neck pain

SMT

Chiropractic Adjustments and Neck Pain

A recent study released in 2017 had some very interesting results.  Inami et al looked at the brain and the neck (via PET scans) before and after a cervical (neck) adjustment. While, unfortunately it was a small sample size (21 males) the results do show there is definitely an influence on the brain in regards to outcomes after an adjustment. 

Significant findings of this study include:

  • Decrease in Muscle Tension in the neck 
  • Increase of neck range of motion
  • Changes in the Cerebellum - where affective processing (sensory), pain modulation and sensorimotor processing occurs - possibly explaining a decrease of pain sensation
  • Changes to the prefrontal cortex - possibly explaining an increase in relaxation

Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy: A [18F]FDG PET Study.  Evidence Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. 2017. 4345703. Akie Inami, 1 Takeshi Ogura, 1 , 2 Shoichi Watanuki, 1 Md. Mehedi Masud, 1 , 3 Katsuhiko Shibuya, 4 Masayasu Miyake, 1 Rin Matsuda, 1 Kotaro Hiraoka, 1 Masatoshi Itoh, 4 Arlan W. Fuhr, 5 Kazuhiko Yanai, 1 , 6 and  Manabu Tashiro 1 , 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5267084/

Mindful Breathing and Meditation

Mindfullness and Meditation

This is a how to post.  The brief why to is that these simple mindful breathing techniques can reduce pain, anxiety and depression, improve posture, improve cognitive function, increase gray matter in your brain.  This stuff sounds pretty good to me. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Practice laying on back or seated with one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.  Inhale deeply through your nose*.  As you inhale the belly expands and chest does not move.  Exhale through pursed lips, squeezing you core, bringing your belly button towards your spine.

Tactical Breathing

This is a great way to stay cool in a stressful situation.  Using diaphragmatic breathing inhale for 4 count; Exhale for 6 count; as soon as exhale is complete begin inhale.

Box Breathing

This is a great way to learn to control your breath.  This is best practiced in a calm environment and allows you to more easily drop into tactical breathing in stressful situations.  Using diaphragmatic breathing inhale for 4 count; hold breath for 4 count; exhale for 6 count; hold breath for 4 count; and repeat.

Vipassana Meditation

Mindful breathing is focusing on your breathing in order to be present and interrupt the flow of random thoughts in the brain. Observe the breath. Notice if the breath is long or short.  When your mind wanders, gently return it to the sensation of breathing.  As you focus on the breath, you will notice that other perceptions and sensations continue to appear: sounds, feelings in the body, emotions, etc.  Simply notice this, and then return to the sensation of breathing.  The point is not to be good at it.  The point is to do it.  Through observing the breath, mind, and body, you can gain insight into the true nature of the reality and impermanence.  Like box breathing, this sets us up to be able to interrupt negative thought patterns throughout our day.  Start with 5 minutes in the morning upon waking or in the evening before bed.

Mindfulness

Single task, focus on what you are doing presently.  When you eat, just eat.  Don’t read or watch TV.  Pay attention and take your time.  When you exercise focus on your breathing and your body.  Daily routines like washing the dishes, taking a shower, and mowing the lawn can become calming.

*Breathing in through your nose calms your brain and activates your parasympathetic nervous system aka "rest-and-digest" pathway.

 

What will "back in my day" look like in 30 years?

Smartphone changing our genetics?

“Back in my day” seems to be a common phrase among baby boomers, in general it seems like everything was more simple back then.  Healthy eating and exercise were not fad diets or special gym training programs, they meant eating fresh foods that were cooked at home and getting outside to do yard work, chores, or play. 

Millennials and Generation Y groups are known as the “digitally savvy, easily influenced and media exposed” generations.  Typically they are a well-connected bunch and the use of smart phones and tablets is part of their daily, if not hourly lives.  The average adult glances at their smartphones 5 times a day compared to 109 times a day by Millennials.

With all the technology, there must be an impact on health?  It is only just recently are we starting to comprehend the influences such devices have on health.  While the true impacts will likely not bee seen for decades from now, there are some emerging trends that cannot be ignored.

  • Eyesight is changing.  A study published in 2015 found 90% of children in China had myopia (near-sightedness) as opposed to a mere 10-20% only 60 years ago.
  •  Couch potatoes are growing larger.  In 2009 the average American sat in front of a screen for up to 8.5 hours a day, and children were sitting in front of a screen up to 7 hours a day.  The decrease in physical activity and increase in screen time can be directly tied to the obesity and diabetes epidemic. 
  • “Texter’s“ neck is a real thing. The average human head weighs between 10-12 lbs and angling the head forward by 15 degrees while using a smartphone or tablet raises the weight on the neck to 27 pounds and angling forward by 60 degrees increases the weight on the neck to 60 lbs.  This increase in weight can cause pain in the neck, headaches, arm pain, and numbness.
  • Repetitive strain injuries, once common in factory workers, grocery clerks, baggage handlers, and frequent exercisers are now being seen in smartphone and tablet users.  Pain and inflammation are usually the two most common signs of a repetitive strain injury, which is usually caused by inadequate rest after a particular activity.  With the repetitive swiping action of the wrist, thumb and fingers, many people are now complaining of an ache of some type in their hands.
  • The use of smart phones is reducing the face-to-face communications skills.  One only needs to observe friends or family out at dinner to notice that the art of conversation is being replaced by the head down, face down position of smart phone usage.  Important communication skills will inevitably be lost with this decrease of human interaction.  

If each generation remembers the past as the good old days, what will the Millenials and Generation Y think of the way things are in 30 years?  With the use of technology changing our physical and social capabilities we are probably facing a society that has poorer life expectancy and quality of life than generations before it.  This is a scary thought, is it enough to make you put down that smart phone before it is all too late?

Chemical Stress and Your Health

Chemical Stress and Health

Stress can be good or bad.  Stressors can have positive or negative impact on cell function.  They may be physical, chemical, and psychological.  Good stress like exercise, or setting challenges builds stress resistance that is beneficial.  Bad stress such as poor nutrition, anxiety and worry can become overwhelming and is considered chronic stress.  Our focus today is on chemical stressors.

Chemical stressors on our body include alcohol, tobacco, drugs, environmental toxins, and food additives and preservatives.  Food can either enhance or suppress the immune system.  Most foods today contain additives and preservatives that tax the immune system.  Excess grains, sugars, trans and hydrogenated fats, alcohol, caffeine, and salt weaken the stress response.  Grains, sugar, and hydrogenated oils cause inflammation.  Caffeine triggers the sympathetic nervous system.  Salt increases blood pressure.  Stress depletes the body’s essential nutrients.

Psychological stress only compounds the problem.  Emotional stress can create poor eating habits like over/under eating, excessive dieting, and over consuming alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, and bad fat.   

To combat chemical stress develop good habits around food:

·      Eat real food, mostly plants.

·      Avoid processed food.

·      Avoid food with additives and preservatives.

·      Don’t binge or eat late at night.

·      Enjoy meals with friends and family.

We also have to consider other toxins in our environment.  Air and water quality are compromised in many environments.  We spend a lot of time indoors breathing recycled air and in traffic breathing exhaust.  We drink and bath in polluted water, and wash our skin and home with harsh cleaning products.  For green cleaning recipes check out http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/recipes/.

 

 

 

 

Does this look familiar?

Poor Posture

Look at what the effects of poor posture are on your body!

We see a lot of office workers complaining about their back discomfort, but look what what else happens when you sit (with poor posture) for long periods of time!

Make sure you are getting out of your chair at least every 50 minutes! 

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photo credit: Washington post