Are Sedentary Lifestyles Leading to More Back Pain?

We commonly associate back pain with injuries – but are we right to do so? While it’s certainly true that people can injure their backs lifting heavy objects or in accidents, evidence is mounting that sitting still
could be even worse for your back than previously realized.

What Does Sitting Have to Do with Back Pain?
Sitting down seems to be a benign activity, but it’s not. As we grow increasingly attached to our computers, tablets, and smart phones, we also spend less time moving our bodies. And it turns out that all that sitting has affected our health. People who move around a lot tend to have better posture than people who don’t. Good posture relies on muscle tone and fitness. People who have a low percentage of muscle in their bodies may lack the strength to keep their backs straight while they sit. The fact that we spend so much of our time hunched over electronic devices hasn’t helped, either. In fact, 2008 marked the coining of a new phrase to describe the wear and tear caused by this phenomenon. It’s called Text Neck, and it could be turning into an epidemic. The human head weighs 12 pounds, but when we curve our necks downward to peer at a screen, the pressure on our spines increases dramatically. Over time, repeated stress on the cervical spine can lead to spinal degeneration and chronic pain.

The Solution is Simple

The solution to our sedentary problem is a simple one. Here are some tips to help you reduce the back pain caused by sitting

  1. Sit up straight with your back against your seat, your shoulders touching the backrest, and your knees lower than your hips. Your feet should be flat on the ground and your elbows should be at a comfortable angle.
  2. Align your computer screen so it is even with your eyebrows. This position ensures that you won’t have to strain your neck or spine to look at the screen.
  3. Take frequent breaks. When you sit for hours at a time, your spine compresses and pain may be the result. By standing up, stretching, or even walking around, you give your back a break.
  4. Get more exercise. You don’t have to exercise every day, but even walking or Yoga can help elongate your spine and reduce pain.

We all have to sit sometimes, but if you sit too much your spine may end up paying the price. Using these simple tips can help you keep your spine in the proper alignment and reduce the risk that you’ll end up with a chronic pain problem.

How Your Chiropractor Can Treat Carpal Tunnel Pain

Most of us have heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Since the use of home computers has become the norm, more and more people find they are suffering from this condition on one level or another.  

The carpal tunnel is a band of fibrous tissue located on the front side of the wrist. It contains the blood vessels, nerves, and tendons that are required for the hand to function properly. The Syndrome is caused by inflammation or damage to the tissues, or when pressure on the area constricts the arteries and nerves. The most common symptoms of this repetitive stress injury include tingling, numbness, pain in the wrists or hands and a weakening in the middle or index fingers, and thumb.

While most people think of chiropractic treatments as being designed for neck and back problems, it is, in fact, a whole-body wellness practice.  This makes it an effective and non-invasive way to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Chiropractic Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are four primary ways that chiropractors treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. These common treatments have shown to be very effective in treating the condition as a whole.

Adjustments

It all comes back to the spine.  When not in alignment, there are a number of issues that can occur, including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Your chiropractor will work to realign the spine to its correct position. Then, if needed, make adjustments to other areas of the body being affected,  like the arms and wrists.

Ultrasound Therapy

Not just for seeing your baby for the first time, this technology is also used by chiropractors for the purpose of treating chiropractic conditions.  The device creates focused sound waves that penetrate deep into the body’s tissues. The effects include a reduction of inflammation and pain and the relaxation of the muscles. This treatment may be used singularly or in conjunction with other chiropractic treatments.

Acupuncture

Several studies have shown that this ancient practice can alleviate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and heal the injured nerves.  Resulting nerve conduction studies and ultrasonic imaging tests have been conclusive to show acupuncture does work to heal the nerves. Your Chiropractor will be able to advise you on whether this option is right for you.

Wrist Supports

These supports are designed to keep the wrist properly aligned with the rest of the arm, resulting in the reduction of compression due to excess pressure. Most often used as a preventative treatment, they are typically used by people whose work involves the harmful repetitive movements that can cause issues to begin. Use can also be in conjunction with regular chiropractic treatments as the ones mentioned above to aid in preventing the condition to develop.

There are also exercises and dietary habits that can assist.  Your Chiropractor may suggest one or more in an effort to keep you from experiencing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other conditions. Proper treatment from a professional can result in relief of symptoms and promote healing without the use of medications or surgery.

Mindful Holidays in River North

ReavesBlogHeader

Mindful Holidays…


Turkey, pumpkin pie, cookies and holiday parties stacked on top of one another. When we’re deep in the holiday season it’s easy to put your healthy lifestyle off to the side; eating whatever you and skipping gym days. Often times this leads to intense feelings of guilty new year resolutions to lose the weight and get back into shape and on track. For many this is a cycle that repeats yearly.

How about this year we get a head start and practice mindfulness and moderation creating balance of fun and still keeping our daily habits and routine in check.

  • Maybe limit to one or two cookies, a special one that is very much a treat this time of year as opposed to a chocolate chip that is available all year.
  • Limit drinks at the work party to two, drinking plenty water in between.
  • Be sure to schedule your gym time in your calendar and schedule everything else around it – Make yourself just as important as your friends, family and colleagues.

The more indulging and procrastination, the harder and longer it takes to get reset back to your normal, you can still enjoy the holidays in moderation and feel ahead of the game come the new year.

 

Tingling, heavy, achey arms in Downtown Chicago…

ReavesBlogHeader

Tingling, heavy, achey arms?


ReavesSpineImageEver woken up with a numb arm or found that after working on the computer for couple hours your hands go numb, tingle or feel heavy and achey?

There are many reasons these symptoms could stem from but one of the most common is due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. When the blood vessels and nerves are compressed at the shoulder/neck joint, a sensation down the arms and/or hands occurs that can be sharp, dull or numb and tingly. Many times this pain is due to bad posture, injury or lack of mobility of the joints. You may also have a limited range of motion in your shoulders and arms.

A chiropractor can help with restoring the mobility of the joints and making postural changes will help to lessen the pressure on the nerves and surrounding tissues bringing balance back to the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper spine.

Suspect of neck pain and tingling? Schedule your visit today.

In good health,
Dr. Joanna Reaves

 

Chicago Foot pain, knee pain, hip pain, low back pain. How are these all related?

ReavesBlogHeader

Foot pain, knee pain, hip pain, low back pain. How are these all related? 

Orthopedic insoles isolated on white background

The whole body is a kinetic chain, connected from our toes to our nose. One part that that we take for granted is the foot. The driving force from every step comes from the foot and having improper support and stability can throw the whole chain off.

We all know how important having supportive shoes is, especially for folks who are walking the city streets, the pavement can take a toll on commuters to and from the train/bus or to the office. Many of us grab our tennis shoes and tote “work” shoes in a bag to change to change into once we’ve reached our destination. 

Custom made orthotics help to reduce discomfort while enhancing support in the foot. Packaged inserts, unless prescribed by a doctor and crafted for your specific foot, is a shoe insert, not a custom orthotic. Custom made orthotics for your feet specifically work for YOUR feet, providing
the proper support in the right places creating proper alignment, and helping to address 
foot problems or cure long-standing foot issues.

Custom orthotics can be made by a Chiropractor and can be of great benefit to your chiropractic treatments. As the end of the year approaches, deductibles are met and HSA funds are still available, for your to use,  don’t let those go to waste. Schedule your chiropractic visit and learn if the root of your problem is connect to your feet.
In good health,
Dr. Joanna Reaves

Sciatia in River North… What is it Really?

ReavesBlogHeader

The term Sciatic is thrown out there quite a bit but what is it and what does it mean?


ReavesChiroBackPainThe Sciatic nerve is a large nerve that starts in the lower back and goes down the back of the leg to the foot. There is one on each side of the body. When this nerve is affected in some way, there is a sensation of shooting pain that most commonly starts at the buttock and goes down the leg as short as to the knee or as far as to the foot. When this sensation happens it is termed as Sciatica.But what is really happening and why?

 

When the sciatic nerve is affected there are three common reasons.

  1. There is a tiny muscle deep into the buttock called the Piriformis muscle. When the this muscle becomes tightened from overuse or from an injury, it puts pressure right on the sciatic nerve causing that deep dull achey pain and then shoots down the leg.
  2. When there is a lack of mobility or a misalignment within the joints of the pelvis or the lower back, this too can compress on the sciatic nerve and cause more of a sharp shooting pain.
  3. When there is disc disease such as a degeneration, a bulge or herniation, or as some like to call it ‘a slipped disc’, the pressure from the disc can hit on a nerve and cause the sciatic sensation down the leg.

There are many other causes of this sciatic pain sensation as well but to properly diagnose and treat this problem, a thorough history and examination must be performed to determine what the actual cause is.

Suspect of sciatic pain? Schedule an appointment today and find out what the real cause of your pain is.
In good health,
Dr. Joanna Reaves

 

Screen time… More harm then Good?

ReavesBlogHeader

Is screen time doing more harm then good?


This question has started to float around the past few years and many believe there is good cause for concern. The booming tech industry has everyone utilizing a computer or some sort of tech device, in every part of our lives. From work computers, mobile phones to movie streaming on our lap tops we just can’t seem to break away from our screen time.

Yes, technology has made our lives easier and everything in it much more convenient. But there is a price to pay, and the physical health of our bodies is the price.

Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, cubical tunnel syndrome, de quervain’s (aka texting thumb – yes, there is such a thing!), headaches, low back pain, neck and shoulder tension are just a few to name that are repercussions of excessive use of  our electronic devices and computers.

These conditions arise from bad ergonomics, stress and tension in the joints due to a change in a movement that our bodies were not designed for.

So how do we lessen the burden we place on our bodies before they become chronic issues?
Have you checked your work desk for correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing and good desk posture? 
Are you getting up and taking breaks from computer/phone every 30-60 minutes adding movement with a walk?
Are you strengthening and stabilizing the body, particularly the back, arms, neck?
Are you treating underlying issues with therapy such as ultrasound, Graston technique, acupuncture, kinesio tape, chiropractic adjustments?

Did you answer no to one or more? Making small changes can help tremendously toward a healthier lifestyle and saving yourself from any future chronic pain.

In good health,
Dr. Joanna Reaves
 

Spring Movement in Chicago – Let’s get to it!

ReavesBlogHeader

Spring Movement – Let’s get to it!


STOCKHOLM - MAY 31: Legs and feet closup in ASICS Stockholm Marathon 2014. May 31, 2014 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Spring is finally here! We’re all slowly crawling out of hibernation and getting our bodies moving, some of us even get the running itch and head to a nearby path or trail and get our stride going. Race season is also starting and many are ready to join in on the fun and set to tackle our new goals, head on for the season!

We were pretty fortunate as this Winter wasn’t too bad on us. But for many, after being seditary for the last few months, newly engaging in movement can feel amazing and can also throw a few things out of whack, causing some limitations and possible injuries.

Moving your body, whether it be running, a cardio class or yoga for stretching is a great start. Remember, slow and steady wins the race, along with regular chiropractic adjustments will allow the joints and muscles to move at their fullest potential and keep you safe to enjoy the rest of the season, injury-free. Ready to come in for a visit? Schedule here!

Check out some these fun races coming up….

In good health,
Dr. Joanna Reaves

 

Coping with Stress in River North!

ReavesBlogHeader

Coping with Stress


Stress - woman stressed with headache. Female stressed and worried with migraine headache pain. Blackboard concept with young female model on chalkboard black background. Asian Chinese / Caucasian.

Everyone stresses out to some degree.
We all have different forms of stress and each of us presents differently. Neck and jaw pain/discomfort is a common presentation, Many times, tension in these areas from jaw-clenching results in headaches.

Most of us don’t realize that this repetitive action is even occurring. Once you pinpoint and become self-aware of this, preventative measures can be taken.

One of the first steps to take would be to see your dentist for a night guard, this can help with grinding of the teeth as well.

Seeking stress management is also a key step in relieving this tension/stress. Addressing the headaches and neck and jaw tension through Chiropractic care helps to reduce the symptoms. The combination of all of these therapies allows for optimal results.

Do you suspect your holding tension and stress?
I can help!  Schedule your visit today.

 

OUCH – Neck Pain in Chicago!?

ReavesBlogHeader

OUCH-Neck Pain!


Have you ever woke up and felt like your neck is ‘stuck’? You can look to the left ok but to the right, it’s just not happening!
Most of us would pop some anti-inflammatories or pain killers, maybe throw some ice on it and just get on with the day, as painful as it may be. It can take up to 2 days or more to actually feel “normal” again and worse yet, it seems to be a reoccurring issue, you are beginning to notice the pattern, not ever feeling quite right.

Well, What Is It?


What’s going on here and what’s happening to your neck? Well to put it simply… it’s a pinched nerve. You may have heard the term before, it is a very common condition that Chiropractors treat often and happens to be one of the easily, treatable conditions.
In essence, the joint, where two bones come together get misaligned and become “stuck”, pressing on the nerve in that area. The joints need to be released and realigned so it does not put pressure on the nerve. Without the re-alignment, the joints will continue to be stuck even though you may feel temporary relief, subjectively, your pain level decreases or diminishes, but the problem is not fixed.This is where a Chiropractor comes in to play. A Chiropractic adjustment frees the joint and aligns the spine which lessens the pressure on the nerve.The next time you wake with an achy neck that doesn’t allow for much movement, call to schedule an appointment and stop the maddening cycle.


ReavesChiroAppleRecipe for Healthy Eating

‘Tis the season of the sweet tooth! This healthy caramel apple recipe has just enough caramel to satisfy any sweet craving!

Caramel Apple Recipe
Makes 6 servings

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped unsalted nuts, such as peanuts or pecans
6 small apples, such as Eve or Paula Red

1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and coat with cooking spray. Coat a tablespoon measure with cooking spray.
2. Combine brown sugar, agave, butter and salt in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat; as soon as the syrup starts to lightly bubble around the edges, cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more. Add nuts and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is melted and the mixture darkens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
3. Working quickly, spoon about 1 tablespoon of caramel over each apple. Repeat, spooning another tablespoon of caramel over each apple, turning as you pour.
4. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Insert popsicle/craft sticks into the tops. Press any stray strands of caramel back onto the apples. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.

Enjoy & Happy Halloween!

 

Reaves Chiropractic