Holiday Health

Christmas can be a magical time of year. It can also be difficult. Family and travel can cause stress and pains, both real and emotional. There are some tricks to thriving this Christmas season.

The first thing: Take time for you. Don’t let the pressure of the season to throw you off from what you need to do. Don’t skip those workouts or other wellness needs. I know you think that you need to re-clean the house again before those visitors arrive but consider this: The only people that judge you are the ones that you don’t want to come back ever. Make sure you are getting those chiropractic adjustments and massage visits.

Second: Remember that this is supposed to be fun. There is no such thing as the “perfect Christmas”. The best Christmas I remember is the one where my wife and I were stuck in the Midwest without family nearby. It was nothing like the Christmases before or after. We ended up eating at a classy Denny’s because an ice storm had kept us from getting to the grocery store. Nothing says Christmas dinner like a Grand Slam breakfast and a waitress that didn’t want to be there. The point is, Christmas (and pretty much anything else in life) is what we make it.

Third: Get adjusted and massaged before and/or after you travel. Loading luggage, driving, flying, and sleeping in random beds are all hard on your body. Get right before you leave and get fixed when you come back. If you want, I’ll even write an official looking letter restricting your activities to watching football and eating treats all Christmas. Your wife might not honor it, but at least we tried.

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No Time Like The Present

Time travel movies have taught us that making one small change in the past can drastically alter the present. One awkward high school prom in the 1950’s drastically changed Marty McFly’s life in 1985. Doesn’t that mean that one small change now can drastically change our near future? The reality is that dramatic changes don’t usually last. It’s the simple and easy changes that allow consistency to really change us.

I follow some wellness and fitness accounts on Instagram. They love to post things that say: “eat this, not that!” and they will post a pizza with a red X through it, and next to it have a bowl of kale and thistles inside a green circle. No one in the history of forever has ever wanted a pizza but been satisfied with a nasty salad. The simple change to start is to eat two pieces of pizza instead of three. Drink water instead of soda. Walk to lunch instead of ride. Park farther away from the door. You don’t have to be perfect to be better.

Don’t let little things be true for the worse. Often people stop doing something because it hurts, or they are worried that it will cause pain. They stop doing specific exercises, and eventually they stop doing almost all exercises. Eventually they consider the walk to the mailbox as their daily workout. It does not have to be that way. Chiropractic care can prevent this negative slide. It helps reduce or prevent pain, and can improve function and motion. Give us a call today, make that positive change to make your life better.

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How To Sleep Better

How great is a good night’s sleep? It is amazing! Americans spend a lot of money searching for the wonderful coffee commercial morning. The one with that feeling of waking up to the morning sunbeams, having a relaxing stretch and starting the day feeling great. How do we normally feel in the morning? Like a dog’s chew toy that was left in the yard overnight. It is absurd how many patients I see that tell me that their pains happened after sleeping. It an embarrassing answer when someone asks how you got hurt:

“How did you hurt yourself? Did you do a sick trick on your skateboard?”

“No, I was sleeping.”

We should get seven to nine hours a night sleeping, but to a lot of people that sounds miserable. They know that that much time laying in bed will bring aches in the hips and shoulders, tightness in the back and a kink in the neck. Sleep is meant to be rejuvenating, not punishing. Here are some tips to help you get that coffee commercial morning that you crave:

  1. Make sure you have a good bed. That sounds easy enough, but what is a good bed? A good bed is a mattress that is firm enough to support your weight, but soft enough that it does not create pressure points in the hips and shoulders. Everyone is different with different needs. I suggest trying a lot of beds and finding your personal sweet spot. It is easier to make a firm bed soft than it is to make a soft bed firm.
  2. Relax physically and mentally before bed. The tension that we carry during the day is going to try and go somewhere at night. I recommend turning off all the screens that you can. Watching TV, using a computer and scrolling on your phone all create eye strain and muscle tension. Read a book, meditate, stretch, sit on the porch and watch the sunset, or take a bath. Do something that relaxes you and gets you away from electronics.
  3. Try to create a dark and cool sleeping environment, the kind that our ancestors enjoyed not that many generations ago. We don’t have to sleep outside under the stars, but creating a safe, quiet and cool resting space will help our natural sleep cycle.
  4. Chiropractic care can help relieve any aches, pains and other issues that accumulate during our daily lives. Our modern habits create tension in our shoulders, neck, and back. Chiropractic is the safe, effective remedy.

Sleep can be restful and wonderful. Hopefully these tips can re-kindle your love of sleep!

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Warming Up For Summer

I think we all love summer. The cold, dark days of winter are mostly behind us. The flowers are blooming, the days are longer, and the grass is growing. It’s a wonderful time to shake off the winter rust and return to an active lifestyle. Walking, hiking, gardening, biking, golfing…there are a lot of -ings that we do! These things are all great for our physical and mental wellbeing. As we start to get ready for summer, it is smart to follow the example of Major League Baseball.

I always look forward to the Mariners starting their Spring Training. The players return from their winter whatever and start to get ready for their summer jobs. The first few days are spent jogging, stretching and lightly throwing. These professional baseball players gradually get their bodies ready for activities. If these pros need a few days or weeks to get ready for summer, how important is it for us weekend warriors to prepare ourselves? Too many injuries occur in the summer because we have been sitting on the couch for the last five months, binge watching Game of Thrones and suddenly we think that we can walk five miles up and down hills.

Just like any other activity, we must allow our bodies time to adapt and build up its strength and stamina. Start slow, take appropriate breaks and do not think that you can suddenly jump back into an activity that you haven’t done since fall. As you do this, you will avoid major problems and injuries. Minor aches are expected and normal but give us a call before they become major issues. Chiropractic care should be an essential part to your summer activities.

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Chiropractic care can help you kick your pain killer habit

Anyone who has been in severe pain, like after a surgery or bad accident, can attest that there are some great pain killers available. There are times when ice, rest, and a little Advil just won’t do the trick. That excruciating pain is what prescription pain killers, or opioids, are designed to help. They are not bad things when used correctly. People get in trouble, even to the point of a crippling addiction, when they use these medications longer than intended. It usually happens gradually, often because the pain becomes a daily companion. They need something to help them get out of bed, or to be able to work. They don’t have another answer, and the strong drug has been the only effective solution to that point. They are usually thinking about just getting through the day, and plan to deal with the long-term issues later.

Thankfully, research and experience is showing that there is a way to prevent and to break out of pain killer dependency. Chiropractic care has been shown time and time again to be a powerful tool to deal with pain, both new and chronic. It gets to the cause of the pain and corrects it instead of just hiding it.

I have had the privilege to see this work in many lives. I have seen patients that consider their pain killers to be a daily supplement. Some dread a visit from the grandkids because playing with them is just too much to take. Others that plan their day around their afternoon headache. It does not have to be that way!

Call 888-5477 and set up your visit today. We will talk about how your new or old pains became a part of your life, and then start the process of making them go away.

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How to Combat Text Neck

I can’t be the first person to suggest that it might not be good for you to always be on your devices. It’s in the news seemingly every night. And yet, most of use continue to be forever looking down and scrolling for the latest in Mason Jar related fashion or updates from high school acquaintances.

The physical issues associated with our device addiction are many, from pain in our thumb to severe headaches. Not to mention eye strain, neck tension, shoulder tightness, or tingling in the fingers. We were not meant to be that forward posture for a long time. We are supposed to move, look around, change positions, and be loose and free. Holding our phones brings out some of the worst in our bodies.

What can be done? I’ll bypass the obvious solution of getting off our phones. I know, just like the recommendation to avoid high heels, that it’s simply not going to happen. They are too convenient, too engrained in our lives, and too darn fun. The next thing to do is minimize the effects of our poor decisions.

The first step is to reverse to the anterior and downward posture. Instead of having the shoulders slumped and the head down, look up as high as you can and roll your shoulders back. You’ll look like an angel ascending to the heavens. This stretch should be done at least once every five minutes of work.

Another way to release the tension is to do a push-up in a corner or doorway. Push the shoulder blades together and look up, really opening the chest and shoulders. Third, and my favorite, is to find a soft ball, like a yoga ball or basketball, and lay backward on it and stretch your arms like a starfish. This lets your tight chest muscles relax and moves your shoulder blades back to where they want to be.

The second step to reverse the effects of text neck is to alter your posture while you use your phone. This means holding your phone high over your head, switching which hand you use to hold your phone, or propping the phone on something to take your hands out of the equation.

The third, and maybe most important, is to get adjusted regularly. If we can’t, or won’t, remove the factors in our lives that cause problems then we need to regularly fix ourselves. Adjustments help us move better, release the built-up tension, and to remove pain. Adjustments help alleviate headaches and can remove the tingling in your hands and arms. Getting adjusted might even help you Pintrest a little better, and help you find the perfect pallet related decoration.

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Bracing for Better Posture

Our modern world can be brutal on our bodies. Everything we do tends to force us to look down, slump our shoulders, and hold our arms out in front. Computers, phones, driving, and innumerable other tasks put us in this position. It makes it worse that many of us ignore Grandma’s advice to quit slouching. Almost everyone carries their head too far forward, their shoulders down, and their back arched. Deep down inside we all fear that we will end up with a hunchback that makes Quasimodo look normal.

What can be done? How can we fight against the ravages of life and gravity? One of the questions I get often is “should I buy a posture brace?”. These braces are designed to keep your shoulders back where they are supposed to go. That sounds all fine and dandy, until you take it off. Do you know what happens? You relax, and your shoulders go right back to where they were before. You haven’t taught yourself anything, except how to suffer through an uncomfortable brace.

The best way to correct posture and get rid of the unfortunate pains that come with it, is to strengthen your back. You can train your body to be good without you telling it to do so. I use an elastic tape, the same kind that athletes use, to help remind patients to maintain proper posture. It doesn’t force them back, but when they relax their shoulders it tugs enough to remind them to be better. That starts the process of strengthening the back muscles. That, coupled with some simple stretches and exercises, can train the body to stand how it was designed.

As you start to train your body, you might feel “stuck” or restricted when trying to stand up. That is likely due to the years of incorrect posture causing dysfunction in your spine. Chiropractic adjustments are valuable in increasing and maintaining proper movement in your back, further assisting you in your quest for the perfect posture.

Real improvement in life takes effort. There are few things that can be improved through passive activity. Great posture is something that can become natural, through a little self-awareness and discipline.

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Headaches Are Not Normal

Our bodies are amazing machines that continually perform amazing processes throughout the day. We take all that for granted, and with good reason. For instance, think about how you are breathing right now. Are you breathing in while you read this? How about now? Now? Chances are, now you are thinking more about how you are breathing than you would like. When our bodies function normally, we can focus on the things around us. When our bodies are hurt, dysfunctional, or sick, we become distracted, irritable, and sometimes downright mean.

There are many reasons for our bodies to not be right, too many to even pretend to list here. One of the most common ailments is headaches. According to a Google search, and confirmed by Wikipedia, over 33 million people will suffer from migraines this year. That number only includes migraines and ignores the many other types of headaches. Hopefully you have never had a migraine, but if you have you will attest that they are miserable. All headaches, really, are dumb.

There are many things that can trigger headaches; stress, physical trauma, repetitive work, children, etc. The thing that we all want to know while suffering from a headache is “how do I get rid of this thing?”. That is where chiropractic comes in to the picture. Well, we should have been in the picture before the headache got this bad, but I’m not here to make you feel guilty. Chiropractic care has been shown to be effective to not only help resolve headaches, but also to prevent them from returning. The adjustment, among other things, helps relieve pressure in the neck and shoulders. That releases the tension in the neck muscles that support the head and move the face. That reaction alone can be enough to provide significant relief, but we don’t stop there. Using various forms of massage, including Graston Technique and trigger point therapy, the whole treatment is designed to help restore the neck and shoulders to a healthier, and less headachy, state.

If you are suffering from them, give us a call at 888-5477 to make an appointment. Headaches are common, but they are not normal. They are not supposed to happen, and they can go away.

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Growing Old

Every person, while still young, knew someone who was old. They likely introduced you to sayings like:

Growing old isn’t for the faint of heart.
Growing old isn’t for sissies.
Growing old is bad, but I guess it is better than the alternative.

Growing old isn’t easy, but a wise man once said “Don’t complain about growing old, it’s a luxury denied to many”. All of us will lose to Father Time, but life doesn’t have to be full of aches and pains. We have ways to minimize and delay the pains associated with getting older.

One of the greatest methods to delay the decay of aging is movement. Our bodies crave motion. It helps lubricate our joints. It strengthens our bones and maintains our muscles. Our circulation and lymph drainage are improved. It stimulates and maintains our nervous system, including our proprioceptors that help us maintain balance. One of the main reasons that elderly patients end up in assisted living is a loss of strength and function. Moving, especially appropriate exercise, helps us keep both strength and
function late into life.

Nutrition is another great tool to delay the aging process. When fed appropriately, our body can repair and replace its aging cells effectively. Simple sugars and flours can cause inflammation that affects both our bowels and our joints. Whole grains, proteins, fruits and veggies give our bodies the means it needs to keep itself in top form.

Chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy are also crucial to staying healthy later into life. Chiropractic keeps joints moving how they are supposed to, eliminating both inflammation and compensation. It also restores proper range of motion and helps prevent many types of injuries.
Massage therapy reduces inflammation, swelling, and promotes lymph flow. They both are crucial to helping people move and feel great.

We can help you feel better, and maintain your abilities, regardless of where you are on life’s path. Whether a young buck or a grizzled veteran, give us a call and we will help you be your best.

 

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Stress Awareness Month

Stress Awareness Month

Someone, somewhere had the great idea to have a Stress Awareness Month. I think that is the last thing that needed an awareness campaign. We are all keenly aware of how stressed out we are in our lives. Every time we see a news report about stress we stress out over our need to be less stressed. If we don’t figure something out with our stres,s our hearts will explode like the Death Star at the end of Star Wars (or the other Star Wars, or the other one…Seriously, there’s a Death Star in every other Star Wars movie, it’s time to quit recycling that plot line). Everyone already knows that they are stressed and that being stressed is bad. What we need is a Treatment of Stress Awareness Month, to let people know there are real solutions to the problem.

A piece of advice that gets shared on Facebook is to remove the stressors in your life. That is probably the worst solution possible; it is impossible to remove those things from our lives because those things are our lives. Make a list of what stresses you out and then count how many of those things you can get rid of without faking your own death. Chances are there aren’t as many as you would like. How do you deal with things that drive you nuts but aren’t going anywhere? Luckily, here are two proven ways.

STRESS SOLUTION #1

The best thing to do is treat the physical manifestations of stress. Tension, aches, pains, and irritability are all consequences of being stressed. A chiropractic adjustment helps those things by relieving pressure in the joints, improving range of motion, and releasing endorphins in the body. All of which will help you feel better, move better, and live better. Coupling an adjustment with a therapeutic massage is a home run. Some might say that this is a backwards way of dealing with stress, but I have found it is
easier to live if you feel well.

STRESS SOLUTION #2

The other great strategy for dealing with stress is changing your mindset. I can hear you moaning now, “Oh great, Aaron is about to tell us that the word for opportunity and problem is the same in some language that I don’t speak”. The truth is that all stress is the same to our bodies. Physically we cannot tell the difference between a wedding and funeral (and sometimes we can’t mentally, either). Stress is our body’s way of dealing with stuff, so applying a positive mindset really can make us feel better. I know as well as anyone that it is hard to stay positive when your kid writes in permanent marker on the new hardwood floors or puts a plastic plate in the microwave for five minutes for literally no reason at all. Complaining and whining is the popular thing to do, but it limits our ability to cope and to deal with stresses. Staying positive is more than a cliché saying, it is the truth.

Of course, there are other ideas for dealing with stress, but these two methods are tried and true. What has worked for you? Comment below and tell us how you deal with stress.

–Dr. Aaron England

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