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Posture

Back Clinic Posture Team. Posture is the position in which an individual holds their body upright against gravity while standing, sitting, or lying down. A proper posture visually reflects an individual’s health, ensuring the joints and muscles, as well as other structures of the body, are working properly. Throughout a collection of articles, Dr. Alex Jimenez identifies the most common effects of improper posture as he specifies the recommended actions an individual should take to improve their stance as well as enhance their overall health and wellness. Sitting or standing incorrectly can happen unconsciously, but recognizing the issue and correcting it can ultimately help many individuals develop healthier lifestyles. For more information, please feel free to contact us at (915) 850-0900 or text to call Dr. Jimenez personally at (915) 850-0900.


Health Consequences From Poor Posture

Health Consequences From Poor Posture

Posture is the positioning of the body. There are two types of posture. Dynamic posture is how individuals position themselves when moving, like walking, running, or bending to lift an object. And static posture is how individuals position themselves when not in motion, like standing, sitting, or sleeping. Minimal stress is applied to the muscles and joints when practicing healthy posture. High-stress work and school combined with unhealthy body positions can cause health consequences to the spine, extremities, and musculoskeletal imbalances.

Health Consequences From Poor Posture

Health Consequences

Poor postures do not always present with spine or extremity pain right away. This is because individuals will feel discomfort and have the strength and mobility to correct unhealthy/awkward positions and minimize stress. However, eventually, the pain will begin to present as the muscles and joints can only take so much that the ability to correct poor positioning does not matter as there is a developing injury taking place, causing inflammation, letting the body know there is something not right. This often leads to chronic stress and the unnecessary wearing down of the joints to compensate for the unhealthy positions.

Early Signs

Early signs of postural problems can include:

  • Inability to sit or stand for a long time.
  • Stiffness when rising from a chair.
  • Feeling of added physical exhaustion.

Leaving the condition untreated often leads to:

  • Muscle imbalances.
  • Loss of normal flexibility.
  • Discomfort and pain present for no apparent reason.

Unhealthy Posture Symptoms

Symptoms can include:

  • Slouching
  • Rounded shoulders.
  • Potbelly.
  • Bent knees when standing or walking.
  • Muscle fatigue.
  • Aches and pains.
  • Back pain.
  • Headache.

Postural Structure

Poor posture interferes and disrupts several of the body’s posture structures. These include:

  • Nervous system feedback.
  • Muscle strength and length.
  • The static slow-twitch muscle fibers help maintain posture without exerting too much energy and contribute to balance by sensing the body’s position.
  • Static muscle fibers burn energy slowly and can work for a long time without tiring.
  • The fast-twitch or phasic muscle fibers are used for movement and activity. These fibers quickly use up their energy.

Because the phasic fibers have to work overtime instead of the static fibers to maintain the body’s position, muscle fatigue, weakness, and pain begin to set in.

Health

Health consequences can include:

  • Misaligned musculoskeletal system.
  • The advanced wearing of the spine making it fragile and prone to injury.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Decreased flexibility.
  • Joint mobility is affected.
  • Balance issues.
  • Increased risk of falling.
  • Difficulty digesting food.
  • Difficulty breathing.

Chiropractic and Physical Therapy

Chiropractors and physical therapists specialize in evaluating and treating musculoskeletal dysfunctions and disorders, identifying and screening for postural dysfunction. Chiropractic adjustments can be highly effective combined with other treatment modalities like massaging the soft tissues to improve circulation, reduce swelling inflammation, and promote healing. Spinal decompression therapy can help stretch and realign the spine to relieve back and/or leg pain. A customized exercise program will stretch and strengthen the body to maintain a healthy posture. Health coaching combined with dietary management can help with pain and inflammation and strengthen muscles and bones.


DRX9000 Spinal Decompression


References

American Chiropractic Association. Maintaining good posture. https://acatoday.org/content/posture-power-how-to-correct-your-body-alignment. Accessed Jan. 28, 2019.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Spine basics. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/spine-basics/. Accessed Jan. 30, 2019.

Bauer BA. Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation. In: Mayo Clinic Guide to Integrative Medicine. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.

Muscolino JE. Posture and the gait cycle. In: Kinesiology: The Skeletal System and Muscle Function. 3rd ed. Elsevier; 2017.

Wang G. Powered traction devices for intervertebral decompression: Health technology assessment update. Washington Department of Labor and Industries, June 14, 2004.

Waters, Thomas R, and Robert B Dick. “Evidence of health risks associated with prolonged standing at work and intervention effectiveness.” Rehabilitation nursing: the official journal of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses vol. 40,3 (2015): 148-65. doi:10.1002/rnj.166

Complications Poor Posture

Complications Poor Posture

As the body gets older, slouching, little to no physical activity, and regular stretching cause muscle fatigue, weakness, tension, leading to poor posture complications. The complications include:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Spinal dysfunction
  • Joint degeneration
  • Sleep problems
  • Chronic pain

Posture can be improved along with overall spinal health and a better quality of life through chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic will improve posture through adjustments, postural exercise training and stretching, education on ergonomics, and nutrition to strengthen the body.

Complications Poor Posture

Complications Poor Posture

Symptoms

Symptoms vary as they depend on the severity of the case and condition.

  • Muscle fatigue/weakness
  • Body aches and soreness
  • Back pain
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Standing and/or walking problems
  • Headaches
  • Potbelly

Mechanisms

Poor posture leads to dysfunction and interference with the body’s postural mechanisms. These include:

Muscle Fibers

Skeletal muscle comprises two types of muscle fiber. They are static or slow-twitch muscles and phasic or fast-twitch muscles. Static muscle fibers are found in the deeper muscle layers. Static fibers burn energy slowly and keep working without tiring. They help the body maintain posture without effort and contribute to balance by sensing the body’s position and transmitting the information to the brain. Phasic muscle fibers are used for movement and activity but can quickly run out of energy. Poor posture causes muscle fatigue because the phasic fibers are used rather than the static fibers to maintain the body’s proper position.

Muscle Strength and Length

Over time, the body constantly needs support from the phasic muscle fibers. This causes the deeper supporting muscles to waste away because they are not being used. Weak, unused muscles begin to tighten, causing a shortening of muscle length that can compact the spine’s bones and cause back complications.

Nervous System Feedback

The deeper layers of muscle sense the body’s position in space and relay this information to the brain. The brain does not receive complete transmission if the phasic muscle fibers take over this function. The brain assumes that the body needs to be propped up/corrected to counteract the poor posture effects, triggering further muscle contraction, adding to the fatigue and pain.

Listening To The Body

The objective is to form a habit of regularly listening to what the body is saying. Make minor adjustments while standing and sitting throughout the day/night. Often what happens is individuals become so immersed in their work, school tasks that they ignore any physical discomfort and push through and forget to change positions/move around to get the muscles moving and the blood pumping. If there is muscle tension or fatigue, don’t just work through the pain; move into another healthy position.

Posture Improvement

Suggestions include:


Body Composition


Strength Training

As the body ages, it loses muscle mass, known as sarcopenia. Between the ages of 30 and 80, both men and women can lose 30-50 percent of their muscle strength. Decreasing strength can make it a challenge to lead an active lifestyle or have energy levels to complete the daily errands. Individuals can be reluctant to improve fitness levels through resistance workouts believing there is nothing left after years of inactivity. This is not true as anybody can strength train. With the right mindset, and health coaching team, goals can be set to:

  • Improve body composition
  • Improve energy levels
  • Maintain an active lifestyle
References

Creze, Maud et al. “Posture-related stiffness mapping of paraspinal muscles.” Journal of anatomy vol. 234,6 (2019): 787-799. doi:10.1111/joa.12978

Deliagina, Tatiana G et al. “Physiological and circuit mechanisms of postural control.” Current opinion in neurobiology vol. 22,4 (2012): 646-52. doi:10.1016/j.conb.2012.03.002

Korakakis, Vasileios et al. “Physiotherapist perceptions of optimal sitting and standing posture.” Musculoskeletal Science & practice vol. 39 (2019): 24-31. doi:10.1016/j.msksp.2018.11.004

Pollock, A S et al. “What is balance?.” Clinical rehabilitation vol. 14,4 (2000): 402-6. doi:10.1191/0269215500cr342oa

Waters, Thomas R, and Robert B Dick. “Evidence of health risks associated with prolonged standing at work and intervention effectiveness.” Rehabilitation nursing: the official journal of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses vol. 40,3 (2015): 148-65. doi:10.1002/rnj.166

Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique

Improving posture can be challenging. Poor posture is often the source of various musculoskeletal issues like chronic pain throughout the body. Poor posture can be so ingrained in the brain that it becomes an unconscious positioning reflex that feels right but could be worsening spinal, hip, and leg problems. The Alexander Technique could be a treatment option that could help long-term.

Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique

The approach focuses on learning mind-body awareness. It is an educational process to teach individuals to become aware of their body positioning and change unhealthy posture/movement habits into healthy ones. The objective is learning to utilize sufficient levels of muscle tension for everyday activities, like sitting, standing up, and walking in a healthy way to maintain optimal health of the musculoskeletal system.

  • The theory is that less tension minimizes wear and tear on the muscles and structures of the spine vulnerable to compression.
  • The fundamental goal of the Alexander Technique is to undo all the unhealthy tension habits to decompress the spine and retrain the mind and body to approach movement and body positioning in a new and healthy way.

Teachings

The technique can be done in a class setting or one-on-one teaching because everyone’s postural and movement habits are unique. A teacher helps identify the tension-inducing postures and educates the individual on how to correct them. Human touch is an integral part of the Alexander Technique. Using their hands gently to adjust the individual to a proper upright position, a teacher helps release pressure from the head, neck, shoulders, and upper back. The individual learns to release the tension throughout their body. The Alexander Technique is a type of hands-on therapy; it is not manipulation or massage. It uses a light touch with no risk of injury to the spine, allowing anyone to participate. However, individuals must be willing to participate/engage in the process to get the benefits. Most individuals can tell if it’s right for them during the first lesson. A typical program teaches:

  • Comfortably sitting up straight.
  • Reducing overuse of superficial musculature.
  • Increasing proprioceptive awareness.
  • Staying alert to the body’s warning of tension and compression.

Tension Build Up

Individuals usually don’t even realize they’re constantly placing pressure on their spine from unhealthy postural habits, building up muscular tension they never knew they created. For example, unhealthy neck position habits include:

  • Pushing the head forward
  • Slumping over
  • Pinning the shoulders back
  • These postures generate/build pressure and tension that radiates outward and down to the large muscles of the spine.
  • Habitual downward pressure can pull and change the spine’s shape, leading to degenerative forms of spinal deformity in severe cases.
  • When the tension is released, the neck and body begin to stand upright comfortably, without pulling down or pulling back.

Frederick Matthias Alexander

Developed the technique in the 1890s to help his muscle tension problems affecting his acting career. When performing, he would stiffen his neck and pull his head back and up, building tension that caused him to tighten his throat and lose his voice. He did not know he was doing this until he performed in front of a mirror and saw his awkward positioning. He realized this and retrained himself to pose naturally, stay relaxed, and be aware of any tension building in the muscles to release it immediately. Alexander Technique educators/practitioners practice all over the world. The American Society for the Alexander Technique or AmSAT website has a Find A Teacher Tool that connects individuals to AmSAT-approved teachers.


Body Composition


Practicing Mindfulness

Developing a mindfulness practice can help identify triggers of negative behavior or thoughts. Just like diet and exercise, practicing mindfulness is unique to everyone. It is recommended to try different things like:

  • Journaling is another way to tune into oneself. Grab a pen and paper, a computer, tablet, or phone, and take a few minutes to write every day.
  • Write one thing that makes you happy.
  • One thing you want to improve.
  • One goal you want to accomplish that day or that week.

Mindful music listening can help reduce stress by allowing the individual to focus their attention when their mind is going in all directions.

  • Instead of turning to the news or email when waking up, grab a cup of coffee or tea and listen to a favorite podcast or music.
  • Put the phone away and listen to your mind and self.

Try to meditate in the morning when waking up. This helps set the day’s goals/plans. Goal-setting mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress levels and anxiety. However, if the morning is not possible then at night before bed can be used to reflect on the day’s activities, what went well, what didn’t, how to improve something, whatever the case, the point is to make time for yourself to reflect, set goals, and develop a plan to achieve those goals.

References

Becker, Jordan J et al. “Preliminary evidence for feasibility, efficacy, and mechanisms of Alexander technique group classes for chronic neck pain.” Complementary therapies in medicine vol. 39 (2018): 80-86. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2018.05.012

Cacciatore et al., Improvement in automatic postural coordination following Alexander technique lessons in a person with low back pain. Physical Therapy Journal, 2005; 85:565-578. Accessed January 5, 2011

Chin, Brian et al. “Psychological mechanisms driving stress resilience in mindfulness training: A randomized controlled trial.” Health psychology: official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association vol. 38,8 (2019): 759-768. doi:10.1037/hea0000763

Little P, Lewith G, Webley F, et al. Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain. The BMJ. 2008;337:a884. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a884.

Paolucci, Teresa et al. “Chronic low back pain and postural rehabilitation exercise: a literature review.” Journal of pain research vol. 12 95-107. December 20 2018, doi:10.2147/JPR.S171729

Spinal Goals

Spinal Goals

Setting spinal goals is important for an individual’s treatment plan to ensure a thorough and successful recovery following:

  • Surgery
  • Trauma
  • Spinal condition

When developing goals with a surgeon or spine specialist, utilizing a well-known method known as SMART is recommended. Individuals are encouraged to set goals to accomplish personal growth and improvement. It is a model for forming goals and objectives that for medical purposes include:

  • Pain management
  • Physical Rehabilitation
  • Mental health
  • Exercises
  • Stretching
  • Anti-inflammatory diet

Spinal Goals

S.M.A.R.T Spinal Goals

The acronym stands for:

Specific

  • Target a specific area for improvement.

Measurable

  • Find ways to track progress.
  • This could be fitness trackers, daily journaling – writing, video, health coach, etc.

Attainable

  • Determine if the goal is achievable.
  • Figure out what tools or skill sets are needed to reach the goal.

Realistic

  • Results-oriented goals.
  • Measure results or output, including accomplishments.

Time Frame

  • Set goals within a doable time frame.

Goal setting helps individuals monitor their progress when recovering from injury, surgery, and/or spinal conditions. Making goals smaller makes it easier to achieve improvements. It’s recommended to have a partner assistant during the goal-setting because the pain can compromise decision-making. Pain affects the mind’s abilities to assess improvement and treatment response rationally. Taking the most important goals and focusing on small building blocks helps individuals maintain motivation during a long recovery process.

Difference Between Goal Setting and Treatment

A standard treatment plan is structured for a specific result and is not set up for adjusting the way goal setting does. A treatment plan is created and prescribed to a patient with little patient input. Goal setting is a collaboration between a patient and a doctor setting objectives as stepping-off points to achieve goals. Goal setting empowers patients with education, skillsets, and tools to succeed and continue that mindset as their lives move on. Achieving short-term goals helps individuals reflect positively on small gains that set a solid foundation for more challenging future goals.

Spinal Treatment Goals

Goals are personalized/custom-tailored to the individual’s case and condition. For example, a patient could set a goal of returning to weekend sports activities. Therefore, achieving the goal could require the individual to engage in exercise five days a week for the next two weeks that could include physical therapy rehabilitation:

These activities are small goals that help the body adapt to handling additional physical stress.

Goal Setting When In Recovery

Spinal issues are dealt with by creating reasonable small objectives to reach a goal. SMART goal setting is an instrumental framework for medical providers to help identify what is important to the patient. Modifications on SMART goals can be done to adjust to the individual’s needs. Spinal goals help patients accomplish what is necessary, keeping them empowered and motivated.


Body Composition


Too Comfortable With Goals

An individual may have a great deal of success doing the same workouts initially but then notice they’re getting easier and are not seeing the same rate of progression. That same workout routine, same weights, and equipment will only go so far in goal achievement. In recovery, as the body gets stronger and fitness levels improve, it is recommended to consistently challenge yourself to avoid falling into a rehabilitation fitness plateau. Part of the recovery process is to change up workouts to challenge the body to achieve optimal health and healing. Individuals are recommended to:

Increase weight and or reps

  • Increase the amount of weight or the number of reps in each set.

Increase or decrease the tempo

  • Shorten the rest period between sets to keep the heart rate high or slow down to focus on muscle contraction.

Experiment with different types of workout sets

  • If you’ve been doing the same kinds of lifts, try drop sets, supersets, or AMRAP (as many reps as possible) to challenge your muscles differently.

Learn new exercises

  • Individuals doing a lot of weightlifting are recommended to engage in plyometric body exercises.
  • Individuals doing high-intensity interval training are recommended to incorporate a long run or bike ride.

Changing the workout routine will keep challenging the body, which is great for health progress.

References

Alexanders, Jenny et al. “Goal setting practices used within anterior cruciate ligament rehabilitation: An exploration of physiotherapists understanding, training, and experiences.” Musculoskeletal care vol. 19,3 (2021): 293-305. doi:10.1002/msc.1535

Bovend’Eerdt, Thamar J H et al. “Writing SMART rehabilitation goals and achieving goal attainment scaling: a practical guide.” Clinical rehabilitation vol. 23,4 (2009): 352-61. doi:10.1177/0269215508101741

Haas, B et al. “Rehabilitation goals of people with spinal cord injuries can be classified against the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health Core Set for spinal cord injuries.” Spinal cord vol. 54,4 (2016): 324-8. doi:10.1038/sc.2015.155

Gentle Yoga Poses After Spinal Fusion Surgery

Gentle Yoga Poses After Spinal Fusion Surgery

Recovery and rehabilitation after spinal fusion surgery take time. Gentle yoga poses can help expedite recovery from spinal fusion surgery and are recommended in a rehabilitation program. The spine is the body’s central support structure that allows the body to stand upright, bend, and stay balanced. However, an individual may need to have vertebrae fused to repair painful back problems. Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that permanently connects/fuses two or more vertebrae into a single bone. The procedure is done to help:

  • Correct a deformity
  • Improve stability
  • Reduce pain

At the beginning of the recovery process, the doctor may recommend light physical activity like walking. As the spine continues to heal, moderate exercise is essential for optimal recovery. Doctors are recommending gentle yoga to increase mobility, flexibility and regain strength.

Gentle Yoga Poses After Spinal Fusion Surgery

Gentle Yoga and Spine Surgery Recovery

Yoga has become a way to stretch the body, exercise, promote physical and mental well-being. There are different styles of yoga, ranging from gentle stretching to advanced poses. Yoga focuses on stretching, coordination, and balance. When stretching the body, the range of motion is improved. Yoga also helps improve balance and increases strength to reduce the risk of falls and injuries. Gentle yoga after spinal fusion benefits include:

  • Pain relief
  • Stress reduction
  • Improved mental health
  • Increased flexibility and strength
  • Improved balance
  • Increase in energy levels

Gentle yoga after surgery focuses on an improved range of motion/coordination of the arms and legs with the torso. This allows the spine to safely flex, not become stiff, and avoid strain, leading to fuller activity.

When To Begin Yoga After Spinal Fusion?

A reduced range of motion and loss of muscle mass is expected in the weeks and months following surgery. The healthcare/rehabilitation team will address this through exercise and physical therapy once the doctor clears the individual to begin rehabilitation training. The doctor will use some form of diagnostic imaging to determine if the vertebrae have fully fused before giving the ok for exercise. Most individuals can begin light physical activity four to six weeks after the procedure. If the fusion surgery was fused in only one place, individuals could start gentle yoga poses within two to three months. For a multi-level fusion surgery, individuals may need to wait four to six months after the procedure before they can safely begin.

Yoga Recovery Program

It’s essential to take it slow and steady when first beginning yoga after spinal fusion. As the body continues to heal, gradually add more challenging poses and stretches to the routine. This is a graduated recovery program separated into stages to help the individual build back strength and flexibility. In the first stages of recovery, gentle poses that have minimal effects on the spine are recommended. These include:

A few weeks to a month later, with the doctor’s clearance, the individual can advance to poses that stretch/flex the spine a little more, including:

Eventually, individuals can slowly increase the challenge further, with poses like:

Garudasana – Eagle pose
Gomukhasana – Cow Face pose
Vasisthasana – Side plank pose

It’s crucial to listen to the body as a guide when moving through the poses, no matter what stage of recovery. The fusion needs time to heal and stabilize, so any poses that involve twisting movements and flexing should be avoided. Seek advice if there is confusion about how or whether or not to proceed. It is recommended to work with an experienced yoga teacher after spinal fusion. A knowledgeable instructor can guide with the poses, inform which poses to avoid and make modifications to get the most out of the gentle poses.


Body Composition


How Heat Affects Basal Metabolic Rate

Gender, height, and age influence Basal Metabolic Rate. These are factors individuals cannot control or change. However, individuals can increase the calories the body burns by regulating body temperature. Both the internal and external temperatures influence metabolic rate. The chemical reactions that contribute to metabolism happen more quickly if the temperature is higher, as the body works harder to restore normal temperature balance. For example, when a fever is present, the Basal Metabolic Rate will jump up to a much higher rate than usual to increase the speed of cellular metabolic reactions to combat the fever and get the body back to a healthy state. When it comes to external temperature, it’s only prolonged exposure to heat that raises the Basal Metabolic Rate.

References

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. (June 2018). “Spinal Fusion.” https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/spinal-fusion/

Gillooly, James F, and Andrew P Allen. “Changes in body temperature influence the scaling of VO2max and aerobic scope in mammals.” Biology letters vol. 3,1 (2007): 99-102. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0576

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (February 2020) “Yoga for Health: What the Science Says.” https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/providers/digest/yoga-for-health-science

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (April 2021) “Yoga: What You Need to Know.” https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga-what-you-need-to-know

Everyday Movements

Everyday Movements

Posture is how we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. A healthy posture is the correct alignment of the body supported by the right amount of muscle tension. Our everyday movements and activities affect the body’s alignment. A postural imbalance can impact the body’s health in various ways. It can cause:

  • General soreness
  • Back pain
  • Muscular pain
  • Fatigue
  • Digestive problems
  • Poor self-esteem

Unhealthy posture can increase the risk of spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, stress joints, and muscles, resulting in permanent damage if left untreated. The best way to prevent postural imbalances is to be aware of the causes utilize proper ergonomic and movement strategies that can help avoid these problems. As the everyday bad habits, behaviors, and activities are understood, it is much easier to prevent and correct them.

Everyday Movements

Everyday Posture Is Important

Specific muscles maintain the body’s posture, so we don’t have to think about it and constantly adjust. Muscle groups, including the hamstrings and large back muscles, are essential in maintaining healthy positions. When the muscles function correctly, the postural muscles prevent gravity from pushing the body forward. Postural muscles also maintain balance when moving. A healthy posture reduces strain on the supporting muscles and ligaments during everyday movement and weight-bearing activities. Engaging in healthy posture helps:

  • Keep the bones and joints in correct alignment so that the muscles function correctly.
  • Decrease the abnormal wearing of joints resulting in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
  • Reduce the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, preventing injury.
  • Allow muscles to work more efficiently.
  • The body exert less energy.
  • Prevent muscle fatigue and muscle pain.
  • Prevent muscle strain and overuse disorders.

Unhealthy Posture

Unhealthy posture results when the body sits or stands with the spine in an abnormal position. When an individual practices unhealthy posture over a long period, it progressively leads to muscles and ligaments becoming elongated and weak, while others become short and tight. This creates a physical imbalance that leads to postural abnormalities like:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Forward head posture
  • Thoracic kyphosis or hunched back
  • Lumbar lordosis
  • Swayback
  • Limited mobility
  • Increases the risk of injury

Causes

Habits

  • Individuals can begin to develop unhealthy habits that negatively impact their posture, like walking with their head looking towards the ground. This shifts the body out of alignment.

Sitting For Too Long

  • Spending too much time sitting even with the correct posture will impact the spine and muscles. It weakens the muscles, ligaments, and abdominals.

Weight

  • Carrying extra weight can force the spine into an awkward position. This is true for individuals with pot bellies, as it pulls the lower back forward, increasing the risk of lumbar lordosis.

Unhealthy Diet

  • If the spine does not have access to the vitamins and nutrients it needs, it can struggle to maintain its strength and flexibility. It is also more difficult for the body to repair damage to the spine’s muscles and ligaments.

Clothing and Footwear

  • Clothing and footwear can impact posture.
  • High heels, poor-fitting shoes, saggy jeans, large belts, heavy jackets, and other items can force the spine into an unnatural position.
  • These are fine to wear for short periods but avoid wearing them day in and day out.

Treatment

Chiropractors specialize in issues affecting the spine, especially posture. They can:

  • Perform a postural examination involving a complete assessment of the musculoskeletal system to identify any joint misalignments and issues that affect soft tissue.
  • Perform adjustments of misaligned joints using various techniques.
  • Recommend stretches to loosen/lengthen tight muscles and strengthen weak ones, leading to improvements. A chiropractor will develop an effective stretching regimen to target the correct muscles.
  • Recommend nutritional advice, exercise, and everyday habit adjustments.

Body Composition


Insulin Resistance

Individuals who sit for extended periods, don’t exercise and don’t watch their diet can experience insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when insulin cannot transport excess blood sugar out of the blood and into the muscles. One study found that women who sat for eight hours a day had a higher chance of developing diabetes. Individuals with diabetes tend to have more fat within their bodies, particularly visceral fat, increasing insulin resistance potential. Individuals with diabetes experience a faster loss of muscle mass as they age, further intensifying symptoms and deterioration of body composition.

References

Feldman, Anatol G. “The Relationship Between Postural and Movement Stability.” Advances in experimental medicine and biology vol. 957 (2016): 105-120. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47313-0_6

Jaromi, Melinda et al. “Treatment and ergonomics training of work-related lower back pain and body posture problems for nurses.” Journal of clinical nursing vol. 21,11-12 (2012): 1776-84. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04089.x

Jung, Suk Hwa et al. “Visceral Fat Mass Has Stronger Associations with Diabetes and Prediabetes than Other Anthropometric Obesity Indicators among Korean Adults.” Yonsei medical journal vol. 57,3 (2016): 674-80. doi:10.3349/ymj.2016.57.3.674

Pope, Malcolm H et al. “Spine ergonomics.” Annual review of biomedical engineering vol. 4 (2002): 49-68. doi:10.1146/annurev.bioeng.4.092101.122107

Low Back Support Pillow

Low Back Support Pillow

The low back is made up of five vertebrae, L1 to L5. Pain in the low back is common, specifically because of all the sitting at work, school, and home. Individuals dealing with low back pain know how difficult it can be to sit without discomfort and have found that a low back support pillow can help.

Low Back Support Pillow

Low Back Support Pillow

A lumbar pillow is a pillow that supports the low back region of the spine. Different types include:

  • Lumbar rolls.
  • Lumbar pillows for sleep or laying down.
  • Vented lumbar pillows that allow airflow.
  • Specially shaped pillows made from materials like memory foam.
  • Lumbar pillows can be used on any chair at the office or home.
  • They are also helpful for travel with small-sized versions that can be packed and easy to carry.

How Lumbar Pillows Help

According to the CDC, the average adult spends around 6.5 and 8 hours a day sitting. Constant sitting hurts the body, specifically the spine and the back muscles, and is a significant cause of muscle stress. Properly supporting the low back helps remove the stress and strain. A low back support pillow can help correct sitting posture.

Pillow Options

There are plenty of options for low-back support pillow shapes, sizes, fillings, and materials. These include:

  • Memory foam.
  • Gel options.
  • Down and down-alternative.
  • No-fill lumbar support pillows offer airflow.
  • Some look like a half-cylinder in shape, rectangular, and curved.

Personal preference and comfort are different for everybody, and it could take some trial and error to find the right lumbar pillow. Some pillows are customizable, allowing the ability to add or remove filling as needed. Talking with a spine specialist, orthopedist or chiropractor can help in figuring out what type is best. Pillows come in various price ranges, with some at $10-15, while others can cost $100 or more. However, any pillow that provides enough support for the low spine’s natural curvature can work. It is important to be comfortable and supported to prevent pain and injury no matter where you sit.


Body Composition


Fermentable and Nonfermentable Fiber

The entire body can host trillions of beneficial bacteria. The majority live in the intestines and are referred to as the gut microbiome. Also known as the forgotten organ, these bacteria have a say in the body’s composition and overall health. The beneficial bacteria thrive on fermentable fiber, and fermentation in the gut produces short-chain fatty acids like:

  • Acetate.
  • Propionate.
  • Butyrate.
  • These help suppress gut inflammation and can reduce the risk of various digestive disorders like:
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Ulcerative colitis.

Foods that are rich in fermentable fibers include:

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Cereal fibers that are rich in cellulose, like wheat bran, are nonfermentable.
References

“What is Memory Foam?” Sleep Foundation, Seattle, WA. August 2020. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/mattress-information/what-is-memory-foam

“Association Between Sitting Time and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors After Adjustment for Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, 2010–2013.” Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA. December 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2016/16_0263.htm

“Ergonomics for Prolonged Sitting.” The University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA. https://www.uclahealth.org/spinecenter/ergonomics-prolonged-sitting

“Workplace sitting is associated with self-reported general health and back/neck pain: a cross-sectional analysis in 44,978 employees.” BMC Public Health, London, UK. May 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33957889/

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

Posture Exercises To Do At Work

Posture Exercises To Do At Work

Posture exercises: It is easy to get into the bad habit of poor/improper posture, especially at work where an individual gets into a groove and continues without thinking about their posture. Not until discomfort and pain begin to present do individuals start thinking about what is causing the issues. This usually includes:

  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Tight/Compressed spine

They don’t realize that all these issues are brought on by prolonged sitting and practicing improper posture.  Individuals that practice proper posture:

  • Sleep better
  • Move better
  • Have reduced to no aches and pains
  • Digestion improves
  • Organ function improves
  • Have better overall health

Being aware of proper posture is the first step in being able to maintain it. When you feel the spine starting to curve, shoulders hunching, or the back sway, stop and take a moment to reposition the body back into proper alignment.

Posture Exercises To Do At Work

Seated Posture

Proper posture means sitting, standing, or walking in a position with little to no strain on the body’s muscles and ligaments. Good seated position means:

  • Sitting with the back straight and shoulders back.
  • Having all of the natural curves of the spine in alignment.
  • Keeping the knees bent at a right angle with the feet flat on the floor.
  • The weight is distributed evenly to both hips.
  • Keep the arms at 90 degrees to the torso, using the armrests or on a desk.
  • When looking at a computer monitor, keep it at a position where you are looking straightforward.
  • Use a chair with lower back support.
  • Even when sitting with good posture, it’s important to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.
  • Regularly stand up, walk around, and stretch out.

Posture Exercises

Posture exercises will help to strengthen the back, neck, and shoulders. They also help as a reminder for maintaining good posture throughout the day.

Shoulder Lift and Release

When sitting down for long periods, individuals tend to develop hunched shoulders. It is caused by an imbalance of muscles in the neck and upper back. Specific muscles in the neck, specifically the pectoralis major and minor, become shortened and tight. The other muscles in the upper back, the trapezius,latissimus dorsi, and rhomboids, weaken and stretch out. These muscles can be stimulated by stretching throughout the day.

  • Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and spine straight.
  • Pull the shoulders up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold them there for three to five seconds.
  • Let the shoulders drop.
  • It is recommended to repeat 5 to 6 times every hour.

Shoulder rolls

Another exercise for avoiding rounded/hunched shoulders.

  • Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and spine straight.
  • Take a breath in.
  • Lift the shoulders towards the ears.
  • Move the shoulders back.
  • Squeeze the shoulder blades together.
  • On the exhale, finish the rotation by dropping the shoulders back to a neutral position.
  • Repeat 5 to 6 times every hour.
  • The exercise can be done in the opposite direction.

Neck rolls

Forward head posture, aka text neck, can develop. Neck rolls are recommended throughout the day.

  • Lean your head towards the right shoulder.
  • Relax the neck and let your head roll towards your chest.
  • Continue rolling your head towards the left and up and around back to the starting position.
  • Perform at least 3-4 neck rolls every few hours.
  • Repeat the exercise and change direction.

Trapezius stretch

The trapezius is a major muscle group in the upper-middle section of the back and the neck. The trapezius is responsible for moving the shoulder blades and extending the neck. Stretching these muscles regularly will help maintain good posture.

  • Sit in your chair with the spine straight and feet flat on the ground.
  • Place the right hand over the top of your head.
  • Gently pull your head towards the right shoulder.
  • Perform one to three times for each side.
  • Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds.

Arm rotations

This exercise can help maintain back and shoulder alignment. This can be performed sitting or standing.

  • Stretch out the arms to the sides with palms facing downward.
  • While keeping the spine straight, move the arms in small circles.
  • Perform ten repetitions rotating the arms forward, then backward.
  • Perform 3-4 sets.

Doing these posture exercises at your workstation regularly will help improve and maintain proper posture and minimize the risk of back, neck, and shoulder pain.


Body Composition


Fitness for Long-Term Health

Muscle building isn’t only for bodybuilders and athletes. Everyone can benefit from building their Lean Body Mass for long-term health. It is crucial to monitor Lean Body Mass changes by having body composition measured. Body composition analysis divides the body’s weight into various components.

  • Fat Mass
  • Lean Body Mass
  • Basal Metabolic Rate
  • This will give a clearer picture of overall fitness and health.

Building Lean Body Mass is an investment in the body’s future. The more LBM that is built, the more is in reserve when the body needs it. But before adding protein shakes and resistance workouts to the daily regimen, there needs to be a plan. The first step to building healthy lean body mass is to measure how much there is with a body composition analysis.

References

Biswas A, Oh PI, Faulkner GE, et al. Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:123-132. doi:10.7326/M14-1651. Accessed January 7, 2017.

Ergonomics for Prolonged Sitting. UCLA Spine Center Web site. http://spinecenter.ucla.edu/ergonomics-prolonged-sitting. Accessed January 7, 2017.

Florido R, Michos E. Sitting Disease: Moving Your Way to a Healthier Heart. U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/09/14/sitting-disease-moving-your-way-to-a-healthier-heart. Published September 14, 2015. Accessed January 7, 2017.

Fortner, Miles O et al. “Treating ‘slouchy’ (hyperkyphosis) posture with chiropractic biophysics®: a case report utilizing a multimodal mirror image® rehabilitation program.” Journal of physical therapy science vol. 29,8 (2017): 1475-1480. doi:10.1589/jpts.29.1475

Levine JA. What are the risks of sitting too much? Mayo Clinic Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005. Published September 4, 2015. Accessed January 7, 2017.

O’Connor B. Sitting Disease: The New Health Epidemic. The Chopra Center Web site. http://www.chopra.com/articles/sitting-disease-the-new-health-epidemic. Accessed January 7, 2017.

Wolfe, Robert R. “The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 84,3 (2006): 475-82. doi:10.1093/ajcn/84.3.475

Anterior Pelvic Tilt Downward Posture Hip and Back Pain

Anterior Pelvic Tilt Downward Posture Hip and Back Pain

APT is short for anterior pelvic tilt.  APT is when the pelvis tilts more down than forward, which can cause strain on the surrounding muscles and the spine to hold the torso up. The body’s own anatomical structure causing the condition and/or part of a bad habit that an individual has grown accustomed to. This can be from injury/s, back, and/or hip pain causing an individual to take on awkward postures to compensate for the discomfort and try and avoid it. However, these unhealthy postures cause their own set of musculoskeletal problems. Addressing this form of poor posture can help reduce and alleviate low back and hip pain and prevent further injuries.  Chiropractic can pinpoint an anterior pelvic tilt and fix it.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt

What happens is the pelvis becomes tilted or rotated forward. Place the hands, specifically the fingertips, on the hips. There are bone ridges. These are the iliac crests. If they’re facing more toward the ground than directly forward, this could be an anterior pelvic tilt. It usually happens when the hip flexors become tight and pull the pelvis down. Another contributor is the glute and hamstring muscles have weakened and are not strong enough to counteract the forward pulling. This can be caused by sitting for long periods, poor posture, and for women who wear high heels regularly. These contribute to tightening the hip flexors and the glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt Downward Posture Hip and Back Pain

 

An anterior pelvic tilt causes an increase in the curve of the lower back. It can feel like the hip flexors are tightening up. It typically affects the lower back at the lowest two levels, which are L4-5 and L5-S1. There can be long-term issues if an anterior pelvic tilt is left untreated. The spine becomes more vulnerable to disc issues that can include:

  • Compressed degenerative disc
  • Disc tears, aka annular tears
  • Disc bulges
  • Herniation

Exercises

An anterior pelvic tilt is a repairable condition. Several exercises can help loosen/relax the hip flexors and strengthen the core and posterior muscle chain. This in addition to walking and reducing wearing high heels regularly. A few exercises for anterior pelvic tilt.

The Tail Tuck

This is literally trying to tilt the tailbone forward, like tucking in an imaginary tail. This can be done for 10-12 reps and up to 3 times.

Plank

Core-strengthening exercises can help with all types of back and hip problems. If possible, do the exercises in front of a mirror to ensure no arching of the back or the butt sticking out. If it is too difficult on the hands, go to the elbows. If there are wrist or shoulder issues, planks can be done on a raised surface, like a table or couch. Hold as long as possible, maintaining proper form. Start with 10-30 seconds and build up to minutes.

Strengthening the Glutes

It is recommended to strengthen the glute muscles. This can be done with exercises like clams or side-stepping with resistance bands. For clams, lie on the side and raise each leg up and down 10-12 times, up to 3 sets. For side-stepping, place resistance bands around the ankle/shin area and step to the side for 8-10 steps. Then go the other direction for the same number of steps. Repeat up to 3 sets.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Lunge forward while standing or lunge and kneel with the other leg on the ground. Then move the torso back a little and engage the core to stretch the hip flexors in the front of the thigh/pelvis area. Hold for 30 seconds, then release. Repeat 3-5 times per leg.

Lifestyle

These exercises can help, but if there is no progress around a month, contact a qualified chiropractor or physical therapist for further instruction and supervision. Also, if any neurological symptoms present like:

  • Sciatica
  • Shooting pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • See a doctor as soon as possible.

Fixing posture-related problems require individuals to learn to be posture aware along with making some lifestyle adjustments. One way to do these exercises is to tack them onto a workout. Also, set reminders on a calendar to get up, stretch, and move around if sitting most of the day.


Body Composition Health


Difference between Processed sugar and Natural sugar

There are different types of sugar. There are natural sugars that are found in:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Beans

All sugar is broken down into glucose. However, foods that contain natural sugar are also rich in nutrients, including:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fiber
  • Protein
  • All which the body requires for optimal health.

Natural sugar does not lead to excess sugar intake; it happens with processed sugar. Processed sugar is extracted from sugarcane or sugar beet and is normally found as sucrose. This is present in cakes, cookies, cereal, and beverages. Processed sugar is also hidden in foods that are not sweet, like:

  • Microwave meals
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Ketchup
  • Sports drinks

Foods that contain processed sugar are an energy source, but they contain little or no nutrients and can cause blood sugar levels to spike. In addition, consuming too much sugar is linked to an increased risk of:

  • Diabetes
  • Accelerated aging
  • Weight gain

Research has found that added sugar contributes to around 17% of the total calorie intake for adults. The recommended daily amount of calories from added sugar is 10%.

References

Azaïs-Braesco, Véronique et al. “A review of total & added sugar intakes and dietary sources in Europe.” Nutrition journal vol. 16,1 6. 21 Jan. 2017, doi:10.1186/s12937-016-0225-2

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (May 2020) “Acute Low Back Pain” https://www.cdc.gov/acute-pain/low-back-pain/index.html

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (March 2020) “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet” https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet

Orlando Health. (2019) “Bad Posture Often to Blame for Chronic Pain and Health Issues, But Survey Finds Too Few Americans Are Concerned” https://www.orlandohealth.com/content-hub/bad-posture-often-to-blame-for-chronic-pain-and-health-issues

Improper Posture Can Cause All Types Of Body Pain

Improper Posture Can Cause All Types Of Body Pain

Improper posture affects the whole body and can lead to various pain issues throughout the body. Correcting posture is recommended before trying to correct it when pain begins to present. If pain is presenting, chiropractic treatment will bring relief, stabilize the spine, realign/balance the body, and educate the individual on maintaining proper posture through stretches, exercises, physical therapy, and lifestyle adjustments.  

Improper posture symptoms

Neck Pain

Discomfort, stiffness, tightness, and pain are common when sitting at a workstation. This comes from a forward head/head jutting position. The head pushes forward and is not aligned with the shoulders. This means that the neck takes on a compromised position. The head forward position places significant strain on the neck muscles. Because of this neck discomfort and pain often occur later in the afternoon and evening. If not sure whether head jutting is taking place, try placing the chin to the chest. If not able or if there is discomfort/pain in the upper back, there is some forward head jutting.

Shoulder Discomfort and Pain

When we sit for extended periods, the body relaxes muscles that would normally be used if standing. One set of muscles is in the upper back. This causes slouching with a rounded upper back/shoulders. The more time the body stays in any one position, the more it begins to conform to the unhealthy position. This also causes pain in the upper, front part of the shoulders. The pain is noticeable when trying to bring the arm/s overhead or when trying to perform exercises like pushups or pullups.

Regular Headaches

Regular headaches are another symptom of improper posture. Forward head posture is usually a contributor combined with the long hours sitting or standing. However, headaches can be caused by a variety of causes that include:

  • Stress
  • Tension
  • Dehydration

Low Back, Tailbone Discomfort, and Pain

Lower back pain is a very common symptom of improper posture. For individuals under 40, pain and discomfort present because of improper posture while sitting or standing and a lack of stretching and exercise. Sitting for a long time causes the muscles that bring the thighs towards the chest, known as the hip flexors to be consistently flexed, with no relief. This causes the hip flexors to shorten and tighten. This pulls the pelvis out towards the front of the body, creating an exaggerated spinal curve.

11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Improper Posture Can Cause All Types Of Body Pain

Buttocks or Stomach Pushes Outward

Take a look at the body’s profile, does the butt and/or stomach stick out? If so this could be hyperlordosis also known as Donald duck posture. This can come from wearing high heels too much, the body having to carry extra weight in the stomach area, and sometimes this comes from pregnancy. Sometimes, this happens when individuals stand with their knees locked. This causes the rear end and/or belly to push out.

Correcting Improper Posture

The main problem with correcting posture is the ability to maintain proper posture. Many individuals go back to the unhealthy positioning without recognizing that they are doing it. There are devices to help correct poor posture habits. This could be a brace or harness that detects when the body is slouching and vibrates to let the individual return to a proper position.

Chiropractic Care and Physical Therapy

The most effective and thorough way to correct years of improper posture is to see a professional chiropractor. A complete diagnosis, inspection, and analysis of an individual’s posture when sitting, standing, walking, and running will be done. They will educate the individual on correct posture, how to achieve and maintain it. If pain is presenting, the chiropractor will take steps to correct any subluxations, misalignments, and develop a personalized treatment plan, to heal the body first. Treatment modalities can include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Physical therapy
  • Massage
  • Heat therapy
  • Infrared
  • Ultrasound
  • TENS device
  • Health coaching
  • Nutritional advice

Once the body has healed and is moving freely, the doctor will recommend exercises and stretching programs to do at home. This will improve and help maintain proper posture. An experienced musculoskeletal professional will keep the body balanced and prevent further injuries.


Body Composition


Hydrating the body with water or a sports drink

Many individuals prefer drinking sports drinks during and after physical activities, sports, and exercise. Many are opposed to water because of the lack of taste, while sports drinks have taste and added electrolytes. But many sports drinks have added ingredients and sugars. This makes them not the best choice for individuals trying to lose calories. Take a look at some of the additional ingredients:

Electrolytes

Minerals, like potassium, sodium, and magnesium, have an electric charge that helps maintain the body’s ionic balance. The body loses electrolytes when sweating. A sports drink can help replace the lost electrolytes.

Carbohydrates

Most of the carbohydrates come from sugars. Carbohydrates are one of the body’s energy sources and sports drinks are designed to refuel the body after hard physical activity.

Amino acids

These are protein building blocks. Drinking a sports drink after an intense workout can help the body recover quicker. Therefore, some of the additional ingredients in sports drinks offer hydration extras that water on its own cannot. However, water should always be the first drink of choice. But there are certain times when a sports drink is what the body needs.

  • When participating in high-intensity physical activities, workouts, sports that last longer than 45 minutes to an hour. Here a sports drinks can help replenish the body’s electrolytes better than water.
  • Individuals that sweat high levels of sodium (look for sweat stains/rings on skin or clothing) can benefit from re-hydrating with a sports drink.
  • Endurance athletes, triathletes, marathon runners, long-distance athletes, etc can also benefit from a sports drink, from the increased fluid loss.
  • In these activities, athletes should make sure the sports drink they are consuming contains carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Disclaimer

The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the musculoskeletal system’s injuries or disorders. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, CTG*
email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com
phone: 915-850-0900
Licensed in Texas & New Mexico

References

Hao, Ning et al. “Enhancing creativity: Proper body posture meets proper emotion.” Acta Psychologica vol. 173 (2017): 32-40. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.12.005

Jaromi, Melinda et al. “Treatment and ergonomics training of work-related lower back pain and body posture problems for nurses.” Journal of clinical nursing vol. 21,11-12 (2012): 1776-84. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04089.x

O’Connor B. Sitting Disease: The New Health Epidemic. The Chopra Center Web site. http://www.chopra.com/articles/sitting-disease-the-new-health-epidemic. Accessed January 7, 2017.

 

The Body’s Proper Spinal Alignment Achieved Through Chiropractic Repair

The Body’s Proper Spinal Alignment Achieved Through Chiropractic Repair

When a machine isn’t working correctly because the mechanism’s parts have slipped, shifted, become loose, and are on the verge of breaking down, an expert/professional is called in to repair the damaged parts. The same can be said of the spine. From all the movement at home, work, shopping, activities the spine also compresses and falls out of place becoming misaligned. That’s when individuals need to call a chiropractor to repair/realign the spine. The spine is an integral component of the body’s functionality and health. This includes:  
  • Structure
  • Support
  • Flexibility
  • Shock absorption
  • Protection of the neural tissues
 
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 The Body's Proper Spinal Alignment Achieved Through Chiropractic Repair
 

Healthy Spinal Alignment

  For the spine to operate at its best proper alignment is necessary. The spine is impacted by everyday activities that shift, jolt, bounce, and stress the spine. Exacerbating the regular wear and tear includes:     Spinal misalignment disrupts the essential functions that can lead to illness/disease. Some simple ways to assess individual spinal alignment.  
  • The ears, shoulders, hips, and knees should be aligned with each other. From side to side when facing straight forward
  • Spinal rotation can be assessed by bending forward and touching the toes. Have a mirror or someone to look for a rib hump that is also used in scoliosis screening
  • The head, shoulders, and spinal curves align from the side in general creating an S shape
  Every individual’s spine varies significantly. This is why a professional chiropractic examination, diagnosis, and customized treatment plan will maximize spinal alignment and overall health.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 The Body's Proper Spinal Alignment Achieved Through Chiropractic Repair
 

Chiropractors are the Expert Repair Specialists

  Chiropractors are specially trained at spotting spinal misalignment/s and repair. This is done non-invasively through manual adjustments and mobilization techniques. When the spine is in optimal alignment it will prevent and activate the body’s natural healing abilities. Once spinal alignment is achieved the chiropractor can help maintain proper alignment with exercise, health coaching, lifestyle adjustments, and nutrition to maximize individual health.

Body Composition

 

 

A partner, spouse, friend, co-worker, professional for maintaining health

  Finding someone to share the highs and lows during an individual’s health journey will significantly help relieve stress and continue to be motivated. It can be a spouse, best friend, coworker, or licensed professional. When an individual vocalizes their thoughts and feelings, they gain confidence in their ability to handle whatever comes their way. This is an individual that will help navigate the negative emotions by listening and providing advice and encouragement. Take some time every week to share successes, failures, goals, etc. Whatever comes to mind to just get it out there so it can be evaluated and broken down into manageable parts. The great thing about sharing is that it can inspire positive changes.  

Disclaimer

  The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the musculoskeletal system’s injuries or disorders. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.   Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP, CIFM, CTG* email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com phone: 915-850-0900 Licensed in Texas & New Mexico  
References
  Diebo, Bassel G et al. “Sagittal alignment of the spine: What do you need to know?.” Clinical neurology and neurosurgery vol. 139 (2015): 295-301. doi:10.1016/j.clineuro.2015.10.024   Caprara, Sebastiano et al. “Spinal sagittal alignment goals based on statistical modeling and musculoskeletal simulations.” Journal of biomechanics vol. 102 (2020): 109621. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2020.109621   Senzon, Simon A. “The Chiropractic Vertebral Subluxation Part 10: Integrative and Critical Literature From 1996 and 1997.” Journal of chiropractic humanities vol. 25 146-168. 6 Apr. 2019, doi:10.1016/j.echu.2018.10.008
Body Awareness, Position, Movement, and Chiropractic Adjusting

Body Awareness, Position, Movement, and Chiropractic Adjusting

Individuals do not have a poor posture on purpose. It becomes a habit that just goes on until discomfort or pain present. Body awareness is known as proprioception. Proprioception is known as muscle sense or joint position sense. This is the subconscious nature of the body’s understanding of its position in space and the ability to position ourselves comfortably. Achieving proper and healthy posture means there needs to be a constant mindset of staying aware of how the body is positioned. Then regular adjustments of body position are required to maintain healthy body awareness and from getting into bad habits. To illustrate this consider walking forward in complete darkness. The body knows its relative position even without seeing and understands its existence in space. This is a function of the brain.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Body Awareness, Position, Movement, and Chiropractic Adjusting
 
It is part of the subconscious and so have little to no control over it. Because of this individuals begin to lapse into poor poster habits. An example tilting the head when looking forward or all the way down when checking the phone. Over time, these bad habits contribute to spinal misalignment. This is where chiropractic can help individuals realize their proprioception tendencies and actively relearn and strengthen positive body awareness and break away from negative postural habits.  

Body Awareness Habits

Laying the groundwork for correction of body awareness involves understanding the body’s unconscious habits and the damage that is occurring. Chiropractic is highly effective for outlining what is happening with the help of radiological imaging and spinal curvature benchmarks. Once an individual begins to understand how their posture and spine health are being affected, they can make adjustments to combat this. This requires constant vigilance by the individual to actively realize and correct proprioception.  
 

Optimal Body Exercises

For individuals that have engaged in dysfunctional habits for years, a chiropractor may recommend optimal loading exercises. This process involves teaching how to better balance the body for optimal posture development. For example, a chiropractor will have a patient strengthen a weak leg that is shifting the body’s weight to the other dominant leg that results in unbalanced weight distribution causing hip and back pain. Another example of optimal loading may include executing a series of motions/movements with the non-dominant side. The goal of optimal loading is to train the brain to balance the body in a healthier fashion, instead of reverting to a bad habit.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Body Awareness, Position, Movement, and Chiropractic Adjusting
 

Ergonomics

Ergonomics can also help correct dysfunctional proprioception. They can help to address specific defaults of the subconscious. For example, the positioning of a computer screen at the correct height and angle can improve the habit of turning or tilting the head. Another example is utilizing custom foot orthotics to balance the feet and prevent pronation. A chiropractor can determine exactly where the ergonomic intervention will have a significant effect in correcting dysfunctional proprioception.  
 

Chiropractic Relief

Chiropractic postural adjustments, optimal loading exercises, and ergonomics are all recommended tools in rehabilitating and preventing bad posture habits. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic will explore every possible approach to help patients understand and overcome the body�s bad habits, and help them achieve optimal spine health.

Body Composition


 

Muscles get weaker with too much sitting

When sitting the gluteal muscles, abdominal muscles, and legs become dormant. Sitting for extended periods day after day causes these muscles to begin to degenerate. Metabolism is linked with body composition. Having more muscle increases metabolism and helps the body burn more calories. Any muscle loss, especially from the lower body which is the largest muscle group, can lead to progressive fat gain if the diet is not adjusted. With time gradual muscle loss from the lower body can hurt functional strength, and older age increases the risk of falls and affects the quality of life.  

Dr. Alex Jimenez�s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*  
References
Corliss J. Too much sitting linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature death. Harvard Health Blog. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/much-sitting-linked-heart-disease-diabetes-premature-death-201501227618. Published January 22, 2015. Accessed January 7, 2017. Ergonomics for Prolonged Sitting. UCLA Spine Center Web site. http://spinecenter.ucla.edu/ergonomics-prolonged-sitting. Accessed January 7, 2017. Florido R, Michos E. Sitting Disease: Moving Your Way to a Healthier Heart.�U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/09/14/sitting-disease-moving-your-way-to-a-healthier-heart. Published September 14, 2015. Accessed January 7, 2017.
Enjoy the Hobbies You Love Without Back and Neck Pain

Enjoy the Hobbies You Love Without Back and Neck Pain

We all have our hobbies that we are passionate about, love doing, and could see turning into a second career. However, certain hobbies can generate stress on the spine. This often leads to a decrease in being able to participate in these activities, which can lead to various health issues. Maintaining the body’s physical fitness and keeping the spine healthy is key to being able to continue without neck or back pain. Hobbies are an important part of life. Individuals need to enjoy what they love from sports activities to music to arts and craft projects. Having activities/hobbies help:
  • Boost mental health
  • Relieve stress
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Meditative qualities
Here�s how to make sure the hobbies/activities are fun and safe.  
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Enjoying the Hobbies You Love Without Back and Neck Pain
 

Protecting the Neck

Poor posture is one of the leading causes of neck and back pain. Looking down or being in a standing/sitting hunched position regularly increases the load/stress on the neck increasing the chances for strain, injury, headaches, and chronic pain. In the neutral position, the skull weighs around 10-12 pounds. When leaning the head forward weight increases from let’s say 27 pounds at a 15-degree angle to 60 pounds at a 60-degree angle. The strain on the cervical vertebrae, joints, and muscles can be immense. A good example is text-neck. This has become a normal thing when using a smartphone, gaming, or other similar activities. Studies suggest that the average individual spends three to five hours a day on a smartphone or tablet. This means three to five hours of extra weight on the cervical spine. Engaging in a hobby that requires an individual to look down constantly in a similar fashion can lead to serious and chronic neck pain along with other cervical issues.  
 
Individuals are spending more time at home and getting more serious about their hobbies. This is fantastic, however, these individuals need to take time to stretch out, and get some physical activity into their hobby routine. Just like taking frequent walk-around, stretch out at work breaks, so to do hobbyists need to step back from their projects to keep a healthy balance. The position of the neck and the way it is held for activities like:
  • Sewing
  • Carpentry
  • Gardening
  • Painting
  • Pottery
  • Knitting
  • Music
Hobbies like this can increase the risk of neck pain, so the key is prevention, paying attention to head posture every now and again, and taking stretching breaks.

Proper Posture Makes a Difference

11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 Enjoying the Hobbies You Love Without Back and Neck Pain
 
Many individuals stand and sit when working on their hobbies. This is quite common and is encouraged when doing these absorbing activities. But being immersed in these activities, most forget to check their posture when doing so. This is what leads to problems that at first are shrugged off as just soreness. Eventually, the individual begins to engage in bad/awkward posture habits that avoid the pain and think this will help. This worsens the problems and promotes further strain/injury. Leaning, bending, reaching, and twisting curves the spine increasing the load and stress. Performing these actions over and over for extended periods means:
  • Strain
  • Low back pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sciatica
  • Leg pain
  • Foot pain
Slouching is another posture problem that increases the likelihood of lower back pain. Slouching causes gaps between the lower back vertebrae. This stresses the facet joints or the connections between the vertebrae. The soft tissues elongate/stretch and lengthen like muscles and connective tissue. What elongation does is:
  • Cause the tissues to attempt to snap back to the original shape. This can cause painful spasms.
  • Muscles that are constantly elongated become weaker with time.
The longer an individual sits, stands, and slouches impacts the body’s health negatively, leading to a chain of health problems. Maintaining proper posture and keeping the spine straight minimizes the strain on muscles and the vertebrae. Prevent pain and discomfort.  
 

Ergonomics at the House

Ergonomic stressors include:
  • The force/s required to perform and complete a physical chore/task.
  • Adopted static and awkward working postures to complete task/s
  • The repetitiveness of the task/s
Any of these factors or combination places a higher risk for discomfort, pain, and injury. The immediate surroundings like the bench, work area, craft room, etc. and how the individual moves or does not move, and interacts in these areas is the focus of ergonomics. Proper ergonomics will help protect the spine, as well as the rest of the body. Improper ergonomics can cause damage like muscle strain, repetitive movements, and incorrect posture. Taking a look at the hobby workspace the ergonomics, and making any necessary adjustments can help prevent strain/injury.

Proper seating

Make sure the right type of chair, stool, bench, etc is being utilized. Adjustable types that have neck and lower back support are the way to go. Make sure the base is stable, the seat is comfortable and adjustable. Backrests and armrests can help maintain proper posture.

Correct table/desk/workstation height

Various drafting tables and lap desks have adjustable surfaces to adjust the height for working with a proper ergonomic posture. If the work surface is not adjustable adjust the chair or make adjustments as needed. The hips should be higher than the knees to take the strain off the sacrum and lower back. The upper back should be straight, with the shoulder blades together creating a supportive platform for the neck and head.

Tools

Using the best tools for working and organization will help avoid injuries and constant awkward positions like leaning/reaching over and around the workspace. Look for tools that can be adjusted to different heights, resistance levels, etc. depending on what is needed and what will reduce any strain.

Vision

If an individual needs to lean in to get a closer look then vision could be the problem. If an individual wears glasses it could be time for a check-up. Or if an individual does not wear glasses, it could be time to see an optometrist. Non-prescription magnifiers could be the answer.  
mobility flexibility el paso tx.
 

Stretching Regularly

Working too long in one position can be detrimental to overall health. It is very understandable when individuals get into the zone, working on something creative, and not wanting to stop the flow. However, frequent breaks are vital. Stretching regularly and getting up to move around is key to staying healthy.

Neck Stretch

  • Stretch the neck by turning the head from side to side in a gentle fashion.
  • Tip the head to each side so the ear almost touches the shoulder.
  • Lower the head so that the chin almost touches the chest.
  • Turn the to look diagonally down at the armpit. This stretches the trapezius and levator scapulae muscles.
  • Hold the stretches for 10-15 seconds.
  • Always perform slowly and gently.

Lower Back Stretch

15 minutes a day of stretches will maintain the health of the spine. If pain or discomfort becomes frequent or unmanageable, seek professional help. Physical therapists and chiropractors are trained in orthopedic issues and ergonomics without prescription. Call a doctor or physical therapist to find out if treatment is necessary. Following these guidelines can help keep hobbies fun and without pain.

Lower Back Pain Skate Boarding Injury Treatment


 

Dr. Alex Jimenez�s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
The Spinal/Vertebral Column

The Spinal/Vertebral Column

The spinal/vertebral column extends from the skull to the pelvis and consists of individual bones known as vertebrae. It is what holds the body upright, allows the body to bend, twist, and is the conduit for major nerves running from the brain to the rest of the body. The vertebrae are grouped into four regions. They are the:

11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 The Spinal/Vertebral Column
Spinal Terminology Number of Vertebrae Area of Body Abbreviation
Cervical 7 Neck C1-C7
Thoracic 12 Chest T1-T12
Lumbar 5-6 Low back L1-L5
Sacrum 5 fused vertebrae Pelvis S1-S5
Coccyx 3 Tailbone None

Cervical Vertebrae

The cervical spine breaks down into two parts. The upper cervical C1 and C2, and the lower cervical C3 through C7. The C1 vertebrae are known as the Atlas and the C2 the Axis. The Occipital Bone is a flat bone that forms the back of the head.

Atlas

The Atlas is the first cervical vertebra and is abbreviated as C1. This vertebra supports the skull. It appears different from the other spinal vertebrae, as it resembles a ring and is made up of two masses joined at the front and back by the anterior and posterior arches. �

Axis

The Axis is the second cervical vertebra and is abbreviated C2. It is a tooth-like process that projects upward. It is referred to as the odontoid process or dens, which is Latin for tooth. It provides a kind of pivot and collar that allows the head along with the atlas to rotate.

Thoracic Vertebrae

The thoracic vertebrae become larger from T1 through T12. What makes the thoracic spine unique is that it is the only vertebrae that support the ribs and is made up of pedicles, spinous processes, and large neural passageways that help reduce nerve compression. Unfortunately, not everyone has a large intervertebral foramen, which can cause compression. �

  1. Vertebral Body
  2. Spinous Process
  3. Transverse Facet
  4. Pedicle
  5. Foramen
  6. Lamina
  7. Superior Facet

The thoracic vertebrae are attached to the ribs. However, at T11 and T12, the ribs are not attached and are called floating ribs. The region of the spine’s range of motion is limited because of the rib/vertebrae attachments and the long spinous processes. �

Lumbar Vertebrae

The lumbar vertebrae increase in size from L1 through L5. These are the vertebrae that take the body’s weight along with any loading force that can create biomechanical stress. The pedicles are longer and wider than the thoracic spine pedicles, and the spinous processes are horizontal and more square. The neural passageway is large but nerve root compression is very common due to disc herniation from poor posture, prolonged sitting, improper lifting, etc. �

11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 The Spinal/Vertebral Column

Vertebrae’s Purpose

The vertebrae range in size with the cervical region being the smallest. The lumbar low back region is the largest. The vertebral bodies of the spinal column are what bear the weight. The body’s upper weight is dispersed through the spine to the sacrum and pelvis. Thee natural curves in the spine provide resistance, flexibility by distributing the body’s weight, and axial loads/forces sustained when in motion. Vertebrae are made up of many elements critical to the overall function of the spine. This includes the intervertebral discs and facet joints. Functions of the spinal/vertebral column include: �

Protection Spinal Cord Internal Organs
Attachment Ligaments Muscles Tendons
Support Structure Head Shoulders Chest Connect Upper and Lower body Balance
Mobility and Flexibility Extension – bending backward Flexion – bending forward Side bending Rotation Combination
Other The bones produce red blood cells Stores minerals

Sacrum

The sacrum is located behind the pelvis. It consists of five bones that are abbreviated S1 through S5. They are fused together in a triangular shape. The sacrum fits between the hipbones and connects the spine to the pelvis. The last vertebra L5 moves with the sacrum. Right below are five more bones that are also fused together and they form the Coccyx or tailbone.

Intervertebral Discs

The intervertebral discs make up a quarter of the spinal/vertebral column’s length. There are no discs between the Atlas, Axis, and Coccyx. Discs are not connected to the body’s vascular system and so depend on the endplates to disperse essential minerals and nutrients. The cartilaginous layers keep the discs in place. They are fibrocartilaginous cushions that function as the spine/body’s shock absorbers. They protect the vertebrae, brain, nerves, etc. There is some vertebral motion that the discs allow but individual disc movement is limited. Significant motion is possible when the discs work together. �

11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste. 128 The Spinal/Vertebral Column

Annulus Fibrosus and Nucleus Pulposus

Intervertebral discs are made up of an annulus fibrosus and a nucleus pulposus. The annulus fibrosus is a strong radial structure made up of lamellae. Concentric sheets of collagen fibers connect to the endplates. These sheets are positioned at various angles. The annulus fibrosus encapsulates the nucleus pulposus. �

Both are made up of water, collagen, and proteoglycans. However, the larger amount of water and proteoglycans are in the nucleus pulposus. Proteoglycan molecules are essential because they attract and retain water. The nucleus pulposus consists of a hydrated gel-like substance that resists compression. The amount of water in the nucleus changes throughout the day. This depends on the activity or non-activity. All in all proper care and maintenance of the spinal/vertebral column is vital to general health and overall well-being.


 

Car Accident Rehabilitation Chiropractor


 

Dr. Alex Jimenez�s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*