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Should You Get A Standing Desk for Back Pain?

Should You Get A Standing Desk for Back Pain?

We do it all the time.  We do it while driving, working, eating, watching TV, waiting for appointments, and even while going to the bathroom.  We sit constantly, and because of too much sitting, symptoms of neck and back pain worsen. Back pain is the most common medical problem we treat as chiropractors. In the U.S. alone, it affects 8 out of every 10 people, so isn’t it time we find ways of combatting this rising problem?  With other healthy lifestyle measures, a standing desk can help improve back pain.  

Sitting with Back Pain: The Science

First, let’s review some of the bad things that happen to our bodies in a sedentary (primarily sitting) lifestyle. In 2017, a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine reported that sitting throughout the day for long periods contributes to an increased risk of death. Plenty of studies exist that warn us against a sedentary lifestyle too.  Prolonged periods of sitting can lead to:

·         Chronic neck and back pain

·         Weight gain

·         Heart disease

·         Type 2 diabetes

·         Hypertension

·         High cholesterol

Much can go wrong when we don’t move our bodies. A standing desk could be a simple solution to combat any of the above, but there are other benefits. 

The Benefits of Using a Standing Desk for Back Pain

Standing desks are still relatively new to the market, but they’re touted as helping improve posture, increase productivity, and relieve aches and pains in the back, shoulders, and neck. There haven’t been extensive studies, so some of the benefits are observed and assumed based on a comparison to sitting all day.

·         Researchers found that those who spend more time standing have better-regulated blood sugar.  Levels return to normal faster after meals on those days.

·         That same study found there’s a slightly higher calorie burn when you’re standing.

·         People who use standing desks report higher energy and productivity.

·         There are also reports of better focus and concentration.

A standing desk may not be for everyone, though.  Jobs that require fine motor skills, for instance, may be better done while sitting.  When appropriately used, standing desks are an excellent addition to any healthy living initiative you may be taking on.  But as with all interventions, doing it wrong could lead to problems like exacerbated back and neck pain and new foot and ankle pain.

How to Use a Standing Desk

It’s surprisingly easy to get standing wrong. Whether you’re using a standing desk, making one with stacks of books, or using a laptop stand, there are a few basic rules to keep in mind. 

1.       Don’t overdo it on time. The enthusiasm for standing at your workstation all day is admirable, but don’t overdo it.  Work yourself up to standing for long periods. Don’t stand for more than an hour at a time.  If that’s too much, try alternating standing to sitting positions every 20-30 minutes until you’re ready to move up the timing. 

2.       Wear good shoes. The fun of standing at your desk can dissipate quickly if you’re standing on a hard surface or wearing the wrong shoes. Make sure your feet, ankles, and back are well supported with good shoes and soft ground to stand on.  If you don’t have control over that, or it’s too costly to change, try a grounding or standing mat

3.       Ergonomics is key. Make sure your elbows are close to your body, and your wrists aren’t at odd angles while you’re standing and working.  Shoulders and neck should be aligned straight; screens should be directly in front of your eyes.  It’s best not to look up or down at them. If you use more than one monitor, don’t keep your neck turned at one screen for more than a few minutes at a time.

4.       Move! If you can, find ways to move around while you’re standing and working.  Sway side to side or walk in place for a few seconds.  Use the chair legs to put yourself in a stepping position for a few minutes, and alternate feet. 

Standing desks can make a real difference in your back pain and other areas of your life; however, be careful when using this tool.  If you’ve been using a laptop stand or standing desk for back pain and you find it’s getting worse, you may be using it wrong.  Try these tips, and if you’re still struggling, we can help you here at Slovin Chiropractic Center.  Whether you’re here in Norwalk or too far to come in, we can help you find a regimen that works for back pain.  

Sources:

UT Southwestern Medical Center: Can a standing desk help my back pain?

Harvard Health Publishing: The truth behind standing desksStart Standing:  10 Things You’re Doing Wrong at Your Standing Desk

6 Ways to Treat and Prevent Hormonal Migraines

6 Ways to Treat and Prevent Hormonal Migraines

Today we are talking hormonal migraines.

How to Prevent Hormonal Migraines

Women get more migraines than men, and hormonal (or menstrual) migraines affect more than 50 percent of women who suffer from migraines.

Many women have found success with starting a menstrual diary, recording when the migraine appeared during the last three cycles.

Once you have a better understanding of when the migraine appears during your menstrual cycle, the better prepared you will be to treat it. You’d be amazed on what you can figure out just by regular, diligent tracking.

It also helps to make note of any other symptoms you have along with the migraine, such as aura or visual disturbances.

Treating Hormonal Migraines Naturally

Just as every migraine is different, so is every person. There are many different solutions out there, so give a couple a try and move onto the next if you aren’t finding relief; however, give regimens time to work.  Often, it can take several weeks to start seeing results using natural measures.

Six of the most effective ways to treat hormonal migraines include:

●       Supplements – One of the most common causes of hormonal migraines is a nutrient deficiency. Taking supplements like Vitamin D, B6, B12, B1 and magnesium can help regulate nerve and muscle function, as well as blood sugar levels.

●       Lifestyle – Food and sleep are both common migraine triggers. Making sure you get enough sleep and are maintaining a balanced diet may help regulate common hormonal changes.

●       Diet – Many women have found that they can treat their migraines by making significant changes to their diet, such as cutting out gluten and dairy as well as reducing sugar intake. Keto and Intermittent fasting are good options to help you

●       Stress reduction – Stress is often the culprit of migraines, which is why adopting a stress-reduced lifestyle can be of benefit. Also included here is eye strain. Use the blue-light filter on your phone and home/work computers to alleviate the stress on your eyes.

●       Hydration – Staying hydrated, especially during your menstrual cycle, can go a long way in treating these types of migraines.  Proper hydration also helps you poop. The better pooper you are the better you can regulate the extra estrogen in your system, which is a large reason for migraines during and around your cycle.

●       Acupuncture/Chiropractic  – Acupuncture, chiropractic and other alternative therapies have also proven to be effective in treating active migraines and preventing future attacks.

If you are suffering from hormonal migraines and would like to learn more about how to treat and prevent them, call us. We’d be happy to help you find a way to a better life.

Sources

Bastyr University – Treat Hormonal Migraines Naturally

Everyday Health – 7 Remedies for Menstrual Migraines

Migraine Trust – Menstrual Migraines

What is the Gonstead Adjustment for Pain

Every chiropractic case that comes into my office presents with a unique combination of challenges. The Gonstead technique helps trained chiropractors identify all the core structural issues in the spine and design a plan to restore them for excellent results. 

The Basic Concepts of a Gonstead Adjustment

Think of your body as a building.  If it’s built and maintained correctly, there are no or very few structural problems; however, the structure could destabilize at the top and crumble if something is wrong in the foundation. 

The foundation in the human body is the pelvis, which supports the hips, spinal column, and legs. When the hips, lower back vertebrae, and legs are aligned, there’s good stability and balance; however, the pelvis and vertebrae can tilt or rotate, leading to misaligned spinal bones, often placing pressure on the spongy discs that separate the vertebrae.  This can lead to multiple problems with balance and pain. 

When the foundation is uneven, misaligned, or out of balance, several problems can occur, including:

·         Motion disturbances

·         Nerve pain or dysfunction

·         Severe neck or back pain

These are core issues considered and treated by Gonstead chiropractors.  This kind of adjustment takes a whole-body approach and identifies all the slipped or misaligned discs in the spinal column, not just one or two you think might be the problem.  

How the Gonstead Technique Works

A thorough evaluation by a Gonstead chiropractor would include several processes, such as:

·         Full spine X-rays to get a look at the structure.

·         Palpation of the spine to identify abnormalities like lumps or bumps and buzzing, burbling, or beating sounds. 

·         Examination of spinal range of motion, posture, and gait. 

·         Dr. Slovin will also look for obvious signs of inflammation around the joints using a special heat-detecting instrument called a “Nervoscope”.

The measurements obtained in the physical and diagnostic exam help Dr. Slovin apply the appropriate amount of force in specific locations on your pelvis, back or neck.  Specificity is the key to a successful Gonstead adjustment. 

Why Gonstead Chiropractors are Different

With a Gonstead approach, your chiropractor hones in on the problem’s origins and corrects it with laser-like focus. 

Gonstead chiropractors take a biomechanical analytical approach to treatment for some of life’s most common pain problems.  Using in-depth, sophisticated techniques to discover and investigate pelvic, neurological, and spinal issues, Slovin Chiropractic Center in Norwalk is a place where you can get safe, affordable, and effective treatment for pelvic, back and neck pain without drugs or surgery. 

Most chiropractors consider themselves hands-on providers; however, a Gonstead practitioner takes that concept to a whole new level by specifying and purposefully analyzing the spine, your movement, your neurological function, and your overall health.  When you’re ready to get back to a life in motion, schedule an appointment with Dr. Slovin and discover the benefits of the Gonstead approach for yourself!

Sources:

Gonstead Clinical Studies Society:  Basic Principles

Dr. Heidi Chiropractic: Difference in Gonstead Chiropractors

Gonstead Clinical Studies Society:  Overview of Technique


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7 Uncomfortable Questions For and From Your Chiropractor

7 Uncomfortable Questions For and From Your Chiropractor

When you’re looking for a new chiropractor, you’ll have to be ready to face some uncomfortable questions.  Sometimes, you’ll have to discuss your sexual health. It’s usually awkward for a few moments, but the information is valuable in helping your chiropractor develop an effective treatment plan for your back pain. 

To help you prepare, here are five uncomfortable questions I encounter regularly and two I usually need to ask. 

Uncomfortable Questions You Should Ask Your Chiropractor

Sexuality is a profoundly private and personal part of our lives that most of us don’t like to share with strangers. However, sexual function and pain are frenemies, so these questions help me guide you in the next treatment step.

#1:  Can back pain decrease my sex drive?

Yes.  Sex should feel good.  So, what happens when it’s painful?  Suppose you experience back pain in the throes of passion. In that case, you’re likely to experience anxiety whenever you consider doing it again. This can lead to self-doubt, depression, and lower libido. 

#2:  Can back or neck pain lead to erectile dysfunction?

Yes.  ED is a slow, silent killer of passion. Sometimes, the problem is in the lower back.  Recent research that looked at men under 50 with lower back pain found that 34% of them also had erectile dysfunction.  If erectile dysfunction and lower back pain are a concern, call our Norwalk clinic for an appointment. We may be able to help get you back to yourself and your partner.

#3:  Do I need to take off my clothes to receive treatment?

Yes.  But only your shirt. Just like a dentist needs to see inside your mouth, I need to see and feel your spine.  We respect your privacy and dignity, so you’ll be covered with a gown. 

#4:  I have chronic lower back pain.  How can I strengthen my pelvic floor?

A weak pelvic floor has a similar effect as erectile dysfunction.  It steals the passion out of life.  Many women with chronic low back pain worry about making that pain worse with pelvic floor strengthening exercises.  However, a trial study in 2013 found that women with chronic low back pain who did routine pelvic floor exercises had significantly less severity in their pain. Here are ten exercises to help you strengthen those muscles.

#5:  Why does my anus hurt if it’s back pain? 

There are many nerves in the lower back. Several connect to the organs in the pelvic cavity, including the anus.  Back pain may lead to anal pain.  You may feel intense itching or burning.  If this is a concern, try using ice packs on your lower back and a tailbone/hemorrhoid seat cushion to remove the pressure from your anus when you sit.

Uncomfortable Questions Your Chiropractor May Ask You

#6:  How is your sexual function?

This question is often the starting point of the conversation that leads to the above questions.  I don’t need to know the details, just the basics.  Can you perform?  Does it hurt? 

#7:  Have you or your partner recently had unprotected sex with someone other than each other?

Believe it or not, many people go weeks or even months without realizing they have a sexually transmitted disease.  An STD can wreak havoc on your body.  Severe infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis result in pain radiating from the pelvis to the lower back.

Asking your chiropractor uncomfortable questions is tough, but it’s how you take control of your health. If chronic spinal pain is becoming or has been an issue, it’s time to start healing from the inside out.  Most of that comes from you. We help you change behaviors outside the office.

Remember, there’s no hard-and-fast rule to maintaining good spinal health.  It’s a lifetime practice, not a medicine.  You don’t take a pill and get better. You put in the physical and mental work to heal. 

We’ll help you find real solutions to the pain that interferes with your life.  When you’re ready to start your journey, make an appointment at Slovin Chiropractic Center.  We’ll help you get back to yourself.

Sources:

Bio Spine Institute:  Help! My back pain is killing my sex life

Health Central: Erectile Dysfunction in Men with Low Back Pain

Journal of Internal Medicine:  Pelvic floor muscle exercises for chronic low back pain


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Lower Back and Gut Pain: Are They Related?

Lower Back and Gut Pain:  Are They Related?

You have a second brain. 

If that’s not the coolest thing you’ve read today, you should take a nap and wake up to reread it. 

Not many people realize they can see a chiropractor for back and gut pain.  They are related systems, and therefore should be treated together.  It’s not something you will need drugs or surgery for; thus, chiropractors can help you manage and relieve those symptoms.

What’s most interesting about how quickly our patients recover under our care is the connection their food and drinking habits have on their back pain and mood.  Now we know why.  It’s because we have a brain inside our gut, and it communicates with everyone else.

The Brain-Gut

Remember the last time you had to give a presentation, go on a first date, or do something new, and you felt those butterflies in your stomach?  How about when you made a difficult decision based on a “gut feeling”? 

We often write these off as something that happens in our minds because we think about it.  But you’re getting signals from your second brain in the gut.  Scientists named this little brain the enteric nervous system, two thin layers made up of over 100 million nerve cells lining your tract from the esophagus to the rectum.  It communicates with and affects the central nervous system—the pain center in the skull brain. 

The gut brain’s primary role is to control the entire digestive process.  However, while the brain-gut can’t recite a speech or solve complex math problems, it still communicates with the other brain to help the body function. Issues within the enteric nervous system lead to familiar symptoms like:

·         Diarrhea

·         Irritable bowel syndrome

·         Leaky gut

·         Bloating

·         Pain and stomach upset

·         Constipation

Many people find that back pain goes away for at least a little while when they fix their digestive tract.  That’s a sign your back and gut pain are related.  The good news is now you can fix it. 

The Role of Diet in Back and Gut Pain

You are what you eat.  I know we’ve all heard it, but it’s just as accurate now as when it started circulating across our communities.  The food and drinks you put into your body are used or rejected by the two brains.  Something you’re eating is likely the reason for nearly every episode of back and gut pain.  Many people don’t realize that today’s food is not as nutritious as 50 years ago.  The soil and its vegetation are regularly leached of essential nutrients and treated with pesticides or forced to grow through genetic modification. 

Back pain is just one symptom closely related to food-related gut pain.  Food sensitivities or allergies include other symptoms as well, like:

·         Nausea and vomiting

·         Irritability and nervousness

·         Excessive gas and cramping

·         Heartburn

·         Headaches or migraines

What To Do For Back and Gut Pain

There are a couple things you can do now to start moving in the right direction:

1.       Start an autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet.  Also called an elimination diet, it’s an effective way to determine which ingredient is causing the problem.  You start by removing all known and popular trigger foods like dairy, gluten, and sugar.  Then, you reintroduce them one at a time, very slowly, and journal how you feel for a couple of days.

2.       Get a food allergy test.  Most food allergy tests can be done from the comfort of your own home.  A simple skin prick test can determine if you have an allergic reaction to a specific food.  While this is helpful for allergies, it’s doesn’t reveal sensitivities. 

The goal is to start moving in the right direction of health.  Norwalk has many great activities, so we understand the importance of getting and staying on top of your game.  Receiving care at Slovin Chiropractic Center means you’ll work with a partner who can help you change behaviors outside the office, so you can stop the pain yourself.   

We’re here when you’re ready to get started. 

Sources:

Medical News Today: Can stomach problems cause lower back pain

Hopkins Medicine: The Brain-Gut ConnectionEveryday health: Lower back pain and digestive health


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Had an Accident? What Type of Doctor do you Need?

Had an Accident? What Type of Doctor do you Need?

For accident injuries, the type of doctor you see will depend on the extent of your injuries.  

One of three things will happen after an accident: 

  1. You walk away without any injuries, 
  2. You sustain mild-to-moderate injuries that require a visit to urgent care or a trip to your primary care doctor’s office, or 
  3. You suffer serious injuries that require ambulance or life-flight transportation for emergency care. 

In any case, it’s important to understand how the medical process works in personal injury cases, so you know what to expect and can ask the right questions.  

Type of Doctor to See When it IS an Emergency

If your injuries are severe and someone at the scene says you need to go to the hospital, listen to them. Try to remember that you are likely in shock after an accident, so it’s best not to drive anywhere, and follow the guidance of Norwalk’s first responders

If you experience any of the below symptoms, your accident injuries need immediate medical attention.  

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion 
  • Weakness
  • Profuse bleeding
  • Severe pain 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Head injury 
  • Neck or back injury
  • If you had any loss of consciousness, even if briefly
  • Deep cuts or lacerations
  • Broken bones

In this case, you’ll be treated in the emergency room. If you have a medical doctor you commonly see, they will be contacted and be responsible for coordinating your care with other medical specialists. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, the hospital will refer one, but you may also consult with specialists while in the emergency room or hospital. 

When Your Accident Injury IS NOT an Emergency

When there are mild-to-moderate injuries, you may not need to go to the emergency room. Instead, you’d go to an urgent care center or schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. Even if you don’t think you have an injury, it’s best to follow up with your doctor because some problems—like internal bleeding and whiplash symptoms—can be “silent” for a few days before worsening suddenly.   

Why See Your Primary Care Doctor After An Accident

Your primary care doctor is your liaison into the complicated work of personal injury medicine. Your physician is the best person for this job because they’re going to know the most about you and be able to take a 40,000-foot view of your condition. Then, they can start sending you to medical specialists for consultations.   

At the specialist’s office, you’ll undergo a few studies, exams, and tests to give the doctor or surgeon an idea of what they can do to help you heal. They then send those recommendations to the primary care doctor, who communicates with your lawyer and the insurance companies to coordinate your care.

What Type of Specialists Will I See?

The medical specialists you see will depend on the extent and type of your injuries, but some of the most common include: 

  1. Chiropractor
  2. Orthopedic surgeon
  3. Radiologist
  4. Trauma surgeon
  5. Burn specialist
  6. Neurology or neurosurgery
  7. General surgery for any internal injuries
  8. Plastic surgeon
  9. Physical, vocational, or occupational therapists

No matter the injury, you’ll want to see a chiropractor who specializes in accident injuries like whiplash, long-term neck pain, and back injuries.  

At Slovin Chiropractic Center, we know how complicated things get, and we do what we can to make it easier for you. We work closely with local doctors, personal injury attorneys, and providers across multiple specialties to provide complete care for our patients. If you have any questions about our process or how we can help you, please give us a call. If you’re ready to start working toward a treatment plan, let’s get you on the schedule!

Sources:

Gacovino Lake: What type of doctor should I see after a car accident?

Law Offices of Bryan Musgrove: What doctor to see?

Right Path Pain and Spine Centers


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How the Brain Changes in Whiplash Injuries

How the Brain Changes in Whiplash Injuries

Imagine what it would be like to have a fall or accident in your teens, only to suffer from those whiplash symptoms decades later.  That’s what happened to my patient, Bob. 

Bob is a 57-year-old-man who came to me in my Norwalk clinic because he’d been suffering from Bell’s palsy—muscle weakness that causes drooping on one side of the face—for about seven years.  His symptoms were severe, including:

·         Drooling

·         Disordered movements in the facial movements that affected his expressions

·         Headaches

·         Tearing

·         Loss of taste

·         Hypersensitivity to sounds

After reviewing all his X-rays, I’d noticed a severe neck injury that must’ve been many years old. Bob told me about a major accident he’d had decades earlier. He was 17, out for a joy ride with a friend, wearing no seatbelt, and racing towards his youthful adrenaline between the lines on the road.  Sadly, his night was cut short when he was involved in a severe accident that killed his friend and nearly stole his life too.  He wasn’t expected to make it through. 

Whiplash after an accident can lead to serious long-term repercussions if not treated from the beginning.  But the good news is that it’s reversible.  Within just a few visits, Bob saw significant relief in his symptoms.  His whiplash treatment regimen was a critical part of his recovery.  He now lives a full and active life without the pain and discomfort of a long-ago tragedy. 

The Brain at the Onset of Whiplash Injuries

In severe accidents where you lose consciousness for any period, the brain develops lesions in the prefrontal cortex.  This is the area of the brain responsible for executive functions like focus, being able to predict the consequences of your actions, impulse control, and management of emotional reactions.  Lesions can also appear in deeper structures of the brain if the injury is bad enough. 

The Long-Term Effects and Symptoms of Whiplash Injuries

Just because a whiplash injury doesn’t knock you unconscious, doesn’t mean it can’t become problematic.  Symptoms of chronic whiplash injuries include:

·         Severe chronic shoulder and neck pain

·         Ringing in the ears

·         Blurry vision

·         Severe headaches

·         Sleep difficulties

·         Memory problems

·         Difficulty with focus and concentration

In 2016, a study revealed changes in the pain and posture processing part of the brain many years after the accident.  They were looking for a way to help people suffering from chronic whiplash associative disorder—a problem with motor, sensorimotor, and sensory functions.  Whiplash can happen at low speeds, so people don’t always see their doctor right away, often leaving the injury untreated for years.  When they do seek attention, it’s difficult to impossible to see anything on tests.  In the study, researchers identified where the pain is occurring.  There is restricted blood flow from the neck to areas in the brain involved with pain perception and sensory processing from inside the body.     

Treating whiplash injuries quickly is critical to avoid long-term damage to nerves, muscles, tendons, and the brain.  Proper whiplash treatment can reverse symptoms; however, the severity and type of injury will determine the path of your treatment plan.  In all cases, it’s best not to wait.  Contact Slovin Chiropractic Center today for a consultation. 


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Sources:

Medical Life Sciences:  Changes in the pain and posture processing parts of the brain could cause whiplash symptoms.

BC Medical Journal:  Purports Of Brain Damage Following Presumed Whiplash Injury

Science Direct: Whiplash symptoms are caused by actual changes in the brain

Youth Sports Injuries: Are Girls More Fragile Than Boys?

Youth Sports Injuries: Are Girls More Fragile Than Boys?

Youth sports injuries are common in a chiropractor’s office.  We treat kids’ athletic injuries regularly, especially in high school and summer camp favorites like volleyball, football, soccer, swimming, and tennis. Common injuries usually have to do with the elbows, neck, shoulders, and back

I read a few articles recently that posed a thought-provoking question I’d like to bring to you: Are girls more fragile than boys when it comes to sustaining sports injuries? Is there any unbiased scientific evidence to support the claim, or is it based on viewing females as the more “delicate” gender or the “weaker” sex? 

What Prevents Girls from Participating in Sports?

The Women’s Sports Foundation spent 25 years studying the drop-out rates in girls’ youth sports.  Most girls drop out of athletics by the time they’re 14, which is two times the rate of boys.  WSF has identified the key factors contributing to this startling number.

·         There are few to no opportunities to play the desired sport given lack of access to utilities or the extra cost of paying for a gym membership or trainer. Schools continue to cut back on physical education classes, so millions of girls aren’t getting any athletic activity.

·         Sports require a place to play, which often means traveling for miles to a facility, sometimes through rough neighborhoods. There is a concern for the safety and transportation of young girls to and from sports activities. 

·         Let’s talk about social norms.  Even though we’ve seen tremendous progress in gender equality, athletic females are still stigmatized regarding their sexual orientation and gender identity. This is not something preteen or teen girls want to face and will forego sports because of it.

·         Sports become “less fun” as girls get older because their facilities aren’t as nice as the boys’, and the best coaches generally focus on boys’ athletics. 

·         Finally, WSF lists a lack of positive role models as a critical factor for why girls drop out of sports more often than boys. Despite all our progress, girls are still faced with thousands of images of what society considers beautiful. They rarely align with the strong, confident female athlete every girl has inside herself. 

What Are the Proposed Gender Differences in Youth Sports?

Practitioners from Human Kinetics suggest biological differences make boys more successful and essentially better at sports than girls.  They state these differences, along with the differences in socialization of boys and girls, play a significant role in girls’ athletic performance, including frequency and intensity of the injury. Specifically, they note:

·         Boys are usually taller with longer limbs, making them faster.

·         Boys’ shoulder-width allows for more muscle on a larger girdle. 

·         Generally, boys have more muscle mass and less body fat than girls, making them stronger, faster, and less likely to sustain an injury than girls.

Two Cents from Your Favorite Female Chiropractor, Who’s Also a Competitive Athlete

There’s no ignoring the physical differences between boys and girls, but I challenge anyone who doesn’t recognize those factors have more to do with the social stigmatization of muscular women than anything else.  I’ve never seen these biological differences stop or even limit a committed female athlete.  

I have never observed differences in treating female and male athletes, nor have I considered that girls are somehow more fragile than boys.  Sports help us build on important skills like leadership, teamwork, confidence, and even compassion for others.  Girls’ athletics, especially, can teach positive body image and improved self-image.  Further, athletes in the household tend to have better communication and deeper trust with their parents.

In any case, there is no difference in how I treat youth sports injuries.  If you have a girl or boy athlete with an injury or mysterious pain, we can help you at Slovin Chiropractic Center in Norwalk.  It’s best to catch any problems before they get worse.  I can help your youth develop healthy habits that protect their bones, joints, and muscles while playing their favorite sport. 

Sources:

Women’s Sports Foundation: Factors Influencing Girls Participation in Sports

Human Kinetics:  Reasons for Gender Differences in Youth

The Female Athlete Perspective

How to Protect Your Back When Gardening

How to Protect Your Back When Gardening

You can smell it in the air—it’s gardening time!  I love my garden. I can’t wait to get my hands in the earth and start planting.

Gardening is an excellent way to get physical activity and is rewarding in so many ways. Still, strenuous activities can do a number on your body, so you’ll want to protect your back from the start. 

Treat Gardening as a Sport

Outdoor gardening is a seasonal activity that requires a tremendous amount of effort and skill. Here are a few other reasons I consider gardening a sport:

·         You’re competing against nature in a defensive position, pulling up weeds and managing growth. 

·         You play offense by maintaining a healthy environment free of pests, taking back territory in various parts of your garden.

·         You’re racing against the clock and only have so much time to rake the leaves, lift the soil, shovel the manure, and stir the compost.  

·         You work all your muscles, sweat a bunch, and feel exhausted yet exhilarated.

Gardening is fruitful and rewarding in multiple ways, but some tasks can lead to back pain if done without support or improper posture.  As a chiropractor, I see gardeners who’ve been pulled from their garden for weeks because of back or neck pain.  Let’s talk about which chores may need to be avoided or modified to protect your back and body. 

Tasks Most Likely to Cause Back Pain from Gardening

The #1 way to herniate a disc is bending forward and twisting.  It may seem like no big deal to grab a bag of mulch and throw it over your shoulder, but those movements can throw your back out and force you out of the garden for at least a couple of weeks.

Mixing and sowing tight soil can seriously pull those muscles in your arms, neck, and shoulders. And don’t forget about your wrists!

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Pulling weeds while bent forward can damage your neck and shoulders. 

What can you do to protect your back when gardening?  Let’s review a few tips to help you prepare for this season of growth. 

Pro Tips to Protect Your Back and Body While Gardening

1.       When performing repetitive activities with a weak back, a back brace can be helpful. Be sure to remove it as soon as you’re done gardening, though. Wearing the brace when you aren’t active will make your muscles and your core weaker over time.

2.       Spend about 10-15 minutes warming up and stretching your muscles before you start.

3.       Don’t go more than 20 or 30 minutes in your gardening chores.  Take frequent breaks and stretch your body in those few minutes. 

4.       When lifting heavy things, always face the object you need to raise and use your legs.  Never bend over to lift objects, even empty pots. 

5.       Don’t reach!  Use ladders or step stools to get something heavy from above your head. 

6.       Gardening from your knees uses your hips and saves your back from stress and strain. You can also hop on the trend of vertical gardening and do it from a standing position, or you can bring the pots to you on a table. 

7.       Get all your equipment ready to go before you start.

8.       Involve the family! When kids help grow food, they are more interested in eating their veggies.

You don’t have to miss out on the benefits of gardening due to a weak back.  Even doing something minor, like a few pots on your balcony, can bring you a sense of calm and work a few muscles in the process.  If you do happen to experience back pain from gardening, get in touch with us here at Slovin Chiropractic Center in Norwalk.  We can help you get back into the soil quickly and safely. 

Sources:

Rainy Side Gardeners: Gardening is a sport

Omron Health:  12 Gardening Tips for Lower Back Pain Management

Spine-Health:  11 Ways to Keep Gardening with Back Pain

EASY Noninvasive Pain Management Without Opioids

EASY Noninvasive Pain Management Without Opioids

Pain management is a multi-billion-dollar industry. By now, most of us have been affected by the opioid epidemic in some way.  Whether you’ve experienced it yourself, you know someone who is struggling, or you’ve watched it take the life of someone you love—opiates are a real and significant danger in our world. As chiropractors, it is our responsibility to help our community members find better ways of dealing with pain. 

Pain is a part of life.  All kinds of it creep into our lives.  Sometimes it’s physical; other times, it’s somewhere on the inside.  But in all cases, pain management is a part of human existence. There’s no escaping it, which is why it’s so important to learn better ways of helping your body heal itself.  Many natural remedies work for pain management. It just takes some investigation, experimentation, and—above all—patience!

The “Easy” Part of Natural Pain Management

Medical science has brought us a long way, but we still have work to do when teaching, encouraging, and promoting pain management in a safe self-care setting.

Your body has a natural ability to heal itself when given the right environment. That’s why I stress the importance of the simple things, like:

1.       A healthy diet

2.       Getting enough adequate sleep

3.       Exercising regularly

Maintaining a balance between diet, exercise, and sleep is worth all the effort when you can get back to doing the things you love, and you don’t have to worry about subjecting your body to dependency-causing opiates.  

My Go-To Treatment for Natural Pain Relief

Setting your body up for success with those three factors above is just the beginning.  Now, you need to manage physical pain.  I work with many people suffering from all different types of pain, such as whiplash, headaches, fibromyalgia, and long-term back pain

Every person who comes in my door gets a tailored treatment plan; however, there is one regimen that remains constant in every case. It’s not only something you can do at home, but you can do it anywhere. It’s affordable and highly effective.

Ice!  I sometimes prescribe alternating ice and heat treatments, depending on the injury, but ice is consistently on every treatment plan.  Cold therapy temporarily decreases blood flow to the injury, which is a good thing because healing cells are trying to swarm the area, which will cause painful inflammation. 

There are some things to keep in mind when using ice for natural pain management of acute pain:

·         Apply it as soon as the pain starts, after an accident, or following overexertion.

·         It works best for new injuries, but it’s helpful for flare-up pain as well.

·         If you can elevate the injured area, do so.  This controls the gravity factor of blood flow.

·         Don’t apply the ice directly to your skin. Use a wrap, towel, gel pack, or other covering to avoid skin or tissue damage.

·         Apply it for short periods, no more than 20 minutes at a time.  I often recommend 20 minutes on and 45 minutes off through the worst of it, and then as needed.

Should You Tell Your Chiropractor About Opioid Use?

At Slovin Chiropractic Center, we don’t prescribe or use opiates in our practice; however, if you are struggling with an opioid addiction and you’d like a more natural way to approach pain management, then you’ve come to the right place!  We will help you heal through what is likely to be a difficult journey.  There’s only one way for our community to eradicate the opioid problem: through compassion, education, and support. 

See the sources at the bottom of this article for addiction support centers and programs.

Sources:

Norwalk Substance Abuse Programs
The Recovery Village in Norwalk

Cleveland Clinic: Here’s How to Choose Between Using Ice or Heat for Pain

Spine-Health: Ice as pain relief, More Effective Than You Think

Medical City Healthcare: How to Know When an Injury Needs Ice or Heat