Consistent chiropractic care, proper nutrition, appropriate vitamin supplements, weight control and attaining the optimal work/life balance are the components of a healthy lifestyle. Below are a few guidelines to help you achieve fitness and overall health.
Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to healthcare in that it addresses the mind, body and spirit. Research and analyses indicate that chiropractic care is among the most effective therapeutic treatments for back, neck and shoulder pain; as well as chronic headaches, whiplash, sports injuries and a myriad of musculoskeletal issues. Moreover, chiropractic care is also an effective alternative for treating high blood pressure, circumventing the frequency of ear infections in children, and alleviating asthma symptoms.
In addition to a gentle, non-invasive way to relieve pain, chiropractic focuses on the entire body in order to achieve and maintain optimal health. Chiropractors accomplish this through manual adjustments, massage and trigger point therapy, nutrition counselling and physical therapy. Also incorporated into the individualized treatment plan is addressing the lifestyle choices that effect one’s overall health. Since the human body is equipped with the extraordinary ability to restore and maintain its own health, my objective is the simple elimination of deterrents that impede this healing capacity.
In addition to an ongoing exercise regime and proper nutrition, regular chiropractic care is essential to musculoskeletal system health. When patients incorporate routine chiropractic care into their lifestyle, they enhance their quality of life, become more active and feel better, overall.
Just as it is prudent to visit the dentist before problems arise, so it is with chiropractic care. Keep in mind that like teeth, the spine is subjected to its unique form of daily wear and tear. Regular chiropractic care can make these activities easier and more comfortable to execute. Although short-term chiropractic care is advantageous, the real benefits are realized through long-term care—by permanently integrating into your lifestyle.
Maintain Good Posture
Poor posture is stressful to the spine; causing chronic muscle tension which leads to pain and stiffness. When we slouch or hunch over, the back muscles rather than the spine, must support the upper body.
Case in point: Imagine carrying a briefcase with your arms extended away from your body. Soon, the shoulder muscles would be completely exhausted. You see, by carrying the briefcase so far from the body core, the shoulder muscles endure excessive stress. Were the briefcase carried at the side, closer to the center of your body, the muscles would not fatigue as quickly because the skeletal system, rather than the muscles, support the weight.
Not to worry! You can improve your posture with this simple Wall Posture Exercise. It goes like this:
Rest your back against a flat wall and make sure your heels, shoulders and head are flush against it. Now, step away from the wall and try to maintain this posture as you go about your day.
In today’s world, it is impossible to avoid stress 100% of the time. However, the mental and physical effects of stress can be reduced in several ways. Learning to relax is key. Discover specific stress reduction techniques, located on the Stress Reduction page of our website.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Unarguably, excessive body weight is at the root of coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer. As well, it can also be a contributing factor to lower back pain. The spine is meant to support only a certain body weight. When forced to support excess weight, over time, the spine becomes susceptible to structural damage. Obesity contributes significantly to the symptoms of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), degenerative disc disease (DDD), spinal stenosis—the abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal, and spondylolisthesis— the forward displacement of lumbar vertebrae.
In addition to experiencing back pain, overweight patients may also suffer from fatigue, as well as difficulty breathing and shortness of breath during minimal exercise. When these symptoms cause one to avoid physical activity, many forms of back pain can ensue.
If you are overweight and suffer from low back pain, talk to your doctor about an effective weight loss program. Not only will the back pain diminish, but the risk of developing certain degenerative diseases also diminishes.
You Need Your Rest
Well-being and getting enough sleep go hand in hand. Just as we improve our eating habits for better health, we should also improve our sleep habits. Sleep deficit is a nearly an epidemic in our society, both economically and physically. Sleep must be considered a priority rather than an extravagance determined by our busy schedules. Getting proper rest diminishes the risk of developing back problems and is crucial to our productivity, safety and preparedness.
Selecting the Proper Mattress
• Personal preference should be the determining factor when purchasing a mattress. If it affords a pain-free night’s rest, then it’s the proper mattress for you. Mattresses are not a “one size fits all” fix for lower back pain.
• A good mattress should provide lower back support while allowing for the natural curves and alignment of the spine. A good rule of thumb is the firmer the mattress, the better for people who suffer from lower back pain.
• If your mattress visibly sags in the middle, it is probably time to purchase a new one. Putting boards under a sagging mattress is a short-term fix that could cause back problems to worsen.
• Be skeptical of mattresses claiming to be “orthopedic” or “medically-approved.” There has been neither extensive medical research nor controlled clinical trials performed regarding mattresses and low back pain. Only you can determine whether a certain mattress affords your back adequate support and comfort.
The custom-fitted insert placed in a shoe is known as an orthotic. Your feet are the foundation of your body. They support it 24/7 for a lifetime, as well as extend protection to the spine, skeletal system, and soft tissues with every move you make. The foot is comprised of three arches, upon which the weight of the body is evenly distributed. If an arch in either foot is compromised, the remaining arches must compensate. The entire foot system is weakened and therefore more susceptible to injury and further degeneration.
Orthotic inserts provide stability and balance for the feet, thereby enhancing the body’s performance and efficiency, and are essential for its over-all wellness. Since we spend an average of 2/3 of each day in shoes, it is imperative that they provide optimal comfort and support. One popular brand of orthotics is Sole Supports. This orthotics supports the three arches in your feet thus creating a stable foundation upon which to build optimal body posture.
Water is the most abundant element in the human body. It plays an integral role in transporting nutrients throughout the body, digestion, eliminating waste, normalizing body temperature, and keeps the internal organs functional. About 55-65% of the body’s weight is water. It is also the most critical for sustaining life. Without water, we can only survive for a couple of days.
Drinking enough clean water each day is the simplest approach to overall health—and the most neglected. Water keeps the body toxin-free and running smooth like nothing else can. While it is true that juice, coffee, tea and soda contain water, these liquids tend to negate the full benefit of clean, pure water. Moreover, the caffeine in these drinks, actually facilitate the elimination of more water than they contain, leading to dehydration.
Ideally, the average person should consume around ten cups of water per day, or just over a half gallon. However, it is not necessary to drink an entire half-gallon of water daily, as it is present in many of the foods we eat. An easy way to ensure you are getting enough water is to purchase and consume a 1.5-liter bottle of water every day. If you exercise heavily, you may require additional bottles, but this is by far the cheapest health insurance available.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
At one time, the four major food groups in the American diet were dairy, fruits and vegetables, grains, and meat. Lately it seems that sugar, fat, salt and caffeine are replacing them–thanks to the convenience and mass-availability of fast foods. We have also lost our taste for fruits and vegetables; especially vegetables. Many people go for weeks without consuming a single serving of fresh vegetables. C’mon people!
The cave-dwelling ancestors from whom we evolved ate a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Thusly, our bodies, too, depend on the compounds unique to plant foods in order to function efficiently. If we fail to consume adequate plant compounds, our energy level will diminish, along with our overall health. Most people are amazed at the enhanced quality of life when fast foods are eliminated from their diets in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables.
If managing several servings of fruits and vegetables each day is cumbersome, a “greens” supplement—a highly concentrated powder of fruits, vegetables and antioxidants— might be the solution.
Increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables will help improve your overall health. The key is to make it part of your lifestyle —a new, healthy habit.