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Does Posture Really Affect Breathing and Lung Capacity?

Does Posture Really Affect Breathing and Lung Capacity?

Have you ever tried to blow up a balloon while someone was sitting on it? Obviously, this would not be an easy task. If you sit down and lean over, stretching your hands toward the floor in front of your feet, your breathing is far more difficult, because the two balloons in your chest—your lungs—cannot be filled as easily with air.

What does this extreme example tell us? Quite simply, the more restrictions you place on your breathing, the harder it becomes. Leaning over squeezes your lungs, making them smaller, and decreasing your breathing volume. Shallow breathing means less oxygen into your system. Less oxygen means less energy.

A 2006 report by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed some striking results based on posture. Using 70 able-bodied participants in wheelchairs, the study found that bad posture does indeed affect breathing and lung capacity. They tested slumped seating, normal seating, standing and a special posture that imitates standing spinal alignment (WO-BPS). This special posture involves tilting the bottom of a seat with lumbar support—with the spine “against the back part of the seat without ischial [sitting bone] support.”

They found that slumping produced the worst lung capacity and expiratory flow (LC-EF). No surprise there. Normal sitting was better. WO-BPS was even better—in some cases as good as standing posture in both lung capacity and flow.

Slumping in a chair produces bad results, but so can slouching or rounding your shoulders while standing. Sitting or standing straight for a few minutes after slouching most of your life is not good enough. Your muscles, tendons and ligaments become trained by constant slouching. You need to train them with an entirely new habit. You need to create a new “upright” lifestyle.

Tips to help maintain good posture

  • Sleep on a good bed. Too soft a mattress can be bad for your back. You want the mattress to support your spine so that it’s not misshapen by poor support.
  • Normal weight. If you have excess weight, particularly across the abdomen, your body has to work harder to stay upright. A big belly weakens the stomach muscles, pulls the back muscles and makes them work extra hard to keep you erect. Left too long, this can result in back pain and even agonizing spasms. Leg lifts while laying on your back can help strengthen your stomach muscles and give your back a break.
  • Regular exercise. This not only helps to keep the weight down, but it tones your muscles and helps to keep you flexible so that correct posture is easier.
  • Keep a healthy spine. See your chiropractor regularly for spinal adjustments to address misalignments and keep your spine limber. Any pain that develops here will make it very difficult to maintain correct posture.
  • Good vision. If you have problems seeing, it might cause you to hunch over in order to see more clearly. Be sure to have your eyes checked regularly.
  • Good environment. Make certain everything fits you properly. Properly fitting clothes can help with posture—nothing too tight. Also, make certain your chair at work is at the right height. If your legs dangle, get a footrest to keep the excess pressure off your legs.
Automobile Head Restraints Prevent Injuries—Use Them Correctly!

Automobile Head Restraints Prevent Injuries—Use Them Correctly!

Many people are under the mistaken impression that the head-sized extension at the top of your car’s seat is a head rest. It’s actually not a place to rest your weary head during a long drive, but rather a safety feature called a head restraint that is there to help prevent whiplash in the event of a rear-end collision. And having it adjusted properly can mean the difference between emerging unscathed and enduring weeks of neck pain, along with the cost and inconvenience of medical treatment. 

Whiplash is the most common type of injury in an auto accident. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has conducted studies showing that the proper use of head restraints can reduce the incidence of whiplash by as much as 40%. Russ Rader of the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) explains what happens when you are involved in a rear end collision: “The head restraint is designed to work with your vehicle’s seat; it keeps your body and head moving together. The problem comes in if your head lags behind your body and snaps backward. That’s what leads to neck injury, or what’s commonly known as whiplash. Modern head restraints are designed to prevent whiplash, and that’s why they’re so much taller than they used to be.” 

One problem is that some people find the newest head restraint designs to be uncomfortable. Some of the common complaints from users at Automedia.com include this one from the owner of a Volkswagen Jetta: “The front headrest points so forward that I get neck pain after just a few miles of driving.” Then there’s this one from a Subaru owner: “Unless you enjoy your face aiming toward your crotch, you may not be able to find a comfortable position for the headrest or your head.” 

One of the reasons for the above complaints is that, in order to get good reviews from the IIHS (many people check the IIHS’s ratings for vehicles before they purchase a car) and comply with the regulations established by the Federal Government for head restraints, auto manufacturers must provide head restraints that meet specific criteria. In particular, the head restraint must be no more than 2.2 inches from the driver’s head and it must be two or more inches higher than was previously required.  

A head restraint can prevent whiplash only if it is as close to your head as possible when a collision happens. When hit from behind, your head snaps quickly backward, then forward, which causes the muscles and tendons in the neck to overstretch and tear. If the head can’t snap back very far, there is much less chance of an injury occurring.  

Most head restraints adjust upward and downward, and some also tilt forward and back. The best position for a head restraint is one in which the head is as close to it as possible, ensuring it is no more than two inches away. The top of the head restraint should ideally be even with the top of your head and should never be any lower than your ears. 

Taking just a little time and effort to position your head restraint correctly can save you a lot of pain and suffering if you are ever in an auto accident. Your health and safety are worth it! 

 

Why teens should sit up straight

Why teens should sit up straight

How many times did you hear, “Sit up straight!” as a child? How many times have you said this to your own child? There’s  a reason behind that famous advice: poor posture early in life may lead to a number of back problems and pain later on. That’s why researchers conducted a study to better understand slouching in adolescents.

Researchers had 1,5092 adolescents complete questionnaires about their lifestyle and experience with back pain. Their sitting posture,  body mass index (BMI), and back-muscle endurance were also measured. Researchers discovered that boys were much more likely than girls to slouch. Watching TV, having a higher BMI, and having lower self-efficacy also increased a teen’s likelihood of slouching.

Teens who slouched also tended to have lower back-muscle endurance and non-neutral standing position. Some teens noticed their back pain increased while sitting, and those teens often had poorer scores on a child-behavior test.

These findings suggest that whether or not a child slouches isn’t simply about whether they remember to sit up straight. Encouraging healthy lifestyle habits and a strong self-esteem could also play a big role in helping your teen develop good posture. A doctor of chiropractic can evaluate your child’s sitting and standing posture to help them avoid future back pain.

O’Sullivan PB, Smith AJ, Beales DJ, Straker LM. “Association of Biopsychosocial Factors With Degree of Slump in Sitting Posture and Self-Report of Back Pain in Adolescents: A Cross-Sectional Study.” Physical Therapy 91.4 (2011): 470-83.

Risk Factors for Spinal Degeneration

Risk Factors for Spinal Degeneration

As we age, the discs in our spine start to naturally break down due to normal, everyday living . This is commonly referred to as disc degeneration and can result in pain in the neck and/or back area–pain that is felt by almost half of the population 40 years of age or older . For those over 80, this rate doubles to a whopping 80 percent, which makes understanding what factors promote this particular condition critical to raising the quality of life as we enter our later years. Fortunately, recent research provides some very important information in this area.

Disc Degeneration Risk Factors Revealed In Recent Study

On November 9, 2015, a study conducted by health experts from Mie University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, Osaka University (also in Japan), and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois was published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. In this research, these experts followed 197 individuals living in Miyagawa, Japan who were over the age of 65 for a 10-year period, measuring their disc height at two year intervals to determine what factors, if any, contributed to their spinal discs degenerating at a faster rate.

What they discovered was that, over the time span of the study, the participants’ disc height gradually reduced an average of 5.8 percent, with roughly 55 percent experiencing degeneration in one or two of their discs. Furthermore, there were three factors that they identified that increased the likelihood of disc degeneration. They were: 1) being female, 2) having radiographic knee osteoarthritis, and 3) the presence of low back pain when the study began.

Based on these results, women should take extra care to protect the discs in their spinal column, potentially saving themselves from experiencing neck or back pain later in life. Some options for doing this include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding repeated lifting of heavy objects, and not smoking as studies have found that smokers tend to experience disc degeneration at greater rates than non-smokers . Chiropractic can help with the other two factors.

For instance, in one study published in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, researchers looked at 43 different individuals between the ages of 47 and 70 who were experiencing osteoarthritic knee pain. Some participants received treatment three times a week for two weeks and others served as a control. The subjects who engaged in treatment reported more positive results than those who did not, citing that, after the treatments they experienced fewer osteoarthritic symptoms, had greater knee mobility, and felt that it was easier to “perform general activities.” And this was after just two weeks of care.

Chiropractic can also help lower back pain, further reducing the likelihood that your discs will degenerate at a faster rate when you age. That makes this specific remedy beneficial both now and well into the future–ultimately raising your quality of life. If you need to see Dr. Oblander for an adjustment, please be sure to give our office a call at 406-652-3553!

 

 

  • Akeda K, Yamada T, Inoue N, et al. Risk factors for lumbar intervertebral disc height narrowing: a population-based longitudinal study in the elderly. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2015;16(1):344.
  • Fogelholm RR, Alho AV. Smoking and intervertebral disc degeneration. Medical Hypotheses; 56(4):537-9.
  • Pollard H, Ward G, Hoskins W, Hardy K. The effect of a manual therapy knee protocol on osteoarthritic knee pain: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Associations 2008;52(4):229-42.

 

Article shared from Chironexus.net
Chiropractic Effective for Tension Headache

Chiropractic Effective for Tension Headache

With headaches being one of the most common nervous system disorders worldwide, affecting almost 50 percent of the population at least once annually, finding a way to relieve them is important to when it comes to improving quality of life for a large number of people. Certainly there are several different types of headaches–migraines, cluster headaches, and medication-overuse headaches, for instance–and each one requires a unique approach for treatment.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, tension headaches, also commonly referred to as stress headaches, are headaches which affect anywhere from 30 to 80 percent of sufferers and are signified by their mild-to-moderate in pain that spreads across the entire head in a sort of band. This makes them very different than migraines which are usually felt on one side or the other.

Because tension headaches in particular are so prevalent, researchers have conducted various studies to determine which types of remedies work by offering some relief. One such piece of research was published in the European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine in February of 2016 and it was designed to determine whether there were any head pain benefits offered by chiropractic adjustments.

Sixty-two women between the ages of 18 and 65 were recruited, all of which suffered with tension-type headaches. Upon acceptance, each was assigned to one of four groups, three of which involved a specific treatment (one was spinal manipulation) and one which served as a control.

Upon conclusion of the study, researchers discovered that, when compared to the control, the individuals who engaged in spinal manipulation “showed improvements in their physical role, bodily pain, and social functioning” at one month post-treatment. In other words, receiving chiropractic care helped improve their quality of life in many fashions beyond just the physical results one might expect. If you suffer from tension headaches, chiropractic can be a natural way to get relief.

  1. Tension headaches. Cleveland Clinic. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs277/en/
  2. Espi-Lopez G et al. (February 29, 2016). Do manual therapy techniques have a positive effect on quality of life in people with tension-type headache? A randomized controlled trial.

Article shared from www.chironexus.net

Follow-up on Standing Desks

Follow-up on Standing Desks

We recently posted about standing desks. For those of you who are looking for some good information on standing desks, today we are sharing a review on some standing desks. Standing desks are a great option where they are allowed! Standing desks can be of great benefit by allowing greater circulation while you are working at your desk! Wonderful for those of us who spend a considerable amount of time sitting at a desk!

Here’s the link to the review: http://www.reviews.com/standing-desk/

How Do Chiropractors Know If Your Spine is Out of Alignment?

How Do Chiropractors Know If Your Spine is Out of Alignment?

Views of the spine
Human Spine

Having a misaligned spine (also called a spinal subluxation) can negatively affect your daily life in a number of ways.  It can not only cause pain in the back and neck, but can also cause pain in the rest of the body because of the pressure that the misaligned vertebrae place on nerves in the spinal column.  For example, many people suffer from sciatica (a condition in which pain can be felt shooting down the leg as far as the foot) due to a misaligned vertebral disc putting pressure on the spinal nerve roots.  A chiropractor can diagnose if your pain is due to your spine being misaligned and can perform a spinal adjustment to restore proper alignment and range of movement, relieving pain.

Spinal subluxations are very common.  They occur when one or more of your 24 bony vertebrae (most people actually have 33 vertebrae counting the nine that are fused to form the sacrum and coccyx) are pulled out of alignment with one another.  This can happen for a variety of reasons.  Among the most frequent contributors to spinal misalignment are an injury, a sudden jar, fall or trauma, bad posture, stress, inactivity, obesity, repetitive motions and lifting something improperly.  When your spine becomes misaligned, your range of motion can become more restricted, with or without accompanying pain.  Although spinal misalignments can happen quickly (usually in the case of an accident or acute injury), they can also occur over time due to weak postural muscles. This is often the case with those who sit at a desk for hours each day.

A chiropractor may use a variety of different diagnostic techniques to determine if your spine is out of alignment.  Most chiropractors can easily spot a subluxation, as body posture reflects any misalignment.  For example, when lying down, one leg will appear shorter than the other.  When standing up, the body may lean to one side, or the head may tilt to the left or right.  Also, one shoulder or hip may appear higher than the other, and the distribution of body weight may favor one foot or the other.

Other things that your chiropractor may do to determine if your spine is out of alignment are to check your range of motion (reduced range of motion usually indicates a misalignment), press along your spine (called palpation) to evaluate joint function, perform strength testing and look for changes in muscle tone.  He or she may also order x-rays of the spine to be taken, so as to have a visual confirmation of your spinal subluxation.

Once the misalignment has been pinpointed, your chiropractor will perform a spinal adjustment that will move your vertebrae back into alignment, restoring correct posture and alleviating pain that may have been caused by the misalignment.

What is “Referred Pain”?

What is “Referred Pain”?

Billings Chiropractor“Referred pain” can be a perplexing phenomenon for anyone who experiences it. Referred pain is what happens when you feel pain in an area of your body that is not actually the original source of the pain signals. The most common example of referred pain is when pain is felt in the left arm, neck or jaw of a person suffering a heart attack, while they often have no feelings of pain in the chest area itself.

It’s important to note that referred pain is different from radiating pain, in which the pain felt in one area travels down a nerve, causing pain along the length of the nerve. This is often the case with sciatica, where pain originates in the lower back and radiates down the leg.

Researchers are still not exactly sure what causes referred pain. Some experts believe that it is due to a mix-up in nerve messaging. The central nervous system (CNS) is constantly receiving a barrage of different messages from different parts of the body. These messages may get mixed up somewhere along the path between the place where the irritated nerve is signaling and the spinal cord or brain where pain signals are processed. With an extensive network of interconnected sensory nerves that serve the same region of the body, such as the nerves of the lower back, thighs and hips, it may be more common for signals to get mixed up than you might imagine.

Although referred pain is usually felt as painful, it can also cause feelings of numbness, tingling or the sensation of pins and needles. Another example of referred pain is a tension headache, in which headache pain is due to an irritation of the nerves in the neck.

Referred pain tends not to cross sides of the body. In other words, if the pain signals are originating in the liver or gallbladder (which are on the right side of the body), you may feel pain in your right shoulder. If the signals originate in the pancreas (on the left of the body), you may feel pain in your left shoulder, etc.

Chiropractic adjustments can address the source of the referred pain, leading to long-term pain relief. Nerves in the area of the spinal cord that are irritated due to a spinal misalignment (subluxation) can be a cause of referred pain. When your chiropractor adjusts your spine, he or she removes the source of irritation, thus providing relief. Dr. Oblander is a Billings Chiropractor who is very knowledgeable about which tests can be performed to determine the underlying cause of your pain (whether direct or referred), and can treat it accordingly. If you have questions or want to seek chiropractic treatment, be sure to give us a call at Oblander Chiropractic: 406-652-3553.

Text Neck and More: How Our Electronic Devices Are Changing Our Posture

Text Neck and More: How Our Electronic Devices Are Changing Our Posture

woman-texting
woman-texting

The last 10 years have seen exceptional innovation in personal electronics. Our smartphones, laptops, and tablets have undoubtedly made it easier to create, consume and share all kinds of content as well as to shop online anywhere and anytime. But they do also have their drawbacks—including negative health consequences. This applies in particular to our posture. The overuse of personal electronic devices is taking a toll on our necks and backs, and this damage could lead to even more serious health issues down the road.

Some medical professionals are calling it the “iPosture Syndrome”. It’s a head-forward posture that many people (teenagers and younger kids included) are developing from hunching over electronic devices for long hours every day. As physiotherapist Carolyn Cassano explains, “If the head shifts in front of the shoulders, as is happening with this posture, the weight of the head increases, and the muscles of the upper back and neck need to work much harder to support it, leading to pain and muscle strain.”

According to CNN, “The average human head weighs 10 pounds in a neutral position—when your ears are over your shoulders. For every inch you tilt your head forward, the pressure on your spine doubles. So if you’re looking at a smartphone in your lap, your neck is holding up what feels like 20 or 30 pounds.” All that additional pressure puts a strain on your spine and can pull it out of alignment.

Also known as “text neck,” this head-forward posture is a fairly new development among younger adults, teenagers and children (some just beginning kindergarten) who are developing chronic neck and back pain as well as early signs of spine curvature. Coined by Dr. Dean Fishman, a chiropractor and founder of the Text Neck Institute in Florida, the phrase “text neck” is defined as an overuse syndrome involving the head, neck and shoulders, usually resulting from excessive strain on the spine from looking forward and downward at a portable electronic device over extended periods of time.

The text neck disorder is unfortunately progressive, meaning that it gets worse over time without treatment. “It can lead to degenerative disk disease which is irreversible, bone spurs start to grow, people get pinched nerves or herniated disks and that can lead to really intense pain,” says chiropractor Dr. Anthony Bang of the Cleveland Clinic.

The doctor explains that the neck should have a banana-like curve. However, people who consistently look down at handheld devices for hours daily are losing that normal curve, thereby developing straight necks. While severe neck problems can result from losing that curve, there are ways to avoid this fate.

“First of all, put it away, it can wait five minutes. Give your neck a break, but if you need to use it, take it and bring it up to eye level so that your head still stays on top of your shoulders instead of stooping down looking at your lap,” said Bang.

CNN also recommends that you “Be aware of your body. Keep your feet flat on the floor, roll your shoulders back and keep your ears directly over them so your head isn’t tilted forward. Use docking stations and wrist guards to support the weight of a mobile device. Buy a headset.”

Now there are even apps to help you with your texting posture. For example, the Text Neck Institute has developed an app that helps the user avoid hunching over. When your phone is held at a healthy viewing angle, a green light shines in the top left corner. When you’re slouching over and at risk for text neck, a red light appears.

 

When it Comes to Posture, the Little Things Matter. Like Sitting on Your Wallet…

When it Comes to Posture, the Little Things Matter. Like Sitting on Your Wallet…

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You know the big things that impact your posture, such as the height of your keyboard or whether you slouch on the couch, but it’s easy to overlook the little things. By the way, where is your wallet right now? If it’s currently in your back pocket, we need to have a talk…

Little Things Matter When it Comes to Posture

Your wallet fits so perfectly in your back pocket. Certainly it can’t hurt to keep it there, right? Unfortunately, sitting on your wallet can cause a host of posture problems, which can lead to pain in your back, shoulders, and neck. When half of your posterior is higher than the other, your pelvis twists, the spine becomes misaligned, and your shoulders have a tendency to slump. This isn’t good, but there is a simple solution: just keep your wallet in the front!

Now that your wallet is in the right place, it’s time to look at your feet. What kind of shoes are you wearing? If you’re a woman wearing high heels, think about giving your back a break. Tall heels put you off balance, which your body compensates for by flexing at the hips and spine. The forward curve in your lower back decreases, your knees are stressed, and the muscles in your back, hips, and calves tense. All of this can lead to poor posture and back pain. Switch to flats to solve the problem.

Guys, you aren’t off the hook in the footwear department. If it’s been a while since you’ve bought a new pair of shoes, take a closer look at your soles. Wear and tear in this area can throw off your gait, leading to posture issues and—you guessed it—back pain. Maybe it’s time for some replacements…

Women with large breasts might find it particularly difficult to maintain proper posture. This is more likely to be true without the support of a proper bra. If this situation is causing you to slouch or experience back or shoulder pain, consider looking into a posture bra. These bras have bands that are designed to carry your chest’s weight, reducing pull on the shoulder straps and allowing you to sit or stand straight and without strain.

Do you carry a heavy bag or purse with you? If you’re constantly carrying a heavy weight on one side of your body, you are also constantly shifting to the side to compensate, which can lead to back pain and even nerve trauma. Take some time to clean out your bag, and try to alternate the side you carry it on to reduce the damage.

Correcting the Damage

Life is full of little things that can lead to poor posture and pain, many of which you might not be aware of. Consulting with a chiropractor can help you gain a better understanding of how your daily life affects the way you sit and stand. If your posture has already been compromised or you are already experiencing back or neck pain, chiropractic care can also help to correct it. With expert guidance and a few changes, little problems can stop being a big deal.

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