A Fine, Healthy Spine

A healthy spine is an often-overlooked and essential part of a healthy lifestyle. People who suffer from back pain, particularly if it is long-term, are generally less healthy than those who do not. In fact, back pain costs are staggering not only financially, but also in terms of lost time from work and because of psychosocial problems that arise during the healing process associated with long-term back pain.

Unfortunately, approximately 80-90% of the population suffers from spinal pain at some point. People who are overweight or obese, and who smoke, lift heavy objects, or had a previous episode of back pain, are more likely to experience back pain.

Following simple posture, lifting, and healthy lifestyle guidelines can help you keep your back in good shape.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends the following spinal health tips:

Standing

  • When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees slightly bent. This will take the pressure off your low back.
  • Do not stand bent forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time. The muscles in your low back become deconditioned in this position, which may lead to pain.

Lifting

  • At all times, avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your spine, especially while lifting.
  • If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.

Sitting

  • Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, with your head up and back straight.
  • Avoid rolling your shoulders forward (slouching).
  • Try to maintain the natural curve in your low back.

Reaching and Bending

  • When reaching for something above shoulder level, stand on a stool. Straining to reach such objects may not only hurt your mid-back and neck, but it can also bring on shoulder problems.
  • Do NOT bend over at the waist to pick up items from the floor or a table.
  • Instead, kneel down on one knee, as close as possible to the item you are lifting, with the other foot flat on the floor and pick the item up.
  • Or bend at the knees, keep the item close to your body, and lift with your legs, not your back.

Carrying

  • When carrying objects, particularly if they are heavy, keep them as close to your body as possible.
  • Carrying two small objects—one in each hand—is often easier to handle than one large one.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping on your back puts approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine. Other positions may be better.
  • Placing a pillow under your knees while lying on your back cuts the pressure on your spine roughly in half.
  • Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees may also reduce the pressure on your back.

Quit Smoking

  • Smokers have more spine pain than nonsmokers, and they also heal more slowly when they have an episode of back pain because the chemicals in tobacco smoke restrict the flow of blood to the tissues in and around your spine.

While following these instructions is no guarantee that you’ll be free from back pain for your entire life, it can certainly reduce your risk of developing it. In the long run, these simple steps can help you maintain and improve your spinal health. If you do develop spinal pain, consider visiting Thornton Chiropractors.

Chiropractic Sleeping Tips

Let’s face it, most of us really love to sleep.  Getting good sleep can be a challenge and even a problem in some cases.  So today, we would like to offer some sleeping advice to get your day started right!

Tip #1

Without beating around the bush, it’s either best to sleep on your side or your back. So not sleep on your stomach. The reason why is, if you’re sleeping on your stomach you have to breathe. So if you are laying on your stomach in bed, you are going to have to place your head in an unnatural position. Either turning it from one side to the other or holding up.  None of this is good for your neck.

Tip #2

The second tip is if you’re going to sleep on your side, you want to make sure that your pillow is thick enough.
So, the problem is most people don’t have a thick enough pillow when they’re sleeping on the side. Generally, if you sleep on your side and your pillow is not thick enough, your head will come down and then gravity will eventually pull you forward and you’ll wind up on your stomach with your head turned to one side or the other.

If your pillow is too high, then you’ll generally roll to your back and you’ll have some kind of twisted position. The easiest thing to do is lay on your side, stack up your pillows and lie comfortably and silently and try to feel your body. And if you feel like you’re rolling forward, that means you’ve got to add a little bit more pillow height. And, if you feel like you’re rolling backwards, then you’ve got to lower the pillow height.

Well, this concludes the sleep tips for this week.  If you have any questions or concerns, please comment below.  We are happy to make pillow and sleeping recommendations for you so feel free to schedule a consultation!

Can Adjustments Improve Overall Health?

Chiropractors are experts in health and wellness particularly because of their training, but especially because of their philosophy of health care. Chiropractic is a vitalistic philosophy that understands that the lack of disease does not mean that you’re healthy. There is a spectrum of wellness that goes from disease to wellness and in the traditional medical model you’re either sick or you’re not sick.

The chiropractic really understands that there are shades of grey in between and that we really strive to get the body to function optimally to adapt to its environment optimally. This way you can maintain homeostasis and perfect health. When you go to a medical doctor, they’ll do an examination and they’ll do a bunch of tests and at the end of it, they’ll let you know whether you’re sick or not. And if you’re sick they’ll treat you. And everybody who has the disease you have, gets the same treatment. If you’re not sick they say come back next year and we’ll see if you’re sick next year.

Chiropractors have a much more vitalistic philosophy of health that really is sophisticated. Chiropractic looks at the structure of the body and relates that to how the body is functioning.  We can give very general nutritional advice to patients so that they can maintain optimal weight and optimal nutrition focusing on a Whole Foods diet. we talk to our patients about the importance of enough sleep and doing certain mind-body techniques so that they can recover from stress on an ongoing basis. The founder of chiropractic famously once said “the power that created the body can heal the body” and the answer to this question is yes chiropractic can absolutely increase overall wellness and health you.

For more information on how chiropractic can help you achieve optimal health, feel free to schedule a consultation with Thornton Chiropractors.

Back to School and Backs

Back-to-School-and-Backs

The smell of a new box of crayons.  Sharp pencils.  Fresh erasers. A new locker combination.  A new dorm room.

It’s back-to-school time, and that means trips to school, scraped knees, books, back packs, and school sports. The activity can be great for you and the kids, but heavy backpacks and bad posture can end up hurting your kid’s backs.  But how to navigate this growing concern straight out of the gate?

Backpacks

First, find a good backpack! It should be light, snug and comfortable to wear. It should be made of vinyl or canvas, with two wide padded shoulder straps and a waist strap. All straps should be used and adjusted so that the pack is snug against the wearer’s back and not “falling away” from the body.

Second, a quality backpack is only as good as the way it is packed! Heaviest objects should be packed close to the body (books, pencil cases) and any bumpy, odd-shaped objects placed on the outside, away from the back (lunch boxes, water bottles, sports gear).

Moving Boxes

Moving your kids into their college dorm room or new apartment? Lifting heavy boxes can give you back pain. Tape the boxes so that they are sturdy and the contents do not shift while being handled.  Before lifting, make sure that you have balanced footing and good grip (boxes with handles are ideal).

Face your work. Stand so that your nose, hips and toes are facing forward. Keep the object as close to your body as possible and bend from the hips and knees.

Studying

Hit the books but help your back! When it’s time to study or read, use a book stand so that your book is at eye level. This will reduce the amount of strain on your neck and shoulders from having your book lay flat.

Sports

Returning back to school sports after some time off during the summer? Remember that your body may not have moved and performed in that sport in a while and will need extra time to warm up.  Warm up for a minimum of 10-15 minutes before playing. The warm up should involve simple movements that “simulate” your sport and get the heart rate up. Always stretch after your sport.

In Class

Sitting in class with good posture will reduce the strain on your neck, shoulders and low back. It will also help keep you attentive during class! Sit with your shoulders back, chin tucked in and a gentle “C curve” in your low back. Don’t arch your lower back or slump forward. Your ears, shoulders and hips should be in a straight line. Make use of your breaks! Between classes stand up, walk around and stretch.

The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care For Children

When it comes to chiropractic adjustments and children, we get asked what exactly does the adjustment do for them. Especially when we discuss why is it important for the overall health of the child. Well, we as chiropractors are concerned about the small misalignments that happen along the spinal column. It’s those small misalignments that create the interference to the nerve system which in turn does not allow the brain to control the body like it was intended to be controlled. This is where we can really start to get into some trouble when we are talking about trying to be healthy at an optimal level.

Our bodies are dynamic enough in that it can handle a lot of things that are thrown its way. However, at a certain point it will reach its breaking point and it will start to have the symptoms that we may experience. Now when we are talking about children, we are talking about things like colic, allergies, digestive troubles, headaches, and things of that nature. In infants, we will not be able to tell these things, but as a child grows, they are obviously able to communicate these symptoms. But it’s these types of symptoms that can be greatly reduced by making sure that the nervous system is free from interference.

Now it’s not uncommon for a lot of the adults that come into our office to express to us that how their babies or their children, or their adolescents are actually sleeping better. They are more focused at school. They are making better grades, they’re becoming better athletes, they’re reading better. All kinds of things are affected by making sure that the brain can communicate with the rest of the body. As a doctor of chiropractic and a father I’m committed to addressing the health of my children and the children of our community. If you or someone you know has a child that may be suffering, please contact Thornton Chiropractors and find out what can be done to help your child.