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Archive for August, 2014

Weight Lifting and Back Pain

Monday, August 25th, 2014

I see it in my chiropractic office all the time, one of my athletes is at the gym weight lifting and back pain strikes. As a life long weight lifter, I have tried everything from CrossFit to Barre classes. I should probably clarify, I didn’t try either of them just once, I spent six months minimum getting in depth on each so while I am not an expert at any of them, I have done more than just dabble.

My first tip applies to dead lifts and squats. Your risk of injury is much greater when using heavy weights. If I am doing squats or dead lifts, I cut the weight I am capable of for a set of 12 by 3. For example, if I am doing squats in squats in a Smith cage with 100lbs, I cut the weight to 30lbs. Then I do the squats but only using one-legged squats. It won’t be too easy, trust me. The other thing I like to do is mix it up and make it more full body by doing the one legged squats and using my 15 lb each barbells to do over head presses. So, squat and press, squat and press.

For the dead lifts, you can use the same system. I usually dead lift about 60 lbs. Today I did one-legged dead lifts with 15 lb weights. I have been focusing on other things lately so I hadn’t done these in awhile. My balance was awful for the first set and I had to stop a lot of times to keep from falling over. Once a couple weeks have gone by and my body starts to accommodate to these, I am going to roll a mat under my foot and give myself an unstable surface to balance on. You would be shocked how using just a little bit of weight and unstable surfaces fire tiny little muscles that you usually don’t work and give you a great burn from your workout.

Here is another weight lifting tip so you don’t have back pain later. Pay very specific attention to how your abs are engaging during your set. Translation, make sure they are engaging with each and every movement. If you power through your set and don’t use good form, you will hurt yourself. If the weight is so heavy that you lose your form on the last rep, that is a bad thing too. Back off on the weight or decrease the number of reps in your set. If you aren’t using good form, you aren’t working the muscles you intend to work anyways, so stopping early is the best option.

As always, for more tips or questions about your injuries, call my office today and speak directly to me. Active Family Chiropractic, Dr Lori Goodsell 763-553-0387

Sciatica and Chiropractic Care

Monday, August 25th, 2014

This article is going to focus on sciatica and chiropractic care. First of all, what is sciatica? Your sciatic nerve is about the size of your thumb and runs all the way down the back of your leg. It begins by exiting out of your lumbar spine where it is called your lumbar plexus, the nerves of your lumbar plexus join together and travel along the back of your leg as your sciatic nerve and then branch as it travels past your knee.

How do you know if you have a problem with your sciatic nerve? Do you experience burning along the back of your thigh or cramping in the back of your leg? When I have sciatica and need a chiropractic adjustment, it feels like a squirrel is chewing on the back of my leg and won’t stop. It is miserable and if you have had it, you would do anything to make it go away.

So, how do you know if chiropractic care is the right choice for your sciatica? Have you ever had lower back pain before the sciatica started? Have you had an injury to your back previously? Have you had chiropractic care for spinal stiffness before, even if it was another region of your spine? Is your back stiff on a regular basis? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your spine is probably the place your sciatica began and you should be checked by a chiropractor.

If your spine does not move the way it was designed to and different segments of your spine are locked together, it will irritate the nerves that exit from between those segments. Sciatica can be the result. Tiny misalignments of your spine or poor mobility patterns are exactly why chiropractors adjust the spine and have so much success with lower back pain as well as conditions such as sciatica and others that originate in your spine.

An aggressive case of sciatica will have you begging for relief. In my chiropractic office, we recommend a series of chiropractic adjustments, foam rolling and core exercises to improve the health of your spine and lessen your sciatica symptoms.

Nature’s Prozac: Natural Antidepressants

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

I field questions frequently about natural antidepressants. With the hours of daylight decreasing and that terrible topic of winter just around the corner, I can already feel myself starting to freak out with the loss of sunlight. Here are a few tips for improving your moods, reducing depression and improving your mental health without antidepressants.

Before too many people get upset, do people need antidepressants on occasion?  Of course. However, I just received an email from my own health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield that they are now available from the online clinic doctors that read emails patients send them without ever meeting the person. What a crock of garbage. It amazes me that a health professional, MD, nurse practitioner or otherwise feels like they are qualified to write prescriptions for brain altering medications without even looking their patient in the eyes. Antidepressants shouldn’t be the first step for most people. There are a lot of natural antidepressants that are frequently helpful.

The number one natural antidepressant that we know of is exercise. If you are feeling punky, anxious, sad, depressed please do yourself a favor and exercise.  A study out of Harvard University found exercise to be just as effective and with longer lasting effects than Zoloft. http://www.health.harvard.edu/UD On top of that, it wasn’t just a study done with slightly depressed people. Many of them had severe depression.

One of the most underrated natural antidepressants is sunlight. If you live in a climate that sees short hours of sunlight and lots of cloudy days and you notice yourself starting to feel extra sad this time of year, I recommend a sunlight for your desk. I use SunTouch Plus Desk Light in my office. I affectionately refer to is as my anti-murder light. It keeps me happy. Best $79 I have ever spent. Quite honestly, it worked so well, I bought two so I have one at home for non-work days. When the days grow shorter, I sit in front of it for the first 20 minutes in my office while I answer emails.

Let’s talk about a food that aggravates depression. Sugar. If you are prone to depression, stay away from it. First, it causes peaks and valleys in your glucose metabolism and the highs and lows will bring you up really quick and slam you down even faster. Also, it takes Vitamin B to process sugar. when you use up your Vitamin B processing sugar, you don’t have as much to regulate your moods.

If you follow these tips, odds are you will feel much better. On top of that, if you are prone to depression find a psychologist or licensed mental health therapist you trust. It amazes me the stigma some people still feel about finding help this way. What could possibly be better than someone who is forced to listen to your problems and and spend 50 straight minutes only talking about you?

The bottom line is that if you are depressed, get help.  Changes in exercise, diet and activities can make a huge difference as well as identifying and dealing with your problems with the help of a psychologist.

Electronic Devices Cause Neck Pain and Tingling Hands

Monday, August 11th, 2014

A multitude of electronic devices cause neck pain and tingling hands.  Personally I have a smart phone, ipad, kindle and  several laptops.  I am a non-techie person and find it rare to not find my devices acting like the world’s best temptress.  The more I use them, the more my neck hurts.  I can’t quite imagine what it must be like for the techie people who find not only their work but hobbies revolving around the computer and devices.

The number one key to avoiding neck pain and headaches caused by your electronic devices is to take frequent breaks from using them.  In a perfect world, you should only stare at a screen for a maximum of 15 minutes before you move around and do something else.  While this might not be realistic during the work day, simply do your best to take frequent breaks and make sure to follow this rule at home.

My number two tip for combating pain caused by electronic devices is to get out in the middle of the day and do something active.  If it simply means leaving the office to get lunch, go on a walk or take time for a workout, taking a break from sitting down is critical.  It helps your body feel better, helps you manage your stress and gives you breaks in your day to allow your mind to be creative.

As for specific device tips, if you are typing emails on ipads, keep them short and don’t use your hands as you would a traditional keyboard.  The hunt and peck method will make your keyboarding teacher cringe but your wrists and elbows will thank you.  If you spend a lot of time reading on your kindle, you will also feel better if you turn it horizontally and put it in landscape mode.  If you love reading and it is your main hobby, I would encourage you to get the giant kindle versus the purse size one that I have.  It’s easier to hang on to, will strain your elbows and wrists less and is easier to prop up against something to see from a distance.  When it comes to smart phones, I would suggest evaluating how much time you spend looking down at it and if its really that important that it can’t wait until you get to your computer.  Don’t read long documents on your smart phone, don’t respond to long emails, and limit your gaming time.

The most important thing to remember is that when you are using your devices, you aren’t interacting with other human beings and forming healthy relationships.  Don’t let your devices come between you and the people in your life that you enjoy and love.  On top of that, while your devices might make things convenient for you, they are also keeping you from being active and healthy.  It’s tough to get exercise if you won’t pry yourself away from the screen.

If you find yourself with neck pain, headaches or tingling hands, you probably have nerves that are getting irritated.  Call our Plymouth chiropractic office today to schedule an appointment.

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