The importance of good posture

One of the ways you can alleviate back and neck pain is to develop good posture.  Our spine has three natural curves: a forward or lordotic curve in the lumbar region (low back), a backward or kyphotic curve in the thoracic area (midback) and another forward curve in the cervical area (neck). 

These curves allow for smooth articulation of the joints of the spine , called facet joints. If the facet joints are aligned properly, we will have biomechanically appropriate movement. When we sit with good posture, our weight is distributed through our spine rather than through our muscles and ligaments.  This allows our muscles to stay relaxed and the stress on the ligaments to be minimal.  When the spine moves the way it was meant to, it provides natural support to the discs, ensuring healthy discs throughout life.

When the curves are reduced or exaggerated due to the way we carry ourselves every day, many problems result. Unnecessary stress will be placed on muscles, resulting in chronic back or neck pain.  Pressure placed on the discs that cushion the spine might result in degenerated or herniated discs.  Some of the more typical postural deformities include standing with too much or not enough low back curve, accentuating the thoracic curve, leading to a stooped over posture,  or standing with the head forward from the body, creating strain on the neck muscles.

Standing postural exercise

Stand with your feet under your pelvis, and rock back and forth on your feet.  Find the center of the arch of your foot and place your weight there.  Rock your pelvis back and forth on your legs, and notice how the movements of the pelvis affect the curves of the low back. Find the center of your pelvis and hold it there.  Exhale and drop your ribs slightly, making sure your sternum is perpendicular with the floor.  Bring your shoulders slightly up towards your ears and rotate your arms out, bringing your shoulder blades on your back.  Relax your arms and shoulders.  Bring your ears  in line with your shoulders and relax your neck.

Seated postural exercise

Place both feet directly on the floor under your knees. Rock your pelvis forward and back on your chair, feeling for the “sit bones” of your pelvis.  First, place your weight on your sit bones (the bones you feel at the bottom of your buttocks). Lean slightly forward on the sit bones so that your weight rests on your pelvic floor. Exhale and drop your sternum and ribs slightly, making sure your sternum is perpendicular with the floor. Bring your shoulders slightly up towards your ears and rotate your arms out, bringing your shoulder blades on your back.  Relax your arms and shoulders.  Bring your ears so that they are in line with your shoulders and relax your neck.

While a more correct alignment may feel strange at first, over time it will become more natural, and healthier habits will be developed.  This will result in a healthier, pain free spine for years to come!

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Introducing Laser Therapy to Onion River Chiropractic

We have a new kind of therapy at Onion River Chiropractic called Laser Therapy! Laser therapy is a non-toxic and non-invasive treatment that is extremely easy to apply.  There are no side effects and almost no contra-indications to using this therapy, making it safe for most patients.  Because Laser is highly effective in reducing pain, it can be an alternative to pain relieving medications and other therapeutic modalities.  It might also reduce the need for surgery.

What is Laser Therapy?

L.A.S.E.R. (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is therapy using a high energy beam of light.  Laser beams have unique physical properties that increase the speed in which tissues heal, give relief from pain and reduce inflammation.

What conditions does it treat?

Double-blind, randomized studies have shown many conditions can be treated by Laser therapy, including:

  • Forearm tendonitis
  • Knee tendonitis
  • Shoulder tendonitis and bursitis
  • Ankle tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic neck and back pain
  • Acute neck and back pain
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Muscle strains
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Wound healing
  • Scar tissue adhesions

How does it work?

Laser works by emitting photons into mitochondria and cell membrane of the body’s tissue, resulting in physiological changes affecting the body’s immune and nervous systems.   These changes include:

  • An increase in cell growth, metabolism and regeneration
  • An increase in vascular activity, increasing blood flow to the injured area
  • Invoking of the anti-inflammatory response, promoting tissue healing
  • Stimulation of nerve function, resulting in increased healing of areas affected by nerve damage
  • An increase in the production of endorphins
  • Reduction in swelling and inflammation
  • Decrease in scar tissue formation from cuts, burns, and surgery

How is it applied?

There are several ways to apply L.A.S.E.R. therapy.

  • Tissue saturation- the LASER probe is placed on the skin for a short period of time, before moving it to a nearby area until the entire affected area is covered.
  • Tissue penetration- the probe is placed with firm pressure on the skin surface for a longer period of time, resulting in increased penetration of light waves to the treatment area
  • Trigger point therapy- the probe is placed on a trigger point for an extended period of time
  • Laserpuncture- Acupuncture points are stimulated with light waves, resulting in increased activity along acupuncture meridians.

References:

Kneebone WJ. (2006) Practical Applications of Low Level Laser Therapy. Practical Pain Management November/December