Chronic pain is frustrating. Back pain and neck pain can pop up as the result of an injury or from an existing condition, but a lot of times our daily activities are to blame. Here are six common everyday activities that you may not realize could be causing your pain.
1. Driving – Driving for long periods of time is sure to generate some stress on your lower back, especially if you’re not using correct posture. If you have a long commute to and from work or you are required to drive for extended periods, consider purchasing a lumbar pillow to place behind your back for added support. And always sit up straight with your back completely against the seat.
2. Sleeping – Another culprit of back and neck pain is your sleep position. If you’re waking up with a sore back or neck, consider altering your sleep posture. Stomach sleepers tend to have the most complaints because that position places stress on your spine - especially your neck, since you must turn your head to breathe. We encourage you to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees, or on your side with a pillow between your knees.
3. Sitting at a desk all day – Studies have proven that sitting for prolonged periods of time is detrimental to our health. Combat your sedentary day by moving more. Take small walking breaks every 30 minutes and use proper posture at your workstation. You may also want to consider using a standing desk.
4. Using your phone or tablet – Repeatedly looking down at devices throughout the day puts excessive stress on your neck, causing a condition we refer to as “Text Neck”. Limit time on your devices and when you must use your phone or tablet, hold the screen at eye level to prevent hunching over.
5. Carrying heavy bags – Whether you tote around a backpack throughout the day or have a heavy purse, your neck and spine can be at risk from the excessive weight. For backpacks, we recommend using both straps and keeping the pack as close to your body as possible. You could also opt for a rolling bag to help save your back. For purses, only bring with you what you’ll need for that day, and be sure to switch arms often.
6. Doing chores – Putting clothes in the washer and dryer, loading and unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, and all life’s other necessities are possible precursors to back pain from repeated bending and twisting. The key to preventing pain is always to be aware of your posture and work on correcting it whether you’re standing, squatting, bending over, or carrying heavy loads. One trick is to imagine that you have a fluorescent light tube strapped over your spine, from your head to hips. Try not to break the bulb when you move.
If you’re one of the 90% of people that end up experiencing back pain at some point in your life, contact us to help you pinpoint the exact cause and develop a treatment plan that helps you recover quickly.
Summer is winding down, and families across America are gearing up for the beginning of a new school year. Help your kids (or yourself) start the year off right by considering some of our healthy back-to-school tips.
Although backpacks are practical, carrying around heavy books and supplies every day can cause discomfort and injury over time.
Be sure to do a quick backpack check:
Encourage your child to practice good posture when sitting in the classroom. Hunching over the desk for hours every day is sure to cause discomfort.
To sit at a desk correctly, they should:
Safely Return to Sports
Back-to-school also means back-to-sports for many kids. Remember that if your child was inactive in their sport for a couple of months, they might need to ease back into it. Always encourage them to warm-up beforehand, stretch afterward, and keep their workouts reasonable for their conditioning level and age.
By being proactive in your child’s health, you can help prevent problems. If your child does experience back, neck, head, or joint pain this school year, please give us a call at 772-286-5277.
Chiropractic methods are traditionally sought after for pain relief for neuromusculoskeletal conditions or from pain arising from the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. But in the tradition of chiropractic, the WHOLE PERSON is cared for, not just a select region of pain. For example, when a low back pain patient first comes to the office, their history form includes detailed information about their overall health, not just their chief complaint (eg. “low back pain”). A thorough case history form will ask about past accident history, past hospitalizations, current medication list, family and social histories, occupational history, habit history, and a review of all the body’s systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, EENT, genitourinary, skin, digestive, blood/lymphatic, and more). Doctors of chiropractic treat the WHOLE person so when obesity is present in a patients, they see treating it as part of the healing process. Granted, the main focus is usually given to the primary or chief complaint, but we must look at all the reasons as to why the low back hurts, especially since, in MOST cases, the cause of low back pain (LBP) is multimodal (there is more than one single cause), though the LAST activity prior the back “…going out,” typically gets the blame. Also, most of us who have had LBP have had it more than once. In fact, most studies report that if you’ve had LBP in the past, you can EXPECT to have it again. That is why you your doctor to examine and identify ALL the possible reasons as to why the back was injured and manage everything they can.
In addition to all the historical information gathered, a family history of obesity is very relevant in these cases. Also, thyroid deficiency can make weight loss next to impossible since it regulates our metabolic rate and when sluggish, we simply can’t break down fat efficiently and fluid is usually retained (another cause for weight gain). Your doctor of chiropractic may ask what you and your family typically eat. Is it “fast food” or does it consist of whole foods in a well-balanced diet? How about snacking habits? These can “undo” a lot of good if there are abuses in that department. Chiropractors will often integrate exercises into the treatment plan as regaining flexibility, strength, stamina, and coordination ALL help, not only the LBP, but also allows for aerobic activity to be better tolerated and enjoyed. If you experience pain every time you get up to walk, you will react by modifying or stopping that activity.
To continue the example above, doctors of chiropractic will look at all possible causes for low back pain and address things like a short leg, flat/pronated feet, knee, hip, and pelvic issues as all of these can affect the frequency, intensity, and duration of LBP. These possible issues can also impede one’s efforts to exercise, and in fact, may worsen every time they try. Your doctor must FIRST reduce the “cause” of the LBP by decreasing inflammation (“RICE”: rest, ice, compress, elevate). He or she will manipulate within the patient’s tolerance to restore spinal and extremity joint function so exercises do NOT hurt. They can then guide the patient in the process of integrating exercises into their lifestyle GRADUALLY so he or she can identify any exercise that may be too much for them at that particular time. Of course, nutritional consulting with diets that may include calorie counting / restriction diets, the “Paleo” or caveman diet, low carbohydrate diet, and many other options will be considered. Discussing what the patients has tried in the past that seemed to work, as well as those approaches that failed, is important so they don’t waste time.
Chiropractors WANT to help patients find ways that can be continued for the long-term that they like, that make sense, and that work. THEN, the patient can be in control of their weight, their low back pain, and their lives.
According to research, almost 25% of people will abandon their New Year’s resolutions by the second week in January and almost 60% will quit before six months. Starting resolutions that are too vague, large, or unrealistic will only set you up for failure. If this has happened to you in the past, try setting up specific and actionable goals for yourself this New Year. For example, instead of saying “I want to get healthy in 2018”, break it down into smaller goals that you can attain by gradually changing some of your daily habits. Need some ideas? We’ve rounded up a checklist to help create realistic, actionable, and attainable goals for a healthier lifestyle in 2018.
Remember that you should not try to achieve every one of these goals all at once. Living a healthy lifestyle begins with one simple choice after another. Even choosing just a few of these to help you create better habits for yourself will put you on the right path.
Reprinted with consent by ChiroTrust
As exciting as the holidays can be, the added stress that comes along can really affect how your body functions. Whether you’ll be doing a lot of shopping, cooking, wrapping presents, or attending holiday parties, chances are you’ll be putting your body through a lot more than it’s normally accustomed to and all of this can trigger back and neck pain. Here are 11 tips to help you prepare for a happy and healthy holiday season.
• Dress appropriately before heading out for a day of shopping. Wear comfortable low-heeled shoes with arch supports and leave your heavy purse at home. Opt for a light backpack or a fanny pack to carry your personal belongings.
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
• A long day of shopping, i.e. walking, should be treated like an athletic event. Make sure you stretch before and after.
• Make extra trips to the car to drop off your goods so you don’t have to carry those heavy bags around all day.
• Take advantage of online shopping. Skip the long lines and crowded malls completely and shop from the comfort of your own home.
• Simplify your to-do list by picking up gift cards at the grocery store. You’ll get two errands done in one stop.
• Use a table or a counter to wrap gifts. The floor is a less than ideal spot to do your wrapping. Standing or sitting in a chair will promote better posture and help you avoid back and neck pain.
• Don’t wait until the last minute to wrap all of your gifts. Wrapping a few at a time is best.
• Don’t neglect your fitness routine. Although you’ll be busier than normal, it’s important to keep those workouts on your daily to-do list. Even a quick 20-minute workout is better than skipping it all together and you’ll be helping to manage your stress.
• Get enough sleep. The holidays won’t be as enjoyable if you aren’t catching enough z’s. Make sure you’re getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
• Try to stay on track with your healthy eating. Gaining extra weight will only contribute to back pain and health problems. Before attending a party, make sure you eat something healthy and drink plenty of water to avoid overeating while you’re there. It’s ok to indulge a little with holiday treats, just be sure to be sensible about it.
With some simple preparation, you can manage holiday stressors and ward off debilitating back and neck pain. If you do experience pain this season, please give our office a call. We’re experts at finding the root cause of your pain and can help you get back to a better quality of life.
Simple Steps for Healthier Living
Many people feel that a healthy lifestyle entails inconvenience. But eating well, exercising, and taking care of your body doesn’t necessarily need to be time-consuming or expensive. Here are some simple ways to create healthier habits.
- Add more activity to your day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away for extra steps. Walk or ride a bike to complete errands.
- Find an activity that you’ll look forward to doing. Try rollerblading, cycling, or go hiking and explore some new trails in your area.
- Save money on a gym membership and perform body-weight exercises at home like push-ups, lunges, or wall squats.
- Prep healthy meals on the weekend to stay on track during the work week. Consider wraps, fruits, nuts, or salads with wet and dry ingredients packed separately.
- Eat mindfully by sitting down at the table- away from distractions like the computer or television.
- Practice smart portions. The protein on your plate shouldn’t be larger than the size of your palm. A serving of fat should only be the size of your thumb. Vegetables should be about the size of your hand- the fiber and volume will help keep you full.
- Carry a refillable water bottle everywhere you go and strive to drink at least 48-64 ounces per day.
- Bring your own lunch to work. It will save money and if you prep your lunches for the week on the weekend, it shouldn’t be a time-consuming chore.
- Take time out for yourself every night to de-stress. Common healthy stress-relievers include taking a warm bath, going for a walk, drinking a cup of decaf tea, painting, or meditating.
- Get more sleep at night by turning off all electronics at least an hour before bedtime.
Don’t feel that you need to make a complete transformation immediately. Changing your routine slowly and gradually tends to produce the best and most lasting results. Pick one tip and run with it today!
-Reprinted with permission from ChiroUP
Cliff Atwell, B.S., D.C.