Let’s talk about feet… more specifically, how we move them. Why? Because the quality of our heel-toe motion has a direct impact on our overall health. Dorsi-flexion is the movement of the foot in an upward direction while plantar flexion is the movement of the foot/toes in a downward direction toward the sole. Dorsi-flexion is often regarded as the most important of the degrees of freedom your body has at the ankle. This type of movement allows our shins to move forward in relation to our feet, which plays a critical role in correct body positioning.
According to Dan Williams, Director of Range Of Motion, “failure to achieve sufficient ankle dorsi-flexion will either cause the absolute inability to complete a movement, or will create a flow-on effect up the chain causing injurious situations in the knee and lumbar spine.” The chain he is referring to here is the kinetic chain (the way in which a human body moves). This concept is particularly relevant in physical therapy, sports medicine, neuro-rehabilitation and other areas of medicine that focus on the musculoskeletal system such as chiropractic.
We will use a cascading water fountain as an analogy. At the base of the water fountain is the pump that pumps the water up through the fountain and eventually out of the top as it cascades outwards. The pump symbolizes our feet. If it is not functioning properly, the water is not going to do what it is intended to do which is coarse up through the proper tubes to ultimately get a desired effect. If your feet are consistently moving improperly, with poor heel-toe motion, your sacrum (a triangular bone in the lower back formed from fused vertebrae and situated between the two hipbones of the pelvis) will also function improperly. This can cause a multitude of those injurious situations mentioned earlier. Your sacrum dictates what moves up from that point towards the shoulders. So when the sacrum malfunctions, it is going to wreak havoc on the chain of motion up your body and ultimately result in an insult to the body of some sort. Referring back to the fountain, it is important to mention the water symbolizes our cerebrospinal fluid. CSF is a clear watery substance associated with the nervous system that is partially responsible for removing toxins and debris from our bodies. This means that if our CSF is not flowing properly, toxins will tend to build up more rapidly and not get flushed out as they should. To sum this up, if the pump (our feet) is not functioning properly, it can have grave effects on the rest of the fountain (our nervous system).
Join us next time to discuss how we can ensure that our feet/ankles are functioning properly!
-RangeOfMotion.net (The Importance of Ankle Dorsiflexion)
-VeryWellHealth.com (Open and Closed Kinetic Chain)
It’s no secret that a comfortable workspace can help you feel your best and improve overall productivity. Sedentary lifestyles are already notorious for posing tremendous risks on one’s body, without the added effect of sitting poorly. In the last blog, we found out that up to 71% of all full-time office workers practice poor workspace ergonomics. The havoc this can wreak on the body includes, but is not limited to: • Your posture can permanently suffer • You tend to become fatigued more easily • Your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease drastically increase • You’re much more likely to develop a musculoskeletal disorder such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and degenerative disc disease • You could experience weight gain
According to studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic, here are the most helpful tips to clean up your workspace ergonomics hygiene:
Chair Choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Adjust armrests so your arms gently rest on them with your shoulders relaxed. Key objects Keep key objects — such as your telephone, stapler, or printed materials — close to your body to minimize reaching. Stand up to reach anything that cannot be comfortably reached while sitting. Keyboard and mouse Place your mouse within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard. While typing or using your mouse, keep your wrists straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows. Use keyboard shortcuts to reduce extended mouse use. If possible, adjust the sensitivity of the mouse so you can use a light touch to operate it. Alternate the hand you use to operate the mouse by moving the mouse to the other side of your keyboard. Telephone If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset rather than cradling the phone between your head and neck. Footrest If your chair is too high for you to rest your feet flat on the floor — or the height of your desk requires you to raise the height of your chair — use a footrest. If a footrest is not available, try using a small stool or a stack of sturdy books instead. Desk Under the desk, make sure there’s clearance for your knees, thighs, and feet. If the desk is too low and can’t be adjusted, place sturdy boards or blocks under the desk legs. If the desk is too high and can’t be adjusted, raise your chair. Use a footrest to support your feet as needed. If your desk has a hard edge, pad the edge or use a wrist rest. Don’t store items under your desk. Monitor Place the monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away. The top of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. The monitor should be directly behind your keyboard. If you wear bifocals, lower the monitor an additional 1 to 2 inches for more comfortable viewing. Place your monitor so that the brightest light source is to the side.
So as you can see, just because you sit in front of a computer for many hours each day does not mean you are doomed to a lifetime of pain, fatigue, and poor posture. All it takes is a little effort and a few adjustments. Speaking of adjustments, proper chiropractic care is a great way to realign your spine and help assure that your body is functioning optimally whether you sit at a desk or work on your feet. I think we can all agree that taking the measures to avoid illness and dis-ease makes more sense than treating illness and dis-ease.
-MayoClinic.org: Office Ergonomics, Your How-To Guide, April 27, 2019 -UnCagedErgonomics.com: How Poor Ergonomics Impact Your Health, April 6, 2017 -DrCaram.com: Quotes from DD Palmer- The Founder of Chiropractic
What Does Your Posture Say About You? By definition, “posture” most commonly means: the position in which one holds his/her body while sitting or standing. While this is true, your posture has many more layers than just the position of your physical body. In humans, posture can provide a significant amount of important information through nonverbal cues. Studies have also demonstrated the effects of body posture on emotions. This research can be traced back to Charles Darwin’s studies of emotion and movement in humans and animals. Let us begin by taking a quick look at the physical impacts of poor posture. It’s no secret that many aspects of modern-day life can easily contribute to poor posture. Some of these include the way we hold our heads while we text, the ergonomics we gravitate toward while sitting in front of a computer and wearing high heels. Did you know according to a 2019 study, the average person in the U.S. sends/receives 94 text messages every single day? When texting on a phone, it is common to bend the head forward and look down at a 45- or 60-degree angle, which places about 50 to 60 pounds of force on the neck. The neck is not able to withstand this amount of pressure over a prolonged period. While that statistic may be alarming, another recent study shows that up to 71% of full-time office workers practice poor ergonomics while at work. This means that most of us are more susceptible to musculoskeletal disorders. These are debilitating, painful conditions affecting muscles, tendons, tendon sheaths and nerves. The most common of these are carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and bursitis. Poor workspace ergonomics can also be responsible for causing headaches, stiff neck, and ganglion cysts (hard, pea- or larger- sized lumps which develop on joints or in tendon sheaths). And ladies, let us just skip the high heels! We all know that they make our “dogs bark” but they can also cause serious long-term damage. Walking in high heels causes your spine to sway unnaturally, and stresses your lumbar erector spinae muscle, leading to a sore lower back. Heels put extra weight on the inner side of the knees and knee joints, leading to the risk of twisting injuries to the knees. They are also known to damage toenails, worsen bunions, and increase your chance of experiencing muscle spasms. Do yourself a solid and save those 3-inchers for an occasional night out. The good news is you do have control over practicing good posture and properly caring for your spinal health. Just don’t wait until it’s too late! Be cautious of the things we’ve discussed here and seek/maintain proper chiropractic care. According to joint.com, some of the top benefits of chiro care include: • Improved Nerve Communication in the Body • Improved Physical Function and Performance • Relief from Back and Neck Pain • Relief from Stress and Tension Disorders • Relief from Chronic Injuries We’ve looked at posture and the body. It’s time to look at what else posture means. As I said earlier, posture can provide a significant amount of important information through nonverbal cues. It also reflects upon one’s emotional state. Many studies have shown that certain patterns of body movements are indicative of specific emotions. Anger, sadness, and disgust are by far the most recognized body postures that are indicative of emotions. For example, anger is often expressed in forward, whole body movement while sadness is expressed with sunken shoulders and a drooping neck position. In contrast, though, standing tall with a strong posture reflects confidence and a proper state of mind. According to Stanford neuroscientist, Joseph Wielgosz, “change your posture, change your mood.” As a devoted meditator myself, I know that practicing good body posture is a significant part of establishing a solid state of mindfulness which heavily impacts the way in which I view the world around me. In summary, when I hold myself tall, strong, and confidently, I am far less likely to assume the role of a victim. I will have a better, more positive outlook and believe that I can conquer more of life’s hurdles. If I choose to engage in regular activities that focus on strengthening both my physical and mental wellbeing such as yoga and meditation, the more able I am to live in the moment instead of getting wound up in worry and fear. You know what they say… “worries are just prayers for things you do not want.” Take control of your life by mindfully practicing good posture and making both physical and mental wellbeing a priority.
Here are a few products we offer that can be used in conjunction with good posture, proper chiropractic care and intentional mindfulness:
• CHIROFLOW PREMIUM WATERBASE PILLOW: Chiroflow Waterbase Pillow provides outstanding comfort and responsive support for the head and neck with its water layer at the base. It features thermal insulator to fully encase the water layer to prevent body heat from being drawn from the head, neck and shoulders. It adjusts to head movement, providing continuous cervical support while sleeping. Many experience improved neck pain relief and a better quality of sleep with this product.
• LIGAPLEX: Ligaplex I from Standard Process is a natural joint and connective tissue supplement that contains a blend of key nutrients that provide acute ligament and muscle support.
• DEEP BLUE: doTERRA Deep Blue is perfect for a soothing massage after a long day of work. Wintergreen, Camphor, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Helichrysum, Blue Tansy, Blue Chamomile, and Osmanthus work together to soothe and cool. After long hours on the computer, try rubbing Deep Blue proprietary blend on your fingers, wrists, shoulders, and neck. A few drops of Deep Blue Soothing Blend diluted in doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil can be part of a cooling and comforting massage. *also see doTERRA DEEP BLUE RUB*
“Those who think they don’t have time for Chiropractic care will sooner or later have to make time for illness.”
-Oxford English Dictionary, https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/posture -Mayoclinic.org, Posture: Align Yourself for Good Health, December 14, 2016 -Armed Forces of Medical College, AFMC.org: What Your Posture Says About You by Anne Wasson, June 28, 2019 -Tenpercent.com: meditation weekly blog, Change Your Posture, Change Your Mood by Joseph Wielgosz, May 7, 2019 -Healthproductsforyou.com: Chiroflow Waterbase Pillow -Doterra.com: Deep Blue and Deep Blue Rub -TheJoint.com