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May 2, 2020

Best Practices to Prevent Neck Pain

BEST PRACTICES TO PREVENT NECK PAIN

Best Practices to Prevent Neck Pain

Everyone looks forward to dusk, because this is the moment you can rest and free your mind of the day’s activities. It feels bad when sleeping becomes a problem, especially when you wake up with neck pain. No one wants to be scared to sleep because of the thought of always waking up with neck pain, and this is the reason that the best avoidance mechanism is essential. 

Neck pain is not only a problem of the aged, but the younger population now complains of severe neck pain. Most of the causes can be avoided, and we have outlined several steps to take to avoid being a victim of neck pain.

COMMON CAUSES OF NECK PAIN

  • SLEEPING POSTURE: This is the most common cause of neck pain because most people are unaware of the perfect posture to keep while sleeping. The reason is that most individuals, especially the younger generation, tend to sleep off while pressing their phones or seeing a movie. So it is hard to determine a particular posture. This is the leading cause of avoidable neck pain that we have today.

  • CHOICE OF PILLOW: There are different pillow manufacturers, but not everyone is good for you. Some of the pillows that we rest our heads on while sleeping will only harm our neck muscles and cause it to strain or become stiff, hence causing pain when we wake up.

  • SLEEPING PROBLEMS: Research has it that up to 5% of the people in a particular population experience pain in their bodies because of different sleeping problems. For some, it is a problem of finding it hard to sleep, for some other ones, they complain of waking up at intervals, having unsettled minds, or bad dreams while sleeping. All these do not help the body to achieve the purpose of relaxation while sleeping, which can lead to muscular pain, including neck pain. 

  • DAY POSTURE: This is another problem that is common to almost everyone; the way you posture your body while you are carrying out all the activities during the day is essential. Careless body carriage or neck positioning while pressing your phone, watching the TV, or even taking a walk can cause neck pain, which might not manifest until after you wake up from your sleep.

STEPS TO TAKE TO AVOID NECK PAIN

There are various steps you can take to avoid neck pain and enjoy better sleep, some of which include:

  • Sleep on your side or back instead of lying on your stomach while sleeping. When you lie on your stomach, you will stress your neck muscles because you have to position your neck to a particular side all through the night, and this can cause neck pain. You also stress your backbone, and you can damage your spinal cord if you keep this posture consistently for years.

  • Choose a feather or memory-foam pillow and avoid a pillow that is too hard or firm. A feather pillow will help keep your head in a good position all night has your head can sink into the pillow without affecting your neck muscles. A memory-foam pillow also follows the contour of your head and neck region, making sleeping easier. The feather pillow should be changed annually because it would have lost its strength by then.

  • While sleeping on your side, you can place a pillow in-between your legs has this helps to keep your body in a straight profile while you are sleeping. You should also use a pillow that is designed in such a way that the neck region is higher than the head region. This way, your head will not bend to any side while you are sleeping.

  • During the day, ensure you keep a straight walking profile and avoid bending your back. You should also keep your phone at face level while using it; it is wrong to bend the neck while operating your phone as this can cause neck pain.

  • For those with underlying systemic diseases, it is essential to see a doctor for treatment.

Neck pain is not a good experience, and it can last for a long time if care is not taken. It also has a way of making an individual less productive, especially in the early hours of the day. Preventing is cheaper than the cure, and strict adherence to the measures above will make a difference.

May 2, 2020

Tips for Better Posture While Working From Home

Tips for Better Posture While Working From Home

Tips for Better Posture While Working From Home

Working from home is becoming an increasingly popular practice. There are a lot of aspects to consider when working from home in order to yield productivity and job success. While home ergonomics and home office environments play a big role in terms of productivity, it is important to note that everything starts with posture. Good posture not only looks better, it also increases energy, supports better breathing, improves circulation and puts less wear and tear on your joints. It’s an investment in both your appearance and health. On the other hand, bad posture can lead to chronic pain and other complications later down the road. And since working from home requires hours on end of sitting in front of a computer, it is easy to fall into bad posture practices. Here, we will be discussing different tips for better posture while working from home and how chiropractic care help posture

What is posture? 

Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Without posture and the muscles that control it, we would simply fall to the ground.

Normally, we do not consciously maintain normal posture. Instead, certain muscles do it for us, and we don’t even have to think about it. Several muscle groups, including the hamstrings and large back muscles, are critically important in maintaining good posture. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over forward. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement. 

Here are some tips you can do to improve your posture:

  • Do Not Slouch – Sitting or standing in place for long periods of time can be tiring, especially if you do not have the muscles in your back to support good posture. Nonetheless, that only means we have to be more conscious. Check your posture every 20 minutes and straighten your back. Slouching puts strain on your neck and can often lead to neck and shoulder pain. 
  • Keep Everything Eye-Level – We often make the mistake of looking with our necks when we can just as easily look with our eyes. This is important to note especially if you are using a laptop as there is not much mobility in terms of leveling your monitor to be at eye level. Look down at your screen with your eyes, do not move your entire neck- this leads to neck strain and will allow you to fall into the habit of slouching.
  • Stretch – Do this before, after, and even during your work time. Stretching loosens any tensions you may be feeling in your muscles and allows you the flexibility to practice good posture. Getting up to stretch every hour or at 30-minute intervals acts as a buffer, not only for your posture but also for your mindset, allowing you to be more productive.
  • Feet flat on the floor – Your knees should not be too high or low above level with your hips. Your feet should be flat on the floor. With that being said, crossing your legs or anything other than having your feet flat on the floor leads to strain and complications on your backs, hips, and even causes a slight increase in blood pressure.
  • Hydration – Hydration can help your posture in different ways. For starters, hydration helps your muscles and tissues. Tensions in the back area can be significantly reduced simply through regular hydration. Hydration strengthens both the padding and discs in your spine. An added benefit of hydration is that you will be required to physically get up every time you need to take a drink or refill your water bottle. 
  • Ergonomics – Good posture starts with you, but there is no harm in taking assistance from external tools. Placing a pillow between your back and the back of your chair can make all the difference when it comes to simply sitting straight. This acts as a cushion for your spine. The height of your appliances matters which includes your computer chair, your desk, and any other alternative external tools. The general rule of thumb to follow is that everything should be proportional. The best way to do so is to observe 90-degree angles at all your joints.

How chiropractors can help posture? 

One of the assessments a chiropractor will do is to check for postural imbalances. Perhaps you have one shoulder higher than the other or a tilted pelvis; these imbalances can have a serious impact on the body’s central nervous system. Once joint restriction and dysfunction have been improved through the adjustment, a chiropractor can assist you with proper posture, including recommending exercises to strengthen your core posture muscles and choosing proper postures during the activities to reduce the risk of injury. 

April 29, 2020

How To Deal with the Effect of Stress on Your Immune System

How To Deal with the Effect of Stress on Your Immune System

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives. From your child’s school stress to your accumulated work stress, we deal with these things every single day. However, over the past month, our stress levels have become significantly higher with the global pandemic we’re facing. 

It is paramount for us to discuss the effects of stress right now. We need to be aware of the impact of stress on our bodies and find out how we can best respond to it. The better we are at handling stress, the more capable we are at coping with our current situation. 

What stress really is

Stress is simply your body’s response when changes occur. It can be positive when it makes us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. But it can also be negative when you face continuous challenges and there is no relief between stressors. 

This kind of negative stress happens when life events surpass your ability to cope. Our body’s sympathetic nervous system responds with an increased level of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes inflammation. It is this kind of stress that needs to be addressed and managed well. Although our “fight or flight” response is crucial for survival, it can be damaging to the body when active for a prolonged period of time. 

Effects of stress on your immune system

1. It lowers your ability to fight infection.

Stress lowers your lymphocyte count, which is the white blood cells that help your body fight off an infection. When you have a low lymphocyte count, your body’s defence is weakened and you become more susceptible to viruses. Given our current circumstances, this is the last thing you need! 

This has been proven scientifically as well. A study done in the early 1980s by psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, and immunologist Ronald Glaser, PhD, showed that the immunity of students went down every year under the stress of a three-day exam period.

2. It causes depression. 

Increased stress causes depression and anxiety. This leads to higher inflammation levels which can lead to an over-worked immune system that would otherwise be able to protect you. 

A study was done in 2002 by Lyanne McGuire, PhD, of John Hopkins School of Medicine with Kiecolt-Glaser and Glaser, showing that chronic and sub-clinical mild depression may suppress an older person’s immune system. It also revealed that the key immune factor was not the severity of the depression but the duration! This means that the longer you are depressed, the more immuno-compromised you will be. 

3. It can lead to harmful behaviors. 

Prolonged stress response results in a condition we know as distress. This is a negative stress reaction that can lead to harmful behaviors. Distressed people may resort to compulsive use of substances or engage in behaviors that they believe can help them reduce their stress. 

This can include drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and even food. It may also lead someone to excessive gambling, shopping, sex, or internet use. However, these behaviors do not provide the relaxed state that people are looking for. It only leaves them more stressed and thus causes more problems. This often leaves the distressed person trapped in a vicious cycle.  

Coping with stress

Now that we’ve seen the harmful effects of stress, it is important that we know how to manage it especially during this time when we have stressors everywhere. 

  1. Meditation – Meditate for 10 to 15 minutes a day to reduce your stress. This lowers your cortisol levels and lessens inflammation. 
  2. Sleeping – Make sure to sleep 7 to 8 hours a day. Give your body time to recover from the stressful events around you.
  3. Yoga – Practicing yoga will calm your nervous system and lower your stress hormones. Deep breathing also boosts your resistance to infection. 
  4. Social support – People with strong social support have better overall health. Stay connected with your friends and loved ones. 
  5. Exercise – When your body is fit, you can fight stress better. A healthier body is more resistant to infection.
  6. Eat Healthy – This one goes along with exercise. Healthy, well-balanced meals will not only give you good nutrition but also help boost your immune system. 
  7. Positive Thinking – Fill your mind with positive thoughts. Studies show that people who think positively fare better than those who don’t.  
  8. Set Limits – You are allowed to say no. Decrease your stressors by limiting your commitments. Use your time for things you enjoy and not those that stress you.   
  9. Acceptance – Accept that there are things you cannot control. This will free you up from a lot of pent-up emotions. Focus on the things that are within your control instead. 
  10. Hobbies – Do something you love like a hobby or a passion project you have long shelved. It’s important to do things that make you happy!
  11. Chiropractic care – Prolonged stress takes a toll on the body’s sympathetic nervous system, it is important to get checked for subluxation and remove any nervous interference to allow the body to function at its optimal. 

Stress is something that can be managed. It is vital that you recognize your stressors, avoid them, and do something that will counter the stress you’re feeling. Stay connected with your loved ones especially during this time. Whether you’re experiencing mild or chronic stress, it’s important that you cope with the help of people around you. 

April 29, 2020

Diet and Joint Inflammation: Are They Connected?

Diet and Joint Inflammation: Are They Connected?

Diet and Joint Inflammation: Are They Connected?

The foods you eat have a significant effect on your general health and wellbeing. This fact is common knowledge – and probably the anthem of several doctors worldwide. But can your diet affect specific conditions – like joint inflammation? This is one of the most common questions asked by people suffering from or prone to joint pain and inflammation. 

The truth is, your food choices strongly influence the rate at which your body retains fluids and inflammation results from the accumulation of these fluids. Knowing the foods to include in your diet and those to avoid is vital to keeping a healthy, inflammation-free body.

Although there are medical treatments for joint inflammation, research shows that including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet significantly reduces the chances of developing the issue. These anti-inflammatory foods can equally help prevent and control several other health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and even heart disease, so adding them to your diet is a win-win.

What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

An anti-inflammatory diet is made up of foods with high levels of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Your diet should contain fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans, fish, and healthy oils. Whole grains and well-processed foods should be part of meals too. Some foods high in anti-oxidants include apples, berries, cherries, spinach, walnuts, almonds, sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans, and artichokes. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats, meaning that our body is not able to produce them. They possess anti-inflammatory properties and have shown to increase HDL cholesterol. Examples of foods containing omega-3 fatty acids include omega-3 fatty acid fortified eggs and milk, fish oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, ground flax, salmon, and pumpkin seeds. 

Spices like turmeric and ginger have also been shown to have some anti-inflammatory properties. 

Although there’s no magical diet to stop joint inflammation, these anti-inflammatory foods go a long way in preventing or relieving pain and swelling in joints.

What Foods Should You Avoid?

Some foods can increase the possibility of developing joint inflammations when added to your diet. They include: 

  1. Fried Foods

Fried foods may contain an advanced glycation end product (AGE), which can cause a release of cytokines in the body when consumed. These cytokines are inflammatory markers and will eventually cause inflammation. So, consider reducing your intake of fried foods. 

  1. Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar

Food substances high in sugar like baked pastries, candies, sugary drinks, processed foods, and desserts can also trigger the release of cytokines in the body and should be avoided. Refined carbohydrates like white rice, white bread, and many more have also been shown to have similar effects in the body. It would help to reduce consumption of such foods.

  1. Saturated Fat and Dairy Products

Generally, saturated fats are solid at room temperature, and they are in food substances like cheese, butter, pizza, and red meat. These foods – as well as vegetable oils and dairy products – contain omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids help control metabolism and increase brain functions, but they’re also inflammatory markers in the body. As a result, saturated fats and dairy products should not be removed entirely from your diet. Instead, they should be controlled and alternated with foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. The optimal ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 is 4:1 but the average American has been found to be as high as 20:1. 

Can Chiropractic Care Help with Inflammation?

The main aim of chiropractic care is offering a natural, drug-free way of achieving optimal health while increasing brain and body function. Chiropractic medicine equally involves supporting and enhancing the proper functioning of the body’s immune and nervous system.

So, while changing your diet may address the cause of your joint inflammation, chiropractic care helps to treat and rectify its effects. 

A chiropractor checks for any obstruction – called vertebral subluxations – that may be causing blockage or nerve pressure along your spine and removes it by applying gentle pressure to vital parts of the body. This simple adjustment to your spine will help your body biomechanics return to normal and reduce any inflammation significantly.

According to reports from a recent study, having frequent chiropractic treatments can help significantly reduce the level at which your body produces inflammatory markers like cytokines.    

Conclusion

There’s a direct line of connection between diet and joint inflammation. It is advisable to adopt a healthy diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce the occurrence and effects of joint swelling and pain. However, for the best possible results and relief, we advise that you combine a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants with proper chiropractic treatment. 

Do not allow joint inflammation to get the best of you. Give us a call at (925)255-5805 or schedule an appointment for an evaluation examination and treatment plan.

April 27, 2020

8 Ways Chiropractic Care Can Boost Your Athletic Ability

8 Ways Chiropractic Care Can Boost Your Athletic Ability

8 Ways Chiropractic Care Can Boost Your Athletic Ability

Chiropractic care has come a long way from being known as a treatment for neuromuscular disorders to being used by professional and amateur athletes for their advanced preventive care and overall wellness. 

According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), 90% of all world-class athletes use chiropractic care to prevent injuries and increase their performance potential. If your favorite athlete benefits from chiropractic care, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t!   

Today we’re giving you 8 reasons why chiropractic care can help improve your athleticism. We are going to look at how you can boost your athletic ability with the help of your trusted chiropractor.

  1. It strengthens your muscles.

Chiropractic care makes your muscles stronger. Studies have shown that athletes who practice chiropractic care are stronger than those who don’t. If you keep your body properly aligned, each muscle can do what it is designed to do. Hence, they don’t compensate for weak areas. This lessens the stress on your other muscles, allowing them to perform efficiently and making them stronger over time.      

  1. It improves range of motion.

Whether you’re an athlete or just an ordinary Joe who loves to exercise, you have the tendency to put extra pressure on your body when engaging in intense physical activities. This can create problems in your movement and spinal alignment. Chiropractic care can improve your range of motion by removing the stiffness and pain in your joints. Spinal alignment also allows your joints and muscles to work more efficiently. 

Even world-renowned boxer Evander Holyfield needed his regular alignment saying, “I have to have an adjustment before I go into the ring. I do believe in chiropractic. I found that going to a Chiropractor three times a week helps my performance. The majority of boxers go to get that edge.”

  1. It reduces and prevents pain.

Since chiropractic care focuses on spinal manipulation, chiropractors can align your spine to reduce the pain on your neck, back, and joints. It also restores and improves joint function while decreasing inflammation and pain. Chiropractic care can also reduce soreness after a workout, making your feel refreshed. 

  1. It improves performance.

Your spinal column anchors your muscles and by extension, your joints. Hence, whatever stresses and impacts your spine can affect the rest of your body. This ultimately affects your physical performance. Your chiropractor can alleviate these stressors and clear your imbalances. This results in a healthier spine, which means better body weight support and better overall performance.

Michael Jordan, considered by many as the greatest NBA player of all time credits chiropractic care for his improved athleticism saying, “I didn’t know how much I could improve until I started seeing a chiropractor. I’ve improved leaps and bounds, both mentally and physically.”

  1. It decreases your recovery time. 

Adjustments that are done during chiropractic care help relax your muscles and correct the vertebrae that may have shifted during a strenuous activity. As your muscles relax, necessary body fluids are directed to your spinal area, allowing oxygen and other essential nutrients to be directed towards the injured part. Alignments and soft tissue manipulation also help increase elasticity, flexibility, and strength during recovery.

  1. It treats injuries.

As mentioned earlier, chiropractic care is originally used for treating neuromuscular disorders. Thus, it is an excellent option for treating major and minor injuries. Chiropractic care helps enhance blood circulation through muscle relaxation and spinal manipulation. It heals joint pains and spinal pains. 

Dallas Cowboys icon and one of the best running backs in the NFL, Emmitt Smith, credits his chiropractor for his regular recovery. He said, “I go see the chiropractor when I get bent out of shape on Sundays. Playing in a football game is like being in 30-40 car accidents.” 

  1. It promotes relaxation.

It is paramount that your muscles get to relax after engaging in highly athletic activities. Chiropractic care relaxes them through careful massaging of pressure points which enhances blood flow throughout the body. It also relieves pressure on stressed areas, allowing you to experience unique relaxation that recharges your body.    

  1. It is drug-free and non-invasive.

Most people would settle for non-invasive treatments. Athletes, in particular, are very careful with the drugs they use. Thus, it comes as no surprise that they prefer therapeutic treatments like chiropractic care because of its safety and efficacy. More importantly, it does not have harmful side effects on the body. Being non-invasive, chiropractic care also allows you to get back into action quicker, unlike invasive procedures which give your body a longer time to recover. 

Multi-awarded bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger has promoted chiropractic care throughout his career, crediting it for his success as an athlete. He even promoted it as a governor of California, “We’ve got to let the people know that there is a necessity—it’s not even an option; it’s a necessity—to have a chiropractor. As much as it is a necessity to have a dentist. If you have a dentist for the family, you should have a chiropractor for the family.”

These are just some of the many ways that chiropractic care can boost your athletic ability. With consistency, you will get the best results for your body including increased strength, better performance, and faster recovery. 

Set an appointment today with a trusted, professional chiropractor. Your road to peak athleticism begins today!

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