Without balance, life would be exceedingly difficult
Fortunately, we innately know how to balance. But that doesn’t mean we should take such an incredible human process for granted- learning more about balance is a signal way of improving wellness, preventing injury and optimizing function. Balance keeps us upright and centered; it has implications in every movement we make. So how can we start paying more attention to balance to improve our wellbeing? Alignment is a good place to start. Read on to find out more.
Chiropractic focuses on maximizing your biomechanical ability in the context of your sport
Whether you are a dedicated gym rat, a hardcore runner, or someone who barely has time to stretch, chiropractic can help improve the way your body responds to the physical stresses you choose and how you feel afterwards. At Bay Area Spine Care Office, we focus on helping athletes in the following areas:
- Improving joint mobility to protect and promote pain-free movement
- Preventing injury by balancing your body
Today, we are going to focus on balance: your innate ability to control equilibrium and stability. It incorporates musculoskeletal stability as well as the proprioreceptive system, which allows your muscles to communicate with the nervous system, helping to define exactly where you are within space. Both internal and external balance are key factors in any athlete’s pursuit of perfection.
After you sit for an extended period of time, be sure to wake up the muscles that matter
Everyone knows that sitting too much is bad for our health. But for those of us that sit for a living, it is hardly to be avoided. Which means that we must pay special attention to the muscles which suffer when we sit. For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on the three most endangered:
- Hip flexors
After a long day of sitting, you need to wake up your butt to reactive its ability to support your spine and biomechanical movement. How do you go about this?
Flexion-based exercises are useful if you know how to use them
Depending on the type of back pain you are experiencing, flexion may be the right choice for you. Flexion refers to bending forward, and incorporates a number of stretches, exercises and modalities that can help relieve pain, especially for people suffering from exaggerated curvature of the lower back, anterior pelvic tilt and weakness in the core. These three factors are present in people who spend all day in a single position, especially standing. With this posture (essentially: butt and belly stuck out in opposite directions), the spine is suffering from a lack of support at its very base. Flexion seeks to retrain your body into a more healthy posture, while strengthening the muscles that matter for maintaining this position.
You should not perform flexion if you are suffering from:
- Severe acute or chronic back pain
- Sciatica-like symptoms
- Herniated discs
It is likely that the bending-forward motion could actually worsen your condition. Otherwise, read on to find out how flexion could benefit you.
Standing = muscle fatigue
It’s undeniable. Anyone who has had to stand, maintaining more or less the same position, for hours on end can attest to it: standing simply hurts. The human body detests static posture- even if you were able to maintain “perfect,” neutral posture while you stood, your spine would still suffer from lack of circulation and compression, while your muscles would weaken and give in to fatigue. This potent combination then diminishes your body’s capacity to maintain good posture in the first place, which is why many of us give in to leaning, stretching, sitting or just about any other position to find relief for those muscles. So what if you do have to stand all day, for a living say? Make sure you take steps to look out for your spine:
No matter who you are…
…your spine undergoes a whole lot of compression on a daily basis. Whether you stand or sit for a living, whether you consider your posture excellent or poor; all of this is immaterial because gravity never stops pushing down upon us! Therefore the onus is upon us to do everything we can to mitigate the constant compression by lengthening our spines. This process, known as spinal elongation, is essential for providing embattled spinal discs, vertebrae and facet joints with the relief they need to heal. Read on to find out how yoga supports decompression.
A pain in the shoulders…
Tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck are ubiquitous in the American adult population. Our lifestyles, from working, commuting and couchsurfing, are conducive to systemic tension in this region that includes the upper spine. It is likely that all the tension in these muscles is also causing some degree of spinal dysfunction; the alarming thing is that pain is likely the last symptom to emerge. That’s why so many of us are able to go along with our lives for years, ignoring all the tension we know is in our shoulders and upper back, until one day it all comes down on our head. Instead of waiting for this inevitable tipping point, we like to think that a bit of daily maintenance can prevent it from ever happening at all.
Posture is, quite possibly, the single most overlooked method for influencing health on a daily basis
It is something that we are performing all the time, whether we like it or not. That means that if you ignore posture, and let your body slip into poor postural habits, your body will suffer. Your muscles will train themselves into positions that support poor posture, and subsequently pull your spine out of alignment. Ignoring posture therefore propels you along the road toward back pain and vertebral degeneration. Let’s perform a simple test to determine whether you rest with good posture.
A lesser-known, but nonetheless potent form of headaches
The cervicogenic headache receives a smaller portion of the spotlight than migraines or tension headaches, which are thought to affect up to one out of every six adults in the United States. The American Migraine Foundation defines a cervicogenic headache as a secondary headache- that is, caused by another condition. In this case, the headache’s source is derived from a disorder in the cervical spinal segment, where there is a complex relationship between spinal bones, spinal nerves, intervertebral discs and soft tissues. Let’s dive a little deepr into the causes of cervicogenic headaches.
What is cervical traction?
Traction is a natural modality that affords your spine the opportunity to decompress at whatever level tension is accumulating. With cervical traction, we focus on releasing tension from neck muscles and alleviating the pinched nerves which cause so much stiffness and pain. At our office in Alameda, we use specialized tables to gently stretch the spine and provide a targeted decompressive effect. But you can reproduce a similar effect on a daily basis- if you find that you consistently leave work with a sore, stiff neck, then cervical traction should be the first thing you do when you get home.