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Resolutions for a Healthy Spine – Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic Clinic

A Healthy Spine Helps Ensure a Healthier Year Ahead

As spinal health is a key aspect of your overall health and well being, resolve to have a healthier spine in 2012!

1.  I resolve to get regular chiropractic adjustments.  Why?

Relief. Relief from back or neck pain is often the first benefit our patients notice. You may  find other areas of your body are relieved once your spinal column is aligned as the nerves that run to those areas of the body also run through the spinal column.  Muscle spasms, headaches and other symptoms may also decrease after an adjustment.

Restore function. Chiropractic adjustments are unique in their ability to reduce stress on the joints, as well as helping restore normal range of motion and function through the entire body, while supporting the nervous system’s natural ability to heal itself.

Maintain aligngment. Proper spinal alignment results in proper nervous system function and when the nervous system is communicating properly, the body simply functions better.  Patients who regularly visit the chiropractor are less likely to relapse and find that they recover more quickly if they do happen to become injured.

2.   I resolve to ensure a quality sleep.  Why? 

Sleep is another key factor of overall health; this is when your body repairs itself.  Generally it is to lay in a neutral position on your side, rather than the stomach. (Sleeping directly on the stomach puts pressure on the spine.)   A supportive pillow and mattress can also help enhance the quality of your sleep.

3.  I resolve to increase my level of physical activity.  Why? 

If you are already active, consider changing it up.  Different types of exercise protect your spine in different ways and changing it up decreases your chance of repetitive injury. Lifting weights ensures spinal support and protection. Cardio help lose those extra pounds put on over the holidays. (Excess weight drags down on the ligaments, muscles and tendons of the lower back, causing pain.) Stretching helps keep the body flexible.  Some types of yoga combine stretching, strengthening and cardio.

4.   I resolve to stretch.   Why? 

Tight muscles can result in various imbalances in the body’s structure, causing  pain and increasing the risk of injury.  For example, tight hamstrings can cause posture problems, since this can pull the pelvis out of its normal position, resulting in chronic back or sacroiliac joint pain.

5.  I resolve to create a spine-friendly work environment.  Why?

Designing the workplace to meet your individual needs impacts health, safety, productivity and efficiency.

Back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries and is often caused by ordinary work activities such as sitting in an office chair or heavy lifting.  Make sure that you have ergonomic supports if your work requires long periods of sitting or standing, and that you are able to vary your position often.

6.  I resolve to stay hydrated.  Why?

Like all body parts, the spine requires water to maintain and repair healthy tissue and keep joints lubricated.  The cushion-like  discs between the vertebrae protect your spine by absorbing the impact of daily activity.  When you are consistently dehydrated, the discs are less able to absorb shock.   So keep a bottle of water with you, and sip frequently.

Tip:  if you don’t enjoy drinking water, throw in a wedge of lemon, lime or slice up some orange or cucumber into your water bottle for some tang!  Your spine (and the rest of your body) will thank you for it!

Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic – Wellness Series Part 3 of 3

Is wellness physical health?  Quality of life?  Freedom from pain?

Health and wellness is all of these things.  Doctors and scientists have studied the lifestyles and genetics of people from different periods in history, from different cultures and environments to help understand health and longevity. This month the Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic blog is focusing on wellness – welcome to part three of this three part series, a focus on freedom from pain.

 

Freedom from Pain

Pain.  No one needs to describe what it feels like – we can all identify with it, whether it’s the intense sensation of a scrape, burn or injury or something much more serious.

Even if you don’t know the cause of your pain, pain tells us that something in our body isn’t right.  So do you visit the doctor? The chiropractor?  Physiotherapist or massage therapist?  Take medication? Vitamins?  All or none of the above?

When pain becomes chronic – generally lasting at least three months, it becomes something else entirely.    The physical and emotional core is stressed, fatigued and their day-to-day living is affected.  Chronic pain can undermines a person’s well-being,  productivity and even of the essence of who they are, as the focus of each day is on how to eradicate the pain and trying all of the above remedies, and many others.

Chronic pain is complex in that it can differ tremendously – even between individuals  who suffer from the exact same injury or disease.   This can be because of a co-existing condition or injury or many other environmental or psychological factors that must be factored into how an individual perceives and experiences pain.

Diagnosing Chronic Pain

There is no way to measure how pain varies between individuals, but first and foremost, health care providers must take the patient’s description and feedback into account.   This is probably more important than what the medical books suggest a patient could or should be feeling for any condition.

A full physical examination can provide more insight into the cause of chronic pain.  However, more detailed and technical examinations will likely be made and may include x-ray, MRI, EEG, blood tests, etc.

Managing & Treating Chronic Pain

The goal of pain management is to improve the day-to-day function and quality of life for the patient, and as mentioned that varies from person to person.

Whatever treatment regime is it is important to remember that chronic pain is treatable, and may require a combination of many approaches, such as physical activity, relaxation, nutrition and access to health care.  Different health care providers will also recommend different approaches or courses of treatment.  While it is important for patients who suffer from chronic pain to explore a range of different health care providers, it is always best to be up front with each as to what kinds of treatments, medications etc. have been used in the past.  Each patient should document this not only to share with other health care providers, but as a reference for themselves and a tool for making decisions on what is working and what is not.

Though chronic pain is an individual and personal health issue – it is also a major issue for public health, as well as  family, friends, employers and health care providers who are affected and need to give ongoing support for those who suffer from the physical as well as the emotional impact of chronic pain.

Chiropractic treatments can be useful in reducing  many kinds of pain, and may be most effective with chronic pain, since  pain  impacts the structure and function of the body – how you move, your posture and the quality of sleep you have.  Even organic disease causes reactions in the body’s skeletal and muscular functioning that can increase the level of pain in the body overall.

Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic Clinic welcomes feedback and insight for those who have suffered with chronic pain, whether or not chiropractic is a part of your current or ongoing recovery from chronic pain.

If you currently suffer from chronic pain or know someone who does, refer them to Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic for a consultation – our goal is to let the healing begin.  604.507.9929.

 

 

Whiplash – Visit a Chiropractor Even After a Minor Accident

Even a minor MVA is traumatic for the soft tissue area in the neck

A visit to the chiropractor following a minor car accident can make a difference to your future health.  No Doctor or ICBC Referral is Required to Visit Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic Clinic.

Most people know that the most common injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident is to neck (the cervical spine).

What many people are unaware of is that the injury can be painless and remain undiagnosed even if you attend the emergency room and have x-rays taken of your neck.

This is because the most common injury is to the soft tissues – the ligaments, tendons and muscles, and not to the bony vertebrae which are protecting the spinal cord.

The hyper-extension (stretching) and bruising that occurs to the soft tissue from a whiplash injury can be relatively minor, but because the body’s protective response is to stiffen the muscles around the injured area, this can lead to problems if left untreated.  The stiff muscles cause other muscles to compensate for the decreased range of motion and bring about further injury, as alignment of the body’s  muscles and joints are driven further off course.   Eventually this can result in headaches, muscle spasms, stiffness and decreased range of motion.

Within a few weeks, scar tissue begins to develop in the injury area, which can lead to a chronic condition and permanent degeneration of the joints through the entire neck and back.

While early chiropractic intervention for whiplash is ideal, Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic has a range of treatment options treating patients who are experiencing pain and dysfunction from long-term whiplash.

A series of gentle adjustments to the spine can realign the joints, relieve pain and inflammation and restore normal range of motion.

Shockwave therapy is available for those patients who have a great deal of scar tissue built up, and laser pain therapy can be used to control areas with a great deal of inflammation.

If you or someone you know has been in a motor vehicle accident, have them call a chiropractor at Surrey Pain & Wellness, even if they are not in pain.  A biomechanical examination of the spine by a chiropractor only takes a few minutes and can save you a great deal of pain and frustration in the future.

Surrey Pain & Wellness Chiropractic Clinic accepts all WCB & ICBC Claims.  No referral is necessary from your adjuster or from your physician.  604.507.9929.

Do You Suffer from Computer Neck?

Long Hours at the Computer Can Lead to Chronic Pain

If you are one of those people who sit at a computer for long hours in a day,  you may be suffering from “computer neck” – or perhaps will be in the near future.   Other problems that surface when spending long hours in front of a computer include back pain,  shoulder pain,  hand, wrist and finger pain – all resulting in reduced mobility and possibly leading to other injuries, loss of sleep and certainly a decrease in your ability to be productive when sitting in front of your computer.

Spine Strain
Leaning Forward at the Computer Can Strain the Neck & Lower Back

There are stretches and many other measures you can take to reduce your aches and pains and prevent or reduce future problems as a result of long hours at the computer.

A lot of people who sit at a computer –  especially if they are there for a prolonged period –  tend to lean their heads forward.  I suggest you sit up as straight as possible  and even possibly get a chair that is adjustable so that your knees are equal to or even slightly higher than your hips.  This will force you to sit in a more upright position.  Another thing you can do is place a stool under your feet so that your knees are raised slightly higher than your hips.  You can vary your position on the foot stool, sometimes having just one foot on the stool, then the other, but it is best to keep both feet on the stool to keep the body aligned.  If you do have an adjustable chair, slightly tip the seat forward to help you to sit up straight and prevent that “slouching” that is so easy to revert to when you are sitting at your desk for a prolonged period of time.

Many people find a lot of neck tension and muscle strain in their upper neck and shoulders as a result of long hours sitting at a computer.  I recommend you take two minutes every half hour or so to do a quick stretch – you don’t even need to leave your desk.  Just hang onto your chair on one side and lean the opposite way while gently pulling your head to that same side.   I recommend you do the same thing on both sides in order to keep your symmetry and your muscles even aligned.  It will feel really good, so remember this is something that will not only help you to be more productive for a longer period of time, and prevent those eventual aches and pains that can lead to a more chronic condition, but it will also feel GREAT!

For those of you who do a lot of typing and mouse work, you may find your hands and forearms cramping.   Another easy suggestion to alleviate that is while you are sitting at your desk, take 30 seconds to grab your fingers and push your palm forward, stretching out your forearm. Do the same thing on the other side and  then grab your fingers but face your palm inward. You can then just gently shake your hands and fingers and get back to work!

It is also a good habit to move around every 30-60 minutes. Stand up and take a walk around the office if you can, even if it is for a minute or two.  Go and get a glass of water, use the washroom or even start a different task. Finally, when you take a lunch break try to do that away from your desk – if there is someplace outdoors that you can walk to, even better!  If you schedule a walk or lunch out of the office with someone else, this will also help ensure you get a bit more physical activity into your day.

Basically, changing up your computer routine to prevent injury is no different than changing up your fitness routine to prevent injury – any sustained activity can lead to over use injuries.  There are other ways to reduce stress on your back, neck, shoulders, hands, wrists and even prevent things like carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, neck pain and back pain.

Feel free to tell us about what you do to change up your computer routine and prevent computer neck and other related over use injuries.

If you have any questions about chiropractic or other treatments to alleviate pain or reduce computer stress in your body, call or come by the Surrey Pain & Wellness Clinic  in Newton Crossing, 604.507.9929.