Chances are, you are reading this blog from either your phone or your tablet. If not then likely your laptop. Stop for a second and think about where your device is in relation to your eye level. You are looking down, aren’t you? Now think about how often you use these devices and you will realize that you spend a considerable amount of time with your head down and neck flexed forward. Do you ever feel muscle tension in your upper shoulders or pain in your neck? Do you get tension headaches? This one piece of advice will go a long way toward helping with those problems: Bring your screen up to eye level. Gravity is hard enough to fight in good posture. Don’t make it harder than it should be.
For today’s Spine Hacks, I’m going to talk about gym balls. A lot of people like to use these as substitutes for work office chairs. This is a great idea, as a gym ball can give your muscles something to do while you are sitting at a desk all day. They also help to roll your pelvis forward, which in turn, helps to align your spine and sit up straighter.
However, many people find it tough to sit on a gym ball throughout the day. Try a disc like the one shown in this video as a substitute. A disc gives you the same stability challenge that the ball provides, just in a more compact version and can be placed on your existing office chair.
As an athlete sidelined with an injury, your goal is to heal as quickly as possible to return to play. Rest, anti-inflammatories, chiropractic care, soft tissue work, and physical rehab are all effective methods to heal the tissues and return them to optimal function in a speedy fashion. On a cellular level, though, what the tissues need to heal are the proper nutrients to rebuild what has been damaged. For your rehab to be effective, your body needs to be supplied with the proper building blocks through your diet and supplementation. Here is a list of nutrients that aid healing and some of the foods that will give you those nutrients*:
Protein (THE building block of life): Lean meat and poultry, fish, nuts, legumes.
Omega 3 fatty acids (reduce inflammation): Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Walnuts, flax seeds.
Vitamin C (antioxidant, aids in tissue repair): Oranges, lemons, limes, strawberries, watermelon.
Vitamin A (promotes cell growth): Carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers.
Zinc (helps with wound healing and immune response): Beef, fish, almonds, seeds.
Calcium and vitamin D (bone repair): Dairy, tofu, leafy greens, fish, eggs.
*Adopted from http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/7
- Most of the day is spent sitting
- Frequent hamstring strains or cramps
- Low back pain
- Hip pain
- Tight IT band (Iliotibial band syndrome)
- Knee or ankle pain during activity
In case you wonder what a chiropractor does to keep his spine healthy, here are a few habits I’ve adopted to stay out of the chiropractor’s office 😉
- Avoid early morning spinal flexion: As you sleep, the discs between your vertebrae become saturated with water. This causes your spine to become slightly unstable first thing in the morning. That’s why I avoid much bending for the first 30 minutes after I wake up.
- I move my car seat up: I realized a while back that looking cool while I drive is not worth the neck pain that slouching causes me. Moving my seat closer to the steering wheel helps me sit up straight.
- Good form: I use the same form when bending and lifting, whether I’m doing deadlifts at the gym or taking out the trash at home.
- Keep it at eye level: To keep from running into things while I walk and to ease tension in my neck, I bring my phone and tablet up to eye level when texting or playing Flappy Bird.
- Laptop? More like Tabletop: Whoever named it a laptop should be punished. DON’T PUT YOUR COMPUTER ON YOUR LAP!! When working at home, I sit at the table with my computer instead of the couch.
- Take a load off: I’m not perfect. I get back pain just like you. When my back is sore at the end of the day, I’ll use the 90/90 position to relax and relieve pressure on my lower back.
- Get adjusted! I get adjusted at least once per month to maintain the health of my spine and avoid major pain.
Welcome to Spine Hacks. Today’s segment is about how to lift your child correctly. I’ll show you two ways to safely lift your kid. Children are so much closer to the floor than we are that we must bend a lot throughout the daily course of activities to take care of them. Therefore, we are going to talk about how to do that safely, as to prevent back injuries.
In the video above, I use a stick and a 20lb kettle bell for demonstration. When we are bending, the goal is to keep our spine in a neutral alignment, as demonstrated with the stick in the video. The stick should maintain contact with your head, midback, and sacrum as you bend. If it comes off of your back , you know that your form is not correct. Most of us will choose to bend the quick and easy way, which can have negative consequences if done repeatedly.
In the next section of the video,using a kettle bell, I demonstrate how to bend to pick up your child, as well as an alternative by using a lunge. Both actions are much safer on your spine when compared to the traditional way that many of us will pick up our kids.
I hope you enjoyed today’s Spine Hack about how to lift your child correctly. For more information about how we can help you through Beaverton chiropractic care, contact our office today at (503) 526-8782.
I would venture to say that there are very few children out there who dream of becoming a chiropractor someday, and the ones who do are most likely children or grandchildren of chiropractors. I’ll be the first one to admit I didn’t even know what a chiropractor was until long after I realized my dream of becoming a pro baseball player was just a dream. If you talk to any number of chiropractors you’ll soon realize that most have their own chiropractic story – a turning point where their life was so profoundly affected by chiropractic care that they decided that’s what they wanted to be. So, without further ado, here is my chiropractic story. Please feel free to share yours as well.
Once I gave up on the pro baseball dream (I went as far as playing on the JV squad in high school), if you asked me what I wanted to do with my life I probably would give you a blank stare. It wasn’t until I was 3/4 of the way to a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience that I decided on a career. I spent four and half years in undergrad with future medical doctors, dentists, and neuroscientists. For three of those years all I knew about my future career was that it wasn’t going to be one of those. I was not interested in practicing medicine or working on lab rats for the rest of my life. All I knew was that I wanted to make people feel better.
One day I was eating lunch in the quad and perusing the school newspaper. There was an ad for a student discount at the local chiropractic office. Throughout my adolescence and into college, I suffered from frequent tension headaches and occasional bouts of sciatic pain after sitting too long in class or on a car ride. These were both conditions that the chiropractor in the ad said he could treat, so I thought I would give it a shot. I went into my first treatment somewhat skeptical, but also hoping something amazing would happen. I went through an exam that involved him checking my range of motion, poking and prodding in certain parts of my neck and back, and taking some x-rays of my neck. He mentioned that my neck was not aligned particularly well and I likely had been in an auto accident previously (4 to be exact). I then lay down on the treatment table and he went to work.
Starting with my low back, he used a combination of quick thrusts with his hands and some moving parts of his table to make the adjustments he needed. Then he turned me onto my back and with one flick of the wrist, he delivered a neck adjustment that rocked my world. I was speechless. All I could do was smile. I had no idea that so many joints could pop all at the same time. I left the clinic, still smiling, almost in shock because I had never felt anything like that before. For the next day, to be honest, I felt sore. I questioned whether or not the adjustments had worked because they just seemed to amplify the pain I had gone in with. At the doctor’s advice, I stuck with it through the prescribed treatment plan, which was something like once or twice a week for a month or two. I never got the miracle cure adjustment I had hoped for, but after about a month into the process, I started to realize it had been a while since my last headache. The sciatic pain I occasionally felt after long hours of studying in the library had also not bothered me recently. It was working! It was not a one hit wonder as I had hoped, but a process in which small, incremental changes over time helped my joints and muscles to function more optimally. As a result I felt better, and subsequently decided I wanted to be a chiropractor so that I could make others feel better.
Now, several years into this profession that I now love and am passionate about, I continue to receive regular adjustments to keep my headaches and sciatic pain at bay, and get to see this same process repeat itself in my clients. Nagging problems like neck pain, back pain, and headaches that have persisted for years slowly fade away as we apply the catalyst of chiropractic adjustments and specific corrective exercises to set the body back on the right path. It’s a beautiful thing.
Now let’s hear your story!