It’s that time of year! Whether you are preparing a child for the upcoming school year or yourself, sitting at a desk all day, being hunched over a computer, or craning your neck while doing homework–school can put a strain on your body. Here are some chiropractic tips to help make this back-to-school season a happy and healthy one.
Ouch! Back To School Pain
Back pain is a common complaint in our office from adults, but in recent years it has also become a common concern for many children and teenagers. The influx in cases has recently been connected to the use of heavily packed backpacks and spending hours looking at a computer or hand-held device during the school year.
Backpacks have long been a health concern as carrying an overweight bag improperly can create several concerning health conditions such as poor posture, muscle strain, joint pain, and headaches. The common use of technology with computers, tablets, and phones can also impact your spinal health as it causes you to crane your neck and put pressure on your neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Wearing Your Backpack Right
No one wants to carry a heavy backpack every day but choosing the right bag and carrying it properly can help you avoid pain and injury. It is not unheard of for patients to experience upper shoulder pain, low back pain, neck pain, and even headaches from an improperly worn or heavy backpack.
Be sure to purchase a bag that has a padded back and wide, padded adjustable straps that will help prevent the weight from digging into pressure points. Though it may look cool to sling a backpack over one shoulder or to use a messenger style back, wearing both straps on your shoulders will evenly distribute the weight across your body to prevent muscle strain and fatigue. If your bag has a waist strap, using it can help to reduce the chance of back pain. Though a smaller backpack may seem appealing for your profile, your backpack should be proportionate to your body. The top of the bag shouldn’t be higher than your shoulders and the bottom should be above your hips.
Pack your bag strategically with the heaviest items close to the body and make use of the pockets with lighter and smaller items. Be mindful of the weight of your bag as well, it should not be more than 10% of your body. Heavy bags not only can be painful to carry but also cause you to lean forward and increase your risk for rounded hunched shoulders and affect the curvature of your spine.
Adjust Your Posture
It is no myth that our increasing dependence on technology has affected our day-to-day lives–but it also affects our posture. More patients are reporting wrist pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain. When you bend your neck to look downward, every inch can put 10 additional pounds on your neck, so it’s no surprise that people complain of neck pain or tense shoulders and upper back strain.
We recommend limiting your technology usage with a 15-minute break every hour, stretching regularly, and allowing your eyes to relax. Bring any mobile devices to eye level and adjust computer monitors so that you can sit up straight with your chest out and shoulders back comfortably with both feet on the ground. While you read, be sure to keep your head over your neck and shoulders and rest your back against the chair.
Before engaging in any strenuous activity, remember to warm up and stretch for at least 15 minutes to allow your body to become more limber and reduce your risk of muscle strain. Don’t forget to cool down afterward as well!
You can even learn some seated stretches to help relieve tension and aches while seated in class.
Remember sleep is your body’s time to heal and repair from the day-to-day stresses of life. Adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and children need even more. Getting a consistent good night’s rest can help lower stress levels, ease chronic inflammation, and allow your body to rejuvenate.
For better sleep, we recommend avoiding exercising, caffeine, and electronics at least an hour before bed to allow your eyes and mind to wind down. Darken the room and lower the temperature to create a restful environment, some patients may even use a white noise machine to block out any distractions. Making a sleep schedule that tells you when to wake up and get ready for bed can also help your body to establish a routine so that you can function at your best.
If you are an athlete, you understand the demands your sport can place on your body. Unfortunately, all sports present injury risks and an injury can set you back regardless of your skill level. Recent studies have shown that regular chiropractic care can help athletes recover from various injuries. Our chiropractors will diagnose and treat the source of your pain and create a full rehabilitation program designed to your unique needs so that you can get back in the game feeling your best.
Common Sports Injuries
Athletes can suffer from injuries due to impact, repetitive motion, improper form, overtraining, failure to warm up, and accidents that can happen in a variety of ways depending on the activity and sport. We can treat a variety of sports-related injuries and conditions including:
It is important to seek treatment even if you think the injury may be minor as many injuries are overlooked and treated with rest alone, increasing the odds that they will heal improperly and cause chronic pain later. If an injury is left untreated pain can spread to other areas that may not even be directly related to the injury itself as your body tries to compensate and rebalance itself.
How We Can Help
As chiropractors, we use a variety of non-invasive methods to help you find relief and get back to the sport you love.
Regular chiropractic adjustments can realign vertebrae and alleviate pain, soreness, and aches from sports injuries. When your spine is aligned, this can alleviate tension in the body caused by misalignments and decrease inflammation as well as allow your nervous system to function optimally.
Massage therapy can also be used to help relieve stiff muscles, improve blood flow, to accelerate pain relief and recovery. We can also advise on physical therapy stretches and exercises to help you regain mobility and function at full strength.
Here are some recommendations on how to best avoid injuries and complications in the future:
Don’t exercise through pain. If it hurts, stop. Working out should feel challenging but not painful. Even when you are done, your body shouldn’t hurt, but feel mildly sore and invigorated.
Exercise at the proper level. If you are a beginner, start slowly and steadily. This will make you stronger at a faster pace than trying to run fast right away.
Proper form and equipment use is important, so it’s always best to consult with a professional. Improper form leads to injury and is a waste of your exercise. Quality, not quantity, will get you results.
Remember to stretch before and after working out and to always warm up beforehand. This will help lengthen your muscles so they can become more limber.
Vary your workouts and take time to rest between them. You shouldn’t exercise the same muscles, in the same manner, every day. Exercise tears down muscles and it is the healing that makes them grow stronger!
If you are suffering from a sports-related injury and would like help on the path to recovery, we are here for you! Our chiropractors will evaluate your needs and develop a treatment plan based on your sport and condition so that you can heal naturally and get back onto the field as soon as possible without further complication. For more information on how we can help with sports-related injuries or to schedule a consultation, contact the Natural Health Center of Clifton today.
June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month. During this month, we would like to raise awareness about this condition and how as chiropractors we can help those who struggle with this condition.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a common spinal condition in which the vertebrae rotate causing the spine to curve abnormally. The degree of curvature varies based on the patient and can range from very minor misalignment to almost an S-shaped or C-shaped curve. For patients with minor conditions, symptoms may not be severe or need treatment. However, scoliosis can progress without observation and treatment and can become a debilitating condition significantly impacting ones’ day-to-day life. The increasing curvature can begin to impact muscle function, movement, and restrict breathing.
Many cases occur during growth spurts in puberty, but other causes can include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or be the result of a congenital condition present at birth. Though commonly associated with teenagers or children, adults can develop this condition later in life as they age.
Signs & Symptoms
The physical signs of scoliosis can include the following:
Chronic back pain or muscle spasms
One hip higher than the other
One shoulder blade may appear more forward than the other
In severe cases, due to the curvature of the spine, the rib cage may appear prominent on one side more than the other.
Diagnosis begins with a full review of medical history, followed by a thorough physical examination. A neurological exam may also be conducted to check for muscle weakness or abnormal reflexes. Imaging tests such as X-rays are the most accurate way to fully diagnose a patient with scoliosis. A positive diagnosis is confirmed with a curve greater than 10 degrees. A significant curve is considered between 25 to 30 degrees, and a curve exceeding 45 to 50 degrees is seen as severe.
For those with minor scoliosis symptoms, treatment may consist of monitoring the condition with X-rays to check that the curve isn’t worsening, physical therapy, and bracing to help straighten the spine and support proper curvature.
For patients with mild to moderate scoliosis, chiropractic care can be an ideal treatment option to help relieve symptoms and assist in correcting posture.
How We Can Help
It is important to note that chiropractic care cannot cure scoliosis, but when combined with your doctor’s treatment plan can help to adjust your overall spinal alignment and posture to decrease painful symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
Scoliosis is an unnatural curvature of the spine, which can place strain on the muscles, nerves, and soft tissues around the spine. Chiropractic care can be used to help realign the spine and decrease strain and pressure on those soft tissues to reduce pain and inflammation in the area. By increasing joint mobility and improving nervous system function, your body has a better ability to manage and relieve symptoms caused by scoliosis.
Chiropractic care for scoliosis is a long-term treatment option as patients will need routine adjustments to gain the most from treatment. Your chiropractor will work with your other healthcare team members to ensure you are receiving the best care and that the prescribed treatment plan is working.
At first, treatment may be several times a week in the office for spinal adjustments. At-home exercises, stretches, bracing techniques, and physical therapy may also be recommended to you. Many patients report feeling significantly better after the first week of treatment, over time additional benefits include reduced pain and inflammation, improved range of motion and flexibility, and the ability to resume normal activities that were hindered by scoliosis symptoms leading to an overall better quality of life.
If you are struggling with the symptoms of scoliosis, chiropractic care may be the right treatment option for you. Our experienced chiropractic team can help reduce pain and discomfort along your spine. For more information on how we can help with scoliosis or to schedule a consultation, contact the Natural Health Center of Clifton today.
May is correct your posture month! Throughout May, we encourage our patients to be conscious of their posture! Though you may have heard it a hundred times growing up–good posture is important. Over time poor posture can increase your risk of pain, discomfort, and the likelihood of experiencing joint issues, lowering your quality of life. Below are some tips you can use to start improving your posture.
The Importance of Posture
Good posture is the position in which your body is held straight against gravity and helps your body to stand, walk, sit, and rest in a position that places the least amount of strain on the supporting muscles and ligaments. Strong postural muscles help to keep your bones and joints in alignment, decreasing the risk of abnormal wear on joint surfaces while also reducing stress on soft tissues and muscles to minimize the risk of injury, fatigue, and strain.
Having poor posture throughout your everyday activities and movements can place strain and stress on your body’s joints and muscles pulling them out of alignment. Over time this can lead to imbalance, soreness, and misalignment making the body prone to injury and pain. Common examples of poor posture include hunching while using electronic devices. This can cause the chest to tighten and strain the shoulders and upper back. Leaning forward towards devices can also put pressure on your neck as it pulls your head closer to the device.
Poor posture is not always the result of laziness or not knowing how to stand or sit properly. There are a variety of factors that can cause poor posture including:
Stiff or tight muscles
How Chiropractic Care Can Help
If poor posture is caused by misalignments in joints or the spine, we can help to correct your postural issues such as slouching, hunched back, abnormal curvatures in the spine, an unlevel pelvis or hip, and forward head posture.
When you arrive at our office, your chiropractor will conduct a thorough assessment of your body to check for any restrictions, misalignments, or dysfunctions in your spine and joints. If any are found, we will make the necessary adjustments to restore mobility, range of motion, and remove any possible interference in nerve communication caused by your misalignments.
Your chiropractor will also check for any postural imbalances that may be impacting your body’s ability to function optimally such as a tilted pelvis that affects your gait. Once these restrictions are corrected, you can begin working on improving and maintaining proper posture through regular adjustments and various exercises. We can also offer advice on how to better your posture during your daily activities or recommend stretches or exercises to strengthen your core postural muscles.
Can I Improve My Posture at Home?
Yes! There are steps you can take at home to help improve your posture such as being aware of how you hold your body during your daily activities such as sitting, standing, sleeping, and even exercising.
Regularly stretching and strengthening your postural muscles will help to improve your flexibility, core strength, and posture. You can also correct poor posture habits, but this will take time and effort before the new ways become a habit. Below are some ways you can improve your posture during daily activities:
Adjust the backrest to support your lower or mid-back or use a back support or pillow to avoid strain or discomfort
If you are sitting for long periods, avoiding staying in the same position and remember to take breaks
Keep your feet level on the floor or a footrest and remember to leave a small gap between your knees and the front of your chair
Bear your weight on the balls of your feet and if you are on your feet for long periods remember to shift your weight often
Relax your shoulders and let your arms hang naturally at your sides
Remember to stand with your knees slightly bent and with your legs shoulder-width apart
While lying down:
Avoid sleeping on your stomach
Make sure your mattress firmness and pillow are ideal for keeping your neck and spine aligned
Side-sleepers should place support between their legs to avoid discomfort while back sleepers need to support underneath their knees
Once your posture is adjusted and corrected, it is important to maintain it by being aware of how you hold your body throughout the day. We are here to help on your journey to living a healthy life and this includes your posture. For more information on how to improve your posture or to schedule a consultation today, contact Natural Health Center of Clifton.
During pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes to help your baby develop and grow properly until he or she is ready to come into the world. Though swollen feet, raging hormones, aches, and pain are common experiences during pregnancy that doesn’t mean there is no relief.
Chiropractic care involves adjusting misaligned vertebrae or joints within the body to reduce the stress placed on the nerves, soft tissues, and muscles surrounding the area. By alleviating pressure and restoring proper alignment, your body can function optimally and work more efficiently to ensure your health. This article will discuss the benefits pregnant women can receive by undergoing chiropractic care during pregnancy.
Chiropractic Care and Pregnancy
We understand that many have concerns about whether chiropractic care is safe during pregnancy. First and foremost, it is always best to ask your doctor and OB-GYN or health professional if chiropractor care is right for you. He or she may have specific reasons for you refraining from chiropractic care or have a list of chiropractors in your area they recommend.
With chiropractic care, no medication or surgery is involved, instead, physical manipulation is used to restore proper alignment within the body and relieve pain and tension within the body. By restoring proper alignment, your body’s systems can function optimally and help to promote health throughout your body. In the case of pregnant women, though all chiropractors receive training related to caring for pregnant women, some also specialize in prenatal or postnatal care and undergo additional training.
As pregnant women have enlarged bellies, chiropractors use adjustable tables to allow for better patient comfort and refrain from using techniques that may place additional pressure on the abdomen to keep you and your baby safe. We can also recommend a variety of exercises and stretches that are safe and beneficial during pregnancy.
As mentioned above, the body undergoes several significant changes in preparation for your baby’s arrival. An enlarged abdomen, increased back curve, pelvic changes, and changes in posture can all place stress on your body, especially the spine, and lead to misaligned joints or vertebrae.
The change in your center of gravity can make it difficult to stand, sit, or sleep comfortably. You may sleep in an unhealthy position for the sake of comfort, which can lead to damaged joints or a misaligned spine that can linger long after your baby’s delivery. Also, if the pelvis is out of alignment, this can limit your baby’s space and may make it difficult for the baby to move into the best position for labor. By establishing pelvic balance and alignment throughout the rest of the body, your nervous system can work more efficiently including your reproductive system. With regular chiropractic care during pregnancy, you can expect a more comfortable pregnancy, pain relief, and better control over symptoms of nausea.
Though morning sickness, aching feet, and peculiar cravings are a part of the experience, you don’t have to be in pain or uncomfortable throughout your pregnancy. If you are interested in finding out how chiropractic care can help you during pregnancy or to schedule a consultation, contact Natural Health Center of Clifton today.
Automobile accidents are often unexpected events that happen within an instant and can leave lasting impacts. Even in minor accidents, serious injuries can occur such as soft tissue sprains, head injuries, and whiplash. Symptoms may occur several days after the incident once your body relaxes from the tense altercation causing you to notice soreness, pain, and discomfort that may not have been present immediately after the accident. Fortunately, chiropractic care has proven effective in helping to restore the function of your nervous system without invasive methods or pain medication.
What Happens During an Accident?
During an accident, the musculoskeletal system within your body can be knocked out of alignment by just the force of the impact, causing neck and back pain. Depending on the severity of the accident, other injuries may occur.
Whiplash is a common injury in rear-ended accidents and occurs when the head is suddenly jolted into another direction. The sudden “whipping” motion destabilizes the spine and can injure the surrounding and supporting tissues of the neck and head such as the muscles, nerves, soft tissues, and spinal discs. Muscles react by tightening and contracting, creating muscle fatigue, which can result in severe pain, muscle stiffness, and limited mobility.
Common symptoms of whiplash may include:
Decreased range of the motion in the neck
Numbness that extends from the neck down to your arms and hands
Poor concentration and memory retention
Ringing in your ears
How We Can Help
When the body sustains sudden and jarring trauma, soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons can stretch and tear. Though traditional medication may provide immediate pain relief, it does not offer a long-term solution to pain management or help to restore mobility after an injury.
As chiropractors, our goal is to assist your body in healing itself by treating the root cause of your pain. Treatment will focus on realigning your spine and affected joints to alleviate pressure on surrounding nerves allowing for almost immediate pain relief, this will also relax tense muscles and reduce muscle stiffness. Your chiropractor can also use massage techniques or machine-assisted methods to help reduce any pain or discomfort you may be having. We can also recommend certain exercises to help improve your range of motion and mobility.
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in an auto accident, it is important to seek prompt care to best avoid any lingering discomfort or damage from the trauma. By seeking early care and treatment, the sooner you can begin the road to recovery and have a safe and full recovery with minimal complications. For more information on how we can help after an accident or to schedule an appointment, contact the Natural Health Center of Clifton today.