Have Fun Gardening But Be Careful

Spring is here in the northeastern US. While planting of gardens is still over a month away many people will be getting the bug to get their yards and gardens ready. Many of us are excited to be able to get outside after having had a long, cold, snowy, dark winter. However, we should exercise some caution as we take up our outdoor activities. This article will discuss precautions we can practice to enjoy a healthy, happy start to our out-of-the-house ventures.

As a practicing chiropractor of over 36 years, I try to let my patients know that many of the yard and garden tasks they will undertake require the use of muscles and joints that haven’t been used for several months. For instance, a lot of twigs and branches from surrounding trees have fallen in the yard. It will require raking and bending at the waist and knees to pick up and remove these objects. Rather than clean the entire yard all at once and risk injuring the lower back, it would be more prudent to spread the work over several days and pace our activity so as to not overtax ourselves.

Similarly, many will be rushing to the garden centers to pick up bags of mulch to spread throughout the yard. Something to consider is that there are varying sizes of mulch bags. It is better to purchase more smaller bags than to try and carry fewer, heavier ones. Also, many of the garden stores will load bags into your car for you, if you request, thus saving your back and muscles unnecessary strain.

If you choose to have the mulch delivered to your yard you do save yourself a trip to the store, but you will be responsible for spreading the mulch to the appropriate areas. Again, it is better to take several days, utilizing shorter sessions to be safe. Better yet why not hire a landscaping person to take on especially heavy work, leaving lighter, less taxing work for yourself.

In addition, be careful when cleaning brush, weeds and wooden areas for poison ivy and poison oak. It’s no fun to have to spend days or weeks applying repeated applications of calamine lotion for skin sensitivities.

I always have to remind myself that the sun gets much stronger at this time of year. I pull out my bottles of sunscreen from the closet anytime I expect to be outside for more than a few minutes. I also will put a hat on for further sun protection.

We’re all looking forward to spending more time outdoors. It’s wonderful for our mental and physical health. Lift up your spirits, but not too much else!

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Can I Get Relief From Headaches Without Medications

Having been a chiropractor for the past 37 years I get many questions from patients. One question I received recently was from a woman in her early 30s who had suffered from tension headaches for nearly a decade. Her headaches were frequent, occurring several times per week. Unless she took an over-the-counter headache medication the discomfort could persist for many hours.

Another patient who spent a lot of his workday at a computer also experienced frequent stress related headaches. When he initially came to my office to be checked he related that he also needed to take anti-inflammatory medication to gain some relief of his condition.

Both these patients sought chiropractic care because they had heard that safe, gentle, treatment by a chiropractor could help them gain relief from headaches, naturally, without the use of medications. Both of them asked me: “Can I get relief from headaches without medications?”

After I had examined both of them, I was pleased to tell them: “Yes, your case will allow me to provide you with chiropractic care that will provide relief of your headaches.”

This article will provide information about a specific type of headache called, tension headaches. It will discuss what causes this condition and how natural chiropractic care can help with relief for this very common health problem.

There are various kinds of headaches that exist. It is estimated that half the population of the United States experiences some type of recurring headache. Experts have determined that approximately 25% of those suffering from this malady have problems with nerves in the upper part of the spine. The spinal bones of the neck are also called the cervical vertebrae. The joints of the cervical vertebrae and the upper sets of spinal nerves in that area can commonly be irritated if there is improper alignment or movement of the cervical vertebrae.

When this happens, it can trigger a tension or stress headache. One of my patients jokingly called them “headache nerves.” If she developed headache discomfort, she would call my office to tell me she was coming in to have her headache nerves taken care of.

To help her, and others who experience tension headaches, I will evaluate the alignment and motion of the upper cervical vertebrae. This is done by using my hands to feel vertebral movement and alignment. Frequently, I will also examine the area by taking some special x-rays to observe the upper vertebrae of the spine.

If there is a problem in this area it is just a matter of providing chiropractic care to treat the problem. The method of treatment a chiropractor utilizes is called manipulation. Manipulation may also be termed the chiropractic adjustment. This is a gentle, safe therapy for managing headache pain. A chiropractic adjustment involves a quick, mild movement of the doctor’s hands to bring about realignment of abnormally positioned cervical vertebrae. It is very safe and typically brings a good deal of pain relief to the patient.

The majority of patients suffering from tension headaches resulting from problems with nerves and joints of the upper cervical spine can obtain headache relief of this common, but very annoying condition with chiropractic care.

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Low Back Pain Can Impair Balance

Low Back Pain Can Impair Balance

Many people with balance problems may not associate chronic lower back pain as a contributor to their impaired balance. This article will discuss the correlation between back discomfort and steadiness on one’s feet. It will also introduce recent research about how treatment of the back can actually help improve stability.

Back discomfort is ubiquitous. It is known that 80% of all people in the United States will have had a significant episode of lower back pain by age 40. Some back problems are acute, which means it occurs once and then disappears. However, others back conditions are what are called chronic. Chronic conditions are those that are constant or are ones that recur very frequently.

Painful chronic back conditions tend to cause people to react so as to protect and guard their pain. As a practicing chiropractor of over 36 years, I often have people come into my office who are suffering with pain of the back who say they are: “crooked, twisted, kinked or bent.” In essence, what they are telling me is that they are walking and standing with an abnormal posture. This is because their body is guarding and compensating for their painful back. We’ve all seen people who are hunched forward at the waist or are leaning to one side because of their back problem.

Our normal balance is a product of several factors. Our eyes and the balance mechanism of our ears send messages to the brain to help with normal equilibrium. We all know that if we close our eyes, we are more unsteady. Likewise, if our head is submerged in cold water at a pool or lake it can affect the ears mechanism of balance and cause us to have temporary balance problems.

Another factor that provides balance information to our brain is sensory information from nerve endings in all of our joints. The word “proprioception” is a term that describes the body’s ability to sense movement and balance. The joints of our feet, hips and pelvis and lower back are especially significant in helping our brain process information that leads to proper balance. If these joints are injured, proprioception problems may occur. Since chronic pain of the back can cause impaired proprioception, these people are more likely to be unsteady on their feet and significantly more at risk for falls.

A scientific study in the journal Frontiers In Neurology, December 2020 noted that examination of 151 adults of varying ages with or without chronic lower back pain revealed that chronic back problems and advancing age are risk factors for reduced proprioception.

Fortunately, doctors of chiropractic are trained to diagnose and treat these disorders. Often, a chiropractor can help relieve back discomfort by realigning malpositioned spinal vertebrae and pelvic bones. Once the joints of the lower back are in proper alignment normal proprioception can occur and people feel a significant improvement in their balance. Chiropractors are the preeminent professionals trained to diagnose and treat physical, mechanical alignment problems of the spine and pelvis. Most patients who go to chiropractors find that having chiropractic treatment is a safe, pleasant experience because it corrects the spinal misalignment, relieves lower back pain and can help achieve improved or normal balance.

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Giving Your Makeshift Home Office A Makeover

Home Office Makeover

Now that the coronavirus pandemic of 2020/2021 is a year old in the United States, many workers have been forced into remote office work. As a practicing chiropractor of over 36 years, I’ve had many patients who are in this position. I recently had a patient who has been remoting gave me some interesting information about what her company is doing to help. This article will describe what her company is doing to help employees who are working from home. Some of these ideas might be examples other businesses could implement and will also be applicable to anyone who is self-employed and for those whose companies won’t participate in improving their home employment situation.

At the beginning of the pandemic lock down my patient, Beth, told me that her group of 10 people who work for a very large corporation in our city, were given laptop computers and software/internet access and told to work from home. Within a couple weeks they were all finding that they we’re beginning to have neck and back pain and headaches. They also found that their productivity was greatly diminished. They communicated this information back to their human resources department which resulted in positive action.

The company consulted ergonomics experts on what to do to improve things. The first step was to have a Zoom meeting with the 10 employees to find out problems they were having. The first recommendation was to set up a designated office area. A proper desk and chair, optimum screen height and keyboard and mouse location were initially recommended.

Regular follow up Zoom meetings were scheduled and further helpful ideas such as a sit/stand desk, standing and walking team conferences and phone calls and taking regular breaks to get up from the desk and move about were encouraged.

The team found that regular counseling from the ergonomic experts and from within their own group helped to provide valuable support. The team members themselves, developed some creative ideas for improvement. For example, several advancements were: having a soft light in the work area to reduce eyestrain, having a yoga/stretching mat to use periodically during the day to help counteract the physical stress of sitting, and a using large exterior monitor was much better than the screen of their laptop computer.

Beth’s company also pitched in with an initial monetary investment to help set up the home office and continued with a monthly stipend. Increased productivity within the group of 10 made this financial contribution a valuable return on investment.

Beth, her group, and her corporation found that by utilizing and implementing many ideas, developed over time, helped convert their makeshift home offices to makeover comfortable, productive, nearly ideal workspaces.

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Are My Hips Twisted?

Pain Relief From Pelvic Misalignment

Recently a lady who visited my chiropractic office for an evaluation of her lower back pain asked me: “Are my hips twisted?” She had an awareness that her weight was not being distributed evenly on both legs. She felt like she was bearing more weight on one side than the other. Her massage therapist and the tailor, who hemmed her dresses and skirts, said one of her hips was higher than the other. My patient wondered if her lower back pain was due to a mechanical alignment problem of her hips and pelvis.

Many times, a person’s pelvis can become misaligned and cause pain in a joint of the pelvis called the sacroiliac joint (SI joint). This condition can be helped with safe, gentle chiropractic care. This article will discuss pelvic alignment, sacroiliac joint pain and correction of SI joint conditions with chiropractic treatment. It will also introduce research showing that correct anatomical alignment of the pelvis can be improved with chiropractic adjustments.

Let’s start by explaining the anatomy of the pelvis and the sacroiliac joints. There is not one large bone making up the pelvic area of our body. This area, is in fact, made up of three separate bones. They are the two outer wing bones, called the iliac bones, and one central tailbone, called the sacrum. Between the iliac bones and the sacrum are the sacroiliac joints. The SI joints are gliding joints. When we walk they glide back-and-forth.

The tops of the iliac bones, which are called the iliac crests, ideally should be level to be in correct anatomical alignment. If one appears higher than the other, it usually indicates a mechanical misalignment of the pelvis. This malalignment puts stress on the sacroiliac joints which can result in pain. The pain is usually located to the side of the spine, in the area of the hip pocket of one’s pants. If a person’s pain is centrally located in the lower back it is usually not coming from the sacroiliac joint but the lower spine.

If there is a misalignment of the pelvis and the sacroiliac joints, chiropractors perform treatment to correct the condition by utilizing a chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments are very safe, gentle and will reposition a malalignment of the bones. Most patients who go to chiropractors find that having a chiropractic adjustment is a pleasant experience because it corrects the mechanical misalignment.

A research study in December 2020, showed that chiropractic adjustments of the sacroiliac joints resulted in measurable changes of pelvic alignment. Correcting anatomical misalignments of the pelvis can be very helpful in improving lower back pain attributed to an SI joint problem.

When my patient wondered if her hips were twisted, I told her yes, and it was causing irritation of her pelvic sacroiliac joint and creating her painful lower back condition. I’m happy to report that once her hips and pelvis were in alignment, she was able to obtain sacroiliac joint pain relief.

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