I guess my issue with this wallet is my issue with America in general and how disconnected we are with our bodies and what we do to them. I would not be surprised if this person blamed genetics on their problems! (oh, my father had sciatica, too!) WAKE UP AMERICA! Sitting on a 4 inch thick wallet will cause problems. BIG PROBLEMS!! Funny thing is that there was less than $20 in that sucker. I can’t believe what people do to their bodies! There is a victim mentality when it comes to the state of people’s health:
- “It runs in my family” is the biggest excuse I hear
- My husband “gave me” his cold – your immune system strength is your responsibility
- “Oh, it’s just Stress” – like there is nothing that can be done about it. FYI: Stress KILLS!
I am writing about this because I am on the front lines when it comes to helping people get well and the insanity by which people live boggles my mind. There are so many excuses that I hear on a daily basis and the truth is that when the time comes where health slips away, no amount of time, money or energy will be enough to bring it back.
Please let me help you help yourself. I am here to assist and yet cannot do it for you. I can’t make you eat veggies, drink water, get adjusted, exercise, relax and be good to yourself. Lets work together so that You Can Be Well, too!!
P.S. Check out this link to give you more info on why NOT to put a wallet in your back pocket.
Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485. www.communitychiropractic.net
One of the keys to chiropractic care is helping you avoid injuries. I would like to talk about helping your child avoid both immediate and long term back problems due to backpacks.
First let’s take a look at some problems that heavy backpacks can cause:
- Poor posture
- Spinal disc compression
- Muscle Strain
- Misalignment of the back and neck
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Shoulder injury
These examples are bad enough, but if you read this blog regularly then you know that subluxation of the back and neck can lead to even more long term problems.
“Children must be shown how to correctly wear their backpacks and taught to be conscious of their posture while studying and watching television.”
Dr. Maj lists several ways to avoid injury:
Keep the Weight Down – Keep your child’s backpack weight at 10% of body weight or less. Encourage your child to stop at his or her locker frequently to change out textbooks and not carry any extra books. She also mentions buying a set of textbooks for home use, but scanning textbook pages into your child’s computer once a week would be a cheaper solution.
Organize the Backpack – Keep the weight centered (between the shoulders) and put heavy items closer to your child’s back.
A Backpack has Two Straps – Make sure your child uses both straps when wearing a backpack. Slinging it over one shoulder leads to physical compensation due to lack of balance, as well as putting more weight on one shoulder instead of spreading it over both shoulders.
Keep the Straps Tight – Keep the straps tight and the backpack close to the body. This helps keep it centered and avoids stress from the pendulum motion of a swinging backpack.
Pay Attention – Keep an eye your child’s spine. If he or she is adjusting body posture while carrying a backpack then it is too heavy. Don’t forget to ask your child about aches and pains. This is one of the easiest ways to avoid problems.
Did you know?
A recent article in Reuters Health news suggested that more parents are taking their children to the chiropractor, and are very happy they have done so! Studies published in 2007 and 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the journal Pediatrics (the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) confirmed that chiropractic care is the most common form of doctor directed complementary or alternative healthcare used by children in the U.S.
The doctors at Chiropractic Health & Happiness have received extensive training and certification in prenatal and pediatric chiropractic techniques by the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association (ICPA). Chiropractic care for pregnant women and children is different than it is for adults, and the adjustments are very gentle.
Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485. Chicago Chiropractor[Translate]
Enjoy this Guest Posting by Gina M. Casillo is a staff writer for Serenity Living Stores. So many of us sit for a living and I am asked all the time about proper ergonomic chairs. Sitting adds the most stress, pounds per square inch, than any other activity affecting the lower back. What you sit in and how you sit in it is of vital importance. Dr. Steph
Proper back support will encourage healthy spinal alignment and blood circulation
Are you a desk monkey like me—stuck at a desk all day typing away on your computer? If that’s the case, you probably suffer from back pain. You see sitting in an office chair for long periods of time causes most bodies to slouch in the necks and shoulders and overstretch their spinal ligaments, straining the discs in the spine and causing damage over time. Repetitive stress from sitting incorrectly can eventually erode the back and impede mobility in everyday life.
However, one way to drastically improve back pain, poor posture, and slouching habits at work is to invest in an ergonomic office chair, or a chair that seeks to properly align the spine, neck, and shoulders supporting healthy posture and relieving problems with mid back, lower back fatigue, neck and shoulder posture and circulation.
An ergonomic office chair is designed with the human body’s spinal alignment in mind. They cushion the body, providing added reinforcement to the mid and lower back as well as other areas along the spine that are susceptible to fatigue. The comfort provided by an ergonomic chair will relieve the repetitive stress on muscles and joints, especially in the hands and forearms where carpel tunnel can develop due to using a computer mouse improperly or gripping too tightly.
The benefits of ergonomic office chairs
The idea behind the creation of the ergonomic office chair is to improve the body’s posture and lessen the damage that can be caused by slouching and bad circulation along the spine—leading to mid back pain, sore lower back, or and stiff neck and shoulders (due to poor circulation). When we sit for extended hours at our desks doing the same repetitive tasks (i.e., reading, typing, etc.) blood circulation suffers and can cut off fuel (in the form of blood) to the rest of the spine and tailbone, neck and shoulders. The longer we sit in this decreased posture, the more the body loses vital fuel. Eventually damage occurs due to strain and mobility suffers.
Ergonomic office chairs improve back posture because they support our body’s frame (aka: the spine and tailbone) when we sit. The ergonomics of a chair actually lessen the likelihood of fatigue on the body and the mind because they are positioned to support the areas of the body that are likely to fatigue—the mid and lower back, and the tailbone. Ergonomic support offered from an office chair leads to better posture, which allows blood to circulate freely and adequately to every part of the spine and reduces repetitive stress fatigue on weaker muscles.
To set up your ergonomic chair properly:
- Adjust the office chair according to your height and comfort—you should feel no stress on your spine.
- Elbows should sit comfortably on your desk or at the armrests so that your upper arms are parallel to your spine.
- The seat height should leave your thighs at a comfortable 90-degree angle—if you need extra height use an adjustable footrest.
- Your lower back should press comfortably against the back of your chair, but not so you slump forward.
- Your eye level should meet the center of your computer screen without straining your neck.
About The Author
Gina M. Casillo is a staff writer for Serenity Living Stores, your choice place to buy a Barcelona chair. She enjoys decorating the bedrooms for her active twin boys and writing about home décor – especially when it comes to the spaces she’s most intimate with.
Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485. www.communitychiropractic.net[Translate]
I love the blogging community because there is such a wealth of amazing information and a great opportunity to get informed!! One of those resources is Emily Robb, her blog (http://birthingshifrah.blogspot.com) and Heather Baker, PT.
Emily A. Robb, MA, is currently a part-time postpartum doula and full time mom, as well as volunteering with the Postpartum Depression Alliance of Illinois. She earned her masters degree in clinical social work from the University of Chicago and has worked with children and families for over 10 years as a care provider, social worker, teacher, and postpartum doula. Emily is also working towards admission to the Graduate Entry Program in Nurse Midwifery at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Heather Baker, PT. She specialized in work with women experiencing pelvic pain. You can find Heather Baker, PT at the Galter Life Center at Swedish Covenant Hospital located at Foster and California in Chicago, IL.
Enjoy! Dr. Steph
Guest Post: Your Pelvic Floor
By: Heather Baker, PT.
Your Pelvic Floor
Since this is my first opportunity to do so, let me introduce myself. I am Heather Baker a physical therapist at Swedish Covenant Hospital who specializes in women’s health and pelvic floor dysfunction. The women’s health part is easy to understand, but what on earth is the pelvic floor? Honestly, I had the same feeling when I first encountered this specialty as a graduate student. My clinical instructor asked if I had an interest in pelvic floor physical therapy and being an overzealous and naive student I said, “Sounds great!” In reality, I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about or how important the pelvic floor was to a woman’s health and well-being. Now, I cannot imagine my day without uttering “pelvic floor” at least once. So enough about me, let’s move on to my constant companion and yours, the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is a complex, multilayered group of muscles and ligaments shaped like a hammock. That hammock runs from your pubic bone in front to your tailbone in back stabilizing your pelvis and spine. It also holds up your bladder, bowel, uterus and other abdominal organs. It helps with sexual response and orgasm. It even acts to control the passage of waste. In short, your pelvic floor is a workhorse that never rests.
If your pelvic floor is functioning normally, you should be able to perform the aforementioned activities without limitation or pain. Unfortunately, there are many things that can damage or alter pelvic floor function. Infection, obesity, surgery, pregnancy and trauma can all result in pelvic floor abnormalities. During the delivery of a child, the pelvic floor muscles are forced to stretch significantly, as many things are, to allow the child to pass from the uterus through the vagina and out into the world. This is a good thing because no one wants to be pregnant forever! Unfortunately, sometimes the delivery and pregnancy process, natural, medicated or cesarean, can leave the muscles stretched, weakened or even torn.
Consequently, new moms will often experience a sense of heaviness in the vagina or rectum, urine leakage, difficulty controlling gas, and/or pain with intercourse. Fortunately for many women, symptoms will resolve without intervention within 4 to 6 weeks of delivery. If symptoms persist beyond this point, you must speak with your midwife, nurse practitioner or physician. There are treatment options and these symptoms are NOT something you need to live with. Pelvic floor physical therapy is often the first line of treatment to address pelvic floor dysfunction. Luckily, there are things that you can do now to begin to improve your pelvic floor health and function! Want to know how? Stay tuned for my next post and I’ll teach you.
You can find Heather at the Galter Life Center at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, IL r at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, IL
Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485. www.communitychiropractic.net[Translate]
Your position when holding the telephone receiver can cause problems in the neck area which lead to headaches, neck tension, pain and stiffness. An estimated four million Americans suffer from chronic headaches, most of which are caused by neck problems. One major contributor to displaced vertebrae in the neck is the telephone.
Most people do not realize that awkward positioning, such as cradling the phone on the shoulder and bending the neck to fit the ear to the receiver, can throw the upper region of the spine (neck) out of balance. Pain can result as vertebrae become misaligned or locked, leading to abnormal muscle contraction and irritation of the nerves of the spine.
Headaches, another symptom of such a misalignment, are another way the body signals that something is wrong. Headache sufferers spend almost $2 billion a year on over-the-counter pain remedies that do not correct the problem. Painkillers only cover up symptoms that may become more serious. The cause of the headaches remains.
One proper posture, to avoid pain from vertebral misalignment when using a telephone, is to sit up straight, keep your head level and switch hands from time to time to equalize tension. Another is always hold the telephone with one of your hands and never cradle it between the neck and shoulder.
Chiropractic care can dramatically reduce headache pain because it corrects nerve system dysfunction that causes headaches. If your work requires repetitive actions that strain the neck and back, seek regular chiropractic adjustments to restore proper nerve system function. Feeling great can become an everyday occurrence with regular chiropractic care.
A new study, just published in Spine Journal, reports on an investigation of the muscles of the suboccipital triangle and their relationship to cervicogenic headaches (headaches that are caused by subluxations in the neck.)
This got me thinking of a problem I see in over 75% of patients that come to my office: Forward head posture. This position (see picture) puts the neck in an extended position which puts pressure on the nerves that go to the muscles in the back of neck, right under the skull (the rectus capitus muscle group).
This study reports that those muscles connect to the dura mater. The dura mater is the outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membranes, or meninges, covering the brain and spinal cord.
During the anatomic study of thirteen cadaver specimens, it was discovered that eleven of the 13 specimens had a connection between the rectus capitis posterior major muscle (at C2) and the spinal dura mater.  A previous report by Hack (Spine 1995)  discussed a connection found between the rectus capitis posterior minor and the dura mater and its relationship to cervicogenic headache.What is most interesting in this new study is that manual traction of the rectus capitis posterior major resulted in gross movement of the dural sheath from the spinal root level at C2, all the way down to the T1 nerve root. Hack previously suggested that:
“It has been speculated that the function of the muscle dural bridge may be to prevent folding of the dura mater during hyperextension of the neck. Also, clinical evidence suggests that the muscle dural bridge may play an important role the pathogenesis of the cervicogenic headaches.”The authors of the current study concluded that “various clinical manifestations may be linked to this anatomical relationship.” This is where Chiropractic comes in and the stress put on these upper neck structures from forward head posture becomes an important thing to evaluate.
According to Kapandji (Physiology of the Joints, Volume III), for every inch your head moves forwards, it gains 10 pounds in weight, as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned. That’s because because they have to work that much harder to keep the head (chin) from crashing onto your chest. This abnormal positioning also forces the suboccipital muscles (the ones that raise the chin) to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the 3 suboccipital nerves.
This nerve compression may cause headaches at the base of the skull. Pressure on the suboccipital nerves can also mimic sinus (frontal) headaches. It is these nerves and muscles that have the relationship with the dura mater and therefore the brain and headaches.
If you are suffering from headaches of any kind, take a look at how far your head is in front of your shoulders (they should line up ear over top of shoulder.) Chiropractic has great success correcting this postural abnormality and when corrected, can lead to less pressure on upper neck and significant reduction of headaches.
1. Anatomical Connection Between the Rectus Capitis Posterior Major and the Dura Mater
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 (Jan 27)
2. Anatomic Relation Between the Rectus Capitis Posterior Minor Muscle and the Dura Mater
Spine 1995 (Dec); 20 (23): 2484-2486
Proper posture simply refers to maintaining the body in a position which protects against excessive stresses which cause injury, while requiring a minimal amount of muscular effort to maintain. In other words, a comfortable position which will not irritate your spinal tissues.
Posture plays a significant role in the development of chronic conditions such as chronic back and neck pain. Poor posture is responsible for overstretching ligaments and other supportive spinal structures as well as exhausting spinal musculature, all of which quickly leads to the development of chronic spinal pain.
Proper Seated Posture
Learning and practicing proper postural habits will help reduce the likelihood of acquiring back and neck injuries, reduce spinal degeneration, and help keep your spine and body happy and healthy.
Prolonged sitting is a frequent cause of back and neck pain. And while extended periods of sitting are best avoided, for many, it’s a fact of life.
When sitting, it’s important to keep the back straight, knees bent, and head centered over the shoulders. Slouching forward may be comfortable and allow the spinal muscles to relax but gradually overstretches spinal ligaments, leading to back and neck pain among other problems. We always encourage patients to maintain a “neutral spine” position at all time is ideal.
Seat Backrest – The proper chair has a backrest which slightly inclines backwards. This has the effect of relaxing the spinal musculature and decreasing spinal discal pressure.
Armrests – Armrests provide support for the arms which helps to reduce the work load and stress on the trapezius and shoulder muscles. The armrest height should allow the forearms to comfortably rest while being low enough to go underneath tables or desks in the work area.
Lumbar Support – Having a lumbar support either built into the chair or inserting a portable lumbar support helps to maintain your natural lower back curve. These small supports are quite handy, effective and relatively inexpensive.
Seat Bottom Angle - The seat angle relative to the floor is more of a personal preference than an exact science, as long as a neutral spine can be maintained in comfort. In general, the more the seat bottom tilts forward the more extension of your lower back will occur to keep you in a neutral position.
Seat Height – The height of the seat should be so that it allows you to sit all the way back in the seat while your feet are still able to reach the floor. If they can’t and you’re stuck with the chair, use a footrest to remedy the problem.
In addition to the suggestions provided above, it’s important to:
- be aware of your posture throughout the day and be sure to maintain a neutral spine -no slouching
- take mini breaks on a regular basis when in a prolonged position and remember to stretch
- have the right equipment and tools for working in a prolonged position, use ergonomically designed furniture and keep a lumbar support in your car for “chair crises”
Although standing is something we do everyday most of us have never really given “the art of proper standing” a second thought. Many people are actually unaware that their standing habits can contribute to their back and neck problems.
If you’re one of those people, the following “general standing guidelines” should help you out.General Rules For Standing
- maintain a straight spine rather than slouching to the side
- avoid slouching forward or hyper-extending
- keep the chin up with the head centered over the shoulders
- keep the feet slightly less than shoulder width apart
- keep the knees slightly bent
- wear comfortable shoes and leave the heels at home
- avoid standing still for long periods of time, rather, sit down or move around
Approximately 1/3 of our life is spent lying in bed, on the couch, and on the floor. Like other positions, there is a right way and a wrong way to lie. For individuals suffering from pain, modifications may be necessary to obtain a “pain-free” position or a position which does not aggravate the pain.
Lying On Your Stomach
Extended periods of “stomach lying” should be avoided. This is because excessive stress is placed on the joints of the low back and because excessive rotation must take place in the neck. Neck pain, back pain, headaches, dizziness, as well as arm paresthesias are commonly experienced when in this position for an extended period of time. If you must lie in this position to relieve pain or for some other reason, keep one leg bent with the same side arm raised with approximately 90 degrees of flexion at the shoulder and elbow joints.Lying On Your Back
Most people find lying on their back to be a relatively comfortable position. For individuals suffering from back problems, placing a folded pillow underneath the knees will help reduce tension in the lower back and make this position more tolerable. Some individuals may also find placing a small pillow or towel under their lower back to be helpful. This will help to maintain the natural curve of the lumbar spine.Lying On Your Side
Lying on your side is a favored position by many individuals. It may also be a comfortable position that provides relief for individuals with back problems. It’s important while in this position to have adequate support for the head and neck. A pillow which fills the gap between the head/neck and the bed should be used to keep the head and neck in line with the rest of the spine. Additionally, placing a pillow between the knees will help reduce lumbar and pelvic torsion. Women with larger hip and small waists will find a small pillow under the waist will prevent lateral bending of the spine while lying on the side.[Translate]