How Heavy is that Backpack?

Even though an iPad can store an entire library worth of books, most kids still trudge to and from school each day carrying an oversized and overweight backpack filled with heavy textbooks and loads of school supplies. While it may not seem like a big deal, recent studies have shown that carrying the weight of a typical backpack is one of the top reasons for kids to have back pain.

A vast majority of kids wear backpacks every day that weigh 15 lbs. or more. That’s a heavy backpack! Over time, the stress of the load can result in back pain, a rounding of the shoulders, and postural changes. The spinal compression caused by heavy backpacks often has kids leaning forward to compensate, which begins a vicious cycle of postural issues, compensation, and pain.

  • Up to 30% of kids may suffer from back pain due to carrying a heavy backpack.

  • Limiting the total weight of the backpack to less than 10% of your child’s body weight is recommended.

  • Instruct your child to wear their backpack with both shoulder straps fit snugly, so the backpack isn’t carried below the waistline.

Kids typically choose their backpack based on what makes them look cool. We recommend taking a second look and making sure the straps are wide and padded, the size is appropriate (and not too big) and that it has compartments to help distribute the load. If your child has pain, numbness, or tingling, give us a call. We would be happy to help get them back on track!

Your Body is Designed to Move

Your body is built to move. Every spinal disc and joint is designed to help you sit, stand, run and well...move! Your discs are soft enough to flex as you bend forward and back. The spinal facet joints slide as your turn and twist. The ligament-connected spinal bones keep you supported as your muscles push and pull. It’s an incredibly strong and resilient system when you stop and think about it.

New research has started to give us a glimpse at just how important movement is in our life. For example, movement of the spine has been shown to stimulate and accelerate the healing process. In fact, movement is so crucial in the healing process that even people who have spine surgery are encouraged to get up and to move as quickly as possible after surgery.

-All the bones, muscles, ligaments and joints of your spine are specially designed to support movement.

-Movement of the individual segments of your spine can affect how you heal.

-Blood flow, strength, and flexibility are all enhanced through movement.

I believe that encouraging healthy movement and activity is part of my job as your Chiropractor. If you have any questions about stretches, exercises or other ways you can pro-actively stay healthy, ask! Have you ever heard that old saying “you don’t get old then stiff, you get stiff then old?” We want to help you stay young by helping you keep your spine and body moving better!

Facet Joints: Gliding Your Way to Better Health

If you’ve had neck or back pain that you could pinpoint with your finger, or experienced sharp pains when you move, it may be related to the facet joints of your spine. It’s easy to think of your facet joints like the “knuckles”of your spine. They are small joints and have a capsule and cartilage pad that glides and slides, allowing your spine to move.

As you go through life and your spinal discs go through the aging process, your facet joints end up taking on extra load. Unfortunately, this excess stress and pressure can wear down your facet joints. What results is the beginning of the degenerative process,which means you can end up with adhesions, restricted motion, bone spurs and pain.

-The facet joints of your spine slide and glide as you move.

-Restrictions or adhesions in the facets can occur with age and injury.

-Chiropractic adjustments help the facet joints move freely and decrease painful restrictions in motion.

The facet joints of your spine love to move, and, in fact, movement helps them stay healthy and may even slow down the degenerative process. Chiropractic adjustments can help reduce adhesions on these joints ,allowing you to move more freely and with less pain. In our office, we believe that when you’re moving better, you’re feeling better, and we’re proud to be a part of the healthcare team that helps you stay active!

Arm Pain Could Be a Sign of a Neck Problem

Pain in your hand, wrist, or arm can be frustrating. You don’t realize how much you use your arms and hands each second of the day until pain, numbness, or tingling gets in the way. But, getting rid of the pain may be easier than you think.

Hand, wrist, and arm pain often starts with a neck problem. When a nerve in the neck is irritated, it can result in arm pain. Just like the power lines that bring electricity to your house, your brain and spinal cord split into individual nerve roots that deliver information to every part of your body. The nerves in your neck are specifically focused on providing strength and sensation to your head and arms.

  • A bulged or herniated disc in your neck can irritate or compress the nerves that travel to your hands, arms, and shoulders.

  • A recent study of people with cervical (neck) disc herniation showed improvement in over 86% of those who received chiropractic adjustments.

  • Improving spinal mobility, decreasing inflammation, and improving your posture may help prevent future episodes of neck and arm pain.

A painful arm as a result of a pinched nerve in your neck very rarely requires surgery. Getting rid of the inflammation, decompressing the nerve, and giving the disc time to heal are all part of a complete plan we use each day to help our patients reduce their symptoms and get their life back.

Slowing Down Degeneration

The dreaded degenerative disc disease. Well, it may not be so dreaded after all. You may be surprised to learn that degenerative disc disease is a part of the normal aging process. As we age, our discs lose some of their water content and become less supple. This makes them appears darker on an MRI. And when they appear darker on MRI, you guessed it; they are labeled as degenerative.

Just because all of us will experience degenerative disc disease as we age doesn’t mean that process is the same for everyone. Research has shown that by taking a pro-active approach with your spinal health, you may be able to slow down the degenerative process.

  • Degenerative changes are part of the normal aging process due to the weight of gravity, injuries,and repetitive stress on your spine.

  • Researchers have found a correlation between the amount of arthritis in the spine and the severity of degenerative changes.

  • Stretching, exercising (regional motion) and chiropractic care (segmental motion) are thought to improve spinal biomechanics and may slow down the degenerative process.

New research has shown that degenerative changes accelerate on joints that aren’t moving correctly. We encourage you to take control of your spinal health with exercise, stretching, and even periodic chiropractic adjustments. By keeping your spine moving, you will have the best opportunity to slow down the aging process while feeling great every step of the way.

Preventing Disc Injuries

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

I often wonder if the author of that quote happened to have a disc herniation. By investing in a pro-active approach to your spinal health now, you may be able to avoid suffering from a disc injury later in life. While there is no specific protocol to guarantee you will never have a disc herniation, there are a few action steps you can take now to lower your risk. In fact, researchers have recently discovered that you can reduce your chances of suffering from a herniated disc by keeping your spinal muscles strong.

An active lifestyle, regular exercise, and even chiropractic adjustments are all considered essential aspects of optimal spinal health. Degenerative changes to your spinal discs and weakened muscles around your spine can increase your risk of a disc herniation. In our practice, we focus on helping you live an active and healthy lifestyle to keep your spine both durable and flexible. When you receive an adjustment from us, your spine is better able to move freely as a result, and this is thought to help slow down the degenerative process.

-Spinal disc degeneration and weakened muscles can increase your risk of disc herniation.

-An active lifestyle consisting of exercise and chiropractic adjustments may be able to lower your risk.

-Taking a pro-active approach to your spinal health can help improve your overall quality of life.

We have found that a pro-active approach to spinal health can lead to a significant improvement in your quality of life. If you have any questions about how you can get more active just ask! We love helping our patients reach their healthcare goals.

Finding Relief From Disc Herniations

So, you’ve suffered a disc herniation, and it’s causing severe pain. Do you need an injection or surgery? What type of doctor should you see? Can a Chiropractor make it...worse? These are all common thoughts that may race through your mind after you’ve experienced a spinal injury. First, take a deep breath and relax. Leading research journals have shown that you made a smart decision by choosing chiropractic care. Many leading health organizations are now recommending chiropractic as a top choice to find relief from disc herniations.

Studies have shown that over 90% of people with a lumbar disc herniation that were treated with spinal adjustments improved within 3 months, and 88% improved within 1 year. Perhaps even more impressive was another study, which indicated that, for disc herniations in the neck, 86% of people found relief with chiropractic adjustments compared with less the 50% of people who underwent a spinal injection. We continue to learn that, most of the time, the benefits of medications, injections, and surgery just don’t outweigh the risks.

  • Top healthcare organizations recommend taking a conservative approach to care, such as chiropractic. In most cases medications, injections, and surgery should only be used when conservative treatments have failed.

  • In a recent study, researchers found that over 90% of patients with a lumbar disc herniation improved within the first 3 months of receiving chiropractic adjustments.

  • Over 35% more people with cervical disc herniations found relief with chiropractic adjustments than with spinal injections.

Discovering the most up-to-date Research That Matters is part of our practice. We focus on using this research and combining it with our clinical expertise and experience to provide you with the best care possible. So, if you are suffering from a disc injury, please know that you’re in the right place, and we are grateful you have trusted us with your recovery.

Disc Bulge vs Disc Herniation

The bones, discs, ligaments, and muscles of your spine are designed to help you maintain

proper spinal alignment, posture, and movement. Between each set of bones or vertebrae is a

small rubbery disc. These discs act as small shock absorbers for your spinal bones and nerves.

They have a tough, rubber-like outer layer called the annulus fibrosis and a soft jelly-like center

that is called the nucleus pulposus. As you age or encounter injuries, the curve of your spine

may fall out of alignment. This can place uneven stress on your spinal column and

discs,increasing the chance of having a disc break down and herniate.

A disc herniation occurs when the outer portion of the disc ruptures (or tears) and the soft

inner portion squeezes out. This type of injury can cause pain at the site of herniation, or

sometimes the herniated disc can pinch a nearby nerve, causing pain that can radiate down into

your arms or legs. Similarly, a disc bulge occurs when the outer wall of the disc is weakened, but

the inner portion has not yet broken through.

  • A disc herniation occurs when the inside of a spinal disc breaks through its outside wall.

  • Disc herniations often contribute to nerve compression, which can send pain, weakness, or numbness into your arms or legs.

  • By maintaining proper spinal alignment, you can reduce added wear and tear on your discs and potentially decrease the likelihood of a disc herniation.

Now that you know what a disc herniation is, be sure to stay tuned. Next week, we’ll reveal the

best ways you can find natural relief. Can you guess what type of care resulted in over 90% of

people with a disc herniation finding improvement within the first few months? We’ll be back

next week with the answer!

Dynamic Stretching: A New Way to Feel Better

You’ve probably been told many times that you should stretch before and after a workout. Most people never do because static stretching is boring and takes so much extra time at the gym. However, there is a way to combine stretching with your workout. It’s called dynamic stretching, and not only is it more fun, but researchers have discovered it’s more effective at reducing injuries and increasing range of motion than static stretching alone.

Dynamic stretching doesn’t involve holding a specific position unlike static stretching. It’s about moving your body through ranges of motion that help you prepare for your workout. Dynamic stretching works by increasing your body temperature, blood flow, and circulation. This provides your muscles with more available oxygen and can help enhance your performance.

  • Dynamic stretching is movement-based and can improve blood flow and circulation.

  • Researchers have discovered increased power and agility after dynamic stretching.

  • A proper warm-up, including dynamic stretching, can reduce your risk of injury.

Incorporating dynamic stretching into the beginning and end of your workout is a great way to improve your range of motion and reduce your risk of injuries. If you have questions about incorporating dynamic stretching into your workout, just ask! We love to see our patients enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle.

How to Keep Your Spinal Discs Healthy

Spinal discs are the shock absorbers between the bones, or vertebrae, of your spine. The discs have a tough outer ring and a jelly-like center. Their job is to help us move, bend, and twist while absorbing the weight of gravity. But, over time, our spinal discs can become degenerative. Injuries, aging, and the effects of gravity all contribute to disc degeneration. The good news is that degenerative discs rarely cause pain unless they bulge or herniate, placing pressure on the spinal nerves. So how you can slow down the degenerative process and keep your discs healthy?

Top research journals have recently discovered that movement and hydration are two important factors to keep your discs healthy. A well-hydrated disc can more easily adapt to movement and is less prone to injury. Many chiropractic techniques are designed to “pump” your spinal discs. This motion helps bring nutrients into the disc and pushes out inflammation and waste. That is a fancy way to say that chiropractic care can help keep your spinal discs healthy!

Here are the key takeaways:

-Your spinal discs act as small shock absorbers between the bones of your spine

-Movement helps bring nutrients into the disc and pushes out waste and inflammation; helping them stay healthy

-Torn, herniated, or bulged discs can cause pain by irritating the nearby nerves. Researchers have found chiropractic care to be one of the best ways to heal and feel better!

A combination of chiropractic care and staying well-hydrated are two ways to keep your spinal discs healthy and pain-free. But, don’t forget to stay active between your adjustments. And here is one more tip to slow down Father Time-daily exercise and stretching. Exercise and stretching will not only keep you fit and trim but can also potentially slow down the degenerative changes of your spine keeping you healthy and active for many years to come!