Archive for May 2019

4 Best Exercises for Improved Posture

May 3, 2019

Let’s face it. Good posture isn’t exactly a high priority for many Americans. Like most things related to our health and wellness, we don’t notice it until it’s gone.

Most of us live in a sitting culture—we sit at work, we sit at school, and we sit at home. The hard truth is that most of us sit too much and sit incorrectly. Beyond this, our love affair with mobile devices is amplifying the post problem by encouraging us to bend over, hunch our shoulders and crane our necks to look at small screens. Given our lifestyle choices, poor posture may seem almost inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For anyone with a bit of mobility, motivation and time, there are exercises you can do to improve poor posture. Here are four of the best types of exercises to help you improve your posture.

1. Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
A strong core is essential for good posture. Your core includes your abdominals, lower back, obliques, and hips. Strong core muscles don’t just give you an attractive “six-pack” to show off at the beach. In fact, they help hold your body up straight, improve your balance, and provide you with greater muscle control and efficiency. They’re also critical to maintaining back health and provide some measure of protection against injury. When your core muscles aren’t strong, other muscles have to compensate, which results in reduced mobility as well as weakness and even pain. So, to help avoid or reduce low back pain, try regular core training. Some core training exercises include basic crunches (but not full sit-ups), side planks, crunches with a twist, standing side bends, and plank holds. Doing Pilates is another great way to work out your core muscles, as are back extensions and slow swimming.

2. Exercises to Correct Your Rounded Shoulders
Because so many people spend their day hunched over while driving, sitting at a desk while working, using a laptop, or even watching television, rounded shoulders are extremely common—but they are in fact a postural abnormality. When you spend a lot of time in these forward-reaching positions, the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and hips become shortened and tight, and at the same time, your upper and middle back muscles lose strength. In order to help avoid and ease rounded shoulders, you can do exercises that strengthen the weak upper back muscles and stretch the tight muscles in the chest, shoulders, lats, and hips. As the upper back becomes stronger and the chest becomes more flexible, the shoulders naturally pull back, which improves your posture significantly. You can strengthen the upper back with exercises such as reverse dumbbell flys as well as rows with a resistance band, while you can stretch your tight muscles by doing standing chest stretches, torso stretches, and standing quad stretches.

relax your back

3. Exercises to Neutralize Your Tilted Hips
Hips should be neutral and level when viewed from the side—however, some people have postural abnormalities stemming from their hips’ tendency to slant forward. This is called the anterior pelvic tilt, and it negatively affects posture. Lordosis (also known as “swayback”) is a common indication of this tilt. Seen very often in people who sit for hours every day with their legs bent, this abnormality is caused by weakness in the hamstrings, glutes, and abs as well as tightness in the hip flexors and thighs. Exercises to correct this tilt include the core exercises mentioned above as well as bridges, leg curls with a ball, and single leg hamstring flexions with a ball. Exercises that stretch tight hip and quad muscles include standing quad stretches and kneeling quad and hip stretches.

4. Exercises to Retract a Forward Head
Unfortunately, you can easily develop poor posture by tilting your head forward for hours every day. This happens when you drive, when you use a laptop or tablet, or when you watch television. When you fail to retract your head while performing everyday tasks, this tightens the front and side neck muscles and weakens the deep and rear muscles of the neck. The muscles at the front of your neck have to be strong enough to hold your head directly above—not forward of—the shoulders. Not only does this abnormality contribute to poor posture, but it also causes chronic neck pain. In order to retract a forward head, elongate the back of your neck by gently pulling your chin straight in. The highest point of your body should be the top back of your head. This works against the penchant to slip into a forward head posture. You can also work on this issue while driving: practice pulling your chin in and pushing your head into the headrest behind you for a few seconds at a time, then releasing. If you have a high-backed chair that you sit in at work, you can do this at your desk as well.

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 264-9553 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Chiropractic Care and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

May 2, 2019

After years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, large numbers of U.S. servicemen and women have returned home with a wide range of physical and psychological injuries. While the American media has done a great deal to raise awareness of many of the challenges they face, from traumatic brain injuries and lost limbs to hearing loss and PTSD, other health issues have received much less attention. Back pain–often serious and sometimes debilitating–is one of them. “We see quite a bit of spine pain among returning veterans,” said Tom Kotsonis, a staff physician in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Zablocki Veterans Administration Medical Center in Milwaukee. “The vast majority of young combat veterans we see are suffering from neck and back pain.”

In fact, the Spine Journal has reported that “There have been 10 times as many long-term spinal pain casualties unrelated to combat injuries among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans compared with blast injuries. After being medically evacuated from Iraq with non-battle-related spinal pain, patients have less than a 20% chance of returning to their unit and regular duty. [In addition,] 60% of veterans seeking care for spine problems have serious psychological distress.”

These kinds of statistics raise a number of questions that deserve answers. What’s causing this increased incidence of back and neck pain among the troops? And what’s being done about it?

According to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Journal Sentinel, many U.S. Army infantry men and women on tour in Iraq and Afghanistan carry 50 to 60 pounds (or more) on their backs for hours daily while performing foot patrols. Heavy helmets, body armor, gear, weapons, and extra ammunition all weigh them down, causing considerable stress on the neck and spine. “The number of people getting evacuated from war zones for back pain has been as high as 60% of the wounded,” explains Eugene Carragee, an editor for The Spine.

Faced with these kinds of experiences in the field, many veterans are looking for help from their own: the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) reports that a VA policy allows veterans access to chiropractic care. In fact, the VA has begun providing veterans chiropractic care by employing chiropractic doctors on staff at VA hospitals.

From the F4CP: “The VA now provides chiropractic care (via hired or contracted staff) at approximately 40 major VA treatment facilities within the United States. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of America’s veterans still do not have access to chiropractic care because the VA has taken no action to provide chiropractic care at approximately 100 of its major medical facilities.”

military lower-back-pain-image

This is indeed unfortunate—according to Military.com, VA hospitals with chiropractors on staff are in just 23 states: California, Maine, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, New York, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nevada, Tennessee, South Carolina, Washington, Michigan, New Mexico, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, South Dakota, and West Virginia.

Retired Brigadier General Rebecca S. Halstead has been a vocal advocate for expanding chiropractic care among America’s military personnel. She understands first-hand the physical wear and tear that comes with serving in both combat and support roles. Plus, her own struggles with fibromyalgia and experience with chiropractic care have also helped to shape her perspective.

“They set me on a path of getting well. I’m the healthiest I’ve been in 10 years. I was taking eight or 10 prescription drugs in 2008. The more I went to the chiropractor, the less prescriptions I needed.”

“When I retired, my pain was easily a 9 or 10 (on a 10-point scale) every single day. My pain now is a 2 or 3, and maybe even sometimes a 1. I don’t think I’ve hit a 10 since I started regularly seeing a chiropractor.”

“If I had known how much chiropractic care would help me when I was a commander in Iraq and in the United States, I could have taken better care of my soldiers.”

There are two congressional bills that, if signed into law, could help veterans get expanded access to the help they need, according to the American Chiropractic Association. The first is H.R.921, the Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act. If signed into law, H.R.921 would require the VA to have a chiropractic physician on staff at all major VA medical facilities by 2016. In addition, there is S.422, Chiropractic Care Available to All Veterans Act of 2013, which would also require the same as HR 921. Neither of these bills have yet been passed, but any citizen can contact their Congressman or Congresswoman to voice their support for those men and women who have served their country.

General Halstead herself sees this as a priority. “Until we’ve done that we have not fulfilled our leadership responsibility,” Halstead said. “If you want to help them, see a congressman and ask ‘aren’t our men and women getting these benefits?’

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 264-9553 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC

Not Just Back Doctors: Chiropractors and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

May 1, 2019

While doctors of chiropractic have a well-deserved reputation for helping patients overcome back problems, they are actually experts in diagnosing and treating a wide range of health conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Many of these conditions involve the extremities—arms, legs, hands and feet—rather than the back, neck or hips. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is one example.

What causes CTS?
CTS affects about one in a thousand people each year, mostly women. It is essentially a mechanical problem caused by the median nerve being compressed as it runs through the carpal tunnel, a passageway made up of tendons, ligaments and bones that runs from the wrist to the hand.
In many cases, the precise cause of carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t clear. An injury to the wrist (sprains, strains or broken bones, for instance) may sometimes trigger CTS. So might strong vibrations from power tools or heavy machinery. Repetitive movements that place stress on this area of the body can also play a role. The tendons that control finger movement all run through the carpal tunnel, so when they become inflamed and swollen the amount of space is reduced, putting increased pressure on the median nerve.

carpal_tunnel

Who’s most at risk?
Women. As mentioned earlier, women are at greater risk of CTS than men. There are a number of theories as to why women tend to suffer from CTS more frequently than men. One is that they have smaller wrist bones, and thus a smaller space through which tendons can pass. Another is that hormonal shifts may play a role, particularly during pregnancy and around menopause.

People with a genetic predisposition. Some people may have a genetic predisposition for CTS. Approximately one out of four people has a close family member who has also has the disorder.

Workers who perform repetitive, forceful movements that place localized stress on the wrist. Those who have jobs that involve repetitive movements of the arm are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Assembly line workers, carpenters and violinists would all be in relatively high-risk occupations. But what about heavy computer users? Interestingly, although long-term computer use was previously thought to contribute to CTS, there is now conflicting information about the relationship between keyboarding and CTS. Some studies, such as one from 2007 published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, have found that those who use a keyboard intensively at work actually have a significantly lower risk of developing CTS. It’s worth mentioning that some leisure activities can also contribute to the risk of CTS. Knitting, golfing and anything else that requires you to grip items in your hands for long periods of time could raise your risk.

Why chiropractic care?
CTS treatment has been evolving rapidly across the last few years, so it’s important to visit a healthcare provider who keeps current on the latest research and works with carpal tunnel patients on a regular basis. Among the most commonly recommended treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome are using a wrist splint, resting the wrist and taking pain relievers. Surgery is usually viewed as a last resort that should be considered only after more conservative treatment options have been exhausted.

Recent research has focused on the role of manual therapies—particularly specialized manipulation and mobilization techniques—as well as exercise in relieving pain and restoring range of motion. Chiropractic treatment for CTS (specifically soft tissue mobilization) has been shown to be both safe and effective compared to conventional non-surgical medical treatment, helping to improve nerve conduction latencies, wrist strength and mobility.

Chiropractors (and physical therapists) may also prescribe at-home strengthening and stretching exercises to help relieve pain and improve function in the affected hand and wrist. These approaches offer natural alternatives to sufferers who can’t tolerate common over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or painkillers, or who simply wish to avoid medication altogether.

When it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome, early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to success. The sooner this condition is addressed, the more non-invasive therapeutic choices exist for the patient. So if you suspect that you or someone you care about is suffering from CTS, please call or visit our office today. We’re here to help!

Contact Dr. Nicholas Carlisle – Atlanta Chiropractor at (404) 316-1190 (Buckhead) or (678) 771-3060 (Jonesboro) for your appointment.

http://www.drcarlisledc.com

http://chiropractors.healthprofs.com/cam/536552

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCarlisleDC


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