One of the most important parts of a Chiropractor’s job is getting communities to understand the true benefits of how regular adjustments for the spine and nervous system affect every organ and system in the body. Having a Chiropractor on your healthcare team to achieve optimal health and function is no longer just a theory, it is a proven necessity. One of the most effective ways to understand this perspective begins with looking at the devastating effects a bad spine has on human health. Everyone can relate to bad posture. The problem is that the majority will relate bad posture to a cosmetic issue, not one that destroys organ function.
Everyone hears clichés about eliminating bad posture, but few truly know how dangerous poor posture is to overall health. Memories of being told to sit up straight come to mind as much as any other important tip for improving health. A ground-breaking study published in 2004 proved a significant relationship between bad posture and early death from atherosclerosis and pulmonary disease. That statement bears repeating; poor posture directly related to heart and lung related deaths. The actual study determined a 44% higher risk of death in those with the poorest posture.
The study pointed out that the posture with the most dangerous influence on heart and lung health was the sitting posture. Sitting posture presents with hunched shoulders, the head forward, a rounded mid-back, and a forward-tilting pelvis. 60% of the entire work force spends nearly eight hours a day in this position at computers and desks.
Poor posture directly relates to the pandemic of ever increasing cases of heart and lung diseases in America. Medical solutions to this problem begin with drugs and surgery. Drugs and surgery not only cover up the symptoms, they have dangerous side effects that reduce quality of life. The true cause of many of these unwanted symptoms and diseases are being overlooked by almost every other healthcare provider except corrective care Chiropractors. Anyone standing in a Chiropractic office stands in a place of corrective health. Every chiropractic adjustment improves health and quality of life. That statement is not theory, but proven fact. Adults and children alike deserve a better defense against health threatening posture problems. Everyone needs to be checked and adjusted on a regular schedule. Research shows that your heart and lungs are counting on it.
Another study, "Hyperkyphotic Posture Predicts Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Men and Women" looked at the most dangerous, and common, posture known to man: Hyper-kyphosis. Think about what this does to the spine. It decreases the lumbar curve while adding significant stress to the lumbar facets and discs. It rounds out the thoracic curve and significantly reduces the cervical curve. This forces the head forward and usually creates an extension in occiput to keep the eyes looking level. All of this is common with over 60% of the work force because they are sitting at desks staring at computer screens for a large portion of the day. This posture then extends into kids and adults playing video games, using cell phones, and spending time on other smart devices outside of work and school. This trend produces a bottom line that bad posture is clearly becoming the norm and therefore, not many people are immune to the negative influence it has on their physiology.
There were 1,353 participants in this study who had measurements of a kyphotic posture. They were followed for an average of 4.2 years, with mortality and cause of death confirmed using death certificates. Hyper-kyphotic posture was more common in men than women. In age and sex-adjusted analyses, those with hyper-kyphotic posture had a 1.44 greater rate of mortality (44%). In multiple adjusted models, the increased rate of death was significant. In the cause-specific mortality analyses, hyper-kyphotic posture was specifically associated with an increased rate of death due to atherosclerosis. This was a big finding! Bad posture was related specifically to increased death rates due to atherosclerosis. For deaths due to atherosclerosis, participants with hyper-kyphotic posture had a significant 2.4 times greater rate of death. And here’s probably one of the most important findings; even at a mild degree of hyper-kyphotic posture, there was a definite rate of greater mortality! This means that everyone in a community is at risk no matter how small their posture deviation may be.
Studies like this shine light on the fact that bad posture literally contributes to disease processes and early death over a period of time. Communities must know that Chiropractic seeks to change structure as it relates to function and this study helps to confirm the need for that mission. Every Chiropractic technique will help improve posture by correcting vertebral subluxation. Chiropractors do not have to sell the fact that they are trying to correct or cure posture problems, but when detecting and correcting subluxations, Doctors are having a direct influence on the nervous system that is always attempting to balance posture.
In my opinion, based on this study, Chiropractic care clearly adds years to life and life to years by improving posture through the detection and correction of subluxation. This allows the entire profession to take the focus off pain and move the patient’s focus onto the significant benefits of an improved quality of life. Whole body healthy stems from lifetime Chiropractic care for the correction and preservation of posture.
For an evaluation of your posture contact The Art of Chiropractic and experience the overall health benefits of standing up tall…
Yours in Health,
I just recently returned from a five day motorcycle trip to eastern Oregon. Needless to say, five days on the road separated me from the trusted confines of my local gym and so I had to find alternative places to exercise. For the most part, my workouts are primarily body weight based and so was not a big stretch to work out in the park. I walked for about 45 minutes and came about the main city park where I used the sitting bench, monkey bars and rails to perform my exercises, then walked the last 15 minutes home. I am a morning person, so was able to do this all before my travel mates were even up and moving.
For those of you use to going to the gym and planting yourself on the machines or lifting dumbbells and barbells, the thought of exercising without equipment may become a bit more of a challenge. This can be compounded by the inability of some to handle the full weight of their body in the various exercises-pull-ups come quickly to mind, but even those can be modified to suit anyone’s abilities.
So then the question becomes what exercises are best to maximize time and effort? Here are my top five.
A great developer of the chest, triceps and shoulders, the push up also requires maintaining a good neutral spine and promotes core development If you have difficulty performing a proper push up or executing a number of repetitions, try elevating the surface you are pressing from, like a bench or railing. Avoid doing the push up from the knees. To increase the intensity elevate the feet, but try and find a surface that allows maintenance of good form
Great overall body developer focusing on glutes, hamstrings, quads and core muscles. Start with feet hip width apart, toes pointed forward and the sensation that the feet are being corkscrewed into the ground (much like the hands in the push up). Squeeze the butt and tighten the core like you are about to be punched in the belly. From here push the butt back, bend the knees and lower the body until the hips fall below the knees. Don’t sacrifice form. If you cannot maintain the position try starting by holding a bench or post and sit further back. You can increase the intensity by going to a lunge, one legged squat or jumping squats.
Focuses on the development of back, shoulders and arms. Any apparatus that you can hang from can become a pull-up bar. Playground equipment or swing sets work great. You can change the intensity by alternating grips and width of hands, adding an L-sit and or alternating the pull more to one side. If you can’t perform a pull up you can switch to an inverted row. This exercise is essentially a reverse bench press, as you grab a bar like you were getting ready to bench press it, but instead of lifting the weight down towards you, you’re pulling your body up towards the bar.
Pike Push-up/Inverted jackknife pushup:
Great for shoulders chest, triceps and back. If you have seen the yoga position downward dog then you know what this exercise is. Simply assume the position with feet on the ground and hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Lower the forehead towards the ground and push back up. To increase the intensity place your feet on a bench or other elevated object or go completely inverted in the handstand position. To decrease the intensity place the hands on an elevated surface like a bench.
One of the better core developers this exercise best simulates the stable spine position required to maximize performance in every aspect of our lives. In all activities our core should remain fixed and movement occur in the joints of the extremities-in particular the hips and shoulders. Intensity levels can be changed by putting the weight on the hands with straight arms or elbows with the arms bent. , and from placing the weight on the knees in contact with the ground or on the toes with the feet contacting the ground.
These exercises can be done in a circuit, alternated with a jog, sprint, stairs, step ups, burpees or jumps. By no means are these the only exercises available to perform anywhere you are. They do, though, provide a complete body workout hitting all the main areas required for all-around body conditioning. The key is finding a place and time and committing to your routine. Movement is the key and staying consistent with your exercise program will reap the greatest benefit.
I highly recommend taking the exercises outdoors for various reasons. A European study polled nearly 2,000 active participants in the 2008 Scottish Health Survey finding that working out in nature had a 50% greater positive effect on mental health than going to the gym. Researchers found that walking, running, and other activities through green space lowered stress. Though the results were not necessarily surprising, the difference was decidedly significant in the effect on mental health.
These results are not isolated. A 2009 study from the University of Rochester found that just 20 minutes outside can “rev you up as much as a cup of coffee.” A 2010 study found that even just five minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and self-esteem and another 2011 study found that outdoor exercise was associated with greater decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression when compared to indoor activity.
There are other benefits to exercising outdoors that should make you consider adopting more outdoor training even at home. Recent studies have highlighted the fact that there are high levels of carcinogens in the air of the average fitness center, as well as harmful bacteria on the surfaces of fitness equipment such as treadmills and weight machines. Recent data suggests that the indoor air quality in some gyms may be just as harmful to health as the air pollutants in urban areas.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) can also become an issue. A waste product of breathing is CO2 and the levels increase when many of people are working out hard in a room, especially if that room is poorly ventilated. So, the more folks you cram into an indoor space running on treadmills, rowing, riding bikes, lifting weights, and jumping around, the worse the quality of air in that space.
The closer to nature we can come in every aspect of life, the better the effect on our body. If you have any questions about starting an exercise program or what program would be appropriate for you please contact The Art of Chiropractic to set up an appointment for an evaluation.
Yours in Health,
With the recent heat wave we are experiencing here in the Pacific Northwest I thought it would be good to revisit helpful tactics for continuing to exercise in excessive temperatures. Our area is host to many trails, rivers, and mountains that draw outdoor enthusiasts, particularly when the sun is shining. But when it comes to hot humid days that are rarely experienced in the area special precautions should be taken.
Heat is a stressor and in extreme conditions can cause serious health issues. If you are planning to exercise in the heat make sure that you have been cleared by your health care professional particularly in the presence of any preexisting health conditions. The act of exercising and the ambient air temperature both contribute to increasing the core body temperature. Our bodies have the ability to control the core temperature precisely by circulating blood away from the core and towards our skin so we can disperse the heat and the production of sweat. As the blood is pulled away from our muscles towards the skin surface our heart rate increases as our bodies have to work harder to perform.
Depending on the severity of the conditions heat related illness can present in various degrees and may present accordingly
Hydration is the key to maintaining an exercise regime in hot weather. Remember though, that you need to drink fluid prior to feeling thirsty or experience the signs and symptoms of heat related illness. I recommend starting the hydration process the day before exercising in hot weather. One method of checking hydration levels is the pee test. You are usually well hydrated if you pass a good amount of very light yellow or clear urine a couple of times before going to bed.
Keeping your body hydrated during exercise helps replace the water lost from sweating and prevents fatigue and poor physical performance. Also, your thirst is usually satisfied before your body's water supply is fully replaced. This means that during workouts you should drink water even if you don't feel thirsty.
How much is enough? The Texas Heart institute recommends the following:
For workouts of less than 1-1/2 hours, you should:
Drink about 16 ounces (500 mL) of cool or cold water or a sports drink just after exercise.
Other ways to keep cool include wearing loose fitting, light colored clothing that wicks away the moisture and has a built in ultraviolet rating to ward off the harmful effects of prolonged exposure to sunshine. Sunlight is absolutely vital to the health of the body (Vitamin D production!) but it is the effects of sunburn that become damaging to skin. The material you wear needs to resist the sun’s rays in order to help delay the onset of sunburn. A lot of clothing is labelled with a protection factor rating. These are similar but not identical to the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) ratings awarded to sunscreens.
No internationally-recognized measurement standard has been agreed upon for clothing. However, the Australian Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) has come to the forefront. There is also a British Clothing Protection Factor (CPF). Both tests use a spectrophotometer to measure a fabric’s ability to block ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UPF, CPF and SPF ratings are not directly comparable. For example, SPF only measures protection from UVB rays, whereas UPF also takes UVA rays into account.
10 - Less than 10 low (inadequate for UK summer)
20 high protection 10-19 medium
30 & 40 v. high protection 20-29 high
50 max. protection 30+ very high
A garment with a UPF rating of 50 means that 1/50th of the UV radiation falling on the surface is able to pass through. This is equivalent to 98% protection from UVR. - See more at: http://theactiveguide.com/articles/2011/04/what-to-wear-when-active-in-hot-weather.aspx#sthash.vz9tRIWF.dpuf
The time of day for exercise can play a big part in avoiding heat related health issues too. Exercising in the early morning or later evening can cut the temperatures dramatically and allow you to exercise safely. If unable to change the time of your workout, consider moving it indoors, exercising less intensely and/or for a shorter duration.
Movement is life and we need to perform some type of exercise daily to maintain a healthy state. Being smart about exercise will allow us to enjoy the benefits without risking serious heat related health illness
Before starting any exercise program, make sure your body is ready for the increase in activity by getting checked by a professional. If you have any questions regarding implementing an exercise routine in your daily life give us a call at the Art of Chiropractic and we will help you get started…
Dr. Doug Davies has been practicing the art of chiropractic for over 10 years and brings his skills to the downtown Gresham, OR area focusing on achieving and maintaining the innate lifestyle...