For athletes, success is where preparation and opportunity meet
Within this formula, we are interested in the preparation; how can we work together to better prepare your bodies for the challenges you face in your chosen sport? When an athlete comes to see us at our office in Sacramento, we focus on the following:
- Improving biomechanics of the upper body and lower limbs
- Maximize range of motion in joints throughout the body
- Boosting core stability
- Establishing spinal alignment and balance
- Resolving muscle imbalances
- Promote faster healing
- Naturally increase energy levels
Every single one of these bullet points represents an important factor in athletic success. But the most important part of this preparation process is that it keeps your body in the best position to avoid injury; by increasing your body’s natural resilience, and ensuring the right pieces are in place to stabilize the transfer of forces in a healthy manner, we go a long way toward preventing common sports injuries.
What is the current state of your mattress?
If you are like many Americans, you’ve slept on your mattress far too long. The average mattress has a lifespan of 7-10 years depending on how you care for it; certain brands such as Tempurpedic have been known to last up to 20 years without a dip or a sag. On the other end of the spectrum, some poor-quality mattress brands may give within 2-3 years. Regardless, it is always important to look out for the signs that you may need a new mattress. Aside from physical signs, including a surprising range found here, there are clear signs on the mattress itself, including:
- Squeaking and creaking: the more sounds your mattress makes, the greater the likelihood it is up for replacement.
- Visible sagging: a sure sign that your mattress has lost its resilience- sagging mattresses are signal contributors to poor spinal alignment and back pain.
- The hammock effect: to go along with sagging, you may notice that you tend to fall in towards the center of your mattress- another sign that it’s time to upgrade.
Strengthening your back with a herniated disc is possible
In fact, it is one of the most effective ways to go about rehabilitation. Long gone are the days when doctors recommended bed rest for spinal injuries. And while most herniated discs will require a few days of heavy rest and recuperation, especially during the acute injury phase, it is important to get moving again as soon as possible. Herniated discs are uncomfortable and this carries over into the realm of exercise- they limit range of motion and performance. But that makes it all the more important that you continue building strength and stability into the muscles that will support your spine in its endeavor to recover.
One of the lesser known spinal conditions
Nonetheless, one of the most brutal. Spinal stenosis involves a narrowing of the spinal canal, which shelters and protects the spinal cord. When this narrowing happens, space is naturally reduced and the ensuing tightness pinches the spinal cord and the nerves around it, causing pain, tingling and numbness, throughout the spine and to the extremities. So how does this narrowing of the spinal cord happen?
A challenging exercise with a great reward
The Standing Hip Shift is an answer for people who have chronically tight hip flexors, anterior pelvic tilt, spinal misalignment and back pain. In other words, if you sit a lot, or feel stiff a lot, this movement can directly address some of the muscular imbalances that are causing your pain. As always, consult with a health professional to ensure you will not incur injury, and that your body is in good enough shape to begin a new exercise plan to account for your back pain. Otherwise, the standing hip shift is a good movement to start performing daily in order to address the stiffness and tension that accumulates throughout the day.
Key word: preventing weak bones
That means that you start the process sooner rather than later. Though osteoporosis carries a strong genetic component, there are many lifestyle factors within your control that can make or break your bones’ density and strength. While you may think of osteoporosis as a condition of the elderly, the truth is that every choice you make throughout all of your life counts. We can see the importance of this in under-30s: at this point in life, you are still accumulating bone mass; the choices you make at this early stage in life will have ramifications later down the years.
- Smoking directly interferes with bone accumulation by impeding the hormone calcitonin from building bones. It makes your bones brittle and more likely to fracture.
- Excessive drinking, especially during adolescence and young adults years, can dramatically affect bone density and increase your risk for osteoporosis in old age.
So if you needed any more incentive to moderate or quit your bad habits, your future self should be one of them. Let’s take a look at more ways that you can live a preventive lifestyle that supports strong bones even against genetic factors.
Relaxing your spine to achieve better mobility
Mobility in the spinal joints is one of the most important factors in spinal health. But so many of us let our mobility decrease day by day until it reaches a point of causing serious damage. One way you can overcome this degenerative cycle is to practice mobilizing your back on a daily basis- even 5 minutes a day can give your back a serious boost in the fight to preserve mobility and integrity. Relaxation is the key: always approach these stretches with a calm attitude and breathe deeply throughout, to relieve tension in the musculature.
Our move of the week: seated lower and middle back mobilization
- Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you on a carpeted floor
- Bring one foot up and cross it over the other leg, coming to rest on the side of the knee.
- Now cross your opposite arm over your raised knee, letting your elbow rest on the knee and your forearm on the shin if possible.
- Push your arm against the raised leg and turn your body to look over your shoulder on the side of the raised knee.
- Hold 10-20 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side
Taking spinal mobility seriously in Sacramento
If you are interested in finding out about more small ways to keep your spine in a state of health and balance, give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment today. We are standing by to help you take a more holistic and preventive approach to caring for your spine.