The Best Mattress For Your Back Pain

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An old worn out mattress can wreak havoc on your back. If you often wake up with back pain or suffer from muscle aches and pain throughout the day, your mattress could be the culprit. If you think it may be time for a new mattress, here are some tips to find one that’s right for you.

Balance Between Soft and Firm

The key to finding the best mattress to help relieve your back pain is to find a balance between softness for comfort and firmness for support. A mattress that is too soft will sink in from the pressure of your body and leave your spine and joints unsupported, leading to back pain. However, a mattress that is too firm will provide too much resistance to the heavier parts of your body like the hips and shoulders and cause further pain. The trick is to find a mattress that is soft enough for your comfort level but still provides a sufficient amount of support for your back, shoulders and hips. 

High-Quality Foam 

For the perfect balance between soft and firm, a high-quality foam mattress is your best bet. Memory foam molds to your body providing support where it’s needed and comfort throughout. Traditional spring mattresses are generally too rough on joints and sore muscles, causing back pain or increasing already existing pain. Springs also cause the body to move into an unnatural position, disrupting sleep and causing strain to your muscles. 

Benefits All Sleep Positions

Whether you sleep on your back, side or stomach, a high-quality memory foam mattress will support your body in all positions. This makes it a top choice for couples who may sleep differently but are still looking for relief from muscle pain.

Besides having a quality mattress, keeping up with your chiropractic appointments is important to avoid long-term body aches and pain. If you have any questions about finding the right mattress for you, talk to your chiropractor.

Choosing The Right Pillow for Your Sleeping Position

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Sleep is important. The right amount of sleep is essential for not only spinal health but overall health. But it’s not just important to get enough hours of sleep at night; it should be quality sleep. Sleeping on a pillow that doesn’t offer enough support for your sleeping position can lead to neck pain, headaches and an insufficient amount of sleep at night. Here is how to choose the right pillow for your sleeping position.

Side Sleeper

The majority of the population are side sleepers. Sleeping on your side with your knees bent slightly helps keep your neck and spine in neutral positions. The proper pillow for sleeping on your side should be thick enough to fill the gap between your neck and your shoulder. Without enough loft, your neck can sag into the mattress causing strain and muscle tension. A firm, lofty pillow is the best way to get enough support for your neck while keeping your spine aligned. Experiment with a flatter pillow in between your knees to take pressure off your hips and lower back.

Stomach Sleeper

Chiropractors do not recommend this position since sleeping on your stomach causes you to keep your neck at a sharp angle which puts a lot of tension on muscles and ligaments. You should try to break this habit by turning on your side, but if this is not a possibility for you, a flat soft pillow is the best choice. To support the natural curve in your spine, try using another flat pillow under your stomach.

Back Sleeper

While sleeping on your back should be avoided if you snore or have sleep apnea, it is the most natural way to fall asleep. The best pillow for back sleepers should have medium firmness that is lofty enough hold your head up without extending it past its natural curve.

If you have any questions about choosing the right pillow, your chiropractor can help.

Yoga For Back Pain

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According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Besides regular chiropractic adjustments, there are other things you can do on your own to help relieve your back pain. Exercise has been shown to improve the symptoms of back pain drastically. One of the most effective types of exercise for chronic back pain is yoga. Let’s look at how yoga can help improve your back pain.

Building Strength

Yoga is very effective at building strength in specific muscle groups since the entire practice is dedicated to holding poses for extending periods. Building endurance to hold these poses strengthens muscles, particularly in your abdominal core. When the core is strong, it takes pressure off of your back muscles that may be causing your pain.

Correcting Spinal Alignment

Yoga gently builds muscle, as opposed to other exercises that rapidly increase muscle gain like weightlifting. As you’re gradually building muscle, your back and core become stronger, allowing your spine to naturally align properly.

Combination of Stretching and Relaxation

Every pose in yoga is not only a strengthening move but a stretching one as well. When you stretch a muscle, it allows it to release built-up tension and eases it from a contracted stance. Stretching increases blood flow and allows the whole body to relax. The combination of stretching and relaxations is a huge pain reliever for the entire body, especially the back and spine.

Focus on Breathing

Breathing is a central focus in yoga. Studies have shown that mindful breathing, meaning slow, focused breaths, incorporated with stretching can significantly reduce chronic muscle pain.

When added to a healthy routine of exercise, proper diet and regular chiropractic care, yoga can be an immensely useful tool to help alleviate back pain. If you suffer from chronic back pain, talk to your chiropractor about how yoga could help relieve your symptoms.

The Drop Table Adjustment Process

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If you’re new to chiropractic care or are curious about the process, you may be wondering about drop table adjustments or how they work. Let’s take a closer look at the drop table adjustment process.

What is a drop table?

A drop table is a tool made to assist a chiropractor in performing adjustments to a patient. It resembles a massage table yet there are different moveable segments to coordinate with different areas of the body. When your chiropractor performs a gentle thrusting movement on the body, the table drops slightly at that spot, allowing the body to drop too.

How do drop table adjustments work?

The drop table technique is a gentle technique thought to be less invasive than manual adjustments. As the table lowers, the body is lowered with it, allowing the joint to stay in its passive range of motion.

Is this method effective?

Even though this method is gentle, it is still very effective. A patient receiving drop table adjustments should experience an increased range of motion and pain relief with every session. The frequency of the drop table adjustments will depend on your specific injury or ongoing issue.

Is this method painful?

Drop table adjustments are very gentle and not painful at all. Your chiropractor will explain the process to you throughout the appointment, and if it is uncomfortable for you to lay on the table in certain positions, your doctor will assist you.

Can drop table adjustments be done with other adjustments?

Your chiropractor may use only drop table techniques or a combination of other adjustment techniques as well. Drop table adjustments are gentle enough to be used alongside other chiropractic practices as well.

Every patient is different and every injury is different. Your chiropractor will choose your care plan based on your specific needs. For more questions about drop table adjustments and to see if they may be right for you, see your chiropractor right away.

How to Alleviate Back Pain Between Chiropractic Appointments

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Back pain can prevent you from doing everyday activities. Even if you’re seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis, you may still experience pain in between visits. While taking over the counter painkillers is always an option, this should be a last resort. Let’s take a look at some ways to alleviate back pain in between chiropractic appointments.

Light Exercise

This may seem ridiculous when you’re in pain, but some light exercise might actually alleviate any pain you’re feeling in your back. Of course, you shouldn’t overdo it, a short walk or some gentle yoga can go a long way to loosen tight muscles and get your blood flowing which can help ease pain. Regular exercise can also prevent tight muscles that lead to back pain.

Heat and Ice Packs

Studies have shown that heat and cold packs can be just as effective as over the counter pain medication. Ice is most beneficial directly after an injury or muscle strain since it relieves inflammation and has a numbing effect. Remember never to apply ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. Heat is best for tight or stiff muscles and can work especially well on the lower back. Try experimenting with a small electric heating pad on different areas on your back. Using one before bed can also help improve the quality of your sleep.

Stretching

Regular stretching can make an immense difference in pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. Specific stretches for each muscle group are most effective when they’re held for about 30 seconds at a time. Never go past your threshold, just push the stretch to where it feels slightly uncomfortable yet effective. Stretching regularly can also prevent future pain.

Pain Creams

There are several natural pain creams available that help temporarily relieves symptoms you may be experiencing by providing a hot or cold sensation on the skin.

Try these at home remedies if you’re having back pain.

How Your Shoes May Tie Into Your Back Pain

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If you’re experiencing back pain, there could be several different factors causing it. One that you may not be considering is the shoes you wear. We’ve always heard that high heeled shoes can be bad for your back, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Let’s take a closer look at how your shoes may tie into your back pain.

Feet are the Foundation

Your feet are the foundation of your body. They support you when you walk and bear the weight of every step. To support your foundation, you should be wearing proper footwear. The way you move your feet and legs has a profound effect on your spine, so if for example, you don’t have proper arch support, it could lead to pain in your back or hips.

Proper Support

Walking around in flip-flops all summer may sound appealing, but the thin rubber or foam soles barely provide any support at all and can lead to major long-term issues with your back. Supportive shoes do not have to mean expensively customized footwear. A well-made pair of sneakers that fit you well and feel comfortable is adequate to give you proper support.

Pay Attention to Your Arch

The arch of your foot needs to be supported to prevent back pain. There are three general types of foot arch- low, neutral or high. Have your chiropractor tell you which type you have and look for shoes made to support that specific arch.

Inserts and Insoles

An inexpensive way to add extra support to your shoes is to purchase specialty inserts or insoles to provide arch support and comfort. There are several different kinds for every type of foot arch and activity level. Talk to your chiropractor about what kinds would work for you.

If you’ve been experiencing unexplained back pain, talk to your chiropractor about your shoes. You may be surprised about how much they tie into your pain.

Tips to Improve Your Posture at Work

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Your posture affects your spine health. It could be the culprit for the pain you may be having in your back, neck or shoulders. When you work at an office, sitting at a desk most of the day, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. Luckily, there are some easy ways to break those bad habits and improve your posture at work. 

Keep Your Ears Aligned with Your Shoulders

It is easy to push your neck forward or downwards while you’re looking at your computer screen or smartphone. Remembering to keep your ears parallel to your shoulders so you can gently correct your neck posture during the day will help make this a permanent thing.

Don’t Cross Your Legs

Crossing your legs while sitting at your desk is a common habit that most of us have. But sitting for long periods with your legs crossed can lead to problems with your knees, hips or lower back. The proper way to sit is with your feet flat on the floor. If this is uncomfortable for you, try propping your feet up on a few books.

Shoulders Up, Chest Out

Sitting with your shoulders up and your chest pressed forward allows your spine to stay in its proper alignment. Try doing shoulder shrug exercises during the day while you’re sitting to make this a familiar posture.

Use a Lumbar Pillow

If you still can’t seem to get into the habit of sitting up straight, a lumbar support pillow might help. This small pillow goes on your chair right at the small of your back and forces your body into the proper position for correct spinal alignment. A rolled-up towel can work in a pinch until you’re able to get a pillow.

Stretch

Making it a habit to get up and stretch your neck, shoulders and back at least every hour can go a long way to improving your posture and preventing pain. 

How to Prepare for Your First Chiropractic Appointment

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Congratulations, you’ve decided to start chiropractic care. This is a decision that will positively impact your life and overall health. You may be feeling a little nervous or apprehensive if you’ve never been to a chiropractor’s office before. There’s no need to be. Here’s how to prepare for your first chiropractic appointment.

Have Health Information Ready

On your first visit, your chiropractor will have you fill out paperwork regarding your medical history and any specific pain or injuries you want to address. Make sure you are able to describe your pain, when it started and what physical activities or movements trigger it. Also, be prepared to list any current medical conditions and the doctors who are treating it. Your chiropractor likes to have as much information as possible regarding your physical health so that they can formulate an effective plan.

Dress Comfortably

During your first chiropractic appointment, you’ll undergo a physical exam which could include range of motion testing, muscle tone evaluation, and posture checks. Loose or workout type clothing makes all these things easier and more comfortable for you.

Be Prepared for Diagnostic Testing

Your first chiropractic visit may include diagnostic testing such as x-rays. Don’t be alarmed if your chiropractor suggests an x-ray. This doesn’t mean they suspect any spinal injuries or broken bones. It’s so that they can view your spinal alignment and make more specific care plans catered to your body and needs.

Be Prepared to Put in the Work

Once your chiropractor makes a diagnosis, they’ll come up with a plan to address your pain or specific issues. This could include frequent visits and “homework,” which may consist of specific exercises or stretches that you should be doing in addition to coming to your appointments. Committing to the plan will help you get the most out of your appointments.

Your first chiropractic appointment is nothing to fear; you’re on your way to living pain-free.

 

Chiropractic Care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS for short, is often caused by repetitive use of the hand or wrist. Sustaining an injury to your hand or wrist can cause the bones within these joints to become misaligned, which can also increase the likelihood of CTS. People who spend their day working with computers, power tools, or other occupations that rely on constant hand movement are more prone to Carpal Tunnel, however it can develop over time for any person.

Symptoms
While Carpal Tunnel may not be obvious at first, it often starts with the slow development of a tingling or numbness in the hand, which can also alternate with a painful, burning sensation. As CTS progresses, these sensations may worsen to overall hand weakness or loss of grip and a difficulty sleeping through the night as the pain in the hand and wrist can become severe enough to wake you up.

Medical Treatment of CTS
A wrist brace is often recommended for those suffering from Carpal Tunnel as it helps keep the wrist in a neutral position and relieves some of the pressure from the nerves. A doctor may also recommend an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin to reduce the swelling and alleviate some pain, however these medications do not treat the root cause of the issue. If symptoms of CTS are too severe or cannot be controlled by these measures, surgery is often required. Due to the nature of the procedure and how often we rely on our hands, the surgery may need to be repeated after a few years.

Chiropractic Procedures for CTS
It may not seem like an obvious solution for Carpal Tunnel, but recent research has shown that some cases respond favorably to a series of chiropractic procedures. These include adjustments to realign the wrist bones, traction, and selected physical therapies. When performed in office by a Chiropractor, these can help reduce pressure on the compressed median nerve and allow your wrist to heal naturally without the need for repetitive surgery.

It is important not to ignore the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as they can become debilitating as the condition goes on. If you are suffering from numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness in the hand or wrist, make an appointment today for a chiropractic evaluation.

How Chiropractic Procedures Helps Pinched Nerves

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If you’ve ever felt a sharp, intense, sudden pain in your body that seems to be coming from a nerve, you may have diagnosed yourself with a “pinched” nerve. While the pain experienced is often comparable to the feeling of being pinched, the condition we are actually talking about is what a chiropractor calls a “vertebral subluxation complex” or a subluxation.

How Do Nerves Get “Pinched”
Nerves branch off from your spinal cord through openings between the vertebrae and run all the way to your fingers and toes. They are responsible for our ability to see, hear, touch, taste, smell and also regulate important body functions such as breathing, our heart rate, blood pressure and digestion among other things. While the spinal cord works to protect our nerves, if any of the spinal bones (vertebrae) are misaligned, they can impinge, irritate, compress or stretch the nerves. This misalignment is what a chiropractor refers to as a vertebral subluxation and can be caused by a variety of things including stress on the vertebrae, bad posture, a poor sleeping position, emotional stress, or a combination of factors. A subluxation may not be a sudden occurrence, it can on set gradually over time until it begins to produce discomfort.

Dealing With “Pinched” Nerves
Since a vertebral subluxation is not always a painful condition, there is a chance that you are currently enduring one! For this reason, it is important to see a chiropractor for periodic checkups of your spine. These trained professionals can help correct a subluxation before it becomes painful and help guide you in stretches and lifestyle changes to help protect your spine. The common course of action for a subluxation is a regular schedule of spinal adjustments and check-ups to gently realign your spine and help release your “pinched” nerves.

While the process of an adjustment may seem daunting to someone who has never visited a chiropractor, you can rest assured that millions of adjustments are completed each year and many individuals swear by their chiropractic office!