How a Sedentary Lifestyle Affects Your Health
From an evolutionary (and survival) standpoint, the invention of technology took us very quickly from an active “moving” species to a population that sits an average of 13 hours per day. Add sleeping hours to that and it leaves very few hours, or even minutes, to be active. Inactivity is making us chronically sick and putting a huge burden on our health care system. It’s unfortunately a very sad reality of the world today.
The Link Between Bad Posture and Back Pain
Back pain is a common problem and bad posture is often the cause. Most of the time pain related to posture is brought on by repetitive activities, strain, and tension. Improving our alignment helps the body work more easily and is an effective back pain treatment approach.
4 Common Causes of Pain Between Shoulder Blades
Pardon the pun, but your shoulders tend to "shoulder" a lot of responsibilities. They help you lift, lower, turn, twist and move your upper torso in all directions — and it's in large part thanks to the muscles between the shoulders and the shoulder blades.
How a Standing Desk Can Help with Your Plantar Fasciitis Pain
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common reasons people experience heel pain, and it leads to over one million doctor’s visits each year in the U.S. Unfortunately, the condition is not that well understood and so most treatment routes end up falling short. Luckily, a new, simple, non-invasive strategy may be a promising option for ridding patients of their pain. This approach requires no medication, no surgery, and no costly equipment or therapy. Instead, it simply requires that people use a standing desk.
Do Posture Braces Work? The Pros, Cons and Three Alternatives to Consider
Do posture braces work? The scientific evidence seems to be up in the air, but these pros, cons and alternatives might help you decide what's best for you.
The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Prevention
Back pain is a very common problem. It has been well established that it's a leading cause of job related disability in the U.S. This ambiguous topic involves many theories surrounding the best treatment. Quite frankly, it can leave your head spinning! Whether you have experienced back pain before and want to prevent it from happening ever again, or just want to avoid it all together, here is a full comprehensive list of what you can start doing now to prevent back pain while also improving your overall quality of life (bonus!).
Is Your Child's Backpack Too Heavy? Proper Spine Care for the Younger Generation
Back pain isn't something only older adults need to worry about. Children can suffer from it too. The biggest contributor? A child's backpack weight.
Numbness in Hands – Causes and Solutions
Ever get numbness or tingling in your hands or fingers? You’re not alone—it’s a common issue that can range from momentary and minor to recurring and severe. It can stem from a variety of underlying issues and can indicate bigger problems developing. So how can you figure out what’s causing your hand numbness, and what can you do about it?
How To Breathe Better For Pain and Stress Relief
What if there were a simple, free way to reduce your levels of stress, anxiety, and physical pain while improving your health, your productivity, and even your relationships? Well, if you’re breathing right now (and if not, please start), you have just such an amazing tool at your disposal. But to get the benefits, you need to know how to use it...
7 Simple Exercises You Can Do at Work for Back Health
Today, it’s common knowledge that exercise is crucial to a healthy balanced life. Choosing exercise that promotes muscle balance (strength, flexibility and coordination) can prevent a whole slew of joint issues.
How to Use the Alexander Technique for Back Pain Relief
The Alexander Technique is one of the best approaches for relieving back pain you’ve never heard of. For over 100 years, performers, athletes, and others have used it to alleviate tension, overcome injuries, and operate at their best.
How to Prevent and Alleviate Lower Back Pain While Driving
Everyone has a different reaction to the prospect of a long drive in the car. Little kids might whine and complain—or beg to watch a movie during the journey. Some people love road trips and would happily sign up for a 10-hour drive. But to others, a long drive sounds like a sentence to sit in excruciating pain while trapped in a moving vehicle. If you can relate, keep reading to find tips for how to prevent and alleviate back pain while driving.
Spine 101: Anatomy and How It Affects Your Health
There is a reason for the saying “he has no backbone.” Without our spines, we would be very limited as human beings with no core strength or coordination to help us eloquently use our limbs to read, write, dance, run and enjoy life. Knowing some of the spine’s complex anatomy can help us appreciate the importance of back health and why it is one of the keys to a healthy and happy life.
Each joint in the body has a unique combination of stability and mobility to optimize human performance and health. This combination varies slightly in the spine with each level (7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar and 5 fused sacral vertebrate) of the spine, depending on whether its function is more related to movement or support. In general the neck is designed for movement, the mid-back for protection of the organs with the help of the ribs and the low back for bearing weight while providing strength for movement.
The Bones and Ligaments
Each vertebrae in the spine has the same general shape. There is the main “body” that gives each bone its strength in front of a large opening for the spinal cord. There are then three “processes” that stick out from each side and the back. These are connection sites for many of the major ligaments and muscles in the body. The dense network of ligaments and muscles around the spine add to the intricate layers of support and strength that help with overall back health. The only exceptions to this general shape are the top two cervical vertebrae that are made specifically to be able to rotate our heads, making them resemble more of a ring that rotates around a bottom post.
There are several different major points of articulation in the spine. Between each vertebrae is an intervertebral disc that provides cushion and shock absorption for the spine while allowing some movement. The vertebrae then stack and “l
Back Benefits from a Standing Desk - and 5 Tips for Making the Switch
A very common ailment of office workers is back pain. Sitting at a desk all day at work puts unnecessary pressure on your spine and can lead to discomfort and injury. But trading in your traditional workstation for an adjustable standing desk can reduce that pressure and help to increase the health of your spine. Read on to find out why your back can’t stand all that sitting.
Sit or Stand – How Does Position Impact Your Spine?
Sitting for extended periods has been shown to shorten and harden abdominal and hamstring muscles. At first glance this change might not seem related to the spine, but the imbalance that it causes impinges on the rest of the body’s core, reducing spine alignment and muscle symmetry. Standing helps strengthen muscles in the core and legs – essential to general strength and to preventing spinal injury.
Slouching is also much more common while sitting, and dipping your head toward the computer screen can cause neck and back pain and eventually impact your spine’s curvature. Performing repetitive tasks, particularly while seated, puts stress on muscles and joints and increases the risk of back and neck injury such as spine misalignment, pinched nerves and degenerative discs.
One advantage of an adjustable desk – whether used for sitting or standing – is the ability to customize its height and provide an ergonomic advantage for your body, promoting good pos
Swimming is the Secret to Lifetime Spine Health
You might have heard swimming described as a “lifetime fitness activity,” but do you know what that means? Swimming earned its reputation as being a lifelong sport because it is a whole-body aerobic workout that can be performed by people of all ages.
What You Don't Know About Spine Health
When you think about staying healthy, what behaviors come to mind? If you’re like most people, your thoughts immediately gravitate to things like eating well, exercising, skincare, and drinking enough water—all things that have visible outward effects. If you eat well and exercise, you’ll maintain a healthy weight. If you drink plenty of water and follow a skincare routine, you’ll have clear skin. We tend to give far less thought to our internal wellness, such as our skeletal structure. Yet bone health—particularly spine health—is crucial to our overall well-being.
If you’re an able-bodied, mobile, and relatively healthy adult, you probably give very little thought to your spine on a day-to-day basis. That’s not unusual—most of us take our spine for granted. But we shouldn’t. Our spine is, in a very real sense, the load-bearing support beam for our body. It holds us upright and allows us to stand and move. Without our spine, we would be immobile and inflexible. Our lives—and our species!—would be completely different.
Why Does Spine Health Matter?
Spine health is connected to the well-being of many different internal organs, systems, and processes. Spinal injuries can have devastating consequences, such as paralysis or even death. The spine is also part of our central nervous system; damage to any part of that system can wreak havoc on the rest of the body.
“A healthy spine is an often overlooked and essential part of a healthy lifestyle,” says Dr. Jeremy Hayes, D.C. Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Flossmoor. “Every day, millions of Americans suffer from misalignments in their spine that if left untreated, can lead to pain, health challenges and disease.”
Spine misalignments have be
Should I Get a New Pillow and Mattress? Let me sleep on it…
Would you be comfortable sleeping on a sheet of ¾” plywood? Absolutely not, because it would create innumerable pressure points on your skull, elbows, shoulder blades, hips, and heels. It would be nearly impossible to find a comfortable way to lie down and sleep on such a hard, flat, unforgiving surface.
Contrariwise, it can be a painful experience to sleep in a hammock. Oh, it’s certainly more comfortable, but it makes us into an elongated curve. That’s fine for our shoulders and back, but our knees only bend in the opposite direction, and it can hyperextend our necks, so you can wake up with achy legs, and even a headache. Blood flows to your lowest point, your buttocks, decreasing the amount to your brain and feet, too, making the situation worse.
Humans need a relatively level surface upon which to sleep. Even rough ground with the proper rises and depressions makes a good sleeping surface, as our evolutionary ancestors knew well, provided it fitted our body contours.
A bag of straw (or nowadays, raw cotton fiber) makes a futon, one of the earliest mattresses. It has lots of give, conforms to our shape, and even helps prevent excess sweating to increase comfort.
The disadvantage is that it compresses over time, and no amount of “fluffing” will fix it. It needs to be unstitched, emptied and refilled with new material, or replaced entirely.
The modern mattress was placed in a wooden frame bed, and served for many years that way. Steel spring fames replaced that, giving the mattress more flex, allowing more air circulation, extending its life, and making it more comfortable.
Bedframes became passé, when we invented a spring system permanently mounted inside a box frame that perfectly matched the mattress. The box spring set still provided the flex, but added resilience that kept the center from sagging. It was a success and considered the height of luxury.