Protect Your Neck, Don’t Neglect Your Neck?

Your neck is a densely packed powerhouse of muscles

However, these muscles are among the most neglected in the body when it comes to gym time, and they rarely come in for attention unless they are causing problems. This is problematic for a number of reasons: first, an increasing number of us work jobs that require us to sit for hours on end, encouraging stiffness and pain in the neck. Second, ignoring the neck can leave you vulnerable to cervical spinal conditions that will develop later from a lack of strength in the supporting muscles and poor posture. I’m not saying you need to train each muscle of the neck individually, but we should treat it as a fairly important group of muscles to be exercised regularly. 

The relationship your neck has with pain

Think of how many times you move your neck in a day- it is probably impossible to even get close to an accurate estimate as 90% of neck movements are subconscious. Looking up, down, to the side, and over your shoulder; chewing your food and holding your head upright. Many of the muscles in the neck connect to the upper back and have implications in the mechanics of shoulder movement. What this mosaic shows is that, with weak muscles, your neck is vulnerable to a lot of movements and the worst malefactor is no movement at all.

It’s time to turn your neck into a bundle of strength

At our office in we have a plan to turn your neck into something more: a network of muscles that support the head, connect it to the body with proper mechanics, and allow for an extensive range of movement without causing pain or stiffness. It is important to realize that your neck can actually work as an agent for you- to prevent the onset of spinal conditions and pain related to a desk-heavy lifestyle. Give our office a call to find out how we can start strengthening the neck today.

Holiday Health 101: Tips for Navigating those Laden Dinner Tables

The holiday food coma is a reality that few weight-watchers can afford

Thanks to the healthy quantities of fatty foods that seem to pass into our households each holiday season, keeping the weight down can be a challenge that few of us are equipped to meet. No one who is in a weight loss battle likes to see themselves slumped over on the couch, full of pie and brandy, waiting for the night to mercifully come to an end. Applying a few common-sense principles to each family dinner will ensure that you don’t lose too much ground in the battle to keep the pounds down. 

We believe in being realistic with our eating goals during the holidays.

That’s why we came up with these tips for avoiding over-eating, but also not feeling too guilty if you do:

  • Don’t guilt-trip yourself: chances are you are going to eat too much and not work out enough. Give yourself a break, but don’t overdo it past an acceptable extreme.
  • Don’t be guilt-tripped: just because the recipe is family heirloom doesn’t mean you have to try that pie. But do try it and don’t feel guilt. Roll that wonderful morsel around your taste buds and enjoy, Remember each moment that the sensation of joy rushes through your mind because that is what it is to be alive!
  • Monitor your appetizer intake: yes bite-sized appetizers are finger-lickin’ good. But they also burden your calorie counter before the main meal even takes place.
  • Tummy tuck constantly: bring your belly button in toward your spine and hold it. This is core-strengthening 101 and it’s dead easy to perform while you’re at the dinner table. 
  • Avoid drinking too much: it’s not only your dignity that is at stake. Alcoholic drinks, especially those holiday-inspired ones, are laden with calories that contribute to the famous holiday-bloating effect. 

Check-in at your chiropractor after the holiday season to ensure you are still on track with your fitness goals

At our office, we help make sure that your holiday habits haven’t taken a drastic toll on your overall health. If you want to keep your body balanced and on track for achieving all your fitness goals, give our office a call to schedule an appointment for after the holiday rush. Good luck and happy holidays! 

Landing Softly: How to Minimize Impact on the Runner’s Joints

Good running form means efficiency and speed but it also means injury prevention!

If you are trying to improve your running form, it behooves you to focus on minimizing the impact of each step on the joints of your knees and lower back. Yes, this starts with good running shoes, but the degree to which the impact will affect your joints is determined when you strike the ground.

Running with the health of your spine in mind 

  • Strike the ground with the middle of your foot rather than the heel: this technique, known as mid-foot running, is the most important stride for minimizing the shock factor to spinal joints. 
  • Short strides that land directly under the hips also minimize impact and help to keep you upright and balanced.
  • Upright posture: slumping forward with the shoulders and craning your neck forward puts the spine out of balance and leaves it vulnerable every time your foot hits the ground. Posture awareness is very important for runners.

This all combines to create a more natural running style that will, in the long run, benefit you greatly. Not only will it prevent injury, but it will also make you a more efficient runner

Keeping the damage in check with regular chiropractic care

No matter how careful you are about your running form, some level of impact is likely to reach your spinal joints. This jarring motion tends to move them out of alignment, creating compression on the nearby nerves which can result in dysfunction and pain. If you are interested in keeping your body in the best shape possible so you can keep running to your heart’s content, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today. 

This Holiday Season, Practice Exercise Snacking

You will be snacking a lot this holiday season 

From the myriad sweet treats to decadent family dinners, the options are endless when it comes to indulgence during the holiday season. For those looking to manage their weight, or keep back pain at bay, this can be a treacherous time. It behooves any back pain sufferer to be proactive about the health of their spine during the holiday season. To this end, we want to talk about a different kind of snacking: exercise snacking.

Exercise snacking is sneaky holiday fitness

We know that every little bit of exercise counts. When it comes to the health of your spine, even a 10-minute walk can make a significant difference in the severity of back pain you experience. That’s because movement is the essence of life- going from zero to any form of exercise helps to relieve muscle tension and get your circulation flowing. This can be an essential lifeline during the holiday season. 

Exercise snacking is a concept developed by fitness trainers catering to busy people. Almost all of us are busier during the holiday season than during the rest of the year. Exercise snacking focuses on reaping the benefits of a full exercise program in smaller increments. The idea is to think small: what can you fit in in a 5, 10, 15, or 30-minute workout? Ideas range from simply walking, to purposeful stretching, bodyweight exercises, and high-intensity interval training. Whatever you choose, it’s going to be better than nothing!

Maintaining your health through the holidays

Don’t let the challenges of the holiday season turn you off from exercise. People who prioritize their health will persevere; exercise snacking is an excellent way to do just that. If you need more ideas on maintaining your health through the holidays, give our office a call to schedule an appointment today.