There are two types of muscles that help facilitate motion in our hips and lower extremities: tonic and phasic.

Tonic (postural) muscles are always working or contracting to keep us upright. Therefore, these muscles tend to be tight and short. When we sleep, they contract or shorten and are taut upon waking and need to be stretched on a regular basis.  Examples of tonic muscles include the hamstrings and the iliopsoas or hip flexors muscles. Here are two great stretches for these muscles:

Iliopsoas stretch: 1) Stand and take a step forward with the left leg into a front straddled position.  2) Rotate the left side of the pelvis forward so that it becomes square with the right side of the pelvis. 3) Perform a posterior pelvic tilt by flattening the curve in the low back while rocking the pelvis forward to create a strong stretch in the left groin/front of the hip. 4) Lean backwards to the right to further increase the left groin/hip stretch.  Hold for five to ten seconds and repeat this on the opposite side. Practice these stretches multiple times a day.

Hamstrings stretch: 1) Lie on your back and place the left leg on a door jam with the right leg flat on the floor extending through the opening of the doorway.  2) Push the left leg into the door jam and hold for three to five seconds and then scoot closer to the door jam to stretch the hamstring.  Hold for one to two minutes and repeat this on the opposite side, multiple times a day.

Phasic muscles, on the other hand, only work when needed and tend to be weak. These require strengthening, not stretching. Examples of phasic muscles include the abdominal and buttock muscles. Here are two great strengthening exercises for these muscles:

Abdominal strengthening: 1) Lying on the floor, place your hands behind your low back. Bend one knee/leg while keeping the other straight. 2) Lift your breast bone toward the ceiling one to two inches (2.54 to 5.08 cm) and hold for ten seconds. Repeat multiple times until the abdominal muscles are fatigued.

Buttocks strengthening: 1) Squeeze your buttocks together multiple times a day when sitting or standing. 2) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your buttocks so it lines up with your trunk while pushing your heels into the floor. Hold for ten seconds and repeat five to ten times.

Depending on the nature of your hip pain, your doctor of chiropractic may recommend further exercises that you can perform at home as part of your treatment plan.

 

With Thanksgiving always comes Black Friday

If you choose to venture out during this time, be safe both financially and physically.
Check out these 9 safety tips to help your shopping experience go a little bit easier!

…. Happy Shopping!

  1. Construct a separation plan for you and your shopping partner(s), especially if you’ve got kiddos with you! Choose a spot to always meet when you’ve lost one another. Instruct your children to reach out to a security office or an employee to have them accompany your child while they walk to your spot you’ve previously agreed upon.
  2. Do not pull out your form of payment at the register until you have been completely rung up. You never know who may be nearby, scoping you out and attempting to steal your credit card numbers and/or see that you have a lot of cash.
  3. Ponder ways to substitute a common form of payment. Like using prepaid cards for transactions to prevent your identity and bank account from being stolen by hackers.
  4. Only buy as much as you and your shopping partner(s) can carry. You can be immediately considered a target by someone searching for overwhelmed shoppers.
  5. Check your bank statements immediately and regularly after your shopping. Save all of your receipts and compare to your statements to make sure you aren’t a victim of fraud.
  6. Carry your keys, or method of safety (such as pepper spray, etc) in your hand and mentally prepare yourself to use it if needed when you are approaching your vehicle.
  7. Before you enter your vehicle when heading back from shopping (or anywhere during this season) be sure to peak under your vehicle, and inside the back and front seats before unlocking and entering. Try to only unlock the specific doors needed if your car will allow it. This prevents anyone from sneaking in on the other side of your vehicle. Also, keep this in mind when pumping gas at gas stations.
  8. Carry your purse or wallet tightly and closely to your body. This will hinder the opportunity for thieves to pickpocket.
  9. Do not leave packages or gifts visible in your vehicle. Hide it in the trunk, or take it home as immediate as possible.

 

 

Because the human head weighs between 12-15 pounds (5.44-6.80 kg), the neck and upper back muscles must constantly work to maintain an upright posture. Due to our use of computer and electronic devices, many people have forward head posture (FHP), meaning their head rests forwards on the neck more than it should. In fact, studies show that every inch of FHP places an additional 10 pound (4.53 kg) burden on the muscles in the upper back and neck to keep the head upright. It’s no wonder why a common complaint is, “My head feels so heavy and my neck feels compressed—I constantly have to rest my head on the back of the couch when I sit.” So, what can we do about this?

POSTURE: Reducing FHP is essential. To do this, tuck in your chin (creating a “double chin”) and speak as you do this. You will notice a change in your voice quality—HOLD for ten seconds and then release JUST ENOUGH for the voice to clear and try to KEEP this position throughout the day. It takes about three months to retrain old bad posture habits so be patient!

SLEEP: If your neck is narrower than your head (the case for most of us), your pillow needs to be thicker on the edge to support your cervical spine.

ACTIVITY: You may have to assess which activities (such as sports) are most important to you and either modify how you do it and/or change when and how long you engage in such actions. If your goal is to improve in an activity, gradually increase the frequency, intensity, and duration over time. If you hurt and can’t recover within a “reasonable” time frame (such as 24-48 hours), then you overdid it.

Chiropractic offers MANY therapeutic tools to help those with neck pain, which include spinal and extremity manipulation, soft tissue therapy, physical therapy modalities (like ultrasound), nutritional counseling, and exercise training. Your doctor of chiropractic can give you advice on sleeping posture and prescription pillows, home cervical traction options, and more. The goal is not only to manage your neck pain, but more importantly,  to teach you self-management strategies so YOU can control of this often disabling condition and reduce the need for prolonged care.

Many of us have had problems associated with dizziness from time to time and have not thought much about it. But when dizziness happens frequently, lasts a long time, or is severe, it definitely gets our attention and forces us to get it checked out.

BACKGROUND: To determine how common dizziness is and the personal burden it imposes on the population, a large-scale study examined 2,751 adults (aged 50+ years) using multiple measures for dizziness, hearing, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and quality of life. An alarming 60% reported some type of vertigo. Interestingly, the researchers observed an association between tinnitus and vertigo. Also, the participants with vertigo reported lower quality of life scores than those without dizziness complaints. This study highlights the significant burden imposed by dizziness/vertigo stating that this is an “important public healthcare issue” that must be studied further.

CAUSES: The most common causes include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis, Meniere’s disease, migraine headaches, and anxiety disorders. Less commonly, reduced blood flow to the brain/head (“vertebrobasilar ischemia”) and retrocochlear tumors can cause dizziness. The risk also increases with age.

TREATMENT OPTIONS: Most vertigo sufferers do not require extensive testing and can be treated in the clinic.  Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and labyrinthitis are most often successfully managed by doctors of chiropractic with specific exercise to reposition the displaced “canaliths” or small stone-like material in the inner ear.

Treatment with a low-salt diet and diuretics (herbal options include: dandelion, ginger, parsley, hawthorn, and juniper) can also be helpful in resistant cases with fewer side effects than prescription vestibular suppressing medications. Consuming potassium-rich foods such as bananas, avocados, raisins, beans, squash, mushrooms, potatoes, yogurt, or fish is often wise when taking a diuretic. Chiropractors often provide nutritional counseling and can help guide you in this area as well.

 

Low back pain (LBP) can arise from a number of structures that comprise the lower back like the intervertebral disk, the facet joints, the muscles and/or tendon attachments, the ligaments that hold bone to bone, the hip, and the sacroiliac joint (SIJ). Though several of these can generate pain simultaneously, the focus of this month will center on the SIJ.

The role of the SIJ is quite unique, as it has a big job: it is the transition point between the flexible axial skeleton (our spine) and the pelvis, below which are the lower extremities or legs. The pelvis supports the weight of the torso, which usually accounts for about two-thirds of our body weight. The SIJ is shaped at an oblique angle that diverges or opens at the front and converges inwards at the back of the joint in order to support the weight on top of it. Because the sacrum/tailbone is “V” shaped, it fits like a wedge and is held together with very strong ligaments, making it an inflexible but sturdy joint.

Making a diagnosis of SIJ syndrome or identifying it as a pain generator can be a challenge. Your chiropractor may depend on several types of examinations in order to arrive at an SIJ syndrome diagnosis, such as palpation looking for pain directly over the SIJ; compression tests of the pelvis; front-to-back hip movements to stretch the joint; and imaging, such as x-ray, CT scans, and MRI.

Since the SIJ is NOT a flat and smooth oblique joint, x-ray has many limitations. However, the pubic bone called the “symphysis pubis” (SP), which is located in the front of the pelvis, can be easily seen on x-ray. Because the pelvis is a ring-like structure, an SP that is out of alignment may indicate SIJ dysfunction.

In a recent study, two independent orthopedic surgeons analyzed the x-rays of 20 consecutive patients (17 women and 3 men) with proven SIJ dysfunction and LBP (confirmed by SIJ injection testing), which resulted in the findings of osteoarthritic degeneration and subluxation (misalignment) in 18 of the 20 subjects.

When they assessed the SP in 20 non-SIJ LBP control subjects (16 women and 4 men), 7 had abnormal SP findings (35%) versus 18 of 20 with SIJ-LBP mentioned above (90%). A review of the patients’ past radiology reports found that only three reports mentioned this in the SIJ-LBP group and none reported this in the control group. The authors concluded that SP findings are underreported by radiologists, and because SP is much easier to “read” or assess than the SIJ itself, it NEEDS to be looked at!

Content Courtesy of Chiro-Trust.org. All Rights Reserved.