Weight and Your Spine

Weight and Your Spine

While it may seem reasonable to suggest that excess weight can place undue stress on the body, many are unaware of just how your body weight can affect your spine. Being overweight or obese can create a variety of health problems, including damage to your spine, which is your body’s main support system. This month, we wanted to take time to educate you on the ways that your body weight can affect your spinal health and what you can do to make sure your spine stays healthy.

We understand that this virus has impacted our day-to-day living including our eating patterns and exercise habits which are two big contributors to weight gain. For this reason, we’ve also included some tips to help curb snacking habits and improve your exercise routine while following COVID-19 guidelines for staying safe and healthy.

Impact of Weight on Your Spine

The spine houses and protects the body’s central nervous system while offering structural support for your muscles and the weight of your entire body ensuring proper function, motion, and shock absorption. Excess weight can put extra stress on the spine decreasing the function and motion of the spine, and may even alter the curvature to support the added stress and weight on your body. This can comprise your spine’s ability to protect and facilitate the general functions of your body while increasing the risk of injury.

Patients who are overweight may experience several health conditions as excess weight can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, sciatica, back pain, herniated discs, pinched nerves, and more. Increased weight can also lead to fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath while exercising, which may further complications due to a lack of exercise.

Overall weight loss is important as each pound adds strain to muscles and ligaments within the body. Even small amounts of weight loss can help improve a patient’s overall health and quality of life. As chiropractors we can help you by relieving some stress, correcting the range of motion, and restoring function to the nervous system with spinal adjustments. We can also offer lifestyle recommendations to your diet and exercise routines to help your spine function at its best.

Contributions to Weight Gain

There is a well-documented relationship between stress and weight gain, which can further be accentuated by a decrease in daily exercise. With stay-at-home orders in place for many, stress can build up leading to an increase of carb intake, snacking, stress eating, and lack of exercise which all contribute to weight gain.

It is important to consult with your doctor before starting any weight loss program to ensure that the program is right and safe for you.

Keep a Balanced Diet

Stop Boredom Snacking

Stress eating is often accompanied by boredom eating. When you get the urge to snack, ask yourself, “am I hungry or am I eating because I’m bored?” If you can admit that you are snacking out of boredom, then do something else. Go for a walk, call a friend, journal, but stop boredom in its tracks so that you don’t end up eating empty calories.

Prepare and Portion

If you know you are going to snack, make a game plan ahead of time. Give yourself designated snack times and practice portion control by putting your snacks in smaller bowls or snack-sized bags. Avoid eating from the container or while doing other activities so that you can enjoy your snack to the fullest and avoid overeating.

Variety and Activity

While it is okay to indulge in a treat of chips, chocolate, or cookies every now and then, be sure to prepare some healthy options as well. Carrot sticks, cheese, fresh fruit, and celery sticks with peanut butter are some great options for simple, healthy snacks. If you can purchase fresh produce, it’s always a healthier option compared to processed foods. Making cooking and food preparation a family activity is a great way to keep your family healthy, strengthen bonds, and have fun.

Stay Active

Get Out

If you can get out of the house, do so! Just being outdoors and breathing fresh air can do a lot to relax your body and reduce your stress levels. If you can, go for a walk or bicycle ride around the neighborhood and remember to practice social distancing rules. Remember to wash your hands before you leave your house, at your destination, and once you return home.

Routine

Regular activity benefits not only the body, but also the mind. It can reduce high blood pressure, manage weight, relieve muscle tension or strain, reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various health conditions while improving bone and muscle strength. Your mental health is also improved with regular activity as it has been known to lower risk for depression and cognitive decline while reducing stress.

Setting a specific time aside for exercise can help you maintain your schedule while also giving your body that much needed boost of energy. Whether you want to allot time to a daily walk, bike ride, online class, or follow a popular workout video, jot it down in your schedule and stick to it.

Indoor Activities

Working out from home can be preferable for many people, so you don’t need to worry if you are unable to go out. If you have some gym equipment already such as a stationary bike, dumbbells, resistance bands, or a treadmill you won’t have a hard time getting ready.

If you don’t have any equipment, you can still keep active with many of the fun and free workout videos available online. You can even google workout routines associated with movies or TV shows, so you can still binge your favorite series but also get a good workout in. Circuit training with pushups, squats, lunges, jumping jacks, crunches, and planks are some exercises you can include to stay fit while at home. Yoga or mat Pilates are also great ways to be active if you are looking for something more gentle and low impact.

Be Mindful

If you aren’t regularly active, remember to start slow with low-intensity activities. Begin with only 5-10 minutes a day of daily activity that gets your heart racing. Listen to your body but understand that some pain and discomfort are expected at the beginning of a new routine. Slowly build up to 30 minutes or more of physical activity over the next few weeks.

For more information on the relationship between your weight and spine, healthy tips for COVID-19 diet and exercise, or to schedule an appointment, contact Get Well Chiropractic of Northville today.

Keeping Your Spine Aligned While Working

Keeping Your Spine Aligned While Working

In light of recent events with COVID-19 and social distancing practices, many of us have found ourselves now working from home. Though it can seem like a dream at first, working from home can still create some woes and cause you to suffer from back pain, poor posture, and muscular strain. Chiropractic care is here to help, and even if you may not be able to visit us at our office at the moment, we can still offer you relief with some great work from home tips to keep your experience pain-free! You can even continue most of our recommendations once you return to your normal place of work.

OUR WORK FROM HOME TIPS

For some, the transition to work from home can be difficult, but we are here to offer our best advice. Though you have newfound flexibility and freedom when it comes to your appearance and location when working, there are some downsides to working from home such as resisting the temptation to work in pajamas or from the couch instead of a desk or table.

Avoid the couch and make a designated workspace

Not only does sitting on your couch drain your motivation and productivity levels, working for hours on your couch can cause damage and strain to your spine. If you work from the couch, you may find your neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips in pain by the end of the week.

Instead, make yourself a dedicated workspace whether on a table or desk if you have one. Your workspace should be in an area away from the kitchen and living room to avoid distractions. You want to be comfortable, but not to the point you can forget what you are supposed to be doing during the day. Areas with natural light can help improve your motivation and mood.

Make sure your keyboard, computer, laptop, and/or monitor is set to the right heights. A misplaced keyboard can lead to hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, and upper back problems. Adjust everything so it is in comfortable reach and you can work in a neutral and relaxed posture. Everything should be kept at eye level to reduce strain on your neck and spine.

Stick to routine
A good rule of thumb is to keep the same schedule and routine. Wake up early and get dressed appropriately to get you in the work mindset. This doesn’t mean you have to wear a full blouse and skirt piece, but it is a good idea not to wear lounge clothes or your pajamas as they can make you feel tired or less energized when working.

If your schedule is more flexible when working from home, it is a good idea to still try and keep your same work hours to enhance productivity and give your day some structure. That being said, working from home can be difficult and draining at times, so add in shorter, more frequent breaks so you don’t become stir crazy. It’s a good idea to keep your breaks under 15 minutes so you don’t entirely lose focus. We understand that if you are new to the idea of working from home there can be plenty of distractions such as children, roommates, housework, pets, or the television, so try to power through tasks 30-60 minutes at a time before taking a break.

OUR TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR SPINE IN ALIGNMENT

It can be easy for desk, computer, and at-home jobs to cause spinal stress and discomfort due to the environment. Bad posture only begets worse posture which can contribute to other health issues that may take a toll on your work life such as performance and productivity. If you have a desk job, you probably already know how hard it is to be comfortable and maintain good posture, and working from home is not much different. Many factors can contribute to poor alignment such as keyboard and monitor placement, chair height, how you sit, and how you stand. Here are our recommendations on how to maintain wellness in your workspace.

Be aware of your posture
Desk jobs can make you less active throughout the day, but also increase your likelihood of developing back, hip, neck, and shoulder problems from an unsupportive posture or position. Be mindful of how you sit, stand, and walk. Pay attention to your neck, shoulders, and spine during the day and correct yourself if you find your body slouching or hunching over.

If you’re uncomfortable, adjust yourself. Your chair should be tall enough for you to sit with your feet flat on the floor and thighs parallel to the floor. Sit close enough so that you can type with your shoulders relaxed.

Stretches
Performing these stretches every hour during your workday can help ensure your spine’s alignment and health. These exercises only require a 3-5 minute break and can be done right at your chair.

1. Neck and shoulder rolls
These stretches help to ease tension in the neck and shoulders. For the neck roll, sit straight and look forward, dropping your shoulders as you take deep breaths. Lower your chin to your chest and feel a nice stretch from the base of your shoulders. You can hold it for 20 seconds before proceeding to the next step. Slowly, roll your head to either side so your ear almost touches your shoulder, this will help to stretch neck and shoulder muscles. Move-in slow circles for 20-30 seconds.

Rolling your shoulders forward for 20 seconds and then backward for another 20 can help loosen up your muscles and relieve tension. Repeat 3 times.

2. Chest stretches
Sitting straight with your eyes forward, take a few deep breaths and slowly extend your arms upward. Hold this position for several breaths extending your fingers as well. Bring your arms down gently and place them behind your head so your elbows point outward. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and push your elbows back as far as you can, hold this position for 20-30 seconds. This stretch targets the chest, neck, upper back, and shoulders.

3. Office chair hip stretch
This stretch reduces lower back and sciatic pain while working to increase flexibility in your legs and hips. Begin with your feet flat on the ground and sitting up straight. Take your right foot and rest it on your left knee. Lift the upper body and sit as tall as possible slightly leaning forward. Hold for 20 seconds before switching sides and repeat 3 times.

4. Lower spinal stretch
This stretch will benefit your long spinal muscles due to the sideways movement and allow you to feel a soothing release in your lower back. Begin with your muscles sitting evenly in your chair and feet flat on the ground. Rest your right arm on your lap or armrest while raising your left hand up into the air. Gently lean into your right side to create a curve with your body, hold for 30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat 3 times.

Another good reason to practice our recommendations is that though chiropractic care is a great way to relieve pain and stiffness, it is also a great way to boost your immune system and restore optimal function to your body. The spine is the center of your nervous system, which is responsible for communicating and supporting the other organ systems of your body. One of these systems is your immune system, which is responsible for fighting off germs, bacteria, viruses, and illnesses. It is important to keep a healthy and strong immune system by making sure your spine is aligned and healthy.

For more information on how to keep a healthy spine while at your desk or working from home, please contact GET WELL CHIROPRACTIC.

Chiropractic and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Chiropractic and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS, is a disabling autoimmune disease where the immune system begins to destroy the tissue that surrounds and protects the nerves in the spinal cord and brain. These nerves are eventually destroyed resulting in debilitating complications such as muscle spasms, paralysis, blindness, changes in brain function such as memory loss and mood swings, problems with reproductive systems, and more. Symptoms can range from mild to more severe and vary from patient to patient.

There is no current cure for MS, only management of the symptoms. It is often treated with medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes such as daily exercise, managing stress levels, and dietary changes that can help patients mitigate existing symptoms.

Chiropractic care cannot treat MS or its symptoms, but it may be able to relieve pain and discomfort related to MS. Chiropractic is a form of complementary medicine that helps to manage the musculoskeletal system which may help to treat patients with MS.

Chiropractic care

Practitioners of chiropractic believe that if a vertebra is not in alignment, it can apply pressure to nearby nerves causing pain and dysfunction within organs, muscles, and systems that are connected to those nerves. By making adjustments manually or with specialized tools and techniques to the joints, chiropractors help to reduce inflammation and restore function to joints and their supporting systems.

Though there is little research that shows chiropractic treatment eliminating symptoms or treating MS, it can provide relief to conditions or medical problems associated with MS. For instance, if MS causes foot drop and an abnormality in a person’s gait, it can lead to back and hip pain. Chiropractic care can treat the pain and swelling caused by the foot drop while your other doctors work to find the best treatment for your foot drop.

How can chiropractic help

Inflammation is an ongoing problem for those who live with MS, along with pain and swelling. The mobility of the legs, arms, fingers, and toes can also become compromised. Nerves around joints may begin to spasm making it difficult for patients to have control of certain parts of the body.

It can be challenging to find pharmaceutical options for relief, and even then patients may be unwilling to take more medication as an overload of medicine can quickly place strain on the liver and kidneys. Many patients seek complementary medicine or practices such as chiropractic care for symptom relief.

Patients with MS who do receive chiropractic care often report positive effects after adjustments such as a rise in energy levels, an increase in mobility, less fatigue, more endurance, better muscle control, and less pain. Being able to diminish the pain can provide patients with a boost in confidence and outlook, which can be important when managing a disease, especially a chronic illness such as MS.

Is it right for everybody?

While chiropractic care won’t cure MS, it can provide relief. Consult with your MS specialist and health care provider before deciding to receive chiropractic care as it depends on patient needs and conditions.

Although chiropractic care cannot treat Multiple Sclerosis, it can help treat some of the physical aspects and improve the quality of life for many patients by reducing inflammation and improving the function of the nervous system. If you struggle with MS, please discuss with your doctor if chiropractic treatment is right for you.

For more information on how chiropractic care can help with MS, contact Get Well Chiropractic of Northville today.

Text Neck and Chiropractic Care

Text Neck and Chiropractic Care

What are the chances of you reading this in a position that is harmful to your body? Is your head leaning forward, shoulders slightly rounded, or your back slumped? Do you notice stiffness or soreness in your neck and shoulders after spending a day at the office looking at a screen all day? Or how about after scrolling through social media on your phone for a few hours? The modern age brings a variety of new things to discover, and health conditions are no exception, especially when it comes to our interactions with technology. If you’ve experienced any pain or tension from the activities described above, you may be experiencing Text Neck.

Text Neck is a modern affliction caused by repeated stress on the neck and spine as a result of looking down constantly, particularly at handheld or electronic devices.

What is Text Neck?

Text Neck is a condition where the continual habit of looking down (often at an electronic device) causes pain essentially due to bad posture. It is also known as the Forward Head position because when someone looks down the neck bends and moves the head forward. Though the name might be comical, it is a condition that has become more frequent in doctor’s offices as people spend more and more time hunched over devices.

On average, people spend 5-6 hours a day looking at their phones. The average human head weighs anywhere from 10-12 pounds. However, in this Forward Head position at varying degrees, it can place up to 60 pounds of pressure on the neck. This increased pressure and weight can pull muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even your spine out of alignment. Over time, this can cause several health problems as it weakens muscles, damages soft tissue, and can leave permanent changes to your spine and posture. It has become an increased concern for children more so than adults as children’s bodies are often more malleable and seem to ‘grow’ into bad posture.

Symptoms

Text neck is often at an advanced stage by the time people become aware of the problem. As Text Neck pulls on the spine and upper back, nerves can become pinched and lead to misalignments. Not only can Text Neck cause pain, but a weakened spine can also lead to poor communication between the brain and other parts of the body.
Some other symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Headaches
  • Pain in neck, shoulders, upper back, and even arms
  • Spinal disc degeneration
  • Pinched nerves
  • Hunchback
  • Muscle spasms
  • Balance problems
  • Vision problems
  • Curving of the spine

Though symptoms will vary from person to person if left untreated, permanent spinal damage may occur such as reshaping of the curvature of the spine.

Treatment

We understand that patients will not suddenly stop using their devices or stop looking down at them all the time. However, the first thing to do is to become aware of how texting or the use of electronic devices can cause bad posture.

A simple solution is lifting your device to an eye-level position, this will reduce pressure on your neck as your head won’t slouch forward and will help your spine keep a neutral posture. Avoid looking down and straining your muscles constantly. Taking breaks and performing stretches every hour will help your neck and spine relax tensed muscles and avoid pain.

Chiropractic care is one of the most effective therapies in treating Text Neck. Chiropractors are qualified to help and correct misalignments of the vertebrae throughout the neck and spine. After physical examinations, often X-Rays will be done to show any problems Text Neck may have caused and how advanced the condition may be. A treatment plan is then designed to correct the problem, alleviate symptoms, and restore function to your nerves. Your chiropractor can offer treatment through spinal manipulations, stretches, and exercises to relieve pain and misalignments as well as strengthen weakened muscles. In addition to physical benefits, your chiropractor can also offer advice on how to avoid falling into the same habits after treatment.

If you think the pain you are experiencing may be from Text Neck or for more information, please contact Get Well Chiropractic of Northville today. Our staff is here to provide you with the right therapy for your condition with long-term solutions and natural healing.