Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Last month, we discussed common causes of back pain including mattresses, shoes, diet, exercise, and posture. Here are some additional considerations…
6. OFFICE CHAIR: Because of vast differences between people’s height, weight, body type, and preference, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to find a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to office chairs! In the ideal world, the option to sit, stand, walk, and stretch as needed would be perfect but this simply is not reality! Low back pain (LBP) from sitting is common due to the excess pressure it places on the joints and disks (the “shock-absorbers” of the spine). Here are some remedies: 1) Find a chair that FITS YOU. 2) Get up and move at least once every hour (set the timer on your smartphone as a reminder). 3) Place the computer monitor directly in front of you and keyboard/mouse so the elbows bend only 90°. 4) Keep your feet on the floor at your desk (use an upside down box if you have short legs). 5) Perform “in the chair” stretches when your timer goes off!
7. BODY TYPE: We’ve discussed obesity as an obvious cause of back pain, but other factors are important as well. A very common cause of back pain for women is breast size. Here, the topic of a supportive bra is important, as carrying more weight in front of you adds additional stress on the back and shoulders.
8. SHOULDER BAGS: Back pain can be caused and/or perpetuated by a heavy purse, bag, briefcase, and even a thick wallet in the back pocket! To keep your eyes level, your body has to compensate and assume a less-than-ideal posture that may place unnecessary stress on your back! So before leaving the house today, CLEAN OUT that bag and/or put your wallet in a front pocket and lessen the load on your spine!
9. SMOKING: Smoking can reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches your cells, which can cause them to function at a less than optimal state. You’ve perhaps heard that a conscientious back surgeon will NEVER operate on a smokers’ back due to both the prolonged healing time and subsequent bad outcomes. So in addition to giving your heart, lungs, and those around you a break, if you want your lower back to heal, STOP SMOKING! Studies also show smokers are TWICE as likely to develop LBP compared with non-smokers, so quit. Better yet, DON’T START in the first place!
10. STRESS & DEPRESSION: Remember, “health” is a balance between structure, chemistry, and mental factors. Stress increases muscle tightness and alters posture in a way that can lead to or exacerbate existing LBP. Exercise, meditate, eat smart, and resolve your differences with family members and friends to minimize this problem! When needed, your doctor of chiropractic can refer you for counseling!
11. ERGONOMICS: How we “fit” into our job, lifting properly, workstation set up, work pace, and work stressors ALL play into LBP management. Have an assessment to see what can be fixed!
We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services. Visit http://www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com for more information.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Monday, October 12, 2015
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Migraines can be life-altering! They can stop us from being able to enjoy a child’s piano recital, participate in family events, go to work, or simply do household chores! Wouldn’t it be nice to have ways to self-manage these miserable, often disabling headaches? Here are some options!
1. RELAXATION THERAPY: Search for a calm environment, turn off the lights (photophobia, or light sensitivity, is a common migraine complaint), minimize sound/noise (due to “hyperacusis”), and sleep if possible. Monitor the room temperature and/or use hot/cold compresses to the head and/or neck regions to relax tight muscles (heat) and reduce pain and swelling (cold). Similarly, a warm shower or bath can have similar beneficial effects.
2. SLEEP WELL: Migraines can interfere with falling asleep, they can wake you up during the night, and they are often triggered by NOT getting a good night’s sleep. To improve your sleep quality: a) Establish regular sleeping hours. Wake up and go to bed at consistent times every day, including weekends. b) Keep daytime naps short (20-30 min. max). c) “Unwind” at the end of the day – try soothing music, a warm bath, or reading a favorite book (avoid suspenseful movies). d) Don’t eat/drink too much before bedtime as heavy meals, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can interfere with sleep. e) Don’t exercise intensely before bedtime (stretching is fine). f) Eliminate distractions in the bedroom, including TV and bringing work to bed. Close the bedroom door and use a fan to muffle out distracting noises. g) If you take any medications, check for known side effects, as many contain caffeine or other stimulants that can interfere with sleep – including some meds that treat migraines! Talk to your doctor and pharmacist!
3. EAT WELL: Be consistent about when you eat and don’t skip meals (fasting increases the risk for migraine). Keep a food journal to figure out your migraine triggers and avoid foods that commonly trigger migraines like chocolate, aged cheeses, caffeine, and alcohol. Try eliminating these and see how you feel!
4. EXERCISE REGULARLY: This is MOST IMPORTANT for migraine management as it facilitates sleep cycles and stimulates the release of endorphins and enkephlins that help block pain. It also helps fight obesity, which is another risk factor for headaches.
We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend, or family member requires care for neck pain or headaches, we would be honored to render our services. Visit http://www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com for more information.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
It’s been said that if you haven’t had back pain, just wait, because (statistically) some day you will! The following list is a list of “causes” that can be easily “fixed” to reduce your risk for a back pain episode.
1. MATTRESS: Which type of mattress is best? The “short answer”: there is no single mattress (style or type) for all people, primarily due to body type, size, gender, and what “feels good.” TRY laying on a variety of mattresses (for several minutes on your back and sides) and check out the difference between coiled, inner springs, foam (of different densities), air, waterbeds, etc. The thickness of a mattress can vary from 7 to 18 inches (~17-45 cm) deep. Avoid mattresses that feel like you’re sleeping in a hammock! A “good” mattress should maintain your natural spinal curves when lying on your sides or back (avoid stomach sleeping in most cases). Try placing a pillow between the knees and “hug” a pillow when side sleeping, as it can act like a “kick stand” and prevent you from rolling onto your stomach. If your budget is tight, you can “cheat” by placing a piece of plywood between the mattress and box spring as a short-term fix.
2. SHOES: Look at the bottom of your favorite pair of shoes and check out the “wear pattern.” If you have worn out soles or heels, you are way overdue for a new pair or a “re-sole” by your local shoe cobbler! If you work on your feet, then it’s even more important for both managing and preventing LBP!
3. DIET: A poor diet leads to obesity, which is a MAJOR cause of LBP. Consider the Paleo or Mediterranean Diet and STAY AWAY from fast food! Identify the two or three “food abuses” you have embraced and eliminate them – things with empty calories like soda, ice cream, chips… you get the picture! Keeping your BMI (Body Mass Index) between 20 and 25 is the goal! Positive “side-effects” include increased longevity, better overall health, and an improved quality of life!
4. EXERCISE: The most effective self-help approach to LBP management is exercise. Studies show those who exercise regularly hurt less, see doctors less, have a higher quality of life, and just feel better! This dovetails with diet in keeping your weight in check as well. Think of hamstring stretches and core strengthening as important LBP managers – USE PROPER TECHNIQUE AND FORM; YOUR DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC CAN GUIDE YOU IN THIS PROCESS!
5. POSTURE: Another important “self-help” trick of the trade is to avoid sitting slumped over with an extreme forward head carriage positions. Remember that every inch your head pokes forwards places an additional ten pounds (~4.5 kg) of load on your upper back muscles to keep your head upright, and sitting slumped increases the load on your entire back!
We have only scratched the surface of some COMMON causes and/or contributors of back pain. Stay tuned next month as we continue this important conversation!
We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs. If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services. For more information visit www.olsonchiropracticcenter.com