Office Life and Your Spine
It’s no secret that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t the healthiest. While most jobs involve physical activity — manual laborers, healthcare workers, education, childcare, etc. — it goes without saying that large swaths of the American population work in offices and hardly ever get out of their chair during a typical 8+ hour work day. For those that work in offices, if they don’t take extra care to exercise and be active in other ways throughout the day, it can lead to weight gain, poor blood circulation, weaker bones and muscles, a decrease in metabolism and a weak spine. All of these factors can lead to some serious health conditions. But the relationship between sedentary lifestyle and spinal degradation, decreased range of motion and negative impacts on flexibility are correlated. Here are a few tips to stay healthy at the office and stave off potentially crippling back and neck pain.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: daily stretches are your best friend. Take 10–15 minutes each morning after you wake up, before you get ready, to start your day off right — not with coffee, but with a few simple stretches that will improve your flexibility, strengthen your spine and retain your range of motion.
Take it one step further and do them at the office periodically. Feeling stressed and down during a rough day? Take a few minutes to stretch it out and do some deep breathing. Relax your body and your mind and let go of that stress. It may feel silly at first, but closing the door or going out into the hall to stretch for a few minutes can vastly improve your mood and physical health.
The benefits of walking and jogging are so numerous they’re impossible to count. Too often we spend the day at the office sitting down. Maybe we’ll walk to get lunch, go to grab more coffee or take bathroom breaks, but it’s not enough. Walking more is especially important if your form of unwinding at the end of the day involves sitting to watch TV, play video games or being on a computer. Instead, try to get in the habit of going for frequent walks both in and out of the office. After you eat lunch, don’t just go back to sitting at the desk. Go for a 10 minute walk as you digest to clear your head — invite your coworkers to join, if you want company. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go walk around the office for 5 minutes every so often. It’ll make you feel better, more alert and at the same time helps to improve balance and coordination.
Invest in an Ergonomic Chair
You’ve probably heard of them, but may not know a whole lot about them. An ergonomic chair is great for both helping to relieve back pain and preventing it in the first place. They are designed to improve posture and retain spinal integrity. You’re sitting for 8+ hours per day, so it goes without saying that you should be as comfortable as possible; and while you’re at it, be proactive in your health, too. Sitting down all day is unhealthy, period. Sitting down all day in an ergonomic chair is slightly less unhealthy. But combine it with these other tips and you’ll see definite improvements in posture, mood and overall spinal health.
Schedule Regular Chiropractic Visits
One of the best things you can do when you live the sedentary office life is to visit a chiropractor. When patients schedule first-time consultations with me, I make sure to get all the relevant information — lifestyle, past surgeries, recent injuries, pregnancies, etc. — in order to custom tailor a treatment plan for them. Each patient has different needs and chiropractic isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice. During regular visits, I not only administer treatment, but I’ll make lifestyle recommendations, provide advice on how you can be more proactive in your health, and show you how to do some crucial stretches on your own at home.
The health consequences of the sedentary office lifestyle are often flippantly disregarded by modern society, since it’s so commonplace in the American workforce. But office life with no supplementary exercise, care for the spine, or proper treatment, is taking a serious toll on our bodies over time. I can help you deal with daily stressors and prevent the health decline that comes with an office lifestyle. If you’re ready to take your personal health into your own hands, give me a call and schedule a consultation today!
How to Avoid Back Pain While Gardening This Summer
It’s that time of year again where the home’s best friend can be the spine’s worst enemy. I’m speaking of course, about summer gardening. Doing yard work can be cathartic and rewarding; hauling wheelbarrows of mulch, carrying bags of clippings and planting flowers help you not only beautify your property, but also to learn new crafts, get a good cardio workout and enjoy a productive hobby. But the wear and tear on your body can really take a toll throughout the warm seasons, so it’s important to warm up properly and take simple precautions to avoid back injury. After all, staying hunched over a plot of dirt all day isn’t good for your spine.
Stretch, stretch and stretch
Before you begin any sort of rigorous physical activity, you should take a few minutes to stretch. In fact, while you’re at it, stretch every day regardless. It helps you retain flexibility, improves your range of motion and gives you a better sense of balance, helping you to avoid injury during everyday activity.
But it’s particularly important to stretch before rigorous or prolonged physical activity. Generally speaking, yard work can take anywhere from a couple hours to a whole day. This is a long time to remain physically active. Whether hauling leaves or grass clippings, pushing a lawn mower, planting flowers or trimming trees and hedges, it’s important to prepare yourself to avoid injury. I’m not saying you need to do yoga every time you trim the hedges, just a quick 5–10 minute stretch will suffice.
Don’t go all-in all at once
You’re a hard worker. You deserve a break once in a while. Seriously, when you dedicate a day to yard work, take breaks every so often. Cool down inside, grab a glass of ice cold water and take a load off for 5 or 10 minutes before resuming. Being so focused on the task at hand can make time fly, but try to set an alarm on your phone every hour or so to take a break to re-hydrate and give your body some rest. It’s also beneficial to break monotonous tasks into segments. If you’re spending hours on end hunched over plants, it’s not going to go well for your spine. Instead, try switching activities every 20 minutes or so and come back to finish them later. Repetitive, strenuous motions should be avoided.
Take proper care of your spine
Getting regular chiropractic adjustments is healthy, especially during the warmer seasons. Between outdoor yard work and general increased outdoor activity in the summer, it’s important to ensure that you won’t injure yourself. Visiting a chiropractor will help you become more flexible and protect your joints from the natural wear and tear that comes with doing yard work and other strenuous physical activities. If you plan on doing some DIY projects this summer — whether simple gardening or tearing out hedges, consider scheduling a consultation today. Your physical health is my number one priority. I’ll create an individualized treatment regimen custom tailored to you to improve your flexibility, balance, range of motion, joint and spinal health, and more. Get in touch to get started.
Why You Should See a Chiropractor After a Car Accident
Note: ALWAYS inform your chiropractor if you’ve recently been in any sort of accident or if you’re pregnant — it will drastically change your treatment plan!
Being in a car accident is terrifying no matter what the circumstances might be. The best outcome you can hope for is to walk away with no injuries. If you’re unfortunate enough to sustain even minor injuries, chiropractic care is your best friend on the road to recovery. It is designed to heal many injuries that typically result from car accidents. Despite the severity of the crash, it’s a good idea to see a chiropractor afterward — even if you feel fine in the moment. Here’s why:
As noted above, chiropractic is perfect for injuries sustained by car accidents — whiplash, muscle injuries, back and neck pains, strains and spinal subluxations just to name a few. It is great for treating soft tissue injuries, which even small-scale accidents can cause. Minor fender benders can cause serious whiplash or other injuries to be discovered at a later time. In the event of a car accident, your adrenaline will skyrocket and you may not even notice that your body took damage that disallows your usual range of motion, increases your pain levels, causes tingling in the extremities and leads to serious problems later in life. A good chiropractor will know exactly what to look for during your initial examinations and while planning your treatment regimen. Be sure to tell you chiropractor that you were recently in an accident so they know to adjust accordingly.
In certain extreme circumstances, surgery is inevitable. However, if costly and invasive surgery is at all avoidable, consult with a chiropractor before making any big decisions. It’s a non-invasive way of speeding up the recovery process, meaning you won’t have to interrupt your busy work/life schedule, you don’t need to go through tedious post-surgery recovery, and you’ll hopefully avoid the need for costly and often-dangerous prescription pain medications. Even in cases where surgery is necessary, seeing a chiropractor makes for great physical therapy and will increase the rate of recovery by strengthening your muscles to get back to their former selves even quicker. It’s the ideal supplement to surgery.
No Need for Pain Pills
Say you get into an accident but don’t suffer immediate, emergency-causing pain. You think you’re fine but suddenly a few days or a few weeks later you’re getting sharp back pain or neck pain that wasn’t present before. Your first reaction might be to take pain medication, but that only treats the symptoms, not the source! If you suffer from any sort of pain, it’s well past due to see a chiropractor. The pain indicative of deeper injury and, depending on the severity, can cause issues later on. Pain pills can be expensive and aren’t effective for long-term health. Chiropractic care will target the root of the problem. It not only treats your current pain but will help your body become strong enough to protect itself from future harm. Additionally, you’ll be steering clear of America’s opioid epidemic.
No matter the severity of your accident, it’s always a good idea to schedule a consultation to be safe — even just for a checkup! Chiropractic is focused on long-term pain relief and core strength, so if you or a loved one have unexplainable pain and have been in an accident, make an appointment today!
Chiropractic Specialties and How They Benefit You
It’s been proven time and again that chiropractic care is the most effective, drug-free and non-invasive method to treat back and neck pain. But different methods of chiropractic can be used to treat even more ailments such as headaches and migraines, sports injuries, whiplash, sciatica, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, knee and ankle pain and more.
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to chiropractic. Each patient has their own unique issues, and since my practice is focused on long-term health, I’ve adopted many methods of chiropractic that are viable for any individual’s needs.
Massage therapy isn’t just relaxing; it’s also quite beneficial when combined with chiropractic care. In many situations, it aids in creating a speedy recovery from injury, it can vastly improve range of motion — especially in the elderly — and it supplements chiropractic treatments by relieving stress, inducing muscle relaxation and increasing the effectiveness of chiropractic. As an added bonus, it feels good, too!
Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation
I employ many methods of physiotherapy and rehabilitation to not only enhance the effectiveness of chiropractic, but to allow the patient to have more say in their health. Whenever necessary, I’ll prescribe patients various daily exercises and stretches so they can strive to improve without having to be in my office. This is because, while chiropractic is immensely beneficial, it’s not a one-and-done process. Particularly when it comes to recovering from injuries, constant incremental improvements are necessary. And since patients can’t come to my office every day, I’ll guide you on how to improve yourself at home.
One of the reasons I became a chiropractor in the first place is because when I was a young athlete playing basketball, I suffered an injury and experienced severe back pain — pain so intense I could barely walk or stand. After seeing a chiropractor, it changed my life. I made a quick recovery and knew what I wanted to do with my life. I know firsthand how sports injuries can affect your life, so I work with athletes not only to aid in injury recovery, but also to prevent injury in the first place and to optimize player performance.
Yes, chiropractic works for kids. Yes, it’s safe and it’s actually extremely beneficial especially before puberty. In times of rapid bone growth, it’s important to ensure that everything is in the right place and that the spine is developing correctly. It has life-long, positive effects on the child’s future well-being. As a family-focused center, we are trained in the unique needs of infants, children and teenagers.
I’ve covered the benefits of chiropractic during pregnancy extensively before, but many people don’t realize that it can greatly reduce the unwanted and negative symptoms of pregnancy including nausea, dizziness, back and neck pains and even morning sickness. Not only will it help the mother during the pregnancy, but chiropractic methods also strive to ensure a proper and speedy birthing process. By aligning the pelvis, it helps to shorten the labor period and avoid birth complications such as a breech or the need for a C-section.
Chiropractic for Sports Injuries
Athletes understand that what they do is very physically demanding and there’s a high potential for injury every time they do it. Running, jumping, swimming, fighting, tackling and exerting your body to its fullest potential takes a toll and often results in sprains, strains and muscle tears. When any of these present themselves, it’s easy to turn to painkillers to treat the pain.
But pain pills present health hazards within their own right, plus they only treat the symptoms — they don’t tackle the root of the issue.
This is why chiropractic is so beneficial to athletes. Not only does it help the body heal after injuries occur, it also improves flexibility, range of motion, and optimizes the body in order to prevent future injuries from occurring in the first place.
What are Common Sports Injuries?
It’s important to note that not only does chiropractic care benefit those that have already been injured, it also helps to keep the body limber, preserve range of motion and strengthen the muscles and spine to better prevent injury in the future. If you lift weights once, do you just suddenly wake up stronger and with bigger muscles? No. And likewise, going to the chiropractor once will not suddenly cure your injuries or make you immune to it. Regular visits and checkups combined with recommended at-home stretches will slowly but surely improve your body’s healing process as well as build strength. If you’re considering visiting a chiropractor, always inform them if you’ve recently experienced an injury, had surgery or have any other health complications such as illness or pregnancy. Get in touch today if you’re ready to take the first steps to a healthier you!
Maintaining Flexibility as You Age
Many assume that as we age, we become less capable of simple physical tasks. While it is true that the elderly are more fragile and are more likely to hurt themselves from slips & falls, it is a misconception that nothing can be done about it. For some, it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy; they assume they cannot complete physical tasks, so they don’t attempt in the first place. Being proactive in our physical health becomes more and more important as we age; and a lack of trying can become a major contributor to increased fragility later in life.
Aging is natural — but if you take care of your body earlier in life, you’ll be more equipped to deal with obstacles that present themselves later on. There are plenty of news articles about octogenarians that still run marathons, play hockey, go biking and more. We may think of them as anomalies, but they really don’t have to be.
Anyone can administer proper care for their bodies by staying active and eating healthy. Nevertheless, the body does still become slower and more fragile — that’s why chiropractic as you age is so crucial. It will help to preserve range of motion, improve your balance and keep you strong and limber.
How Does Elderly Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic works the same for everybody, barring certain circumstances such as recent injury, surgery or pregnancy. As our bodies age so too do our spines. This degeneration can cause aches and pains that make mundane tasks more strenuous, which also contributes to mental decline, stress and a sense of worthlessness. Needing help doing simple tasks or being physically incapable of participating in hobbies is always a downer. But try not to let it get you down. You have a say in your own physical health.
One of the main reasons that people visit chiropractors in the first place is pain. Chiropractic care will help to relieve pain by strengthening the spine and central nervous system. A regular regimen of daily stretches, chiropractic and dietary recommendations go a long way in preserving range of motion and strength, allowing you to keep up with hobbies you love and creating a more positive outlook on life.
Why Should I Consider Chiropractic?
All things said, chiropractic isn’t a cure-all; visiting once a month won’t replacediet and exercise, but it will help your body make the most of them. Chiropractic care promotes whole body wellness and is designed to relieve stress, strengthen the muscles around the spine, and reduce inflammation, aches, and pains. It’s non-invasive, drug-free, healthy and safe for people of all ages from every walk of life. Your chiropractor will create an individualized treatment plan that best suits your needs. They will also make dietary recommendations and give you daily stretches when necessary. While you may not be in the news, running marathons in your 90s, it goes a long way in improving your everyday life by helping motivate you to be physically active and feel a sense of purpose.
Just because chiropractic is useful as you age doesn’t mean you should wait to make an appointment. It’s a useful supplement for people of all ages because it’s all about preventative maintenance to ensure a healthy future. The earlier you start, the easier the aging process becomes. That being said, it’s never too late to begin, either! So if you’re interested in making strides toward a healthier you, then schedule a consultation today.
The Best Neck Stretches to Relieve Pain
Millions of Americans each year suffer from temporary or chronic neck pain. It can be a disabling condition because it will limit your physical abilities and take a significant toll on the mind. This affects all aspects of your life — work, social life and hobbies.
When you suffer from pain, it may be tempting to turn toward pain killers; but those only offer temporary relief. They don’t address the root issue and repeated use is detrimental to your health in the long run. As a chiropractor, my practice is dedicated to treating patients by fixing the causes of pain, not just treating the pain itself. I encourage my patients to employ stretches and exercises outside of my office for muscle strengthening, conditioning and expansion of range of motion.
Whether you have a kink in your neck caused by sleeping funny, you’ve had a stressful work week, or if you just want to get more limber, neck exercises are a great way to reduce pain and prevent it in the future. Here are some stretches you can do any time — even at work!
Standing Neck Stretch
This stretch targets the main muscles that contribute to tension pain. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width and a slight bend in the knees. Slowly tilt your head to the left, bringing your left ear as close as possible to your left shoulder while looking forward. Slightly turn your chin toward the floor and hold this pose for 15 seconds. Slowly lift the head to an upright position and repeat, this time to the right side.
To restore or maintain your neck’s range of motion, do head turns once or twice every day. To begin, sit up straight in your chair or stand up, feet shoulder-width apart. Take a deep breath and slowly exhale. As you exhale, slowly turn your head to the left as if you’re looking over your shoulder. Once your head is fully turned, hold the position for one second and slowly begin to inhale. As you inhale, slowly rotate your head back to its original position. Hold for one second. Slowly inhale once again and this time turn your head to the right. Repeat this entire process 4 times.
The Arm Pull
This stretch is done standing up and stretches the sides of the neck. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Let both hands hang behind your back. Grab your left wrist with your right hand. With your right hand, slowly pull your left arm to straighten it and gently pull it straight back, away from the body. Increase the stretch by lowering your right ear toward your shoulder. Hold this pose for 15 seconds and switch sides.
This is one of the easiest yet most effective stretches. You can do it standing up or sitting down. Simply sit or stand up with your back straightened. Look straight ahead. Slowly lower your head, bringing your chin to your chest. Hold for 15–30 seconds. Take a deep breath and bring your head back to its original position as you exhale. Tilt your head up so that you’re looking at the ceiling, bringing the base of your skull to your back. Hold for 10 seconds and then slowly bring your head back down to its original position. Repeat 5 times.
Shoulder rolls are one of the most common and prominent stretches among athletes — and for good reason. They relieve tension, stiffness and stress while promoting better circulation in the joints. Simply raise your shoulders up toward your ears and move them in a circular motion as your hands remain at your sides. Do this 5–10 times. Return to the starting position and repeat, this time rotating the shoulders in a circular motion backwards.
Stretches are great at-home exercises to relieve temporary pain caused by stress or tension. It’s also great to strengthen the muscles and build better range of motion to prevent injury in the future. However, if you suffer from intense and chronic neck pain, every day, there may be a more elaborate underlying issue — especially if you’ve experienced a recent accident or injury. To maintain your health, it’s in your best interest to schedule a chiropractic evaluation.
Why Chiropractic During Labor Isn’t That Crazy
Getting chiropractic care while pregnant has many benefits. Your entire body is making room for the growing life inside of you, which means that things will shift around; nerves will get pinched, subluxations (aka misalignments) in the spine will become more prevalent, leading to back and neck pain, nausea and other common negative side effects associated with pregnancy.
Seeking chiropractic treatment during your pregnancy is extremely beneficial for relieving side effects in addition to preparing the body for a smooth birth and shorter labor. Having a chiropractor after birth is also beneficial to helping yourself get on the right track to getting in shape and feeling good about yourself. But the benefits of chiropractic don’t just end before and after birth. In fact, in some cases, it’s even beneficial to have a chiropractor on standby during labor.
Please note: always inform your chiropractor that you are pregnant. It will significantly change the treatment regimen to ensure the safety of yourself and your child.
If the soon-to-be-mother experiences extremely long labor before birth, a chiropractor can help to facilitate the birthing process. Through precise techniques, they will loosen the joints and muscles in and surrounding the pelvis to allow for a wider birth canal, making it less painful and minimizing the risk of birthing complications such as breech deliveries.
Women that practice yoga, pilates or are avid runners/fitness enthusiasts tend to benefit the most from chiropractic during pregnancy because they tend to have strong, tighter muscles that take extra effort to loosen up. Although this sounds well and good, keep in mind that having a first-time adjustment during labor isn’t really an option. Chiropractic trains the body through intermittent adjustments over extended periods of time. It’s not a magical cure-all for long labors, so if the patient has never had an adjustment before they go into labor, it likely won’t have any effect.
Generally speaking, regular chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy and before labor will more than likely negate the need for having a chiropractor present during delivery. On average, mothers who receive chiropractic care during their pregnancy have a 24% shorter labor period. Taking precautions by seeking a chiropractor to prepare the body for birth makes for an easier, smoother process altogether.
If you’re pregnant, no matter what trimester, it’s beneficial to have adjustments at any time to make for an easier birthing process. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation!
Your Lower Back Impacts Your Life, Too
More than 80% of Americans will suffer lower back pain at some point in their life. While it can be caused by any number of factors, one thing is certain: it WILL affect other aspects of your life. It can negatively impact your job, your family, your personal happiness, and most of all, your overall health. In fact, the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found that lower back pain costs $100 billion annually, 2/3 of it due to decreased wages and productivity. The importance of subduing the pain and maintaining good posture, taking proper precautions, and getting periodic checkups can improve your life drastically.
Back pain greatly affects your lifestyle, causing you to become more sedentary. However, leading a sedentary lifestyle causes and aggravates back pain. It’s a vicious cycle that’s extremely hard to break out of without outside help. Sitting in an office all day without exercising causes muscles to become weak, depletes your endurance and increases your risk of injury. Seeing a chiropractor after your work day and/or on the weekends will help you to maintain strong back muscles so your office job is more physically tolerable.
This may be the most dangerous drawback from chronic back pain. Being unable to do the things you love — jogging, working out, hiking, playing sports, being active with your kids, simply running essential errands, etc. — can cause deep depression. Constant pain makes you more irritable and more liable to lash out at those you love, even over the smallest transgression. This irritability, anger and stress will inevitably cause muscles to tense leading to even further pain.
How Many Sick Days Do You Have?
There’s no doubt that being in constant pain, especially with something as crucial and all-encompassing as your back, is a distraction. If you work in manual labor you may need to take frequent breaks during the day or even take whole days off to recover from a project. This will result in a loss of productivity, loss of wages (assuming it’s hourly work), or it could even result in firing. If you work in an office, it could lead to taking too many sick days and a loss of productivity, ending in the same result.
The best thing you can do if you suffer from chronic back or neck pain is to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. They will help you manage and be rid of the pain so you can lead your life to the fullest — enjoy your family, have a great mood and be energetic and ready for work. The cycle of pain is real — let me help you out of it.
How Your Sleeping Habits Affect Your Spine
If you have back or neck pain, it can be hard to get to sleep. But what you may not know is that some very common sleeping habits will negatively affect the spine. In turn, improper mattress support and poor sleeping positions contribute to a vicious cycle of pain and lack of quality sleep. Back or neck pain are the results of many different causes, but if a recent injury is out of the question, one of the simplest steps you can take toward relief is proper sleeping technique.
“Sleep on a cloud”
One common mistake is replacing pillows and mattresses too infrequently. If your pillows have seen too much use, they won’t provide the support that your neck needs. Fluff them up frequently so that your head can remain in a neutral position, meaning your neck doesn’t bend when lying down. For instance, using multiple pillows may be comfortable in the moment, but if your neck is bent upward for 8 hours a night, it takes a toll on the spine. The same is true if your pillows aren’t sufficiently fluffed and your neck bends downward during sleep.
Additionally, mattresses should be replaced far more frequently than most people bother — about every 6 or 7 years. A sagging mattress is a surefire way to get on the fast track to back issues, so flip it every few months. Or more frequently if sagging is visible.
Set yourself up for success…
Alright, so you now have brand-new bedding. You tested the pillows and mattresses in the store and you’re sure it’s exactly what you need. Before you get too excited, it’s also crucial to try different sleeping positions to ensure that your spine settles properly during your nightly slumber.
The best way to sleep is on your side, with a pillow between your knees. Add another pillow between your waist and the mattress if there’s a gap there. It keeps your spine stretched and uncurved. This position has also been proven to reduce acid reflux and snoring — good news for your significant other.
If you absolutely can’t stand sleeping on your side, then try sleeping on your back with a pillow underneath your knees. This way, your weight is evenly distributed as you sleep, putting less stress on sensitive areas of the spine.
…but you can’t stomach it.
The absolute WORST position you can sleep in is on your stomach. It adds stress to your neck and lower back. If you absolutely cannot sleep unless you’re lying on your stomach, add a pillow between your pelvis and the mattress to relieve some stress.
These techniques aren’t exclusive to people that suffer pain — everyone should employ these successful sleep systems to help prevent pain in the future. However, a word to the wise: if you already suffer from back and/or neck pain, these techniques won’t fix everything overnight (pun very intended), so give it some time. If the pain persists, there may be a deeper issue at play, so schedule a consultation with a chiropractor. In the meantime, sleep tight and don’t let the pain bugs bite!