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4 Small Posture Changes That Make a Big Difference

How to have Better Posture

How to Have Better Posture

There are many reasons you may want to improve your posture. Good posture exudes confidences, it makes you appear taller, and it helps to prevent long term spinal problems while easing back pain. Correcting your posture isn’t hard if you’re determined. Good posture, just like bad posture is a habit and habits take time to break and reform.

Don’t Slouch

You’ve heard it from your parents, your teachers, and your chiropractor; don’t slouch! Simply put slouching may feel comfortable now but in the long run it will cause you nothing but pain.

Practice Proper Posture:
1. Place your feet parallel to each other and about hips width apart.
2. Pull up through the top of your head straightening you back.
3. Your pelvis should be in a neutral position, directly over your thighs and tucked in slightly engaging your abdomen.
4. Your shoulders should be pushed back slightly and relaxed.
5. Don’t allow your head to jet out, rather keep your head in line with your shoulders.

How to Have Better Posture By Training Your Body to Stand Tall

Since it is impossible to keep your mind focused 24/7 on making sure you have good posture your body may at times slip and fall back into its slouchy old ways. A great way to help improve your posture is by building up and strengthening the muscles in your back and shoulders. When these muscles are strong they automatically help hold your spine in proper alignment. When your shoulder and back muscles are weak they need reminding and effort to help keep your body up straight. Exercising these muscles regularly builds muscle memory which is a great way your body adjusts to good posture without you having to constantly think about it.

Check Your Self

When you’re passing by the office mirror or shopping store window don’t be afraid to check yourself out! Look to see how you’re carrying yourself and straighten up your stance if need be. Another great way to check your posture is to ask your friends to tell you when you’re slouching. This is helpful because a lot of times we are unaware of our posture and a reminder from a friend to stand up straight may be just what you need.

Balance Your Weight

Favoritism, we all do it, especially when it comes to shifting our body weight to rest on one side. After standing for a while we become restless and tend to favor one side of the body. We shift are weight sticking a hip out and locking that knee to hold the pressure of our weight while resting the other side. Even if you occasionally changeup which side you shift your weight to the repercussions of constantly misbalancing your body’s weight are harsh and can leave you in pain. It is best to stand with your weight evenly distributed on both legs with your knees just slightly bent, never locked.

For a more in-depth look at how to have better posture read my guest blog on UpDesk: Top 20 Ways To Improve Your Posture In Everyday Life

Are you a former sloucher? Comment below to share your tips on how to have better posture.

Photo By: dno1967b

Sleep Smarter With These 4 Tips for Your Back

back pain after sleeping

Do You Suffer From Back Pain After Sleeping?

A good nights sleep is an essential part to a happy and productive day. If you are suffering from back pain after sleeping both sleeping through the night and getting through your day can become a struggle. There are several reasons you may experience back pain while sleeping including: nightly routines, stress, or mattress quality. The most common cause of back pain after sleeping though is related to your sleeping position.

Nightly Routines

There are many things that negatively affect our sleep that we may not be conscious of. For example research has proven that caffeine before bed as well as going to sleep both to hungry or to full can have negative side effects on our sleep. When we aren’t experiencing a deep peaceful sleep we tend to toss and turn about which can place stress on our neck and back without us being aware.

This week try to implement a healthy nightly routine by avoiding late night exercise, alcohol, or caffeine before bed. Take some time to distress and relax your body before sleeping which will help with the transition between a busy day and a peaceful night.

How Your Mattress Can Cause Back Pain After Sleeping

When you start to add up 6-8 hours of sleep a night, each night over the span of a lifetime you begin to see how important the quality of your mattress truly is. If you mattress is extremely soft or sags there is a good chance it is not supporting the alignment of your spine, causing pressure, discomfort, and back pain.

Like many things there is no one size fits all mattress firmness, for the best mattress for your spine talk to your chiropractor before purchasing.    

Your Pillow and You

A good pillow isn’t just comfortable, but supports the necks cervical curve of the spine. Sleeping position must be taken into account when finding your perfect pillow. If you sleep on your side your shoulder creates more room between your neck and the mattress meaning your pillow needs more fullness and support in the area. However if you sleep on your back your neck is closer to the mattress so the same thick pillow may throw off your necks alignment causing pain.

 If you tend to shift at night from sleeping on your side to your back there are therapeutic pillows available that have different support levels on the same pillow. Another great option is a water pillow which will conform to support your necks needs as you move.

Sleeping Position Is a Huge Factor In Why You May Have Back Pain After Sleeping

Sleeping position is one of the most common causes of back pain after sleeping. There are 3 main sleeping positions: back, side, and stomach.

Stomach: Sleeping on your stomach is extremely detrimental to your spines health! Turn your head towards one of your shoulders placing it in a similar position to how it is while sleeping on your stomach. It won’t take long before you begin to feel discomfort, now imagine leaving your head and neck in that discomfort for 8 hours while you sleep.

Side: Sleeping on your side is not nearly as hard on your spine as sleeping on your stomach. However side sleeping still allows for your body to contort in ways that apply pressure to the spine and may cause back pain when awakening.

Back: Being on your back while sleeping is the best choice because it allows your spine to align properly. If sleeping on your back is uncomfortable or awkward to you at first try placing a pillow under your knees to ease the transition.

If you are experiencing back pain after sleeping please call Hinz Family Chiropractic at (615)503-9900 today for a free consultation! Comment below to let us know if these tips helped you!

Photo by: Thejbird

Chiropractic and Physical Therapy: What’s the Difference?

5255420355_740976435b_nAs a Franklin chiropractor over the years I have had many questions about the difference between chiropractic and physical therapy. Many people consider the two interchangeable or merely a preference to which you prefer for your recovery. While both physical therapy and chiropractic care aim to heal and restore the body back to proper function, they go about it in two entirely different ways. Let’s begin distinguishing the two by first looking at their true definitions.

Physical Therapy

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines physical therapy as:

: the treatment of disease, injury, or disability by physical and mechanical means (as massage, regulated exercise, water, light, heat, and electricity)

Chiropractic

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines chiropractic as:

: a system of therapy which holds that disease results from a lack of normal nerve function and which employs manipulation and specific adjustment of body structures (as the spinal column)

The Difference Between Chiropractic and Physical Therapy

From these definitions we can see that physical therapy works more with the muscles and stretching, while chiropractic care is more structural work on the spine. Many people I have come across have the mindset that after an injury you can pick to either seek help from a physical therapist or a chiropractor and you will receive the same outcome. This however is false. While both chiropractic and physical therapy are crucial in recovering from a major injury you will not receive the same recovery outcome from choosing one over the other to heal.

How Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Work Together

Chiropractic adjustments will help to over time correct the structural alignment to your spine. However if your muscles are not strong enough the bones can easily shift back out of place. Physical therapy helps strengthen your muscles so that they can work to hold the bones in proper alignment. Both physical therapy and chiropractic are wonderful healing tools that when used together can do wonders towards restoring the body.

If you are worried about traveling back and forth between offices for treatment there are options! Many chiropractors, such as myself, use physical therapy techniques in their treatment plans. It is also very common for massage therapists to work in chiropractic offices giving patients the convenience of a one stop shop to recovery.

It is important to state though that while chiropractors may use physical therapy techniques, physical therapists should never perform chiropractic adjustments on their patients unless they have obtained their Doctor of Chiropractic or D.C. degree. Never let anyone who isn’t fully trained and licensed adjust your spine as they could do severe damage.

Now that you know the differences between physical therapy and chiropractic care I hope that you also see the value in both methods for recovery. While there are very distinct differences between the two both are essential to recovering from a major injury.

If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of chiropractic and physical therapy please contact our office at (615)503-9900. We will be happy to answer any of your questions!

Photo By: David Erickson

4 Ways to Fit Exercise Into Your Day

fit exercise into your day

Fit Exercise into your Day

When it comes to exercise it seems working out always starts out close to the top of our daily to do list. Unfortunately as our days get busier and things come up exercise slowly drops down the list until it’s finally moved to sometime next week.

No matter how busy your schedules become though with the proper planning you can not only fit exercise into your day but make it a permanent place in our daily lives. Here are some tips on how to fit your workout into even the most hectic days.

 1.    Exercise First Thing In The Morning

Exercising when you wake up is one of the best ways to fit workouts into your daily routine. Morning workouts are a great way to energize your body for the day.  Another perk of exercising early is that you can come home from work and sink into the couch guilt free! 

Depending on your personal goals simply set your alarm 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Use the extra time to go for a morning run, hit your at home gym, or workout to an exercise DVD. If you’re like me and at home exercise isn’t for you, check into the gyms near you as many open early for morning exercisers.  

 2.    Involve Your Kids In Your Exercise Routine

Kids are wonderful exercise buddies because they have a never ending supply of energy. They are also great motivators because they have fun which makes them push you to continue. With older children try hiking or swimming and with younger children there are great “mommy/daddy and me” classes available. Another added bonus: working out with your children makes nap time easier.

3.    Use Your Lunch Hour

Lunch breaks are the perfect time to fit your workouts in. Many gyms offer a variety of lunch time fitness classes. If you don’t have a gym close to your office you could look for a nearby park where you could jog.

Usually go to lunch with co-workers? Ask them to join you! Instead of sitting and eating for a full hour invite them to join you for a 30 minute workout and half hour lunch.

4.    Turn Your Office Into a Gym

If you’re having trouble leaving the office to go to the gym, then just bring the gym to your office. Get creative! Don’t just take the stairs instead of the elevator; push yourself by jogging up and down the stairwell in your office on breaks. You can also stretch at your desk.

The most important tip about fitting exercise into your daily routine is planning! Decide what works best for you whether its morning or lunch workouts and stick to it. Staying consistent is extremely important when building new habits!

For more ideas on how to fit exercise into your day visit our blog on Time Saving Tips to Better Your Health and Well-Being

So as you can see, you can fit exercise into your day. Have more tips on making time for exercise on a busy schedule? Comment below to share!

Photo By: Lululemon athletica

 

Local Spotlight: The Well Coffee Shop

The Well Coffee Shop

The Well Coffee Shop

This week we are putting the spotlight on an amazing local nonprofit in Nashville. The Well coffee shop located in Green Hills is not typically what you might think of when the word nonprofit comes to mind. When you first walk into The Well it appears to be a hip and relaxing place to enjoy a great cup of coffee and friends. It doesn’t take long though to look past the surface and realize that not only are you getting one of the best cups of coffee in town, but you are also now a part of helping an amazing cause against fighting poverty and bringing clean water to those in need!

It All Started With a Dream

The Well coffee shop was started by a group of friends filled with the love of the Lord whose eyes were opened to the needs of those around the globe as well as right here in Nashville.

The Mission

“We (The Well coffee shop) exist to support God’s mission of giving a life of freedom and hope to oppressed, underprivileged, and impoverished children, women, and men. This missional effort is focused locally and globally through the giving of financial assistance, food, clothing, and other essentials of life. We do this by selling coffee and coffee products and then taking the profit from those sales and giving it  away to those in need.”

–       The Well Coffee Shop

Coffee for a Cause

Thousands of people across the globe die daily due to a lack of clean water. A clean water system, or well, is a key solution to saving so many lives. The cost of building these wells ranges from $1,000 to $12,000 per well. To help reach their goals The Well coffee shop has partnered up with The Living Water Project and Blood Water Mission who both have extensive knowledge about building clean water systems.

Online Store

You can purchase any of the coffee brews found in the Nashville store, online. Not a fan of coffee? No problem, The Well also sells handmade items online and in store! Products such as handbags, clutches, and scarfs are brought in from places all around the world including Honduras, Haiti, Uganda, and Ethiopia. Many of the items even come with the name and picture of the person who handmade it for you! Your in store and online purchases help to provide sustainable income to those in need.

More Ways to Give

One time gifts as well as recurring monthly donations are welcomed and can be set up from The Well coffee shop website

“Together we can make a difference in the community and the world.”

–       The Well Coffee Shop  

Turn your love of coffee into a gift for others in need by visiting The Well today!

 

 Photo By: Mike Monaghan 

How to Stay Healthy On a Busy Schedule

 

Stay Healthy On a Busy Schedule

Healthy living is something we all strive for. However, ensuring that both you and your family eat healthy to some can seem like an unwanted hassle. Many of us live life on the go and tend to reach for quick foods instead of preparing healthy snacks. We all have excuses that can keep us from our nutrition goals but fortunately with the right tips and planning you can stay healthy on a busy schedule.

Tip #1: Make a List
Healthy living starts at the grocery store or farmers market. You can’t eat healthy if you don’t buy healthy. One of the biggest helpers in preparing healthy food is to lay out a plan for the week and take your list shopping with you to guarantee you get all the needed items and don’t forget anything. It’s also a good way to keep yourself on track seeing as many times the most appetizing foods, for example the beautifully pictured pies in the freezer section, are not always the healthiest.

Tip #2: Plan Ahead
Sticking to your grocery list means nothing if you don’t eat the healthy food you bought! That’s why proper planning is also essential for healthy living! Take a few minutes at night to prepare lunches for the next day. If it’s a weekend try making some quick nutritious snacks suck as fruit slices or granola and putting it into Ziploc bags that you can take on the go.

Tip #3: Find “Cheat” Foods
Don’t get too excited we aren’t cheating with unhealthy food; instead we are cheating with healthy substitutes to the unhealthy foods we love. For instance if you can’t live without chocolate instead of going for a milk chocolate candy bar try dark chocolate. Since people are becoming more aware of the health benefits of dark chocolate there are now a ton of flavors to choose from to satisfy most any chocolate lover! Another example is substituting frozen yogurt for ice cream. There are several ways to indulge in the foods you love while still remaining to eat healthy and nourish your body.

Remember that just like any other change in life dedicating yourself to healthy eating habits takes determination and time. Once you form a routine though it will become second nature to make your list, prepare meals in advance, and find your healthy “cheat” options. When you eat better you feel better and feeling the benefits of properly nourishing your body will also be a huge boost of motivation. Its easy to stay healthy on a busy schedule when you find healthy foods that taste great!

Challenge yourself! This week map out a healthy grocery list for you and your family, maybe even plan a fun trip to your local farmers market together. Set aside a specific time to prepare food for the following day whether it is after diner or before bed, you can play with the time to see which works best for you. Last don’t forget your “cheat” foods! You will never stick to any health plan if you don’t like what you’re eating.

Working all the time? Make sure your office has a healthy vending machine packed with nutritious snacks.

Comment below and share how the “challenge worked for you!

Photo by: madlyinlovewithlife

The Acupuncture Procedure: Step by Step

image-copy-accupuncture

Acupuncture Procedure

Today more and more people are turning to alternative medicine for their medical needs and conditions. However it is still fairly common for some new patients to be slightly skeptical. Below I have outlined a detailed look at the acupuncture procedure to help answer some of the common acupuncture questions we receive.

According to The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine the term acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving the stimulation of points on the body using a variety of techniques.

Acupuncture procedure can be used to relieve pain as well as treat a range of conditions including:

• Allergies
• Asthma
• Indigestion
• High Blood Pressure
• Headaches
• Addictions
• Insomnia
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Stress Management
• Menstrual Irregularities
• Infertility

and many more…

How it Works
Thin needles are inserted into different acupuncture points on the body depending on individual symptoms and conditions. Acupuncture points are located all over the body including the head, arms, shoulders, legs, and feet.

The Needles
Patients are usually surprised at how small acupuncture needles are. They are actually small enough to fit several through the middle of a hypodermic needle and most do not experience any discomfort from the needles since they are so thin. Acupuncture needles are also smooth, not hollow with cutting edges like hypodermic needles, which makes insertion much easier and less painful than when you receive injections or get your blood drawn.

Is Acupuncture Painful?
Since needles are involved many patients have questions about pain related to the acupuncture procedure. For most acupuncture is completely painless. Some may experience slight discomfort while the needles are being inserted or adjusted but this quickly goes away after a few seconds.

For a more information you can read our Does Acupuncture Hurt blog post.

Your First Visit
For some the first visit is simply a consultation to go over any questions or concerns about the acupuncture treatment process. Once comfortable, many patients choose to have their first treatment the same day as their consultation while others choose to set a separate appointment. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as it takes to make you completely comfortable with the process before continuing

If a fear of pain is what’s holding you back ask the acupuncturist to insert a needle in an acupuncture point in your hand so that you can experience it and become comfortable before going through the entire process.

Visit Frequency
Visit frequency and length depends on each patient’s individual symptoms and needs. However, in most cases each acupuncture treatment will last between ten to thirty minutes. Seeing as no two bodies heal the same or at the same rate it is difficult to give a treatment frequency outline until a patient has been assessed by the doctor. Patients may notice a decrease in symptoms after their first visit while those dealing with chronic ailments may require several treatments before experiencing relief.

Photo by: Two More Days

Whiplash Defined – What You Need To Know

Whiplash

 

 

 

What Is Whiplash

Whiplash is a non-medical term that many use to describe an assortment of injuries to the neck caused by a sudden rapid hyperextension. Medicinenet.com defines whiplash as follows:

Whiplash injury: A hyperextension and flexion injury to the neck, often a result of being struck from behind, as by a fast-moving vehicle in a car accident. The mechanics of whiplash injury are thought to be as follows: The victim may be first pushed or accelerated forward, pushing the body forward, but the head remains behind momentarily, rocking up and back, and some muscles and ligaments in and around the spine may be stretched or torn. These muscles, in a reflex action, contract to bring the head forward again, to prevent excessive injury. There may be overcompensation when the head is traveling in a forward direction as the vehicle decelerates. This may rock the head violently forward, stretching and tearing more muscles and ligaments.

Whiplash Symptoms

Symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for 24 hours or more after the initial trauma. Due to this it is advised that you be examined as soon as possible after any injury that may have caused whiplash.

Symptoms include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Upper back pain
  • Decreased mobility
  • Soreness between the shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
  • Low back pain
  • Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears or blurred vision
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue

Many times other whiplash symptoms are present after whiplash injury such as: nausea, tingling, jaw pain, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, changes in vision, balance problems, swelling, bruising, soreness, tenderness, tightness, light-headedness, wrist pain/numbness, sciatica (leg pain), fatigue, concussion, hormone disorders, menstrual disorder, occipital neuralgia, sore throat, loss of voice, weakness, feeling depressed, and anxiety.

For a detailed description of common whiplash symptoms visit 4 Common Symptoms Of Whiplash And Their Treatments 

Treatment

Chiropractic spinal manipulation and spinal adjustments are an important part of the treatment and the recovery process when healing from any injuries. Research has shown chiropractic to be one of the most effective treatments for whiplash pain and injury available today.

Chiropractic care involves the chiropractor using his/her hands to adjust and treat misalignments in the spine also known as subluxations. Spinal manipulation and spinal adjustments can in many cases fix the subluxation relieving pain in the soft tissues, increasing circulation, and stimulating the body’s nervous system.

Chiropractors often incorporate physical therapy techniques and exercises into whiplash patient’s treatment plans to maintain pain relief and strengthen the neck. In some cases you may even be given exercises to perform at home to help with pain relief and strengthening in between office visits.

Think you may be suffering from whiplash? Call (615)503-9900 to set up an exam today.

Photo by D Petzold Photography

3 Easy Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

Relieve Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

Relieve Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life, but the symptoms that come with it though are not always as joyous. Lower back pain during pregnancy is very common and more than half of pregnant woman will experience it at some point. You are more susceptible to lower back pain during pregnancy if you have suffered from back pain prior to your pregnancy or during a previous pregnancy. Back pain severity during pregnancy ranges from mild discomfort, sometimes brought on from standing for long periods of time, to overwhelming pain that disrupts daily activates

Fortunately there are things you can do to both prevent and relieve lower back pain during pregnancy. For instance woman who exercise regularly coming into pregnancy are less likely to have back pain problems than those who did not exercise. This is because they have built up the muscles around their spine and pelvis which will help support the extra weight they will take on in the coming months. If you did not exercise regularly before pregnancy it’s never too late to start! There are a variety of exercise classes for pregnant woman that focus on strengthening muscles for support and getting your body in shape for the marathon of birth.

Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

There are several stretches you can do at home which will help to relieve lower back pain during pregnancy. Here are 3 quick and simple pain relieving stretches that require no exercise equipment.

The Cat-Cow

This yoga stretch is one of the most common pregnancy stretches to relieve backaches. Start out by positioning yourself on all fours with your hands placed under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Slowly pull in your stomach so that your back is slightly arched, hold this for 10 seconds giving your back muscles a good workout. Next relax your back muscles keeping your head in line with your spine and your back as straight as possible stretching your muscles. Be careful not to let your back sag when coming out of the arched position.

Childs Pose

In yoga this stretch is usually started while on your feet with your heels pointing outward. However you may need to make slight alterations to the stretch to accommodate your growing belly. You can start on your hands and knees with straight arms placed directly under your shoulders. Begin slowly curling yourself backward resting on your knees with your head down and your arms extended in front of you on the floor. Remain in this position for 10 seconds before returning to your starting pose. This is a great stretch for your back, pelvis and thighs.

Standing Pelvic Tilt

This stretch concentrates specifically on the lower back muscles and is great for pain relief. In the beginning you will want to stand with your back against a straight wall, however as you become more accustomed and comfortable with the stretch you may simply stand to do it. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart, at this point do not force your back to be flat to the wall. This is your starting position. Now tuck your pelvis in pushing the small of your back against the wall. Hold this position for 5 seconds and the return to your starting pose.

With all of the above stretches work at your own pace doing what is comfortable for your body and gradually work up to 10 repetitions a piece. Before stretching or starting any exercise routine you should always consider any special conditions of your pregnancy and consult your doctor before performing stretches to relieve lower back. Comment below to let us know if these stretches have helped you!

Photo by: Altamar