Most people believe that your local chiropractor is only concerned with the health of your spine. On the contrary chiropractors; main concern relies with the patients overall health. Since chiropractors are primarily known as “spine guys” or “Back Docs,” it may be easy to dismiss their potential influence on your everyday health and lifestyle. But the potential to boost your overall wellness is real, and chiropractors definitely want you to know it. In fact, after one visit to a clinic, you’ll most likely realize that chiropractors are interested in keeping your entire body healthy, and to help you do so, they may suggest some simple lifestyle changes to implement. In order to prepare you for that conversation, here are several tips that you will most likely here from your chiropractor during your visit.
1. Stretch Every Morning
Setting aside 5 minutes for stretching during your morning routine can make a world of difference, especially if you’re running out the door to sit in traffic on the way to work, only to sit at a desk all day. Throughout the night fluid increases between joints and spinal discs while you’re lying horizontally, causing stiffness and pain. Stretching first thing in the morning can relieve this tension or pain from sleeping the night before. It also helps increase your blood flow and prepares your body for the day ahead. Stretching will also have positive long-term effects on your posture; maintaining a stretching routine every morning will loosen up tight muscles, resulting in better posture over time. With better posture comes less visits to get adjusted.
This is especially important if you are one to work out in the mornings. According to Ideafit.com, “warming up combined with stretching increased the flexibility of the ankle, hip and knee joints. One report demonstrated that static stretching and a cycling warm-up increased flexibility equally for at least 15 minutes.” That being said, increased flexibility due to mindful stretching often results in injury prevention, a key to ensuring a happy and active lifestyle.
2. Mind your posture… said every local chiropractor ever!
Easier said then done… Right? You’ve heard it over and over from every local chiropractor you visit. But there is a method to their madness. Being aware of good posture is the first step to breaking old poor postural habits and reducing stress and strain on your spine. By putting this knowledge into practice you can prevent the structural bodily changes that can develop if poor posture is left uncorrected for many years. It is important to recognize even when you’re sitting at your desk or lounging on the couch, gravity exerts a constant force on your joints, ligaments, and muscles. It is vital to recognize that great posture is to evenly distribute these forces throughout your body, so that certain areas are not overstressed. To make things simple, here is a list of what the Harvard Medical School believes are key to maintaining good posture.
Good posture means:
Chin parallel to the floor
Shoulders even (roll your shoulders up, back, and down to help achieve this)
Neutral spine (no flexing or arching to overemphasize the curve in your lower back)
Arms at your sides with elbows straight and even
Abdominal muscles braced
Knees even and pointing straight ahead
Body weight distributed evenly on both feet.
When sitting down, keep your chin parallel to the floor; your shoulders, hips, and knees at even heights; and your knees and feet pointing straight ahead.
3. Stop Staring at Your Phone!
Your parents were right… Get off your phone! The term “text neck” is sweeping the nation and has become a term that you’ll most likely hear from your local chiropractor. According to The Washington Post, “The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.” On average, Americans check their phones an average of 80 times a day… With a little bit of math, you will quickly realize that this habit can put a lot of strain on your neck and back.
It is important to limit phone time when possible and make it a point to find other activities to do. Not only will your neck and back thank you… but your friends and family will as well. When you do find yourself browsing Instagram or Facebook, be sure to keep your phone at eye level as much as you can.
4. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise…
It seems like this is one of the most basic and often mentioned tips for staying healthy… But the proof is in the pudding! Be sure to listen to your local chiropractor when he tells you that regular exercise helps to keep your muscles loose and strong. It also helps your body burn more calories, which in turn helps you maintain a healthy weight. The healthier your weight, the less extra work your body has to do, and the easier it will be for your spine to keep you upright and maintain a strong activity level. Strengthening the muscles that support the spine can remove pressure from the spinal discs and facet joints. It can also improve circulation to better distribute nutrients throughout the body, including to the spinal discs.
5. Don’t wait to see your Local Chiropractor
Many slight injuries can occur without notice and not make themselves apparent for quite some time. Lack of pain or symptoms does not equate to lack of injury. The spine is the foundation of our livelihood and one of the most crucial powerhouses of movement that we have. As the famous american fitness and nutrition guru, Jack Lalanne, put it “The spine is the lifeline. A lot of people should go to a chiropractor but they don’t know it.” It is critical to keep track of your spinal health and take care of potential problems before they get worse or lead to permanent damage. Contact your local chiropractor and schedule an appointment today to put your mind and your pain at ease!