Sciatica Sleep: Poor sleep can leave the body feeling off and unable to function. Not getting the proper amount of sleep can decrease health, decrease work or school productivity, and cause burnout. If it becomes chronic, it can have serious side effects on the brain and body that include:
When sleeping, certain positions/postures can place added pressure on the spine, irritating the nerve. The best sleeping positions maintain the spine’s natural curve and are different for everybody. For example, many individuals sleep on their side. They do not start sleeping this way, but they end up on their side and wake up in pain to find their sciatica flaring up. Other individuals can turn on a specific side, and the symptoms fade or go away.
The best sleeping position for one individual may not be the best for another. A lot of this depends on the placement of the injury/pinching that can affect how certain sleep positions work, causing no symptoms, while other sleep postures generate all kinds of symptoms, especially pain. Individuals are recommended to sleep in the position that works for them, provided with the correct posture.
Side sleepers are recommended to place a pillow between their knees for healthy sleep and pain avoidance results.
A pillow between the legs helps to prevent twisting.
A firm pillow will work or a soft pillow folded in half.
It is also recommended to consider a small pillow under the waist to maintain the alignment between the ribs, hips, and the spine.
Back sleepers can benefit from a pillow under the knees to maintain a neutral curve of the spine.
This keeps the legs slightly elevated helping prevent the legs from tilting the pelvis and pulling the spine out of a neutral position.
Individuals that sleep on their back but end up on their side, are recommended to use a large pillow or body pillow placed on the side they turn on to prevent this.
Stomach Sleeping Not Recommended
Sciatic pain can become worse with sleeping on the stomach.
Sleeping on the stomach can collapse the spine and the pelvis as there is no support underneath. This causes damage to the nerves, increasing symptoms and pain levels.
Try to avoid sleeping on the stomach until the sciatic nerve has healed or try to train the body to sleep on the side or back.
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Can Help Sciatica Sleep Symptoms
Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy relieves pressure on the sciatic nerve, spine, and surrounding muscles by pulling/stretching them in small increments. The decompression creates negative pressure within the discs that floods the area with an abundance of nutrients to activate and expedite the healing response.
The chiropractic physical therapy team uses motorized medical equipment with sensors linked to a computer-aided system to perform the procedure.
The equipment is designed to adjust the pull force accordingly to prevent muscle resistance.
The adjustable table also allows the spine to be stretched at different angles to target all areas of the back.
Relieves Pressure On The Sciatic Nerve
Decompression stretches the nerve out and increases the space around the impinged and inflamed nerve.
Decompression relieves tension in tight, spasming, or injured muscles.
Stimulates the nervous system to release the body’s natural pain killers.
Spinal tissue healing from fluids, cells, and other substances that enter the damaged tissue.
Restores Disc and Joint Alignment
Decompression realigns the joints and discs, preventing pain, inflammation, mobility/flexibility problems, and dysfunction.
There are toxins in the body, decompression causes these toxins to be expelled.
This causes exhaustion because the body needs time to adjust after expelling the negative energy.
After a short time, energy levels will return.
The decompression relaxes the entire body which allows for more restful sleep.
Kim, Shin Hyung et al. “Risk factors associated with clinical insomnia in chronic low back pain: a retrospective analysis in a university hospital in Korea.” The Korean journal of pain vol. 28,2 (2015): 137-43. doi:10.3344/kjp.2015.28.2.137
Radwan, Ahmed, et al. “Effect of different mattress designs on promoting sleep quality, pain reduction, and spinal alignment in adults with or without back pain; a systematic review of controlled trials.” Sleep health vol. 1,4 (2015): 257-267. doi:10.1016/j.sleh.2015.08.001
Santilli, Valter, et al. “Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations.” The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society vol. 6,2 (2006): 131-7. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2005.08.001
Learning how to manage and combat insomnia. Being wide awake early in the morning, trying hard to fall back to sleep before the alarm goes off. Individuals that have trouble falling asleep find that it usually happens right before a vacation. Everyone experiences an occasional sleepless night, but if insomnia continues on a regular basis it can lead to various health issues.
The average adult requires over eight hours of sleep for the body to function properly. But managing hectic lives means individuals end up going to bed later than sooner and not following the body’s natural biological rhythm. Remote and in-person learning, jobs, children, and other obligations require getting up with the birds with only 4-6 hours of sleep. A disruption to the body’s circadian rhythm that regulates:
Can lead to insomnia.
Mind and Body Performance
The body needs adequate, restful sleep to perform its best. Insomnia that is prolonged can cause brain fog and interfere with performing daily activities. It also increases the risk for:
Accidents – auto, sports, work, personal
Can lead to sleep medication dependency.
Stress, anxiety, profound caffeine, and alcohol consumption can contribute to insomnia. Learning how to effectively manage stress is recommended to getting a proper night’s sleep. Making lifestyle adjustments can make a significant difference in the number of sleep hours. Here are a few strategies to try that could be effective:
Regular exercise/physical activity
Getting some physical activity before dinner can help put the body in a restful state before going to bed. However, do not exercise close to bedtime as this could make the body restless.
Getting out in the late evening sun as often as possible will help stimulate melatonin release. This will help reset the body’s circadian rhythm.
Stress-reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, and Tai Chi are recommended to help teach the mind and body to relax.
Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol
These keep the body stimulated. Try to reduce/avoid from mid-afternoon until bedtime, and keep consumption of alcohol to a minimum.
Maintain the same sleep and wake schedule every day.
Do not alter by more than an hour on the weekends or on vacation.
No television, computer, and phone use at least an hour before going to bed. This stimulates the brain, making it difficult to get to sleep.
Keep the bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
If lying awake for more than 20 minutes, get up and sit in another dimly lit room until sleepiness starts to set in, then go back to bed.
Give these strategies a try and research others. They could help. For more information contact Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic, to see how we can help.
Learning How To Incorporate Prebiotics
Incorporating more prebiotics into one’s diet is best done through nutrition. Prebiotic foods supply these nutrients directly to the colon, where they are broken down, fermented, and utilized. Prebiotic foods consist mainly of fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans.
However, cooking could alter the food’s fiber content, so look at recipes. Prebiotics also come in the form of supplements to make them easier to consume.
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.
Remote working and learning have changed the way we operate, but too much sitting and no physical activity is the perfect set up for back pain. Here are a few tips for spine friendly remote working and learning. Spine-health is just as important working or learning remotely, if not more so because it is easy to fall into bad posture habits that will affect the spine. Poor home working/learning habits can cause upper and lower back pain that could become chronic.
Individuals become too comfortable making the home working environment a damaging experience on spinal health. For chiropractors, the pandemic brought an influx of individuals of all ages with upper, middle, and lower back pain. This was caused by poor posture when video conferencing on the couch, slouching at the table and sitting for way too long, and never getting up and moving around.
Children tend to present with pain and aches on the side of the spine versus pain directly centered. This is from side slouching, often when staring at the computer monitor. Adults, especially over 40 complained of pain and stiffness in the upper and lower back. Herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and sciatica risks increase as bad habits continue and do not improve. However, this can all be helped with a little exercise, work/school space optimization, and forming healthy work and schooling from home habits.
When working/schooling remotely, there�s a tendency to be more sedentary. Individuals need to learn to take time to stretch out and keep the body limber. It is easy to use breaks to scroll through social media or binge on movies, videos, etc. This can still be accomplished, but stretch out and move around while taking breaks. An exercise program of stretching daily during the workday and endurance training twice a week will help reduce back pain and increase flexion. Results vary for everyone and the type of stretching exercises they are performing.
Core exercises are a perfect way to work out muscle stress and back pain resulting from poor posture. Slumped over a computer can place significant stress on the trapezius muscle causing the muscle to knot up and tighten. The trapezius muscle is crucial to neck and shoulder movement and helps stabilize the shoulder blades.
Trapezius stretch with band
Holding an elastic band between the hands, place the band at the back of the skull.
Slowly tilt the head back to its full range of motion as the resistance is felt.
Return the head back to the neutral position maintaining alignment with the spine.
Choose 2 items of equal weight such as 2 books, 2 quarts of water, or 2 hand weights, and hold one item in each hand.
Position keeping hands near your sides
Slowly raise up and shrug your shoulders for several seconds
Gently release shoulder shrug and bring back arms to neutral
Repeat for 10 reps
Proper posture is a learned process that requires practice. Using a mirror to check posture can help maintain proper posture while seated when working/schooling. Self-assessing posture correctly is important and viewing oneself in a mirror is an easy way to figure out what adjustments are needed. Questions to ask oneself while self-assessing include:
Is the head far too forward?
Is there slouching?
Are the shoulders curling/rounding around the body?
Posture tips when seated:
Keep the feet flat on the floor or on a footrest
If in the habit of crossing ankles and knees change position often
Position the back against the chair. If the spine does not align with the chair use a cushion or backrest
Position knees at hip height or a little lower
Maintain some space between the back of the knees and the chair�s edge
Look straight ahead but make sure the neck is comfortable
Position forearms parallel to the floor
Maintain relaxed shoulders
Adjust the Light
When lighting is not optimal there can be a tendency to strain forward in various positions. This can cause excessive stress and inflammation to the upper spine area. Natural ambient lighting is recommended. In general, the lighting set-up should be adjusted to easily see the screen without causing glare or any type of discomfort to the eyes.
Take a Walk
A daily routine that will support spine health is to take walk breaks every half hour for a few minutes. If every half hour is not doable then take a 5 or 10-minute break to walk around and stretch every hour. It is important not to remain seated for too long. Remember the body was meant to move and be active.
Optimization Work Station
Using ergonomic office furniture for home use can help prevent the development of unhealthy posture along with the development of further musculoskeletal issues. Laptops are great for their portability and ability to work-from-anywhere. However, actually placing them on your lap and working on them for too long will cause back and neck strain. It is difficult to position the keyboard and screen for maintaining a proper line of sight and hand position.
The most spine-healthy way to work on a laptop is to position the screen at eye level with the keyboard level with slightly extended hands. A recommended long-term solution is using a screen and keyboard that can be adjusted. One type of computer set up is an iPad positioned at eye-level with a stand and a wireless external keyboard/mouse on a table or desk.
A lot of money does not have to be spent on the setup. Books or boxes laying around the house can be used to prop up the screen to the proper height. The goal is when working/schooling remotely is to ensure the body is not hunched over, bent, or straining forward and to maintain proper posture with optimal spinal alignment.
There are unique spinal health challenges when working/learning remotely. However, they can be avoided with a little planning and small adjustments.Taking time to stretch, do a little exercise, walk around the house, have adequate lighting, and making some ergonomic desk, chair, and computer changes that will help maintain a healthy spine.
Back Pain Rehabilitation
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*
Moretti A, Menna F, Aulicino M, Paoletta M, Liguori S, Iolascon G. Characterization of Home Working Population during COVID-19 Emergency: A Cross-Sectional Analysis.�Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(17):6284. Published 2020 Aug 28. doi:10.3390/ijerph17176284
The lumbar spine is the lower back that starts below the last thoracic vertebra T12 and ends at the top of the sacral spine or sacrum S1. Each lumbar spinal level is numbered from top to bottom, L1 to L5, or L6. The low back bodies are larger, and thicker structures of dense bone. From the front or anterior, the vertebral body has a rounded shape.
The posterior bony structure is a different lamina, which is a thin bony plate that shields and protects access to the spinal canal. There are vertebral arches that create the hollow spinal canal for lumbar nerve structures and the cauda equina.
Lumbar Structure Strong Joint Complex
One intervertebral disc together with the facet joints forms a strong joint complex that allows the spine to bend and twist. One pair of facet joints from the top or superior vertebral body connects the lower or inferior set of facet joints. The facet joints are synovial joints, which means they are lined with cartilage and the capsule holds synovial fluid that enables joints to glide during movement. Think of it as hydraulics with smooth fluid motion.
Facet joint syndrome can develop from aging and degenerative spinal changes causing low back pain. The lumbar discs are secured in place by the fibrous endplates of the superior and inferior vertebral bodies.
The jelly/gel center of each disc called the nucleus pulposus is surrounded by the annulus fibrosis, which is a tough layer of fibrocartilage that you can think of as a radial tire.
Discs are integral to the joint complex and function to:
Hold the superior and inferior vertebrae together
Take the weight
Absorb and distribute shock and forces when moving about
Create an open nerve passageway called foramen or neuroforamen
The neuroforaminal spaces on either side of the disc allow nerve roots to exit the spinal canal and leave the column.
Lumbar disc herniation is a common cause of low back pain that can spread out into one or both legs. This is called lumbar radiculopathy. This condition can develop when the nerves are compressed.
Low Back Support
Systems of strong fibrous bands of ligaments hold the vertebrae and discs together and stabilize the spine by helping to prevent over/excessive movements.
The 3 major spinal ligaments are the:
Anterior longitudinal ligament
Posterior longitudinal ligament
Spinal tendons attach muscles to the vertebrae and together work to limit excessive movement.
Lumbar Spine Nerves
The spinal cord comes to an end between the first and second lumbar vertebrae(L1-L2). Below this is the remaining nerves that form the cauda equina which is a bundle of nerves that looks like a horse�s tail. These nerves send messages between the brain and the lower body structures, including the:
Protect Your Back
Around 80% of adults will see a doctor for low back pain at some point. Therefore take care of your lumbar spine to help avoid painful, unnecessary wear-and-tear. You can minimize the risk of a low back injury/pain by:
Losing weight. Even a loss of 5 pounds can help reduce back pain.
Strengthening the core/abdominal muscles. The abdominal and low back muscles work together to form a supportive band around the waist and low back. Stronger muscles help stabilize the low back and reduce the risk of injury.
Stopping smoking. Nicotine reduces blood flow to the spine’s structures. This includes the lumbar discs and accelerates age-related degeneration.
Proper posture and proper body mechanics. When lifting objects keep your spine erect and use your legs. Ask for help with heavy objects. The lumbar spine is can bend and twist simultaneously, try to avoid doing this, as it is a perfect setup for a strain or sprain.
Get Rid of Low Back Pain with Custom Foot Orthotics
Back pain can affect every part of the body, including the:
Dental complications are common for people using medications for acute and chronic back pain. Therefore, regular dental care is necessary to spot these problems before they become serious.
Pain medications can at times be the root cause of some dental decay issues.
Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) requires the highest level of specialized dental care because of the highly sensitive nature of the condition.
I asked a local dentist that specializes in treating patients with chronic pain conditions why dental care is important?
Regular dental visits are as important as general check-ups with a primary doctor.
Any issues will have time to grow and become more complicated to treat once diagnosed.
Locate a dentist who treats patients with chronic pain issues, specifically in the upper body, and understands the special needs.
Ask about specific tools to help minimize and control pain:
Call your primary or pain management physician to ask if there are any specific treatment that the dentist needs to know about.
People with chronic pain usually have to use various medications.
These medications can cause dry mouth that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Dry mouth condition is called xerostomia and can cause major issues like:
Oral tissue integrity
Chronic mouth irritation
Stay hydrated by keeping water around throughout the day, and chew sugarless gum or keep sugarless hard candy around to keep saliva flow.
There is also moisturizing mouth spray, that a dentist can provide.
Periodontal disease is when over time, gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that can get infected.
The body�s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque�grows and begins to spread out.
Bacterial toxins and the body�s natural fight response to the infection begin to break down bone and the connective tissue that holds the teeth in place.
If left untreated the:
That support the teeth are destroyed,� which means that the infected tooth has to be pulled.
People with chronic pain try there best to avoid potential pain triggers, which include dental exams.
Tooth or gum pain/sensitivity usually presents in the later stages of decay when the tooth cannot be saved.
Unfortunately, the result is tooth removal.
There are medications that are known to contribute or cause tooth decay:
Best Defense Strong Offense
So brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss. Although we’ve all heard this throughout our lives, it is true. Just remember brushing and flossing can go a long way in dealing and managing chronic pain issues.
Give the tongue a good brushing to remove bacteria that can lead to plaque and chronic bad breath.
Tooth cleanings and exams are necessary to prevent any issues before they become serious and require major surgery.
Talk with your primary caregiver before visiting the dentist to figure out any special protocol or medication requirements needed.
After dental treatment, allow plenty of time to rest and recover.
Eat soft food during recovery and avoid:
These can become lodged in the teeth.
Prevention of dental disease will definitely pay off in the end and allow your immune system to perform at its optimal level.
It is worth the effort, I want all my patients to be in top health and proper oral hygiene can prevent so many diseases and is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
*CHRONIC* pain Chiropractic Relief | El Paso, Tx
Living with chronic pain symptoms can tremendously affect an individual’s quality of life. Neck and back pain caused by a variety of health issues, such as herniated discs and/or automobile accident injuries, can cause persistent symptoms which may last weeks, months, even years if left untreated.
Dr. Alex Jimenez is a chiropractor in El Paso, TX, who has helped his patients with chronic neck and back pain find the treatment they deserve. Patients describe how Dr. Alex Jimenez has helped them find pain relief and achieve overall health and wellness.
Dental visits help you maintain healthy teeth and gums. Gum disease and poor dental health have been linked to a variety of health issues, including heart disease. Researchers have drawn a direct line between tooth loss and heart disease. What�s more, regular oral exams and teeth cleaning can lead to the detection of early-stage medical conditions, some of which can be life-threatening which include:
After a long day of work, you tiredly march your way to your bedroom. You take off your work clothes, slip on your comfiest pajamas, your bed is inviting you to just go under the covers and get that full 8 hours of recommended sleep that the media tells you to. However, you realize that you have that project you have to finish in two days to show your boss.
Thus, you are working on that project in those two days; after work, in the wee hours of the night until completion. Surprisingly, when your head hits that pillow and you close your eyes for a few hours; your alarm starts to alert you awake to start your workday and you are exhausted.
The world today is still experiencing a lack of sleep, as people still have busy lives and are just getting about 5 hours or less of sleep. �Japan still holds the record for having 5 hours of no sleep, while the U.S. is in second place of getting about 6 hours or less of sleep. But there is some good news as there are some natural ways to get the full recommended amount of sleep without the use of medication and can help keep you stay asleep throughout the night. Here are the top 4 botanicals that are used by professionals.
Located in southwest India, Ashwagandha has many health benefits that can help people with different ailments and has many different names including the most common name, �winter cherry.� The plant contains alkaloids, phytosterols, saponins, iron, and steroidal lactones. With these chemical constituents, they are known as withanolides.
In small dosages, it can reduce your cortisol levels to where you feel a bit more relaxed. Not only that Ashwagandha root has been used to improve your brain function, boost your memory, and your reaction time gets improved and is completely safe and widely available.
Chamomile has to be one of the most common herbs that helps anyone that has trouble sleeping. When the herb is dried up, you can actually seep the plant into hot water and with a small dash of honey, it can be the most relaxing, hot beverage that you can sip and relax to. The herb contains apigenin, which is an antioxidant that will bind to certain receptors in your brain. So that being said, chamomile�s properties can make you sleepy and reduce your anxious mind to be at ease.
Another reason to drink chamomile is that it can actually relieve anxiety and depression. When our body is anxious, our brain produces more glutamate, which can be harmful to us. So, by sipping or taking the herb as a supplement, it can target what receptors that are making us anxious and calm them down immensely.
#3 Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm is part of the mint family that goes by many different names but the main purpose for this herb is to actually calm your mind. If you have an anxious mind and your beta brain waves are overstimulated it can be very bad for your health. This herb has about 100 active phytochemicals and has high flavonoids that have both antioxidant and neuroprotective effects that are beneficial. Studies have proven that lemon balm can calm the mind, uplifts your mood, and soothes the central nervous system.
One of the compounds that lemon balm has is called rosmarinic acid. This compound acts like a sedative, which helps you relax when you are stressed out but can be taken in small dosages. When your brain is overly active, sometimes a bit of this herb can help you relax and be calm.
When you combine lemon balm and valerian in a tea, the combination has been helpful to relieve restlessness and insomnia. So, if you want to try to get a good night�s rest, try sipping a hot cup of lemon balm tea before you go to bed.
This herb is one of the top plants that everyone in the world uses. Lavender is a multipurpose plant that has so many properties that can help us. Using lavender in aromatherapy can actually help to reduce your stress and promote wellness and calmness. Studies have shown that lavender oil can be useful to treat anxiety, depression, restlessness, and insomnia. The actual smell of lavender is pleasant and is known to make you calmer when you sniff it from any stores or farmer�s market that sells the plant.
Today, many people use lavender because of its calming aroma and used it in their crafts. Whether it be for cooking, soap making, essential oil and aromatherapy remedies, and yoga wellness. It is a versatile herb that has many properties to ease our anxious minds.
These four herbs are some out of the many, many herbs that are out there to help us get a better chance to fall asleep. Sleep is very important to us that some people take for granted. A lot of people will use the phrase, �Sleep is for the weak,� but that phrase is dangerous due to the fact that sleep is not for the weak.
When we don�t get enough sleep, our bodies take a nasty toll as we feel sluggish and irritable to those around us. Not only that it is bad, but sleep deprivation can lead to many health problems that can be fixed. Granted that we want to tackle as many commitments and finish projects before deadlines; however, does that gives us the right to sacrifice sleep so we can have a fullfed life of happiness.
If we start by changing our sleep habits with any of these herbs, our bodies can naturally start repairing itself. Once that happens, then your body will thank you for getting the full eight hours of sleep. These herbs are not a cure-all, but they are helpers to ease your brain and help calm down any anxious thoughts you may have. So, if you try out these herbs to relax a bit, maybe even get a full night�s rest, then go for it. Because sleep is not for the weak, sleep is for everyone.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Insufficient or poor sleep has been linked to numerous health issues. People who don�t get enough sleep or their sleep quality is poor, have a higher risk of developing dangerous health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, preferably uninterrupted, within 24 hours on a regular basis. There is more to a good night�s sleep than just quantity though. You should be able to fall asleep within about 20 minutes after you lie down and stay asleep.
Backpacks allow us to carry everything we need wherever we go. But as great as backpacks are, the fact is they can cause real damage if they are not carried correctly. It is possible to carry more weight than you should and in ways that are not healthy. From children to the elderly, everyone should know how to properly carry a backpack.
How Not Carrying Properly Can Hurt Your Back
A recent article on NBC News discussed the health concerns that backpacks present, discussing the various studies that have shown the damage they can cause. As the article noted, most everyone uses a backpack at one time or another. They are simply too useful to do otherwise. But research has demonstrated that they can hurt the back significantly, especially in children.
The back injuries that a backpack can cause include:
The spine is made up of vertebrae separated by spinal discs. The discs provide cushioning and flexibility in the spine. But the discs in your spine are only capable of carrying so much weight. When a backpack is too heavy, it can lead to disc compression and possibly tearing of the disc.
Carrying a backpack over one shoulder day after day will eventually cause your body to alter its alignment and your muscles to become imbalanced. Muscle imbalances can cause a cascade of problems, including altering the way you walk and increasing wear on your spine.
How to Carry Properly
Backpacks can be used safely, you just need to take the proper steps. These include:
1. Do Not Carry too much weight.
The recommended percentage of your body weight when using a backpack ranges from 10% – 15%. Someone that weighs 100 lbs should carry a backpack weighing no more than 15 lbs. Ideally, you should keep it around 10%. The more you go over the recommended weight, the more risk of injury to your back.
2. Utilize both straps.
Backpacks are designed to be carried using a strap over each shoulder. Using both straps distributes the weight evenly across your shoulders, minimizing the risk of excessive wear or injury.
3. Adjust the straps.
The straps of your backpack should be pulled snug, but not too tight. If your backpack includes a belt or additional straps, use them � especially if you are carrying a lot of weight.
4. Carry only what is needed.
It is easy to accumulate items in your backpack without realizing how much you have. Try to examine what is in your pack on a regular basis to ensure you are only taking what you need.
5. Use roll bags for heavy loads.
If you really need to carry more weight, invest in a bag with wheels. Rolling backpacks or other rolling bags can allow you to carry significantly more weight in comfort and safety.
6. Apply all of the above to your child�s backpack.
If you have one or more children, it is important to train them on how to use backpacks safely � and to check them from time to time.
Enjoy Back Pain Relief
Our chiropractic team is ready to help you get relief from your back pain. If you are suffering from back pain, please contact us to schedule an appointment with an experienced chiropractor.
Gardening is a favorite warm-weather activity for many people. Unfortunately, it can often send them straight to the chiropractor with back pain and stiffness. If you enjoy your garden but your back doesn�t take heart. An estimated�80% of the population has experienced back pain�or will experience it at some point in their lifetime.
It is common, but it doesn�t have to keep you from doing the things you enjoy. There are some fairly simple things you can do to make it easier and less painful.
Stretching is a good way to prevent back pain for nearly any activity. The more limber you are and the more warmed up your muscles are, the more comfortable you will be while you are gardening and afterward.
Stretches for gardeners�aren�t all that different from stretches for other activities. You need to address your hamstrings, triceps, and of course your back. Then you will be ready to get in the dirt and do what you love.
Use Back Friendly Tools and Gardening Methods
It may feel wonderful to get close to the dirt as you dig, breathing in its earthiness, feeling at one with nature, but your back likely does not hold the same appreciation. You can mix it up a little, but allow at least part of your gardening time to the use of tools that are �back friendly.�
Long handled and telescopic tools allow you to do your garden work without overworking your back. This is also great for people who don�t have full range of motion in their backs or who have trouble getting up and down.
Another back saver is a raised container garden. This will put your garden within easy reach, saving you from trying to get on the ground or, worse, feeling like you have to forego a garden because you can�t get around like you once did.
You can set the containers at whatever height you choose and include benches and seats for more comfortable gardening. If you do get on the ground, knee pads or a mat can help reduce some of the stress and prevent some pain.
Change Your Position Frequently
It�s easy to get in the zone and lose track of time, only for your body to remind you when you try to move and are met with painful stiffness. Carry a small timer with you and set it so that you are reminded every 30 minutes to stop, walk around, and stretch a little. This not only prevents pain and stiffness, but it also helps with your circulation and blood flow, even digestion.
You can also vary your garden tasks so that you don�t over-tax a single muscle group. You may weed for a while, then move to your potting bench for a while or pruning trees or shrubs. It isn�t good to stay in one position for too long no matter what you are doing. A physical activity like gardening, though, requires more movement.
Take Care when Bending, Reaching, and Lifting
Gardening involves a lot of reaching, bending, and lifting. When you don�t do it correctly you would wind up with a�sore back�� or worse.
To lift:�Don�t bend at your waist. Squat, grasp the object with both hands while pulling it close to your body. Straighten your legs slowly, letting those muscles to the work of lifting. You may also use a dolly, wheelbarrow, or wagon to move heavy items around and minimize the need to lift them.
Push:�Pushing doesn�t strain the back as much as pulling does. Push your seeder, wheelbarrow, and lawnmower and try to avoid pulling as much as possible.
Reaching:�Be careful when you reach, especially if you are reaching to lift. Even something that doesn�t weigh much can throw off your balance or cause you to twist your back. Try to minimize lifting while reaching as much as possible.
Bending:�Keep your knees soft when you bend and try bending from the waist. If you are doing a task that requires bending, take frequent breaks where you can stand upright. If you bend to lift, make sure you use proper lifting techniques.
Gardening can be wonderful for the mind, body, and spirit. It can also be painful if you don�t take the necessary precautions. When you go out to tend your plants, remember these back-saving gardening tips. Your back will thank you.
Most people stretch and hardly pay any attention to it. Throughout the day a person may stretch upon waking or after they�ve been sitting in the same position for a while. They might do some stretches before working out or as part of physical therapy. Stretching often makes us feel better but it might be surprising to discover that it is actually beneficial to optimal body function.
As a person ages their muscles begin to tighten. This is a natural part of the aging process. However, it can cause inhibit range of motion and joint stiffness, making normal day to day activities more difficult. After certain injuries stiffness can set in, causing pain and decreased flexibility.
What many chiropractic patients may be surprised to learn is that stretching is a great complement to chiropractic care. When combined with simple stretches and low impact exercises, chiropractic patients often find that their injuries heal faster, their pain is reduced, and they simply feel better and more energetic. If that isn�t enough to convince you to incorporate stretching into your daily wellness routine, maybe these four compelling benefits will.
Helps Keep The Spine Aligned
When you stretch the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and lower back it will improve your posture by helping to keep your spine in better alignment. When your muscles are not stretched properly they begin to draw up � and it usually isn�t in a uniform or symmetrical manner.
This means that muscles on one side of your spine may draw up more than the muscles on the other side. This can result in your body being pulled to that side, causing your spine to be pulled that way. Stretching prevents this from happening and when combined with consistent chiropractic care it can ensure good spinal health.
Improves Flexibility & Range Of Motion
Most people know, on some level, that stretching improves flexibility and range of motion. However, many do not act on that knowledge and they often wind up at the doctor�s office complaining of back pain. Stretching will make you more flexible which, in turn, will make you less prone to injury.
Your muscles will be able to work as effectively as possible. It is important that you don�t overdo it though. Some people take terrible risks when they stretch, thinking that if they force their bodies into certain positions or if they �bounce� to get a deeper stretch then they will be more flexible. Actually, the reverse is true. Stretching in an unsafe way such as bouncing or forcing your body far beyond its limits will result in injury including pulled muscles and muscle tearing.
Helps Relieve Stress & Detoxify The Body
When you stretch, two very significant things happen. First, your blood flow increases as blood is rushed to the muscles, your organs, and your brain. Secondly, it moves oxygen through these areas. As a result, toxins that have accumulated in your soft tissues are dispelled.
The simple stretching that relieves tension in muscles, combined with the detoxifying effect will help you feel less stressed. Stretching is a great stress management exercise, one you can do just about anywhere. You don�t need any special equipment and you can even do it right at your desk while you are working. A bonus is that you�ll feel the de-stressing effects instantly.
It relies on the body�s natural ability to heal itself by releasing the tension and easing the stiffness of the muscles in that area. The stiffer those muscles are, the more they will hurt when you try to move. By relaxing them through stretching you will find that you move much easier and with less pain.
Stretching has so many great benefits. Talk to your chiropractor about a customized stretching plan that you can do at home. You�ll love what it does for you. If you don�t have a chiropractor, give us a call at (915)850-0900. We�re here to help!
Question: I work at a desk all day and have started to feel pain in my neck, back, shoulders and arms. Can chiropractors help with sitting posture and general posture?
El Paso, TX. Chiropractor, Dr. Alexander Jimenez provides insight into proper sitting posture and general posture through chiropractic.
Have people asked you about using a posture brace to help correct their sitting habits? Chiropractic patients with moderate posture problems, meaning that they may be chronic but are not tied to any spinal column or other medical condition, may benefit from a posture back brace to improve this condition. There are a number of great ones available, and you can see more information about some of the top ones here.
A patient such as this will almost certainly enjoy the quick referral as well as the relatively fast results, and chiropractors get an easy opportunity to help people, which explains why many enter the profession in the first place.
But if the patient does have an underlying chiropractic ailment, a back brace will probably do little if any good. These issues are usually easily diagnosed using a quick examination, and afterwards, treatment is relatively straightforward as well.
All good exams begin with thorough health history, because in most cases, family history is among the most powerful indicators about current issues.
Next, observe the individual’s gait, as how someone walks shows a number of issues. For instance, those who stand or walk with their legs abnormally spread might have fallen arches. Because the bottom of the foot isn’t in appropriate contact with the floor, the whole body has been thrown off kilter, resulting in poor posture. While it isn’t really a chiropractic condition, fallen arches are, as simple as, a referral to an orthopedist.
Moreover, if the patient is experiencing pain, the location can be an indicator as to where the muscles may be weak and there is too much strain on the spine or a different region of the body. Muscle weakness is among the leading causes of poor posture. So, follow-up tests that measure muscle strength and range of movement are usually a good idea.
If the gait examination signals issues in a particular area of the body, the professional should concentrate further diagnostic efforts in that region.
Ultimately, one of the most simple and effective evaluations is just holding a yardstick or comparable object against the patient’s back, so the two of you can definitely see any abnormalities. This comprehensive approach generally describes some of the very frequent chiropractic posture issues, including:
If the neck, lower back, mid back, or any other area is weak and/or inflexible, the individual will probably not see very much posture improvement until these conditions are adjusted and the muscles have been strengthened.
Hunchback is a degenerative spine condition that’s very prevalent in women over 60. While more advanced cases may be life threatening and may require spinal fusion surgery, most men and women respond well to therapeutic adjustments and other treatments.
This condition is much like genetically-induced kyphosis, since there’s no cure but there are several therapies available. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary.
Un-Level Pelvis/Pelvic Tilt:
A pelvic tilt, a lower sacral base, and a femur head discrepancy can indicate a lower extremity source, but not�whether it is an anatomical or functional short leg. A clinical postural exam with lower extremity screening is the only way to make this determination.
Forward Head Posture:
The anterior positioning of the cervical spine. This posture is sometimes called Scholar’s Neck, Wearsie Neck, Hunch & or Reading Neck.It is a posture problem that is due to several factors including sleeping with the head raised too high, prolonged use of computers and cellphones, lack of developed back muscle strength and deficiency of nutrients like calcium. Potential negative effects include tingling and numbness in the arms, and a burning pain between the shoulder blades.
As stated previously, back braces frequently mend postural issues, like slouching. As for structural problems, like scoliosis, more aggressive treatments are needed.
Conventional treatment consists of:
There are a number of biofeedback tools that accurately evaluate patient progress.
As a chiropractor, your patients count on you to get much better. That almost always means accurately assessing the problem, which also means a quick and capable referral or an aggressive and well thought out therapy regimen.
Chiropractic Tips For Good Posture
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