Are you in pain? Are you a current patient at Back to Health, or maybe you're deciding if we could help? Or maybe you think you're health is optimal, but you're missing something?
Whatever the case, the following list of suggestions is designed to give you guidelines and insights about overall health and wellness and how these important factors play into your activities of daily living. Many times, we move through our lives without thinking about how we get from point A to point B... and sometimes we just need a gentle reminder!
For more health and wellness tips, check out the Back to Health blog here.
- If you're in pain... just abstain
This motto applies to any activity that may cause your body any strain. And we can hear what you're thinking: it's easier said than done!, and we couldn't agree more. But the truth of the matter is the "no pain, no gain" philosophy is not going to lead you down the path to wellness. Listen to your body; it knows what it needs and wants. Then honor its wishes by giving it the rest and relaxation it deserves.
- Sleep facilitates healing
For optimal health, the average adult needs between 6 to 8 hours of restorative sleep per night.
So what is "restorative sleep?"
In short, restorative sleep requires proper positioning to reduce spinal strain and muscle stiffness. Try no to sleep on your stomach; not only does it place a great deal of strain on your organs, it also causes you to turn your head to either side and can affect your back's alignment. Further, the increased neck strain and can make breathing difficult. Sleeping on your back or your side is the better alternative.
For those of you who struggle sleeping in any position but on your stomach, side-sleeping can be aided by placing a pillow between your knees. Alternatively, back-sleeping can be aided by placing a pillow under your knees. If you have trouble sleeping on your back or side, pillow placement helps reduce strain on your lower back and pelvis, adding up to a better night's sleep.
- Be conscious during your morning routine
It's funny to think about thinking about it because it's almost muscle memory (not to mention some of us, like our webmaster Chris, aren't fully awake until his 3rd coffee!), but it's important to actually be mindful of how you wake and get out of bed each morning.
When getting out of bed, roll onto your side, swing your legs over the side of the bed, then sit up. Take a few moments to get your head together before standing up. While going about your morning routine, be sure to bend at your knees while bending over to tie your shoes or feed the dog, and shift your weight from one leg to the other. Both of these suggestions help reduce back strain and, when done daily, will not only become part of the aforementioned muscle memory, but will add up in reducing strain over time!
An often overlooked tip: Inspect your shoes!
If the soles of your shoes, and particularly the heel, are wearing unevenly, it's time to throw them away, come see Dr. Molly, and get some new ones. An oft-overlooked issue that can wreak havoc on our chiropractic patients' alignment, uneven wearing patterns can aid in causing or even be a clear indicator of spinal misalignment. Continuing to wear these shoes will only make the problem worse, and in some cases it may even cause additional spinal issues that could have been otherwise avoidable. Shoes these days can be expensive but they are worth the investment in your health.
- Wallets and purses can throw you out of line
Have you wondered why clutch purses and money clips have become so fashionable? Sure, maybe it's just pure fashion... but it's also a huge win from Dr. Molly's standpoint! Thick wallets can raise your hip a great deal (in terms of body alignment anyway) and cause undue stress on your back and spine, while a heavy purse can do the opposite from a person's shoulder.
If you carry a wallet, it's best to hold it in your front pocket, particularly when seated. If you carry a purse, try to carry it in hand instead of on your shoulder. Following these methods will reduce the chance of spine misalignment and shoulder strain, respectively. And don't forget: it's a good idea to take a few minutes each week or month to go through your wallet and/or purse and lighten the load. Keep your billfold or handbag light by prioritizing items based on necessity and daily need... and leave the rest at home. Your spine will thank you (as will your SO who you make carry it!).
Be aware of your body posture as often as possible
All of us at Back to Health - Dr. Molly, Dr. Nancy, Jill, Audrey, and Chris - are realists, folks; we realize certain things are unavoidable in life. For instance, the plethora of factory workers in town will tell you: standing all day comes with the job!
Ideally you should alternate from sitting to standing, but if you must stand for long periods throughout the the day, try to be mindful of which foot is holding the brunt of your weight. Gently shifting your weight from one foot to the other, bending at the knees when lifting heavy objects, and being mindful of which part of your body is twisting while holding something are all easy things from which you can find yourself in pain or worse.
Conversely if you spend your days sitting for long periods of time, be sure to stand up momentarily at least 1 to 4 times per hour - take a quick walk around the office if need be. Doing so will increase blood and oxygen circulation and will prevent back stiffness, aside from deeper issues caused by poor circulation and the average American's overall sedentary lifestyle. Your posture is important while you sit, too: hold your head up high, sit with your shoulders squarely above your pelvis, and keep your feet planted firmly on the floor. Oh, and here's one more lesser known fact: crossing your legs at the knee or at the ankle can increase back discomfort.
Last but not least... STREEEETCH!
It's important to increase your flexibility and stay limber. Doing so has been shown to reduce one's propensity to injuries like torn muscles, and being more flexible will allow you take impact better should the worst occur (in sports, while driving, etc.). As a patient of Dr. Molly's and Back to Health, we will provide you with a series of gentle stretches to suit your treatment plan and chiropractic and wellness goals.
Get s'more info!
Do you have chiropractic, health, or wellness tips you think our current and prospective patients should know? If so, feel free to send them our way as we're always interested in what works for you! Send us your best health, wellness, chiropractic, and nutrition tips (or anything else) and we'll add them to our list of Success Stories. You can email us at any time at [email protected], by using our online contact form, or by commenting on the Back to Health Blog. You can also join us on Facebook and send us information there!