Holiday Health 101: Tips for Navigating those Laden Dinner Tables

The holiday food coma is a reality that few weight-watchers can afford

Thanks to the healthy quantities of fatty foods that seem to pass into our households each holiday season, keeping the weight down can be a challenge that few of us are equipped to meet. No one who is in a weight loss battle likes to see themselves slumped over on the couch, full of pie and brandy, waiting for the night to mercifully come to an end. Applying a few common-sense principles to each family dinner will ensure that you don’t lose too much ground in the battle to keep the pounds down. 

We believe in being realistic with our eating goals during the holidays.

That’s why we came up with these tips for avoiding over-eating, but also not feeling too guilty if you do:

  • Don’t guilt-trip yourself: chances are you are going to eat too much and not work out enough. Give yourself a break, but don’t overdo it past an acceptable extreme.
  • Don’t be guilt-tripped: just because the recipe is family heirloom doesn’t mean you have to try that pie. But do try it and don’t feel guilt. Roll that wonderful morsel around your taste buds and enjoy, Remember each moment that the sensation of joy rushes through your mind because that is what it is to be alive!
  • Monitor your appetizer intake: yes bite-sized appetizers are finger-lickin’ good. But they also burden your calorie counter before the main meal even takes place.
  • Tummy tuck constantly: bring your belly button in toward your spine and hold it. This is core-strengthening 101 and it’s dead easy to perform while you’re at the dinner table. 
  • Avoid drinking too much: it’s not only your dignity that is at stake. Alcoholic drinks, especially those holiday-inspired ones, are laden with calories that contribute to the famous holiday-bloating effect. 

Check-in at your chiropractor after the holiday season to ensure you are still on track with your fitness goals

At our office, we help make sure that your holiday habits haven’t taken a drastic toll on your overall health. If you want to keep your body balanced and on track for achieving all your fitness goals, give our office a call to schedule an appointment for after the holiday rush. Good luck and happy holidays! 

Landing Softly: How to Minimize Impact on the Runner’s Joints

Good running form means efficiency and speed but it also means injury prevention!

If you are trying to improve your running form, it behooves you to focus on minimizing the impact of each step on the joints of your knees and lower back. Yes, this starts with good running shoes, but the degree to which the impact will affect your joints is determined when you strike the ground.

Running with the health of your spine in mind 

  • Strike the ground with the middle of your foot rather than the heel: this technique, known as mid-foot running, is the most important stride for minimizing the shock factor to spinal joints. 
  • Short strides that land directly under the hips also minimize impact and help to keep you upright and balanced.
  • Upright posture: slumping forward with the shoulders and craning your neck forward puts the spine out of balance and leaves it vulnerable every time your foot hits the ground. Posture awareness is very important for runners.

This all combines to create a more natural running style that will, in the long run, benefit you greatly. Not only will it prevent injury, but it will also make you a more efficient runner

Keeping the damage in check with regular chiropractic care

No matter how careful you are about your running form, some level of impact is likely to reach your spinal joints. This jarring motion tends to move them out of alignment, creating compression on the nearby nerves which can result in dysfunction and pain. If you are interested in keeping your body in the best shape possible so you can keep running to your heart’s content, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

This Holiday Season, Practice Exercise Snacking

You will be snacking a lot this holiday season 

From the myriad sweet treats to decadent family dinners, the options are endless when it comes to indulgence during the holiday season. For those looking to manage their weight, or keep back pain at bay, this can be a treacherous time. It behooves any back pain sufferer to be proactive about the health of their spine during the holiday season. To this end, we want to talk about a different kind of snacking: exercise snacking.

Exercise snacking is sneaky holiday fitness

We know that every little bit of exercise counts. When it comes to the health of your spine, even a 10-minute walk can make a significant difference in the severity of back pain you experience. That’s because movement is the essence of life- going from zero to any form of exercise helps to relieve muscle tension and get your circulation flowing. This can be an essential lifeline during the holiday season. 

Exercise snacking is a concept developed by fitness trainers catering to busy people. Almost all of us are busier during the holiday season than during the rest of the year. Exercise snacking focuses on reaping the benefits of a full exercise program in smaller increments. The idea is to think small: what can you fit in in a 5, 10, 15, or 30-minute workout? Ideas range from simply walking, to purposeful stretching, bodyweight exercises, and high-intensity interval training. Whatever you choose, it’s going to be better than nothing!

Maintaining your health through the holidays

Don’t let the challenges of the holiday season turn you off from exercise. People who prioritize their health will persevere; exercise snacking is an excellent way to do just that. If you need more ideas on maintaining your health through the holidays, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Nurses and Back Pain: What to Know

Nursing is the profession most affected by back pain

Yes, more than office workers who sit with poor posture all day; more than construction workers who manage heavy equipment; more than any other profession, nurses are the ones stuck with back pain. Reports and statistics consistently show that, among the different varieties of nurses, they collectively miss the most days of work due to back-pain related complaints. As an office of chiropractic, this concerns us and we want to know why nurses are so at risk. 

How can nurses prevent back pain?

The main problem is with lifting; while most people wouldn’t think it, lifting is one of the main tasks a nurse is called upon to do. Between assisting patients in bed, moving them between table and gurney, and preventing falls, nurses are constantly called on to lift disproportionate amounts of weight at awkward angles. The frequent result is strain to the soft, supportive tissues in the back. And over time, all this damage compounds to cause more serious long-term injury. Here are steps nurses can take to prevent back pain: 

  • Lift the way your parents taught you: with your legs, not your back when possible. 
  • Wear supportive shoes: you are on your feet all day; shoes minimize the amount of impact your intervertebral discs will have to absorb. 
  • Consider switching specializations: if possible, there are certain specializations that demand less in terms of lifting. 
  • Find the healthcare provider that utilizes the latest technology, including ceiling lifts that take the necessity for lifting out of your hands.

Nurses can benefit from chiropractic care

It is a shame that health workers are the most at risk for back-pain-related conditions. We want to help nurses keep their backs in good health despite the demands of their job. If you or a nurse you know is suffering from back pain related to their job, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Smoothing out the Muscle Tension Feels Great

Understanding muscle tension 

Muscle tension means: a condition in which your muscles are semi-contracted for an extended period of time. It is most often caused by mental stress, which constricts blood vessels, reducing circulation and therefore oxygenation to the muscles. When circulation is hampered, oxygen has a hard time and waste products have a hard time getting out, leaving you with muscles that feel tighter and opening the door to muscle spasm and pain. What parts of your lifestyle are contributing to muscle tension? 

Factors that contribute to muscle tension

  • Exercise: boosts oxygen supply to the muscles and stretching helps to prevent muscles from becoming overly tight or shortened. 
  • Sleep: As you sleep, the body supplies muscles with more oxygen to help breakdown lactic acid; if this doesn’t happen, excess lactic acid contributes to the formation of trigger points.
  • Diet: Certain ingredients affect muscle tension. Among the best things you can do are: reduce caffeine intake, and make sure you are getting enough vitamin B12 and calcium. 
  • Keeping stress down: mental stress translates directly to muscle tension. Pain in the muscles can then cause mental stress and the cycle will perpetuate itself. 

Dispelling muscle tension

Chiropractic adjustment helps to alleviate painful pressure on nerves and boosts circulation. We release muscle knots with trigger point therapy and treat myofascial pain with instrument-assisted release. All of these modalities are intended to open up areas of tension to an influx of blood which carries fresh oxygen and nutrients that help dispel tension and allow you to move freely. If you are interested in living a life with less muscle tension, call us to schedule an appointment today. 

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain Is A Common Complaint

Encompassing four joints and a host of supportive muscles, tissues, and ligaments, the shoulder joint is among the most complex in the human body. Arguably the most used joint in the human body, 1 in 2 people will experience pain in the shoulder at some point in their life, and most shoulder pain will resolve itself within a matter of days. If not, it could be time to seek treatment. 

When should you seek treatment for shoulder pain?

  • If the shoulder pain does not resolve itself in less than a week. 
  • If the same pain recurs in the same location
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Loss of strength
  • Swelling or bruising around the joint

As is the case with any condition involving the human body, the sooner you get a proper diagnosis, the sooner you can get appropriate treatment, and the sooner the issue will resolve itself. 

Shoulder Pain and Chiropractic

If you are unsure about the cause of your pain, give our office a call to schedule an appointment. We direct treatment to the specific cause of your injury to ensure that we are not just treating symptoms. In this way, we give you the best chance of beating pain, restoring range of motion, and preventing pain from recurring. We offer chiropractic treatment to address nerve communication to the shoulders, provide information and instruction on appropriate stretching and exercise, and other therapies to help improve conditions including: 

  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Bursitis
  • Rotator Cuff injuries
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Shoulder instability
  • Referred pain 
  • Arthritis
  • Labral tears
  • Ligament injury
  • and other conditions

Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today!

Dynamically Treating Back Pain with Flexion-Distraction

Tailoring a treatment to your specific back pain

Your back pain is completely unique and your treatment should be too! This should not be such a radical statement to read but it is at odds with the idea of allopathic treatment, where the same drugs and the same surgery is used to treat every case. The truth is, every diagnosis is different, so we take a different approach that detects the underlying cause of your condition and follow it up with a multi-dimensional plan for treatment that seeks to improve your body’s ability to heal itself without the necessity for surgery or pharmaceutical aid. 

Flexion distraction is one of the tools we can use to treat back pain

It is a technique that uses a specialized table to elongate the spine while we simultaneously perform a targeted pumping motion that flexes the spine. The goal of flexion-distraction is to:

  • Increase space between the discs and reverse intradiscal pressure
  • Facilitate the retracting of bulging disc material
  • Put a stop to painful impingement on spinal nerves

When it comes to back pain, think conservative care first 

Flexion-distraction is an important tool in our arsenal of all-natural, non-invasive techniques that seek to improve spinal function to help you live a better life. Flexion-distraction helps people suffering with herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, spinal stenosis and many other conditions associated with the spine. If you are interested in using chiropractic to help you address your pain head on, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Herniated Disc from Auto Accident

Because of their shock-absorbing role in the human body, one of the structures most vulnerable to injury during an automobile accident is the intervertebral disc. The net force generated by a car collision is often enough to create a bulge or tear in the annulus fibrosus, resulting in a herniated disc. The discs most likely to suffer injury are the bottom two discs in the spinal column. We have a wealth of experience rehabilitating herniated discs sustained from auto accidents. The most common symptoms that point us toward investigating a herniated disc are stiffness and pain in the local area and a reduced range of motion.

For all but the most severe of herniated discs, the body will usually heal itself if given the proper time and attention. This is where we come in: our plan for your injury will be implemented in phases: our first priority is to reduce your pain. Chiropractic adjustment restores mobility to the joints and alleviates direct pressure to the nerve, allowing you to move without the usual limiting pain. We utilize hands-on techniques that boost blood flow in the region and help heal muscles that may have become strained. 

Our office will document all of your injuries and establish a treatment plan that gets you back to health as quickly as possible. Call our office in Houston (713) 520-9330 to schedule an appointment. The smallest comfort we have to offer is knowledge of what happened to your body during the accident.

Atherogenic Inhibition: A Chiropractic Approach to Healing

Atherogenic muscle inhibition is common after a joint injury

As you move through the rehabilitation process after a joint injury, it is common to notice dysfunction in the muscles which surround the joint capsule. While there is no actual damage to these muscles, they are often unable to contract fully. This is a purposeful reaction by the body, which aims to prevent further damage to the joint by limiting the degree of movement and muscular contraction that can occur surrounding the injury. However, it is problematic because it further limits the range of motion, which is a crucial factor in the successful rehabilitation of any joint injury. 

Addressing atherogenic muscle inhibition

This is a neuromuscular condition in which the joint provides the brain with information by way of sensory nerves and the spinal cord. As the inputs from the joint are changed because of injury, the change in the activity of signaling between joint and brain causes inhibition in the muscles. Therefore, the main problem with atherogenic muscle inhibition is its subsequent effect on the range of movement. Because the muscles cannot activate fully, a common result is muscle wasting and inequality in strength between the two joints.

At our office, we focus on mitigating the symptoms of atherogenic muscle inhibition by improving joint mobility through targeted adjustments. We focus on improving neurological function between muscle and brain to allow for the proper activation and sustained contraction of muscles surrounding the joint, allowing strength to be retained and rehabilitation to go faster. If you are interested in finding out more about how we can contribute to the rehabilitation of your joint injury, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

A Protein-Rich Vegetarian Diet

The importance of protein

No matter who you are protein is important. To keep hair looking healthy and nails growing strong; to maintain, repair, and build muscle; to make important body chemicals; protein is an indispensable building block. For athletes, the importance is twofold: without protein, your muscle-building efforts will be seriously hampered. And with the foods highest in protein falling mostly into the carnivorous category, many vegetarians struggle to get enough protein in their diet. But no need to fear: with enough attention to your diet, you can get the protein you need depending on your level of activity.

How much protein should I be consuming? 

For the average male or female during a sedentary day, you want to consume about .36 grams for each pound of body weight. This looks something like 56g for the average male and 46 for the average female. When you are working out, you need to scale this equation up: active people should aim for between .4 and .6 grams per pound. 

How can vegetarians get their recommended daily amount of protein? 

Here are some good meat-free ideas for getting more protein in your diet: all values are given for a 100g serving. 

  • Lentils: 9 grams
  • Garbanzo beans: 19 grams
  • 1 egg: 6 grams
  • Quinoa: 13 grams
  • Almonds: 21 grams
  • Yogurt: 10 grams
  • Peas: 9 grams

Protein from a chiropractor’s perspective

If you are putting in the work to build muscle through physical activity, you may as well not defeat yourself with your diet. Muscle building is important for just about every aspect of well-being; from supporting your spine to maintaining range of motion and preventing injury, protein is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.