Eagan Chiropractor describes intermediate neck exercise

Here is a simple exercise that you can do at home with no exercise equipment.
It works the longus capitis, longus colli, SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscles.
The purpose of this exercise is to increase neck strength and muscular endurance.
The benefits are improved stability, functional strength and injury prevention.

Begin by lying on the back with the head extended off the table, maintaining a chin tuck position.
Slowly extend the head back towards the floor and then raise the head, returning to the initial neutral starting position and repeat as instructed.
Move slowly through the range of motion.
Slowly return to start position.
Repeat for prescribed repetitions and sets.

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Nutrition and Diet for Scoliosis

150px-Blausen_0785_Scoliosis_01A chiropractor will advise a scoliosis patient to follow a specific type of diet. Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine bends to one side. The lower part of the spine is the most common area in which the condition occurs.

The condition is more prevalent in girls rather than boys and usually happens during puberty when the child experiences a growth spurt. Back specialists recommend an adequate amount of nutrition for children who suffer from the condition. The diet is meant to increase bone mass.

Since the condition is hereditary a proper diet might not prevent the onset of scoliosis. However foods that support bone mass are likely to prevent osteoporosis. In fact, according to the University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine osteoporosis can actually worsen scoliosis since it can worsen the curve of the spine when the child reaches adulthood.

If your child suffers from scoliosis it is best that you enrich his/her diet with foods that contain vitamin D and Calcium. Not only do they increase bone mass, they also prevent osteoporosis.

Calcium

Children who suffer from scoliosis are recommended to consume between 1200 to 1500mg of calcium on a daily basis. Just make sure that any low fat sources of calcium do not contain high levels of saturated fats. For example, such a diet should contain food items such as skim cheese or yogurt.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps a person’s body absorb calcium. This is also why your mom nagged you about consuming milk on a daily basis. It is packed with the nutrient. Other sources of Vitamin D include saltwater fish, eggs, cod liver oil and cereal.

The nutrient phosphorous is also responsible for bone growth. The human body also uses phosphorus to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D and encourage proper absorption of calcium.

Vitamin E

Vitamin D and calcium aren’t the only nutrients that can prevent a case of scoliosis from getting worse. After all, a child who suffers from the condition will also need a healthy dose of Vitamin E everyday to build strong muscles to support a compromised spine.

Some of the best sources of the nutrient include liver walnuts, almonds, mayonnaise, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, safflower oil, olive oil and others.

Remember a child who suffers from scoliosis needs a diet that prevents his/her condition from getting worse especially after puberty.

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Ergonomic Essentials – Tips on Improving and Maintaining Good Posture

images (6)As the years pile on, poor posture can be brought about due to a number of reasons – sitting in office chairs and looking at computer screens, driving, or standing for extended periods at a time. Even sleeping in a mattress that’s too hard, too soft, or uneven can lead to postural problems.

Luckily, these prime suspects that affect posture as a result of poor ergonomics are indeed within your control and you can turn things around. It’s never too late. Let’s take a brief look at how we can accomplish this. You might even come across some of these tips at chiropractic clinics.

Poor Ergonomics and Back Discomfort

In most cases, poor ergonomics and posture can be the cause of chronic back pain. Over the course of the day, your muscles tend to tire as you slouch and slump over your desk, pushing the limits to keep up with your respective deadlines. If this goes on for too long, you’re most likely going to experience undue stress in your neck and back. Change positions from time to time to maintain a relaxed but proper posture. Take a break from your desk every hour or so. Stretch a little, stand up and walk around. 2 to 3 minutes is all you need.

Make Use of Posture-friendly Props and Ergonomic Chairs   

Ergonomic-friendly “props” can really help take the load off your spine. In case ergonomic office chairs are in short supply, use footrests, portable lumbar back rests, or even a small pillow that supports the natural lumbar curve of your spine a bit better. Wearing the right spectacles that support your vision and keeping them clean in addition to positioning your computer screen properly, will prevent you from leaning or straining the neck just to view the contents properly. Avoid tilting your head forward.

Be Aware of Ergonomics in Every Setting Not Just Work 

One ought to be aware of ergonomics in every environmental setting, not just work. Instilling good posture in everyday activities is paramount. Try to establish a connection between episodes of pain and fatigue and certain situations where bad posture or ergonomics have been largely to blame. Make changes accordingly.

Exercising Promotes Good Posture 

Regular strength or cardio training really strengthens the core muscles – the abdominal and lower back region. Keep these running like a well-oiled machine, and you’re quite likely to never experience postural problems. A lot of therapeutic and chiropractic methods revolve around strengthening the core, while improving flexibility. This protects your entire spine, as that’s your “postural hub”.

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Achilles Tendon Sport Injuries And Chiropractic Treatment

800px-03042012Ccm_gamosuma_juvenilA231Professional athletes and individuals with a specific sport hobby suffer from a multitude of different injuries, contracted during the course of their activities. Some popular sports like football, soccer, baseball, golf, hiking, basketball, etc., while highly enjoyable, involve extensive exertions which result in various sports injuries in players. Chiropractic has become a popular mode of treatment for the different sports injuries and medical conditions, like Achilles Tendon injury, dislocated shoulder and spinal alignment.

What Is Achilles Tendon Injury?

The achilles tendon is one of the longest tendons in the body, which is stretched from the heel to the calf muscles of the human body. It assists in the engagement of different activities which require movement and flexible physical activity.

The Achilles tendon is used by sports athletes and enthusiasts for practicing and playing the different strenuous sports, like football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, running, etc. Over-exertion on the Achilles tendon results in swelling and pain in the tendon which hampers an athlete from engaging in different sports activities. If too much pressure and exertion is put on the tendon, it causes it to tear partially or completely rupture.

Symptoms 

An injured Achilles tendon becomes swollen and causes acute pain whenever the leg is stretched. The patient feels stiffness and tenderness in the affected area, which makes it difficult to engage in different everyday activities. If the tendon completely ruptures, then the patient experiences excruciating pain, and is unable to move around.

If an athlete experiences difficulty in flexing his legs or pointing his toes, he might have a partial or complete rupture in the Achilles tendon. Prompt medical attention is required for the diagnosis and treatment of the Achilles tendon injury, before the patient suffers more acute damage due to movement or strain.

Treatment 

Achilles tendon injury requires prompt treatment from medical professionals to ensure that the affected area does not suffer further damage. A patient with a ruptured or injured tendon is required to rest his leg and apply ice to ease the swelling. Patients are also advised to use an elastic bandage on the leg to keep the swelling down.

Anti-inflammatory pills can be prescribed which tend to bring down the swelling of the tendon, and different exercises are advised for keeping the tendon in shape. But chiropractic treatment is quickly becoming the preferred mode to heal sports injuries, especially Achilles tendon injury.

 

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Chiropractics and the Importance of a Proper Diet

57925008_7e7ef4dda4_oAmong the many things that a chiropractor recommends to a patient, a healthy diet is most important. A proper diet is essential to heal the spinal cord, along with prevention of further damage.

According to a study conducted in the state of New York, chiropractors were asked if they used any nutritional counseling in their treatments, which not just includes back problems, but also obesity, artery diseases, diabetes and a variety of other diseases affecting the human body.

Around 80 percent of those surveyed stated that they did use some form of nutritional counseling in their treatments, which gives an overview of the importance of proper diet in chiropractic. 50 percent of those who used nutritional counseling considered it to be a very important part of the chiropractic therapy.

The Link between Chiropractics and Diet

Chiropractic therapy treats numerous ailments, such as inflammation in the lower back or autoimmune anomalies like arthritis, scoliosis, neuritis or osteoarthritis. Research suggests that dietary changes can affect inflammation, which in turn can reduce the symptoms and pain caused by it. Also, most chiropractic patients are women, other symptoms that they may suffer from, such as menopause and premenstrual syndromes, can also be cured by proper diet and nutrition.

Not only that, but a proper diet can also help prevent spinal diseases from developing. As obesity is one of the most common causes of back problems, eating healthy non-fat foods can make a person less prone to spinal diseases like Sciatica.

There are numerous benefits in keeping a healthy diet, including increased energy, lower blood pressure and improved cognition, which result in a speedy recovery. Health foods such as low sugar whole grains, fruits and vegetables also reduce the risk of spinal tumors and cancer.

Improper nutrition, such as an excess of salts in the diet, can result in several other diseases as well, including high blood pressure. There is a direct link established between diabetes and excess Carbohydrates in the diet.

As dietary needs differ from individual to individual, you can ask your chiropractor to make a nutritional plan for you to follow according to your needs. A chiropractor could assess the nature of your ailment and devise a dietary schedule specifically suited to treat your condition.

 

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Importance of Blending Chiropractic Care with Back-Strengthening Exercise

Side_PlankBack problems often are a result of a bad posture that could cause severe pains.  Restoring the back to its original and natural condition takes time, and a combination of chiropractic care with the recommended exercise can dramatically enhance recovery.

A combination of the two provides numerous benefits.  Exercise keeps muscles in their proper tone, increases blood circulation around the body, improves digestion and develops a better lifestyle all together.

The following back-strengthening exercises complement the healing process greatly:

Hip Bridge

The Hip Bridge exercise strengthens those muscles near the lower back that play an important role in stabilizing the spine.

It can be carried out by lying on the back with the feet flat and about hip width apart; the knees should be bent.   The arms should be relaxed.  The person then squeezes their buttocks as they lift their hips in a straight line towards the shoulders.  After around 3 seconds, return to the starting position, slowly.

Around 12 repetitions are recommended.

Bird Dog

The bird dog exercise aims at strengthening the lower back, hip, butt and thigh muscles.

The person kneels on the floor with both hands spaced out about a shoulder-width apart.  Tuck in the belly towards the spine and raise one leg straight backwards while raising the other hand in opposite direction.

Hold in this position for 15 seconds and then return to starting point, carrying out the same procedure on the opposite side hand and leg.

Side Plank

The side plank exercise strengthens the lower back.  It is done by the following method:

The person is to lie on their right side, straight from head to the feet while resting on their forearms.  The elbow should be directly under their shoulder.  The abdominals are to be gently contracted and the hips slowly lifted off the floor – in the same straight position.

This position should be held for at least about 30 seconds before lowering the hip.

Lunge

Lunge exercises enhance a person’s overall control of their body.  This tends to protect the spine in daily activities, such as walking and running or even stair-climbing.

Starting off with the abs gently contracted.  The hands are placed on the hips; the person then takes a big step-forward using the right foot while sinking the right knee at a right-angle.

The person should then slowly return to the starting position, switch the legs and repeat – 10 repetitions are recommended.

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Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

154017705_083d825445_oChiropractors that are experienced in chiropractic and pregnancy know the importance of proper back care during such a sensitive period. All chiropractors are trained to work with women especially when it comes to back conditions that are associated with pregnancy. This is because chiropractic and pregnancy involves the maintenance of the spinal column, discs, bone geometry and the related nerves without the inclusion of invasive surgery. In other words, the medical practice adjusts the misalignment of joints especially when it comes to the spine.

Any formerly pregnant woman can attest to the muscle strain that is a part and parcel to pregnancy. Researchers say that almost half of all expecting mothers will experience lower back pain at some point during their pregnancy. Spinal surgery is out of the question when it comes to the well being of two lives and this is exactly why chiropractic care is the perfect non-invasive solution for such problems.

 

Why does a Pregnant Woman need Chiropractic care?

The human body undergoes a series of physiological and endocrine changes to prepare itself to sustain a life during pregnancy. No one knows that better than expecting mothers. However, such a sensitive stage may also cause misaligned joints that are symptomatic of –

  • Pelvic changes
  • Protruding abdomen and curved back
  • Poor posture

A woman’s pelvis may not have enough room for a developing baby if it is misaligned. This is also why establishing pelvic balance is such an important task in chiropractic and pregnancy care. A pelvis that is misaligned may also cause complications during the actual birth as well. This may also prevent the expecting mother from having a natural birth and her doctor to resort to invasive c-sections.

Chiropractic care during pregnancy also comes with the following benefits –

  • Ensuring a healthy pregnancy
  • Relief from back, neck and joint pain
  • Prevention of a potential cesarean delivery
  • Reducing the time of labor and delivery
  • Reduce morning sickness

The benefits of chiropractic and pregnancy speak for themselves. This is also why more women are seeking chiropractic care now more than ever before and why health care providers recommend such services to expecting mothers. It is easy to see why. Medical specialists who specialize in back care invest more in the fertility and overall wellness of pregnant women or women who try to conceive.

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Back Problems in Teens

1109px-Heelstretch_PyramidWill a chiropractor ever treat an adolescent during his professional career? Junior took a baseball right in the back. Julie fell off the human pyramid during cheerleading practice and landed on her back. Needless to say, parents of athletic adolescents are usually first in line at the chiropractic office.

Can Teens Suffer from Back Problems?

While back problems are more common in adults, they are a rarity in teens since the latter is more flexible and agile. That is why any backaches that accompany any athletic event (such as contact sports) should be immediately checked by a chiropractor.

Back Conditions in Teens

Back conditions that can affect teens or kids include –

  • Any pain that worsens by performing gymnastic activities such as handsprings or the butterfly stroke in swimming may be indicative of spinal conditions such as Spondylolysis. Younger athletes have more chances of developing the condition than older kids who take part in sporting activities.  The condition is often caused by over-use that causes constant trauma and is one of the most common causes of back pain in kids.
  • This is also why the condition has more chances of occurring during a teen’s growth spurt, which is also why it is more common in boys rather than girls. A chiropractor might diagnose Spondylolysis in teens who are aged between 15 and 16. 
  • Any type of backache that causes compromises a teen’s balance or coordination may be caused by a problem in the spinal cord.

Adolescents and teens might put themselves in dangerous situations more than the average five year old, but the fact remains that they are still kids.  In other words, they tend to be more aggressive in their activities than younger children. A four year old will probably not stick his hand in a light socket if he has been electrocuted once. However an adolescent will have to keep stressing his back especially if he is pressured to make a tackle or prevent a touchdown in order for his team to win.

Parents cannot stop commercial advertising or peer pressure that expects their kids to push the envelope, but they can educate on taking better care of themselves. A teenager can always be grounded if he/she doesn’t comply to the rules, but parents will be helpless if a backache worsens or worse, ends up paralyzing their child.

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Types of Back pain

Posterior_view_of_lumbar_region_for_electrostimulation_electrode_placementAs any good chiropractor would tell you, there is no single cause of back pain. This is because back pain can occur due to various reasons, and affect different areas. It is important that you have an understanding of the nature of your ailment before going to the chiropractor for treatment.

Location Of The Pain

Back pain is classified in two categories, depending on where the pain occurs.

Upper Back Pain

Pain in the upper back, shoulders or neck is termed as upper back pain. There can be certain causes of upper back pain, such as stretched tendons or damaged ligaments due to strenuous physical work. Upper back pains aren’t as common as lower back pains, and can be treated by taking pain relievers such as Paracetamol or by visiting a Chiropractor.

Lower Back Pain

Like the name suggests, lower back pains are directed at the base of the back, and occur due to the overstretching of muscles in the lower back or direct injury to that area. This pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as lifting something heavy or bending in an awkward position. Treatment for lower back pains is the same as for upper back pains.

Duration Of The Pain

Besides location, pain can also be classified according to duration.

Acute Back Pain

A short term pain, lasting from a few days to weeks, is called an acute back pain. There may be numerous causes of this pain, the most common being blunt trauma caused by Ankylosing spondilytis, arthritis or other medical conditions.

The symptoms of this pain can range from muscular aches and incorrect posture to shooting pains in the buttocks and back of the legs. Acute back pain can lead to serious problems, but is generally harmless, and most people tend to let it heal itself.

Chronic Back Pain

If the pain lasts for more than 3 months, it is termed as chronic back pain. The cause of chronic back pain can rarely be determined without the help of a Chiropractor or other medical professional. This long term pain gets progressively worse with time; immediate treatment is necessary to prevent further complications.

Now that you know what type of back pain you suffer from, you can act on them by looking up for home treatments online, or doing exercises which may stimulate the back. It is also recommended that you visit your nearest chiropractor who could suggest you treatment options.

 

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Non-Specific Neck Pain and Chiropractic

images (5)What is Non Specific Neck Pain?

Everyone feels a certain amount of pain in the neck at some point in their life. There might be a sudden onset of sharp pain where you find yourself massaging your neck and wondering what exactly caused the sudden stinging neck pain.  Mostly the underlying cause is not a disease or a degenerative story; rather it is either bad posture or prolonged strain to the neck.

Symptoms of Non-Specific Neck Pain

Always remember that your neck supplies nerves to the shoulders, arms and hands. This means that any disruption in the neck can cause an equal amount of disruption in the areas that it transfers messages to. Analogically, when a route becomes dysfunctional on the road, it affects every trade that takes place via that route.

With stiffness in the neck, the pain is carried along to the aforementioned parts and can cause weakness, numbness and the like. These symptoms can hamper your everyday functioning. When the passageway for nerves is irritated, the messages carried forward to other parts of the body are distorted with painful signals. Hence, even though non-specific in nature, neck pain requires special attention.

Dealing with the Issue

Wondering why you should visit a chiropractic practitioner for a condition that is harmless? Well. The answer is that such sudden onset of pain can be dealt with under this practice. Under chiropractics, the purpose is not alleviation of neck pain but also providing guidance for preventing neck pain in future. The fact that posture and pain in neck are well connected in nature, your doctor can guide you to maintaining a good posture which will protect you against non specific neck pain.

Without the use of medicine, you can quickly be on the road to recovery with this method.  Utilizing the techniques of spine manipulation, a chiropractic practitioner will first locate the area of concern followed by a careful application of force on the spinal joints.

Why a Chiropractic Practitioner?

Several people believe that chiropractic is a pseudoscience and does not result in successful healing of your neck pain. On the contrary these doctors, if they feel you need attention from doctor with a different medical background, will recommend you further to another professional for proper treatment. Additionally, these doctors make you undergo thorough examinations before application of any spine related techniques.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: sore neck? by Aidan Jones