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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.

Seven Deadly Health Sins

Seven Deadly Health Sins

jolly-roger-200-300Behind many of the debates about healthcare in the US—its availability and cost as well as its effectiveness—is an important phenomenon. The demands being placed on healthcare providers are growing and changing (at least in large part) because of the way we live our lives.  Day-to-day choices we all make are contributing to a wide variety chronic health conditions that are sometimes referred to as “lifestyle diseases.” And while our healthcare system is very good at treating acute medical problems, it is not very good at preventing or treating chronic ones.

In many cases, it’s fair to say that the health we get in the future is a result of the lifestyle decisions we make in the present. With this idea in mind, it’s also fair to ask whether it makes good sense to ask our healthcare system to single-handedly save us from the effects of our own unhealthy habits. This is why, as chiropractic physicians, we work closely with our patients to help them be more active in their own health by taking more responsibility for their own lifestyle choices.

So which lifestyle choices are causing the most trouble? While we could obviously point out harmful behaviors like smoking, drinking too much alcohol or using harmful drugs, the behaviors that really need more attention from most people are much more fundamental. We call these the “Seven Deadly Health Sins” that compromise longevity and quality of life.

Sitting Too Much. According to the Mayo Clinic, those who have a sedentary lifestyle are in danger of things like “obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.” A recent study showed that those who spend a large amount of time in front of a television or other forms of screen entertainment had a roughly 50% greater risk of death from any source.

Eating Too Much Fat, Sugar and Salt. The typical American diet not only contains too many calories, it’s also too high in fat, salt and sugar. In excess, these ingredients (all too common in processed foods) trigger a wide range of complex, self-inflicted health problems.

Sleeping Too Little. According to a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation, a combination of daily stress and lifestyle choices (including nighttime activities as well as eating and exercise habits) is causing more than a third of the U.S. population to get fewer hours of sleep than they need.

Drinking Too Little Water. Most of us would be much better off if we drank lots more water and fewer sugary drinks. While there’s no real evidence that Americans are chronically dehydrated (despite all the hard work of bottled water companies), there is plenty of evidence that the things we are drinking aren’t particularly good for us from a nutritional point of view.

Mismanaging Stress. Our relationship with stress is a complicated one. The simple truth is that stress itself isn’t inherently positive or negative for our health. The thing we actually have to pay attention to is how we respond to it. While the physiological stress response we’ve inherited through evolution is designed to help us confront immediate physical dangers, most of today’s threats aren’t immediate or physical. The result of this mismatch is that our “fight or flight” response may stay switched on for much longer periods than nature intended. This in turn can cause a variety of health problems. Since stress is an inevitable part of modern life, it’s important for us to embrace the positive view of stress that helps us grow and develop while also learning how to turn off the harmful effects.

Ignoring Posture Problems. The way we carry ourselves while sitting or standing can have lasting implications for our musculoskeletal health. The bad news is that poor posture can reduce our strength, flexibility, and balance and—at the extreme—can cause pain and even compromise organ function. The good news is that posture problems can be corrected once they’ve been recognized. Even better, it’s possible to prevent them by developing good habits in the first place.

Putting Off Preventive Healthcare. The best time to pay attention to your health is while you still have it. Unfortunately, many Americans still cling to the reactive “sickness care” model and don’t take full advantage of the expanded preventive care options that have been made available to them as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates the ACA made 76 million Americans “newly eligible” for free preventive care. But a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll in March 2014 revealed that only 43% of the population was aware of the change, meaning that many people are probably foregoing preventive care out of cost concerns. Remember—it’s always better to recognize and treat a health problem early before it grows worse and becomes more difficult to address!

By avoiding these Seven Deadly Health Sins, you can also avoid many chronic health conditions. If you or someone you care about has health questions or concerns, we encourage you to call or visit our office today. We’re here to help!

5 Exercise Tips for Better Posture

5 Exercise Tips for Better Posture

woman-working-abs
woman-working-abs

“Good posture” is more than an indication of whether you paid attention as a kid when your parents admonished you to “Stand up straighter” or “Don’t slump your shoulders like that”. Posture is the position in which you naturally hold your body when you are standing, sitting, and even lying down. “Good posture” is when you do this while maintaining the correct alignment of your body parts, supported by the right amounts of muscle tension against the pull of gravity.

Most of us normally give no thought to our posture. Our muscles tend to “do it for us,” without us even thinking about it. The problem with this largely unconscious process is that over time our muscles can become weak or improperly trained to hold our bodies in less than an optimum position. This is bad because proper posture helps us to keep our bones in correct alignment so that their supporting muscles are used correctly. Proper posture also reduces stress on our ligaments, and helps to prevent muscle strain and overuse disorders. Improper posture can have many negative effects on our general health, including excessive strain on our postural-support muscles, reduced lung capacity and chronic back or neck pain.

There are many exercises that can help strengthen your postural-support muscles, but the best approach to take if you want to improve your posture in a more systematic way is to see your chiropractor. He or she can analyze your posture and then prescribe a customized set of exercises to restore strength and balance to your postural-support muscles. Your chiropractor can also make adjustments to your spine and other joints to eliminate abnormalities that encourage improper posture.

When using exercise to help improve your posture, it’s a good idea to follow a few simple guidelines.

  • Focus first on core-strengthening exercises. That is, work to strengthen the sets of muscles around your waist and lower back, which do most of the work of maintaining proper posture. Don’t simply rely on old-fashioned “sit-ups,” however. Pilates, yoga, and the set of core-strengthening exercises recommended by the North American Spine Society are more effective, providing more benefits with less strain.
  • Keep these core-strengthening exercises safe. Practice the single-leg lifts, crunches or “curl-ups,” and crossovers slowly and with controlled motions, avoiding the tendency to “overdo it.” Pull your abdominal muscles in (up and towards the spine) as you exercise, and breathe normally. Start with a low number of repetitions tailored to your current fitness level and increase the number only as you grow stronger.
  • Perform shoulder and neck exercises to strengthen your upper body. Weak shoulder muscles are the most common cause of “slumped shoulders.” Also, stiff muscles in the neck and upper back can aggravate and perpetuate poor posture.
  • Strengthen your hips and pelvis. Exercises such as anterior pelvic tilts strengthen your hip and butt muscles, which are essential to enabling you to stand and walk with correct posture.
  • Don’t forget your feet. Good posture and a healthy musculoskeletal system start from the ground up. You should work with your chiropractor on this one, especially if he or she has indicated that you suffer from either “pigeon toes” or “duck feet,” meaning that your feet point at an angle either inward or outward, rather than straight ahead. Chiropractic adjustments can help to correct this, but there are also exercises that can strengthen your muscles to correct these conditions, and allow you to stand and walk more normally.