Shut up and train!!

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In more than 4 decades of a wide variety of different training, I’ve heard just about every excuse why both men and women cannot exercise. In my humble opinion, with very few exceptions, there are no excuses. Training, whatever your choice, is fun. It is also work, which at times may not be so much fun, but must be done.  To be successful you must make your training a lifestyle, not a chore. Anyone can work out when they are “up”.  It is the “down” which requires discipline, commitment, persistence and consistency which are all part of the equation.  My mantra as well as my universal response to excuses is the following.  “Shut up and train”.

Back Pain While Traveling

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Travel Can Be a Pain In Your Back, “an important reprint from Dr. Scott Bautch”

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Traveling can be rough on the body. Whether you are traveling   alone on business or on your way to a sunny resort with your  family, long hours in a car or an airplane can leave you stressed, tired, stiff and sore.

“Prolonged sitting can wreak havoc on your body,” says Dr. Scott Bautch, immediate past president of the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Council on Occupational Health. “Even if you travel in the most comfortable carrier opt to fly first class, certain pressures and forces from awkward positions can result in restricted blood flow. One of the biggest insults to your system from prolonged sitting is the buildup of pressure in the blood vessels in your lower legs. Contracting and relaxing the muscles helps the blood flow properly.”

Dr. Bautch and the ACA suggest the following tips and advice to fight the pains and strains of travel before they occur.
Warm Up, Cool Down

Treat travel as an athletic event. Warm up before settling into a car or plane, and cool down once you reach your destination. Take a brisk walk to stretch your hamstring and calf muscles.
In the Car

Adjust the seat so you are as close to the steering wheel as comfortably possible. Your knees should be slightly higher than your hips. Place four fingers behind the back of your thigh closest to your knee. If you cannot easily slide your fingers in and out of that space, you need tore-adjust your seat.

Consider a back support. Using a support behind your back may reduce the risk of low-back strain, pain or injury. The widest part of the support should be between the bottom of your rib cage and your waistline.

Exercise your legs while driving to reduce the risk of any swelling, fatigue or discomfort. Open your toes as wide as you can, and count to 10. Count to five while you tighten your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles,then your gluteal muscles. Roll your shoulders forward and back, making sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.

To minimize arm and hand tension while driving, hold the steering wheel at approximately 3 o’clock and 7 o’clock, periodically switching to 10o’clock and 5 o’clock.

Do not grip the steering wheel. Instead, tighten and loosen your grip to improve hand circulation and decrease muscle fatigue in the arms, wrists and hands.
While always being careful to keep your eyes on the road, vary your focal point while driving to reduce the risk of eye fatigue and tension headaches.
Take rest breaks. Never underestimate the potential consequences of fatigue to yourself, your passengers and other drivers.

In an Airplane

Standup straight and feel the normal “S” curve of your spine. Then use rolled-up pillows or blankets to maintain that curve when you sit in your seat. Tuck a pillow behind your back and just above the belt line and lay another pillow across the gap between your neck and the headrest. If the seat is hollowed from wear, use folded blankets to raise your buttocks a little.

Check all bags heavier than 5-10 percent of your body weight. Overhead lifting of any significant amount of weight should be avoided to reduce the risk of pain in the lower back or neck. While lifting your bags,stand right in front of the overhead compartment so the spine is not rotated. Do not lift your bags over your head, or turn or twist your head and neck in the process.

When stowing belongings under the seat, do not force the object with an awkward motion using your legs, feet or arms. This may cause muscle strain or spasms in the upper thighs and lower back muscles. Instead,sit in your seat first, and using your hands and feet, gently guide your bags under the seat directly in front of you.

While seated, vary your position occasionally to improve circulation and avoid leg cramps. Massage legs and calves. Bring your legs in, and move your knees up and down. Prop your legs up on a book or a bag under your seat.

Do not sit directly under the air controls. The draft can increase tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.

Safe Travel For Children

Always use a car seat in a car when traveling with children below the age of 4 and weighing less than 40 pounds.

Ask the airline for their policy on child car seat safety. Car seats for infants and toddlers provide added resistance to turbulent skies, and are safer than the lap of a parent in the event of an unfortunate accident.

Make sure the car seat is appropriate for the age and size of the child. A newborn infant requires a different seat than a 3-year-old toddler.

Car seats for infants should always face the rear. In this position, the forces and impact of a crash will be spread more evenly along the back and shoulders, providing more protection for the neck.

Car seats should always be placed in the back seat of the car-ideally in the center. This is especially important in cars equipped with airbags. If an air bag becomes deployed, the force could seriously injure or kill a child or infant placed in the front seat.

Make sure the car seat is properly secured to the seat of the vehicle and is placed at a 45-degree angle to support the head of the infant or child.

More Information on Back Pain

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backpain1-imageBACK To The Stats

Although doctors of chiropractic (DCs) care for more than just back pain, many patients visit DCs looking for relief from this pervasive condition.

Thirty-one million Americans have low back pain at any given time (1). One half of all working Americans admit to having back symptoms each year (2). One third of all Americans over age 18 had a back problem in the past five years severe enough for them to seek professional help (3). And the cost of this care is estimated to be a staggering $50 Billion yearly— and that’s just for the more easily identified costs! (4).

These are just some of the astounding facts about Americans and their miserable backs! Is there any wonder why some experts estimate that as many as 80% of all of us will experience a back problem at some time in our lives? (5).

Because back problems are this common it’s probably going to happen to you too! Shouldn’t you find out what to do about it before it happens rather than after? Why wait until you’re hurting to learn about your treatment options?

When you’re hurting you may not give this important decision the time and attention it needs to make the best choice. Here are the facts about manipulation as a treatment for back problems:

Manipulation is one of several established forms of treatment used for back problems. Used primarily by Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) for the last century, manipulation has been largely ignored by most others in the health care community until recently. Now, with today’s growing emphasis on treatment and cost effectiveness, manipulation is receiving much more widespread attention. In fact, after an extensive study of all currently available care for low back problems, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research— a federal government research organization— recommended that low back pain suffers choose the most conservative care first. And it recommended spinal manipulation as the ONLY safe and effective, DRUGLESS form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems in adults! (6). Chiropractic manipulation, also frequently called the chiropractic adjustment, is the form of manipulation that has been most extensively used by Americans for the last one hundred years. (7). Satisfied chiropractic patients already know that DCs are uniquely trained and experienced in diagnosing back problems and are the doctors most skilled in using manipulation for the treatment of back pain and related disorders (8). As a public service, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) urges you to make an informed choice about your back care. To learn more about the federal government’s recommendations.

References:

1. Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.

2. Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Suppl 1985; 11: 1-98.

3. Finding from a national study conducted for the American Chiropractic Association. Risher P. Americans’ Perception of Practitioners and Treatments for Back Problems. Louis Harris and Associates, Inc. New York: August, 1994.

4. This total represents only the more readily identifiable costs for medical care, workers compensation payments and time lost from work. It does not include costs associated with lost personal income due to acquired physical limitation resulting from a back problem and lost employer productivity due to employee medical absence. In Project Briefs: Back Pain Patient Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). In MEDTEP Update, Vol. 1 Issue 1, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD, Summer 1994.

5. In Vallfors B, previously cited.

6. Bigos S, Bowyer O, Braen G, et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guideline No. 14. AHCPR Publication No. 95-0642. Rockville, MD: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December, 1994.

7. The RAND Corporation reported from its analysis of spinal manipulation research literature that 94% of all spinal manipulation is performed by chiropractors, 4% by osteopaths, and the remainder by medical doctors.

8. In Risher P, previously cited.

Headaches can be a Pain in the Neck

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headache1-imageExperiencing Headaches?

If you have a headache, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches. Some are occasional, some frequent, some are dull and throbbing, and some cause debilitating pain and nausea.

What do you do when you suffer from a pounding headache? Do you grit your teeth and carry on? Lie down? Pop a pill and hope the pain goes away? There is a better alternative.

Research shows that spinal manipulation – the primary form of care provided by doctors of chiropractic – may be an effective treatment option for tension headaches and headaches that originate in the neck.

A report released in 2001 by researchers at the Duke University Evidence-Based Practice Center in Durham, NC, found that spinal manipulation resulted in almost immediate improvement for those headaches that originate in the neck, and had significantly fewer side effects and longer-lasting relief of tension-type headache than a commonly prescribed medication.

Also, a 1995 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication.
Headache Triggers

But to get to the bottom of the problem, you first need to find out what is causing your pain. Headaches have many causes, or “triggers.” These may include foods, environmental stimuli (noises, lights, stress, etc.) and/or behaviors (insomnia, excessive exercise, blood sugar changes, etc.). About 5 percent of all headaches are warning signals caused by physical problems.

Ninety-five percent of headaches are primary headaches, such as tension, migraine, or cluster headaches. These types of headaches are not caused by disease. The headache itself is the primary concern.
What Can You Do?

If you spend a large amount of time in one fixed position, such as in front of a computer, on a sewing machine, typing or reading, take a break and stretch every 30 minutes to one hour. The stretches should take your head and neck through a comfortable range of motion.
Low-impact exercise may help relieve the pain associated with primary headaches. However, if you are prone to dull, throbbing headaches, avoid heavy exercise. Engage in such activities as walking and low-impact aerobics.
Avoid teeth clenching. The upper teeth should never touch the lowers, except when swallowing. This results in stress at the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) – the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull – leading to TMJ irritation and a form of tension headaches.
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to help avoid dehydration, which can lead to headaches.

In addition, the ACA and its Council on Nutrition suggest you avoid the following food “triggers”:

Avoid caffeine. Foods such as chocolate, coffee, sodas and cocoa contain high levels of the stimulant.
Avoid foods with a high salt or sugar content. These foods may cause migraines, resulting in sensitivity to light, noise, or abrupt movements.
Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. These drinks can dehydrate you and cause headache pain.
Other headache sufferers may want to avoid not only caffeine, but also high-protein foods, dairy products, red meat and salty foods.

What Can a Doctor of Chiropractic Do?

Chiropractors may do one or more of the following if you suffer from a primary headache:

Perform spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments to improve spinal function and alleviate the stress on your system.
Provide nutritional advice, recommending a change in diet and perhaps the addition of B complex vitamins.
Offer advice on posture, ergonomics (work postures), exercises and relaxation techniques. This advice should help to relieve the recurring joint irritation and tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back.

Doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive training to help their patients in many ways – not just back pain.

If your headache is symptomatic of a health problem that needs the care of another discipline, your doctor of chiropractic will refer you to an appropriate specialist.

The Story of Chiropractic

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