How to Prevent Ice Skating Injuries

Although January has been designated as National Skating Month, ice skating is an activity that you can enjoy all year round. It does not matter if you have a preference for indoor rinks or outdoor rinks, this is an activity that helps burn a lot of calories, keep muscles toned and improve fitness. Unfortunately, like other sports, ice skating provides the perfect opportunity for new and seasoned skaters to suffer from injuries like strained muscles, fractures and sprains. All of these injuries require immediate medical attention to ensure proper healing.

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Many consider a trip to the emergency room as their first step in a line of defense, but choosing to go to the emergency room first can actually delay treatment and also expose you to an array of germs as you wait in a triage area with sick patients.

The old saying ‘prevention is the best medicine’ rings true, and if you can avoid injuries in the first place, why wouldn’t you?

Wear Properly Fitted Skates

You would not purchase a pair of Riedell ice skates without making sure they fit your feet properly. After lacing skates, they should feel snug on your feet but not tight. This means that you should be able to wiggle your toes in the skates. When you are wearing skates that fit your feet and are properly laced, your feet and ankles will have support so you can maintain your balance and prevent falls.

Never Use Your Toes as Brakes

Unlike the roller skates you enjoyed as a child, ice skates do not have the rubber stop on the toes. Instead, ice skates have toe picks on the end that should only be used by seasoned skaters when they are jumping.

When you are ready to stop, you will need to make sure you firmly put your one of your feet into the ice and then move it to the side gently. This will create the friction necessary for the stop.

Stretch

You should never begin any sport or physical activity like walking or skating without warming up first. Gentle stretching before you begin ice skating will prevent muscle cramps and other issues while you are skating, and stretching after skating will prevent sore muscles afterwards.

Strengthen Core Muscles

Having a strong core will help you keep your balance while you are on the ice. These muscles will also act as support to your spine while you are skating. Spine support while skating will prevent lower back strain later.

Do Not Become an Acrobat on the Ice

Unless you have been trained to perform a jump or trick, do not attempt them while ice skating. Competitive skaters spend years perfecting these tricks, and even if they look simple, you are risking injury trying them without being trained first.

Always Use Proper Skating Form

Having poor posture and poor balance while ice skating can result in pain in the lower back. If you have plans of ice skating often, consider hiring an experienced instructor who can help you with your skating form.

Ice skating is an activity that you and your family can enjoy all year. It is a terrific way to spend time together and have fun. By remembering these tips, your time on the ice will be more enjoyable.

Backache and Its Causes

spineBackache is commonplace, and everyone has been afflicted by the same at some or the other point of time in his life. Research has shown that nearly 80% of adults are afflicted by bouts of backache, at least once in their lifetime. And after common colds, backache is the most prevalent and commonly occurring ailment.

Another very significant fact about back pain is that it most frequently occurs in one’s lower back, lower back being the area that bears most of our bodyweight. In order to understand backache in a better way, it is very important to know about the anatomy of the back.

The back comprises of various interconnected structures, and these are our muscles, bones and joints, and also tendons and ligaments. The vertebra is the primary support structure in our spine, and is formed by 24 smaller bones, which are also known as the vertebrae. Towards the lower end of the spine are sacrum and coccyx, wherein the sacrum is attached towards the front to our pelvic bones.

In essence, backache is caused when one or more structures in the back are affected, and these could be bones, cartilage, muscles or even spinal cord.

In human beings, the posture is erect, and it has been created in a way such that we are able to withstand the gravitational force. But as a direct outcome of the erect posture, the back becomes more susceptible to wear and tear, strains or even fractures.

Flexibility in our backs enables mobility, and there are a host of factors which ensure flexibility. These include the structure of joints, muscle elasticity and also the fiber material which comprises the connective tissue, and is made up of collagen, elastin and titin.

In between each adjacent vertebra are the intervertebral or spinal discs, and while these enable flexibility and stability for the backbone, they act as shock absorbers and give strength to joints. The vertebrae are round bones through which the spine threads down, and these may be seen as a protective tunnel for the spine and spinal nerves. As these nerves run down the centre of the spine, they branch out and reach the various body parts.

The collagen fibers works towards ensuring that our body is able to successfully withstand the tension created due to our weight and erect posture. And correspondingly, while the intervertebral discs protect the spine, these keep the spine stable when we undertake any of the strenuous activities that put pressure on the spine, like running, jumping or lifting.

Back ache is most prevalent between the age group of 35 to 55, and the most common causes that lead to the condition are physical labor which involves iterative bending or twisting, lifting, pushing or pulling a load, or even static postures. Backache is very often associated with one’s everyday posture or ergonomics, and it may even be attributed to psychosocial factors, such as mental stress or cognitive dysfunction.

Symptoms of back pain vary from one individual to another. The pain is likely to leave by itself in some time, but it could at times be more severe. One might require specialized medical attention if the pain is severe, persistent or it radiates downs to one’s arms or feet.

The primary underlying cause of backache has been known to be the weight of the upper body on the lower back. The Decompression Belt successfully takes this weight off the lower back, so you feel light and comfortable. The posture improves, and the lower back decompresses, so the healing process speeds up.

 

Why You Need Neck Curvature

4191Jw2BGoELMany people don’t realize the vital role that a healthy neck plays in overall health. The neck has a natural curve that helps the body maintain balance, and also prevents injury. The neck has what is known as a lordotic curve, which means that when it is viewed from the side, the arch is convex towards the front. In order to fully appreciate why you need neck curvature, you have to understand the critical function it has in facilitating normal movement.

The neck and spine

The neck is the uppermost part of the spine, which extends from the base of the skull to the pelvis. The major role of the spine is to protect the spinal cord, which is a mix of nerve tissues. The neck or cervical spine is one of several curves that make up the spinal column.

Why you need neck curvature

The curvature of the neck is optimally designed so that it supports and balances the head, allows forshock absorption, and facilitates arange of motion in all directions. Italso assists the even distribution of weight, and has a key role to play in optimal spinal function. The neck transmits messages from the brain that influences all aspects of the body. It also enables the flow of blood to the brain.

However, there are times when stressors can cause the lordotic curve to straighten and even reverse its shape, resulting in a condition known as cervical kyphosis.

Cervical Kyphosis

Cervical kyphosis is a condition in which the natural curve of the neck is reversed or lost. Cervical kyphosis may be due to several factors, including a traumatic event such as an injury or accident that damages the connective tissues in the neck. However, the condition is very often the result of poor posture, as well as degenerative disc disease.

How Poor posture affects the neck

Let’s take a closer look at how poor posture can contribute to cervical kyphosis. Good posture is characterized by a position in which the ears are in line with the shoulders, and the head does not tilt forward. However, excessive slouching, or sitting and walking with the head in a forward position, puts more strain on the muscles and tendons of the neck. When the head and shoulders are constantly being pushed forward, the neck curve tends to straighten out.

Doctors have recently noticed that activities such as texting on your smartphone and other mobile devices, also contributes to the flattening of the natural curvature of the neck. The phenomenon has been dubbed ‘text neck,’ and is the result of prolonged periods spent looking down at smartphones, tablets, iPads, and similar devices. In order to avoid the danger these activities can pose to spinal alignment, it is important to change your posture by bringing the device you are using up to eye level.

Symptoms of Cervical Kyphosis

Cervical kyphosis is a sure sign that the neck and head are misaligned, and this often results in chronic head and neck pain. Other symptoms include lower back pain, high blood pressure, and limited range of motion in the neck.

The added pressure put on the spinal cord due to the lack of curvature in the neck can also lead to spinal cord compression. Spinal cord compression occurs when the soft tissue of the cervical spine is stretched beyond normal limits. The condition is generally characterized by pain in the neck and back (particularly the lower back), numbness in the arms and legs, sciatica, neck muscle spasms, and loss of sensation in the feet.

Correcting Alterations in the normal lordotic curve

Changes in the normal lordotic curve of the neck are best diagnosed by a chiropractor, who will confirm diagnosis by doing an X-ray and other tests. The treatment options will depend on the severity of the condition. Non-surgical intervention is often beneficial in mild cases of cervical kyphosis. In this regard, Posture Pump products can help to restore the cervical curve.

 

Flexibility Exercises to Decrease Back Pain

37b5751bfcd898c78183e64b32fc9fe6When you first find out you have back problems, you will often hear about treatments such as spinal fusions, disc surgery, and spinal injections. Not all cases, however, require such severe and invasive treatments. In addition, treatments such as injections will often only provide temporary relief and not actually address the real problem.

Instead of giving you a temporary cure or risk an invasive procedure which can sometimes take more than a year to recover from, we would like to offer you some treatments you can do in your own home that will help improve your flexibility as well as provide some relief from the pain you are currently experiencing.

Yoga is often associated with flexibility and stretching, and many of the “yoga poses” are at the basis for stretching exercises that help alleviate back and/or sciatic pain, improve flexibility, and stretch out muscles associated with back pain, such as your hamstring.

    • Upward Facing Dog – this exercise helps to strengthen your core muscles and engages your back. Lie flat on the ground. Place your palms flat just below your chest (about even with your ribs). The tops of your feet and legs should be pressed into the floor. Use your back to lift your chest up off the ground and then hold the pose for about ten seconds. Repeat five to ten times.
    • Child’s Pose – this is a very good exercise to stretch out your back and perfect to do at the end of the day. Get down on all fours and then stretch your arms out, palms down, out in front of you. Your glutes should be resting just above your heels, but not touching them. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat five to ten times.
    • Downward Facing Dog – this is very good for your lower back and you should feel the stretch in your hamstrings. This is a classic yoga pose and very easy to do. Go down on your hands and knees and position your hands just in front of your shoulders, palms down. First, raise your knees off the ground and then point your rear upwards. If you really want to feel this in your hamstrings, press your heels firmly to the ground. Your body should resemble an upside down “V.” Repeat five to ten times.

These are just a few of the poses to get you started, but we highly recommend seeing a doctor or yoga instructor to ensure you are doing them correctly. In addition to these stretches, a chiropractor can show you additional exercises you can do daily to stretch out your back, finally offering relief of both back and sciatica pain.

 

Top 7 Tips and Natural Therapies to Ease Back Pain

Inflammation-Back-Pain-Herbs-Rememdies-660x486Back pain is a common complaint from men and women. Sometimes, it is painful to hold the body straight or to even move your back. You feel like you have damaged your skeletal structure. The reason for acute backache might be due to lifting weight, exertion, neural tension, faulty posture, sagging bed, congestion of blood, lack of exercise, high heels, overweight, accidents and sitting long hours, and slouching. Eight out of ten people may have lower back pain at sometime in their lives, as estimated by the experts.

Society’s current lifestyle is a major contributor of back pain. In the old days people walked for miles for their needs, now we hardly move. The car is in the garage with hardly steps to get into it.

Recipes to consume:

Swallow ½ teaspoon of Giloye powder and ½ teaspoon of Amla powder with warm water first thing in the morning and before going to bed

In two tablespoons plain yogurt, add ½-teaspoon asafetida powder, 8 oz water and beat well. Drink an hour before lunch. Continue this procedure for three months

Drink 10 oz fresh juice made with one potato, 4 celery stocks, a two-inch piece of fresh ginger and a quarter of beetroot every day for three weeks. If it is hard to drink, then add an apple.

1 tsp Ginger powder

1 tsp Turmeric powder

2 tsp Onion juice

½ tsp Ajwain powder

1 tsp Yellow mustard seed powder

Mix all the ingredients, make three parts, and swallow with water three times a day. Make this mixture in a large amount to continue for at least three weeks if it is a temporary pain. However, if it is a prolonged one, then you might need to consume for three months. If you think, you cannot handle it then add a pinch of brown sugar.

Natural therapies:

    • If you wear high heels, then alternate with low heels and watch if it makes a difference
    • Keep your spine straight while you sit, stand, or walk, this itself is a healing posture
    • Sleep on right or left side, with a pillow between your knees to avoid discomfort. When you wake up, turn on your side and then stand. You may need a hard bed and not a sagging mattress
    • When you shower, let the warm water pour on your lower back and hips. Same time, massage with mustard oil downwards using both hands. Continue this procedure for one minute every day. This helps much to relieve pain
    • Burn 3 crushed cloves and a tablespoon of Ajwain in a quarter cup of mustard oil. Cool, strain, and massage the affected area with warm garlic oil at bedtime to relieve pain
    • For a sitting job, get up every hour, stretch and walk around. For a lifting job, always bend your knees putting weight on your legs, instead of your back and use a back-supporting belt
    • A cold pack or heating pad may give you temporary relief; try both and see which one works

Sit in lotus posture to meditate for 15 minutes. The stretch in your legs and hips helps flex the spine. Yoga slow stretches help to flex and relax those painful and stiff muscles and spine. Do not bend forward. Back bending postures help decrease pain. Once the pain decreases, exercise with weights for 15 minutes 4 days a week. This helps strengthen the spine and energize the body.

Select food intelligently and stick with light foods. Eat plenty of beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables and green leaves daily, which are rich in fiber, protein, nutrients, enzymes and minerals. Remember when we eat light, we stay light.

Resource Box: Back pain is unbearable and it incapacitates us to do our daily routine. The spine is the main pillar of the body and it manages the entire load of the complete skeletal system, to balance the body. Once the spine is damaged, life becomes full of pain and discomfort. To ease back pain, practice of yoga slow postures and regular exercise with weights. This helps with mobility and harmony in life. It also lessens the pack pain.

Inversion Table Therapy My Story, What It Is and Is It Right For You

2A1727B500000578-3143521-image-a-5_1435649949639My Story

Wow, my story on inversion table therapy – or should it be more like, my story on back problems?

Anyway, at a very young age, around 10 or so, I developed scoliosis. It was the result of my growth being stunted from many radiation treatments. (I had cancer 4 times.) As time went by and the rest of my body grew, the curve in my spine got a bit worse.

When I was 19 or so, I started massage therapy, chiropractic therapy and physical therapy to help ease the pain and tightness that came along with scoliosis. It worked for a while, but it wasn’t easy on a 19 year old’s bank account.

Even with the pain, tightness, etc., I was still able to work out, do martial arts and live a pretty normal life – but in 2001 things were made worse when I was hit head on by a drunk driver. (It was the guy’s fourth drunk driving accident if you can believe that!)

As you can imagine, a combination of the wreck and the radiation led to more back problems – and this led to more massage therapy, more physical therapy and more chiropractic therapy – and this was not cheap.

Because of the money I was spending, and of course my back problems, I had to look for alternate treatment options – and that is when I discovered inversion table therapy.

What Does Inversion Therapy Do Exactly?

Inversion therapy simply uses gravity. So it’s not like you are taking some medication you will get addicted to or something that may have side effects. However, I will say the benefits of inversion therapy can be addictive.

Inversion therapy works very simply. You get on to the inversion table in the upright position and you lock in your feet. Next, you slowly incline backwards. For new users it is highly recommended that you do not fully invert (go upside down). Also, if you are inverting for the first time, you just want to stay in the inverted position for no longer than 3 minutes.

While inverted, you will notice that your back stretches out. This is the part that is most beneficial for me personally. It makes me feel like I am growing 3 inches taller too.

Being inverted allows your spine to decompress. Which is great for inflammation. This is because decompression of the spine causes fluid that builds up around the spine to be released.

Is Inversion Right for Everyone?

Simply having a back problem does not qualify you for inversion table therapy. In some cases, inverting may actually make a back problem worse. You’ll want to discuss with your doctor if this is a viable treatment option for your specific back issue(s).

Elvis writes for several different blogs on health issues and alternate treatment methods including inversion table therapy. Be sure to check out his other blogs.

 

Say Goodbye To Back Pain With Chiropractic Care

chiropractic-careChiropractors are medical professionals who conduct spinal adjustments on patients in order to improve the functioning of the nervous system and the joints. This treatment will help you regain the natural balance in your system and it will reduce pain and discomfort in the back.

Who is a Chiropractor?

A Chiropractor specializes in treating all kinds of back pain. These professionals have to complete a four year training program from an accredited institute in order to get qualified. Many of them also go through many years of residency so that they can specialize in certain forms of treatment.

If you are visiting a practitioner for back pain, ensure that you visit one who has a lot of experience in the field and also has a valid license to practice. You should also take a look at the insurance programs that he or she accepts and go to someone who has training in the particular area of your back that needs treatment.

How Does Chiropractic Care Work?

Over 20 million Americas visit chiropractors across the country in order to deal with a back problem. This form of treatment is often very different from traditional medicine and these professionals will aim to provide relief to your back by massaging certain areas of the back and doing spinal adjustments.

The theory that follows this process is that if the spine is re-aligned properly, it relieves the pressure on the nerves and your entire system will function smoothly. Even though different practitioners will have different kinds of treatment plans, the main treatment will include manipulation and it may involve a little bit of ultrasound, electrical stimulation, etc.

Visiting a Chiropractor

During your first visit to the Chiropractor, you will usually be asked a lot of questions about your medical history. This is done so that they can get an idea of the problem that you suffer from as well as the possible causes of the problem.

A physical examination is then often done and at this stage, the chiropractor will physically feel your neck, back and limbs in order to determine the possible problems. Some of them may even ask you to get an X-ray taken before any treatment is started.

After your first visit, you will be called back after the X-rays have been studied and a treatment plan will be given to you. Usually, multiple sessions with the chiropractor will be required in order for them to conduct spinal manipulations and adjustments.

In some cases, you may even have different oils and vitamins massaged into your body in order to achieve a better result. Many patients are also asked to change certain aspects of their lifestyle like their diet, posture of sitting and type of physical activity in order to get good results and prevent any future problems.

 

What to Do When Your Lower Back ‘Goes Out’

3e3e5d07bbc9e3adc132f3991247d796Your day is off to a great start until you bend over to tie your shoes or pick up your kid’s toy off the floor and BOOM!… You’re stuck!!

Now you’re wondering what to do? How do I get to work? Get the kids to school?

You’re next thought is, “I didn’t do anything to cause this?”

Reality Check: You likely did plenty that led you to this point. Between stress, poor sleep and work postures, old injuries and new ‘minor’ injuries you have done plenty. In most cases it’s simply caught up to you resulting in spinal bones that have lost their proper motion and alignment leading to nerve irritation.

You’re immediate reaction is to get the heating pad, which will make it worse, don’t make that mistake. Disregard what the ER doctor has said in the past, or what you’re co-workers said to do, ICE IS GOOD!!

The next thing you need to start doing is moving around. Your instinct is to lay on the couch or bed and try and relax. This will only make the muscle spasms worse which means you will tighten up even more.

We typically tell patients that present to our chiropractic office with a hot lower back to get up and move around for about 10-15 minutes several times a day then ice when they get done. This may seem like it will make things worse, but it will actually help you feel better. The more you lay around and keep the heat on it, the more it will tighten up.

When you do lie down, make sure it is on a surface that gives you support. Your favorite easy chair or position on the couch is often what led to this problem in the first place. Avoid them if you can. The floor, a firm mattress and a straight back chair are better options.

Now you need to find a chiropractor for that quick crack to get you back on track. You find the first chiropractor that is on your insurance plan or that can get you in today! If you have been to a chiropractor before then you know the power one adjustment can have and get duped into thinking, or at least hoping, that you will be able to get a quick adjustment and be on your way. Don’t fall into this trap.

Unless you had a specific injury, chances are you have had your condition for a while and whatever seemingly minor movement you made when it started to hurt was just the final straw for your spine alignment. Your free pass on not maintaining your spine alignment has just been revoked.

If you have never been to a chiropractor before then understand that it is normal to have some discomfort with your first few adjustments as your body is still trying to calm down from the spasms and inflammation.

Remember that while you came to the office in acute pain caused by just bending over, the source of the problem has likely been brewing for quite some time. As we talk to our patients on that initial visit we often discover they have had off and on back pain for months or years, but it only lasted a couple of days and went away. Those little symptoms were warning signs of things to come and here we sit in my office talking about those little warning signs while you are barely able to sit still.

If it is determined you are suffering with what are called ‘subluxations’ (a condition where spina bones lose proper joint function) and that you are a good candidate for care, you local chiropractor will adjust your spine. The adjustment will help to restore the proper joint function and reduce the nerve pressure that is causing the pain and spasms.

Your number of visits will likely be aggressive in the beginning, with frequency reducing as the subluxations (misaligned spinal bones) improve.

Don’t rush the process. It took time to get your spine in the shape it’s in now, it’s going to take time to get it back to how it was before these little warning signs first emerged.

The seemingly innocent pain signals from your body are the early stages of something bigger to come. Our suggestion is don’t wait for “The Big One” before getting your spine looked at by your local chiropractor.

Start getting your spine aligned now and avoid the pain, off work time, difficulty walking and host of other normal daily functions that are lost when the warning signals are ignored.

5 Ways Bad Posture Leads To Back Pain

Poor-Sitting-PostureHave you ever wondered why after a long work day one may feel pain in the back or when after seating for long or even lying on a couch you may tend to feel some pain? The reason to this is mainly as a result of back pain due to changes in posture. Posture has been linked to back pain in a lot of studies conducted the world over. It is thus important to note some of the most common postures that many people might be engaged in without knowing that these very postures cause back pain.

Here are the 5 most common postures that have been shown to cause back pain.

The first posture is the hunchback. This comes about when one forms a C- shape when they are working on a desk. This twists the spinal column and if one spends days on end doing this, the spine tends to get acclimatized to being curved. This causes back pain as well as pain in the shoulder and neck. Continued use of this posture over months or years causes the chest muscles to curve. Muscles of the upper back loosen as well and there is prominence of pain in the upper back.

To avert this problem, it is suggested that a person should avoid hunching at the desk and rather sit upright where the item they are working on is at eye level. Simple exercises such as twisting the head and shoulders every so often with hands on the head causes the back to relax. It is also suggested that one should at least take a short break every 30 – 40 minutes where they can stand and change posture for a short while before going back to their seating posture. Yoga and regular cardiovascular exercise such as swimming, jogging or even taking a walk are great ways to avert this problem and strengthen the back.

Another bad posture that is common is the rounded shoulder. This is a posture caused by activity such as typing when one is seated. His can also be caused by a poor exercise regime which overworks the chest muscles, causing back, shoulder and neck pain. This can simply be averted by stretching every once in a while twice or thrice during ones work day. These stretches helps realign the vertebral column and prevent pain. Exercises that are aimed at strengthening the trapezius should be included in normal exercise regimes if one spends most of the day working on a computer.

Another common cause of back pain is over pronated feet which is caused by the arch in the feet being forced flat. This is caused by pregnancy, choosing footwear inappropriately as well as obesity. The weakened feet may cause pain in the hip, knee and back. This condition may vary in severity where in some cases its mild while in some, the knees torn inwards to face each other, making mobility a very painful affair. If it goes untreated, it results in conditions such as metatarsalgia which is a pain in the feet joints. Devices to correct foot alignment are recommended. This, however, must be prescribed by a doctor for the best results and advice on when and how to use.

Another problematic posture that causes a lot of back pain is the anterior pelvic tilt. IN this condition, the pelvis tilts forward and thus pushes the torso forward, causing a bend which is awkward. This may cause severe back pain, especially in the back. The main cause of this condition is sitting down for extended periods of time without stretching.

This is mostly seen in people who work in busy offices as well as long distance truck drivers who have to be seated while driving for extended periods of time. When one sits for extended periods, the hip flexors tighten and there is loosening of the gluteal muscles, thus there is pain which results. To avert this, regular cardiovascular exercise is recommended. Exercise should focus on stretching the hip flexors while at the same time tightening the gluteal muscles.

The last posture that causes back pain is the one where the head slants forward, especially for people who do desk jobs and have to deal with a lot of paper work. In most cases, pain in the neck and shoulders is also common. Simple exercises to loosen the neck and shoulders can be used to get the head used to this type of exercise and prevent back pain. IF you find that a pain persists for far too long, especially after 6 weeks, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

 

Reduce Your Pain by Adjusting Your Sleeping Position

images (24)Poor posture can adversely affect your health – this is not debatable. Correct sleeping posture is vital if you are trying to correct posture imbalances and reduce back, neck, and shoulder pain. By making adjustments to the positions in which you sleep at night, you can actually reduce postural strain and eliminate a major cause of pain! By minimizing the stress on certain parts of your body, namely the neck, shoulders and back, while sleeping 7-9 hours at night, your posture will improve, and so will your overall health.

Your Mattress

Your mattress will not support you after 8-10 years at maximum – even if it is the best one on the market. Sorry, but it’s true. While I do not endorse a specific brand, the best one for YOU will be something that’s firm, while offering you good support and a great night’s sleep. If you choose one that is excessively firm, while it may be good for your spine, if you cannot sleep, that will be bad for your health – and the people you hang out with.

You should also regularly turn your mattress so the inner springs stay fresh. Some mattress manufacturers even suggest that you turn your mattress so the top is at the bottom and vice versa. They recommend you do this every 6 weeks or so.

Posture Tests

The Wall Test:

Pull your shoulder blades down and in until they actually touch the wall.
Elongate your neck by imagining someone pulling your head up from the back.
Move your head back so that it is against the wall.
Position your chin so that it becomes parallel to the floor.
Stand with your weight equally distributed on both legs.

The Mirror Test:

Stand in front of a mirror and look to verify that your shoulders and neck are straight.
With your shoulders even, move them down as far as they will go.
Your abdominal muscles should be kept tight as you stand in this position.
Did you pass the tests? If you have failed or are unsure – it’s time to see a chiropractor. A good chiropractor (like us ☺) can assess your posture and determine areas that you will need to work on –
undoing the computer and TV time may seem impossible – but it is actually quite attainable with a little diligence.

Your Pillow

This is one of the most difficult questions I get asked on a daily basis – “What is the best pillow?” The answer is always, “It depends on how you sleep.” Your pillow should support your neck whether you are on your side or back. I personally like a pillow that is a bit unusual in its shape- the Align-Right pillow – it is measured to your size and actually has research behind its effectiveness of helping with reducing pain – which is why it is the only pillow I have confidence in recommending.

Sleeping Position

Avoid sleeping face down at ALL costs – while it may be comfortable – it will cause years of pain down the road. We were not designed to sleep with our heads wrenched to one side night after night. While I will admit that face down sleeping posture is not an easy change, it can be done. Just start your sleep out in one of the positions I will be discussing below and every time you wake up on your stomach, change back to the correct position. Slowly your bad habit will change and you will be significantly healthier for it!

Back & Side Sleeping

The best position for sleeping is alternating between your side and your back (which usually happens automatically during the night). If you start on your back, a low pillow should be used so that your head and neck are not pushed forward too much (which contributes to forward head posture (FHP)). As well, placing a pillow underneath your knees will take some pressure off your low back, which will help prevent low back pain and sciatica.

For side sleeping, the best sleeping posture, it is vital that your pillow fits you! If your pillow is too thin, your head will bend towards the mattress and if it is too thick your head will bend towards the ceiling – both less than ideal scenarios if you are trying to stay healthy, correct your posture, and out of pain. As well, your head should be positioned parallel to the base of your bed, not bent down towards your chest.

Finally, slightly bend your knees and place another pillow between your knees. This will allow your pelvis and lower back to maintain the best possible alignment during sleep. While you will never become entirely invincible to occasional discomforts in your life (due to our lifestyles), you can be sure that your sleeping posture is not the main source of your daily spinal stress by following the above guidelines.