Your spine is always under pressure
Whether you like it or not, the most common positions we adopt during a given day are putting a disproportionate amount of pressure on our spines, and our lumbar vertebrae is where this pressure accumulates! Here are some statistics as measured by the pressure sustained by a lumbar intervertebral disc:
- Low pressure: lying on your back: ~25kg of pressure
- Medium pressure: standing upright: ~100kg of pressure
- High pressure: sitting: ~125kg of pressure
Sitting and standing are made worse by leaning forward and bearing weight, while forward head posture magnifies the pressure of the head on the spinal column by up to 10X for every inch it is held forward. So if there is one thing we can start doing for our spines right away, it is being aware!
Relieving lumbar pressure with decompression therapy
There are many ways we can work to prevent the damage that will result from pressure accumulation. Strengthening the core stabilizing muscles and improving our posture are tied for the most important thing we can do to help our lumbar vertebrae- stronger muscles support the burden while better posture reduces the pressure. If your spine is suffering from the effects of too much pressure, i.e. herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, nonspecific back pain and nerve compression, decompression therapy can help.
Decompression therapy uses manual and instrument-assisted modalities to stretch the spine and provide healing therapy by doing the following things:
- Opening space between the vertebrae
- Providing for rehydration of intervertebral discs
- Allowing for retraction of bulging disc material
- Elongate the spine and provide for spinal realignment
Decompression therapy feels great and provides pain relief and lasting correction of spinal misalignment. If you are interested in using decompression therapy to reverse the accumulative effects of pressure on your spine, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Lower back pain is among the most prolific and life-changing conditions of our time
It can be broken down into two constituent categories:
- Mechanical low back pain refers to pain related to the dysfunction of the moving parts of the spine, i.e. facet joints, intervertebral discs, ligaments, and muscles.
- Compressive pain refers to pain that is caused when nerves exiting the spinal cord are put under pressure.
Chiropractic is a conservative method of treatment that shows great efficacy in improving the symptoms of both conditions.
Chiropractic for mechanical and compressive low back pain
- For mechanical low back pain, chiropractic adjustment seeks to address symptoms through mobilization of the spinal joints. Through low-intensity, high-frequency adjustments to the affected region, we restore proper alignment and effect great improvement on the symptoms of mechanical low back pain.
- For compressive back pain, we use decompression modalities to provide spinal elongation. By gently stretching the spine and providing manual adjustments to the affected region, we restore spinal alignment and allow for the retraction of bulging disc material which is often impinging on spinal nerves.
Chiropractic is a conservative form of treatment that seeks to correct the root of the problem with natural methods. While this doesn’t work for everyone, it is recommended that most cases of non-specific back pain be treated by conservative methods before moving on to more invasive methods such as spinal surgery.
Low back pain relief
If you are looking to address spinal pain, whether it be mechanical or compressive in nature, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. We are back pain specialists who will determine the cause of your spinal dysfunction before setting a course for treatment that combines a multitude of natural modalities to effect great improvements in your symptoms.
For most people, chiropractic comes to mind only after an injury
This is a shame because chiropractic might have prevented that very same injury. While obviously, this is not a 100% guarantee, a body under regular chiropractic maintenance is more resistant to injury and quicker to recover after an injury occurs. Depending on your level of activity (or inactivity!) you can benefit from the preventative healthcare that chiropractic offers.
A well-aligned body is more resilient to injuries
A tried and true analogy uses the maintenance of a car as an example: regular oil checks and maintenance ensure that your car keeps running longer and doesn’t let you down when you need it most. The human body is a machine that requires regular maintenance in a similar way; circulation and range of motion are important for ensuring that every cell in your body receives the oxygen and nutrients it needs to prosper. Furthermore, your muscles and tendons both crave use to enhance their elasticity. You can even see your pets stretching all day long as they lounge around between naps. It can be a bad sign if you aren’t moving more than your cat!
Chiropractic is preventative healthcare
Spinal adjustments and hands-on attention to the muscles allow your body to work its best. By correcting spinal misalignment, we facilitate smoother functioning of the nervous system which allows your body to protect itself from injury and to heal itself more effectively. If you are interested in finding out more about how chiropractic keeps your body working its best, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Cycling doesn’t have to cause you pain!
For many people, cycling begins when you are a kid cycling around the neighborhood, and for many people it will remain that way, less of a means of transportation and more of a fun way to spend a few hours. But for people who take it as an athletic pursuit, biking down mountainous trails or across miles of open road, cycling takes on a more integral role in their health routine. And that goes both ways: yes it builds muscle and cardiovascular health, but it is also fraught with challenges to the body.
What are the key dangers facing cyclists from a chiropractor’s perspective?
Injuries that cyclists will incur are chiefly due to the repetitive nature of the sport. Below you will find some of the top dangers facing cyclists besides injuries related to crashing!
- Overuse injuries: shock is absorbed through the hands and wrists and filters through to the shoulders; shock is also absorbed by the knees and all this jolting can impact your spine for the worse.
- Poor posture while biking: hunched over the handlebars is not a good look- and it is not good for you either! Your arms should share some of the weight, but not all of the burden. Make sure you consult with a cycling professional to determine and maintain good posture while cycling.
- An ill-fitting bike: a properly fitted bike will help you maintain good posture and mitigate shock and overuse injuries.
Cyclists benefit from chiropractic care
Chiropractic care is an important part of wellness no matter what you choose for sport. Chiropractic adjustment and regular attention to the muscles of the back can help to mitigate the pain inflicted on bikers, especially in the neck and shoulder region. If you are interested in feeling less pain, or preventing pain from interfering with your enjoyment of cycling, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Starting an exercise plan may hurt at first
But keeping the upside in mind can help you overcome the roadblock of beginning. Once you get going, it only becomes easier- like a flywheel, your exercise routine will develop a momentum of its own, and the going will get easier.
Furthermore, at Holmes Chiropractic, we believe that exercise is a cornerstone of wellness; in fact, exercise underpins everything we do during a chiropractic appointment.
As a matter of fact, exercise strengthens the muscles that support the spine, improves core stability, maintains a range of motion, and improves circulation.
With that in mind, chiropractor Houston TX. Randall Holmes says, while the scientific community is still at a loss as to exactly how exercise creates the benefits that it does, the jury is unanimous in agreeing that exercising 150 minutes per week should be an essential health objective for all adults.
We can make starting an exercise plan less painful
So when was the last time you hit that 150 minutes per-week goal for exercise? Does the thought of getting up and starting give you the slightest pang of anxiety? If the thought of getting in shape seems like an insurmountable task, we want to help you get motivated and start moving. We start with what is at stake: the health of your body in the here and now, and its longevity for the future. As the foundation for your upper body, this is the only spine you get. Keeping it in a state of balance, with a strong set of surrounding muscles, is the best possible thing you can do to preserve it for the future.
How we help you start exercising
We begin by evaluating your musculoskeletal health and providing adjustments to restore spinal alignment and balance. Chiropractor Houston TX. Dr. Randall Holmes says the spinal adjustment has been shown to exhibit a domino effect on our musculoskeletal health including:
- Relieving painful nerve impingement
- Improving range of motion
- Improving circulation
This sets you off on the right foot to start exercising. From here, we can show you simple but effective body-weight exercises for improving the core stabilizers, a set of muscles that provide support for the lower spine. These muscles are the best ally your spine has in its fight against pain and degeneration. One last area of focus is balancing muscles that become over and under worked due to poor biomechanics and posture. We help you affect a wholesale improvement of your biomechanical awareness and postural habits.
Getting in shape to exercise starts with chiropractic
At our Chiropractic office, we are not short on incentives when it comes to exercise. We want to help you get motivated- give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Let the blood flow, in the circulation sense
Blood is your life force- it is the transport network that brings oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and carries away waste products that create problems when they accumulate. So what happens when circulation is stunted? Problems naturally occur when normal blood flow is restricted, including:
- Fatigue; lack of physical or mental energy
- Numbness and tingling or swelling in the extremities
Conditions that cause restriction to blood flow include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and blood clots. So what can we do to keep the blood flowing as it should?
Mapping your circulation
Think of your brain and how every millisecond of the day it is controlling and coordinating the function of the human body. If you starved this vital organ of its input, how could you expect it to work well? Well, the main input for the brain is oxygen! In fact, while it only accounts for 2% of body mass, the brain consumes up to 20% of the oxygen that enters the bloodstream. Part of the reason for this is that even when you are completely idle or sleeping, the brain is still completely active. Lack of sufficient oxygen to the brain is associated with poor memory, dizziness, fatigue, headache, and other more serious conditions.
Chiropractic for enhancing circulation
Circulation and chiropractic go hand in hand. Because we utilize hands-on modalities to improve health, a boost in circulation is a natural outcome. Chiropractic adjustment frees up nerve pathways and attention to muscles through massage and trigger-point therapy stimulates the body to let the blood flow, increasing circulation to areas that are in need. If you are interested in finding out more about how chiropractic can help improve circulation, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Chronic nonspecific back pain is a horrific reality
And its presence in society is growing. Nonspecific low back pain, either acute or chronic, is defined as pain that has no detectable cause. As more people shift into the seats of white-collar office work, back pain is on the rise, peaking now as the second leading cause of workplace disability in the United States.
It’s time to stop seeking the magic bullet.
While it would be harsh to say that traditional methods have failed outright, it is worth challenging the commonly held knowledge that these treatments will work when there is clear evidence against them. What is clear is that the medical community is ill-equipped to deal with nonspecific back pain because traditional treatments, including opioid painkillers, spinal surgery, and injections, are often ineffective, and can even make your condition worse. The “magic bullet,” the idea that a single treatment like surgery can fix all your problems is no longer a viable or ethical option and it should not be sold as such by the health industry.
Alternative therapies on the rise
In response to this falling of the curtain, alternative schools of thought and therapies have stepped into the void. Active and passive therapies now offer pain relief and improvement of symptoms that is comparable and in excess of what can be gained through traditional methods. What this means for you is that a holistic approach to healing your back is worth exploring. The upside is that most things you can do are cheaper, if not completely free, and can start improving your symptoms today.
Chiropractic as part of a holistic approach to healing your back
Chiropractic, when combined with exercise, diet, massage, and other natural modalities. More and more studies are showing that back pain can be as much a mental condition as an ailment of the body. Choosing a multidisciplinary, and therefore dynamic, approach to treating your back pain can affect vast improvements in your back pain, without the laundry list of side effects. If you are interested in changing your angle of approach to treating back pain, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.
Risk factors for sarcopenia include age, gender, and level of physical activity.
Everyone on earth is affected by the loss of muscle mass that comes with aging. But it is not the same for everyone, and only you get to decide how severe sarcopenia can really be. Sarcopenia sets in at some point during our thirties, and this beginning stage is perhaps the most crucial. Moderately active people may notice insignificant changes in muscle mass while inactive people may lose as much as 3-5 percent per year! This is a particularly bad precedent to set when you consider that sarcopenia only accelerates as we reach toward our sixties and seventies.
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Sarcopenia from a chiropractor’s perspective
Sarcopenia is doubly scary from a chiropractor’s perspective; you have to remember that your spine is also weakening with age. Most people can’t afford to lose muscle mass in the core stabilizing muscles that support the lower back. With a weakened support system, embattled intervertebral discs will often give in to herniation; vertebral bodies will impinge on spinal nerves; the end result can leave you hunched over with back pain in your old age. Let’s all take a moment to agree that this is not how we want to end up.
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Chiropractic helps you keep the upper hand on sarcopenia
While the condition may be inevitable, you don’t have to accept the symptoms lying down. Our natural modalities ensure that your spine remains in alignment despite the weakening that is occurring all around it. Chiropractic adjustment has the double-positive effect of improving both circulation and range of motion, allowing you to pursue exercise without fear of injury. This is the single most important way to fight back against sarcopenia: keep yourself moving. We can also show you how to strengthen and stretch the muscles that matter for maintaining core stability, allowing you to remain upright as you approach old age. If you are interested in using our services to fight back against sarcopenia, give our office in Houston a call to schedule an appointment today.
Today, watch out for when the Comfy Couch Turns Ugly
Your sofa should be a place for relaxation
The world will be watching the Kansas City Chiefs play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, and most will be watching from a reclined couch while stuffing their face with carbs. This ritual has become a tradition that hinges on becoming a national holiday in America as the Super Bowl grows in popularity every year. It makes sense too, because from the comfort of your home you can watch others mercilessly pound each other and be glad it is not your spine getting crunched play after play. But believe it or not, your spine is not entirely same either.
Sitting for long periods of time is hard on your spine
Studies show that sitting loads your spine with up to 3 times as much pressure as standing. What’s more, few sofas offer the support necessary to encourage you to maintain good posture. Most of us end up melting into the couch, which can have serious consequences for your spine if you spend a lot of time watching television or reading. Chances are, you are not going to stop sitting on the couch; instead, you can take proactive steps to relieve the stiffness that besets your back after sitting on the sofa for long periods of time.
Stretches to relieve back tension after a sofa session
- Spinal Twist: Sit up straight in a chair and slowly rotate your torso to one side, grabbing the back of the chair if you can. Only go until you feel a gentle stretch in the shoulder and oblique muscles of the core
- Spinal Elongation: stand straight up then bend at the waist and hang with your fingers reaching down toward your toes. Don’t go any further than the feeling of a gentle stretch. From here slowly raise back up to a standing-tall position then reach your hands up toward the sky and clasp them together. Hold for 3-5 seconds.
- Stretch the Neck: clasp your hands on the back of your head and lower your chin toward your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in the neck muscles.
- Stretch the hamstrings: the hamstrings are paired muscles which get tight and create a pull on the lower back, often resulting in uneven alignment of the spine. Sit on your butt with one leg tucked in criss-cross apple sauce and the other extended. Reach for the foot of the extended leg until you feel a slight stretch in the hamstring.
These stretches target the hamstrings, lower back, shoulders and neck, all the areas which are prone to tightness after a sofa session. Taking 3 minutes to stretch after an hour of sitting on the sofa can work wonders toward undoing the cycle of tension that eventually leads to back pain.
Please do yourself one more favor today when you get up during the halftime show, walk past the chips and soda and 7 layer dip. See if you can find a carrot to crunch on. And as you hear that crisp cool carrot shatter in your mouth, be glad that is not the spine of your favorite quarterback making the crunching noise on this great American holiday known as Super Bowl Sunday.
Understanding your spine is the best way to keep it healthy
Spinal motion segments are the functional units that allow for the mobility of your spine. Between each of the 33 vertebrae in your spine is an individual mobile unit comprised of:
- The two vertebrae
- The intervertebral disc
- Two facet joints
- A network of ligaments and tendons
The first three are called the articular triad; these are the three components that allow for articulation between vertebrae and the overall movement of the spine. Healthy spinal motion segments allow for a reasonable degree of movement in the upper body while also stabilizing the spine and preventing injury from excessive movement.
Dysfunction in the spinal motion segments
If that wasn’t a dystopian headline… but the unfortunate truth is that things frequently do go wrong with the spinal motion segments; this leads us down the road toward back pain and degeneration of the spinal structures. The two most frequent problems which face spinal motion segments are:
- Hypomobility: limited range of motion
- Hyper mobility: excessive range of motion
Both conditions are capable of stressing facet joints and compressing spinal nerves which exit at every level of the spine.
Keeping spinal motion segments healthy
You can mitigate problems associated with hypo- and hyper-mobility in the spinal motion segments by following a general guideline of diet and exercise. But at a certain point, this may cease to be enough; as the pressures of gravity, poor posture, and age accumulate, your spine may need a helping hand. We make sure that all the knowledge is in your hands: from therapeutic stretching and exercise techniques to hands-on modalities that maintain spinal alignment and reduce intradiscal pressure, we are your go-to source for spinal health.
If you are interested in improving your spinal health and maintaining the integrity of your spinal motion segments, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.