Holidays and back pain go together
Below we have brainstormed a quick list of Christmas-specific risk factors for your spine:
- The tree: everything from cutting it to setting it up and adorning it with ornaments. Trees are heavy! Take care to use proper form when lifting and moving.
- The shopping: stress leads to muscle tension; tight muscles pull your spine out of alignment.
- The lifting of young relatives: any lifting motions should be performed with care.
- The sitting around: lack of activity is a cardinal threat to your spinal health.
- The consumption of booze and other inflammatory ingredients
Go ahead and indulge this holiday season
Indulging is good for the soul; a single slice of pie can bring a measure of happiness that is hard to find elsewhere. But there is such a thing as diminishing returns on each consecutive slice of pie. And while overindulgence is symptomatic of the holiday season, it is always worth keeping things in perspective when it comes to your physical fitness. At Holmes Chiropractic, we are in the business of body balance- and the holiday season is a consistent challenge for the fitness of our patients. Here are some friendly holiday reminders from your chiropractor.
Your bag is your life- make sure it isn’t killing you
Messenger bags, gym bags, huge purses, briefcases; a single unit for carrying your personal belongings is a vital component of keeping your life together throughout the day. However, we rarely put any thought into the type of bag we use or how we carry it until it is causing us back pain. When it comes to selecting a pack, functionality should be the primary consideration, not fashion. To prevent problems from developing, take a few seconds to analyze your posture when you are carrying your bag.
- Do you lean forward or slump to one side to support the weight?
- Do you struggle to get your pack on or off
- Does your back pain increaes while carrying your bag?
These simple questions are even more important for our children, who carry a bag back and forth to school every day. The developing spine is susceptible to the added pressure of a heavy backpack. The extra compression of the pack can cause changes in the curvature of a developing spine and lead to pain in the back, neck and shoulder.
It might hurt getting started
But the upside is too large to ignore. If you are feeling stiff and sore now, imagine how the problems will compound over the next 5, 10 and 20 years, right now is the best vantage point you are going to have. Hence, step one of your new exercise plan: being honest with yourself. Whatever state your back is in now, it’s not going to get any better unless you take action today.
Step two is laying down the incentive:
- Back pain makes your life harder in the here and now
- A weak back leaves you vulnerable to injury in the future
- Back pain contributes to missed work time and disability
- Back pain is expensive
When it comes to spinal health habits, everyone has room for improvement
The most ubiquitous spinal habits which cause harm include:
- Poor diet
- Poor posture
- Poor lifting technique
- Lack of exercise
- Overuse of technology
Many of these malefactors go hand-in-hand; for example, lack of exercise and poor diet leads to weight gain which makes good posture more difficult; overuse of technology contributes to lack of exercise and poor posture. But all of these factors lead down the same road, the one that points toward back pain. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can start exercising control over the factors that matter for keeping our spines healthy.
Sleeping begins with comfort
Who can really fall sleep with their knees touching and their legs stuck together? Who is ready to dream with their head sinking lower into a lumpy pillow? The first ingredient of any successful sleep strategy is comfort- comfort leads to calm, and calm leads to relaxation. This is an important transition: calmness is a working state of perfect harmony between your mental, physical and emotional states; relaxation, on the other hand, allows your body to reduce its expenditure of energy and focus on getting to sleep.One of the best ways you can get comfortable tonight is by using your pillows to better effect. Paying attention to your pillow(s) can make a big difference when it comes to falling and staying asleep; strategically positioning pillows can help you support healthy sleeping posture, promote better circulation, and prevent back pain.
Musculoskeletal you is made up of ligaments and tendons, each which serve different purposes
Ligaments attach bones to bones and tendons attach muscles to bones. And while, they serve different purposes, they are composed of the same material: connective tissue made up of densely layered collagen fibers.
- Ligaments: ligaments connect bones and allow for the healthy articulation of joints. Healthy ligaments maintain support and stabilize joints so that excessive movement doesn’t cause injury.
- Tendons: connecting muscle to bone is also important for movement as much of the force imparted by movement is transmitted through tendons between muscle and bone.
Ligaments and tendons are designed for durability, but put either through enough force and they, like the other structures of your body, will give.
Back pain is the number one health complaint among office workers
A big part of this is down to poor ergonomics: because employers rarely care enough to invest the money and set up their workers for success, there is a precedent of poor ergonomics set from the beginning. That means the onus is upon the worker to make themselves aware of how poor ergonomics can actually cause harm to their bodies; carrying on from this, the enlightened worker will take proactive action to prevent back pain and ergonomic injuries.
For all but the most serious injuries and diseases, your body has the innate ability to heal itself
Our bodies are amazing and complex structures which contain self-repair mechanisms that keep us functioning day-to-day. Among these mechanisms, our bodies negate cancer cells that are produced, fight off infection, rebuild and repair broken proteins, heal injuries and fight aging to the best of their ability. Because they do so much without our conscious aid, it is important that we help maintain a high level of physical and nutritional support where we can. Chiropractic is an integral part of maintaining this support; read on to find out how.
Chiropractic for maintaining the body’s self-healing mechanisms
…makes all the difference in your child’s spinal health during the school year. Day after day of schlepping a heavy backpack around will take its toll, especially on small backs and cores that have not developed the muscles necessary to cope with such heavy loads. In fact, many adults are also suffering from the burden brought on by over-stuffed backpacks and poor posture. During the school year, it may be impossible to avoid bringing a heavy backpack to school; however, observing a few simple tips can help us minimize the damage that this could be doing to our backs.
- Minimize the load: please carry only the bare essentials. Ideally, the bag should weigh, at most, only 15 percent of the carrier’s bodyweight.
- Keep the bag adjusted properly: many kids will fall victim to the trend of loosening the shoulder straps and letting the bag hang low, pulling on the muscles of the shoulders and neck.
- Always use both straps: This will distribute the weight evenly, encourage a healthier posture and reduce the burden on the neck.
- Put the bag on at table height: avoid bending over to pick up the bag, or slinging it on your shoulder.
The best bag is an empty bag. For parents concerned with the toll that heavy backpacks may be taking on their child’s spine, give our office in Houston a call. We offer the ergonomic advice that will help you find a properly-suited bag and help you wear it properly and proudly. We can be reached at (713) 862-2440.
Dr. Randall Holmes, D.C.