Monday, June 29, 2020

Head-Forward Postures

  Our head should be in line with the center of gravity of our body. Any position of the head that is forward of our center of gravity gets us in trouble.
For example, “craning” the neck / head to look upward / forward toward a TV or computer monitor, or tilting the head backward to see a monitor through the near-focus part of bifocals, is a common cause of neck pain, tension, and headache. 
This posture causes the occiput (the bone across the back of the head, just above the spine) to be stressed inferiorly. This inferiority may be more on one side or the other (unilateral) or global (bilateral). The result is tension across the back of the neck and head.
Working at a desk, at a kitchen countertop, etc., with the head bent forward of the body’s center of gravity leads to similar problems of neck & upper back pain, tension, and headache. 
Note also that when we are sitting, if we lean forward from our hips, our head in this position  is again out in front of our center of gravity; we immediately begin to feel the stress in our neck. Be mindful of this; rest your back against the chair, feel your head comfortably in line with your center of gravity. 

Monday, June 22, 2020

Hiatal Hernia

        In this condition, part of the stomach bulges or protrudes up through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity, at the opening (hiatus) where the lower end of the esophagus passes through the diaphragm into the stomach.
The muscle of the diaphragm becomes weak at this place, allowing the protrusion. This weakness can be congenital, age-related, due to some kind of trauma, or possibly post-surgery. Intense exercising that puts pressure on the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, or repetitive lifting of heavy weights can also cause the weakness. 
Symptoms that may present with hiatal hernia are “heartburn,” also called acid reflux, if food and stomach acid back up into the esophagus. Chest or abdominal pain can be accompanying symptoms, as well as shortness of breath. Obesity is often associated.
As an Advanced Proficiency Rated ACTIVATOR Chiropractor, I have an effective, comfortable adjustment for this condition. The adjustment usually brings immediate relief to the patient, but relief is temporary.   
Specific yoga can help this condition, and sometimes sleeping on a wedge that elevates the upper body can help, as can weight loss, nutritional changes and eating smaller meals.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Harmful Secrets of LED Light

         Many people are converting the lighting in and around their homes from incandescent bulbs to LED  ones, in the interest of energy savings and longer bulb life. This seems like a good idea, right? In fact, before making this conversion, we would do well to consider:
LEDs emit high amounts of blue light; they have very little red, and no infrared, light frequencies. The blue light, without the counterbalancing reds, can damage the cells in our eyes. 
  The red  frequencies, missing in LEDs, are important for repair and regeneration of cellular damage.
LED light impedes sleep because it suppresses melatonin production. Regular exposure, especially after sunset, may contribute to worsening of sleep. 
LED light negatively affects the mitochondria, the energy-producing components of our cells, impeding production of the energy needed for healthy metabolism. 
Incandescent lighting most closely resembles full-spectrum natural sunlight, which is the healthiest for us.
We can make our light environment healthier by using incandescent lighting in areas where we spend the most time---kitchen, office, etc., and only using LEDs in areas such as hallways, closets, garage, etc. 

Monday, June 8, 2020

Thank You--To the Kneecap!

           Our kneecap, aka the patella, gives us a 30% increase in the power production of our quadriceps, the muscles in the front of our thigh that, when activated, extend, or straighten, the knee.
Embedded in the tendon of the quadriceps, the kneecap articulates against the front of the lower end of the femur, the thigh bone. 
Below the kneecap, the fibers of the quadriceps tendon continue as the patellar ligament. The patellar ligament starts from a “bump” on the front of the kneecap and goes down to attach to a “bump” on the front of the tibia, the large bone in the lower leg.
The kneecap holds, or raises, the patellar tendon off the femur, thus improving the angle of approach of the tendon to its lower insertion on the tibia. This is how it increases the power generation of the quadriceps. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Right Pillow

  For many patients, changing to a better pillow is a critical key to a healthy and comfortable cervical spine, a solution to chronic neck pain & tension, and relief for headaches.
         I have personally experienced this. After five whiplash injuries in my youth, I found that regaining full and reasonably comfortably functioning involved using the right pillow.
What is the “right” pillow? 
Our pillow should give us consistent, resistive support during sleep. A down pillow will not provide this because, no matter how carefully you shape & place it when you first lie down on it, it will deform during the night.
Likewise, a memory foam pillow, which indents when you lie on it, does not give consistent support---its softness is appealing, but it is not serving the health of your cervical spine.
The “right” pillow supports the normal curve of your neck, whether you lie on your back or your sides to sleep. It allows your head & cervical spine to remain in alignment with the rest of your spine, not bent up or down.
The pillow that I sleep on, and that I recommend for my patients, provides this, and patients can get this pillow in my office.