Tips to Protect Your Back When Shoveling Snow

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None of us like to do it, but shoveling snow is a necessity in New Jersey winters. The truth is, shoveling snow can be a good workout if you do it correctly. But when not done properly, shoveling can lead to serious injury. Here are some tips to protect your back when shoveling snow.

Use the Right Kind of Shovel

Before we get into the proper form while shoveling, it’s essential to have the right type of shovel for the job. A shovel with a curved handle will allow you to stand as upright as possible while you shovel, minimizing the need to bend forward and strain your back. Also, the lighter the shovel, the better, so look for a high-quality shovel made from lightweight material. The lighter the weight you have to lift with each pile of snow, the fewer chances of muscle strain.

Warm Up First

Treat shoveling like any other exercise, warm up your muscles first. Do some gentle stretching for a few minutes followed by some walking or jogging in place. You’re less likely to sustain an injury with warmed muscles.

Lift with Your Legs 

When lifting piles of snow on your shovel, lift the weight with your leg muscles and not your back. Bend your hips and knees and focus your strength in the muscles of your legs. Never lift a load of snow that is heavier than you can handle. It might take longer, but lifting smaller piles of snow will ensure you don’t put any unnecessary strain on your lower back muscles.

Consider Other Options

If you have back problems and don’t want to risk injuring yourself by shoveling, there are other options. Consider investing in a snow blower or hiring someone to do the work for you. A little extra money is worth saving you from additional back pain.

If you’ve recently hurt your back from shoveling snow, make an appointment with your chiropractor right away.

Why Is It Important to Pay Attention to Upper Cervical Care

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When receiving chiropractic care, your chiropractor will express the importance of upper cervical care as part of your care plan. Here’s why.

Brain to Body Connection
Your brain controls all your body’s functions. Your brain sends messages to the areas of your body needing healing through nerve fibers. The first bone in your neck, called the atlas, contains the opening that acts as a pathway for nerve fiber messages to flow down the spinal cord to all the cells in your body. When the head and neck are misaligned, spinal cord compression occurs which disrupts these vital messages from being received. Without these healing messages, pain and health problems can occur or be intensified.

Overall Health
There are several health issues that chiropractors have linked to the upper cervical region. Most would probably surprise you. If you suffer from any of these health conditions, ask your chiropractor about upper cervical care:

  • Acid Reflux
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

No Means to Self-Correct
The two bones at the base of your skull, the atlas and the axis, are not able to self-correct themselves when they become misaligned. This is because the muscles that support them receive nerve supply from nerves that pass through both bones. Any pressure the bones put on the muscles can prevent the spine from functioning properly.

Precise Adjustments
When your chiropractor practices upper cervical care, they will administer precise direct adjustments focused on the upper neck region, just below the base of the skull. These small adjustments go a long way to providing you with long lasting relief from a large number of pain and health conditions.

At Point Pleasant Chiropractic we customize a plan that’s aimed at your individual needs. If you suffer from chronic pain or have other health concerns, ask us about upper cervical care today.

What Is The Pierce Results System

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Here at Point Pleasant Chiropractic, we use a chiropractic technique called the Pierce Results System. Let’s take a closer look at this technique and how it works.

What is the Pierce Results System?

The Pierce Results system, which was formally known as the Pierce/ Stillwagon or PST, was created by Vernon Pierce. The system uses biomechanics and spine kinematics to determine spinal function loss.

How does the system work?

There are four curves to your spine. When there is structural integrity loss to any of these curves, it can cause subluxation in the vertebra. The Pierce system locates the specific segments that are subluxated so that your chiropractor can address these particular segments.

How does the Pierce system differ from other chiropractic methods?

The Pierce system is a specific way of analyzing spinal alignment. Although all chiropractic care is effective overall, we feel using the Pierce system allows us to treat each patient more effectively.

Will the system work for me?

Using the Pierce system allows your chiropractor to individualize your care plan according to your specific spinal needs. A customized plan leads to faster, more effective results. When a practitioner uses a generalized, generic approach on all patients, minimal results are shown. The Pierce system focuses on taking care of individual spinal segments so that total spine health can be possible long term.

How long will it take to see results?

The Pierce system is extremely effective, but in order to see results, you need to keep all your chiropractic appointments and follow your doctor’s advice. Since the system uses a specific plan for each area of your spine that is subluxated, regular and frequent visits may be needed in order for successful results.

If you have any questions about the Pierce Results System, ask your chiropractor and make an appointment today.

The Use of Digital Thermography

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Many chiropractors use heat graphs combined with more traditional chiropractic devices. The use of this tool is called Digital Thermography. So what is Digital Thermography and what are the benefits?

Heat Patterns

A heat graph can detect heat patterns in your body using infrared technology. Every cell in your body gives off heat, and when a cell is functioning abnormally, it gives off a different type of heat than a healthy cell. A heat graph shows where these abnormally functioning cells are located in your body, giving your chiropractor a better idea of the source of your pain.

Pain and Healing

By using a heat graph, your chiropractor can not only plan more effective care for your individual needs but also be able to track the progress of the treatment plan. If an area of your body is not healing properly, the heat graph will show it, and your chiropractor can adjust accordingly. Pain patterns can vary for injuries, meaning pain coming from one area of the body might be coming from a source in a different area. Heat graphs act as a tool to find the true source of pain so it can be addressed appropriately.

Pain Tracking

With the use of a heat graph, your chiropractor will be able to track your pain after every appointment. Assessing your progress is an integral part of any care plan.

More Effective Appointments

Scientific studies have shown that the use of digital thermography can reduce the amount of care needed by almost 70%. This means you can have fewer appointments, saving time and money. It also means less energy wasted on adjustments or pressures that may not be effectively improving your overall health.

If you are suffering from chronic pain and haven’t been able to find relief from other therapies, ask your chiropractor about digital thermography. When combined with other chiropractic therapies, you will see a significant decrease in your pain.

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.