The Holidays Don’t Mean Time Off from the Gym or Chiropractor

The Holidays Don’t Mean Time Off from the Gym or Chiropractor

As another year ramps up for the holidays, it’s easy to slack off and skip the gym or cancel your regular adjustment or acupuncture for a holiday party, kid’s Christmas pageant at school, or because you’ve had to spend a couple extra hours at the office before taking vacation days. Though we wonder where the time went, we must remember we put in some serious hours getting and staying fit and aligned this year.

Missing a workout or appointment is easy to rationalize during the holiday season, but it’s not a justification that holds merit when you find yourself on that slippery slope with your gym bag collecting dust, energy lagging, and that tweak in your shoulder flaring up again. You worked hard and remained diligent all year, even when you wanted to kick back on the couch instead of hitting the gym. You kept up with your adjustments or acupuncture, which provided the relief you needed to enjoy unimpeded and unrestricted movement and comfort. A week off can throw your body off, and it’s during the holidays when we should be the most mindful of our health.

The holidays are a busy time, and require extra energy, with family gatherings, shopping, and parties. Studies show that regular exercise increases energy and decreases fatigue. Your body wakes up from the inside with increased and more efficient blood flow, delivering more oxygen to the brain and your muscles. Your body’s reaction to exercise also results in increased mental acuity and alertness, and when endorphins are released from working out, feelings of pain relief and well-being occur.

When you skip a workout or two, both body and mind can suffer, and we don’t want to lose these benefits of exercise during this busy season. And, with the increased opportunity to eat more during this festive season, keeping your body burning calories is important to fending off extra pounds that can sneak up on us during the holidays.

Keep up with your workouts and your adjustments this holiday season to not only keep you fit and healthy, but to keep your mind sharp, energy up, and mood jovial.

Common Yoga Injuries

Common Yoga Injuries and How to Avoid Them

If you’re thinking of taking up yoga to avoid sports-related injuries, there’s something you should know. Yoga, although considered by many to be a kinder, gentler way of getting into shape, carries its own set of hazards.

Decades ago, people who practiced yoga on a regular basis were a minority, but yoga has gained in popularity by leaps and bounds in recent years. Today, millions of people are attending weekly yoga classes, and sometimes the results aren’t pretty. Strained muscles, over-stretched ligaments, joint injuries, neck and back pain, even stroke and brain damage can occur when yoga poses are done incorrectly or over an extended period of time.

Reduced tension, increased flexibility, lower blood pressure, increased metabolism and improved heart rate are some of the benefits of yoga. However, the potential for injury is also ever present. Here are some of the most common yoga-related injuries, and how to prevent them.

Neck: Hyperextension of the neck can cause injury to soft tissue and cervical vertebrae. If you experience chronic neck or shoulder issues, avoid full inversion poses. Head or shoulder stands can compress the neck and injure cervical vertebrae. Never force your body into a pose that is uncomfortable, and consider using props that elevate your neck off the floor.

Hamstrings: The hamstrings run from the hip along the back of the thigh to just below the knee. Pushing your body into a deep forward stretch can cause injury to these muscles. Keeping a slight bend in your knees and remembering not to bounce when bending forward will help safeguard these muscles.

Wrists: Placing too much weight on the wrists can be very dangerous. Spread your fingers wide and be sure your index fingers and the heels of your hands are both pushing into the mat. You can also roll your mat or use a towel to raise your wrists.

Back: Lower back pain is the most common yoga-related complaint. Rounding through the spine causes it to flex the opposite way it is supposed to, which can cause disc problems. Bending at the knees can aide in avoiding stress to the lower back and protect the hamstrings at the same time. A folded blanket or block can take pressure off the lower back during seated forward folds.

Knees: When performing standing poses such as Warrior I or II, ensure your body is bearing weight properly by maintaining a straight line from knee to heel. If chronic knee pain is an issue, use a block or rolled up towel or blanket under the knees when in cross legged positions.

When practicing yoga, whether it’s your first class or you’ve been doing it for years, the best way to avoid injury is to warm up before class and never force your body into any position.

Prevent Common Injuries this Football Season

Prevent Common Injuries this Football Season

With football season upon us, we’ll be hearing about all the different injuries that can occur while playing this high-impact sport. The types of injuries range from minor aches and sprains to serious head injuries and broken bones. Though not unique to football, the risk of injury is higher than other sports due to the intense and physical nature of the game. Frequent collisions during tackling and blocking; spur of the moment pivots and directional adjustments; and, speed changes can all contribute to musculoskeletal injuries and head trauma.

Football injuries are common and they don’t discriminate. Kids, high school and college athletes, and professional players risk life and limb during this exciting and action packed sport every time they take the field. Even pick-up games in the park or flag football can result in injury, if not careful. Two common football injuries are to the knee and head. Both are dangerous and can have long term affects.

The most common football injury affects the leg, specifically the knee. Rips and tears to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), and to the menisci (cartilage) in the knee can adversely affect a player’s long term prospects. Not only painful and limiting, these injuries can take a long time to heal. The constant, and at times erratic, movements involved in football make these areas susceptible and sensitive to damage.

Another common injury that gets a lot of press is the concussion. This type of head injury is one of the most serious a player can incur as it can severely impact cognitive function, causing confusion, physical and mental perception issues, and memory loss. A concussion occurs through head trauma, resulting from a hard hit or impact to the head, which causes the brain to move violently in the skull. The severity and number of concussions a player endures, can lead to negative, long-term consequences. The damage to the brain can affect specific areas that control the body’s physical and mental functions. Some of the long-term effects linked to concussions include, major depression, personality changes, and mood fluctuations.

One of the ways to help protect against sports injuries of any kind is through prevention. In football, the right equipment can be the difference between a minor or serious injury. Players should wear appropriate and properly fitting protective equipment such as pads, helmets, mouth guards. Stability pads and braces to prevent reoccurring knee injuries are common.

Strength training is a major factor in sports injury prevention. To be effective, a defined and controlled strength training program must be used to reduce the chance of injury. Both major muscle groups and the smaller muscles should be exercised. Smaller muscles provide stability to complex joints like the shoulders, knees, and ankles. Using the proper technique when targeting these areas will help them withstand repetitive use and abuse. Using the wrong technique may harm the body and reduce the muscle or joint’s effectiveness by putting undue pressure on those critical areas.

Combined with strength training, physical conditioning is also important. Muscular endurance and physical endurance go hand in hand. By increasing the body’s ability to handle repetitive movements, the risk of harm to the body is decreased. Flexibility and range of motion also help the body adapt to repetitive action on the field that can cause muscle pulls, sprains, and other injuries.

The right equipment and effective strength and conditioning programs are great preventative measures to take, but proper body mechanics and technique are also important. Keeping the body properly aligned, using the right body mechanics, and performing the correct technique used to tackle, move, and run all reduce the chance of injury and can prevent the seriousness of an injury.

Whether you are a player or a football fan, understanding common injuries, what causes them, and how to prevent them add to a greater appreciation for the sport. Talk to your doctor to learn more about how football injuries occur, steps to prevent them, and how to treat them, if necessary.

The Healthy Bucket List

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To Your Health
February, 2016 (Vol. 10, Issue 02)

The Healthy Bucket List

By Editorial Staff

A “bucket list” is a list of things to accomplish, experience, etc., before you die. We can’t tell you what to fill that bucket list with; after all, it’s entirely personal. What we can do is provide you with suggestions for how to stay healthy long enough to complete your bucket list, however extensive it may be.

Want to age gracefully and enjoy your golden years? Here’s how to do it with suggestions for your Healthy Bucket List.

Climb a Mountain (even if it’s in your own backyard): Fitness and life go hand in hand, and it goes far beyond the health benefits. These days, too many people stay mired in their cubicles, whether literal or figurative, trapped in a sedentary, technology-overloaded existence that leaves little time to enjoy the wonder, beauty and health-sustaining benefits of the Great Outdoors. So make a point to climb a mountain (at least a small one) every day, whether it’s the hilly road in your neighborhood or just the flat pavement awaiting your feet. Fitness matters – to your body and your brain; so make it a part of your life.

Laugh a Little (and make someone else do the same): They say laughter is the best medicine, and when you’re stressed out, burned out and ready to give up, it can make your day – and someone else’s as well. So share a joke, receive a joke, turn lemons into lemonade, and find ways to smile and make those around you smile. Life is too short to walk around grumpy (and there’s too many opportunities to be grumpy); turn that frown upside down with the power of laughter and feel yourself soar.

bucket list - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Help a Friend (even if that friend is you): The power of giving uplifts the soul, but we’ve increasingly become a culture fixated on selfishness. That might make you feel safe and secure at night, but in the long run, nothing beats the feeling of helping someone else – particularly if they can’t help themselves. On the other hand, don’t forget about you – after all, you can’t keep giving without being in a healthy position to do so. Take the time to spoil yourself (See “Time for a Little ‘Me Time'” in this issue) every now and then so you’re better able to help the ones you love.

Bake a Cake (without using any sugar): Our diets are killing us, pure and simple. Processed, boxed, packaged and chemical-laden foods are dominating the market, and the unsuspecting consumer is eating it up, literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for an early grave. Added sugar is often the culprit, leading to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cancer. Commit to eating more food from the earth; leaving more processed foods on the supermarket shelves, rather than putting them in your cart; and preparing more food at home with natural ingredients.

As you can tell, your Healthy Bucket List is a continual work in progress; you can’t cross off or complete any of the above items, because they’re all intended to be a part of your daily life. The good news is, the Healthy Bucket List enables you to live a long, rewarding existence and have plenty of time to conjure up your own bucket list of things you want to accomplish as part of your healthy, happy life. What are you waiting for?


The Healthy Bucket List

A “bucket list” is a list of things to accomplish, experience, etc., before you die

Chiropractic Is Good for Your Heart

Home » Blog » Chiropractic Is Good for Your Heart

To Your Health
September, 2015 (Vol. 09, Issue 09)

Chiropractic Is Good for Your Heart

By Editorial Staff

High blood pressure can be life-threatening, pure and simple.

In fact, high BP (known clinically as hypertension) is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke – two of the major causes of death. Aerobic exercise, a healthy diet and not smoking are three natural ways to lower your risk of high blood pressure, but unfortunately, too many people with high BP turn to medication instead.

What about chiropractic care? A recent study serves as the latest evidence that chiropractic adjustments may improve blood pressure in the short term, finding that specific instrument-assisted adjustments to the thoracic spine positively affected blood pressure, pulse rate and classification of high blood pressure compared to placebo manipulation or no intervention.

Researchers randomly assigned 290 adults with and without hypertension to one of three groups for comparison: an active group, a placebo group and a control group. The active group received instrument-assisted manipulation to T1-T5, while the placebo group received the identical manipulative procedure, except the adjusting instrument was set not to deliver any force. The control group received no intervention (manipulation) whatsoever. Both patients and clinicians were blinded as to whether they were receiving / delivering active or placebo adjustments.

healthy heart - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

The primary finding following instrument-assisted manipulation to T1-T5 was a reduction in blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic BP) of approximately 7 percent compared to baseline measurements. Neither of the other subject groups achieved this reduction. Active intervention also improved blood pressure classification in many cases. (All subjects were classified at baseline as normotensive, prehypertensive, stage 1 hypertensive or stage 2 hypertensive.) The study authors described the impact of active intervention on these classifications as follows:

“Systolic and diastolic BP, pulse rate, and BP classification decreased significantly only in the active treatment group. No significant changes occurred in the placebo treatment and control groups. … By category, 46% of [active treatment] subjects improved in early hypertensive or prehypertensive classification – about 4 times more than placebo and 2.65 times better than the controls. Similarly, 51% of Stage I and 57% of Stage II hypertensive patients improved, also better than placebo and control subjects.”

Back pain, neck pain, headaches – chiropractic care has been proven effective for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. But the story goes much deeper than that, and research continues to reveal it. So try chiropractic: It’s good for your heart.

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Chiropractic Is Good for Your Heart

Learn why chiropractic is good for your heart