Walking for Back Health
April 9, 2018
The weather in Cleveland is starting to turn, and Spring is coming. This means that it’s going to be prime weather for getting outside and enjoying the beautiful weather! A great form of exercise that also includes enjoying the weather is walking. It’s easy on your knees, unlike running, burns calories, allows you to enjoy the fresh air (which is great for your mental health), and is good for your heart!
Sometimes walking can end up being painful, though, and can cause back pain. Following these Wise Walking tips can help you so that you can enjoy all the benefits of walking without the downsides.
- Buy the Right Shoes – Some shoes are better for back pain than others! Finding the right shoes can help make sure that your back isn’t taking too much impact from walking. You can check out some ratings online (make sure you read buyers’ guides), and make sure you ask your chiropractor for suggestions about what would be best for you!
- Get Some Good Inserts – Similar to the walking shoes, if your arch isn’t properly supported or if you are taking too much impact on your spine, you can cause yourself back pain. The most important thing is to make sure they’re the right inserts for you. A chiropractor can guide you in the right direction, and custom orthotics may even be a good option for you!
- Practice Good Technique – When walking, keep “heel to toe” in mind. Make sure you’re not stomping or walking toe to heel when you’re propelling yourself forward. Heel to toe will help your spine take less impact and will also help you avoid shin splints! Keep your back straight by keeping your stomach tight and head up and looking forward. Swing your arms naturally, and make sure your neck and shoulders are relaxed!
- Stretch – Find some good back, hip flexor, and leg stretches to do after you’ve warmed up a bit (typically a 5-minute walk, and then you can stretch!), and then keep walking. Stretching at the end of the walk is crucial too! This will open up and loosen everything!
- Stick to Your Stride – Everyone has a different stride, so don’t try to force yourself to walk with a longer or shorter stride. This can pull muscles and cause strain! Instead, if you want a quicker walk, just take more frequent steps!
Walking has a ton of health benefits and is a great way to get some exercise! It’s also a great way to get out there and soak up some Vitamin D, which is good for your mental and physical health! Making sure you walk correctly can save you a sore back and can allow you to enjoy the benefits!
For questions about custom orthotics or for additional help easing your sore back, give us a call at Duncan Chiropractic!
Why SMR Rolling will be Your New Favorite Thing
February 28, 2018
Who knew that you, plus a foam cylinder that looks like a little fat pool noodle, could equal better health?
SMR (self-myofascial release), also called foam rolling, is a set of easy techniques for reducing and recovering from injuries, easing muscle pain, and losing weight. This form of therapy is used to relieve knots, called adhesions, in soft tissue to restore muscle motion and elasticity. It works by harnessing the power of increased circulation and oxygen in the bloodstream. SMR is far more effective than traditional stretching exercises.
The SMR technique is fast to learn. It’s a simple series of bodily movements back and forth over the top of the foam roller—that’s it! Though SMR isn’t completely painless, the health benefits of this deep tissue massage more than make up for the discomfort. And the more you practice it, the easier it gets.
The Many Benefits of SMR
SMR works on the principle of the interdependency of muscles. That is, when one muscle isn’t functioning at its optimal level, another muscle will compensate and become overstressed. This confuses our central nervous system and causes bodily fatigue, imbalances, and a host of other issues.
Without going too far into f neuromuscular anatomy, SMR works by reducing the tension in the soft tissues. SMR has a surprising number of physical benefits:
- Speeds Recovery from Injury
- Relaxes Muscles
- Increases Range of Joint Motion
- Improves Neuromuscular Efficiency
- Eases Post-Workout Pain
- Adjusts Muscle Tone
- Corrects Posture
- Burns Fat and Cellulite
- Breaks Down Scar Tissue
How to Get Started with SMR
To do SMR, all you need is an inexpensive SMR roller. Most are less than $20. To use it, you place the roller between your body and the floor and use your body weight to put pressure on the roller. Then you perform a series of exercises designed to maximize the combination of your body weight, its pressure on the roller, and the floor. Usually, this is done by “stacking” your legs or moving your legs singly or together. The exercises are simple to perform, but it’s recommended that a trained health and fitness professional show you how to do them correctly.
The key to effective SMR is starting slowly. It takes some getting used to, but the more you practice, the more bodily pressure you will be able to apply. With subtle pressure adjustments, you can learn to target problem areas and maximize the benefits.
SMR is an easy, inexpensive way to keep your body in top condition. Try it, and you will be amazed by the benefits!
Keeping your body in top condition is important for just about every day to day activity, especially if you’re active. For other ways to keep your body in top condition (and manage pain), contact us at Duncan Chiropractic!
Back Hurt? 6 Ways to Feel Better in 2018
January 31, 2018
The turn of a new year is a great time to get your spine in better shape and have less pain. In fact, any time of year is a good time to change your habits. By doing any—or all of—the steps below, your back will feel better and you’ll improve your overall wellness.
1. Breathe Deeply
Acts and practices that involve deep breathing can reduce stress and tension. This can decrease chronic pain and boost immune system functioning. Yoga, meditation, and gentle exercise such as walking can all support better, deeper respiration.
2. Lose Weight
Those extra pounds pull on your musculoskeletal system, increasing your risk of sciatica and osteoarthritis. Even small weight losses can lessen stress and the associated pain.
3. Use a Chiropractor
Chiropractors are experts in the connections between your spine, your central nervous system, and your overall health. Not only can they give you pain relief, but they can help your nervous system function more smoothly. Scientific research shows that regular chiropractic visits diminish cortisol, the stress hormone, and support sickness-fighting antibodies.
4. Eat Better
Leafy greens like spinach and legumes like beans and lentils give you magnesium, a vitamin that fights back pain. And to lower your risk of osteoarthritis, eat more calcium, which is found in kale and broccoli. Carrying healthy snacks with you can keep you from overeating, which keeps your weight down and your spine healthier.
5. Stay Hydrated
Your intervertebral discs absorb water, so it’s important to drink enough to help this happen. Have you ever heard that people are taller in the morning? This is because discs fill with water at night when the spine is relaxed and isn’t compressed.
6. Stand Up Straight
Better posture balances weight distribution and minimizes spinal stress. This alleviates pain and helps prevent spinal degeneration.
When muscles stay tight, chronic problems can develop. Stretching releases tension and helps the muscles expand and contract properly. Be sure to stretch every day, holding each stress for at least 30 seconds.
8. Get Moving
Regular exercise is another thing that has a ton of health benefits, including better spinal flexibility. Daily movement keeps the spine supple and helps alleviate and avoid joint fixations. Look for exercises that strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, your “core,” such as Pilates. Remember to start gently and pay attention to proper form to avoid injury.
Studies shown that smiling and laughing release endorphins, relieve stress, and stimulate bodily systems. With so many health benefits, why make it a point to enjoy a good laugh or giggle and do what makes you happy?
Remember to set your goals and break them into manageable steps. Think positively, but keep it manageable to avoid frustration. Scheduling and putting new habits into routines can also help you stick with it.
Here’s to better back health in 2018!
If you’re trying to get your back into tip-top shape for 2018, give us a call at Duncan Chiropractic!
4 Natural Ways to Ease Sciatic Pain
January 13, 2018
Sciatic pain can be a real…pain. It can affect everyday life, sleep, movement, and so much more. This is the pain that usually goes from your really low back/upper thighs all the way down to your feet. Even though this pain sometimes comes and goes and is usually a symptom of another problem (for which you should see a chiropractor to make sure you’re fixing the problem and not just the symptoms), when it does hit, it can be completely debilitating.
We have good news, though! There are natural ways to help alleviate sciatic nerve pain! Combined with chiropractic treatment for the ailment itself, you can severely decrease (and often eliminate) your sciatic pain without taking any pain killers!
- Yoga and Stretching – If you’ve ever dealt with sciatic nerve pain, you know that sometimes sitting, moving, or standing certain ways can aggravate the pain and tingling, making it worse. Moving the right ways, however, can help lengthen the spine and can build strength and allow the stiff areas of your muscles to relax. This is where yoga and stretches, especially ones that are meant to target lower back pain and build core strength, can come into play for sciatic nerve pain. Doing this regularly can help reduce inflammation and pressure against the sciatic nerve. There are all kinds of poses to try, but start with some of the easier ones of these poses.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture is an FDA-approved treatment that focuses on achieving better health by opening the body’s natural flow of energy, allowing it to heal itself. Needles are used (they’re pretty much painless!) in pressure points that can help reduce back pain!
- Massage Therapy – Massage therapy can also help with back pain and inflammation and helps with muscle relaxation and the release of endorphins (feel-good hormones). Trigger-point massage is typically best for this to target the exact areas causing the trouble, and because sciatic nerve pain comes from inflammation of a muscle pushing on the nerve, by alleviating the inflammation, you help lessen the weight on that nerve!
- Get Moving – Going along with our argument that yoga and stretching will help ease sciatic pain, we encourage exercising in other ways as well. Sitting for long periods of time is the worst thing you can do for your pain, so getting up and getting in a short walk a few times throughout the day can help break up the time you spend sitting and alleviate the pressure on that nerve. Make sure that when you do have to sit at a desk, you work on having good posture!
Chiropractic works for sciatic nerve pain by treating the problem causing it. Sometimes it’s from herniated or ruptured discs or from something being out of alignment. It’s important to have your injury diagnosed prior to treating it to ensure you’re treating it in the best and safest way.
At Duncan Chiropractic, we offer free consultations for new patients! Schedule yours today to take a step toward easing your sciatic nerve pain!
Staying Healthy During Flu Season
December 20, 2017
For those of you new to the Cleveland area, welcome, and if you’re coming from a warmer climate, buckle up for winter. For you Cleveland natives, you know the drill. The cold is here (and getting colder by the day), and with it comes snow, ice, and yes…flu season.
Families seem to get hit the worst with flu season, mostly because kids pick up all sorts of illnesses at school, and when one family member gets it, usually it works its way through the entire home.
You probably want to avoid getting hit with illness this winter as much as possible, so we’ve compiled a list of ways to help stay healthy (and keep your family healthy) during cold and flu season!
- Wash your hands – We know, you hear this all the time. Sing the A, B, C’s, use an antibacterial handsoap, wash your hands after using the restroom, etc. It’s a very common piece of advice from just about everyone, and that’s because of how important it is for helping to keep you healthy. You touch a lot of things during the day, and your kids touch even more (you probably don’t even want to know about a lot of the things your children touch…especially when they've been playing outside). Many of these things are carrying germs on them, and if you’re not careful to keep your hands clean, you’re opening yourself up to spreading those germs to yourself.
- Use the antibacterial wipes at the grocery store – This goes hand-in-hand with tip #1. The grocery carts at your local stores are touched. A lot. By a lot of different people. Children sit in them, probably sneeze in them, people put dirty hands on them…we’ll save you any more gory details. This is the exact reason stores provide these wipes when you get your cart. Make sure to wipe it down before you put your purse or child inside of it, and wipe down the whole area where your child will be sitting as well. They can pick up a whole slew of not-so-fun germs from these areas.
- Get enough sleep – At least 8 hours of sleep for you and even more for your kids. 3-5 year-olds should be getting at least 10 hours, and 6-13 year-olds should get at least 9 hours. Make bedtimes early, and help form good sleeping habits by eliminating electronics in the bedroom, not eating right before bed, and staying off your phone or other electronic devices within 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Live a healthy lifestyle – Stay active, and help keep your kids active, throughout the winter months. Get outside whenever the weather allows and soak up some sun. Build snowmen, go sledding, etc. Eating healthy is probably one of the most important parts of staying healthy. Eating a diet full of nutrients will help keep your immune system strong and will help your body fight off any illnesses that may try to sneak their way in. When you start to feel under the weather, you might not feel as hungry as usual, but make sure you’re still trying to eat a healthy number of calories for your age, weight, and gender to help your body fight anything off!
- Disinfect when there’s a sick family member! – If your child comes home from school with a runny nose, cough, and fever, take care of them, get them in bed, and start disinfecting. Use disinfectant wipes to clean off their toys and areas where they eat and play in order to help prevent the spread to you or any other family members. Keep their hands clean, and help them remember to use tissues and to properly throw them out right away!
Other things to note are to keep your immune system strong by making sure your body isn’t deficient in any nutrients or vitamins (Vitamin D deficiency is very common in Ohio) and to keep up with any supplements you might be taking.
For nutrition counseling or advice on supplements and other immunity-boosting advice, schedule an appointment at Duncan Chiropractic today!
Living Your Healthiest Holidays
November 9, 2017
The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. Families come together, holiday music is playing all over the radio, the delicious holiday foods and desserts start coming around… it really is the most wonderful time of the year! End the year of 2017 right this holiday season by living your healthiest you!
Don’t overstuff! Moderation is key
Let’s face it…one of the best parts of the holiday season is all the food you get to eat! The turkey, stuffing, ham, pie, cookie trays… is your mouth watering yet? If moderation and portioning is difficult for you during the holiday season, just follow this guide: ½ plate of veggies, ¼ plate of protein and ¼ plate of carbs. Oh! And of course, a piece of dessert is completely acceptable. It’s okay to indulge here and there…as long as you don’t go overboard.
Don’t slack on that exercise!
It’s hard to stick to an exercise routine around the busy schedule that comes with the holiday season, but we promise it will be worth it! Even if it’s just taking a 30-45 minute walk each day, a little something is better than nothing! Another great idea is to break up your workout throughout the day. Each mental break you have from work, do 2 minutes of an exercise. Crunches, push-ups, jumping jacks, a brisk walk…anything to get you up and going! Heck, you may even be able to sneak in another bite of dessert if you work hard enough.
Make a plan if you’re hosting any parties
Hosting parties can be a lot of fun during the holiday season, but they can also be pretty stressful if you don’t plan right. Make a plan by breaking down your cleaning tasks over the week and only do 1-2 hours of cleaning a day. Also, prep some food beforehand so that you aren’t doing it all on the same day! There are many different ways you can plan ahead and decrease that workload.
Watch out for those sneaky calories!
Dinner time is coming, and you think you are doing well so far on the calories… but what about those little bites you took during meal prep or the couple drinks you’ve had while cleaning? Believe it or not, all of those calories can add up to a lot! Watch out for those sneaky calories by being more conscious with those snacks and by choosing drinks with fewer calories!
Spend time with loved ones and cherish every moment
The holiday season is the time of the year where families and loved ones come together and celebrate various religions, beliefs and holidays and let’s just say that there is no better feeling than being surrounded by those you love. Make sure to take the time this year to spend time with those who mean the most to you and cherish every moment. The holidays go fast, so don’t wish them away too soon!
At Duncan Chiropractic, we want to help you live your healthiest life, and we know that the holidays are a hard time to stay healthy! We can provide nutritional counseling, among our other health-conscious services to help you be at your very best!
Why You Might Need an Exam and X-Rays for Chiropractic Care
October 31, 2017
So, you’ve decided that you want to pursue chiropractic care for your pain management. You call to schedule an appointment, and they tell you that after your consultation (free at Duncan Chiropractic), you will have to get an exam and X-ray before any adjustments are performed.
You might be wondering why this is necessary, especially if you’re able to describe exactly what you did to injure yourself and where the pain is. A doctor at an emergency room may have diagnosed you prior to your chiropractic appointment (bring your X-rays if you have them!), and you still need an exam?
This is a requirement for your own safety and to ensure that the quality of care you are given is the absolute best possible. Without performing an exam and taking an X-ray, not only is it difficult to know the depth of what is going on, but it is also possible to miss other things that could be a danger to your healing (or could make things worse).
Chiropractic isn’t just a crack, snap, and pop, and you’re on your way. It’s a very specific process that requires a proper diagnosis, medical and surgical history, and a visual to see exactly what is wrong and where everything is placed. Sometimes what is thought to be a minor issue is really something much more serious that must be treated differently.
This is also why chiropractic adjustments and treatments vary on a case by case basis. Not all injuries or ailments are the same, so they shouldn’t be treated that way. It’s important to have a treatment plan based on your specific needs in order to a. make sure you are able to heal properly and b. avoid hurting you further.
The exam and X-ray are also incredibly important in helping your insurance companies to understand your treatment. If you’re using your insurance to cover your chiropractic care, it’s important to understand that they need to know why you’re getting a certain treatment plan in order to be willing to pay for it. Otherwise, doctors would be able to just add on unnecessary treatments and expect the insurance companies to pay for it.
To make sure you’re not receiving unnecessary treatment or treatment that wouldn’t be beneficial to your care, we make sure to perform an exam and take an X-ray to avoid a one-size-fits-all care plan.
It’s important to know that nothing is being missed in determining the cause of your pain. For this reason, most chiropractors will require an exam be performed and an X-ray be taken prior to giving any adjustments, diagnoses, or treatments. You wouldn’t expect to go into an M.D.’s office and be diagnosed without an exam, would you? The same goes for a chiropractor.
Just know that exams and X-rays are given to help you!
Contact us at Duncan Chiropractic to schedule your free consultation to help determine how we can help you move better, feel less pain, and get back to doing all the things you love!