Relaxation is an identifiable state
A basic definition of relaxation taken from Google: the state of being free from tension and anxiety. But what does it take to get to such a peaceful sounding place? When it comes to sleeping, the process begins with comfort. Feelings of comfort lead to calm, a state of harmony between body, mental processing and emotions. Calm theoretically then gives way to relaxation, allowing your body to reduce its expenditure of energy and focus on resting. This last phase is when sleep occurs, but the process, as many of you will know, is far from easy. While reducing anxiety and tension is not a simple case of getting from point A to point B, there are steps you can take, including using your pillow, to create a comfortable environment for your body and mind to seek calmness and relaxation.
There are two main types of muscles that contribute to a solid core
Sitting at your desk all day, every day, is eventually going to cause some kind of pain and dysfunction in your back, unless you take proactive measures to stop its occurence! For most people, a prescription of improving posture would suffice but its hardly that simple of a problem. No matter how many times you are told to sit up straight, you’re not going to be able to maintain it unless you have postural balance. No matter how you spin it, good posture starts with the muscles.
Taking control of your spinal health begins with thinking to the future
Our spines have finite shelf dates that are inherently shorter than our life spans. The resilience of our spines to compressive forces begins to wane as we grow, and the aches, pains and stiffness begin to set in. When you consider that the spine is a cornerstone of well-being, this is quite a torturous prospect- no one wants an old age filled with back pain, but many of the actions we take in the here and now will condemn us to exactly that. This paradox exists because we are inherently lazy: while no one plans for a crippled old age, the gratification of being sedentary in the here and now allows us to put off thoughts of being proactive about back care until the pain becomes to great to ignore.
The standard medical response to neck pain is to treat it symptomatically
That is why many medical providers will offer painkilling injections to effect significant improvements in pain, allowing people to get on with their lives. This is often prescribed as an intermediate step on the road to surgery, and while we acknowledge its place as effective pain management, we think it fails many people in a key way. Painkillers only treat neck pain symptomatically, rather than detecting and correcting the true cause of the pain.
What are postural transitions?
Answer: the movements you make when changing positions. These little movements range from slight adjustments like sitting up straight from slouching, to full postural changes like the transition from sitting to standing. Postural transitions have taken on a whole new gravitas as more and more Americans are transferring into the white collar work scenario. As an office of chiropractic, we wince at any job that asks you to sit for up to 8 hours a day.
- Out of all normal positions you will adopt throughout the day, sitting is the worst position for the human spine: most experts agree that it puts an average of 125kg of pressure on lumbar intervertebral discs.
However, we also realize that if that is how you earn a paycheck, you can use all our help in keeping your body healthy despite the burden of sitting. Postural transitioning is a key way you can do this.
Your body is a self-healing machine
Most instances of non-specific lower back pain will heal themselves without the necessity for medical intervention if given enough attention to recovery. Back pain should be closely monitored and any actions that could exacerbate your pain should be avoided; other than that, it is recommended that you carry on a light schedule of motion to prevent the stiffness, loss of muscle and flexibility that actually slows recovery. Movement helps maintain range of motion despite the injury and also contributes to better circulation to keep the nutrients and oxygen flowing to the injurious region that is most in need. Four weeks is a good threshold for self-care; if back pain persists beyond this point, it may be worth investigating your condition further with the help of a medical professional.
Pregnancy benefits from movement
But the aches and pains of pregnancy, especially those in the lower back, can certainly slow you down. The process of physical and hormonal change can feel like an endurance race, testing you in different proportions at different times. That’s why it helps to keep a steady current of movement going throughout the process, to prevent stagnation of body and mind as you head towards your due date. As with starting any new exercise routine, a program of exercise for your pregnancy should be discussed with a health care professional before you start.
Chiropractic is a healing science
Chronic pain is one of the least tangible and least understood parts of modern medicine; for every person who finds lasting pain relief with a given treatment, there are others with the same diagnosis who will not. This is because every body is different and thus, every body is attempting to heal itself differently. Then we add in the treatments of modern medicine: drugs, surgery, or physical therapy; and we make lifestyle adjustments including diet, exercise. But this traditional method for treating pain simply does not work for everyone! Many people are left frustrated at the waste of money, time and energy they have spent on treatments that have done little to nothing for improving their pain. Alternative medicine exists because of the people who seek alternatives- the people who are willing to try something different because they know that tradition hasn’t worked for them.
Could white collar work actually take the title for worst career related to back pain?
Although the idea of working at a desk has been around for less time than say manual labor, nursing or construction work, it is quickly earning its title as being horrible for the spine. As specialists in the musculoskeletal form, we can tell you that the human body simply wasn’t meant to sit at a desk for any extended period of time. Unfortunately, more people are facing the reality of earning their living at a desk. If this is the case you face, make sure you are taking care of your spine first and foremost; after all, it is one of your greatest assets on the job!
Nursing is the profession with the most back pain
Research consistently shows that nursing comes out on top in the list of professions with the highest rate of back-pain related complaints, even ahead of more obvious contenders such as construction work, or auto repair. What is it about this job that is so taxing on the spine? Most studies have shown that it has to do with lifting, one of the most aggravating motions for the human spine. Furthermore, nurses do a fair amount of bending, another motion that puts a disproportionate amount of pressure on intravertebral discs and threatens spinal degradation. What can we do to prevent a nurse’s job from hurting her spine?