We’ve been programmed to think and act in certain ways by our antecedents. “Don’t touch that, it might be dirty!” “Don’t play with them, they might be sick!” “I don’t want you playing in the dirt!” Many scientists, health professionals, and researchers agree that society as a whole has become obsessed with cleanliness and sanitization efforts. We know our predecessors’ hearts were in the right place when they instilled these ideas in us, but it needs to be said that over-cleanliness and other infection suppression efforts actually damage the immune system.
Being too clean can make you sick in the long run. And before you start arguing with me, I am NOT telling you to stop washing your hands after using the restroom, to send little Johnnie to a sleepover with ebola-infected kids, or to eat off of a dirty kitchen floor. I am saying that if we do not allow our immune systems to function as they were intended, they will naturally forget how to function properly. Dr. John Craven DC, PhC said, “It is now maintained by the best authorities, among those who previously asserted that germs were the cause of dis-ease, that dis-ease may be the cause of the germs.” We’ll touch on that, too.
I get it. You don’t want someone coughing in your face. You’d rather your child not roll around in that dirt. And touching things in public places might give you the heebie-jeebies. But check this out! In able to fight off infection, the immune system must train by fighting off contaminants found in everyday life. Systems that aren’t exposed to contaminants have trouble with the heavy lifting of fighting off infections. So, by over-cleaning, over-protecting, and isolating, you actually weaken your immune system and can potentially end up with the opposite result than the one you were seeking. Please note that regular use of hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap contribute to this irony as well. In September of 2017, the FDA issued a rule saying that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic soap products containing certain ingredients can no longer be marketed to the general public. This is because those ingredients also kill good bacteria that live on our skin that we need to survive and repeated use of them may cause the remaining bacteria to develop a dangerous resistance. These resistant bacteria, known as “super bugs,” can develop properties that allow them to be invincible against most antibiotics that we have to treat infections.
Did you know that social isolation can also make you sick? Research shows that loneliness and isolation often result in increased inflammation. Inflammation is when your body tells your immune system to produce chemicals to fight off infection or injury. The theory behind this is that loneliness causes social/psychological stress and stress has been proven to increase inflammation. As we know, inflammation is the source of a grand spectrum of ailments including, but not limited to, cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Our conclusion? While it’s ok to be cautious of over-exposure, it is vital to our health and well-being to have a healthy level of exposure to germs and other contaminants. This gives our immune systems the chance to develop a “memory” of those particular microbial pathogens with a corresponding enhanced readiness to combat them at a later time. It is also of utmost importance to venture out into the world… do not isolate yourself for the psychological trauma of loneliness can make you sick, too. We are constantly striving to keep our patients as informed as possible because your wellness is our number one priority at Corey Chiropractic. Thanks for reading.
Self-care is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health; the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of elevated stress.” This practice is essential in maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself. It allows your body to produce positive feelings while boosting your confidence and self-esteem. People who practice a healthy level of self-care are more well-equipped to “tackle the world” since they typically have better self-esteem and a more positive outlook. It is no secret that this has been a more challenging year than most and the unusual levels of stress that many of us have been experiencing can make it easier to overlook the necessity of caring for yourself. We are going to look at the Why’s & How’s to Self-Care today.
We’ve already touched on the “why?” of self-care but let’s elaborate just a little. When you maintain a healthy relationship with yourself, you are better able to transmit positive healthy feelings out to the rest of the world which will attract even more positive healthy feelings back to you. Speaking of feelings, a critical part of self-care is allowing yourself to feel ALL of your feelings. You do not have to be happy all of the time no matter what society says. Life naturally throws you lemons from time to time and you’re entitled to feel sad or angry or hurt about that. Life is about balance… the yin and the yang. You cannot truly experience happiness unless you have some sadness with which it can be compared. Another reason it is essential to tune into our feelings is because ultimately it helps us make smarter decisions. Pausing, reflecting, and taking stock of sensations throughout your body during specific situations will allow you to start making cognitive connections to the feelings you have in response to them. Our emotions serve as messengers to our brain, alerting us that it’s time to pay attention to something. As you develop this skill, you will be able to use your intuition and learned experience to better navigate life’s challenges.
Scientists agree that we are all less able to manage stress and the challenges of everyday life while we’re feeling depleted from physical and emotional exhaustion. I want to point out that nothing will ever be more important to your overall well-being than a healthy diet and exercise. However, the relaxation one experiences as a result of some self-pampering can trigger a “relaxation response,” which CAN prevent chronic stress from damaging your health. So, it is safe to say that the techniques we are going to look at next are good for you both inside and out. Take notes!
I’ve already mentioned that the two best things you can do to properly care for yourself are eating a healthy diet and getting ample exercise. So those go directly to the top of the list. In my opinion, here are some other really important ones that are high-rankers. Get a good night’s sleep… not just once in a while but as consistently as possible. I get it. You have kids to care for, a house to clean, groceries that aren’t going to cook themselves, and a 40 hour work week outside the home. This is when you also get your children into good sleep hygiene. Get them on a schedule, lay bedtime ground rules with consequences if broken, and be ready to hit the hay when they do. You can also get your spouse involved. You don’t have to be the only one who soothes your crying baby, makes breakfast, or sees the kids off to school. Also, find a source of healthy takeout food for nights when cooking is going to compromise your sleep schedule. There are options. You just have to put them to use.
Practice meditation/deep breathing. If you’re at work, take just 5 minutes to go into a quiet room without distractions. Sit comfortably with your back straight, hands on your lap, palms facing upward. Close your eyes and just rest for a moment. Then breathe in the following fashion: breathe in deeply through your nose to a count of 5, hold for 5 seconds, & breathe out through your mouth to a count of 6. Then repeat 2-3 more times. You may also make a soft “om” sound to help keep your mind as still as possible for those few moments. Then open your eyes slowly and offer yourself some mindful compassion. For example, “may I be kind to myself in this moment” or “I am worthy of this moment of rest.” Deep breathing and positive affirmations work miracles for both our bodies and our minds. Use these unlimited FREE resources to your advantage. You can also take a walk in nature while practicing mindfulness. That simply means that while you’re on your walk that you keep your mind present in the moment and don’t allow it to be distracted by regrets of the past or fear of the future. But don’t forget your breathing! That is always important.
Here’s a glance at some other insanely useful resources that are both limitless and free. SLOW DOWN!!! The term, “take time to smell the roses” has great meaning. It means that we may be here on Earth for just a short time. Stop rushing through everything and take time to enjoy yourself even amongst the chaos. You should also carefully choose who you spend your time with since our time may be limited. Choosing to surround yourself with positive people who add something to your life is an extremely healthy thing to do. If they’re funny, even better! Because belly laughing is also a form of self-care that is frequently overlooked. Some other things that are free and always available to you are: learn to say “NO” without an apology, resist overthinking things that are clearly out of your control, and drink plenty of water.
Sure! Things like taking a luxurious bath in a huge soaker tub with candles, essential oils, and rose petals is awesome. If you have it, do it! But self-care doesn’t always have to look that elaborate. And if you’re not one to exercise every single day as you should, you can do plenty of other things to assist in taking care of your physical self which will greatly affect your mental self. Get a therapeutic massage, go for that chiropractic adjustment, stretch your muscles, etc. And last but certainly not least, CHOOSE TO MAKE TIME FOR YOU. There’s nobody who is more worthy! Now go love yourself 😊
“Breathe. Let go. And remember that self-care means giving the world the BEST of you instead of what’s left of you.”
-VeryWellMind.com (self-care for health and stress management)
-PerimeterHealthCare.com (why self-care is so important)
-Forbes.com (practicing self-care is important)
-PsychologyToday.com (the art of self-care)
-TalkSpace.com (difference between feelings and emotions)
Hello again! Remember minimalist shoes from our kinetic chain blog? If not, go back and read it. It seems there’s a healthy trend on the rise… “Less is Best.” And by the way, Lems is a great brand of minimalist shoes to check out. Today we are expanding on the theory that less is best by talking about living a simpler life and the benefits associated with it. Minimalism is all about living with less. This includes fewer financial burdens such as debt and unnecessary expenses. For many minimalists, the philosophy is about getting rid of excess stuff and living life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions. Minimalists often put a huge emphasis on mindfulness, too. Mindfulness is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, often as a therapeutic technique.” You may be thinking, “what does all this new age hippie crap have to do with Chiropractic?” It’s no secret that in our Chiropractic office the number one focus is your total optimal health… physical, mental, and emotional. This is a look at the effect simplicity has on your mental and emotional health which we all know can greatly affect your physical health.
The Epicureans may have gotten it right with their philosophy on life. We subscribe to it, just with a few modifications… “EAT (lots of veggies), DRINK (lots of water), & BE MERRY (while being active) for tomorrow we may die.” All joking aside, keeping life simple and living in the present moment are two very handy keys to living a life of freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve disappointingly built our lives around. A real kind of freedom. I dare you to imagine how much time you would have to savor life if you weren’t constantly tripping over all your kid’s things while trying to organize and clean your things at the same time you’re worrying about paying all the bills for everyone’s things! Kinda makes you wonder why you have so many things in the first place, huh?
You’ve heard the expression, “keeping up with the Joneses.” I feel this concept has spiraled so out of control that keeping up with them simply isn’t good enough anymore. It has infiltrated society to a point where our days are now dedicated to trying to “one up” each other instead. Whatever Mr. Jones has, mine has to be bigger and better. Remember the days when children could happily occupy themselves for hours just playing outside? These days, it’s normal for small children to be given fancy electronic devices as a means for keeping them occupied. While I realize that times change, adaptation is necessary and electronics are now a permanent part of life, I’m just saying that maybe we should be more conscious of the example we are setting for up and coming generations. Maybe by getting back to the basics, we can curtail their need to “keep up with the Joneses.”
In the beginning, it was determined that all we need to survive is food, water, and shelter. Someone re-wrote the rule book somewhere along the way because now we need:
a big house with a she-shed and a pool
a car (or 2) for every driver in the house
27 credit cards
a high-stress job with a 6 figure income
designer clothes and accessories (the more it costs, the better)
a cosmic sized smart tv in every room of the house
the latest I-Phone on the day it’s released
enough food in the pantry to last a lifetime
And this is just the cliff notes. A wise person once said, “extravagance is often a picture of an unsatisfied life.” Hmmm… What are we trying to mask with all of our stuff? Or are we trying to curb boredom since we are not accustomed to just BEING?
When was the last time you tasted your food? I mean REALLY tasted your food? Smelled the smells, paced your bites, savored the unique flavors and was truly thankful to be eating something that nourished your body? Most of us run through drive-throughs, buy over-priced so called “food,” then shovel it in while we’re racing down the interstate angry at the driver in the next lane who is a just a little bit more aggressive than we are. The truth is that the very Earth we live on can provide us with the absolute healthiest of foods. But we’re too busy with our stuff that we don’t take the time to plant, water, nurture, and harvest. And when was the last time you turned off your tv and took a nature walk, without your phone? Had a picnic with your child and discussed the meaning of life? I’ll wait. I’m not judging though, because I’m guilty, too.
By now you’re saying, “I get it! We have too much stuff, we’re always in a hurry and don’t appreciate life the way we should, blah, blah, blah…” But do you get it? We’re killing ourselves in a race we weren’t designed to run. I’m not telling you to get rid of everything, go live off the grid, grow some dreadlocks, and eat only what you harvest in your own personal garden. But there’s a lot to be said for getting rid of costly unnecessary items that clutter your house, not replacing them with other costly unnecessary items, getting back to nature, hitting up the produce section once in a while, and choosing a book over Netflix. It’s not rocket science that having fewer things to worry about/fewer distractions will cause you less stress, free up time to do things that are meaningful to you and allow you to figure out what really matters to you in the first place. You might even decide that you want to start a garden!
In review, here’s a list of side effects that come from living simply:
More financial freedom– Having less stuff saves you money because you’re not wasting it on frivolous items and allows you to live in a smaller dwelling which will undoubtedly put your finances on more stable footing.
More peace of mind– Living a simple lifestyle allows you to see the reality of your situation more easily. Your mind is less stressed because it has less to worry about. It is easier to make wise decisions you feel good about when you know your principles in life.
Better health– By focusing on what’s most important, your stress levels will be lower, and your health will benefit. Stress can affect your mood, blood pressure, and mental health, just to name a few. People who live simply tend to focus on their health more and watch carefully what they put inside their bodies. They care about the future enough that they do not want to abuse it in the present.
More meaningful relationships– It’s easier to focus on the other person when your life is simple. The interaction tends to be more sincere since you’re free of the need to impress him/her. You can also be more conscientious of the people you invite into your life.
More self–awareness– When you’re not distracting yourself with your iPhone and other electrical gadgets and stressed about becoming a CEO before the age of 40, you have the time and mental space to learn more about yourself. You have time to reflect and be grateful for what you already have.
More free time– How will you spend all the extra time you’ll enjoy as a benefit of living a simple life? This is one of the greatest benefits of simple living. It can be hard to learn to relax when you’re used to running around trying to get everything done. But free time is a gift that only a lucky few of us truly get to appreciate.
Freedom– As mentioned earlier, freedom from fear, freedom from worry, freedom from overwhelm, freedom from guilt, freedom from depression as well as freedom from unnecessary financial burden, freedom to come and go as you wish due to less obligation, and freedom to experience life.
Now that you’ve been warned, what are you waiting for? Start Project #declutter and go find some roses to smell! In all seriousness, I invite you to a 28 day/4 week Decluttering Challenge. Choose one room each week and do some purging every day. For example, week one can be your bathroom. Get rid of samples and products you never use (makeup, hair products, nail polish, etc.), expired beauty products, duplicate items, broken styling products (blow dryers, hair straighteners, etc.), dirty things that have worn out their welcome (old makeup brushes, foundation sponges, etc.), and old toothbrushes, towels and wash cloths. You get the idea. Then week two can be designated for your kitchen, and so on. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!
“Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.”
-simplelionheartlife.com (minimalist lifestyle)
-moneyunder30.com (minimalist living)
-medium.com (real life resilience/the beauty of simplicity)
-thriveglobal.com (human beings, not human doings)
Hello again. Today we are discussing our psoas muscle and how it relates to low back pain. Let’s start by explaining what the psoas muscle is. The psoas muscle is located in the lower lumbar region of the spine, extends through the pelvis to the femur and is part of the iliopsoas muscle group. This muscle works by flexing the hip joint and lifting the upper leg towards the body. A common example of the movement created from this muscle is walking. So, you can probably understand how keeping it in optimal shape would be especially important.
Symptoms of a tight psoas can be:
Tension and pain in the lower back, hips, buttocks, pelvis, or groin
Who experiences tightness of their psoas? Office workers and athletes tend to be the most affected. This is because the tightness is caused by overuse, regular limited movement, trauma (whether physical or emotional), and sitting for long periods of time. Due to its location deep within the core of the body, the psoas muscle instinctively tightens up when we feel stress or fear. For some people, learning to let go of the tension in their psoas can be an intense emotional process. But understand that anyone can experience tightness of the psoas muscle and the pain associated with it.
Lower back pain generally involves the psoas muscle in some form or fashion. The main task of the psoas muscle is to stabilize the lower back when you lift the knee upward. Additionally, the psoas is vital for balance and you commonly exercise it whenever you walk or bend forward. Whenever the psoas muscle contracts, it pulls the spine into a condition known as hyperlordosis (when the inward curve of the spine in your lower back is exaggerated). Basically, the muscle pulls and shortens the spine into an over-arched position. Understandably, this puts a lot of stress on your spinal muscles. Muscles are not the only affected tissues, however. Psoas contraction strains vertebral joints as well. This is ultimately what causes the painful symptoms associated with the condition because the vertebral compression affects spinal nerve roots. This results in nerve pain and it is this kind of nerve pain that allows the discomfort to spread.
So, how do we rehabilitate psoas dysfunction? Massage therapy can be really good for alleviating the pain associated with tightness of the psoas. But actual rehabilitation will require additional steps. Many health professionals agree that a great psoas release technique, at least in the beginning, is constructive rest. Constructive rest is a way of lying down in a semi-supine position (on the back with the knees bent, and feet flat on the floor) that promotes good spinal alignment and release of excess tension. Medically, there’s a lot going on in constructive rest, but you’re not doing it. You just allow it to happen. Ultimately, though, certain physical exercises do the most good. These exercises are often demonstrated by a doctor in an outpatient office and at home. These exercises will include active and passive spine, hip joints, and psoas muscles manipulation and stretching. Exercises at home can include stretching and lower-impact dynamic exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the supporting musculature and allow the body to repair the injury. According to The Cleveland Clinic, it is particularly important that most of these exercises be done only with guidance of your doctor (a chiropractor is a great choice) so that you do not further injure your psoas or any other muscles.
-Clevelandclinic.org (tight psoas management and treatment)
-Theadvancedspinecenter.com (role of psoas muscle in lower back pain)
It’s June! You know what that means… beach vacations, backyard BBQs and pool parties!!! Most of us look forward to this time of year and all the warm sunny weather that it brings. But if this describes you, chances are at any given minute you are armed with a sunscreen that boasts a hefty SPF. How can I blame you when the mainstream media and all the big box stores have told you for years that you need to slather this stuff on any time you go into the warm summer sun? Don’t be alarmed, but these sources are notorious for not telling the whole truth about sunscreen. So, let’s chat.
“After decades of public health education, almost anyone who is heading outdoors has heard the message that sunscreen is an important part of protecting skin from sunburns, aging, and skin cancer. In fact, sun care is a nearly $2 billion-a-year industry in the U.S.” This is according to an article that WebMD put out in January of this year. New FDA testing shows that six of the most common ingredients found in leading sunscreens (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and ecamsule) are absorbed directly into our bloodstreams and may linger for a period of days up to weeks. Some of these ingredients are known to disrupt hormones and may lead to fertility issues, unsafe birth outcomes for infants and possibly even cancer.
It’s important to remember that sunscreen has been around for a very long time. Many health experts agree that it essentially got grandfathered into the FDA’s surveillance system without any real safety testing. That is why we’re doing more testing now. Of the six common ingredients mentioned earlier, four of them (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule) were recently found to be absorbed into our bodies in substantial amounts. The same study that gave us this information also showed that blood concentrations of oxybenzone in people who used chemical sunscreen were more than 180 times the FDA’s level of concern after just a single application. Separate FDA research has shown that this rate of chemical absorption can have potentially toxic ramifications such as altered breast development, infant birth weight, and sperm function. A healthier alternative to these chemical sunscreens is something called “mineral sunscreen.” Mineral-based sunscreens use physical blockers such as zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide which form an actual barrier on your skin and reflect the UV rays. They offer no harmful chemicals that can be absorbed into our bloodstream.
While I am not telling you to stop using chemical sunscreen, I’m letting you know that the benefits do not appear to outweigh the associated risks at this time. Another possibility I’d like you to consider is that perhaps sun exposure is not the enemy here. I passionately believe that our personal quality of health directly impacts how sun exposure affects us individually. For example, the higher the level of toxins we have in our bodies, the more prone to sun damage that we will be. Let me go out on a limb here and put it in these terms: I believe that it’s not the sun that gives us cancer, it’s the sun’s interaction with our unique body chemistry that may compromise us in the long run. This is just another one of the multitude of reasons to pay closer attention to your health.
Let us also remember that moderate sun exposure has benefits, too. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which trigger the release of serotonin (the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness). This means that sunlight is a natural anti-depressant. Healthline.com notes that getting five to fifteen minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands and face two to three times a week is enough to enjoy the vitamin D-boosting benefits of the sun. Vitamin D from sun exposure plays a key role in our bone health and can help ward off conditions like osteoporosis and osteomalacia. And although excessive sunlight can contribute to some skin cancers, a moderate amount of sunlight actually has preventive benefits when it comes to other forms of cancer. According to researchers at the Clinical Journal of American Society of Nephrology, those who live in areas with fewer daylight hours are more likely to have some specific cancers than those who live where there’s more sun during the day. These cancers include:
In summary, the sun is not our enemy. Sunscreens that are heavily concentrated with chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule have potentially toxic risks since these chemicals are absorbed by our bodies in significant amounts and tend to linger. By contrast, mineral sunscreens simply sit on top of our skin and reflect UV rays away from our bodies and are, therefore, a safer alternative. The healthier you are, the less likely that the sun’s interaction with your personal body chemistry will be harmful. And lastly, moderate responsible sun exposure can have some great benefits. These include boosted levels of serotonin and Vitamin D and possibly some preventive characteristics when it comes to certain forms of cancer.
So do your detoxification cleanses, grab your shades and mineral sunscreen and go enjoy your summer!!!
-WebMD.com (skin problems and treatments)
-MedicalXpress.com (sunscreen chemicals and bloodstream)
Last time we discussed the water fountain, how it resembles the kinetic chain, and the effects it has on our bodies. Today we’ll look at how to ensure that our feet & ankles are functioning properly.
So how do we ensure that our feet/ankles are functioning properly? One of the best things we can do is to allow our feet to move in a more natural way and practice a broader range of motion than most shoes allow. Actual foot strength is a significant factor as well. A study done by researchers at Brigham Young and Harvard Medical School compared the effectiveness of two different foot strengthening protocols: One that involved specific foot strengthening exercises (heel raises and curling a towel with your toes), and one that involved walking in minimalist athletic shoes—those with zero heel-to-toe drop and a flexible, 3 millimetre out-sole. “After eight weeks, the researchers found that runners/walkers in the foot-strengthening exercise group and the minimalist shoe walking group experienced similar increases in foot muscle size and strength over the control group.” One of the main take-aways from this study was that something as simple as walking around barefoot or in shoes that more closely resemble bare feet will allow our feet to move more naturally, improve foot/ankle strength, and ultimately result in less injury.
Bare feet and minimalist shoes are also more conducive to “grounding” and all its associated benefits. Grounding is a therapeutic technique that involves doing activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth. According to Healthline.com, this practice relies on both earthing science and grounding physics to explain how electrical charges from the Earth can have positive effects on the body. Some of the most impressive benefits of grounding include reduced inflammation, lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, less muscle damage, reduction in chronic pain, improved quality of sleep and elevated mood.
I think it’s also fair to mention that arch supports for foot health are grossly overrated. For decades, people have bought into the idea that increased arch support in their shoes improve their overall foot health and reduce the risk of conditions such as plantar fasciitis. We’ve been told that people with flat feet should get motion control shoes, people with high arches should look for more balance or cushion, and people with normal arches but moderate pronation should go for stability shoes. While arch supports are not entirely evil and can have some positive effects in certain situations, studies have repeatedly shown that the cons to arch supports drastically outnumber the pros. Some of the most note-worthy things to consider are as follows:
Some running shoes or inserts can disturb the spring-like function in the feet. As a result, you will end up wasting more energy
You are least likely to overpronate when you are running/walking barefoot or in minimalist shoes
You will hit the ground with more force when wearing a padded shoe. Padded shoes result in a 12% higher impact on knees
No improvements were seen in the posture, strength, stability, or discomfort people experienced after using shoe inserts in a trial
Prescribing elevated cushioned heels or pronation control shoes according to your arch type is not evidence based
Short foot exercises and using minimalist shoes were more effective for flat footed students than using arch support insoles
In summary, we need to pay more attention to how our feet and ankles move, monitor how much foot strength we actually have and put more emphasis on the benefits of walking barefoot or in minimalist shoes. These three simple things will have a huge impact on our overall health, both physical and mental. Let us allow our feet and ankles to move more naturally and stop buying into the idea of arch supports as they tend to create more problems than they solve.
-RunnersWorld.com (Minimalist Shoes for Running/Walking)
-RunRepeat.com (Arch Support Study)
-Healthline.com (Benefits of Grounding)
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
Sciatica is more than just a literal pain in the butt (and back and legs). When it strikes, it can cause misery and debilitating pain, instantly putting a damper on your life.
The sciatic nerve runs right through the piriformis, a tiny but powerful muscle deep in your glutes that helps laterally rotate your hips. If it gets too tight, it can impinge the sciatic nerve that runs through or under it, causing tremendous pain, tingling and numbness in your lower extremities.
If you find yourself the victim of sciatica (especially if it’s caused by a sedentary lifestyle), try these for stretches to help relieve the pain:
1. Piriformis Stretch
Laying on your back, place both feet flat on the floor with knees bent. Rest your right ankle over the left knee and pull the left thigh toward your chest.
Hold stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Remember to keep the top foot flexed to protect your knee.
2. Seated Hip Stretch
While in a seated position, cross your right leg over your straightened left leg. Hug your right knee with your left arm, making sure to keep your back straight.
Hold this stretch for 30-60 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side.
3. Pigeon Pose
Start in Downward-Facing Dog pose with your feet together. Draw your right knee forward and turn it out to the right so your right leg is bent and your left leg is extended straight behind you. Slowly lower both legs.
Hold the position for five to ten breaths, then switch to the other side.
4. Self-Trigger Point Therapy
Performing self trigger-point therapy using a lacrosse or tennis ball can be very effective at delivering sciatica pain relief. All you have to do is find a painful spot in the glutes, place the ball at that location and then relax your body into the ball.
Hold this position for 30-60 seconds or until you notice a significant reduction in pain. Move to the next painful spot. The total time spent on this exercise should be between 5-10 minutes.