Category: Industry news

Neck Pain: Physical Therapy and Other Options

Sometimes simple home interventions are enough to treat cervical disc disease, in which an abnormality in one or more discs that lie between the vertebrae cause neck pain. Often, though, it helps to see a physical therapist that can treat abnormalities, show you how to stretch and strengthen your neck and vertebrae, improve your posture, and prevent neck pain from recurring. You may also consider going to see a chiropractor. In the majority of people, certain exercises and manipulations used by these health care providers can help relieve discomfort and restore movement.

When you visit a physical therapist or chiropractor, you’ll first have a complete evaluation. He or she will assess how well you can move your neck. You may be asked about symptoms such as pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades, pain that radiates down the arm to the hand or fingers, or numbness or tingling in the shoulder or arm. Your strength, reflexes, and other potential sources of pain will be checked. The therapist or chiropractor will also assess joint function in your neck and back to identify limitations or dysfunctions that may contribute to your pain.

Stretch, Strengthen, and Straighten Up

There are several types of manipulations and exercises your physical therapist or chiropractor can use to relieve stiffness, strengthen the area, and restore normal function of the neck. Treatments such as cold or heat application, deep tissue massage, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound may be used prior to exercise

During physical therapy, you will practice a range of exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your neck. You’ll also learn how to improve your posture and range of motion. To help you learn proper postures, the physical therapist might have you stand in front of a mirror while exercising so that you can see your mistakes and correct them.

Chiropractors use some of the same techniques as physical therapists. Gentle adjustments may help restore normal neck function and help alleviate pain. As with physical therapy, chiropractors manipulate the neck and thoracic joints to reduce stiffness, improve mobility, and increase the range of motion. These adjustments might be unsuitable and potentially risky for people with vascular problems in the neck, such as carotid artery stenosis, or advanced osteoarthritis.

Your physical therapist, chiropractor, or medical doctor should determine whether you are at risk of further injury from manipulations before treating you.

Neck Traction for Cervical Disc Disease

One technique used by physical therapists and chiropractors to provide pain relief and improve motion is cervical traction. Traction gently extends the neck, opening the spaces between the cervical vertebrae and temporarily alleviating pressure on the affected discs. Neck traction can either be done continuously or intermittently, alternating between short periods of pulling and resting.

It’s also possible to do cervical traction at home. There are pulley systems that you can hook up to a doorway, or devices that will enable you to perform cervical traction while lying down. It’s important if you do cervical traction on your own to first see your physical therapist or chiropractor to make sure that you buy the right equipment and learn how to set it up correctly.

Cervical Pillows and Collars for Cervical Disc Disease

Cervical pillows (neck pillows) are designed to partially immobilize the neck while you sleep. However, there is no research to support the effectiveness of cervical pillows. It’s a good idea to ask your physical therapist or chiropractor for a recommendation.

Soft cervical collars do not stabilize the neck as much as serve as a reminder to use good posture and range of motion techniques. Rigid cervical collars do immobilize the neck but are uncomfortable for long-term use.

 

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Heat Therapy for Your Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica symptoms, like pain in your leg or numbness in your foot, can strike without warning.

By now, you probably know that heat therapy may help you find quick relief from these flare-ups. But you may be wondering how to apply heat therapy for your sciatica symptoms. Look no further; we have the answers for you below.

Where to apply heat therapy

It seems logical that you would apply heat to the location of your sciatica symptoms. For example, if you have searing pain in your calf, it would seem to make sense to apply heat therapy to this location.

But it is important to note that sciatica is not a medical diagnosis. Instead, sciatica refers to symptoms like pain, tingling, and numbness that radiate along your sciatic nerve. These symptoms are caused by an underlying lower back condition, which irritates or compresses one of your sciatic nerve roots.

So, as a general rule, it is best to apply heat therapy to your lower back, as this is the location of the nerve root that is pinched or irritated.

How to apply heat therapy

The first thing to know about heat therapy is that you want the temperature to be warm, not hot. If the temperature is too hot, you may suffer serious burns.

In part, the duration of your heat therapy session depends on the severity of your symptoms. If your flare-up is not severe, a 15 to 20 minute session may be enough. If your pain is acute, you may benefit from a 30 minute to 2 hour session. These sessions can be repeated several times throughout the day.

There are multiple options for heat therapy, including warm water bottles and electric blankets. Regardless of which option you choose, it is a smart idea to place a cloth barrier between your skin and the heat source.

When to apply heat therapy

As a general rule, cold therapy is typically applied for the first 2 to 7 days after the onset of your sciatica symptoms. After your acute pain has subsided, you can then apply heat therapy. But this is only a general guideline, and it is a good idea to experiment with heat and cold therapy to learn what works best for you.

While heat therapy may help you find quick relief from your symptoms, it is best used as part of a broader treatment plan that typically includes stretching and other targeted exercises.

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Top Reasons Why Pilates is Good for Your Health

The Pilates that we know today was originally developed by Joseph Pilates, who dedicated his entire life to improving physical and mental health during the early 20th century.

Today, Pilates is well-known across the globe and is a popular form of exercise for thousands of people.

In fact, the number of Americans who practice it regularly has exploded by over a sixfold from 1991 to 2005 (from 1.7 million to 11 million).

And it is still increasing to this day.

However, have you ever thought about its benefits and exactly what is Pilates good for?

Just for your convenience, we have listed a few health benefits of Pilates below.

1. Great for killer abs and core strength

Pilates really hits your core muscles (or ‘powerhouse’ as it is called in the Pilates world) and has positive effects on your lower back, abdomen, hip and pelvic muscles. Not only is a strong core essential for exercises but also for everyday tasks such as carrying heavy items and picking up objects you need to move or relocate.

As well as helping you to improve your physique, core training also helps to achieve those flat abs that we all crave for.

2. It is a good workout for your entire body

Even though the main focus is on your core strength, Pilates also plays a part in developing a full-body workout. It ensures that no specific muscle is overdeveloped and underdeveloped, giving you that perfect lean body you are looking for.

3. Perfect rehab for back pain

It’s not always guaranteed and certainly not a quick fix, but many people have seen their back pain gradually disappear after practicing Pilates. There is even a case study where a sufferer has visited 50 specialists only to find that Pilates has helped to cure her back pain.

4. Gives you a great backside

You will not find one specific exercise which solely benefits your backside. But with a whole-body Pilates workout, a major bonus is that every single exercise involves your backside in some way or form.

5. Improves your posture

Poor posture form, as a result of bad habits such as slouching at your desk and chair, can eventually cause backache, neck ache, headache, etc. The bad habits will result in asymmetrical muscle development, where some muscles are weaker than others. Pilates can help to strengthen those underdeveloped muscles and get rid of bad posture.

6. Places no pressure on your knees and joints

Since Pilates consists of slow and controlled movements, there is minimal impact on your joints. This is naturally ideal for those who cannot (or do not want to) take part in high-impact sports and exercises.

7. Pilates is for everyone

It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, fit or out of shape, flexible or not, Pilates is one of a handful of exercises which can benefit everyone.

8. Boosts your mental health and encourages you to improve your focus and concentration

Pilates helps to create a body & mind relationship, where concentration, focus, and meditation come together to help boost your mental health.

An important part of Pilates is that it pushes you to focus on your body, breathing and how they all work and move together. It is with focus and concentration that you are more likely to benefit from the exercise.

9. Improves sports performance

Many sportsmen and women find that their bodies are misaligned due to the one-sided nature of certain sports e.g. swinging a tennis racquet or golf clubs.

As Pilates helps to balance your body, develop muscular symmetry and align your posture, sportsmen and women find that Pilates can help reduce the likelihood of injuries.

10. Increases your flexibility

It was Joseph Pilates who said: “true flexibility can be achieved only when all muscles are uniformly developed.”

So rather than saying you can’t do Pilates because you are not flexible enough, you should actually participate in Pilates exercises to help improve your flexibility.

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Prevention of Basic Knee Injury

Prevention of knee injuries, whether acute (knee ligament sprains) or chronic (knee tendonitis, bursitis, or the management of arthritis) is a frequent question to any fitness and health practitioner.

Regardless of the exercise program or the age or gender of the participant, there are key points that should be addressed. First, a flexibility program incorporated into an exercise program is usually a good start. Second, a strength program (regardless of your current muscle strength) will typically work to prevent injury. Third, it is important, based on your level of fitness, any other surrounding health issues, or other previous injuries or current injuries or health issues that the correct exercises are chosen, and when they are, that overtraining is avoided. Lastly, as all of these are considered, make sure to consider proper equipment and technique. When in doubt, consult health and fitness experts or a sports medicine physician.

The following recommendations are designed for knee injury prevention, not performance enhancement.

Flexibility of the Hip and Thigh Musculature 


In any injury prevention program, flexibility or a stretching program of the surrounding muscles is crucial. The muscles most important for prevention of knee injuries are the hip and thigh muscles: the gluteals, hip adductors or groin muscles, and the knee flexors and extensors. There are countless stretching programs, but the basic guidelines of warming up prior to exercise still ring true: warm up until you “break a sweat,” stretch each muscle group two to three times and stretch after activity for your cool down. Stretching does not improve performance but will work to prevent injury and, as a general rule, is an absolute must if you have sustained an injury. Flexibility declines with age, so it is best to incorporate and maintain early on since flexibility can be difficult to regain.

Strengthening of the Hip, Thigh

As with any injury prevention program, strengthening of the muscles surrounding the knee is important. The muscles that should be the focus of a knee injury prevention program are the hip muscles: gluteus maximus or hip extensors; rectus femoris and iliopsoas or hip flexors; and the hip adductors. Also important are the knee joint, knee extensors (quadriceps group) and the knee flexors (hamstring group). Although these are the key muscles to focus on, many sources also recommend strength exercises for the lower-leg muscles such as the ankle plantarflexors and dorsiflexors.

To strengthen these areas, utilize weight machines or some other form of resistance exercise, such as sport cords or resistance tubing. Each exercise should focus on individual muscle groups and be performed in eight to 10 repetitions. Complete at least one set, increasing up to three sets, with at least 20 to 40 seconds of rest between each set. Focus on performing each exercise properly, not on doing a lot of exercises or lifting a great amount of weight.

Another second strength-training option is to use body-weight exercises such as squats, wall squats or lunges. These exercises can be done anywhere, require little space or equipment, and utilize multiple muscle groups. However, often maintaining proper form can be challenging, so use caution.

Avoid Overtraining, Regardless of Activity Choice


Overtraining is a concern with any activity, be it walking, running, swimming, or the plethora of other choices available to exercisers. The first step in avoiding knee overtraining is to choose your activity wisely to ensure it’s a good fit. For example, if you have many lower-leg problems, knee pain, or a history of back pain, a non-weight-bearing activity such as swimming may be a better choice than running. Then start slowly, with a day of rest between each exercise bout, and progress either by increasing the time of each exercise session or by adding a day of activity per week. For people who like variety, choosing different activities, often called crosstraining, is a good option. Choose a weight-bearing and a non-weight-bearing activity and alternate workouts. Regardless of the activity, be sure to use proper technique, particularly in technique-intense sports such as speed walking or swimming, and always get instruction if needed.

Sport-Specific Tips


Many activities have equipment guidelines and recommendations, and these recommendations can change frequently. For example, running shoes should be replaced approximately every 300 miles. The shoes’ shock absorption will typically not be adequate in the average runner after that mileage. Conversely, the use of walking or hiking poles has been shown to reduce impact and may be beneficial to walking or hiking, regardless of the terrain.

When in doubt, always check with a physician, fitness expert, or professional such as a physical therapist or certified athletic trainer to prevent an injury and ensure you are ready to begin your exercise program and prevent knee injury.

If you are one of the 100 million people in the U.S. who suffer from knee pain, you know how debilitating this chronic condition can be. You can achieve knee pain relief at our chiropractic care center.

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The Effects of Stress on Your Body

You’re sitting in traffic, late for an important meeting, watching the minutes tick away. Your hypothalamus, a tiny control tower in your brain, decides to send out the order: Send in the stress hormones! These stress hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Your heart races, your breath quickens, and your muscles ready for action. This response was designed to protect your body in an emergency by preparing you to react quickly. But when the stress response keeps firing, day after day, it could put your health at serious risk.

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.Yet if your stress response doesn’t stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • headaches
  • insomnia

Central nervous and endocrine systems

Your central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rev up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs.When the perceived fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. If the CNS fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesn’t go away, the response will continue.Chronic stress is also a factor in behaviors such as overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal.

Respiratory and cardiovascular systems

Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.Under stress, your heart also pumps faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so you’ll have more strength to take action. But this also raises your blood pressure.As a result, frequent or chronic stress will make your heart work too hard for too long. When your blood pressure rises, so do your risks for having a stroke or heart attack.

Digestive system

Under stress, your liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to give you a boost of energy. If you’re under chronic stress, your body may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge. Chronic stress may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.The rush of hormones, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate can also upset your digestive system. You’re more likely to have heartburn or acid reflux thanks to an increase in stomach acid. Stress doesn’t cause ulcers (a bacterium called H. pylori often does), but it can increase your risk for them and cause existing ulcers to act up.Stress can also affect the way food moves through your body, leading to diarrhea or constipation. You might also experience nausea, vomiting, or a stomachache.

Muscular system

Your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury when you’re stressed. They tend to release again once you relax, but if you’re constantly under stress, your muscles may not get the chance to relax. Tight muscles cause headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches. Over time, this can set off an unhealthy cycle as you stop exercising and turn to pain medication for relief.

Immune system

Stress stimulates the immune system, which can be a plus for immediate situations. This stimulation can help you avoid infections and heal wounds. But over time, stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to foreign invaders. People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes you to recover from an illness or injury.

The treatments from BackFit Health + Spine’s Massage Therapy introduces us to the benefits of knowing how chiropractic treatment in conjunction with the techniques from a well-trained massage therapist, can help us with our pain management so that we aren’t facing these daily stresses and tensions within our bodies.

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Tips On How To Straighten Spine Naturally

Spine health is one of the most recent health concerns in modern world. The spine may be damaged and distorted due to wrong sitting or standing position or slouching habit. Slouching is a bad pose, which is a result of sitting too much in front of the computer or a fashionable trend that the youth generation is adopting, but the ugly truth is that it is one of the main reasons that cause spinal problems. While most of us can find solutions to back pain problems by simply doing some good exercises at home, spinal problems are much more complicated. It is harder to cure and it can start as early as at the age of 29. The spine is one of the essential parts the central nerve system, which does the daily communication between your brain and your body’s parts. The unhealthy spine may cause disruption of the whole nerve system as well as produce numerous unexpected symptoms such as pain, numbness, uncontrollable arms and legs’ movement, breath crippling, impaired digestion and uncontrollable of the bowel and bladder. In this article, you will be exposed how to straighten spine naturally with exercises and tips to improve your spinal health effectively.

I. How To Straighten Spine Naturally – Common Problems Of Posture And Quick Solutions:

Slumping your shoulders does not just make you look like one of the human’s long-extinct ancestors, and if you do not stand up with proper posture, no exercise can give you the straight spine as desired. The reason is because, over time, incorrect posture leaves a serious toll on your back, knees, hips, and shoulders. Actually, it may lead to several structural flaws that contribute to joint and back pain, compromised muscles, and reduced flexibility – the major factors that can limit your ability to build strength and burn fat. However, you can deal with and eliminate all these matters and concerns by taking the easy test to check out if your posture is right, then making use of some great exercises to straighten spine and correct spine I am giving below to get your curves moving in the right direction, fix your back, and soothe any related pain. Here are some of the most common problems of posture and how you can fix them well right at home without making any mistake or meeting any difficulty.

1. Duck Feet:

This is the very first common problem related to human’s posture that many people are struggling with, and there are some good exercises to straighten back and improve this ugly posture that can be easily practiced at home.
The problem:

Your hip flexors and oblique muscles are weak.

How to fix:

With your feet resting on a stability ball, you will need to get into a pushup position. Then, tuck your knees while using the feet to roll the ball toward your body under the torso without rounding the lower back. After that, back to the starting position. Apply this exercise with 2 – 3 sets for 6 – 12 times on a daily basis for good results as desired.

Duck feet is really a terrible problem that affects not only your spine but also your whole posture. Fix it!

2. Pigeon Toes:

The matter:

Weak glutes (butt muscles)

How to fix:

With your heels together and your knees bent 90 degrees, lie on one side of your body. Keep your hips still while separating the knees as a clamshell and raising the top knee upward. Pause for 5 seconds, and then lower the knee to the starting position. Apply this exercise with 2 – 3 sets for 6 – 12 times on a daily basis for good results as desired.

This is actually a common problem of posture that affect the posture of your whole body, causing many related problems, such as incorrect spine form, so people who want to learn how to straighten spine naturally need to know this and learn carefully.

3. Elevated Shoulder:

The matter:

The muscle under your chest (run from the ribs to the shoulder blades) is weak.
How to fix:

In a chair, you will need to sit upright with two hands next to two sides of the hip, arms straight, and palms down on the seat. Push down on the chair with the hips lifting up off the seat without moving your arms; and keep the torso rising. Hold for 5 seconds. Apply this exercise with 2 – 3 sets for 6 – 12 times on a daily basis for good results as desired.

4. Anterior Pelvic Tilt:

This is also another common problem of human posture that people who want to have good and confident look without worrying about how to straighten spine or how to correct their posture in general should learn carefully.
The matter:

Tight hip flexors

How to fix:

With your knee bent and your right foot on the floor in front of your body, kneel on your left knee. Until you feel your left hip stretched, press forward. On your left side, tighten the butt muscles until you feel the front of your hip comfortably stretched. Use your left arm to reach upward and stretch it to the right side. Hold on for about 30 seconds. Apply this exercise with 3 sets for each side on a daily basis for good results as desired.

5. Rounded Shoulders:

This is also a common problem of posture that can also affect the form of your back and spine negatively, thus I recommend a wonderful out of the best exercises to straighten spine and improve the form of the shoulders greatly that people should try at home.
The matter:

Weakness in the middle and lower parts of your trapezius (the large muscle that spans your shoulders and back)
How to fix:

Lie your body with your face down on the floor, with each arm in the high-5 position at a 90-degree angle. By squeezing your shoulder blades together and pulling your shoulders back, raise both your two arms without changing your elbow angle. Hold for 5 seconds. Apply this exercise with 3 sets for each side on a daily basis for good results as desired.

6. Forward Head:

This is the last but also very serious problem of posture that people need to fix right away if they want to get better look and learn how to straighten spine and neck.
The matter:

Stiff muscles in the back of the neck
How to fix:

Moving your head only, while stretching the back of your neck, drop the chin down and in toward your sternum. Hold for 5 seconds. Apply this exercise with 3 sets for each side and repeat the exercise 10 times on a daily basis for good results as desired.

IIHow To Straighten Your Back And Spine – Simple Ways To Assess Your Posture:

Wear something that very fit your body and take 2 photos of your full body — one from the side and one from the front. Stand as tall as possible with your muscles relaxed and your feet hip-width apart. After that, refer to the fix-it plan to figure out the posture problems you and your body are facing.

•           Check out and find out whether or not you are duck-footed: if you see your toes pointing outward more than 10 degrees, your are getting this problem.

•           Check out the kneecaps: If they point inward, making your knees touch when the legs are straightened, you actually have to deal with the problem right away.

•           Check out your shoulders: they should not appear with one side higher than the other.

•           If you have a belly pooch (even if you are not fat or overweight with a little extra fat) and your hips tilt forward, while your lower spine is significantly arched, you are actually struggling with the anterior pelvic tilt problem but you do not know about it.

•           If you can see your shoulder blade, your back is actually too rounded.

•           Check out your ear: If it is in front of your shoulder’s middle point, your head is too far forward.

III. Some Good Postures That Can Help On How To Straighten Your Back Naturally:

As already mentioned and discussed, correcting poor postures is essential and crucial for determining where improvement is necessary. For example, when you sit in an office chair. Next, patients need to work on changing their routines and habits daily and thereby correcting the related areas. This will be able to help in improving and providing a great support to your back and over time it will help in decreasing back pain. You will need to spend some efforts and perseverance on doing this, and it seems to be a necessariness when it comes to a little unnatural support initially. Commonly, people might feel uncomfortable, and even sometimes they feel a little taller, but over time the new correct postures will seem to be more comfortable and natural.

Here are a few of good guidelines and tips on how to get in right postures and ergonomics and how to straighten your back naturally at home and at the workplace.

1. Sleeping Posture With Pillows And Mattresses:

  • If you sleep on the side, you should relatively have a flat pillow placed between your legs. This will help to keep your spine straight and aligned.
  • Consider putting under your neck with a rolled-up towel and a pillow under your knees to support your spine better.
  • Use a pillow to give your shoulders and head proper alignment and support.
  • Sleeping on the back or side is usually more comfortable for your back compared to sleeping on your tummy.
  • It is generally best for proper back to use a relatively firm mattress to support them, although individual preference is very crucial.
  • When you need to carry backpack along, avoid rounding your shoulders or leaning forward. If the weight feels like too much, you need to think about making use of a rolling backpack with wheels.
  • When carrying a purse or a backpack, remember to keep it as light as you can, and as much as possible balance the weight on your both sides, or alternate from side to side
  • If you need to carry something with one arm, remember to frequently switch your arms
  • Keep the object close to your chest when carrying what a large or heavy object
  • If it is needed to help in keeping good posture while lifting, you should get a supportive belt.
  • Use the large stomach and leg muscles for lifting instead of using your lower back
  • Always remember to bend at your knees, not your waist

3. Driving Posture:

  • The headrest should support your head’s middle point and area for keeping it upright. Tilt the headrest forward if you can so that you will be able to ensure that the head-to-headrest distance would not be more than 4 inches.
  • The seat needs to be a sufficient and suitable distance from the steering wheel to the pedals to avoid reaching or leaning forward
  • To get proper back support, you need to sit with your back firmly against the seat

4. Walking Posture:

  • Keep your both shoulders properly aligned with the rest of your body
  • Avoid pushing your head forward
  • Keep your head up and your eyes need to look straight ahead

This is also one of the best tips on how to straighten your back that I want to reveal in this entire article and want you and my other readers to learn and remember to apply for good!

5. Standing Posture:

  • With your shoulders and bottom touching the wall, stand against a hard wall. In this position, you should also keep the back of your head touching the wall – if it does not, your head is carried to far forward (anterior head carriage).
  • If you have to stand for a long time period, rock from heels to toes or shift weight from 1 foot to the other.
  • Stand tall straight with your shoulders upright
  • Ensure that your head is not pushed out forward yet square on top of the spine
  • Tuck your chin in a little so that you will be able to keep your head at the proper level
  • Avoid locking your knees
  • Allow your arms to naturally hang down the sides of your body
  • Keep your feet slightly apart, about shoulder-width
  • Stand not with weight on the heels yet with weight mostly on the balls of your feet,

6. Sitting Posture For Office Chairs:

This is also one of the best tips on how to straighten your back fast and naturally without having to practice any exercises to straighten spine that you and my other readers should consider making use as frequently as possible.

  • Do not sit in a single place for too long, even in an ergonomic office chair that provides good back support. You should stand up and walk around as well as stretching your hands, legs, and back as needed
  • Sit in the office chair with your shoulders straight
  • Keep both your feet flat on the floor. If there is a problem that your feet cannot reach the floor comfortably, you should make use of a footrest along with your office chair
  • You should keep your knees even with your hips or slightly higher than your hip when you are sitting in the office chair.
  • When you sit on an office chair at a desk, you should flex your arms at a 75 to 90 degree angle at your elbows. If this is not your exact case, you can adjust the office chair accordingly.
  • For long term sitting; for example, in an office chair, you need to make sure that the chair is designed ergonomically so that it can support your back properly and that it is a custom fit.
  • You need to make sure that your back would be aligned against the back of your office chair. Avoid leaning forward or slouching, especially when you have been sitting in the office chair for a long period of time and are feeling tired.

IV. Improve Spinal Health With The Best Exercises To Straighten Spine And Natural Tips On How To Straighten Your Back:

It is very necessary and important for anyone to remember and keep in mind that an overall reason leading bad posture is the tense of muscles, which would pull your body out of the alignment. There are a lot of certain effective exercises to straighten your spine that can help in stretching and relaxing the major and most important muscles of your back. Some people discover that meditation and any other form of mental healthy exercises could be very useful for relaxing the muscle system of human’s back. And, many people find out some remedies and activities like massage therapy, Tai Chi, yoga, and many other exercise routines that should be performed regularly, or treatments like osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation, etc. to be useful with both posture improvement and awareness, and muscle relaxation as well.

1. Open Shoulder Pose

This is the very first out of the best exercises to straighten spine and back that I would like to reveal in this section of the article to help you and any other readers who want to learn how to straighten spine naturally at home without making use of expensive yet harmful methods such as drugs, pills, or some medical intervention, or even a surgery.

Yoga is one of the most helpful exercises that many women are following. If you want to know how to straighten spine and find out the most bodyweight exercise at home, you can try to perform this pose.

  • You lay your belly on the ground.
  • Put your left arm for 90 degree from the body.
  • Face your palm up.
  • Press your right hand under the shoulder.
  • Bend your right knee and reach the right toe.
  • To reach your right arm to the ceiling, you can fall down your hand to the ground and keep it as long as you can.
  • Also, you can make your right hand touch the left and breathe well.
  • If you want to change the side, do it slowly.

2. Open Your Shoulder On The Blocks

This is very simple exercise that you can do at home because you do not have to prepare lots of materials or tools to support your exercises. Simply, you can put two blocks in front of you and put the elbows on those blocks. Stress your hands as the position of a prayer, release the head between two blocks and turn the prayer to the back. Keep this position for 10 breaths.

3. Straighten Spine With Arms

This movement requires the combination of the shoulder and arms and it also can imporove your flexibility

  • The beginning position is to kneel.
  • Next reach the left arm to the ceiling.
  • Bend the elbow until the left arm fall to the shoulders.
  • Get the right hand to reach the left elbow and deepen your shoulder, open it but do not push or press it.
  • Count for five breaths and lean the back slightly.
  • Change the hands and repeat the steps.

In fact, this is one of the best and most effective tips on how to straighten spine naturally that I would like to reveal in this entire article and want you and my readers to learn and make use as soon as possible!

4. Open Shoulder With Standing Pose

This exercise is also good for your spine and you should add into the tips of how to straighten spine with yoga poses.

  • Stand up.
  • Clasp the hands behind the sacrum, soften it through the knees and fold it forward.
  • You should stay this position for ten deep breaths.

5. Open Shoulder With Wall

  • Put the forearms on the wall and keep it parallel to the height of the lower shoulder.
  • Keep the shoulder and elbows far.
  • Step back to make your head relax between your arms.
  • Keep this position for 5 breaths.

6. Fish Pose

Wondering how to straighten spine quickly, you should try this pose at home. The steps are:

  • Sit down and put a medium-height block behind.
  • Now you can rest on the blocks and regulate the place you put on the body there until you feel comfortable. Make sure that your arms are also resting on it.
  • Keep this pose for five deep breaths.

In brief, practicing the fish pose is one of the simplest to apply yet most effective tips on how to straighten spine naturally and fast that I would like to reveal in this article and people who want to learn how to get taller need to learn and make use as soon as possible!

7. Needle Pose

  • Firstly, reach the left arm under the body and allow the left shoulder release to the floor.
  • Put your right hand over the head.
  • Keep the pose and breathe for 10 times.
  • Change the side and repeat the steps.

8. Twist Pose

This is also a good and health yoga exercise that can help people who want to learn how to straighten spine naturally at home without using any type of drugs, pills, and medications achieve their goal and dream of getting their back straight again, making them more confident when showing off in public and get more success in life.

Obviously, learning how to straighten spine naturally, along with eating foods, having healthy lifestyle, you need to have a good plan of exercises every day. This is another yoga pose we suggest you do.

  • Sit down and keep your legs long in front of you.
  • Bend the left knee and put the left food out of the right knee.
  • Hug the right arm around the left leg and put the left hand on the floor behind the sacrum.
  • Keep this position for 2 deep breaths and change the side.

9. Mountain Pose

It is a mistake if we do not list mountain pose in this article. That is very easy exercise to do at home and you can follow the instructions:

  • Stand tall; keep your feet hip wide apart and the toes point toward.
  • Cull the belly in toward the spine to help your lower back and curve it naturally.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Mound the head on the top of your spine.
  • Keep the arms straight along with the body.

This is also one of the best exercises to straighten spine and tips on how to straighten spine naturally proper for both men and women that I want to list down in this section of the entire article.

10. Good Posture Is Significant

Well, I can’t blame everyone for not maintaining a good posture since bad pose such as slouching is unquestionably a major factor that contribute to your spinal problem. Sometimes, we unintentionally slouch due to long hour working in front of the computer or sitting in the office for too long. Slouching will give us temporary comfort and relaxation but we can literally notice that at the same time, it is giving us spinal problems. At this point, you may come up with a question that what defines a good posture. The definition is very important because you yourself can fix your spinal problem by making your body adapt to correct posture.

A correct posture is when your head and ears are parallel to the shoulders, your shoulders blades are retracted a bit while your back and spinal are straightened up. The correct posture will lighten the spinal stress and help you avoid back pain problems.

The experts from San Francisco State University have discovered the interrelationship between poor posture and depression, while many researchers have proven that stooping and slouching are significantly associated with a bunch of diseases such as heart burn, depression, overweight, and respiratory functions.

So, how to straighten spine naturally? By correcting your posture, you can automatically gain a lot of benefits such as taller appearance, deeper breath, elevate your overall energy and enhance your body performance.

11. Deep Breathing Can Give An Unexpected Result

Nobody knows that a breathing exercise can give your spine a miracle effect. Well, if you have ever done Yoga exercises, you may be familiar with this. Deep breathing exercise will allow the nerves to function more effectively in the spinal channels. You can start this exercise by placing your hand on your abdominal area and pay attention to the elasticity of your stomach as you inhale and exhale. You can do this exercise daily and as much as possible because it is easy, simple as it does not give any side effects.

12. Exercises That Help You Strengthen Your Core And Joints

Another thing that people who want to learn how to straighten spine naturally and fast at home should do for good is practicing exercises to straighten spine on a regular basis. This is actually one of the most useful tips on how to straighten your back that almost everyone in the world knows and do not skip!

Workouts and exercises daily are all you need for a strong spine. If you are a busy type, just 10 minutes of spine strengthening exercises every day will solve your spinal problems. Exercises such as neck stretch, bending can dramatically improve your spinal health. If you have a personal trainer, I guess he may also ask you to perform some exercises with weights, which are proven to give you better spinal health within 1 month. I recommend you to try out those exercises such as downward dog, or push up. The downward dog exercise requires you to open up your chest and stretch your spine while push up exercise does not only strengthen your spine but also add muscle on your arms and shoulders.

Let me introduce to you 3 handy spine strengthening exercises, that you can practice anywhere you like. The exercises aim to strengthen the core muscle groups that hold the spine straight and support the nervous system along the spine. These muscle groups are located in the upper back, lower back, as well as sides of your spine and they, are called the erector spine muscles. Before we learn the exercise, I have one important reminder for those people, who are suffering from osteoporosis. Please do not bend your spine forward because it will add more pressure on your spine.

13. Exercise 1 – Neck Press Against Resistance

  • Lie your body on a mattress with a pillow under head.
  • Bend the head down to straighten the spine. Don’t bend too much, only stop as long as you can feel a mild stretch down your spine.
  • Chin is tucked in and head facing upward.
  • Hold the pose for 5 seconds and then relax for 3-4 seconds.
  • Repeat these for 10 times until your neck muscles get tired.
  • You can do this 2-3 times daily.
  • You need to focus while doing this exercise because any jerk or sudden movement may render you sprained.
  • Once you are familiar with this exercise, you will find it easy to handle.

In fact, this is also one of the most interesting and useful tips on how to straighten spine naturally at home that people should not look down but remember to learn and make use for good!

14. Exercise 2 – Strengthening Extensor Muscles

  • You begin the exercise with standing posture.
  • Place the rubber ball behind your upper back.
  • Distance your feet away from the wall to achieve body balance.
  • Use your feet and legs to push your body against the wall while keeping your spine and hips in the same position.
  • The anchor point acts as a pivot as being shown in the pictures.
  • Hold the pose for 5 seconds and take a break for 2 seconds after that.
  • You can repeat this exercise for 20 times every day

This is also a good tip on how to straighten spine naturally at home that is simple to follow yet will bring about good results as desired within a very short time period so that people should not skip but try to learn and practice it on a regular basis to achieve straight spine and back after all.

15. Exercise 3 – Chest Raises From Prone

  • This is an advanced exercise that you may take quite sometimes to be able to do it. Well but if you are able to lie on your stomach easily, you are qualified to do this one.
  • You start the exercise by lying on the floor face down supported by your stomach.
  • If you encounter difficulty in lifting your head, I recommend that you may put a pillow under the abdominal area. It will make it easier to lift the head up.
  • While keeping the head and shoulder straight, you can slowly lift up the head and hold that pose for 5 seconds.
  • Rest for 2 seconds and repeat the exercise.
  • I know many of you still can’t lift the head and chest up even with the help of the pillow. My advice is to keep trying because you are just not familiar with the exercise yet.

16. Good Diet Makes A Difference

Another out of the best and most necessary to know tips on how to straighten spine naturally and fast at home for both men and women at all ages that I would like to introduce in this entire article is following a healthy and proper diet.

The spine health always remains a mystery to many people as they may think that exercise is the only way to enhance the spinal strength. Well, that is just so wrong because a good diet plays a key role in giving your spine necessary nutrition and nourishment.  A perfect example of how a good diet should be a meal that consists of lean proteins, fresh fruits, vegetables as well as healthy fat. The diet also gives you side benefits such as lean muscle and good immune system. Besides, if you really care about your spinal health, I recommend you to go for supplementary products such as multivitamin tablets, which come with B-complex and Omega-3s formula. These formulas are scientifically proven to give you a decent release of spinal pain.

17. Get Some Exposures To The Sun Every Day

Somewhat I can say the effect of the sun on the spine is magical but I know many of you out there do not know about this fact. The sunlight contains energy which is proven to rejuvenate your body as well as stimulate your body to stand up straight. Additionally, the sunlight is a rich source of vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones. That means through the body manufacturing process, your spinal column should get an adequate amount of vitamin D under the sunlight exposure. You are recommended to spend 10-20 minutes in sunlight daily.

18. Schedule Your Sleep

Another out of the most wonderful yet also simplest tips on how to straighten spine naturally at home for both men and women at all ages that I really want to provide in this article is that you just need to sleep soundly and in a certain time every day and avoid getting sleep disorders.

Sleep is another fundamental factor that contributes to spinal health. Research shows that inadequate sleep may trigger the cause of neck and back problems. The strength of the bone, as well as the whole body energy level, depends very much on whether you have enough sleep. An amount of 6-8 hour of sleeping is highly recommended. People who have a poor sleeping routine potentially have a lot more relates to spine and nerve system diseases.

The sleeping position is also a factor that cannot be overlooked. In fact, wrong sleeping positions can easily lead to spine problem as it may add more pressure on your spine. I recommend you to stick with soldier or freefall sleeping positions consistently since these 2 sleeping positions will give you the most comfort and relaxation.

If you are not familiar with those suggested sleeping positions, we recommend that you should take sometimes to design a proper sleeping sanctuary and include features such as good air conditioner or special doors and windows that provide light elimination and sound insulation. You may think of getting good sleeping gears such as pillow and good mattress to get adequate support on your back.

  • Free fall sleeping position
  • Soldier sleeping position

19. Meditation – Add Salt To Your Spine Strengthening Process

In fact, this is the last but very important tip on how to straighten spine naturally at home for both men and women at all ages that I would like to reveal in this entire article and want you and my other readers to learn and make use for good! In fact, this is one of the best exercises to straighten spine that everyone should learn and apply as soon as possible.

Besides common benefits that meditation can bring to you such as improve your productivity, increase your alertness, rejuvenate your body and prolong life, there is one another benefit, which is not well known by many people. It can help you straighten up your spine. It is because when people engage in deep meditation, they tend to focus on their core and somehow straighten their spine.

One more thing that you and my other readers should do after reading my writing today and learning the natural tips on how to straighten spine faster and natural is that you should spend time reading another similar article that also reveals the best tips on how to straighten your back and achieve better appearance by dealing with some common back pain problems – the How To Treat Back Pain And Some Common Spine Related Condition Naturally At Home article. This is actually a writing revealing a wonderful gathering of many useful and safe tips, tricks, home remedies, tips, and techniques people can make use at home that helps anyone who wants to learn how to straighten spine naturally to achieve good results as desired. The methods released in this recommended article are very simple to follow and proven 100% natural, as well as safe for people at all age without requiring for any type of expensive yet possibly dangerous drugs, pills, or medications. In fact, the home remedies, tips, and techniques that this article introduces will help you get desired results without causing any side effect that can harm your health and within a very short period of time. Therefore, you should spend time this article and allow it to help you.

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Is Vegetarian Diet Good For Weight Loss?

The largest study ever to compare the obesity rates of those eating plant-based diets was published in North America. Meat eaters topped the charts with an average body mass index (BMI) of 28.8—close to being obese. Flexitarians (people who ate meat more on a weekly basis rather than daily) did better at a BMI of 27.3 but were still overweight. With a BMI of 26.3, pesco-vegetarians (people who avoid all meat except fish) did better still. Even U.S. vegetarians tend to be marginally overweight, coming in at 25.7. The only dietary group found to be of ideal weight were those eating strictly plant-based (the “vegans”), whose BMI averaged 23.6.

People who had once eaten vegetarian diets but then started to consume meat at least once a week were found in one study to experience a 146 percent increase in odds of heart disease, a 152 percent increase in stroke, a 166 percent increase in diabetes, and a 231 percent increase in odds for weight gain.

But vegetarians may suffer high rates of chronic disease if they eat a lot of processed foods. Take India, for example, where rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and stroke have increased far faster than might have been expected given its relatively small increase in per-capita meat consumption. This has been blamed in part on the apparent shift from brown rice to white and substitution of other refined carbohydrates, packaged snacks, and fast-food products for India’s traditional staples of lentils, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

The dividing line between health-promoting and disease-promoting foods may be less plant- versus animal-sourced foods and more whole plant foods versus most everything else.

A dietary quality index was developed that simply reflects the percentage of calories people derive from nutrient-rich, unprocessed plant foods on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher the score, the more body fat may be lost over time and the lower the risk may be of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. The standard American diet was found to rate 11 out of 100. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates, 32 percent of our calories come from animal foods, 57 percent from processed plant foods, and only 11 percent from whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. That means on a scale of one to ten, the American diet would rate about a one.

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Understanding Sprains and Strains – the Basics

What Are Sprains and Strains?

Sprains and strains, from twisted ankles to aching backs, are among the most common injuries. A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments, the tough, fibrous bands of tissue that connect bones to one another at a joint. A strain is a stretching or tearing of a tendon or muscle tissue, commonly called a pulled muscle.

Given adequate time and rest, most sprained joints or strained muscles will heal themselves. But severe tearing or complete rupture of the affected tissues usually requires surgical repair. And the damage caused by a sprain can leave the bones in the affected joint improperly aligned, or the ligaments so stretched and weakened that the joint is particularly vulnerable to future injury.

What Causes Sprains and Strains?

A sprain occurs when a ligament stretches or tears. A strain is a stretch or tears in a muscle or tendon. Anything that places sudden or unaccustomed stress on joints or muscles may cause a sprain or strain. Falls, lifting heavy objects, and the exertion of an unfamiliar sport, knocking a joint out of position and overstretching the supporting ligaments or muscles, are common culprits. Chronic overuse of a joint can also lead to stretching of ligaments, chronic inflammation, or chronic irritation of a muscle tendon. Being overweight, inactive, or in poor physical condition boosts the likelihood of injury. Improperly warming up and not stretching muscles before intense physical activity can also result in injury.

Don’t wait! Receive exceptional auto injury care at BackFit Health + Spine car accident chiropractor clinic.

 

American Chiropractic History of Treatment for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Since its inception in 1895, chiropractic has provided treatment for patients with back pain, neck pain, and headache. Throughout American chiropractic history, some chiropractors have claimed a relationship among the spine, nervous system and brain as essential to one’s health and have held that structural imbalances within the spine can affect functioning with the spinal cord, nerves, muscles, bones, and joints of the body.

Over the years, based on evidence from the scientific literature, chiropractic physicians have increasingly focused on the evidence-based treatment of spine-related disorders as well as other musculoskeletal problems.

Chiropractic treatment has traditionally been based on spinal manipulation, which generally involves applying a manual, controlled force into joints that have become restricted by tissue injury with the purpose of restoring the joint’s mobility, alleviating related pain and tightness, and allowing the tissues to heal.

While spinal manipulation has become more specialized since its earliest applications in chiropractic care, it has remained one of the most commonly used chiropractic treatments of a profession that does not prescribe medication or perform surgery.

However, as chiropractic doctors have evolved with the emerging evidence as to the most effective approaches to back pain, neck pain and headaches, they have embraced a variety of evidence-based treatment approaches.

A number of chiropractors have obtained additional degrees such as Ph.D.’s and have begun to investigate the effects of manipulation as well as other treatments provided by chiropractors.

Spinal Manipulation in American Chiropractic History

Spinal manipulation was not invented by a chiropractor, nor is it even a new or recent method. Manipulation of the spine dates back to the beginning of recorded time, with Hippocrates once noting it as a key to treating diseases.

Spinal manipulation is often associated with chiropractic care because of a man named Daniel David (D.D.) Palmer, the founder of chiropractic in the United States. Prior to the 20th century, Palmer maintained an interest in the spine’s role on health and began to study its anatomy, learn more about the use of spinal manipulation in ancient times, and teach himself how to manipulate the spine,

In 1895, Palmer was approached by a janitor who was deaf in one ear. Palmer theorized that the condition was likely related to the spine, possibly a displaced vertebra.

According to many historical accounts, Palmer examined the man’s back, noticed a bump near the spine, and manipulated the area. The hands-on adjustment was reported by Palmer to quickly restore the man’s hearing.5 This event is considered the start of chiropractic history.

A combination of the Greek words “cheir” (hand) and praktos (“done”), chiropractic means “Done by Hand”,6 although it is important to note that modern spinal manipulation has expanded beyond just hands-based adjustments.

In 1907, Palmer added the term “subluxation” to the chiropractic vocabulary.7 Palmer explained “subluxations” in terms of the spinal vertebrae and joints putting pressure on the nerves, thus impairing functioning, and then detailed how spinal adjustments could be used to reduce subluxation and improve patient symptoms.5

Subluxation is still used today by some chiropractors to describe specific misalignments of the spinal vertebrae and joints and to determine appropriate treatment options. Other terminology currently in use includes manipulative lesion, spinal dysfunction, or joint dysfunction.

At least one chiropractic school (National University of Health Sciences) has begun to refer to the term “subluxation” from a historical perspective only.

American Chiropractic History in the 20th and 21st Century

In 1897, Palmer founded the Palmer School of Chiropractic (which still exists today) to teach students about chiropractic principles and train them in chiropractic manipulation.

Palmer’s son Bartlett Joshua (B.J.) further developed and promoted chiropractic in the first half of the 20th century. B.J. Palmer not only provided training in chiropractic but aided in the education of both the medical community and the general public on the profession.

During this time, chiropractic gradually grew in popularity for patients seeking alternatives to traditional treatments using drugs, and its core principles slowly gained more acceptance with continued research.

By the late 20th century, chiropractic emerged as one of the most popular and accessible forms of health care.

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Development of the Field of Physical Therapy

The field of physical therapy in modern times was established in Britain in the latter part of the 19th century. Shortly thereafter American orthopedic surgeons treating crippled and deformed children began employing young women trained in massage, remedial exercise, and physical education. Frequent and intense outbreaks of poliomyelitis, particularly the great epidemic of 1916 in the mid-Atlantic and New England states, promoted the application of physical therapy techniques and the further recruitment of women as assistants in the treatment of patients. The First World War was the major turning point in the institutionalization of physical therapy. Women were recruited to assist orthopedic surgeons in restoring physical function to injured soldiers. In 1918 they were assigned to the newly formed Division of Special Hospitals and Physical Reconstruction in the U.S. Army’s Office of the Surgeon General. These “Reconstruction Aides” served in a civilian capacity in military hospitals both in the U.S. and overseas. The first school of physical therapy was established at Walter Reed Army Hospital, Washington, D.C., after the outbreak of World War I, and 14 additional schools were established soon afterward. The first was at Teachers College, Columbia University. The largest was at Reed College in Eugene, Oregon. Before the end of the war, the schools and colleges had trained almost 2000 women, about 300 of whom served overseas.

The recognized success of physical therapy techniques in the treatment and rehabilitation of the wounded ensured the continued growth of the field. After the war, the efforts that had gone toward restoring and maintaining a fighting force was redirected toward restoring and maintaining a working force in a growing industrial society. In addition, the treatment of crippled children was still a humanitarian concern. Several groups of Reconstruction Aides formed local associations and in 1921 a national organization, the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association was formed. The name was changed the following year to the American Physiotherapy Association to reflect the inclusion of qualified men (two joined in 1923). In 1947 the name was changed once more to the American Physical Therapy Association.

The American Physiotherapy Association began with 245 members in 1921 and to grew to about 1,000 members by the end of the 1930s. With the advent of World War II and a nationwide polio epidemic during the 1940s and 1950s, physical therapists were in greater demand than ever before. The American Physiotherapy Association’s membership swelled to 3,000 by 1946, and the number of physical therapy education programs across the United States increased from 16 to 39. The U.S. Congress passed legislation in late December 1942 authorizing the inclusion of physical therapists in the Medical Department of the Army, thereby granting them military status during the war. By June 1946 over 680 physical therapists had seen overseas duty and the largest number on duty overseas at any one time was 570.

In its earliest days, physical therapy was an occupation consisting almost entirely of women acting in a supportive role to physicians. The American Physical Therapy Association defined physical therapists as “educated trained assistants to the members of the established medical profession” guided by policy to “practice only under the prescription of a licensed physician.” The subordinate role was clear from the start – one of the original objectives of the American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association was “to make available efficiently trained women to the medical profession.”

Similar to developments in the nursing profession, leaders in the field of physical therapy sought to professionalize the occupation through the establishment of national organizations. Furthermore, the establishment of state registration and licensing laws, higher and uniform training standards, and the formation of academic programs based in colleges and universities rather than in hospital schools further drove the field toward a more professional status.

Physical therapists have evolved over the years from physician’s assistants to autonomous health care practitioners. Though still a female-dominant field – approximately 2/3 of the members of the APTA are women – physical therapists now often serve as the entry point in the health care system for evaluation, treatment, preventive programs, and consultation.

What to Do and See in the Phoenix Area

If you had only one day in Phoenix, what would you do or see? Believe it or not, I get asked this question fairly often. Interesting to ponder, but impossible to answer. There are just too many factors. Will there be children along? Do you like to walk or drive? Is it summer or winter? Do you like museums or shopping? Greater Phoenix has so much to offer. There are so many options—how do I recommend just one or two attractions or activities?

We have picked out couple destinations/activities that I think are unique or not to be missed when visiting the Phoenix area. You’d never get these done in even a week, but some attractions will appeal to you more than others. Visiting when it’s hot outside? The selections I’ve marked with a double asterisk (**) are indoor, cool, and comfortable. The others may not be appropriate in the summer heat, or only if you are able to visit very early in the morning. They are all suitable for both adults and children, but some may be more kid-oriented than others.

One more thing. These places of interest are not listed in any particular order. It was tough enough to come up with only 20, so please don’t make me rank them!

Heard Museum**

Every major city and most minor ones have museums. The Heard Museum is unique, however, not only in the exhibits that are displayed but the style and grace with which it displays them.

I never tire of visiting the Heard Museum, with its more than 32,000 pieces of cultural and fine art. There are permanent exhibits, like the famous Barry Goldwater collection of Kachina Dolls, as well as special exhibit year-round. Some of the special annual events include the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest which is held each February, and the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market each March.

Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden has one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. It is one of only 44 botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. At the Desert Botanical Garden, you will find 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits. Home to 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world, there is no finer place to enjoy desert beauty than the Desert Botanical Garden. The Garden is located in Papago Park in Central Phoenix.

Chase Field and University of Phoenix Stadium**

Chase Field was the first baseball facility in the world to combine a retractable roof, air conditioning, and a natural turf field. Chase Field’s retractable roof can be closed in less than 5 minutes! If you are a baseball fan, a visit to this state-of-art facility will be a special treat. If you aren’t that interested in going to an Arizona Diamondbacks game, or if one isn’t scheduled when you’ll be in town, you can still see the stadium.

Just go to lunch or dinner at Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill, open 363 days a year. If the Arizona Diamondbacks are playing that day, you have to call them to buy tickets to eat there. Chase Field is located in downtown Phoenix. There’s a light rail station nearby. What? You say it isn’t baseball season? On the other side of town, the Arizona Cardinals play NFL football at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. That’s also where the Fiesta Bowl is played, as well as the Super Bowl when it is our turn. It is another amazing and unique facility, and, yes, you can take a tour even when it isn’t football season.

Musical Instrument Museum**

In North Phoenix, we have an amazing destination for music lovers, world culture enthusiasts, and people who just plain enjoy listening and learning.

It’s a colorful and impressively designed major collection of musical instruments from all over the world, complete with audio vignettes for your listening pleasure. MIM is a place for all ages. If you’d rather sit in one place and be entertained, MIM also has a concert hall where they present musical performers from around the world. There’s not a museum like this one anywhere else, and it’s always on my list for visitors to the area. As for locals, you have an advantage, because you can go whenever you please—it will take a couple of visits to see the whole museum at a reasonable pace.

Climb Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain

Piestewa Peak, formerly known as Squaw Peak, is part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. The elevation of Piestewa Peak is 2,608 feet; the total elevation gain for the Summit Trail is 1,190 feet. That might not sound high, but hikers of all levels can get a great workout climbing this mountain, and get a great view of the city when they get to the top. If you decide to hike the Summit Trail, though, you won’t be alone. According to the City of Phoenix. it is one of the most heavily used trails in the nation with 4,000 to 10,000 hikers per week. Dogs and bicycles are not permitted on the Summit Trail. Camelback Mountain has two major trails. Neither one is especially long, but they are considered moderate to difficult hikes. Echo Canyon is the most popular and is steeper. Cholla Trail is not as steep, but rockier.

Scottsdale Art Walk

There are more than 100 art galleries in Scottsdale. You can enjoy Scottsdale ArtWalks every Thursday evening, year-round (except on Thanksgiving) from 7 to 9 p.m. Each week, Scottsdale Gallery Association members host special exhibits, many with artist receptions, and join together for an informal come-and-go “open house” throughout the district. Casual and eclectic, it’s a great time to visit the galleries and learn about featured artists. Several times per year, the Scottsdale Gallery Association holds Special Event ArtWalks with live music along the streets and special themed events.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum, an Arizona State Park, brings together plants from the Earth’s many and varied deserts and dry lands. Approximately 3,200 different desert plants can be found within the arboretum, and most of them can be seen along the 1.5-mile main trail. During wildflower season, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is especially beautiful, displaying all the wonderful colors of the desert. Are you a bird lover? More than 250 species of birds have been recorded at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Arizona Capitol Museum**

I don’t know exactly why this museum doesn’t get more attention—I love this place and it’s free! There’s no better way to learn about the history of Arizona, from territorial days, through the creation of the state, and into the current century. Visit the first Governor’s Office, the original Congressional chamber, and other cool places. This museum is located in the government complex near Downtown Phoenix. It’s actually right next door to our current House and Senate buildings. While you are there, stop across the street and walk around Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza with memorials to various historical figures, individuals, and organizations, as well as a 9-11 Memorial.

Drive Apache Trail**

The Apache Trail will be one of the most memorable drives you’ll ever take. Your adventure will begin in Apache Junction, about 25 miles east of downtown Phoenix. The 46 miles between Apache Junction and Roosevelt Lake provides not only the most scenic part of the trip but also the most challenging driving. Please don’t close your eyes! Along the way, you’ll pass (or you can stop) at the Lost Dutchman State Park, Goldfield Ghost Town, Saguaro Lake, the Canyon Lake Recreation Area, the Theodore Roosevelt Dam site, and the Tonto National Monument. The Apache Trail has been designated a USFS Scenic Byway by the U.S. Forest Service, as well as an Arizona Scenic Historic Byway. It’s a great day trip! Seriously, if you are a nervous driver or passenger, this drive might not be for you.

Tovrea Castle

In the middle of Phoenix, atop a hill, there sits a building that looks something like a wedding cake. For many years people drove by, wondering what that building was all about. After the City of Phoenix purchased it, they developed it so that your questions could be answered. You can take a tour of the grounds and the building, learn about the families that lived here and discover how they influenced the history of Phoenix.

South Mountain Park

At over 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park and Preserve often is considered the largest municipal park in the country. There are more than 50 miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. Dobbins Lookout, at 2,330 feet, is the highest point in the park accessible by trail. If you aren’t into hiking, biking or riding, you can simply drive to Dobbins Point to get a fantastic view of the Valley of the Sun. It’s just over 5 miles from Central Avenue to Dobbins Lookout.

Butterfly Wonderland**

Many cities have places where you can see and walk among butterflies. Our own Desert Botanical Garden even has a butterfly garden, once in the spring and once in the fall. What makes this place unique is that it is the largest butterfly atrium in the United States. Grab the kids, bring the camera and check out the thousands of pretty little flying insects. Butterfly Wonderland is located in North Scottsdale.

 

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5 Ways to Keep Your Spine Healthy and Happy

Whether it’s a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or strained muscles, it can take some time to diagnose and treat the causes of back pain. And all the while, you’re trying to navigate health insurance, work and family life, and everyday stressors—all while dealing with your back pain.

This blog is written to highlight a few fairly simple things you can do to help achieve some level of comfort and pain relief.

5 simple tips to help keep your spine as healthy as possible:

1. Let your spine really rest while sleeping.

While you’re lying down, all the structures in your spine that have worked hard all day finally have an opportunity to relax and be rejuvenated. To make the most of this time, you need a mattress and pillows that allow your spine to rest in a supported and comfortable way.

Your choice of mattress and pillow is largely based on personal preference, your preferred sleep positions, and your specific back or neck problem.

As long as you’re choosing a mattress to ensure the best support and sleeping position for your condition, there are many available types of mattresses can be helpful.

2. Exercise your core to strengthen abs and back muscles.

Your core muscles—your lower back and abdominal muscles—need to be strong and supple in order to support your spine and take pressure off your lower back.

Unfortunately, for most of us, our core muscles are rarely used during everyday activities; they need to be toned through specific, targeted exercises. These exercises are simple and can be performed in 20 to 30 minutes as part of a daily routine.

3. Your shoes need to support your spine.

Whether you’re walking for exercise or just to get where you’re going, the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back. Good shoes provide a supportive base that helps the spine and body remain in alignment. For example, make sure the area of the shoe that fits the back of your heels is snug, but not overly tight, as a good fit in the heel prevents over-pronation or supination—or too much rolling of the foot to the outside or inside.

4. Enjoy the benefits of massage.

Did you know that massage has a number of therapeutic benefits in addition to general stress relief? A good massage will help increase endorphins—the body’s natural painkiller—in your bloodstream, which in turn may allow you cut back on pain medications. Massage can also encourage blood flow, which in turn brings healing nutrients to the affected area and can speed healing.

While it’s not the same as going to a massage therapist, having a massage chair in your home can be a practical and easy way to get some of the benefits of a Shiatsu or Swedish massage.

5. Practice good ergonomics while sitting—and limit total sitting time.

The discs in your lower spine are loaded 3 times more while sitting than standing, so long periods of sitting can create or aggravate a painful back condition. Moreover, when sitting at a desk and/or looking at a computer screen, our natural tendency is to slouch and lean forward, stressing our lumbar discs even more.

Choosing the right office chair and practicing good posture while seated play an important role in promoting good posture and supporting the natural curves of your back.

It’s also important to do whatever you can to avoid sitting for long periods. Get up to stretch and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes, try working at a standup desk for at least part of the day, or get up and pace around when talking on the phone. The spine is meant to move to stay healthy, and movement fuels the spine with healthy nutrients.

The topics covered here are simple ways to help support your spine and overall back health. Even when you are in serious pain and are undergoing extensive medical treatments, we encourage you to try to remember the simple things you can do for your back—even small changes can help with the healing process over time.

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5 Foods You Should Be Eating For Your Best Body – Inside and Out

Choosing nutritious foods helps your health in two ways. First, a diet packed with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats helps you feel fuller on fewer calories, which is key in keeping your weight in check. Plus, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds in foods offer unique health boons. Keep your body looking its best—inside and out—with these five foods.

                                                                     1. Green Beans

Fillingreen-beansg up on green beans, and other high-fiber foods can help you prevent weight gain or even promote weight loss—without dieting—suggests new research in The Journal of Nutrition. Researchers found that women who increased their fiber intake generally lost weight while women who decreased the fiber in their diets gained. The scientists boiled the findings into a single weight-loss formula: boosting fiber by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories consumed resulted in losing about 4 1/2 pounds over the course of the study. Try it for yourself. If you’re consuming 2,000 calories per day, aim to increase your fiber by 16 grams. Raspberries, chickpeas, and strawberries can also help you get your fill.

 

 

 

salmon

2. Salmon

The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish—such as salmon and tuna—can boost your skin’s defenses against UV damage. In a study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that those who ate a little more than 5 ounces of omega-3-rich fish each week decreased the development of precancerous skin lesions by almost 30 percent. Scientists think the omega-3s act as a shield, protecting cell walls from free-radical damage.

 

 

blueberries

3. Blueberries

Eating just under a cup of mixed berries (such as red raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) daily for 8 weeks was associated with increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure—two positives when it comes to heart health—according to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The diverse range of polyphenols—health-promoting plant compounds that include anthocyanins and ellagic acid—provided by the mix of berries is likely responsible for the observed benefits.

 

 

 

watermelon

4. Watermelon

Research shows that eating foods that are full of water, such as watermelon, helps keep you satisfied on fewer calories. (Interestingly enough, drinking water alongside foods doesn’t have the safe effect.) At 92 percent water, watermelon is a good source of vitamin C. When it’s the red variety (some are orange or yellow), it also has lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer. Other foods that are made mostly of water include cucumbers (95 percent), salad greens (90 percent) and strawberries (91 percent).

 

 

tomatoes

5. Tomatoes

Eating more vitamin-C rich foods, such as oranges, tomatoes, strawberries and broccoli, may be a secret to smoother skin. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition links consuming plenty of vitamin C-rich foods with youthful skin. The findings suggest that a higher intake of vitamin C from foods is associated with a lower risk of having wrinkled skin and age-related skin dryness in middle-age women. Vitamin C’s youthful effects on skin may be due to its antioxidant properties, which help protect against ultraviolet rays, and its role in keeping skin firm via collagen synthesis, say the researchers.

 

 

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What Causes Migraine and Chronic Migraine?

Migraine headache symptoms

Anyone who has experienced a migraine knows they’re painful. These intense headaches can cause:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sensitivity to sounds
  • sensitivity to smells
  • sensitivity to light
  • changes in vision

If you experience sporadic migraines, the headache and symptoms may last only a day or two. If you suffer from chronic migraines symptoms may occur 15 days or more each month.

What causes migraines?

Migraine headaches are a bit of a mystery. Researchers have identified possible causes, but they don’t have a definitive explanation. Potential theories include:

  • An underlying central nervous disorder may set off a migraine episode when triggered.
  • Irregularities in the brain’s blood vessel system, or vascular system, may cause migraines.
  • A genetic predisposition may cause  migraines
  • Abnormalities of brain chemicals and nerve pathways may cause migraine episodes.

What can trigger a migraine

Unfortunately, scientists have yet to identify a cause. The best way to avoid migraines is to avoid what starts them in the first place. Migraine trigger are unique to each person, and it’s not uncommon for a person to have several migraine triggers. The most common migraine triggers include:

Food

Salty foods or aged foods, such as cheese and salami, may cause migraine headaches. Highly processed foods can also trigger a migraine.

Skipping meals

People with a history of migraines shouldn’t skip meals or fast unless it’s done under a doctor’s supervision.

Drink

Alcohol and caffeine may cause these headaches.

Preservatives and sweeteners

Some artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, can trigger a migraine. The popular preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG) can, as well. Read labels to avoid them.

Sensory stimulation

Unusually bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells, may set off a migraine headache; flashlights, bright sun, perfume, paint, and cigarette smoke, are all common triggers.

Hormonal changes

Hormone shifts are a common migraine trigger for women. Many women report developing migraine headaches right before or even during their period. Others report hormone-induced migraines during pregnancy or menopause. That’s because estrogen levels change during these time and can trigger a migraine episode.

Hormone medications

Medications, such as birth control and hormone replacement therapies, can trigger or worsen a migraine. However, in some cases, these medicines can actually reduce a woman’s migraine headaches.

Other medications

Vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can trigger a migraine.

Stress

Constant mental stress can cause migraines. Home life and work life are two of the most common sources of stress and can damage your mind and body if you can’t control it effectively.

Physical stress

Extreme exercise, physical exertion, and even sexual activity can trigger migraine headaches.

Sleep cycle changes

If you’re not getting regular, routine sleep, you may experience more migraines. Don’t bother trying to “make up” for lost sleep on the weekends, either. Too much sleep is just as likely to cause a headache as too little.

Weather changes

What Mother Nature is doing outside may affect how you feel on the inside. Changes in weather and shifts in barometric pressure can trigger a migraine.

Factors that increase your risk for migraines

Not everyone exposed to migraine triggers will develop a headache. However, some people are more sensitive to them. Several risk factors can help predict who is more prone to having migraine headaches. These risk factors include:

Age

Migraines can first appear at any age. However, most people will experience their first migraine during adolescence. According to the Mayo Clinic, migraines usually improve after age 30.

Family history

If a close family member has migraines, you’re more likely to have them. In fact, 90 percent of migraine patients have a family history of migraines. Parents are the best predictor of your risk. If one or both of your parents have a history of migraines, your risk is higher.

Gender

During childhood, boys experience migraine headaches more than girls. After puberty, however, women are three times more likely to have migraines than men.

Talk to a doctor

Make an appointment with a doctor if you are having migraines. They can diagnose the underlying condition if there is one, and prescribe treatments.

Contact us by calling 602-900-9485 to schedule an appointment at our location in Phoenix or schedule an appointment in one of the following locations closest to you GilbertTempeChandlerMesaQueen Creek or Chandler-Ocotillo. We look forward to helping you find relief!

 

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Insufficient sleep may be adding to your waistline

Adults who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

The findings showed that people who were sleeping on average around six hours a night had a waist measurement that was 3cm greater than individuals who were getting nine hours of sleep a night. And shorter sleepers were heavier too.

The results strengthen the evidence that insufficient sleep could contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes — major health challenges facing the NHS.

The study – led by Dr. Laura Hardie, Reader in Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Leeds – not only looked at the links between sleep duration, diet, and weight, but also other indicators of overall metabolic health such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and thyroid function.

The study involved 1,615 adults who reported how long they slept and kept records of food intake. Participants had blood samples were taken and their weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure recorded.

The researchers looked at the associations between how long people were sleeping and these key biological parameters.

The research team, from the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine and the School of Food Science and Nutrition, reported their findings in the journal PLoS One.

Obesity has doubled

Greg Potter, one of the Leeds researchers, said “The number of people with obesity worldwide has more than doubled since 1980.

“Obesity contributes to the development of many diseases, most notably type 2 diabetes. Understanding why people gain weight has crucial implications for public health.”

Shorter sleep was also linked to reduced levels of HDL cholesterol in the participants’ blood-another factor that can cause health problems. HDL cholesterol is ‘good’ cholesterol that helps remove ‘bad’ fat from the circulation. In doing so, high HDL cholesterol levels protect against conditions such as heart disease.

Interestingly, the study did not find any relationship between shortened sleep and a less healthy diet — a fact that surprised the researchers. Other studies have suggested that shortened sleep can lead to poor dietary choices.

The research was a snapshot of the associations between sleep duration and measurements of metabolic health. It was not designed to assess the impact of chronic poor sleep over time, and whether that leads to disease.

Importance of getting enough sleep

Dr. Hardie said: “Because we found that adults who reported sleeping less than their peers were more likely to be overweight or obese, our findings highlight the importance of getting enough sleep.

“How much sleep we need differs between people, but the current consensus is that seven to nine hours is best for most adults.”

 

If you are struggling to lose weight, our approach to medical weight loss is based on sound scientific research and patient-proven strategies that really work – not fad diets that leave you hungry, cranky and weighing more than when you started! Contact us BackFit Health + Spine

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