Spinal Health Tips
By Dr. Michael Horowitz
Over the years I've developed an important list of points worthy of sharing. These are called my Spinal Health Tips & something that can make a difference in how you feel day to day.
- Chiropractic isn't just for those in pain. Chiropractic helps prevent problems from developing, keeps you in proper spinal alignment, flexible, mobile & functioning at your best.
- Sleep is essential to feeling good, healing & dealing with various forms of stress. Are you getting 7-8hr of sleep per night?
- Mattress selection is important. Though personal choice comes into play, a medium to firm mattress tends to offer the greatest amount of support. Water beds, air mattresses & futons offer next to no support. If you wake up in the morning with back stiffness, it may be time to evaluate your mattress.
- Pillow options are endless. You can spend $4 or $400, either extreme is a bad choice. The pillow is there to support you while lying on your back (neck lordosis support) or side (shoulder breadth support). Too many pillows or too few can aggravate the joints & muscles of the neck. A contour pillow made of high density memory foam or water pillow can be great options. Stiff neck in the morning? It may be time to evaluate which pillow you've been using.
- Sleep Posture makes a big difference on how you feel in the morning. Sleeping on your stomach, though may feel comfortable, is the worst possible position. The stress on your low back & neck muscles/joints while sleeping on your stomach are immense. Best positions are side or back. The right mattress/pillow can make all the difference in encouraging propler sleep posture.
- Sitting has been proven in studies to be perhaps one of the most stressful positions for the low back, especially when healing from an injury. In the world we live sitting is not an option so proper sitting posture can make a big difference. Also frequent breaks, stretching & a regular post-work activity routine can make all the difference.
- Crossing Legs while sitting is one of the most common things I see. Do we do it because of habit, cause it's comfortable, cause it's polite? Crossing your legs (ankle or hamstring on thigh) places a significant amount of asymmetrical stress in the low back & pelvis. This can lead to misalignment which can lead to pain & discomfort. Avoid crossing your legs & twisting your body while sitting & at work.
- 90-degree Rule: when sitting at a computer or desk consider that the angle between the ankle, knee, hip & elbow joints shoulder be 90-degrees (at a right angle to each other). This places the least amount of stress in these joints and allows you to leave that seated posture with more freedom & a less stiff achy sensation.
- Laptops - great technological invention but horrible for posture. Screen and keyboard are inches a part. There is no possible way to use a keyboard for more than 2-3hrs without placing a significant amount of stress on the neck, shoulders & spine (remote or plug in keyboards can help).
- Telephone/Cell Phones are all great inventions that we use everyday. If you're using a phone without a headset for more than 1-hr/day there is a good chance you are experiencing chronic headaches or neck/shoulder stiffness. A headset can make a huge difference. Bluetooth or earpiece connection can save you from experiencing pain, discomfort & irritation!
- DRUGS - take it from a son on a pharmacist, I realize there is a drug for every symptom you could imagine. And in some of these cases the prescribed medication is essential to the treatment & healing of that symptom or condition. Where my concern comes in is where people "pop pills" for every ache, pain & discomfort they have thinking that those drugs are actually healing the problem. From the musculoskeletal system (muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, neves) drugs most often mask the symptom. They don't treat the cause of that symptom. This causes a lot of concern for a chiropractor who's role is to help find the SOURCE & treat that source of the problem. Take is easy on your stomach, kidneys & liver (organs that get beat up badly by drugs).. find the source & the symptoms will be solved.
- Mouse issues: ever feel that right (or left) sided shoulder blade ache/pain? Ever wonder where it came from? Consider the use of the mouse. How many times a day do you reach forward towards that mouse in the process of using your computer? The further the mouse is from your hand the more stress & pressure that gets placed through that joint. Chiropractic can help! So can using keyboard shortcuts & keeping the mouse closer to your body.
- Headaches are quite common in todays world and although there are many difference sources that cause headaches, studies have found the close to 70% of headaches are classified as "tension headaches". This means accumulated stress builds up in the muscles & joints of the spine leading to spine misalignment, muscular hypertonicity (tight muscles) and the pinched nerve. Result - headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, shoulder pain, poor concentration, fatigue, irritability, etc. What's an affective way to treat this problem? Chiropractic & massage therapy to reduce accumulated stress/tension and restore proper nerve function & joint mechanics.
- 8-12 pounds: the average head weights 8-12 pounds, equivalent to a watermelon or bowling ball. No wonder so many people exerience headaches, neck & back tension throughout the day. Consider your posture... if your "heavy" head is tilted forward while reading, writing or working on the computer, that's a lot of weight for the muscles of the neck & shoulder to have to endure. Eventually something has to give. It's usually a muscle, tendon, ligament, joint & nerve. Viola - pain & discomfort. Chiropractic can help! So can improved position & posture!
- Symmetry in an Asymmetrical World: consider that for the most part our bodies are build symmetrical (two hands, two feet). But the world we live in a far from symmetrical. We become left or right handed, left or right foot dominant, we carry things asymmetrically (purse, groceries), we play asymmetrically (golf, tennis, softball, etc), we work asymmetrically (phone, mouse, writing), we drive asymmetrically, etc. If we live asymmetrically then eventually we will cary stress asymmetrically. This world we live in encourages misalignment of the spine & accumualtion of stress/tension in our muscles.
- 5 Shock Absorbing Systmes of the Body
- Prevention & Maintenance
- Spinal Hygiene for Dental Hygiene
- Flat Feet, Fallen Arches
- Orthotic Inserts
- Orthotic Shoes
Vancouver Chiropractic Lingo
What is Chiropractic?
What are the 7-Habits of Highly Healthy People
3. PMA = Positive Mental Attitude
4. R&R = Rest & Relaxation (& Rejuvenation)
5. L&L&F = Love, Laughter & Friendship
6. Stress Management
7. Spinal Hygiene - a flexible spine & powerful nervous system