Don’t spend all day staring at a screen

Dr. England’s Healthy Lifestyle Advice

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One thing I constantly tell my kids is that they need to turn off their screens. Their whole lives revolve around the stupid glowing rectangles. Games, movies, annoying Caillou and even schoolwork are all there. They do good things with technology, things that make me impressed and jealous. When I was their age we were in awe because a neighbor could pick up a fifth TV station with their rabbit ears. Now my kids watch any episode of any show they could ever want. When confronted with a commercial they simply have no idea what is happening or how to skip it.

It is easy to tell my kids why they cannot spend all day staring at a screen, but the same reasons are even more true for myself. I rationalize my screen time with often true sentiments like “This email is important” or “This person on the internet is wrong, I have to tell him!”. The issue is not with technology itself but the ridiculous positions we assume while we use it. We are so used to seeing someone Pinteresting on their phone in a waiting room that we don’t even care that they are hunched over like Quasimodo. We don’t even think twice when we see someone hacking away on a computer with posture that would make their grandmother cry. Have you paid attention to how you hold your neck, shoulders, and hands as you scroll on Facebook for hours and hours while the kids kill each other in the other room?

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The position that we us to checking our fantasy team causes a named condition: upper crossed syndrome. This image is to prove that I didn’t make it up (Rehabilitation of the Spine, Leibenson). Symptoms associated with UCS are headaches, neck pain, back pain, concentration issues, shoulder pain, tingling in the arms and hands, weakness in the arms and hands, tension, etc.. It sure seems like 99% of us deal with these issues in one way or another, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Changing how you watch cat videos is the first step, the second is to visit England Chiropractic. Your back and neck needs help beyond what you can do at home. We can help restore motion in the spinal joints and assist in reducing the tension in the muscles. Chiropractic care has been shown to be very effective in treating upper crossed syndrome, its associated symptoms and much more. I know from experience; I’m not only a chiropractor, I’m also an upper crossed survivor that typed this entry while hunched like a melting snowman.

-Dr. Aaron England

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Start Being Active Today

Dr. England’s Healthy Lifestyle Advice

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Someone much wiser than me once said, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the next best time is today.”  I think of that saying every time I hear a patient tell me that they are too old to feel better, or it’s too late to try and improve their abilities. Of course it is easier to instill proper habits while one is young, but it is never too late to improve oneself. There are real issues that slow us down as we age, but we should never quit trying to stay active.

When we are young our bodies are pliable and designed to bend and absorb the falls and clumsiness of youth. As we age we trade that movement for strength and stability, but even that is lost as we become sedentary. Research has shown that lack of activity is a driving factor in many of the problems associated with aging. I don’t think that people hit a point of life and just decide to sit down and give up. Instead, what I’ve seen with patients is they avoid things that hurt until they have whittled down their activities to shuffling and reaching for the remote. It all starts with a little back pain after mowing the lawn, which leads you to hiring someone down the street to do it. Then you quit fight club because you get a little shoulder pain from dropping blows on your opponent. The achy knee stops you from walking the dog, and then the neck pain keeps you from windsurfing on the Hood River. Before you know it you consider walking around the store your weekly workout. You dread attending your granddaughter’s wedding because the standing and walking will kill you. This pattern not only leads to pain but also other complications like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and multiple chins.

How can this cycle be prevented or broken? The first thing is to try to move a little more than you are moving now. You aren’t going to become Jack LaLanne in a day, but you can commit to gradual improvement daily. After a few days has turned into weeks and a few weeks into months, you’ll start to see the difference. As you move you will start to remember why you stopped in the first place, especially the aches and pains. That is where chiropractic care is important. Those aches and pains that force you to the couch can be addressed and you can stay active or begin to become active. The more active you remain the better your chance to avoid assisted living or the nursing home in your twilight years.

Speaking of nursing homes, have you considered why people end up there? Not being able to care for oneself is the main cause outside of cognitive issues. That is why being active is not only about competing in the Olympics or impressing the ladies, it’s function. It is what helps you get out of bed in the morning, off of the toilet during the day and off of the floor after a tumble. Correcting the problems in your body that cause pain will improve your quality of life.

Start being active today, and if you did start 20 years ago make another commitment to stay active. Visit England Chiropractic to correct the pains and aches that try to plant you on the couch.

-Dr. Aaron England

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