or go to a gym, know that lifting with your back is EXTREMELY unsafe and can lead to serious injury. To learn more about proper lifting techniques in any situation, let your legs do all the work.
Never Seeing A Chiropractor
Sure, you may say I’m biased, but the truth is unavoidable: chiropractic is the best drug-free, non-invasive and safest method of treating back pain, strengthening the spine and avoiding future injuries. Schedule a consultation today to begin a road to a healthier you.
The Most Common Causes of Back Pain
It’s estimated that at any given time, around 31 million Americans are afflicted with back pain. It could be a one-time instance or it could be chronic. But considering that lower back pain is the most common cause of disability in the United States, it’s not something one can simply ignore. But why is back pain so common among Americans? What causes it?
Well, consider these questions answered and read on to find out!
Torn Muscles and/or Ligaments
The most common causes of back pain are torn muscles and ligaments. It’s actually one of the most common complaints that healthcare professionals receive. Now, you may be thinking back on all the advice you’ve heard throughout your life: “lift with your knees, not your back”, “always stretch before working out”, etc. While, yes, improper lifting technique can tear muscles and cause lower back pain, muscle tearing can also slowly develop over time. They don’t have to suddenly strike. Torn muscles in the back are commonly caused by:
Your spine is made up of stacks of bones (vertebrae) and discs — a jelly-like substance that acts as a cushion between each of the stacked vertebrae. Each disc is contained within a tough exterior casing. A herniated disc is when the soft jelly within the disc leaks out of a tear in the exterior. The protruding jelly will begin to put pressure on nerves in the spine which can cause pain, tingling or numbness in the extremities. Some people can suffer from herniated discs and not even realize it — but if you experience pain, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, it’s time to see a chiropractor!
Sure, injuries are a major cause of sudden and (hopefully) temporary back pain, but many people live with chronic conditions and illnesses that cause constant pain. Some of the most common back pain causing conditions:
If you’ve recently suffered an injury or if you’re affected by pain-causing conditions, you don’t have to live with the pain. A well-trained chiropractor will be able to bring you pain relief using safe, non-invasive and drug-free techniques. As a family-oriented chiropractor, my practice can treat all members of the family, regardless of age — from infants and kids to teens, adults and seniors. Stop living with pain and take some steps to a healthier you by scheduling a consultation today.
Are You Harming Yourself When You Crack Your Joints?
An estimated 25–54% of people crack their knuckles on a daily basis, most of them being males. To some, waking up and stretching, cracking and popping their knuckles, back, neck and other parts of the body just feels good and comes naturally. “Don’t do that, you’ll get arthritis!” you may have heard people say. It comes off as an old wives’ tale, but does it actually hold any weight? Does cracking your knuckles (or other parts of the body) actually do long-term damage? Here I’ll address the facts and fiction of cracking joints.
What causes cracking in joints?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what causes the popping sounds when you crack your joints — a mystery that still isn’t 100% solved, but there are a couple of leading theories. The first one involves synovial fluid bubbles. Synovial fluid is a viscous fluid found in synovial joints, which are the most movable types such as the shoulders, knees, wrists, etc. When a joint is pulled, gas present inside of the join is released, forming gas bubbles within the synovial fluid. The presence of the bubbles and the sudden change of pressure causes them to burst, which in turn cause the popping sound you hear when you crack your knuckles.
Another, more probable, theory involves something called cavitation. This is when cavities form inside of a joint when pulled, bent, twisted or otherwise manipulated. These cavities are formed within the synovial fluid and then rapidly collapse, creating the sharp audible popping sound.
Is it safe to crack your knuckles (or other joints)?
The claim that cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis is not supported by any scientific evidence. However, in a study done in 2011, it was found that knuckle crackers are more likely to have chronic hand swelling and lower grip strength than those who do not habitually crack their knuckles. That being said, the study also failed to acknowledge that since knuckle cracking is often used as a stress reliever, habitual knuckle crackers were also more likely to take part in other activities such as manual labor, smoking, nail biting and alcohol consumption which may be the main factors in swollen hands and grip strength. This means that cracking your knuckles is correlated with hand issues, but is not necessarily the cause of them. But all in all, no, cracking your knuckles will not give you arthritis.
While cracking your knuckles has been found to be relatively harmless, other things can cause a snapping or a popping sound, such as when tendons snap over joints. In some cases, people may notice a consistent popping in their joint as they work out. For instance, if you feel/hear your shoulder popping over and over again as you lift weights, it could indicate that the muscles are tight and some extra stretching may be needed before you begin your workout. If the snapping becomes painful and radiates to other parts of the body, cease the workout immediately, take a warm shower to loosen the muscles, and visit a chiropractor. Painful popping in the joints could indicate a torn muscle or other injury. Your chiropractor can help to heal it to get you back on track.
For any further questions or to schedule a consultation, give me a call. I’ll help to develop a personalized treatment regimen that will help you become more limber, coordinated and balanced.
Back to School Tips On How To Avoid Backpack Back Pain
’Tis the season yet again. No, not holiday season. This season is arguably more exciting for parents — I’m speaking of course about back-to-school season! As we all finish up our last-minute shopping for new clothes, accessories and school supplies, it’s important to be aware of the impact heavy backpacks have on our children. Kids wear heavy backpacks to, from and during school for hours on end, 5 days a week. It truly does take a toll on kids’ posture and spinal health. In fact, during a study in Riverside, CA, an estimated 64% of children aged 11–15 complained that they had experienced back pain at some point due to their backpack — 2 of every 5 kids said they experience regular pain WHILE wearing their backpack. This pattern of behavior is not only painful in the short term, it has serious ramifications later on in life. Back pain is a serious matter, so it’s important to avoid bad habits — the earlier the better. Here are some tips to save your child’s spine this school year.
Studies have shown that backpack weight really starts to become harmful when it exceeds 20% of the carrier’s body weight. Most experts recommend sticking to 10–15%. So try leaving the heavy textbooks in the locker if they’re not needed for homework; and if they absolutely ARE needed, try to place the heavier books as close to the back as possible. If the majority of weight is placed away from the spine, the body tends to naturally bend forward to compensate. Over time, this leads to spinal subluxations and can do some real damage to the back muscles.
Get a rolling bag
Obviously the most productive thing you can do is to completely eliminate the need to carry large amounts of weight on your back. That’s where rolling bags/backpacks come into play. Students are able to carry everything they need without having to endure back pain day in and day out.
Buy a higher quality bag
Get a backpack that’s made of sturdy, lighter material. Ensure that the straps are padded and that your child always wears the bag with two straps on the shoulders. Using only one strap will cause uneven weight distribution and such lopsided weight will cause problems in the spine. Additionally, be sure to adjust the backpack straps so that they’re fit snugly around the shoulders, so the bag can’t sway or flop around.
These simple steps are easy to take and they’ll help your child’s spine in the long-term. If your child has already complained about back pain, they may need extra help. As a family-oriented chiropractor, my practice is viable for people of all ages — from toddlers to kids to teenagers to adults. Get in touch to schedule a consultation today!
Elderly Chiropractic: Is It Safe?
I take pride in the fact that my chiropractic practice is family-oriented. This means that I can help anybody in the family — from toddlers and kids to teenagers, adults and even senior citizens. Many older people have the mindset that it’s either too late in life for them to get help with their pain issues, or that chiropractic care is harmful to elderly, frail bodies. But this is at best a misconception. Chiropractic care is helpful for people of all ages, even if you think it’s “too late”.
The vast majority of chiropractic patients make their appointments in the first place because of pain issues. The fact that 80% or more of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives says it all. Take into account that the elderly do, in fact, become more fragile as they age, and there’s no surprise that pain and chronic conditions such as arthritis become much more common. Daily tasks may become more difficult, pain becomes prevalent and in many cases, multiple medications are taken daily.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. I custom tailor each of my treatments according to the needs of each individual. This means that if I need to be gentle, I’ll be gentle. If you suffer from arthritis, I’ll forgo certain techniques and implement others. My job is to ensure treatment — even if it is supplementary working with other types of pain remedies. I will fix the subluxations that affect the spine, relieving pain and inflammation using drug-free and non-invasive methods.
Improve Range of Motion, Coordination and Balance
Because bones grow fragile and muscles become weaker as we age, it only comes naturally that range of motion decreases and balance becomes harder to maintain. An estimated 33% of seniors fall down each year; and when flexibility and fragility are increased, so too is the chance of serious injury.
Chiropractic care aims not only to relieve pain, but to strengthen the muscles around the spine by prescribing simple daily stretches and exercises. They don’t take long to do, but they go a very long way in improving balance to decrease the odds of falling down. And since the exercises strengthen the muscles, they also help to neutralize any severe injuries that come with falling down.
Stay Out of The Nursing Home
A study titled “Chiropractic for the Elderly” was done in the Journal called Topics of Clinical Chiropractic. In it, they found that senior citizens showed a decrease in the severity of arthritis in those that had received regular chiropractic care as they aged. Other findings included:
So it’s never too late to start improving your range of motion, relieving pain, or decreasing the severity of your chronic condition. Chiropractic aims to strengthen your spine and increase healthy activity in general, so if you’re ready to start on the path to a healthy you, give me a call today!
Back Pain Statistics in the US
Chronic back pain is a serious affliction that can greatly impact not only your physical health, but also other aspects of your life. It affects millions of Americans each year; and while there are numerous causes to each case, one thing is certain: lower back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease. Far too many people turn to harmful painkillers for relief, unaware that there are sufficient, drug-free alternatives. Painkillers merely treat the symptoms — it doesn’t acknowledge the root of the problem. It’s important to recognize how common chronic back pain is in order to raise awareness about feasible, non-invasive and drug-free remedies such as chiropractic.
Back Pain By the Numbers
Most Common Causes of Back Pain
Fitness level: back pain is more common in those that don’t exercise very often. Constant exercise helps to strengthen the core muscles that support the spine. Even going for a walk every day will go a long way in maintaining spinal health.
Rapid weight gain: obesity and sudden weight gain can put a lot of stress on the spine and neck.
Smoking: smoking restricts oxygen flow to the spinal tissue.
Inactive lifestyle: desk jobs with uncomfortable seats or those with poor posture are more susceptible to back pain.
Genetic disorders: arthritis and other genetic disorders can be at play when it comes to back pain.
Bulging or ruptured disks: since these disks are protective cushions for the vertebrae, ruptured or bulging ones can cause nerve pain within the spine.
Improper lifting: always lift with your legs, not your back. Repetitive, strenuous and improper movement will put you at higher risk.