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.

Asthma & Upper Cervical Care

Upper cervical care can indeed help with asthma. Your brain stem controls breathing. The delicate nerves in this area are in charge of health, well being and function of your lungs and bronchial tubes, and air passages. In asthma, the bronchial tubes constrict and breathing becomes very difficult for a person and there’s a lot of theories. However, the most recent research says the constriction of the bronchial tubes are neurologically related, and comes from your brain stem, which controls all vital functions — breathing, your heart, everything vital.

Misalignments and the Lungs

Any misalignment of your top vertebrae will choke off your brain stem and will cause an imbalance of the nervous system. When there’s an imbalance of the nervous system, the communication line to the lungs gets interrupted. When that’s interrupted, we get bronchial constriction or bronchial dilation — we get one or the other. An asthmatic has dilation, they don’t have such a hard time breathing but if your bronchial tubes are open big when they’re not supposed to be, that can also be a problem. There’s more air and more stuff getting into your lungs.

Bronchial Constriction

The bronchial constriction is an asthmatic problem. We want to restore normal balance to the upper cervical spine so that the bronchial tubes open and close when they’re supposed to. When you’re resting, the bronchial tubes constrict and when you’re exercising, your bronchial tubes dilate. If there’s a mis-communication, if there’s an atlas subluxation, it does the opposite. That’s the problem with asthmatics. Chiropractic care has helped numerous children and adults with asthma and they have gotten great results. I say that personally, I say that professionally. Upper cervical chiropractic care has a great effect on asthmatic suffers.

If you or someone you know suffers from asthma, please share this information with them.  You can also feel free to schedule and appointment with Discover Health and Wellness Northglenn.  We are happy to help you out!

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.

Preventing Alzheimer’s with Lifestyle Changes

Image credited to Max Pixel 

It is safe to say that Alzheimer’s disease research is in a state of crisis. For the past two decades, over 73,000 research articles have been published, averaging 100 papers per day, yet little clinical progress has been made. The reason a cure may be impossible is because lost cognitive functions in Alzheimer’s disease patients are due to fatally damaged neuronal networks, and dead nerve cells cannot be brought back to life.

Consequently, replacement with new brain cells— even if it were technically possible, cannot be done without creating a new personal identity. One may live, but is it really a cure if one’s personality is lost forever? Developing drugs that try to clear out the plaques from advanced degenerated brain tissue makes about as much sense as bulldozing tombstones from graveyards in an attempt to raise the dead.

Even if drug companies figured out how to stop further disease progression, many Alzheimer’s victims might not choose to live without recognizing family, friends, or themselves in a mirror. Thus, prevention of Alzheimer’s may be the key.

Preventing Alzheimer’s with Lifestyle Changes

Just as a heart attack or stroke can be significantly prevented, one can think of Alzheimer’s dementia as a ‘‘mind attack.” Mind attack, like heart attacks or strokes, needs to be prevented by controlling vascular risk factors, like high blood pressure and cholesterol. Also, controlling that chronic brain hypoperfusion, the lack of adequate blood flow to the brain over the years before the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, which means a healthy diet, physical exercise, and mental exercise.

The potential number of Alzheimer’s cases could be prevented or reduced every year in the United States if we could just reduce diabetes rates 10%…25%, because diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.  So is high blood pressure, obesity, depression, not exercising your body, smoking, not exercising your brain. Altogether, a small reduction in all these risk factors could potentially prevent hundreds of thousands of devastated families. If modifiable factors such as diet were found conclusively to modulate the risk of Alzheimer’s disease to the degree suggested by this research, then we would all indeed rejoice at the implications.

So while there is no cure as of yet, we should try to take every health precaution necessary to reduce the risks!  For more articles on health tips, please sign up for our newsletter.  Interested in speaking with us personally?  Give us a call or schedule a consultation.  We would love the opportunity to help you out!

Does Chiropractic Relieve Stress?

One of the things that my patient report to me is that one of the most profound effect a chiropractor has on them, is their ability to reduce their stress level and also recover from stress. Our cranium and our spine house our brain and spinal cord. And all of the spinal nerves that are exiting the spine, innervate every single organ and cell in our body. By adjusting the spine, when we find misalignment, restrictions or what we call subluxations, we’re able to profoundly restore normal nerve function. And this has a profound relaxing affect on the nervous system. I like to say that chiropractic care helps nervous system become more highly organized.

We noticed that there is a profound shift in the nervous system. Particularly in the automatic nervous system. The parts of the nervous system that functions without our constant awareness. The sympathetic nervous system our the fight or flight response that most people live in all day long, shifts after chiropractic care. And the power sympathetic nervous becomes more dominate. The power sympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system we would like to be more active.

It’s the part of the nervous system that controls the immune system and digestion. It tends to slow the heart rate and decrease blood pressure to normal. So it’s very important that we have a dynamic balance between these two nervous system. Chiropractic care is one of the most effective and profound ways I know to balance that nervous system. The other thing that’s really very powerful about chiropractic care is the kind of interaction you’ll have with your chiropractor. Really talking about what’s happening in your body. My patients report that when they go out into the world after their adjustment, their whole experience of life is very different. They feel very rested but they also feel alert. They fell calm and they’re really ready to take on the world.  If you would like to experience firsthand what it is like to get an adjustment, give us a call or contact Thornton Chiropractors for a consultation!

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.

4 Reasons To Visit A Chiropractor-Even if your back doesn’t hurt

People visit chiropractors everyday for different reasons and chiropractic offers many benefits beyond treating back pain, neck pain, or headaches. I’m going to share with you some of the lesser-known benefits of chiropractic care and why you should visit a chiropractor even if your back doesn’t hurt.

Reason #1: Improved Sleep
I hear far too often that many people want to sleep better and to wake up feeling refreshed. They’re not sleeping well due to pain, stress, and overall body aches. Your bed is NOT the problem. Before you spend thousands on a new bed, you should consult Thornton Chiropractor. You’re not sleeping well and you’re tossing and turning because of aches and pains and the stress levels that you have. Your body just can’t get comfortable and you never get that deep sleep that you need.

You will see soon after beginning care that you will sleep more deeply. Wake up feeling more refreshed and experience an overall increase in health and wellness. Waking up tired really really stinks and your day isn’t going to start off very well, especially if you need a pot of coffee just to get going. By the end of the day all you want to do is sit on the couch and be left alone because you’re so tired. And that isn’t healthy either!

Reason #2:  Improved Digestion
Common digestive problems such as IBS, constipation, and reflux are often tied to factors such as high stress levels, a poor diet, and poor posture. In counteracting these conditions, studies support the use of chiropractic adjustments to help.

Reason #3:  Decreased Stress
A combination of factors seem to be responsible for chiropractic stress relief benefits which include increased relaxation, decreased muscle tension, and improved circulation. Chiropractors know that by adjusting the spine we help reduce physical stress on your body and improve the function of your central nervous system.

Reason #4:  Boosting Your Immune System
There is evidence to support that chiropractic treatment boosts your immune system because the nervous system and immune system are so tightly interlinked. This is not a new concept either.  If you want to see some interesting facts, Google chiropractic and the influenza epidemic of 1918.  As you can see there are many conditions that respond to chiropractic. If you’re seeking a more natural way to relieve stress, boost your immune system, improve digestion, or just sleep better contact Thornton Chiropractor. Chiropractic is the way to go!