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Carpal Tunnel Prevention

Carpal Tunnel Prevention

Today, we are constantly tapping, scrolling, clicking, using our hands, fingers, and thumbs on smartphones, tablets, computers, etc. Constant repetitive use has increased the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. If tingling, numbness, soreness, or electrical sensations have begun to develop in the hands, especially the index finger, thumb, or palm, carpal tunnel prevention measures can help before it becomes severe.

Carpal Tunnel Prevention

Pinched Nerve

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the medical terminology for a pinched nerve. It is the median nerve that passes through the narrow carpal tunnel passageway of ligaments and bones at the base of the hand. This tunnel houses the median nerve and the tendons that allow the fingers to bend. The median nerve generates physical sensation in the index, middle, ring finger, and palm near the thumb. Compression of the nerve or inflammation can cause tingling, numbness, and pain in any and/or all of the hand areas. It can also cause the fingers to bend awkwardly; however, this symptom develops over time. There are so many different causes of carpal tunnel syndrome that it is almost impossible to avoid with the constant overuse/repetition of the hands.

  • Work – tasks, typing, mouse use, writing, scanning, etc.
  • School
  • Injury

Doctors recommended approach for carpal tunnel prevention is to take action at the first sign/symptom. The most effective preventative measures include:

Take Frequent Hand Breaks

At work, school, or when doing any repetitive hand movements like:

  • Typing
  • Using a computer mouse – moving, clicking, using the scrolling wheel, etc.
  • Writing
  • Cooking – chopping, slicing, mixing, squeezing, etc.
  • Drawing
  • Make sure to take frequent breaks from the motion.

Carpal tunnel is more likely to develop if the nerves and muscles are overused for a long time without stopping. When focused on a task, we often don’t realize how the repetitive motions cause strain until a sting or pinch makes us stop. Taking a hand break is essential to give the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves time to relax and stay loose. The break only has to be a few minutes to be effective.

Repetitive Movements and Proper Hand Form/Posture

Repetitive hand or wrist motions in everyday activities sometimes cannot be helped. It is recommended to try to switch hands when performing the task, space it out over the day, take frequent breaks, stretch, and gently shake out the hands throughout the day. Make sure any pressure on the hands or wrists is as light as possible and evenly distributed. Keep the wrists straight or slightly bent and use light tools if possible. Proper posture is crucial for carpal tunnel prevention. Many individuals don’t realize the back, neck, and wrists are intricately connected. Poor posture like hunching over the computer, shoulders rolled forward, and forward neck posture can cause the nerves and muscles of the arm to become compressed, causing tingling, numbing, pain symptoms because they’re not properly aligned. The compression can run down the arms and affect the wrists and hands as well.

Carpal Tunnel Prevention Supportive Accessories

It is also recommended to consider integrating supportive accessories, like ergonomic keyboards, mice, wrist splints, keypad cushions, etc. These tools can support the body and keep the wrists and hands healthy, comfortable, and pain-free. Wrist splints can help by keeping the wrist in a straight, neutral position without thinking about it. This reduces stress on the area and absorbs the pressure of everyday tasks on the carpal tunnel and median nerve. Individuals can also wear the splint at night to support and train the wrist to stay straight throughout the day. Taking action before the symptoms become severe is highly recommended. Talk to a chiropractor or physical therapist for exercises, stretches, and general tips to help with carpal tunnel prevention.


Body Composition


A Snack and A Meal

Without proper planning, the calories an individual consumes from snacks can add up. A recent survey found that snacking contributes 586 calories for men and 421 calories for women per day. Weight loss, weight gain, and weight maintenance come down to calories in vs. calories out.

  • Eating snacks that are too high in calories or snacking too much can disrupt and derail health goals.
  • It’s essential to know what a snack consists of, what to look for on a label, and how to plan.
  • Snacks come in a range of calories, depending on individual goals.
  • For many, 100-200 calories are recommended for snacks.
  • Individuals that need increased calories may require a higher calorie snack.
  • The number of snacks eaten per day depends on individual needs and goals.
  • It’s best to plan and factor snacks into the overall meal plan to avoid overeating.
  • Be sure to check labels and measure out snack portions.
References

LeBlanc, Kim Edward, and Wayne Cestia. “Carpal tunnel syndrome.” American family physician vol. 83,8 (2011): 952-8.

Page, Matthew J et al. “Splinting for carpal tunnel syndrome.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews vol. 2012,7 CD010003. 11 Jul. 2012, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010003

Shiri, Rahman, and Kobra Falah-Hassani. “Computer use and carpal tunnel syndrome: A meta-analysis.” Journal of the neurological sciences vol. 349,1-2 (2015): 15-9. doi:10.1016/j.jns.2014.12.037

Drained Energy: Boost The Central Nervous System

Drained Energy: Boost The Central Nervous System

The body needs consistent energy to get through the day. The central nervous system runs from the brain, down through the spine, and then towards every organ and region of the body. The central nervous system works by sending signals to the organs or the body’s moving parts. But when there is a kink, misalignment, damage, or injury in the spine or other joints, the signals don’t get sent or received correctly.

Pressure builds on the nerves causing the signals/messages sent from the brain to the body to start to slow down and the body’s responses. This includes not just physical reactions but the body’s metabolism. Slow metabolism causes the body to become sluggish and slow. Regular chiropractic adjustments can remove the kinks restoring proper energy flow. When the body’s cells and organs are sending and receiving the signals correctly, the body gets the full force of the energy that the body has stored.

Drained Energy: Boost The Central Nervous System

Energy Drain

Spinal misalignments can cause a multitude of symptoms. The most common problem is pain. Misalignments can also lead to energy-draining problems. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation

The body absorbs toxins from the air, water, food, or direct contact. A buildup of toxins can make the body sluggish. Chiropractic adjustments release these toxins so that the body can rid itself of them. Being out of alignment and balance requires the body to use more energy to get anything done. Even easy to do activities, chores, tasks, etc. When the body’s natural balance is restored, the result is more available energy.

Stress Management

Stress management is vital as chronic stress increases the risk of developing health problems. Learning to manage stress can help increase energy. Therapeutic massage can help with stress relief. A chiropractor will determine the best type of massage for each individual’s situation. The physiological effects of massage to reduce stress include:

  • Increased endorphins, serotonin, dopamine.
  • Decreased cortisol.
  • Increased tissue elasticity.

Endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine are neurotransmitters that are released by the autonomic system when stimulated.

  • Endorphins are responsible for relieving anxiety.
  • Serotonin prevents depression and gives a sense of well-being.
  • Dopamine increases motivation and prevents self-doubt.

When the body lacks these positive hormones, an individual can become stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. A therapeutic massage stimulates the autonomic system, increasing the release of positive hormones. Increasing the level of positive hormones reduces stress and anxiety and improves overall mood.

When a decrease in cortisol occurs, stress is also reduced. Cortisol is a negative hormone released from the adrenal gland when stimulated by the brain’s hypothalamus region. The adrenal gland is located on top of the kidneys. Cortisol is released into the blood and is transported around the body. Cortisol increases:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Responsible for the fight or flight response.

When large amounts of cortisol are released in response to pain, stress levels increase, and the immune system is suppressed. A massage helps flush out the cortisol from the blood and replace it with the positive hormone endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine, decreasing stress and increasing relaxation.

Central Nervous System and Chiropractic

Chiropractic looks for the root cause of the problem and addresses that issue. Individuals can keep their bodies stay in balance by:

  • Getting the proper amount of sleep.
  • Staying hydrated.
  • Scheduling at least 30 minutes of exercise.
  • Making healthy diet adjustments.

Chiropractic treatment can help improve quality of life and overall health.


Body Composition


Neglecting A Healthy Diet

Individuals might begin a weight loss journey by going to the gym, which is great, but neglecting a healthy diet is just wasting energy. Fat loss happens when the body is in a caloric/energy deficit. This means an individual has to take in fewer calories than the body is using. According to the CDC, individuals need to reduce food intake by at least 500 calories a day to lose around a pound of body fat a week.

  • Individuals that start increasing exercise/workouts make the body instinctively want to increase calorie intake.
  • Eating more calories than are burned means the individual is wasting the workout.
  • For example, the body needs a 2,100 calorie diet to maintain its weight, and on average, an individual eats 2,100 calories.
  • This means the weight won’t change much, if at all.
  • If an individual burns 300 calories from a workout, the body needs 2,400 calories to maintain weight.
  • If no changes are made to the diet, the individual will be in a negative -300 caloric deficit.
  • Suppose an individual starts increasing their caloric intake because they think their metabolism is speeding up, which is not how it works, then the individual negates any energy deficit that they worked for, leading to no fat loss.
References

Carlson, Linda E et al. “Integrative Approaches to Stress Management.” Cancer journal (Sudbury, Mass.) vol. 25,5 (2019): 329-336. doi:10.1097/PPO.0000000000000395

Kültür, Turgut et al. “Evaluation of the effect of chiropractic manipulative treatment on oxidative stress in sacroiliac joint dysfunction.” Turkish Journal of physical medicine and rehabilitation vol. 66,2 176-183. 18 May. 2020, doi:10.5606/tftrd.2020.3301

Salleh, Mohd Razali. “Life event, stress, and illness.” The Malaysian Journal of medical sciences: MJMS vol. 15,4 (2008): 9-18.

Exercises For An Aching Back

Exercises For An Aching Back

Reaching, twisting, walking, and driving are everyday activities that require upper and lower back strength. An aching back can easily affect daily activities, generate frustration, anger, and affect all-around health. The more back muscle strength an individual has, the more they can accomplish far more without injury. Immense power is not required to protect the body from a back injury. All that is needed is regular, consistent physical activity and exercise. A balance of body strength is vital for preventing injury. However, overdoing one fitness exercise or physical activity can imbalance musculature, leading to injury. Because the back/spine is the central part of the body, complete and proper care is necessary for optimal health and wellness. For individuals experiencing sore, aching, and tired muscles, here are some exercises that will help in the process.

Exercises For An Aching Back

Alternating Arm and Leg Extensions

Alternating extensions help build strength and coordination in the core areas. The back muscles increase their efficiency by creating muscle memory that supports the work shared by all the torso muscles. Upper and lower back muscles must work together to maintain a healthy balance and not overwork each other, causing strain and fatigue.

  • Start by placing hands and knees on the floor with the head directly between shoulders and facing toward the floor.
  • Feet are directly in line behind the buttocks and resting on the floor.
  • Hips and shoulders rest above the knees and hands.
  • Raise the right hand straight ahead with the arm at full length.
  • At the time same time, raise the left leg straight behind the body.
  • Try to keep the arm and leg as straight as possible.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Switch sides.
  • Repeat three to eight times, depending on strength level.
  • If it is difficult, a modified option is to raise the arm and leg separately.

Plank Hold

These can help build back muscles and strengthen the arms, legs, and the front torso area. Plank holds are a recommended starting point. Plank holds can be done on the elbows, palms of the hands, or closed fist hands. The key is to keep the shoulders, hips, and ankles straight like a wood plank parallel to the floor.

  • Place hands and feet directly on the floor like doing a push–up.
  • Toes should be on the floor.
  • Keep the abdominals tight and buttocks lifted to prevent straining the lower back.
  • Face straight down.
  • Hold for a count of 10.
  • Repeat three times.
  • For those with an aching back, keeping the hips level with the shoulders could be challenging at the beginning.
  • With practice, it will become easier; then, the individual is recommended to increase the length of time until 30 seconds is achieved.
  • Then increase the challenge to try more than three repetitions.
  • A modification for beginners is to start with the body resting on the floor, stomach down.
  • Then raise the body into the start position from the floor.

Hip Raises

Hip raises help to strengthen the lower back muscles to unite and support the lower half of the body. Training the body to work cooperatively is critical for reducing the aching and pain from muscle imbalance.

  • Rest the body flat on the floor, facing upward.
  • Place the hands flat at the body’s sides.
  • Knees should be about shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep the feet flat on the floor
  • Pull the feet toward the buttocks.
  • Look straight up.
  • Raise the hips as high as possible while pressing down with the hands.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Complete five to eight reps.

Cross Body Standing Lateral Arm Raises

Lateral raises or side lateral raises help strengthen and tone the shoulder muscles and the upper back muscles.

  • Begin with a single one-pound weight.
  • Face forward.
  • Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bring the weight to rest near the left hip bone.
  • Gently raise the weight across the body to arrive just above the right side with the arm at full length.
  • Make sure that shoulders and hips are stationary and that only the arms move. Do not twist.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat three to eight times.
  • Switch sides.
  • Modification can be done by sitting in a comfortable chair with proper posture in a chair instead of standing.
  • If weights are too challenging to work with initially, complete the exercise with only the hands placed with the palms flat and together.

Aerobic Activity

This helps circulate blood throughout the body, helping to reduce muscle soreness. A few gentle and aerobic activities can include:

  • Brisk walking.
  • Stair climbing.
  • Bicycling, elliptical, or rowing machine workout.
  • Physical activity that keeps blood moving throughout the body. Examples include yoga, gardening, and dancing.

While the back is healing, go at a gentle even pace for any activity. Jerking and quickly stopping can be hard on joints and discs. When injured, the other muscles try to compensate to avoid causing a flare-up that could worsen the injury and/or create a new injury.

Aching Back Muscles

Strength-building exercises are great for preventing injury and avoiding re-injury. However, avoid overreaching or overstretching with any of the activities. Continuous aching or painful back muscles could indicate something else is occurring that could be:

  • A pinched nerve.
  • Shifted/misaligned discs.
  • Disc herniation.
  • The beginning of an arthritic condition causing inflammation.
  • Back muscle tear/s.
  • Pregnancy.

Body Composition


Sarcopenia – Loss of Skeletal Muscle Mass and Strenght Causes

Decreased Physical Activity

  • Physical inactivity is one of the primary contributors to sarcopenia.
  • Sedentariness can exacerbate the effects of sarcopenia.
  • Regular resistance exercise can help maintain muscle mass and build muscular strength.

Decrease in motor neurons

  • Aging is accompanied by a loss of motor neurons caused by cell death.
  • This can lead to a decrease in muscle fibers and size.
  • This decrease leads to:
  • Impaired performance
  • Reduced functional capacity
  • Decreased ability to perform everyday tasks.

Increase in Pro-inflammatory Cytokines

  • Poor diet and exercise also promote the storage of visceral fat.
  • This type of fat tissue produces pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • This can accelerate muscle breakdown.
  • Obesity and muscle weakness are associated with high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
References

Alfuth, M, and D Cornely. “Chronischer lumbaler Rückenschmerz : Vergleich zwischen Mobilisationstraining und Training der rumpfstabilisierenden Muskulatur” [Chronic low back pain : Comparison of mobilization and core stability exercises]. Der Orthopade vol. 45,7 (2016): 579-90. doi:10.1007/s00132-016-3233-1

Kim, Beomryong, and Jongeun Yim. “Core Stability and Hip Exercises Improve Physical Function and Activity in Patients with Non-Specific Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine vol. 251,3 (2020): 193-206. doi:10.1620/tjem.251.193

Smith, Benjamin E et al. “An update of stabilization exercises for low back pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis.” BMC musculoskeletal disorders vol. 15 416. 9 Dec. 2014, doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-416

Suh, Jee Hyun et al. “The effect of lumbar stabilization and walking exercises on chronic low back pain: A randomized controlled trial.” Medicine vol. 98,26 (2019): e16173. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000016173

When Chronic Back Pain Is Actually A Medical Condition

When Chronic Back Pain Is Actually A Medical Condition

Back pain usually comes from lifting an object the wrong way or awkwardly moving the body, injuring the spinal structures or muscles. However, sometimes it could be signs/symptoms of a more serious medical condition. The back pain could be caused by:

How to know when the root cause of back pain is from something else in the body? There are two types of pain that pain specialists look at. These are visceral pain and somatic pain. Visceral pain comes from damage or injury to the organs or organ tissues. This internal pain can radiate to the spine from conditions like:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Gall stones
  • Cancers
  • Kidney pain
  • Urinary tract infections

Somatic pain is injury or damage to the muscles, skin, and soft tissues. It can be caused by:

  • Regular wear and tear
  • Aging
  • Injury
  • Sedentary lifestyle

However, visceral pain can cause somatic/bodily pain to flare up. The stress the body is going through because of the medical condition can cause inflammation.

When Chronic Back Pain Is Actually A Medical Condition

Kidney Infections and Stones

The kidneys are located in the rear of the body toward the middle of the back. The kidneys:

  • Filter waste products from the body
  • Regulate bodily fluids
  • Perform other vital functions.

Kidney infections and kidney stones can easily mimic a sprain or strain in the back. Infections or stones can also present with other symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Malaise
  • Burning sensation when urinating.
  • The pain feels like it’s higher and deeper in the back compared to musculoskeletal low back pain.
  • Side and groin pain could accompany the back pain.
  • The pain does not go away after shifting positions or lying down.

Urinary Tract Infection UTI

Upper urinary tract infections in the kidneys or ureters can cause back pain. Upper UTIs happen when a lower UTI in the bladder or urethra goes unnoticed or does not respond to antibiotic treatment. Infections can occur at any age, with women and older men being more susceptible. The pain usually presents in the lower back and groin area. Other possible symptoms include:

  • Pain in the back, sides of the lower abdomen between the lower ribs and hips.
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent urination in small amounts
  • Burning during urination
  • Strong urge to urinate
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Fatigue.

The pain can feel like:

  • Cramping pain
  • Pressure
  • Soreness

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, the long flat organ located in the upper abdomen behind the stomach. It assists digestion and sugar management. The American Pancreatic Association reports acute pancreatitis can make individuals feel sick with moderate to severe abdominal pain that can radiate to the back and often worsens after eating. The pain is felt in the upper to middle back. Other possible symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain that radiates to the back
  • Abdominal pain after eating
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tenderness in the abdomen

The pain can feel like ​a pulled muscle or joint pain that increases and decreases at first and then strengthens after eating or lying down.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases IBD

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are inflammatory bowel diseases not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Ulcerative colitis affects the colon.
  • Inflamed intestinal areas characterize Crohn’s disease.
  • Both can cause spreading back pain.

A study found 25% of individuals with IBD have chronic back pain. Other possible symptoms include:

The pain can feel mild or severe, like a cramp in the lower abdomen around the low back. It can present in cycles as a flare-up, then goes away. It’s essential to read the body’s warning signs and not push through the pain or ignore it. If any back pain goes on for more than a week, consult a doctor or chiropractor for a thorough examination. A pain specialist could be recommended if there is chronic back pain from a severe medical condition. A primary doctor or specialist helps keep the medical condition in check, while a pain specialist and/or chiropractor can alleviate chronic musculoskeletal pain from inflammation, irritation, and overstimulated nerves.


Body Composition


Personalized Lifestyle Medicine

Personalized lifestyle medicine develops customized treatment/health plans to fit the individual. It includes:

  • Research on how the body works as an integrated system.
  • Combines new technology approaches in medicine.
  • The relationship between nutrients and gene expression.
  • Life and behavioral sciences.

Nutrigenomics testing helps individuals understand the influence of dietary components on their genes, which can help prevent the development of certain chronic diseases.

References

American Pancreatic Association (Pancreapedia). (2015). Pathogenesis and Treatment of Pain in Chronic Pancreatitis. https://pancreapedia.org/reviews/pathogenesis-and-treatment-of-pain-in-chronic-pancreatitis

American College of Rheumatology. (2019). The U.S. Prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Associated Axial Pain: Data from the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/the-us-prevalence-of-inflammatory-bowel-disease-and-associated-axial-pain-data-from-the-national-health-nutrition-examination-survey-nhanes/

The Effects of Low Laser Therapy on Repairing The Calcaneal Tendon | El Paso, TX

The Effects of Low Laser Therapy on Repairing The Calcaneal Tendon | El Paso, TX

The body is a well-working machine that can endure anything that is thrown in its way. However, when it gets an injury, the body’s natural healing process will ensure that the body can get back to its daily activities. The healing process of an injured muscle varies throughout the body. Depending on how severe the damage is and how long the healing process will take, the body can recover to a mere few days to a few months. One of the most gruelly healing processes that the body has to endure is a ruptured calcaneal tendon.

The Calcaneal Tendon

The calcaneal tendon or the Achilles tendon is a thick tendon that is located in the back of the leg. This muscle-tendon is what makes the body move while walking, running, or even jumping. Not only that, the calcaneal tendon is the strongest tendon in the body, and it connects the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles at the heel bone. When the calcaneal tendon is ruptured, the healing process can last from weeks to months until it is fully healed. 

 

 

The Healing Effects of Low Laser Therapy

One of the ways that can help the damaged calcaneal tendons’ healing process is low laser therapy. Studies have shown that low laser therapy can speed up the damaged tendon repair after a partial lesion. Not only that but the combination of ultrasound and low laser therapy has been studied to be the physical agents for treating tendon injuries. The studies showed that the combination of low laser therapy and ultrasound has beneficial properties during the recovery process of treating calcaneal tendon injuries.

 

 

The study found that when patients are being treated for their calcaneal tendons, their hydroxyproline levels around the treated area are significantly increased with ultrasound and low laser therapy. The body’s natural biochemical and biomechanical structures on the injured tendon increase, thus affecting the healing process. Another study has shown that low laser therapy can help reduce fibrosis and prevent oxidative stress in the traumatized calcaneal tendon. The study even showed that after the calcaneal tendon is traumatized, inflammation, angiogenesis, vasodilation, and the extracellular matrix are formed in the affected area. So when patients are being treated with low laser therapy for about fourteen to twenty-one days, their histological abnormalities are alleviated, reducing collagen concentration and fibrosis; preventing oxidative stress from increasing in the body.

 

Conclusion

Overall, it is said that the effects of low laser therapy can help speed up the healing process of repairing the calcaneal tendon. The promising results have been proven since low laser therapy can help repair the damaged tendon, reducing oxidative stress and preventing fibrosis from escalating, causing more problems on the injured tendon. And with the combination of ultrasound, the calcaneal tendon can recover faster so the body can continue its everyday activities without any prolonged injuries.

 

References:

Demir, Huseyin, et al. “Comparison of the Effects of Laser, Ultrasound, and Combined Laser + Ultrasound Treatments in Experimental Tendon Healing.” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2004, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15278933/.

Fillipin, Lidiane Isabel, et al. “Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) Prevents Oxidative Stress and Reduces Fibrosis in Rat Traumatized Achilles Tendon.” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2005, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16196040/.

Oliveira, Fla’via Schlittler, et al. Effect of Low Level Laser Therapy (830 Nm … – Medical Laser. 2009, http://medical.summuslaser.com/data/files/86/1585171501_uLg8u2FrJP7ZHcA.pdf.

Wood, Viviane T, et al. “Collagen Changes and Realignment Induced by Low-Level Laser Therapy and Low-Intensity Ultrasound in the Calcaneal Tendon.” Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2010, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20662033/.

Waking Up With Neck Pain

Waking Up With Neck Pain

Waking up with neck soreness, stiffness, achiness, and pain can take a toll throughout the day. Individuals, that experience this regularly wonder what happened while laying down in bed? Individuals can wake up with one or a combination of these symptoms after sleeping. A few ways to prevent neck pain after sleeping and self-care to relieve any symptoms.

Waking Up With Neck Pain

What Is Happening?

The spine keeps the body upright and moving and regularly resists gravity and other forces acting upon it. The neck, aka the cervical spine, is a little more delicate. The neck has the important job of holding up the head. The human head weighs around 10 to 12 lbs, and that’s using proper posture.  According to a study, the head’s weight can increase up to 60 lbs. with a 60-degree tilt. This can happen from looking down at a phone for too long. All that weight makes the muscles that support the head and neck work overtime contributing to fatigued muscles.

Then when sleeping, cervical spinal misalignment starts to set in, producing torticollis. Torticollis, aka wry neck, is a condition where the neck gets twisted or tilted at an awkward angle. Babies can be born with it, known as congenital torticollis, and individuals can develop it from various sources. It can be temporary, chronic, and it can be caused by acute trauma. Torticollis is not considered a condition like ankylosing spondylitis but more like a symptom with overlapping sources.

  • The neck’s ligaments can become irritated and inflamed.
  • Neck muscle spasms can cause soreness and inflammation.
  • Either of these can be caused by sleeping in an awkward position or by using the wrong pillow.

Waking With Neck Pain

When waking up with neck pain, it could be that the pillow no longer provides sufficient support, the pillow is too thick, placing the neck in an awkward position, the individual’s sleeping position strains the muscles and ligaments, or a combination. It is usually a pillow that is too soft with no support that causes neck pain. Maintaining spinal alignment when sleeping is just as crucial as during the day, as it helps to prevent overly taxing the muscles and ligaments.

How to control posture when sleeping?

The pillow could be the answer. A firm pillow will keep the spine in a straight line from the atlas, which is the first cervical vertebra/C1, down to the coccyx or the tailbone. The way an individual sleeps also affects how they wake up. The most recommended sleeping position for individuals with morning neck pain is on the back. Back sleeping might not work for everyone as it can aggravate conditions like sleep apnea. If that is the case, sleeping on the side is the next recommended position. It is recommended to avoid sleeping on the stomach. The head could slip down the pillow edge causing the head to be in a tilted position. This can place added pressure on the nerves that start in the neck, leading to further neck pain or radiculopathy pain that spreads out to the arms or legs.

What To Do?

If neck pain presents after waking, get some ice or a cold pack on it. Try 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. This will reduce inflammation. Also, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can help. If neck pain continues, switch from ice to heat also 20 minutes on, 20 off. If the pain is caused by spasming muscle/s, heat can relax the area and increase blood circulation. A gentle massage on and around the area can help spread the circulation and ease the spasm.

Stretching the neck

Stretching the neck will keep the muscles loose and reduce the risk of ligament, muscle and tendon strains, and torticollis.

  • Try to touch the right ear to the right shoulder.
  • Push gently on the left side of the head.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • Repeat on each side ten times.
  • Look up to the ceiling as far as possible.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Look down as far as possible.
  • Do ten reps up and down.
  • Turn the head to the right.
  • Push the chin gently with the left hand.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • Do ten reps right and left.

Body Composition


Sleep and Fat Loss

Body composition change and losing fat mass are also related to sleep. Losing fat requires the body to be in a caloric deficit. This means having the body use more energy than the body takes in. This is accomplished by restricting calories through diet or increasing calories used through physical activity/exercise. However, most individuals utilize a combination. This can be referred to as calories in/calories out. Losing sleep can sabotage fat loss goals by stealing both the calories in and calories out.

References

Hansraj, Kenneth K. “Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head.” Surgical technology international vol. 25 (2014): 277-9.

Preventing Neck Pain from Sleeping: National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.) “How to Prevent Neck Pain While Sleeping.” sleep.org/articles/prevent-neck-pain-while-sleeping/

Multiple Sclerosis, Sciatica, and Nerve Pain

Multiple Sclerosis, Sciatica, and Nerve Pain

Multiple sclerosis and sciatica can exist side by side or have overlapping symptoms. The sciatic nerve begins at the lower back, then through the hips into the buttocks, and separates into both legs into the feet. Sciatica is a type of pain caused by a compressed/pinched or damaged/injured sciatic nerve. The sensation radiates across the nerve with frequency and severity at varying levels, depending on the individual’s body position and/or movement. Individuals with multiple sclerosis can also experience sciatica, believing it’s their multiple sclerosis. Neuropathic pain is a common symptom in multiple sclerosis or MS. It is caused by injury or damage to the nerves of the central nervous system and can cause burning, or sharp, stabbing sensations.

Multiple Sclerosis, Sciatica, and Nerve Pain

Multiple Sclerosis and Sciatic Nerve Pain Difference

MS is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the protective layer around nerve fibers known as myelin. This affects the central nervous system pathways that regulate feeling and sensation in the body. It can cause painful sensations that include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Burning, tingling, or aching in the lower legs
  • Electrical shock-like sensations travel from the back toward the legs.
  • Migraines
  • The painful sensations result from the damaged nerve fibers creating interference in the brain’s neural pathways.

Sciatica works differently

An autoimmune response does not damage the sciatic nerve’s pathway, but an added stress/pressure compresses the sciatic nerve. The pain is usually caused by a quick, jerking, twisting, bending, reaching motion that pinches or twists the nerve. Herniated discs and bone spurs are another common cause, along with being overweight can place intense pressure on the sciatic nerve. The critical difference is that multiple sclerosis causes the central nervous system’s signaling pathways to malfunction.

MS and Sciatica

Most individuals, around 40%, will at some point experience some form of sciatica symptoms. This is from age, and all the wear and tear the low back goes through daily. This is why it’s not unusual for individuals with MS to experience sciatica as well. MS can cause body changes that affect activity levels.

  • Decreased mobility can lead to sitting for extended periods that can strain the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, causing sciatica.
  • There is evidence that the lesions that present from MS can extend to the sciatic nerve.
  • One study compared 36 individuals with MS to 35 individuals that don’t have it.
  • All of the participants underwent magnetic resonance neurography to obtain high-resolution nerve images.
  • The research found that those with MS had slightly more lesions on the sciatic nerve than those without MS.

Sciatica Care

It can be challenging to figure out the types of pain being experienced. Sciatica travels down the length of the nerve uniquely and is often felt in only one leg. The pain, tingling, numbness, electrical sensations can present only in the lower back, the buttock, the back of the leg, hamstring, calf, and foot, or in a combination of all the areas. Treatments for sciatica depend on the severity. They include:

  • Chiropractic
  • Physical therapy
  • Posture exercises
  • Lifestyle adjustments
  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Cold and hot packs
  • Acupuncture
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Medications – anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, tricyclic antidepressants, and antiseizure medications.
  • Steroid injections – corticosteroids
  • Surgery is a last resort reserved for severe cases that did not improve with other treatments and therapies.

It can be easy to mistake sciatica as a symptom or related condition of multiple sclerosis. Chiropractic can help alleviate sciatica, and although treatment cannot directly treat MS or its symptoms, it can relieve pain and discomfort.


Body Composition


Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy or diabetic kidney disease is the result of mismanaged diabetes. Kidney failure is a severe medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated. Chronic low kidney function results in:

  • Fluid retention in the body.
  • Inability to filter out metabolites and waste from the blood.
  • Increased risk of infections.

Common symptoms of diabetic kidney disease include:

Increased blood pressure

  • This is the result of increased stress on the body.
  • The kidneys can no longer filter out all the metabolites and excess fluid needed to stabilize the blood pressure.

Proteinuria or protein in the urine

  • Chronic kidney damage results in the protein being excreted through urine.

Fatigue

  • Poor kidney function affects every organ in the body.
  • The organs have to work harder to compensate, leading to fatigue and low energy.

Lower extremity edema

  • Fluid retention usually presents in the lower extremities.
  • Puffy, swollen ankles and legs may appear shiny or waxy.
  • This is common in individuals that have severe diabetic nephropathy.

Shortness of breath

  • As the fluid builds up in the body, additional weight can get stored on and around the lungs.
  • This can make breathing very difficult when lying down or when engaged in physical activity.

Impaired cognition

  • Metabolites in the blood can cause brain damage when not filtered properly.
  • Memory loss
  • Mood changes
  • Loss of consciousness
References

Jende JME, et al. (2017). Peripheral nerve involvement in multiple sclerosis: Demonstration by magnetic resonance neurography. DOI:
10.1002/ana.25068

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019). Sciatica.
mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435

Murphy KL, et al. (2017). Chapter 4: Neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis—current therapeutic intervention and future treatment perspectives.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470151/

Pain and itching. (n.d.).
nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms/Pain

Samson K. (2017). In the pipeline-multiple sclerosis neurography, MRI reveals peripheral nerve lesions in MS patients. DOI:
10.1097/01.NT.0000527861.27137.b0

Sciatica: Of all the nerves. (2016).
health.harvard.edu/pain/sciatica-of-all-the-nerve

Low Laser Therapy Repairs Tissues | El Paso, TX

Low Laser Therapy Repairs Tissues | El Paso, TX

When dealing with any kind of pain, many types of remedies can help alleviate the source of the pain. Whether muscle pain or cardiac tissue pain, the effects can be long-term if not appropriately treated. Doctors have discovered that low laser therapy can help repair injured muscles that patients have experienced. With low laser therapy, the beneficial effects can help repair injuries that the bodies’ skeletal and cardiac muscles have endured. 

 

 

When the body gets injured, many people endure the pain later or during the accident. Sometimes the pain is short-termed or long-termed, depending on how severe the injury is. Short-term pain or “acute” pain can be simple, like a sprained joint; however, long-term pain or “chronic” pain, it’s more severe to the body and can have lasting effects. Chronic pain can hinder a person’s body from doing the most straightforward task. When people deal with chronic pain, it can drastically affect the body’s musculoskeletal system and even their cardiovascular system. 

When the body’s musculoskeletal system is damaged, many complications can start affecting the joints in many different parts of the body. Chronic pain can cause inflammation throughout the body, causing a person not to have the energy to do any task they planned for the day. Sometimes the pain can be excruciating where the body just completely shuts down. When doctors see their patients, they ask them, “Where does it hurt?” meaning where the pain feels more excruciating on the person’s body. The patient will always tell their physicians that the pain is on their joints or back. So doctors would recommend low laser therapy.

 

Low Laser Therapy

 

With low laser therapy or phototherapy, the effects from the treatment can alleviate the pain from the body. Studies show that the application of low laser therapy in injured muscles can significantly enhance muscle regeneration in multiple and frequent applications. Low laser therapy does target the injured muscles because it uses irradiation, which targets the affected muscle while increasing the body’s natural antioxidants and cytoprotective heat shock proteins (HSP-70i). Phototherapy can even help reduce muscle fatigue in athletes when they are in a post-exercise routine.

Studies have found that physical therapists use phototherapy as another form of recovery treatment for athletes. What the laser does is that when it is placed on the affected muscle and joint pain, the infrared wavelength penetrates the skin and starts to affect the targeted area. The infrared wavelengths cause therapeutic effects by decreasing oxidative stress accumulated by the body while also reactivating oxygen species production, improving the body’s mitochondrial function, etc. Another study also shows that phototherapy can also repair cardiac tissue. The study shows that when doctors use phototherapy, it directly affects the intracellular mechanisms in the heart while also activating heat-independent tissues without causing tissue damage to the heart. The study also shows that phototherapy can be effective in various complications, such as lymphoedema and muscular trauma. 

Conclusion

 

All in all, low laser therapy has beneficial properties in preventing muscle and cardiac muscle tissue damage. Its infrared radiation can help patients go about their day without the pain and suffering that their body endures. By reducing ventricular dilatation and preserving the body’s mitochondria while elevating the HSP-70i, the body can start on the road to recovery.

 

 

References:

Leal Junior, Ernesto Cesar Pinto, et al. “Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) in the Development of Exercise-Induced Skeletal Muscle Fatigue and Changes in Biochemical Markers Related to Postexercise Recovery.” Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Aug. 2010, https://www.jospt.org/doi/10.2519/jospt.2010.3294.

Kazemi Khoo, Nooshafarin, et al. “Application of Low-Level Laser Therapy Following Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) Surgery.” Journal of Lasers in Medical Sciences, Laser Application in Medical Sciences Research Center, 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4291821/.

Oron, Uri. “Photoengineering of Tissue Repair in … – Medical Laser.” Photoengineering of Tissue Repair in Skeletal and Cardiac Muscles, 2006, http://medical.summuslaser.com/data/files/91/1585172203_ls8S6pcJwigZfZQ.pdf.

Polymyositis: Inflammatory Myopathy

Polymyositis: Inflammatory Myopathy

Polymyositis is a disease that causes the body’s muscles to become irritated and inflamed. It can affect the muscles all over the body. The muscles gradually begin to break down and weaken, making everyday movements difficult. This disease falls into a category known as inflammatory myopathies.

Polymyositis: Inflammatory Myopathy

Polymyositis Unknown Causation

The causes of polymyositis are currently unknown. However, experts believe it could be associated with or triggered by a virus or an autoimmune reaction. An autoimmune response is when the body attacks itself along with the body’s tissues. It’s seen in individuals ages 31 to 60 and is rarely seen in individuals younger than 18. In some instances, medication can lead to an allergic reaction/response that causes muscle irritation and damage. But in most cases, healthcare experts are not able to find the exact cause.

Symptoms

The condition can affect the muscles all over the body. Physical activities like walking, getting up from a chair, or lifting objects can become difficult to perform. It can also affect the muscles that allow for eating and breathing. The muscles at the center of the body tend to be affected the most. Common symptoms include:

  • Muscle pain.
  • Muscle stiffness.
  • Muscle weakness, specifically in the abdomen, shoulders, upper arms, and hips.
  • Joint pain and stiffness.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Problems swallowing.
  • Abnormal weight loss can become an issue if there are problems with swallowing.
  • Irregular heart rhythms if the heart muscle/myocardium becomes inflamed.
  • Individuals may notice they have trouble climbing stairs or lifting their arms.
  • The inflammation can worsen, causing pain and weakness that affects the wrists, lower arms, and ankles.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis begins with the individual’s medical history, family medical history if necessary, and a physical examination. The examination includes seeing and feeling the strength of the muscles. Tests will be required that include:

Blood Tests

  • Blood tests allow the doctor to see if there are signs of muscle inflammation.
  • They also show if there are abnormal proteins that form in autoimmune diseases.

Electromyogram EMG

  • This test can be used to find abnormal electrical activity in the affected muscles.

MRI

  • Magnets and computer graphic imagery are used to help the doctor inspect for inflammation in the body.

Muscle Biopsy

  • A small piece of muscle tissue is removed to be analyzed with a microscope.

Treatment

Treatment depends on how severe the condition is, individual symptoms, age, and overall health. Currently, there is no cure for polymyositis, but symptoms can be managed. Individuals are recommended to utilize more than one type of treatment because the treatment plan may also need to be changed as treatment progresses. Treatments include:

Anti-inflammatory Medication

Steroid medication can help manage the disease and reduce symptoms, and corticosteroids can help ease inflammation in the body. The symptoms improve within 4 to 6 weeks, and a healthcare provider can lower the dosage after the symptoms decrease to reduce and ease any side effects.

Immunosuppressive Medication

  • These medications block or slow down the body’s immune system responses.
  • Talk with a doctor about the risks, benefits, and side effects of all medications.

Chiropractic and Physical therapy

  • Chiropractic treatment and physical therapy can help:
  • Aligning the spine to provide optimal nerve energy and blood circulation.
  • Therapeutic massage to stimulate and keep the muscles loose.
  • Specific exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles.
  • These can help keep the muscles from shrinking.

Heat therapy and Rest

  • Heat therapy and allowing the body to rest thoroughly can help decrease pain symptoms.

Special Braces

  • Body, hip, and leg braces can help support the muscles and help with mobility.

Complications

Polymyositis left untreated can lead to severe complications. The muscles become weaker, increasing the risk of falling and limiting daily activities.

  • If the chest muscles are affected, there could be problems with breathing that can lead to respiratory failure.
  • If the digestive tract is affected, malnutrition and unintentional weight loss can result.
  • Polymyositis poorly managed well can cause severe disability.

Body Composition


Nutrition and Muscle Growth

Protein

  • Protein is the foundation for gaining muscle.
  • This essential component is for all of the body’s daily functions.
  • It is essential to balance protein increase with overall diet.

Complex Carbs

  • Carbs are the body’s fuel source.
  • Carbs should be a daily element of nutritional intake because they are the primary component.
  • Acquiring energy
  • Preventing muscle weakness and degradation

Consuming Carbs

  • Understanding how accurate results only happen when both sides work together.
  • Healthy consumption of protein and carbohydrates can help muscle growth and sustain optimal health for all body types.
References

Corrado, Bruno et al. “Supervised Physical Therapy and Polymyositis/Dermatomyositis-A Systematic Review of the Literature.” Neurology international vol. 12,3 77-88. 24 Nov. 2020, doi:10.3390/neurolint12030015

Findlay, Andrew R et al. “An overview of polymyositis and dermatomyositis.” Muscle & nerve vol. 51,5 (2015): 638-56. doi:10.1002/mus.24566

Sasaki, Hirokazu, and Hitoshi Kohsaka. “Current diagnosis and treatment of polymyositis and dermatomyositis.” Modern rheumatology vol. 28,6 (2018): 913-921. doi:10.1080/14397595.2018.1467257

Van Thillo, Anna et al. “Physical therapy in adult inflammatory myopathy patients: a systematic review.” Clinical rheumatology vol. 38,8 (2019): 2039-2051. doi:10.1007/s10067-019-04571-9

Pain Under The Shoulder Blade

Pain Under The Shoulder Blade

There are various causes for achiness or soreness under the shoulder blades. The shoulder blade is the triangular bone that forms the back of the shoulder. This pain can range from dull, sharp, burning, or a combination between the spine and shoulder blade to tender or achy across the shoulder or upper back. Pain can spread from another body part or structure, like the neck or spine. Inflammation from injury or overuse is noticeable at onset or gradually after engaging in physical activity and can limit arm movements and interfere with regular activities.

Pain Under The Shoulder Blade

Improper Posture

Improper poster combined with prolonged sitting can cause the spine to develop structural changes that cause pain under the shoulder blade. Habits that lead to poor posture include:

  • Hunching the back.
  • Tilting the head down – looking at the phone.
  • Leaning to one side while sitting, working.

Poor posture habits cause the muscles to weaken, placing added pressure on the spinal discs, muscles, and ligaments. This body imbalance can contribute to upper back and shoulder pain.

Lifting Improperly

Lifting weight above the head and not using the proper technique can leave the upper back and shoulders vulnerable to injury. Lifting an object that is too heavy or is held in an awkward way causing the spine to be misaligned creates added pressure in the upper back. This can strain the muscles, sprain ligaments, injure the shoulder joint, or spine, which can cause spreading pain under and/or near the shoulder blade.

Repetitive Overuse Injury

Painting, moving furniture, or participating in sports are activities that can overwork the upper back muscles and shoulders. Overuse can lead to muscle strains and ligament sprains. This can cause pain in the upper back between the shoulder blade and the spine. Scapulothoracic bursitis, also known as snapping scapula syndrome, is when the bursa between the shoulder blade/scapula and the thoracic spine becomes inflamed, causing pain.

Cervical Herniated Disc

A herniated disc in the cervical spine/neck happens when a disc’s outer layer/annulus fibrosus tears and the inner layer/nucleus pulposus starts to leak outward. This can cause pain and cause the nearby nerve roots to become inflamed, causing pain to run down into the shoulder, arm, and/or hand. A disc herniation in the lower part of the neck usually radiates pain into or near the shoulder blade area. Although less common, a herniation in the upper back can cause pain around or near the shoulder blade.

Dislocated Rib

An accident or fall could cause a rib to become dislocated or misaligned after repetitive/overuse strain or reaching too far overhead. Sharp pain near the shoulder blade can result from this activity and can sometimes make it challenging to take a deep breath.

Compression Fracture

A compression fracture occurs when a vertebral bone in the upper back weakens and compresses. This can lead to back pain with a heightened sensitivity across the shoulder area. The pain usually decreases with rest. Compression fractures are commonly caused by osteoporosis in older individuals. Any back or shoulder pain that persists for weeks or interferes with regular activities should be evaluated by a doctor or chiropractor. If the pain is severe or accompanied by symptoms like headache, tingling, weakness, or nausea, individuals are recommended to seek medical attention.


Body Composition


Carbohydrate/Carb Loading

Carbohydrates are macronutrients that serve a critical function in the body, as they are the body’s primary energy source. The body breaks down carbohydrates into sugar that enters the bloodstream and is stored for energy use in the muscles and liver as glycogen. The muscles only store small quantities of glycogen. And when engaging in physical activity or exercise, the energy stores get used up.

Carbohydrate loading can raise glycogen stores in the muscles from 25 to 100 percent of their average amount in men. Women have shown mixed results in studies on carbohydrate loading. Women need to take in more calories than men when carb-loading to experience the same gains in glycogen. Reasons to carb load are either to:

  • Build-up stores of glycogen so an individual can use the extra energy storage to help improve endurance.
  • Fill the muscles with glycogen to bring water into the muscles to help gain mass and tone.
References

Hanchard, Nigel C A et al. “Physical tests for shoulder impingements and local lesions of bursa, tendon or labrum that may accompany impingement.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews vol. 2013,4 CD007427. 30 Apr. 2013, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007427.pub2

Mizutamari M. et al. Corresponding scapular pain with the nerve root involved in cervical radiculopathy. J Orthop Surg. 2010; 18(3): 356–60.

Sergienko, Stanislav, and Leonid Kalichman. “Myofascial origin of shoulder pain: a literature review.” Journal of bodywork and movement therapies vol. 19,1 (2015): 91-101. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.05.004

Kettlebell Strengthening For Back Pain Safety

Kettlebell Strengthening For Back Pain Safety

Kettlebell training for the back muscles and back pain prevention can be part of a recommended treatment plan. When experiencing low back pain, many sports medicine experts recommend kettlebell exercise to strengthen the core and posterior chain. However, if not used correctly, kettlebell exercises can worsen back pain.

Kettlebell Strengthening For Back Pain Safety

Kettlebell

They are made of cast iron or steel and are named for resembling a tea kettle with an oversized handle. They can be used in one and two-handed movements.

Exercises and Movements for Back Pain

For individuals that are not experiencing back pain, kettlebell training can be excellent for maintenance and injury prevention. They strengthen the core and back muscles.

  • The kettlebell swing is an essential exercise and is one of the most important exercises when dealing with back pain issues.
  • A kettlebell is placed on the floor about 12 inches in front while standing with the feet a little wider than hip-distance.
  • The hips become the hinge.
  • Extend the arms down to the bell and grip it.
  • Begin swinging it up and down through the legs and then upward and outward to chest level.
  • The shoulders are to stay relaxed.
  • The hips are used to thrust and create momentum to swing the kettlebell.
  • Keep the spine neutral throughout the exercise to prevent injury.
  • The arms are to hold the bell only.
  • Don’t swing with the arms or shoulders, but push through with the hips.
  • The exercise can be swung up over the head but is not recommended for those with back pain.

Benefits

  • They are portable and don’t require a lot of space.
  • With kettlebells, an individual can train more easily than with barbells.
  • Kettlebell workouts provide strength training and cardiovascular fitness.
  • Once the proper technique is learned, individuals can set up a regular regimen at home.

Proper Form and Mistakes

Proper form is crucial. The primary movement most individuals have difficulty with is getting the proper hinging motion at the hip. Most individuals flex at the lower back and place increased pressure on the discs. Proper hip hinge motion means:

  • Keeping the low back straight
  • Flexing at the hip
  • Pushing back out with the buttocks when performing the swing motion.
  • When done correctly, an individual should be able to stop at any stage and hold that position.

Posture Form Tips

Form issues with kettlebells include:

Hip Hinge

  • When picking up the kettlebell, remember to hip hinge instead of squatting to maintain the back in a neutral position.
  • Drive the hips back in the same way when sitting down on a low chair.

Arching the back

  • If the pelvis is tilted too far forward, the back arches a lot.
  • This can narrow where the nerves leave the spine in the low back.
  • Keep the abdominals tight to prevent the pelvis from tilting forward.

Using the incorrect weight can also cause problems; this could be going too heavy or too light.

  • Too heavy increases the risk of straining the body and back.
  • A kettlebell that is too light does not provide the correct resistance to strengthen the muscles.
  • Another common mistake is overtraining. Specifically, individuals over 50 whose bodies don’t recover as quickly.
  • Individuals over 50 are recommended to spread out the workout days with more than one rest day.

Common Injuries

Proper training before working with kettlebells is highly recommended, especially for those already dealing with back pain. Individuals are encouraged to work with a physical therapist, sports chiropractor, or personal trainer who can teach proper techniques and specific exercises, observe the individual’s process, and make corrections. Improper technique can lead to:

  • Muscle strains.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Compressed or pinched nerves.
  • Added stress to pre-existing low back conditions.
  • Impact injuries to the wrist and forearm.

Body Composition


Exercise Ball Pikes

Exercise ball pikes are an advanced total body workout. Muscle groups worked out include:

  • Deep abdominals
  • Hip abductors
  • Quadriceps
  • Deltoids
  • Scapula stabilizers
  • Pectoralis major/minor

To do the exercise:

  • Start in a pushup position with the arms on the floor in front.
  • Lift the legs, so the tops of the feet rest on the exercise/stability ball.
  • Knees should be bent to start the movement.
  • Extend the legs out as straight as possible.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds.
  • Return to the starting position.
References

Common Injuries Associated with Kettlebells: ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal (March/April 2017) “Managing Risks of Training with Kettlebells to Achieve Optimum Benefits.” https://journals.lww.com/acsm healthfitness/Fulltext/2017/03000/MANAGING_RISKS_OF_TRAINING_WITH_KETTLEBELLS_TO.6.aspx

Neck Crepitus Cracking, Grinding Sounds

Neck Crepitus Cracking, Grinding Sounds

Neck crepitus is a grinding sound that comes from moving or rotating the neck. Usually, it is not something to worry about, as the body is a sound system that generates various noises. For example, when hungry, the stomach rumbles. After digestion, the body releases the gasses through a burp. The bones can also generate neck cracking or popping sounds with regular movements. This unusual sensation is known as crepitus.

Neck Crepitus Cracking, Grinding Sounds

Crepitus

Crepitus or crepitation is a scientific term that describes joint movements sounds. Sounds can include:

  • Popping
  • Cracking
  • Snapping
  • Grinding

However, crepitus can happen in any moveable joints in the body. An example could be a neck cracking or popping sound when looking over the shoulder.

Why the Neck So Susceptible

The cervical spine consists of seven segments, and each segment has multiple joints that interact with the segments above and below it. The cervical spine is a flexible system that protects the neurologic structures while maintaining head and neck stability. This flexibility and the multiple joints at each level can wear down, leading to arthritis and neck crepitus.

Other Symptoms

Neck crepitus can present without other symptoms. But it can also be associated with other severe symptoms that include:

  • Neck pain
  • Instability
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Diminished manual dexterity
  • Difficulty walking

Risk Increases With Age

Neck crepitus can present at any age; however, the risk increases as the body ages. Some individuals may have neck crepitus symptoms more often. For example, the neck cracking or popping sounds could present just a few times a month. However, other individuals could have cracking, popping sounds daily or even throughout the day. Neck crepitus can increase or decrease in frequency. Symptoms could present for several days before the sensations stop entirely.

Possible Causes

Neck crepitus can have various causes, and multiple factors can also overlap to generate these sensations.

Articular Pressure Changes

Natural lubricating lining and fluid are found within the body’s joints. Small gas bubbles can form within the synovial joints, including the facet joints. When the bubbles collapse, they are released, creating cracking noises in the joints. The sounds can happen with regular everyday movements. This also occurs when a chiropractor or physical therapist performs spinal manipulations.

Tendon or Ligament Movement

Tendons are the tissue that connects the muscles to the bones, and Ligaments connect the bones. A tendon in motion can also make noises when sliding around a bone or over another tendon or ligament. The cracking can be caused by tight tissues and muscles from aging or muscles that have become weak/deconditioned.

Bones Grinding

Osteoarthritis, known as spondylosis in the spine, can cause the facet joints that connect the vertebrae to degenerate. The protective cartilage wears down, and the vertebral bones start to rub against each other. This can produce a grinding noise. However, the grinding can result from disc degeneration, which reduces the cushioning between the vertebrae.

When to Consult A Physician

If neck crepitus presents without other symptoms, it’s usually not serious. When neck crepitus presents with other symptoms, it is recommended to contact a doctor. These symptoms include:

If pain spreads out and runs down the arm or there is difficulty completing fine motor tasks like writing your name or getting dressed, consult a doctor. These symptoms can be caused by spinal cord or nerve root compression. Sometimes, neck crepitus can show up after a different health issue. For example, if an individual notices neck sounds weeks after cervical spine surgery, the spine surgeon can determine if the two are connected. A recent fall or car accident could also cause symptoms to present. If the crepitus presents almost every time with joint movement, there could be compromised joint function.

Treatment and Prevention

There are various treatment options for neck crepitus. It is recommended to start with conservative treatment like physical therapy and chiropractic pain management. Imaging scans are necessary to see if there are signs of compression on the spinal cord or nerves. Treatment objectives are to remove the pressure from the neural structures and restore the spine’s stability. Cervical traction is another form of treatment. Consult a physician, spine specialist, or chiropractor to properly diagnose the issues, figure out what is going on, and develop a personalized treatment plan if necessary.


Body Composition


Sugar Replacements

Sugar substitutes can help with weight control and diabetes by allowing individuals to eat sweets without raising blood sugar levels. Sugar replacements are additives that add sweetness to food without the calories of sugar. Some sugar substitutes are synthetically made, while others are natural. Sugar replacements include:

Sucralose

  • This artificial sweetener comes from sucrose and contains no calories. It is highly sweeter than sugar and can be found in grocery stores.

Fructose

  • This sweetener comes in crystalline form or high-fructose corn syrup, which is often used for baking. Fructose is sweeter than sugar and has been linked to early diabetes.

Stevia

  • This sweetener is extracted from the stevia rebaudiana plant species. It is calorie-free and can help manage and improve cholesterol levels.

Aspartame

  •  Only a tiny amount is necessary, as this artificial sweetener is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It contains four calories per gram.
  • Aspartame has been associated with cancer, dementia, and depression. But research has not found a direct correlation, and currently, recommended amounts are safe to consume.
References

Mohamad, I et al. “Swollen neck and crepitus after bouts of cough.” Malaysian family physician: the official journal of the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia vol. 8,3 49-50. 31 Dec. 2013

Nguyen, Andrew B et al. “Crepitus: an uncommon complication of a common procedure.” The Annals of thoracic surgery vol. 91,4 (2011): e63. doi:10.1016/j.athoracsur.2011.01.031

Compartment Syndrome Leg Pain

Compartment Syndrome Leg Pain

Compartment syndrome is a condition that causes pressure within a group of muscles to build up to dangerous levels. This pressure build-up begins to decrease blood flow, not allowing proper circulation, nutrients, and oxygen from getting to the nerves and muscle cells. The syndrome can be acute or chronic, and surgery can be required. Acute compartment syndrome is considered a medical emergency, usually caused by a severe injury and requires immediate treatment; otherwise, it can lead to permanent muscle damage. Chronic compartment syndrome or exertional compartment syndrome is usually not a medical emergency and is often caused by physical exertion.

Compartment Syndrome Leg Pain

Muscle Compartment

A compartment comprises a group of:

The fascia does not stretch or expand because its job is to keep the tissues in place. If compartmental pressure builds up, swelling and bleeding may occur. When the tissues don’t have enough blood to provide the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients, the tissues begin to die, leading to permanent damage. Because the fascia does not stretch if there is swelling or bleeding within a compartment, this increases pressure on the:

  • Capillaries
  • Nerves
  • Muscles in that compartment.
  • Blood circulation does not reach the compartment to supply oxygen and nutrients.
  • Nerve and muscle cells get damaged.
  • Compartment syndrome most often takes place in the lower leg’s anterior/front calf compartment.

However, it can also develop in other areas like the:

  • Legs
  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Buttocks

Acute

The typical symptom is pain, specifically when the muscle in the compartment is stretched.

  • The pain is more intense than the injury itself.
  • Flexing, contracting, or stretching the muscles increases the pain.
  • Tingling or burning sensations may present.
  • Muscle tightness or fullness sensation like bloating.
  • Numbness or paralysis are late symptoms that usually indicate severe to permanent tissue injury.

The acute syndrome develops after a severe injury, like an automobile accident or from a broken bone. Injuries and conditions that can cause acute compartment syndrome include:

  • Fractures
  • Muscle contusion/bruise that goes beyond just a bump. Two examples include a motorcycle falling on the rider’s leg or a football player getting hit in the leg intensely.
  • Crush injuries.
  • Constricting bandages – Casts and bandages that are too tight can cause the blockage of blood. If symptoms develop, remove or loosen any constricting bandages. If it is from a cast, contact the doctor immediately.
  • Anabolic steroids – Taking steroids is a possible factor in compartment syndrome.

Blood circulation restoration after a blockage.

  • When sleeping, a blood vessel can get blocked. Lying for a long time in a position that causes a limb to go to sleep, then shifting, moving, or getting up can contribute to the condition. This type of development can happen in individuals with neurological damage or who do not realize what is occurring. This can happen after intense intoxication with alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Surgical repair of a damaged blood vessel that was blocked can result in compartment swelling.
  • Permanent disability and tissue death can result unless the pressure is relieved.

Chronic Physical Exertion

The pain and swelling from the chronic condition are caused by vigorous physical activity/exercise. It most often occurs in the leg. Individuals that participate in activities with repetitive motions have an increased risk. Physical activities/sports include:

  • Running
  • Biking
  • Swimming

This is usually not dangerous and is often relieved by discontinuing the specific exercise/s or physical activity for a while. Symptoms include:

  • Pain during exercise.
  • Cramping during exercise.
  • Numbness
  • Moving the foot is difficult.
  • Muscle bulge can be seen.

Chiropractic Treatment

Leg pain should not be ignored for long as the problems could escalate into severe/dangerous territory. Chiropractic treatment is highly effective in the detection and treatment of leg pain. Chiropractors are experts in the neuromusculoskeletal system. Their expertise in promoting physical function applies to the whole body’s systems, including the:

  • Muscles
  • Bones
  • Ligaments
  • Nerves
  • Tendons

They are trained to diagnose and treat developing and chronic musculoskeletal problems and know when to seek specialized medical care when necessary.


Body Composition


Can’t Individuals Just Exercise More and Eat Whatever They Want?

No individuals cannot just exercise/move more and eat whatever they want if they are serious about losing excess weight. A healthy diet and exercise are essential parts of the formula for effective weight loss. One study shows that being aware of diet in quality and quantity overtakes just exercising when achieving and maintaining healthy body composition changes as a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Evaluating the effects of diet, exercise, or a combination of both revealed that long-term success was most significant in the mix of diet and exercise. Individuals can exercise vigorously, but losing weight can be very difficult if they have unhealthy eating habits or cannot stick to a healthy diet. The individual can develop other health problems from an unhealthy diet.

References

Braver, Richard T. “Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome.” Clinics in podiatric medicine and surgery vol. 33,2 (2016): 219-33. doi:10.1016/j.cpm.2015.12.002

Joubert, Sonia V, and Manuel A Duarte. “Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome in a Healthy Young Man.” Journal of chiropractic medicine vol. 15,2 (2016): 139-44. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2016.04.007

Schmidt, Andrew H. “Acute compartment syndrome.” Injury vol. 48 Suppl 1 (2017): S22-S25. doi:10.1016/j.injury.2017.04.024

Vajapey, Sravya, and Timothy L Miller. “Evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic exertional compartment syndrome: a review of current literature.” The Physician and sportsmedicine vol. 45,4 (2017): 391-398. doi:10.1080/00913847.2017.1384289

Types of Vehicle Accidents and Crashes

Types of Vehicle Accidents and Crashes

Common Types of vehicle/automobile crashes and accidents. Most accidents and crashes are caused by driving errors, recklessness, distraction, or disregard of traffic laws. Some accidents are caused by safety system failure or defective parts on the vehicle. Individuals can suffer severe and/or permanent injuries, even death.

Types of Vehicle Accidents and Crashes

Types of Accident/Crashes

Single Vehicle Accident

This type of road, highway traffic accident where only one vehicle is involved. Most of these types of crashes are:

  • Run-off-road collisions
  • Collisions with fallen debris
  • Rollovers
  • Collisions with animals

Side Impact/T-bone Collision

These accidents, also known as broadside or T-bone collisions, impact the side of one or more vehicles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these crashes and accidents often happen at:

  • Busy intersections
  • Parking lots
  • When a vehicle runs a red light, and a driver that has the green light gets slammed.
  • These types of collisions account for a quarter of passenger vehicle occupant deaths.
  • Injuries from a side-impact collision can be severe but vary depending on where the vehicle was struck.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions account for around a fourth of all collisions. These accidents and crashes happen because of:

  • Driver inattention
  • Distraction – Driver distraction has become a common factor in many rear-end crashes.
  • Tailgating – When a driver tailgates, they reduce the reaction time to come to a safe stop.
  • Panic stops
  • Reduced wheel traction because of damaged roads/highways or dangerous road conditions caused by weather.

Head-on Collision

Head-on collisions are often fatal road and highway accidents and crashes. This can be caused by drivers not seeing or paying attention to:

  • Wrong-way signs
  • New construction
  • Construction detour directions
  • Street conditions
  • Staying in the proper lane
  • Impaired driving and going the wrong way have become common factors in head-on collisions.

Vehicle Rollover

These types of accidents and crashes can be complex and violent. Rollovers happen from:

  • Drivers speeding, making sharp turns, cutting across lanes to exit
  • Road conditions
  • Construction
  • Vehicle dysfunctions like an accelerator that gets stuck, loss of brakes,
  • Weather and environmental factors
  • Impaired driving
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, research shows that around 85% of rollover-related fatalities result from a single-vehicle accident or crash.

When involved in a car crash or accident, the force of the collision can shift the spine and body’s joints out of alignment causing all types of injuries. Adjustments and realignment can help alleviate the pain and help heal the injury/s. Chiropractic treatment following a crash or accident is an important step that can benefit the body’s health.


Body Composition


Benefits of Dairy Intake

Packed Nutrient Profile

Dairy foods have an impressive nutrition label, and dairy is considered a healthy source of many essential nutrients.

  • A cup of cow’s milk provides close to 8 grams of protein. This exceeds the protein content of most non-dairy milk alternatives.
  • There are also essential micronutrients.
  • Increasing dairy consumption can significantly improve under-consumed nutrients like:
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D

Bone Health

A glass of milk has seven of the eight nutrients considered essential for bone maintenance. This includes:

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin K
  • Studies have found that milk and dairy intake increases bone formation and bone mineral content during childhood and adolescence.
  • This means that the bones are stronger and are at less risk of fractures.
References

Christ, Daniel. “Simulating the relative influence of tire, vehicle and driver factors on forward collision accident rates.” Journal of safety research vol. 73 (2020): 253-262. doi:10.1016/j.jsr.2020.03.009

Texas DOT: 2017 Crash Statistics

Texas DOT: Total and DUI Fatal and Injury Crashes Comparison

Thorning, Tanja Kongerslev et al. “Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence.” Food & nutrition research vol. 60 32527. 22 Nov. 2016, doi:10.3402/fnr.v60.32527

Maintaining Joint Health With Chiropractic

Maintaining Joint Health With Chiropractic

Optimal joint health is vital to keeping the body moving. They allow us to function throughout the day and perform various tasks. When healthy joints become injured or damaged, the body loses mobility. Joint issues/pain primarily present in the shoulders, wrists, hands, knees, ankles, and spine. Healthy joints are necessary for the full range of motion and comfortable movement. To keep joints healthy and fully functioning, chiropractic treatment is recommended to alleviate joint pain and improve joint health.

Maintaining Joint Health With Chiropractic

Joint Health

  • Joints are designed to provide a full range of motion for the body parts they affect.
  • Joints are made to be able to endure weight and forces applied to them.
  • Every joint consists of two surfaces that make contact.

Types of joints include:

  • Ball-and-socket in the hip
  • Hinge joints in the knees and elbows.
  • Gliding joints in the spine.

The bones that make up the joint allow for movement, but the actual muscles pull the bones that generate movement.

  • The muscles are attached to bones by tendons.
  • Tendons are strong enough to facilitate movement and flexible to prevent damage to the muscle tissues.
  • Ligaments connect the bones and help to prevent uncontrolled movement.
  • The muscles, tendons, and ligaments are attached around each joint at specific positions and shaped to exact dimensions.
  • Synovial fluid lines the joints and lubricates the surfaces to reduce friction.

Injury and Conditions

Most injuries to joints occur from added and abnormal stresses placed on a joint.

  • A joint can become injured from a basic trauma accident. An ankle sprain, for example.
  • The ankle joint is protected by ligaments on the inside and outside.
  • When the ankle moves too far inward, the ligaments on the outside can tear.
  • The ankle swells, leading to pain.
  • In some instances, small pieces of bone and cartilage can also tear away.

Other injuries

  • Overuse/Repetitive stress injuries, also known as cumulative trauma disorders, can cause joint pain symptoms.
  • These injuries happen when stress is repeatedly placed on the joints.
  • The stress can come from:
  • Poor posture
  • Awkward/unusual positioning while working.
  • Little to no workstation ergonomics.

Arthritis

The most common cause of joint pain is arthritis.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the joints causing swollen and stiff joints, limiting mobility.
  • Osteoarthritis can also cause joint pain. This is when the joint cartilage breaks down from regular wear and tear.
  • The aging body becomes stiff, swollen and decreases the range of motion.

Other conditions

  • Pregnancy can place an incredible amount of pressure on the spine, knees, and hips as the body tries to balance itself with the added weight, causing joint pain.
  • Obesity can also lead to joint pain from the added weight and pressure.
  • Health conditions that cause inflammation can lead to joint pain, including Lyme disease and Lupus.
  • The jawbone is also a joint; Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction causes jaw pain, difficulty chewing and clicking, or locking.

Chiropractic can restore joint health.

Chiropractic can keep the joints in optimal health and functioning to the fullest. The objective is to activate the body’s natural ability to heal itself by improving the function of the central nervous system. Our team is dedicated to utilizing science-based chiropractic approaches to reduce pain and reverse painful conditions. It is also a natural method for relieving arthritis pain, slowing down the degenerative process, and helping to relubricate the joints. Contact us today to learn more about chiropractic and joint health.


Body Composition


Mediterranean Diet Can Be a Great Starting Point

There’s no perfect diet. Although human bodies are basically the same, individuals respond differently to certain diets. Diets can only go so far. The individual still has to put in the work of following the diet, exercising, developing new healthy habits, and maintaining them. The Mediterranean diet was reviewed by a panel of nationally recognized experts in:

  • Nutrition
  • Food psychology
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease

They reviewed the diet profile to analyze certain categories. They included:

  • Ease of taking on the diet.
  • Weight loss effectiveness. This includes short-term and long-term.
  • Nutritional completeness based on Dietary Guidelines.
  • The diet’s potential for preventing and managing diabetes.
  • The diet’s potential for preventing and managing cardiovascular disease.

The findings found the Mediterranean diet to be one of the best because of the many health benefits that come from the dietary changes.

References

Clark, Kristine L. “Nutritional considerations in joint health.” Clinics in sports medicine vol. 26,1 (2007): 101-18. doi:10.1016/j.csm.2006.11.006

Hui, Alexander Y, et al. “A systems biology approach to synovial joint lubrication in health, injury, and disease.” Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Systems biology and medicine vol. 4,1 (2012): 15-37. doi:10.1002/wsbm.157

Keep Moving: Preventing Joint Injuries. American Chiropractic Association. https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Joint-Health.

What to Know About Joint Pain. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/joint-pain#symptoms

Fibromyalgia Altered Pain Perception Processing

Fibromyalgia Altered Pain Perception Processing

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain throughout the whole body. It causes sleep problems, fatigue, and mental/emotional distress. It affects around four million adults in the United States. Individuals with Fibromyalgia tend to be more sensitive to pain. This is referred to as abnormal/altered pain perception processing. Research currently leans towards a hyperactive nervous system as one of the most plausible causes.

Fibromyalgia Altered Pain Perception Processing

Symptoms and Related Conditions

Individuals with fibromyalgia/fibromyalgia syndrome/FMS may have:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep issues
  • Headaches
  • Concentration, Memory issues, or Fibro Fog
  • Stiffness
  • Tender points
  • Pain
  • Numbness and tingling in hands, arms, legs, and feet
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Urinating issues
  • Abnormal menstrual cramps

Altered Central Pain Processing

Central sensitization means that the central nervous system, made up of the brain and spinal cord, processes pain differently and more sensitively. For example, individuals with Fibromyalgia could interpret physiological stimuli, like heat, coldness, pressure, as pain sensations. Mechanisms that cause altered pain processing include:

  • Pain signal dysfunction
  • Modified opioid receptors
  • Substance P increase
  • Increased activity in the brain where pain signals are interpreted.

Pain Signal Dysfunction

When a painful stimulus is felt, the brain signals the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers that block the transmission of pain signals. Individuals with Fibromyalgia could have a pain-blocking system that is altered and/or not functioning correctly. There is also the inability to block repetitive stimuli. This means that the individual keeps feeling and experiencing the stimuli even as they try to block them out, suggesting a failure in the brain to filter out irrelevant sensory information.

Modified Opioid Receptors

Research has found that individuals with fibromyalgia have a reduced number of opioid receptors in the brain. Opioid receptors are where endorphins bind so the body can use them when necessary. With fewer available receptors, the brain is less sensitive to endorphins, as well as opioid pain medication like:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Acetaminophen
  • Oxycodone
  • Acetaminophen

Substance P Increase

Individuals with fibromyalgia have been found to have elevated levels of substance P in their cerebrospinal fluid. This chemical is released when a painful stimulus is detected by the nerve cells. Substance P is involved with the body’s pain threshold, or the point when a sensation turns into pain. High levels of substance P could explain why the pain threshold is low in individuals with fibromyalgia.

Increased Activity in the Brain

Brain imaging tests, like magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, have shown that fibromyalgia is associated with greater than regular activity in areas of the brain that interpret pain signals. This can suggest that pain signals are overwhelming those areas or that the pain signals are being processed dysfunctionally.

Triggers

Certain factors can trigger a flare-up. These include:

  • Diet
  • Hormones
  • Physical stress
  • Too much exercise
  • Not enough exercise
  • Psychological stress
  • Stressful events
  • Sleep Patterns changed
  • Treatment changes
  • Temperature changes
  • Weather changes
  • Surgery

Chiropractic

Chiropractic focuses on whole-body wellness. 90% of the central nervous system goes through the spinal cord. A misaligned vertebral bone can create interference and irritation on the nerves. Fibromyalgia is a condition related to the hyperactivity of the nerves; therefore, any vertebral subluxations will complicate and aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms. By realigning the misaligned vertebrae releases the stress off of the spinal cord and spinal nerve root. That is why individuals with fibromyalgia are recommended to add a chiropractor to their healthcare team.


Body Composition


Dietary Supplement Quality Guide

References

Clauw, Daniel J et al. “The science of fibromyalgia.” Mayo Clinic proceedings vol. 86,9 (2011): 907-11. doi:10.4065/mcp.2011.0206

Cohen H. Controversies and challenges in fibromyalgia: a review and a proposal. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2017 May;9(5):115-27.

Garland, Eric L. “Pain processing in the human nervous system: a selective review of nociceptive and biobehavioral pathways.” Primary care vol. 39,3 (2012): 561-71. doi:10.1016/j.pop.2012.06.013

Goldenberg DL. (2017). Pathogenesis of fibromyalgia. Schur PH, (Ed). UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc.

Kamping S, Bomba IC, Kanske P, Diesch E, Flor H. Deficient modulation of pain by a positive emotional context in fibromyalgia patients. Pain. 2013 Sep;154(9):1846-55.

Walking With Correct Posture

Walking With Correct Posture

Most individuals don’t think about how they walk or whether they are walking with the correct posture. Knowing how to walk with the proper technique and posture can help:

  • Ensure the bones and joints maintain proper alignment.
  • Decrease abnormal wear and tear on the joints, muscles, and ligaments from awkward positions.
  • Prevent neck, back, hip, and leg pain.
  • Reduce muscle aches and fatigue.
  • Reduce injury risk.
  • Improve balance, stability, and mobility.

Walking with the correct technique and posture is not complicated but requires individuals to stay aware of standing and moving.

Walking With Correct Posture

Correct Posture

Walking is a physical activity that involves the whole body. It helps to focus on each part of the body to understand how to walk correctly fully.

Head-Up

  • Focus on standing straight with the chin parallel to the ground and ears aligned above the shoulders.
  • Imagine the head being pulled gently upwards by an invisible string attached to the sky/ceiling.
  • This can help prevent dropping the head into the chest while walking.
  • Maintain eyes forward and gaze.
  • Focus on an area about 10 to 20 feet ahead when walking.

Straighten and Extend the Spine

  • Focus on extending the spine while walking.
  • Avoid slouching, hunching, or leaning forward. This stresses the back muscles.

Relaxed Shoulders Down and Back

The shoulders have a role with posture and technique. Shoulders that are tense or hunched forward can strain the muscles and joints in the shoulders, upper back, and neck. When walking, perform the following:

  • Raise the shoulders as high as they will go in a shrugging motion, then let them fall and relax.
  • Shoulder shrugs will help relieve tightness or tension.
  • This places the shoulders in a natural position that allows for easy arm movement.
  • Keep the shoulders loose and relaxed.
  • Shoulder shrugs while walking can help ensure that the shoulders are relaxed and in the correct position.

Swing the Arms

Walking correctly can be helped by gently swinging the arms back and forth at the sides.

  • Make sure to swing the arms from the shoulders, not from the elbows.
  • Do not swing the arms across the body.
  • Do not swing the arms up too high.
  • Keep them around the midsection, not around the chest.

Engage the Body’s Core

The core muscles have an essential role and help the body move with ease.

Step Heel to Toe

Step in a steady heel-to-toe gait.

  • The foot should hit the ground with the heel first.
  • Then roll through the heel to the toes.
  • Push out of step with the toes.
  • Avoid flat-footed steps and/or landing with the toes first.

Injury Prevention

To prevent injury or overuse wear and tear on the muscles and joints, it is recommended to avoid the following:

Looking down too frequently

  • Looking down at the ground or phone too much places unnecessary strain on the neck.

Do not take long strides

  • The power comes from pushing off of the rear leg.
  • Overstriding places stress on the lower leg joints.

Rolling or swinging the hips

  • The hips should stay as level as possible.

Slouching

  • This will help avoid back and shoulder strain.

Wearing the wrong shoes

  • Wear the right shoes when walking for more than a few minutes.
  • Shoes should fit comfortably.
  • Provide arch and heel support.
  • Well-cushioned to absorb the shock of the feet hitting the ground.

Benefits of Correct Posture

The physical and mental benefits of proper posture and optimal walking technique include:

Alleviation of muscle and joint pain

  • Walking properly will avoid placing unnecessary stress and strain on the muscles, ligaments, and joints.

Increased energy

  • Walking with incorrect/awkward posture can wear out the muscles faster, whereas walking with proper form helps conserve energy.

Improved breathing

  • Walking with the shoulders back allows the lungs to fill and expand fully. This makes breathing more manageable and efficient.

Improved circulation

  • When the body is properly aligned and moving correctly, it’s easier for the blood to circulate throughout the body.

Digestion improvement

  • When the internal organs are not compressed from awkward postures, the body digests food more efficiently and increases blood flow to the digestive tract.

Enhanced core strength

  • The abdominal muscles gain strength and power from walking correctly.

Reduced headaches

  • Keeping the head straight, not bending forward, can help reduce neck strain, leading to reduced headaches.

Improved balance

  • Correct posture improves balance and less prone to falling.

Correct gait and posture are not complicated but do take some practice to develop healthy habits. For any issues with gait or back problems, talk to a doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor about technique improvement.


Body Composition


Ten-Thousand Steps Speed and Distance

Before deciding to put in the walking distance and time, speed also needs to be considered. Calories burned from walking depend on the intensity, or speed, of the walk. The average walking speed is about 3 miles per hour and the number of calories burned depends on walking speed.

  • A leisure 30-minute walk at two mph yields a burn of 102 calories
  • Moderate intensity of 3.5 mph in the same 30-minute walk increases to burn 157 calories.
  • The faster the pace, the greater the heart rate.
  • The more calories are burned covering the same distance.
  • However, reaching 10,000 steps can almost entirely be irrelevant if not careful with a stable caloric intake.
References

Buldt, Andrew K et al. “The relationship between foot posture and lower limb kinematics during walking: A systematic review.” Gait & posture vol. 38,3 (2013): 363-72. doi:10.1016/j.gaitpost.2013.01.010

Common posture mistakes and fixes. (2019). nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/common-posture-mistakes-and-fixes/

The cost of being on your toes. (2010). Archive.unews.utah.edu/news_releases/the-cost-of-being-on-your-toes/

Hackford, Jessie et al. “The effects of walking posture on affective and physiological states during stress.” Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry vol. 62 (2019): 80-87. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2018.09.004

Perfecting your walking technique. (n.d.). health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/perfecting-your-walking-technique

Proper walking technique. (n.d.). mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/multimedia/proper-walking-technique/img-20007670

Healthy Dark Chocolate Benefits

Healthy Dark Chocolate Benefits

Chocolate is comfort food. When stressed out, frustrated it makes you feel better, and when things are great, it can make them even better. However, there is a difference between the chocolate bar candies on the store shelves and healthy chocolate. Unhealthy chocolate is full of sugar and fat that can cause health problems like acne, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Healthy dark chocolate can be eaten regularly in moderation to gain a variety of health benefits what to know as far as what type of chocolate should be eaten and how much.

Healthy Dark Chocolate Benefits

Healthy Dark Chocolate

All the chocolate snacks, bars, minis, etc., contain added sugar, honey, and butter. These are not healthy for the body. Healthy dark chocolate contains at least 70% cocoa.

Dark Chocolate Nutrition

A 3.5 ounce – 100 grams dark chocolate bar contains:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 98% of recommended daily intake of manganese
  • 89% of recommended daily intake of copper
  • 67% of recommended daily intake of iron
  • 58% of recommended daily intake of magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Potassium
  • However, one bar contains 600 calories, which is why it needs to be consumed in moderation.

Cardiovascular System Benefits

Studies have shown that dark chocolate can restore elasticity and flexibility to the blood vessels and arteries. It was found to help prevent white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessel walls, a common cause of clogged arteries.

Lowers Cholesterol & Reduces Risk of Heart Disease

Dark chocolate has compounds that prevent the oxidation of LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Less cholesterol means a lower risk of heart disease. Researchers found that dark chocolate reduced the risk of heart disease by 50% throughout a 15-year study.

Healthy for Expecting Mothers and Baby

Women that are pregnant and craving sweets can have dark chocolate. Eating dark chocolate can help improve blood flow to the arteries in the uterus. The improved blood flow helps the placenta develop and function normally, leading to a healthy pregnancy and delivery. It is recommended that pregnant women should only consume healthy dark chocolate during the first two trimesters and not in the third trimester. Speak to an obstetrician before making any diet changes.

Can Help Prevent Diabetes

When consumed in moderation, healthy dark chocolate can delay and even prevent the development of diabetes. This is achieved by improving insulin sensitivity. A study found that dark chocolate helped delay diabetes and also helped to lower blood pressure.

Beneficial for the Brain

Dark chocolate has been found to improve blood flow to the brain. This increases overall function. Subjects in a study found that after five days of consuming a small amount of dark chocolate daily, they had significantly increased the amount of blood in the brain. It was also found to help improve cognitive function in elder individuals. Another study found that 90 elderly patients had enhanced verbal skills and improved overall health.

Moderation Health

To be healthy, it needs to be consumed in moderation. This means about 1 ounce a day. A regular-sized healthy chocolate bar contains approximately 3.5 ounces. Therefore the bar should be split into thirds with one piece a day. Read the label carefully and ensure that that dark chocolate has a 70% or higher cocoa content. There can be several types of cocoa are on the label, including:

  • Cocoa nibs
  • Cocoa butter
  • Cocoa powder
  • All are perfectly healthy additions to a healthy dark chocolate bar.

It is recommended to avoid dark chocolate known as Dutched, or that has been processed with alkali. Treating dark chocolate with alkali reduces the bitter taste but also reduces the healthy antioxidants. Dark chocolate does have some sugar but is far less than the average milk chocolate bar. It is recommended to look for dark chocolate with sugar listed as the last or next to final ingredient on the list. Often the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sugar.


Body Composition


Overeating

ASAPscience simplified the science of hunger and cravings in the above two-minute video. It explains the body’s hunger-regulation system and the why of second helpings how the appetite works. Appetite is different from hunger. Hunger is the need to eat, while appetite is the desire to snack mindlessly even after a meal. Hunger and appetite are influenced by a network of pathways involving the neuroendocrine system. Appetite regulation, fullness/satisfaction, and energy balance include:

  • The gut – the largest endocrine organ in the body
  • Various hormones
  • The brain

High-calorie foods rich in fat and sugar are highly desirable to the body. This comes from the hunter-gatherer ancestors who sought these foods for survival because they were scarce or difficult to come by. The instinct for fatty and sugary foods is still active even though these foods are available all over. The continual intake of high-calorie fat and sugary foods overrides the body’s natural hunger regulation system, leading to chronic overeating. The more an individual eats foods with high levels of fat and sugar, the more likely the body gets addicted to them.

References

Buijsse, Brian et al. “Cocoa intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular mortality: the Zutphen Elderly Study.” Archives of internal medicine vol. 166,4 (2006): 411-7. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.4.411

Desideri, Giovambattista, et al. “Benefits in cognitive function, blood pressure, and insulin resistance through cocoa flavanol consumption in elderly subjects with mild cognitive impairment: the Cocoa, Cognition, and Aging (CoCoA) study.” Hypertension (Dallas, Tex. : 1979) vol. 60,3 (2012): 794-801. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.112.193060

Francis, S T et al. “The effect of flavanol-rich cocoa on the fMRI response to a cognitive task in healthy young people.” Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology vol. 47 Suppl 2 (2006): S215-20. doi:10.1097/00005344-200606001-00018

Kinesiology, Kinesio, KT, Elastic Tape For Back Pain

Kinesiology, Kinesio, KT, Elastic Tape For Back Pain

We see it on all types of athletes nowadays. They are wearing tape that looks like it’s for an injury. It is for injuries, but it can also be used as a preventative measure to avoid injuries. It is known as Kinesiology, Kinesio, KT, and elastic tape. It reduces swelling, increases mobility, and expedites recovery. It can be beneficial with back soreness/pain.

Kinesiology, Kinesio, KT, Elastic Tape For Back Pain

Tape

When it comes to Kinesio tape for back pain, medical professionals reported the tape is most effective when incorporated with other pain treatments. A study found that taping various areas of the body safely relieved knee pain and reduced the need for pharmacological treatment for knee osteoarthritis. It is applied to the body to support a joint, improve circulation, or provide proprioception feedback to the brain. The tape can help increase awareness of a specific painful area, reminding the individual to maintain proper posture and not move in a way that causes pain. Online videos can teach how to tape a particular area of the body. Examples include:

Each joint and muscle requires various tapings or different patterns and directions. Applying the tape to body areas that an individual can reach and access, like the knee and ankle, can be simple. But it can be a challenge to apply it to the shoulder or back. This is when a physical therapist, chiropractor, medical clinician, partner, family member, or friend can help with the application. Kinesiology tape is designed to adhere for an average of three to four days, even when bathing.

Benefits

Kinesio taping for low back pain with help should be done in a shortened muscle position, meaning the person helping should apply the tape while the person experiencing back pain stands up straight. The taping can be two stripes going up and down, or it can be done with strips fanning out towards the buttocks. This gives support to the spine/back muscles and decreases pain.

Recovery and Prevention

Recovery from a spine condition or injury prevention, kinesiology tape can be used without any risk. It can help reduce pain, improve circulation, and provide muscle support. For a minor sprain or strain, the tape could help on its own. But for an individual experiencing severe back pain, it is recommended to seek professional medical care along with a stretching and strengthening regimen. The tape is recommended to be used as part of a complete treatment plan.


Body Composition


Five-Day Training Plan

The idea of training five times a week can be pretty intimidating. This is not about pushing yourself to your breaking point Monday through Friday. The objective of working out this frequently is about exercising normally, not like a professional athlete. That’s why many individuals divide up the areas they work out each day. Particular attention is given to one muscle group or system, letting the others rest and recover. This workout strategy is called a split and is favored by the bodybuilding community. Five-day splits are utilized to target different major muscle group/s every day. A standard training plan includes:

Monday

  • Back
  • Biceps

Tuesday

  • Chest
  • Triceps

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Legs
  • Lower Back

Friday

  • Biceps
  • Triceps

This is just one of the many programs that trainers, athletes, and fitness individuals have developed. Some individuals replace shoulders day with cardio; some do abs every day; it depends on what fitness goal the individual is going for.

References

Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. (April 2016) “Kinesio taping for chronic low back pain: A systematic review” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27634093/

Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease. (August 2019) “The effectiveness of Kinesio Taping® for pain management in knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial” https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1759720X19869135

What are the potential benefits for back pain?: Asian Journal of Sports Medicine. (June 2015) “Low Back Pain in Athletes” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4592766/