Deep breathing is one of the most powerful ways you can influence relaxation.
When the stresses of the moment lead you to feel spun out, it is important to take a little time to breathe. In this way, you can harness the power of oxygen to refresh your body and mind and reset your perspective. Diaphragmatic breathing, better known as deep breathing, is the kind when you breathe in through the nose, contracting the diaphragm, and fill your lungs with air. You will know you have taken a deep breath when the abdomen expands rather than the chest.
Combine deep breathing with some simple muscle action to relieve tension throughout the body.
- Close your eyes and begin a pattern of deep breathing, as explained above.
- On the inhale, contract a muscle group and hold for up to 5 seconds.
- On the exhale, release the muscles
- Work your way down from shoulders to toes, one muscle group at a time.
Optimize your breathing with chiropractic
Breathing is a complex system that we tend to unlearn as get older. For example, it is an action that affects and is affected by posture. We want to help you breathe better and this begins with technique! Subluxation in the cervical region can affect the phrenic nerve which powers the diaphragm, thereby affecting breathing. Let’s work together to get your breathing back on track to fight stress and feel better!
Our bodies on technology
The technology age is advancing rapidly, “optimizing our lives,” and our health in the process. However, as the guinea pig generations for many new technologies, it is important to remain wary about the possibilities for harm that they could cause. As chiropractors, we are seeing more people than ever with the so-called, “reader’s neck,” which has now become widespread under the moniker “Forward Head Posture.” Due to our heavy reliance on cell phones, tablets, and computers, our posture is worse than ever and many people are carrying up to 20-30 pounds of extra pressure on their spine at all times.
Here are a few places to use caution when it comes to using (or over-using) technology:
- Our spines: forward head posture, poor spinal curvature and the premature onset of degenerative spinal conditions are all linked to sit-heavy lifestyles, poor posture, and overuse of cell phones.
- Repetitive Stress Injuries: typing, typing, typing we are forever typing out messages, e-mails, and hashtags, before we even get to our office job. This does a lot of damage to fingers, hands, wrists and up to the shoulders.
- Headaches: staring at screens for too long can lead to eye strain, muscle spasms, and tension headaches.
How we help at Greenway Plaza Chiropractic
We are your safeguard for spines against the incursions of technology. With postural analysis, we can determine whether you have forward head posture and if so, begin a routine of stretching and strengthening of the neck muscles that will make it easier to hold your head properly; through chiropractic adjustment, we can effect great improvements on nerve functioning throughout the body which will reduce pain and help the body function optimally. We can identify behaviors that may contribute to repetitive stress and counsel you on ways to negate the damage of overuse injuries. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today!
Regardless of age or physical condition, everyone is prone to a flare of back pain. A person who has never experienced even a twinge of pain or stiffness may wake up one day to find that they slept awkwardly and their neck is now cricked. For people at all points on the spectrum between one-time pain and chronic conditions, it is important to know how to use your resources to allay pain so that it doesn’t sideline you completely.
When it comes to managing back pain in the moment, two of your best resources are ice and heat. And while this may sound like overstated conventional wisdom, it is important to know how to actually apply ice and heat, and why you are doing it. Some people prefer one or the other, but we find that they are especially effective, and actually compliment each other, when alternated in this order:
- Ice to relieve pain and reduce swelling and inflammation. When you apply ice to an injurious region, the blood vessels narrow in a process known as vasoconstriction, your muscles flex and inflammation is immediately reduced. Ice, in the form of a pack, a frozen damp towel, or a bag of frozen peas, should be applied to the injurious region for 10-15 minutes at a time, up to three times a day.
- Heat is used to relax the muscles and stimulate the healing process. The opposite of vasoconstriction, heat catalyzes vasodilation in which the blood vessels open wide, allowing nutrients and oxygen that are necessary for healing to flood the region. Most heat is preferable to dry heat, and you can apply it for up to 20 minutes at a time to achieve pain relief.
When it comes to managing your pain, knowledge is power. We help people find simple and natural ways to encourage a healthier, happier life. If you are suffering from chronic pain, it may be time to make the call and schedule an appointment so we can discern the true cause and begin the healing process.
Happiness in the workplace takes constant dedication
Even people who are immensely satisfied with their job still need to monitor themselves to prevent the onset of weariness. We need to constantly listen to our bodies and brains: take stock of your stress levels, feel the twinges of pain and respond to them in a healthy manner rather than burying them away until they surface calamitously in the future. Essentially you need to separate “working you” from “you you.”
Ways to stay happy in the workplace
By exerting control over the factors that are within your power, you can set the balance equally against those factors you cannot control and thereby prevent a lot of unnecessary stress. Here is a brainstorm of ways to improve your experience in the office:
- The comfort of your workspace: temperature is important. Too hot and your brain boils; too cool and your office feels like a cave so 65-70 Fahrenheit is a good target. Your ergonomic setup is also important for preventing pain and contributing to good posture.
- Noise: keep the sound down as much as possible to contribute to a more zen atmosphere in the office.
- Engage with coworkers: face-to-face, not over e-mail!
- Keep moving: stand up and go for no-screens at least once every hour
How we help
While there has been a recent change in the attitude of companies toward employee health, many offices still sell their employees short in terms of ergonomics and stress management. At our office, we are your resource if you are feeling burned out from office life. We can help your body combat physical stress by addressing subluxation and muscle tension, which will allow you to focus on feeling your best mentally. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
You are losing flexibility while you sit hunched over.
8 hours in an office chair is a brutal reality for your back. Multiply that by the average amount of days you work in a year and you can see how the hours add up against your spine. Unless we are proactive, we are literally letting our flexibility fall by the wayside to the chagrin of our bodies. We need flexibility to perform basic human movements without pain: the lifts, twists, turns, and reaches that make up the subconscious movements of the day. Even standing up and walking depends on our bodies having a baseline of flexibility.
Stretching from your desk can revolutionize the way you feel at work.
Try this from your office chair:
- Gentle twist: Sit up straight. Gently twist to the right and look over your right shoulder. Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Fold from the chair: come to the edge your chair and extend your legs forward with feet hip-distance apart. Exhale and fold your upper body forward reaching with your hands for your feet. Grasp as far down your leg as you can and hang for 15 seconds.
- Upper shoulder stretch: Reach right hand over right shoulder and reach your left hand behind your back. Clasp your hands together and create a tension that stretches the shoulders and chest. Hold 15 seconds.
Stop feeling stiff at work
This stretch routine takes about 2 minutes and it can release a lot of tension from the body. If you could do it once every hour you would be doing your body a grand favor. Let’s work together to identify the ways in which you are letting your body down. From poor body mechanics and movement to poor posture, everyone has room for improvement. By being proactive about your flexibility, you can ensure an old age with less pain and more independence. Let’s start moving more and moving more purposefully today! Give our office a call to schedule an appointment.
We’ve all used the term, “I’m taking a mental health break,” when we take a needed day off from work. But simply “not working” is not the same as doing something positive for our mental wellbeing.
As Noam Spencer Ph.D. said, “Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”
What’s Involved in a Mental Health Break?
Removing yourself from stressful situations, like anxiety at your workplace, is a good way to start. But then what? Your brain is still hard at work trying to resolve those issues you thought you distanced yourself from.
Getting yourself healthy, whether physically or mentally, requires you to be proactive in the process. When your body is in need of alignment, you call a qualified chiropractor, like Dr. Randall Holmes, DC in Houston, Texas, to put things right and get you back in the game. Here, he offers you some suggestions for getting your mental wellbeing realigned too.
Suggestions for Achieving Better Mental Health
Clean your house. That may sound like a terrible way to take a break until you consider how much clutter leads to stress. Try cleaning out a closet or two. It often leads to hours of looking at old photographs and vacation souvenirs, which can be its own little getaway.
Revisit Old Loves. Not old flames, but old pastimes. If roller skating, playing the guitar, or finger painting was something you enjoyed as a child, try picking it up again. You may find they missed you too!
Do Good. Nothing takes us out of ourselves more than investing our time in something outside ourselves. You can volunteer to rock preemies at the local hospital, serve hot meals to the aged, or go all in and start your own charitable organization. It’s possible to get grants if you’re registered as a non-profit.
Fresh Air and Sunshine. It’s been said so often it’s become a cliche, but walking outside is so good for us, it almost doesn’t matter where you walk or how fast. However, combining the walk with being out in nature gives us a double shot of those feel-good endorphins.
Tai Chi. Originating thousands of years ago as a martial arts practice Tai Chi is noted for how well it integrates physical exercise and mental wellbeing. Its slow, deliberate movements focus on proper body alignment, breathing, and relaxation.
Pet a Dog. If your difficulties in maintaining consistent mental health are interfering with your ability to work or simply enjoy life, you may qualify for a therapy dog. The simple act of petting a dog has been shown to lower pulse rates and blood pressure while relieving stress, anxiety, and depression. Or if you’ve been thinking of getting a dog as a pet and need another good reason, mental wellbeing could be just a wag and a lick away.
Get Physically Realigned. If your body is out of alignment, you’re in constant discomfort and that’s something you can’t take a vacation from. Visit a qualified chiropractor for needed adjustments before the pain becomes chronic or before you head to a pharmacy.
Plant a Garden. It doesn’t matter if you want to grow petunias or potatoes, there’s something rawly therapeutic about digging in the dirt. Visit a local nursery with a bag full of the type of soil available in your yard along with photos of the area you’re designating for your new garden to give the professionals an idea of the conditions your space offers. They’ll have the best suggestions on what and how to grow your new garden.
Drive to the Closest Beach. We are biologically drawn to water. Nearly 40% of the U.S. population lives within 100 miles of a coastal area. Whether it’s the sea or a lake, we all feel more relaxed near the water. Even the color blue of the water is associated with calmness and relaxation. Wiggling our toes in the sand is the icing on our beach-break cake.
In today’s society, even with all the technology at our fingertips to ease both our physical and mental labors, we seem more anxious and worried than at any other period in history. Maybe that’s a sign that getting back to the basics to improve our mental health is exactly what the doctor ordered.
What’s the big deal behind 10,000 steps?
It is a nice round number that can be easily tracked by fitness devices, and the number seems to have stuck. Science is currently debating the specifics of 10,000 steps down to the detail of the individual’s leg length, and overall fitness of the individual. Of course, fitness is more nuanced than a simple round number like 10,000 but there is still merit to the idea.
The math behind 10,000 steps:
10,000 steps can be achieved in roughly 30 minutes of walking. This is a lot easier on the ears than 150 minutes of exercise per week, which 30 minutes of walking a day actually exceeds. This is enough to qualify you as a “moderately active person.”
The idea of 10,000 steps is right
Perhaps you already hit the gym three times a week; in this case, walking 10,000 steps a day is unlikely to increase your level of fitness. For someone who never exercises, 10,000 steps can be a boon. Even if the verdict is still out on just how healthy 10,000 steps can be, the idea is in the right place: it is easy to understand and sets a baseline to strive for. This falls in with the idea of setting a daily fitness goal for yourself. So let’s take this idea and adapt it to your life.
The question remains: how can you be more healthy?
Setting realistic goals is the best way, so rather than following arbitrary guidelines such as 10,000 steps, think at a more individual level- what ways can I improve? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Walk 30 minutes a day
- Eat 1-2 pieces of fruit per day
- Stretch for 30 minutes
- Run, swim, or bike (whichever makes you happiest) for 30 minutes twice a week.
Start by keeping your goals broken into realistic chunks of time such as 10 minutes or half an hour and powerful changes in both attitude and fitness will result. We want to help you heal your body so that you can focus on activities that make you happy and keep you fit. If you have long-standing pain or dysfunction that is holding you back, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. We will work with you to detect the true cause of your pain and create a multi-faceted plan for removing you from the clutches of pain today.
Sleep is essential for pain management
For people suffering from spinal conditions, sleep often offers the only reprieve in a day full of pain and discomfort. Being able to extend your spine on a comfortable mattress may offer pain relief for some, but for others, sleep is less easy to come by. When it comes time to quiet your mind and get to sleep, there is nothing to distract you from your back pain. Insomnia becomes both a cause and an effect of your back pain, and this cycle can be hard to break out of. The best way to get to sleep despite your pain is by finding comfort. We have dedicated our lives to helping people with chronic back pain increase the amount of comfort in their lives so that they can find the sleep they need to push on.
Most comfortable sleeping position by spinal-condition
- Herniated discs: people with this condition find the most relief sleeping on their sides and stomach, as long as the stomach is supported by a pillow underneath. A medium-density mattress allows for your shoulders and hips to sink in comfortably while still supporting the curvature and neutral alignment of your spine.
- Degenerative disc disease: reducing stress on the discs is achieved by opening up space between the vertebrae. When sleeping, most people find comfort on their stomach, with a supporting pillow underneath.
- Osteoarthritis: we most often recommend a loose fetal position, in which the knees are raised but the spine remains straight through the neck. This position relieves pressure on spinal joints.
At our office our job is to use hands-on modalities to restore alignment to your spine and reduce the severity of your symptoms. In so doing, we aim to reduce pain and improve function, helping you find the comfort you need to sleep.
Chronic inflammation is the natural result of a poor diet
Foods that are high in processed ingredients usually contain high levels of sugar and bad fat- foods that make you feel OK and fill you up but let you down in the long run. A buzzword in the health community, inflammation is linked to all sorts of problems in the human body- pain, arthritis, obesity, and beyond, but here’s one that may not have occurred to you before:
Chronic inflammation is linked to cortisol imbalance
The brain’s foremost stress hormone, cortisol, is produced by the adrenal gland, and keeping it in balance is critical for maintaining the health of every cell in the body. By raising inflammation, a poor diet is helping to throw your cortisol rhythm out of balance and thereby, results in the following symptoms:
- Anxiety and depression
- Problems falling and staying asleep
- Weight fluctuation
- Decreased memory
- Immune system dysfunction
A plan for eating clean to fight inflammation and cortisol imbalance
Diet, along with sleep, is one of the most powerful ways you can control cortisol rhythm and the functioning of your adrenal glands.
- We start by ditching the processed foods. As much as possible, try to limit your intake of drive-thru or ready-made meals.
- This goes along with controlling the quality of fats and sugars you intake.
- Focus on anti-inflammatory foods or supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids, spices such as turmeric, cloves, and ginger,
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol late at night: Both are great at disturbing your natural flow and interfering with the quality of sleep.
This is not a radical change in your diet, but it does ask that you take some care in avoiding the pitfalls of ready-made meals and exercising more care over the ingredients you consume. We can help you identify behavior that is causing inflammation and cortisol levels to remain high and quality of life low. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Office ergonomics are made for form and function but rarely are they made for good health
Let’s subscribe to the conventional wisdom that working in an office has fewer risks than working construction, or directing traffic or being a lion trainer … … … The risks associated with office work are much less glaring and tend to fly under the radar as they build up over the years. Many people exit office life riddled with degeneration- carpal tunnel in the fingers, degeneration in the spine, pain in the lower body. These are insidious diseases and are caused by the sedentary nature of the office. If we are going to work hard all our lives in an office before retirement, we may as well set our bodies up for success to enjoy that hard-earned freedom.
Here are some ways to combat pain on the job
- Scheduling breaks: once an hour at the top of the hour; it’s easy to remember and all you have to do is stand up and move for 60 seconds.
- Resetting posture regularly: whenever the thought strikes you, shake out the tension and reset to an upright position.
- Supporting the lower back: this region needs the most support so lend it a hand with a cushion to maintain the curve throughout your lower back.
- Using a headset: if you use your phone a lot, consider using a headset to encourage the upright position.
- Massaging yourself: gently rub tender spots with your hands and release trigger points from tension.
If you have long-standing pain that is made worse in the office, it’s time to stop taking a painkiller, shrugging off the pain, and continuing to work. We want to help you get to the root of your pain and set a course for healing your condition that starts with the therapy we provide. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.