Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolve your New Year's Resolution Disappointments

New Year's Resolutions have been going on for ages. They've also been broken for ages. If you've struggled with making New Year's Resolutions and breaking them in the first week or sticking with them for two months then falling off, you don't need to be so hard on yourself for not doing what you planned. That just adds extra stress and more pressure to get it right next year.

If you want to get started on keeping your New Year's Resolution this year and incorporating that into your everyday life, you need to start small.

Begin with something that seems easily attainable for you. Even if it almost seems like a joke because it's so easy, start with it. When you are able to stick with one simple resolution, it makes it that much easier to make and keep bigger resolutions.

So, if you've struggled with breaking your New Year's resolutions in the past, try making your 2011 resolution something as simple as going to bed at the same time each night. Before you know it, it will be second nature to go to bed at the same time each night. Then next year you can up the ante a little bit. OR, you can even do a Mid Year's Resolution to add on top of your easily attainable New Year's Resolution.

When you succeed at even something that may seem trivial or just plain simple, you're going to feel better about yourself and you can pat yourself on the back for doing something better for you and your body. And when you feel better about yourself, you're not only going to be a happier person, you're going to be a healthier person as well.

10 More Easy New Year's Resolution Ideas:
1 - Eat one fresh fruit or vegetable wth each meal
2 - Don't go grocery shopping when hungry
3 - Park further from the door
4 - Switch to organic butter
5 - Go to bed thinking about what you're thankful for
6 - Start a family game night once a week
7 - Read a book each month
8 - Drink 8 eight ounce glasses of water per day
9 - Start taking Vitamin D supplements
10 - Go for a 30 minute walk outside 3 times per week

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Happened to the Flu Season?

Is it just me or does it seem like there's no flu season this year.  Especially when you compare all of the hype that was going on last year with the "Swine Flu" H1N1, it seems like the media forgot about it this year.  The truth is, there is always a flu season.  But, that doesn't mean that we need to get all worked up about it.

What happens every year during the winter months is that people are more prone to getting sick with the changes in weather, increase in stress, and other factors.  When people are more prone to getting sick, more people will get sick.  That's why people get the sniffles, sneezes, and coughs right around the busy holiday season.  This doesn't mean that we need to rush off to the nearest pharmacy or grocery store to get the latest flu vaccine.  (The fact of the matter is that there are dozens of flu strains out there and the flu vaccine typically vaccinates against 3, so chances are, if you were going to get the flu, you'll probably still get it anyway.)  The good news is that your body can fight off the flu better than a vaccine can anyway.

When you are able to de-stress, eat healthy, and practice proper hygiene, you won't need to get the flu vaccine, or any vaccine for that matter.  You see, you're body is a pretty smart machine.  Your body wants to be healthy and when you give it the natural, correct means, it will tend to stay healthy.  So what you can do to help your body fight off the flu or any other microbe, is to eat well, think well, and move well. 

These 3 things will keep your body in tip-top microbe fighting shape.  If you need more advice on how to do the 3 things, look through the previous bogposts, there's plenty of information there.  Also, you innately know how to do all three things, just try listening to your body and being aware of what it's telling you.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One Quick & Easy way to Improve Posture

Over the past year of being in practice, I've come to the realization that most back and neck problems can be traced back to one issue, poor posture.  Now, I know that I was NOT the steward of good posture back in the day and today it's difficult to stay on top of always having good posture.  However, I do know a few ways to help keep people lined up and sitting straight.

With the exponential increase of sedentary jobs and an overall sedentary lifestyle, people are coming in to see the chiropractor for poor posture related issues.  The fact is, it's just plain difficult to keep perfect posture for 8+ hours a day while sitting at your desk.  However, if you keep an eye on it throughout the day, it will be second nature over time to sit up straight and tall.  In fact, it should become more comfortable to have good posture.

Now I said that there is one very good way to ensure that you have better posture.  However, it doesn't always work for everyone.  With that said, if you visit The "Back" Page on Cascade Chiro's website, you will find a couple of other good pointers to follow.  Alright, so if you are going to do one thing to help with your posture at all times do this:

Pull your shoulders back like you are trying to make your shoulder blades touch while pulling your head back over your shoulders.

If you do this one easy thing whenever you notice that your posture is lacking, you should notice that your overall posture improves as well.  Try it.  It's pretty difficult to slump or curl your lowback when you're doing it.

So the next time that you find yourself with rounded shoulders, slumping, or a hunchback, just try this easy exercise and hold it as long as you can.  Over time, you should notice that it gets a lot easier and you'll start to feel better as well.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What is a "Subluxation" Anyway?

If you've been to the chiropractor in the past, hopefully you've heard the word Subluxation and hopefully the chiropractor has at least breifly explained to you what a Subluxation is.  If not, I'll fill you in. 

There's actually been A LOT of debate within the chiropractic world about what a Subluxation is and how to define it.  In fact, there are some chiropractors out there who don't even use the word Subluxation because they can't explain it or they don't want to use the term.  I am not one of those chiropractors.  Personally, I treat patients who have Subluxations by doing a chiropractic adjustment (NOT manipulation - that's a whole other can of worms).  I do this because that is what Chiropractic was founded upon way back in 1895.  To me, the whole premise of Chiropractic is based upon the Subluxation and, to do away with the term Subluxation is to do away with what Chiropractic was founded upon.  OK, enough philosophy for now.

What is a Subluxation?

Technically, the word subluxation literally means "less than a dislocation".  When you're looking at a joint, there are 2 bone surfaces touching.  When the surfaces are touching as they were meant to be, you have full function and capability.  When you have a dislocation, the surfaces are not touching whatsoever.  When you have a Subluxation, or less than a dislocation, the joint surfaces are still touching, but not like they are meant to be touching.  When this happens, you can get problems.

When it happens in the spine, the vertebrae can get stuck and cause pain, swelling, muscle tightness, loss of function, and other issues not only in that area, but if that causes the nerve in that area to become irritated, all of those symptoms can occur anywhere along the path that the nerve is going.  That's why you can have a subluxation in your neck that causes tingling in your fingertips, or a subluxation in your midback that causes heartburn, or one in your low back that causes bed wetting.  When the subluxed bone causes an irritation to the nervous system, that is when I refer to the problem as a Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC).  The VSC is just a way of defining what happens when a subluxation causes problems to the nervous system.  Now, there's a whole lot more physiology and biochemistry that goes into it, but those are the basics.

If anyone is still confused about what a Subluxation is or why chiropractors adjust subluxations, just comment and I would be happy to expound.  Like I said, it's kind of an iffy topic within the chiropractic world, but I believe it doesn't need to be.

Happy Birthday to my brother Josh!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Healthy Holiday Travels

I know I will be one of the millions of Americans traveling during the holiday season.  I also know that, unless you're in first class, airplane seats are not very comfortable and car seats are one size fits most.  That means that on long trips, these seating situations aren't the best on your spine.  Even a relatively short flight or drive can cause irritation to your spine, especially with the overly sedentary lifestyle that most Americans lead.  That being said, there are a few things that you can do while traveling this holiday season to help keep your spine and the rest of your body in tip top shape.

#1 - Get proper support.  Most cars and airplane seats have little to no lumbar support.  Even rolling up a blanket and putting in behind the small of your back will help you sit up straighter and take pressure off of your spine.

#2 - Stay hydrated.  Water keeps your cells, nerves, immune system, and the rest of your body running at full capacity.  By staying hydrated, you will be staying healthy and increasing your energy levels for a trip.  It's especially essential with the drier winter air.

#3 - Bring a healthy snack (if possible).  Instead of stopping by a gas station for some potato chips, pack some homemade trail mix, granola bars, or dried fruit to snack on.  Not only is it healthier for you, but it will keep your energy levels higher for a longer period of time than that processed stuff in bag.

#4 - Avoid staying in one position.  When you are stagnant and not moving around, that's when you get cramps, aches, pains, and other issues.  Get up and move around, stretch out, and take in some fresh air as much as possible.  If you're in a rush and can't make any pit stops, try slightly switching the angle of your seat every now and then.

#5 - Share the load.  Don't be afraid to ask for help when lugging around all of the luggage and presents.  It's a lot easier to ask for help instead of dealing with pain while you're supposed to be on vacation.

#6 - If possible, split driving responsibilities.  When you're the only one driving on a long road trip, it takes a large toll on your body as a whole.  If you're able to share driving duties, you will be giving your body and brain a much needed break so that you can recouperate for when it's your turn to drive again.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holidays!