Want to learn something interesting? I’ve treated talented riders with postural issues resulting in low back pain. What I noticed however, is that ALL of my low back and stressed out patients are trying so desperately to stay on their “horse”.That’s right. It’s invisible.
In an attempt to stabilize our body because of weak #abdominals and a weak mid back, we grip and strain our muscles in our neck, pecs, arms and hands to hold on the reins. We overuse our deep hip flexors called the #psoad, our deep hip rotators of the hip and our adductors in our inner thighs to squeeze the body of the horse.
This is an unhealthy strategy and it’s also an emotional one. As a consequence we throw ourselves into #chronic misalignment and this will manifest as chronic headaches, TMJ pain, neck pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, snapping hip, low back pain, shallow breathing, rib joint dysfunction, sciatica, hip pain and generalized stiffness.
For this reason, I myofascially release these muscles with my hands or acupuncture, realign the joints with chiropractic adjustments and teach the body to maintain alignment with Kinesiotape and Pilates.
It’s a commitment. Have the right team on your side to get you healthy. Realign. Strengthen. Live your Life.
It seems most people will buy a laptop over a desktop these days because of the portability that it offers, but don’t forget that laptops are designed for just that. The problem with laptops are that they are not ergonomically designed for long session use.
If you spend hours on your laptop, remember that to avoid repetitive strain, you need to apply the ergonomics that apply to a desktop computer.
The centre of the monitor should be at eye level when your head is facing forward in a neutral position.
The keyboard should be close to your body and not elevated so that you are forced to shrug your shoulders to type.
Mousing (although it also has its inherent problems) is better than using the pad on the laptop over time because you can position it in a location that relaxes your shoulder and wrist.
If you use a laptop in the corporate world, companies should provide a “docking station” to create a more ergonomic working environment. If you work from home, using the laptop on your lap, desk, kitchen table or bed are detrimental to your posture. Over time, your body can develop the following symptoms:
upper trap, shoulder and mid back pain
chronic tension headaches/migraines
wrist pain or carpal tunnel issues
TMJ or jaw grinding
low back painHere is an example of a docking system featured on Etsy.com. (Ergonomic Laptop Risers by Perfect45Degree on Etsy, $95.00)
As you can see from the photo above, the laptop user requires another keyboard for long-term use. You can purchase a wireless keyboard or attach another keyboard via USB. It’s quite simple. You can do the same with mouse. It also has a wireless option.
Follow these tips, and you don’t have to suffer with laptop imposed injuries.
The transverse abdominus is the deepest layer of abdominal muscle and is a muscle that stabilizes the spine and improves posture. It’s a muscle that requires endurance. Pilates is a great way to strengthen this muscle.
It’s important for me that my patients understand what is happening in their body. This is why I come up with analogies. A lot of times, they come so spontaneously I surprise myself.
When a patient complains of pain and numbness and tingling that radiates from the neck to their fingers as a result of postural strain from sustained desk work and excessive sitting, this is what I say:
“Your nerve is like a USB connection to your computer which is your brain. Sensory nerves are responsible for giving messages about sensation (hot, cold, vibration, pressure) to the brain and the brain uses motor nerves to send messages to muscles to move. When muscles are chronically tight, they compromise your posture which compromises your nerves ability to relay those messages like a really poor USB connection. As a result, you feel numbness and tingling or pain”.
Suddenly the patient’s “inner light bulb “goes off and understands this concept much better. In the digital age, you need to think of the nerves like USB connections.
Being aware and connected to the messages that your body give you is the first step in healing. How can you correct something that you don’t understand?
My analogies are simple and are not meant to be very physiological to the point of confusion. My intention is for my patients to understand CONCEPTS not become adept in neuroanatomy (for those of you hardcore anatomists who find this analogy too simple).
Chiropractic helps to restore those connections. I also layer in myofascial work , acupuncture and exercise prescription so that proper alignment becomes a lifestyle choice.
Take care of your USB connections. Take care of your body.
The season of spring not only wakes up hibernating animals from their slumber, but hibernating athletes as well. The rise in temperature brings out more people being physically active outdoors. This is a wonderful thing, but please take this word of advice: Although your mind may feel that your body is as fit as it was in its “Heyday”, it may not be. If you haven’t been consistent with your training, the reality is that your muscles atrophy (shrink) and your flexibility reduces. The same thing applies to your cardio. Your heart is a muscle and if you don’t do endurance training regularly, your ability to exercise for longer periods of time will reduce.
In a nutshell, take the following steps so that your Spring enthusiasm doesn’t lead you to injury:
Be realistic with your goals. If you ran 10K regularly in November, you may not be able to do that today. Find a training book that will give you a program to gradually increase your mileage safely.
Mind your posture. Your back, abdominals and gluts stabilize your spine and pelvis and maintain proper alignment in any activity. If these muscles are not well conditioned, you can develop injuries such as low back pain, I-T band syndrome, etc.
Cross Train. Your body adapts to the stimuli that you give it. If you sit most of the year, your body has adapted to this and will not be able to handle a new burst of activity. Engage in full body resistance training, dance, pilates/yoga and cardio to give yourself a strong and leaner body.
Get new shoes. Those kicks from the ’80s are not going to cut it. Find a good shoe that provides cushioning and support and that is SPORT SPECIFIC to your activity.
Enjoy! Don’t be too hard on yourself if your body doesn’t seem to be as strong as it was before. Realize that the body adapts and will improve with consistent training. Enjoy the wind and sun on your face as you play outdoors! Re-awaken your senses.
Did you know that your muscles adapt to the level of activity that you do? The heavier you lift, the bigger your muscles become. Likewise, the more you stretch the longer your muscles become.
For example, when you sit for most of the day, your hip flexor muscles shorten. You may think that this is not be a big deal , but when you want to start to become physically active, you become more prone to injury because your body is not used to being lengthened, especially if the range of motion is ballistic (quick spurts).
To prevent injury, stretch once a day and hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.
Pregnancy puts a lot of stress on a woman’s joints. (Now I know first hand!) It’s very important that a pregnant woman still receives chiropractic care to relieve the discomfort that she experiences.
A hormone called Relaxin is released in the first trimester and beyond to make the pelvis more flexible for the upcoming childbirth. As a result, some women will experience, back, knee or foot pain as all of the joints in general increase in laxity. Strengthening the core muscles will help to prevent muscular imbalances.
Receiving regular chiropractic treatment will help to release tension in the mid back and neck that’s created from postural changes and growing breasts and can also help to relieve pelvic pain that is the result of the instability that’s caused by the hormone relaxin.
It’s all about you!
If you are expecting, take care of your body. It will help you in the long run as you take care of your child! If you know someone who is expecting, spread the word about how chiropractic can help her have an optimal pregnancy experience.
“Posture is your business card”.I declared this statement for the first time at a workshop that I presented to actors. Later it occurred to me that the concept applies to everyone. It is now my personal motto.Similar to a firm hand shake or the tone of your voice, your posture makes a huge impact on the first impression that you make. It reflects your level of confidence and competence.For example, at a job interview, an individual with a low self-esteem looks down at the floor with their shoulders rounded forward. An over-confident person sticks out his or her chest and stands with a broad stance. A confident person stands tall with their shoulders back.If you were the interviewer, who would you give the job to?
Posture and your voice:
There are times when you will need to speak to an audience.Tension and bad posture are your worst enemies. You will notice that when you are nervous, it may be difficult to project your voice because your muscles are tense.For your voice to work efficiently and effortlessly, your air stream needs to have a clear, unrestricted passage through the vocal tract. If your stance or posture is not optimal, this passage will be restricted and you will work harder to project in order to overcome this restriction.
Tips to improve your posture:
Most people admit that their posture is “bad”.Obesity, pregnancy, tight muscles, poor footwear, ergonomics, improper sitting and standing habits and simply being unaware can cause poor posture. Here are three tips to improve your posture. Firstly, imagine that a string is pulling upward from the top of your head, so that your spine elongates.Secondly, bring your shoulders back and down away from your ears so that your neck is longer. Thirdly, place your feet hip width apart with both feet equally planted on the ground. If you forget some of these tips, a smile goes a long way. Even if you are not feeling confident today, now you know how to play the part. Good luck!