Archive for March, 2016

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It’s no surprise that your chiropractor might suspect you have back pain just by watching you move. But identify the way you sleep, or what you do for a living? Yes, it’s possible—and no, your chiropractor isn’t psychic. It’s just that your posture can reveal a lot more about your overall health and lifestyle than you might realize…

 

  • You’re addicted to your phone.

One of the most common things chiropractors notice in their patients is a rounding of the spine along the neck and down toward the shoulder blades. “There’s a new diagnosis for this—it’s called ‘text neck,'” says Adam Nachmias, DC, a chiropractor in New York City. Technically it’s called “loss of cervical lordis,” which describes the flattening out—or even reversing—of the upper spine’s natural c-shaped curve that happens when you’re hunched over looking at your phone or working on your computer, explains Karen Erickson, DC, FAAC, a chiropractor in New York City. “We used to see this kind of condition in people who’d been in car wrecks. Now we see it in 8-year-olds.” (That’s just one weird thing that happens when you text.)

The average head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds, and, according to a study published in the journal Surgical Technology International, it creates increasing pressure on the spine the further you tip it forward. Tilt it 15 degrees and it puts 27 pounds of pressure on your spine, researchers found; 30 degrees, 40 pounds of pressure; 60 degrees, 60 pounds of pressure. Perhaps not surprisingly, all of this hunching can lead to migraines, arthritis, and neck pain.

Habitual changes like training yourself to hold your phone at eye level while looking at it and working at a stand-up desk can help, says Erickson.

 

  • You’re a writer.

Or an accountant. Or a truck driver. Basically, you spend most of your day sitting. “The human body is not constructed for long periods of sitting. It’s designed to move and redistribute weight periodically,” says Robert Hayden, DC, PHD, FICC, a chiropractor in Georgia. When you sit for long periods, your psoas muscles, the ones that connect the torso and leg, get tight, and your hamstrings shorten. And that can show up as a tilted-forward-at-the-hips posture. Doing lunges as well as yoga poses, like sphinx, updog, and bridge, will help elongate these muscles, says Erickson, which in turn will help straighten out your posture. (Try these 6 stretches if you sit all day.) And get moving. “Going to the gym for an hour doesn’t negate the health consequences of sitting all day,” she says. So make it a habit to get up and go for a stroll several times a day and resist the impulse to jump in the car to run errands that you could easily walk to.

 

  • You have stomach issues.

That hunched-forward position can also have implications for digestion: When your upper back is curved, it can compress your organs, leading to reflux or GERD. (Hack your gut bacteria for easier-than-ever weight loss.) “Once we work to release the muscles near the diaphragm and under the rib cage, my patients tell me that their reflux is much better,” says Erickson. “Your body is designed to use those big trunk muscles. When in use, they actually move blood through your organs and help them get the motility they’re supposed to have.”

 

  • You sleep on your stomach.

“While you’re asleep, the full weight of your head pulls on the flaccid muscles and ligaments that hold the cervical spine together,” explains Hayden. “That amount of weight on the delicate structures of the neck will eventually cause joint damage.” This presents itself as a head that tilts downward, as well as pain, numbness, or tingling sensations in the upper extremities.

The fix: a DIY body pillow. Nachmias suggests placing one regular pillow between your knees to keep them and your shoulders the same distance apart, which will ensure that your lumbar spine stays in a natural position, and hugging another regular pillow, which will keep you from rolling onto your stomach.

 

  • You’re out of breath.

Yet another side effect of that hunched posture? It can compress your organs, says Erickson, and cause your lungs to take in up to 30% less oxygen. Depending on your overall fitness level, she explains, this might make you feel tired or out of breath on a day-to-day basis.

 

  • Your lug your laptop around all day.

When you carry something heavy, you tend to hike up the shoulder that’s supporting the load. The habit can lead to misaligned shoulders, which will be visibly obvious, as well as changes to the curvature of your spine, says Nachmias. “Alternating the side of the bag will help keep one side from carrying all the weight and prevent a drooping shoulder or curving of the spine,” says Hayden.

  • You’re feeling down.

“When I look at someone walk, if they avoid eye contact and their shoulders are rounded and stooped, it tells me something about their self-image. It tells me how they feel about themselves,” says Hayden. “Your emotions can control your musculoketal structure.” (Instantly boost your self-image with these 5 tips.)

Being in the habit of looking down as you walk will also mess with your balance. “Walk like royalty,” says Erickson, who suggests keeping your head upright and gazing 50 yards in front of you. “It actually helps train your nervous system to use innate neurological balance, rather than relying on your eyes to balance.”

Source: Prevention

6 Things Chiropractors Help With | Prevention

March 30, 2016
posted by Admin

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Most people assume that chiropractors are good only for neck and back pain. And while they do treat a lot of that, there’s plenty else they can do. Chiropractic medicine focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and how they affect the rest of the body. “Many people don’t know that most chiropractors have postgraduate training and board certification in areas such as pediatrics, clinical nutrition, neurology, orthopedics, physical rehabilitation, sports/athletic injury, and acupuncture,” says Gregory D. Fox, a chiropractor and president of Maine Chiropractic Association and director and founder of Heritage Integrative Healthcare, based in Maine.

That said, while chiropractors can help with a variety of symptoms and problems, there are many things best left to the MDs. “Medical doctors are better at treating acute emergencies, infections, chronic diseases, fractures, injuries that require surgeries, tumors, and broken bones,” says Gabrielle Francis, a naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, and acupuncturist in New York City. Although chiropractors learn about the whole body, they are mainly specialists in musculoskeletal injuries. “Anything outside of this realm is better left for medical doctors,” notes Sunil Pullukat, a chiropractor at Chicago Sport and Wellness.

Here are a few reasons you might want to see a chiropractor.

Lower-back pain

This is, of course, the cornerstone of what many chiropractors do. “Chiropractors are able to do a manipulation to the sacroiliac joint—which links the pelvis to the lowest part of the spine—to relieve back pain,” says Pullukat. Some chiropractors are certified in the Active Release Technique, which removes scar tissue from muscles and relieves pain. “A combination of ART and spinal manipulation is a great option for relieving lower-back pain,” says Pullukat. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) notes that while the cause of lower-back pain is often unknown, some people do benefit from chiropractic therapy.

Pregnancy pain

Aches and pains go hand-in-hand with pregnancy, and often, improper pelvic alignment is to blame for lower-back pain and sciatica—the top reasons pregnant women see a chiropractor (see more treatments for sciatic nerve pain here). “The options expecting mothers have to alleviate pain are extremely limited. Many treatments, such as pain medications or surgery, have the potential to affect the fetus, so pregnant women often turn to chiropractic care,” says Jeffrey Langmaid, a chiropractor at Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, FL. Specifically, “the Webster Technique addresses the sacrum and sacroiliac joint, which assists with balancing the pelvis.” While there hasn’t been a lot of research done on pregnancy and chiropractic care, one study showed that chiropractic care can decrease the incidence of back labor (intense back pain during labor, often due to the baby’s position), while another study showed that 75% of women who received chiropractic care during pregnancy reported relief from pain.

Digestive issues
The nerves in the thoracic (chest and abdominal) region of the spine are linked with digestion. One study published in the journal International Surgery looked at a group of 27 people who had chronic abdominal pain and found that 66% of them showed evidence of a thoracic disc herniation—a problem in the area between the spinal bones. And two-thirds of those patients who did have a herniated disc had been previously diagnosed with IBS.

Herniated discs aren’t the only spinal issues that can cause stomach problems. “If the thoracic vertebrae are out of alignment, these nerves begin sending erratic impulses to the stomach and intestines, which may lead to digestive problems such as heartburn, bloating, and gas,” says Erik Schutt, a chiropractor and physiotherapist in Tempe, AZ. “Keeping the thoracic spine free from nerve interference promotes digestive healing and optimal function.”

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Neck pain

Spinal manipulations can ease aches and pains that are felt in the neck. One study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that this method was more effective at easing neck pain than medications—though trial participants found equal relief doing home exercise.

Chiropractors can also do movement assessments to see if the neck pain is truly coming from the neck or if it’s actually stemming from the shoulders, says Pullukat. Correcting the root cause of the problem will then relieve symptoms. One study from Korea Nazarene University found that patients receiving chiropractic treatment for neck pain showed significant improvements in flexibility and range of motion.

One thing to know: Some studies have found an association between neck manipulations and stroke risk in older adults…but other research says there’s no connection. Because of the conflicting evidence, it’s a difficult situation to evaluate, but if you have any stroke risk factors be sure that your chiropractor knows about them.

 

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Headaches

When neck and upper back pain are to blame for headaches, chiropractors can help. They’re able to use “manipulation with massage to loosen up muscles, thereby relieving the headache,” says Pullukat. While more research needs to be done, some individual case studies have shown that chiropractic care can eliminate headaches in chronic sufferers.

Blood pressure
We’re not suggesting you ditch your meds or give up your healthy lifestyle habits for lowering blood pressure, but some research suggests that having a conversation with your doctor about trying out chiropractic may be worthwhile. A University of Chicago study that looked at 50 people with high blood pressure and misaligned vertebra in their neck found that after one chiropractic session, their blood pressure dropped significantly—and the drop was equal to taking two blood pressure meds at once.

Source: Prevention.com

By Laura G. Brown and William Corbett

aprcnjThe importance of getting a good night’s sleep has been supported by countless studies. However, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s inaugural Sleep Health Index, 45% of Americans suffer from a lack of sleep. Impaired sleep can aggravate medical problems and interfere with the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Although there are many factors that facilitate restful sleep, including room environment, mattress and pillow, body position is often overlooked and is a key contributor to a good night’s sleep.

 

Sleep Positions

There are three main sleep positions – back, side, and stomach. Although back and side sleeping positions are recommended by most sleep experts, doctors also stress that sleep position should be an individual decision based on each person’s specific needs and comfort preferences. Here are the benefits and potential issues associated with each sleep position: