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Archive for April, 2014

Chronic Stress and Chronic Pain

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Have you wondered about the connection between chronic stress and chronic pain? Consider this, you have been hunkered down in front of a spreadsheet doing the turtle pose at your desk all morning when your boss calls you into her office. Your client is in another bad mood and now so is she. You’ve already spent 25 hours over the last two days in front of a computer screen and it’s still not good enough. Is it any wonder why you have a headache and back pain?

Let’s take the above example and analyze it. First of all, your body position at a computer is bad for you even when you are using your best posture. Secondly, hours on end of sitting and staring at a screen will cause you to start to bend forward creating strain throughout your spinal muscles. You will also chronically shorten your hip flexors causing lower back pain. Then you end up in an intense discussion with your boss and your shoulders end up by your ears due to stress. Your body recreates this cycle again and again leading to chronic pain.

Let’s take another example. You and your husband haven’t been getting along lately. When you come home, you are already stressed and irritable from a long day at work and so is he. Your body is tight and muscles are already shortened due to your habit of holding tension in your shoulders. You come home and want to relax and immediately you two start bickering with each other about the kids. The bickering ends for the night, the headache begins. You go to bed and your body is tense and tight all night because you are sleeping next to your worthy opponent all night and are still angry. When you wake up you wonder why your neck is sore and stiff. Then you go to work and do it all over again.

Chronic stress causes chronic pain. If you can manage your stress you can improve your pain as well as your emotional well being. Try mediating. Try sleeping in a separate room where you can get good quality sleep. Try getting up from your desk several times an hour so your body isn’t punished by your job. Try chiropractic, it will break your pain cycle and help you manage your stress better as well as prevent it from accumulating in your body.

Exercise and Weight Loss Minus the Excuses

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

So-you made those New Year’s exercise and weight loss resolutions how many months ago? How are they going? Before BBQ, beer and boating season starts, let’s take a quick inventory. Are you feeling healthier than you did on January 1st? Are your pants still trying to kill you by strangulation? Are you leaving some desert on the table at the end of the meal or are you still a member of the clean plate club? More vegetables in your meal and less sugar, or the other way around? Before another year and five pounds go by, let’s take a notice of whether or not your habits are working for you and helping you accomplish your goals or are you just sabotoging yourself yet again.

Before we get into the exercise piece, a word of advice….You Can’t Out Run Your Fork! What are you eating? Which foods or drinks are strictly empty calories going to waste and hindering your weight loss? I would personally rather eat than drink my calories so when I am feeling pudgy the first things that I cut out are liquor, wine and sweets. After that any snacks in a bag takes a hiatus and when I begin to need emergency measures, it’s an extra dose of vegetables and I skip the bread. (I really hate when that happens!)

Once I get a handle on my nutrition and the cravings start to subside and I am actually eating really well, then I start to retool the exercise program. This time of year is always the toughest for me. It isn’t consistently nice enough to be able to get on my bike every day and it isn’t cold enough to allow me to feel good about spending an hour in the gym when I could be outside. My typical strategy is; if it is nice out, I am on my bike and crummy days are spent in the weight room. Minimum of two weight lifting days per week. What is the best exercise to lose weight and reshape your body? It’s not endless hours of cardio. It’s the weight training. If hours of sitting on my bike could make my butt smaller, I would be a toothpick. It doesn’t work. Cardiovascular exercise is great for your heart, but it typically just makes you hungrier. Building your muscles is the best way to lean out. No…it doesn’t make you bulkier. Lifting weights prevents osteoporosis, strengthens your muscles, prevents injuries and makes you look great so stop with the multitude of exuses and get to the gym.

Before another year gets away from you and you move up a pants size, get your diet and exercise program under control. If you keep telling yourself, I’ve only gained three pounds over the last three months, just be prepared to weigh 12 pounds more by the end of the year.

Attention Chiropractors

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