June 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Several weeks ago I posted a graphic that showed how a heavy purse or bag carried on the shoulder can have an impact on the spine and posture. This week I’m picking on the men. See below how a wallet in your back pocket affects you spine and posture.
It may not seem like a big deal today but the repeated, abnormal stress due to the poor posture creates micro trauma that can add up over time and turn into a bigger problem. When you sit down, consider taking your wallet out of your pocket as much as you can.
May 4, 2012 § 1 Comment
One of the most important stretches for people with low back pain and/or sciatica is the stretch for the piriformis muscle. If you’re like most of my patients, you have never heard of the piriformis but it is a critical muscle and serves as a major transition between your back and your lower extremities. The piriformis starts in the low back at the sacrum (“tailbone”) and crosses diagonally down to attach on the hip. If it is tight, it will put tension on all the surrounding muscles. The good news is it’s not a hard stretch.
Below is a great video I found but the one thing it doesn’t talk about is duration and frequency. If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, tingling, and/or muscle tightness, you should first see a chiropractor for an exam. There are many problems that can create sciatic pain and pain in the low back. It is important to rule out more serious conditions before doing at home treatment. Once evaluated, ask your chiropractor what frequency he/she thinks is appropriate for you. In general, stretching is best done daily but if you’re like my average patient, that is a frequency you will not keep up. For wellness and the time deficient people out there, three times a week is the minimum you should stretch. For those experiencing an increased level of tightness but not a specific problem, make a point to do the stretch daily. When you stretch, stretch both sides even if one side doesn’t seem to be an issue as you want to keep the body balanced. Do each side three times and hold the stretch for at least 15 seconds.
Good luck and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
March 30, 2012 § 3 Comments
One of the most common questions I get in my office is “Why do I hurt?” When injury and pathology are ruled out, the answer comes down to stress. There are three kinds of stress (which you can read about here in a previous blog post) and what we are looking at here is a heavy bag hanging over your shoulder. In my office, I see it most commonly with women but to be fair, men can do the same thing with a heavy briefcase. I could write a long blog about how a heavy, over the shoulder bag like a purse, diaper bag, briefcase or even carrying a kid on the hip (a little different but similar affect) can affect the body but I think a picture is better.
You can see clearly how a heavy purse or bag affects the spine. Daily stress like this, is one reason why our bodies can have spinal joint problems without an injury or accident ever occurring. Getting routine adjustments can help your spine and whole body maintain a higher level of health, not to mention help current aches and pain. Talk to your chiropractor, or find a chiropractor, and find out what frequency of adjustments would be best for you.
Thanks to Heather Kary (a fellow Northwestern Health Sciences University graduate) for drawing my attention to this picture that was originally posted by Houston Chiropractor – Tabor Smith.
July 28, 2011 § 1 Comment
Last year during a fellowship with New Leaders Council-Los Angeles, my fellows and I learned about political entrepreneurship. One of the biggest parts of the training for me was about setting goals and sharing those goals with a small group of people. That small group helped give feedback on the goals themselves, the process to achieve them, and held all of us accountable to the goals we set. That group of people, over the course of a year, achieved elected office, a major move to a new city, a change in career path, and being promoted to running a nonprofit.
The fact that all of this was achieved through goal setting is not a coincidence. Dominican University in San Rafael, California did a study on how goals relate to achievement. The study found that those who write out their goals achieve more than those who do not. But even more important, those that share their goals achieve even more.
Many people think about goals and achievement in business, money, and personal possessions, but it is just as important when you are dealing with your health. Whether you want to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, improve your posture, or to exercise more frequently, you should set goals and share them with others. Here are some tips when you are figuring out your health goals.
- Write down your goals
- Send your goals to a friend (public commitment)
- Send progress reports to your friend (hold yourself accountable)
A healthcare provider, like your chiropractor, could serve as the friend in meeting your health goals. So have something health related you want to achieve? Don’t hesitate and start forming goals today.
July 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I love to sleep. There’s nothing like a good night’s rest. And if I don’t get a full night’s rest too many days in a row, look out, because I will be crabby for sure. But, have you ever woke up from a full night’s rest to find that you’re more sore than when you went to sleep? There could be several reasons but one of the first things to think about is posture. I know what you’re thinking, posture? Isn’t that only when you’re standing? What’s this guy talking about?
Actually, sleeping in a healthy position boils down to posture. Sleeping on your stomach is never good for your body. It forces your neck into a prolonged, rotated position which isn’t good for it and your low back goes into too much curvature. The best position to sleep in is on your back or on your side.
If you want to sleep on your back, following these guidelines will help you have a healthier night’s sleep.
- Always sleep with good neck support. Cervical pillows are an easy way to get that support. Ask your chiropractor which one would be best for you.
- If your low back is sore or tight, put a pillow underneath your knees to relieve some pressure.
If you want to sleep on your side, follow these tips.
- Make sure your pillow allows your head to rest in a neutral position. If it is tipped up or is allowed to drop down, it will put pressure on the neck and upper back and eventually cause pain.
- Put a pillow between your knees (only 1-3” thick) to keep pressure off your low back, pelvis, and hips. It may seem insignificant but it can make a big difference.
Any changes you make to your sleeping habits will take time for your body to accept. Be persistent in trying these tips and soon you will be holding the good posture through an entire night’s sleep. If you make these changes and you still are not seeing improvement. Visit your chiropractor for a spinal evaluation. You may need extra help to achieve good sleeping posture.