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Archive for November, 2012

Sitting and Back Pain: How it Affects Your Spine for the Future

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Ever wonder what long hours at your desk does to your body? As they say, sitting is the new smoking! Sitting and back pain go hand in hand.  Many people who sit down throughout their day, end up with all sorts of other health issues.

Why does your neck both you so much? As you lean in towards the computer throughout your day, you start to develop forward head posture which puts more stress and strain on the muscles of your upper back and the muscles between your shoulder blades. The muscles in the front of your neck also have to contract more than their fair share. This can result in frequent tension headaches. To combat this problem, make sure to keep your head back and over your shoulders. Don’t lean in towards whatever you are working on or reading.

Why does your lower back bother you? The muscles of your hips that attach to your lumbar spine are called your hip flexors. When you sit down, they shorten up. With enough prolonged sitting, their permanent state becomes shortened and they pull on your lower back every time you are in a standing position. This causes frequent back pain and discomfort. The solution? Get up every thirty minutes and take a few minutes to stand up while doing your paperwork. Or, even better, ask for a standup desk that can be raised and lowered at your leisure.

Make sure to counteract the effects of sitting on your job with lots of physical activity when you are done with work. Make sure your habits and hobbies don’t keep you more sedentary than you need to be.

Keys to Flexibility During Winter

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Do you ever wonder why you have lose your flexibility during winter and have more pain when you are cold? It’s simple. When you are cold, your muscles stiffen and shorten. How can you avoid the chronic discomfort most people feel in the winter? Follow these three simple steps.

1) When it is cold outside, wear a scarf. When your neck gets cold, the front of your neck muscles (the sternocleidomastoids) shorten and stiffen. This can result in simple neck stiffness or even bad headaches.

2) Focus on keeping your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Hunching them up doesn’t keep you warm, it just makes you stiffer.

3) Make sure you warm your muscles up before strenuous physical activity. Shoveling snow when you are tight and stiff or trying to lift something heavy without warming up your muscles first is only asking for trouble.

4) If you really want to improve your flexibility during winter, with all the time you spend hibernating, try to develop a few hobbies to escape the cold weather.  You would be shocked how effective a once a week pilates or yoga class can be to improve your flexibility.  Winter is a perfect time to explore whether you like this form of exercise or not since there are so many limitations with outdoor activities.

5) While I mentioned scarves will keep your neck muscles warm and reduce the clenching, make sure you don’t have so much stuffed around your neck along the inside of your coat that it is pushing your head forward.  Also, long and heavy scarves can cause neck pain by increasing the weight hanging around your neck.  While it seems so minimal, wearing it all day can also cause you to stiffen up and lose flexibility during winter months.

How Your Attitude Affects Your Health: Mentally and Physically

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Do you ever wonder how your attitude affects your health? Much of how your day goes depends on your internal self talk. If you are constantly thinking of how bad life is or what is going wrong, you are going to get more of what you keep thinking about.

When dealt a difficult hand, try to think of the lessons that you learned. Find five things about your day that you enjoyed and are grateful for and write them down at the end of the day. You will eventually start to see things in a more positive light.

Surround yourself with positive people. If you have a relationship with someone that keeps resulting in toxicity, it’s time to draw boundaries around that area of your life and decide whether or not you really want to absorb their negativity.

One of the best things you can do to lessen your stress and improve your attitude is meditating.  If spending twenty minutes being quiet is a luxury that you just simply don’t have, start with sitting at your desk, closing your eyes and taking 10 deep breaths.  For those of you worried about feeling silly in your cube, do it in the bathroom stall at work.  No one will know! 🙂  Give this a try for 10 straight days and try to increase it to 20 breaths.  While you are doing your deep breathing, try concentrating on relaxing your muscles in your shoulders, face and any area where you continually feel pain and tension.

Many physical problems result from stress and anxiety. If you want to keep stress from manifesting itself in your body, you have to keep it from dominating your life.

Eliminating Stress

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Eliminating stress, is it even possible?  While elimination might now be on the horizon, reducing its impact on you is possible.  With the season of stress rapidly approaching, there are a few quick ways to make your day brighter that will give you immediate results.

1) Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths focusing on the inhalation, exhalation and nothing else besides relaxing your body.

2) Stop checking your gadgets and enjoy dinner without your email, texts and phone interrupting your time with the people you love.

3) Avoid sugar and the mood swings that come with it.

4) Take an hour out of your month to set goals and decide what you want from life versus let someone else chart your course.

5) Take time to enjoy some form of physical activity every day. Whether it is simply walking your dog or participating in an exercise class of some kind, your body was made to move.

The hardest thing for me is acknowledging that my current crisis is not a lifestyle.  It’s a blip in the road that will eventually even out if I keep the habits in place that keep me healthy and strong.  Taking time to exercise and enjoy the outdoors are always the best things to keep me calm.

While holidays are always a stressful time regardless of your family situation, they don’t last all year.  (Thankfully!)

Attention Chiropractors

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