- Get up and take a walk – Just like I commonly tell patients to get up from their desks at work for at least 10 minutes every hour, you need to keep that rule in mind at the beach as well! Take advantage of the beautiful weather and break from your office and get your body moving! Barefoot walking (aka "grounding") in the sand has numerous health benefits for the spine and nervous system.
- Don’t look down at your book – We all love catching up on summer reading at the beach, but arching your neck forward while reading your books may cause problems in your cervical spine. You can combat this by holding your book closer to eye level while keeping your head and neck upright.
- Try not to spend too much time laying on the sand face down – this popular sun tanning position can be a potentially harmful position for your spine because it can cause stress on the vertebrae in your lower back and neck. Keeping your head in a neutral position, or lounge chairs with a cutout for your face like this one (http://www.brookstone.com/Ergonomic-Comfort-Lounger) can help prevent stress on your spine!
- Drink plenty of water - Our intervertebral discs are the shock absorbers for our spine. Keeping hydrated helps to nourish your spinal discs since they are primarily made up of water.
- And most importantly, make sure you RELAX - Stress builds up in our body and causes dysfunction in our body and nervous system. Relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing (along with regular chiropractic adjustments) help reduce and manage the stress that builds up in our body and nervous system. When we reduce the stress in our bodies, they can heal and function better!
Everyone deserves to relax at the beach, but we can’t let our spinal health go by the wayside! It only takes 10-15 minutes in one position for our ligaments to begin to lose elasticity, which can put stress on your spine and nervous system. These tips can help prevent injuries and encourage spinal health!
In his study, he calculated the increase of weight and pressure that different head and neck angles exert on the joints in the spine. The human head weighs about a 10-12 pounds. As the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase, which leads to extra wear-and-tear on the spinal joints. This extra strain on the neck causes incorrect biomechanics in our spines, which can cause pain, stiffness, soreness, muscle spasm, shoulder pain, and/or headaches.
So, as your neck bends forward more, it increases the weight that’s exerted on your cervical spine:
At a 15-degree angle, it’s 27 pounds
At a 30-degree angle, it’s 40 pounds
At a 45-degree angle, it’s 49 pounds
At a 60-degree angle, it’s 60 pounds
This could also explain why we’re beginning to see these early signs of spinal degeneration in children as young as 12 years old. Check out my tips below to see how you can help prevent extra wear-and-tear in your spine when looking at your mobile devices:
1. Hold your phone up - When you’re sitting or standing, start to become aware of your posture. If you hold your phone out in front of you rather than downward (as if you were taking a selfie), you can minimize the amount of pressure on your spine. (Or, if you're really ambitious, you can check out this interesting device from the start-up Neckset, Ltd.)
2. Stretch your chest and neck - Chest openers and neck stretches are great exercises to reverse some of the stress that’s caused in our body from looking downward all day. Here are two of my favorite stretches to do during the day:
3. Get to your chiropractor! - As stress (in this case, physical stress) accumulates on the spine, it’s important to get your spine checked for misalignments we know as subluxation. Alterations in our biomechanics lead to degeneration of our joints. Regular chiropractic adjustments help optimize joint mechanics, which helps to reduce the progression of chronic degeneration in our spines. (2)
Don’t have a chiropractor yet? Give us a call at 203-355-2830 or request an appointment online to set up a spinal check-up for you or your children today.
1. HANSRAJ, KENNETH K. "Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head." Surgical technology international 25 (2014): 277-279.
2. Srbely J. Spinal manipulative therapy and its role in the prevention, treatment and management of chronic pain. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. 2012;56(1):5-7.
Chiropractic and the "Safety Pin Cycle"
Sometimes, when we’re thinking about the way our bodies work, we can think if it like a safety pin. The top, or the clasp of the safety pin, is like our brain, which generates nerve impulses to control and regulate our entire body. We can look at the edges and the hinge of the safety pin as your body. Our brain is like a big computer that sends messages through the spinal cord and nerves that control every action in our cells, tissues and organs. Then, nerve impulses are sent back up, from your body to your brain. These messages let your brain know that your body is working correctly. When your brain and body are communicating properly, we can compare this to a closed safety pin.
Proper communication between the body and brain is the definition of TRUE HEALTH.
Many things can interfere with nerve impulses either to or from your brain. Sometimes, misalignments in your spine (subluxations) can be the cause of these altered messages to or from your brain. When you have subluxations in your spine, we compare this to an open safety pin - it means your brain and body aren’t communicating property. When this happens, your organs and tissues won’t work right, and the result is poor health and dysfunction in your body.
How do we get these subluxations in the first place? They’re the result of physical, chemical and emotional stress in our lives.
Chiropractors who focus on the holistic spinal care locate and reduce subluxations with safe and natural adjustments. These adjustments allow the body and brain to communicate properly, which leads to better health and well-being, because the body now has the ability to heal and function without interference.
Do you think you may have spinal misalignments causing a miscommunication between your brain and the rest of your body? Call our office today at 203-355-2830 or request an appointment online to see if subluxations could be a cause of dysfunction in your body.
Can you believe it? It’s already back to school time in Connecticut this week… The start of school also means the return of heavy backpacks, which to me as a chiropractor, means the return of increased spinal stress for school-aged kids and young adults.
Here are some helpful backpack-wearing tips that will help minimize spinal stress:
1. Wear both straps evenly, and avoid the one-strap styled back packs. Uneven distribution of the load causes postural compensations and spinal stress.
2.When putting on and removing backpacks, bend at the knees or put on the backpack from a higher level, such as on a desk or table. Sudden twisting motion adds to the potential of injury – especially in the lower thoracic/upper lumbar spine.
3. Arrange the backpack so it rests evenly in the middle of the back. Shoulder straps should be adjusted to allow the child to put on and take off the backpack without difficulty and permit free movement of the arms. Straps should not be too loose, and the backpack should not extend below the lower back.
4. Keep the load at 10-15% or less of the student’s body weight.
5. Carry only those items that are required for the day. Students (or parents) may be able to request additional copies of textbooks (or digital copies!) that can be kept at home instead of hauling heavy books back and forth from school.
6. Organize the contents of the backpack by placing the heaviest items closest to the back.
When was the last time your child had a spinal check-up? Call us at 203-355-2830 to schedule one today!
And just in case you missed it, here's a great video featuring some parents who are VERY excited about school starting...
Modified excerpt from: Is Your Child’s Backpack a Source of Spinal Stress? By Jeanne Ohm, DC
Read more in Pathways: www.pathwaystofamilywellness.org
When you feel great, full of energy, and have no symptoms, do you wake up thinking, “I should call my medical doctor?” Typically, you call your medical doctor when feeling poorly.
Sick-care and crisis-care are very important services to our culture, but they are not HEALTH care. When we take this “sick care” approach and apply it to our society’s health care model, what we get is a sick society.
Currently, the United States is having a health care crisis. Some of the current facts about our current state of health care are surprising and pretty scary:
People have begun to take more control of their health and well-being to prevent sickness and disease. This approach dates back to the ancient Greeks – Hippocrates was the first to make the connection between disease and natural causes. He believed that natural forces within us are the true healers of disease, and he promoted the maintenance of health rather than just the treatment of disease.
What does this mean in today’s society?
People are beginning to take a new and PROACTIVE approach to their health instead of reacting when they believe something is wrong. This involves a multifaceted approach that involves giving our bodies the right nourishment and energy where they can THRIVE, rather than just survive. This involves movement & exercise, proper nutrients, positive mental state, rest & time to recover, and most importantly, optimum nervous system health.
Why is regular chiropractic care so vital in this proactive approach to health?
Your nervous system controls every single function that occurs in your body, and is primarily responsible for your body’s ability to heal & repair itself. When there is something interfering with this mechanism, your body cannot function at it’s best, and it begins to break down. Regular chiropractic care removes the stress to the nervous system and enables it to function at its optimum. It is the keystone of a true health care approach.
Is your nervous system functioning at its optimum potential? Call us today for a consultation: 203-355-2830 or request an appointment online.
In this week’s blog post, I wanted to share some great information that was released by the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association) in their newsletter this week. It provided a fabulous overview on why chiropractic during childhood is so important, and why it’s such a great choice for parents looking for healthier and safer healthcare options for their children.
What Can Chiropractic Do for Your Child?
Chiropractic’s purpose is to remove interferences to the natural healing power running through the body. When that power is unleashed the healing that results may be profound.
Today we find more parents bringing their children to chiropractors for day-to-day health concerns we’re all familiar with: colds, sore throats, ear infections, fevers, colic, asthma, tonsillitis, allergies, bed-wetting, infections, pains, falls, stomach-aches, and the hundred and one little and big things children go through as they grow up.
Chiropractors Do Not Treat Disease
It’s most important to understand that chiropractic is not a treatment for disease. Its purpose is to reduce spinal nerve stress, a serious and often painless condition most children (and adults) have in their bodies. Spinal nerve stress interferes with the proper functioning of the nervous system, can weaken internal organs and organ systems, lower resistance, reduce healing potential and set the stage for sickness and disorders of all kinds.
When a chiropractor frees the nervous system from spinal stress, the healing power of the body is unleashed: the immune system functions more efficiently, resistance to disease increases, and your child’s body functions more efficiently. Your child can respond to internal and external environmental stresses such as germs, changes in temperature, humidity, toxins, pollen and all the other stresses he/she comes in contact with more efficiently.
So although children with diseases are often brought to the chiropractor, the chiropractor is not treating their diseases but is instead freeing them of spinal nerve stress, thus permitting their body’s natural healing potential to function at its best.
You can read of the rest of this article here: ICPA 2014 Newsletter
Are your kids functioning at their best? Dr. Poulos is a member of the ICPA and has additional training in taking care of children of all ages! Have your kids checked today – 203-355-2830.
Dr. Cristina shares some insight about the benefits of Chiropractic as a vital part of your healthy lifestyle!