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Springtime Wellness Tip: Preventing Back Pain

As the springtime arrives, many people begin to notice how the lack of physical activity and poor posture throughout the winter months is affecting the health of their backs and necks. dominik-wycislo-122568Millions of Americans suffer from back pain in a given year, and many of these individuals visit healthcare providers, including chiropractors, for acute episodes or to manage chronic back pain (lasting 3 months or greater). As one of the leading causes of disability and lost work days in the United States, back pain can be a serious productivity killer—not to mention lowering overall quality-of-life.

jairo-alzate-45540The back is an organized collection of bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons, all of which work together to coordinate movements of the torso. Complicating diagnosis and treatment, back pain can be caused by disease or injury to any of these components. Most individuals who suffer from back pain do not have a serious underlying disease causing their symptoms; instead, most cases are due to mechanical problems or direct injury to one or more of the components.

Injuries and mechanical issues in the back can come in many forms and levels of severity. Certainly, herniated (degenerated) disc disease, the so-called “slipped disc,” is famous for its ability to limit mobility and even outright disable those who suffer from it. With that said, however, there are countless ways to harm the back, and you don’t even have to leave your bed in the morning or get up from the dinner table to do it: one “funny” motion can cause a twinge that leaves you in pain for weeks. Throw in poor posture or obesity, and you are putting yourself at greater risk of these injuries occurring and increasing the recovery time when they do happen.

While it is true that a variety of treatments are available to relieve back pain, it can be a debilitating condition that impacts work, family, travel, hobbies, and more, so clearly it is better to avoid it altogether. But what can you do to reduce your risk of injuries that cause back pain?

Although it’s not possible to eliminate the risk completely, maintaining good posture and using proper body mechanics throughout the day and especially during physically-intensive tasks—particularly heavy lifting, reduces the chances of injury and, consequently, of back pain.
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For individuals who sit at a desk for prolonged periods of time, do frequent check-ins of your posture. Are you slouching? Slouching can increase pressure on the spine. It’s safer for you to maintain a neutral posture by sitting upright and keeping the ears, shoulders, and hips in alignment with one another. Having the chair (and even work surfaces) be adjustable can help you reach and maintain this neutral posture more easily.

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Frequent breaks to stand or walk can provide some relief throughout the day. Get assistance for carrying heavy loads by asking another person to help or use a cart or dolly. If you must carry the load yourself, use the legs (not the back) to lift it, keep the weight close to the body near the waist, and do not turn or twist. If you must stand for a long time, try using a footrest, and alternate which foot is on the floor. Ensure that the work surface is elevated to a comfortable height.

Keep in mind that many back injuries occur outside of the workplace; continue to be mindful of your posture and body mechanics throughout the entire day. Finally, educate yourself about ergonomics in the workplace and learn what resources your employer offers, if any.

christopher-campbell-40367Visit your chiropractor to discuss ways to improve your posture and address any underlying spinal problems that may be exacerbating your inability to maintain good posture throughout the day.

 

 

 

Love Your Heart: How Physical and Mental Health Affect Your Heart

February is American Heart Month, Sponsored by the American Heart Association

2podhmrvlik-mayur-galaHeart disease is the most common cause of death in the United States. Although people often associate heart disease with the male members of the population, heart disease is the number one cause of fatalities in both men and women alike! According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, heart disease and cancer bypass all other causes of death by a long shot for both males and females, each with over 15% percentage points more than the third leading cause of death.

When people think of heart disease, they picture a heart attack: an abrupt, acute onset of severe pain and pressure in the chest, arms, back, neck, or abdomen. This onset of symptoms is frequently observed in men, but for women the symptoms of a heart attack might not be so glaringly obvious.

What is Heart Disease?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, coronary heart disease—often simply called heart disease—is the main form of heart disease. It is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart that can lead to heart attack. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. Heart disease is one of several cardiovascular diseases, which are diseases of the heart and blood vessel system.

What Are The Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women?

For women, the symptoms of a heart attack can be less severe. They can involve
some type of pain, discomfort, or pressure, but that is not always the case. Women are much more likely to experience a heart attack that has no severe symptoms or chest pain. And, sometimes, women may have a heart attack without chest pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms that are more likely to persist in a female heart attack include:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, tf_j4ytvg70-alisa-antonupper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual fatigue

Additionally, women’s symptoms are seen to occur more frequently when women are resting (as opposed to exercise-induced heart attacks), or even when they’re asleep. Mental stress also may trigger heart attack symptoms in women.

I’m A Woman. Am I At Risk of Having a Heart Attack?

Maybe, and the risk increases as you age. Several risk factors affect both men and women, but the research indicates that other factors having a strong influence on the occurrence of heart disease in women:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Inactivity
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy complications.
  • Mental stress and depression.
Did You Say Mental Stress and Depression?

Yes– you heard us right. Women’s overall well-being is strongly influenced by their mental health and their ability to control their stress level. Women’s hearts are affected by stress and depression more than men’s. For women and men alike, stress, the inability to relax, and depression make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment.

So How Can Chiropractic Care, Massage Therapy, and Mental Health Improve My Heart Health?

The good news for women is that there are many therapies they can utilize to combat the risk factors for heart disease. Those therapies include anything that can improve physical and mental health, such as regular chiropractic and massage therapy from a licensed massage therapist. Women can significantly improve the quality of their life by managing their physical and mental health.

Here at Align Chiropractic and Massage, we work hand-in-hand with women who are looking to elevate their physical and mental well-being. With chiropractic care and massage therapy, women can learn to improve their physical and mental health, love their hearts, and ultimately reduce their risk of heart disease later in life.

If you’re looking for a wellness program, visit our Anchorage chiropractor and Anchorage massage therapist for a treatment plan to get you started on your journey to heart health.

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Do I Nееd Tо See A Chirорrасtоr or A Physical Thеrарiѕt?

pkef6tt3c08-brendan-churchWhen уоu аrе injured or in раin, hоw do уоu dесidе whether to visit a chiropractor оr a physical therapist? In mаnу rеѕресtѕ, these two оссuраtiоnѕ аrе quite similar, but there is differences. Hеrе’ѕ what уоu nееd tо know in order to mаkе the right decision on who to see to receive the care that is appropriate for you! Continue reading “Do I Nееd Tо See A Chirорrасtоr or A Physical Thеrарiѕt?”

What to Expect at Your First Chiropractic Appointment

So you’ve decided to see a chiropractor, you’ve made a great decision. While it may be nerve-racking to go see a chiropractor, it’s nothing to be nervous about as you will more than always leave feeling better than before. You chiropractor’s goal in the initial appointment is to determine the best treatments for your condition based off the information you give them and your exam. Continue reading “What to Expect at Your First Chiropractic Appointment”

Back Pain and Beyond: What Chiropractors Treat

Chiropractors (Doctors of Chiropractic) are best known as health care providers who treat back and neck pain using chiropractic manipulations and adjustments. You might have also seen a billboard for a chiropractor with an 800 number you can call if you have been in a motor vehicle accident and suffered the neck injury that is commonly referred to as “whiplash.” It is true that chiropractors regularly see patients with these conditions, but you might be surprised by what else they are able to treat. Continue reading “Back Pain and Beyond: What Chiropractors Treat”

Chiropractic Medicine and it’s Relationship to Alzheimer’s Patient Care

Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common mental disease affecting senior citizens in America? With November being National Alzheimer’s Awareness month, it’s time we bring awareness to this epidemic and what we can do to help prevent it or slow it down. Continue reading “Chiropractic Medicine and it’s Relationship to Alzheimer’s Patient Care”

Chiropractic and Massage Therapy for the Winter Blues

odaqbedkfia-sylwia-bartyzelWith the reduction in daylight hours observed here in Alaska during the winter, many patients complain to their primary care provider or a mental health professional about the increasing impact the absence of light has on their mood and behavior. This condition, referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is described as a form of depression that occurs during the same season each year, most commonly during the fall and winter months. For those of us in the Arctic, this can mean a more drastic impact on our feeling of well-being and ultimately our quality of life.

Continue reading “Chiropractic and Massage Therapy for the Winter Blues”

The Role of Exercise and Posture in the Treatment and Prevention of Back Pain

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Over and over again, studies are released to the public which state that if you want to have a longer and healthier life, then you have to live a healthy lifestyle. People focus on the popular fad diet at the time and on minimal exercise. You would think that by now we would have figured out that sitting on the couch watching The Biggest Loser does not constitute a workout routine. Continue reading “The Role of Exercise and Posture in the Treatment and Prevention of Back Pain”

Why Do I Have To Keep Going Back To The Chiropractor?

“Why do I have to keep going back to the chiropractor?” is a common complaint from patients who grow frustrated at having to return to their chiropractor’s office for multiple visits. These patients may wonder if they should begin looking for a different chiropractor because their current one hasn’t fixed their problem, or it goes away temporarily but keeps returning. Continue reading “Why Do I Have To Keep Going Back To The Chiropractor?”