Shoulder pain is common. If fact, it’s highly likely that many of you reading this currently have or have had a shoulder injury, as studies suggest that about 90% of us will tear our rotator cuff, labrum, and/or capsule at some point in time during our lives. So why is this so common? More importantly, what can be done about this?
I just read an article I saw came across as a feed in BuzzFeed titled, “27 Pillboxes and organizers that will make your life so much easier.”
As I skimmed the article and read the comments below it, I was saddened by several thoughts. One is the realization that this article may be read by millions of people who take multiple medications every day. Two is that I began thinking of the opiod epidemic sweeping our country, and how for so many people, this is their reality. Just last week, I read an article that drug manufacturers over the last decade shipped over 20 million pain pills to two pharmacies in a town in West Virginia of just under 3000 people. That’s over 6,666 pills per person. Now I understand the need for new and larger pill boxes.
Bear with me as a I share some of the normalization of our country’s drug crisis. One of the cases comes with inspirational sayings, such as “everything’s going to be OK.” Actually everything’s NOT going to be OK! According to the CCHR, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, 65 high profile cases of mass shootings/murder have been committed by individuals under the influence of these drugs, including the recent Las Vegas mass shootings, the worst mass shooting in US history.
Another pill box says in large letters, “Arsenic – Poison”, with a skull and crossbones. I believe the thinking is that you do not want someone to take your drugs, so the sign implies “keep out!”. Once again, I do not really get the humor intended.
Lastly, there is the essential “Smiling Cat Face” pillbox, just to keep things light. The reality is the overdosing of Americans is a serious matter. According the the National Institute of Health, accidental overprescription drug deaths and incorrect prescription medication deaths are now the THIRD leading cause of death in this country, after heart disease and cancer. Almost a million people a year are dying unnecessarily.
What are your options? For starters, know that you have the power to heal from the inside out. You were created with an inborn intelligence that is working 24/7 to help every muscle, organ, system, tissue and cell properly communicate with your brain. Stresses, which are comprised of physical, emotional, and chemical, will prevent your body from optimally communicating with your brain, which happens trillions of times every second of your life. Medications are a chemical stress which make it harder for your inborn intelligence to work the best it can. Why create blockages in your Nervous System pathway which makes it harder for your to function and heal optimally? Chiropractic is the worlds’ largest DRUGLESS profession.
Why spend your hard earned money on something so unneccessary as pillbox with cute sayings or a cat face? As you’re now regaining your health the natural way, why not spend your money on a new pair of hiking boots or a new bike helmet? Now that’s a great investment! If someone you know and care about is heading down a path of dependency on drugs and medication, please show them that you care about them and tell them about healthier ways to improve their health and life.
Many people that choose to receive care in my office are suffering from challenging health problems. Two that come to mind have extremely challenging health problems. What I admire about both of these extraordinary people is how they use humor to help them through their healing process.
I have seen first hand how important humor is, not only to help navigate through health challenges, but to help enjoy life to its fullest. One of the stories I remember when I began chiropractic school was that of Norman Cousins, author of “Anatomy of an Illness”. In short, Norman, who was an editor for the Saturday Evening Post, developed a denegerative disease while on a trip to Cold War Soviet Union in the 1960’s. He was given a prognosis of a few months to live. He decided to cure himself by taking large doses of Vitamin C and watching television shows such as Candid Camera, Marx Brothers movies and Three Stooges. “Miraculously”, he made a full recovery.
How are you using humor and laughter in your life? Personally, if I do not experience laughter at least ten times a day, I am not living. Humor is a major part of my day. Are you surrounding yourself with funny people or funny situations? Are you able to laugh at yourself out loud? Do you find humor easily in life? If you are answering “no” to any of these questions, I challenge you to make it a point to bring more laughter into your life.
Laughter will help you get through the challenging times in your life.
Laughter will enrich the fun times in your life.
Laughter will help others around you live a happier life.
Laughter will provide more energy for you.
Laughter will help your digestion.
Laughter will help you focus on more important things in your life.
Laughter will help you sleep better.
Give it a try. I am sure once you begin to bring laughter more into your life, you will never turn back.
If you are challenged, you can see me and I will give you a “prescription” for ten belly laughs a day.
Let’s face it. Your posture is a window into how your body is functioning. All you need to do is go to a busy store and look at people’s posture, and you can make a quick judgement on who seems healthy and who doesn’t.
Research shows that poor posture can affect lung capacity, heart function, and overall life expectancy!1,2
That’s in addition to the commonly experienced problems such as neck and upper back tension and pain, headaches, energy loss, and sleeping problems. What steps can you take towards improving your posture? Here are five easy steps you can take to improve your posture, your organ function, your energy level, and your life expectancy:
1 Simple stretching –
Simple stretching – when your head is in a forward position from the center of your body, it is important to emphasize extension, or backward movement of your head. Stand erect, bend your head forward for a few seconds, then bring your head backwards for a five seconds. You want to engage both movements but emphasize the backward movement for a longer time. Go back and forth five times, two or three times per day. Only go backward to your limit. See how that improves over a few weeks.
2 Yoga – Simple yoga postures that everyone can do.
Cat/Cow – on your hands and knees on the floor. Cat – inhale, arch up like a cat, hold for five seconds, then cow, exhale, let your belly sink to the floor. Hold for five seconds. Repeat five times two to three times per day.
Speaking of yoga, keep an eye on our upcoming “Yoga, Muffins and Mimosas” that I will be hosting at the newly opened Yoga Pod just a few doors down on 30th Street. You definitely will want to be there.
3 Fuller breathing – Esther Gokhale produces a great program on posture and awareness. Here is a tip from her on breathing.
Lengthen your spine: Adding extra length to your spine is easy, Gokhale says. Being careful not to arch your back, take a deep breath in and grow tall. Then maintain that height as you exhale. Repeat: Breathe in, grow even taller and maintain that new height as you exhale. “It takes some effort, but it really strengthens your abdominal muscles,” Gokhale says.
4 You and your Phone – Think about how many times a day and for how long a time you look down at you phone. Or maybe you don’t want to think of that. Constantly craning your neck down to stare at your phone is damaging your posture. Try holding your phone in front of you instead of bending your head down, and similarly propping your tablet up perpendicular to the table if you’re just reading.
5 Workstation ergonomics – Your desktop position, your laptop position, your chair and your position in your chair are all important factors regarding your seated posture. Here is a LINK to give you some tips on proper ergonomics.
Oh, am I forgetting something? Yes, your Network chiropractic care! I have been so fortunate to witness thousands of patients’ posture improve over the years through a healthier functioning Nervous System. If you are currently under care, great for you! If not, take action now to prevent an unhealthy future. Pain, tension, and diseaase are not the place you want to end up.
A few weeks ago, I was adjusting a little girl who receives care here with her Mom and Dad. After they had left, another patient, who witnessed the little girl getting adjusted, asked me, “What’s wrong with her.”
I asked what she meant. Her response inferred there was a health problem with her, like headaches, low back pain, or neck pain, or anxiety. I replied that there was nothing “wrong” with her, that she did not have any symptoms, that her Mom and Dad bring her here for the same reasons that they receive care here. They want their daughter’s Nervous System to be functioning at its most optimal level, so that she can continue to function physically, emotionally, and psychologically at her best level of performance, and so that her body can continue to heal itself at its best level possible.
For many people, chiropractic care is synonymous with the correction of physical problems, whether it’s pain, like headaches, neck pain, or low back pain, and/or emotional problems, such as anxiety, depression, and energy loss. Yes, it’s true, many people begin to receive chiropractic care due to health problems that have reached the tipping point, where it becomes difficult to continue with their life.
What is also true is that chiropractic care has very little to do with helping you FEEL better. It has everything to do with helping you FUNCTION better. Once you function better, then EVERYTHING about you can begin to work better, whether it’s physical or emotional. So when a little girl is on the table receiving her adjustment, my goal is to help EVERYTHING about her work better, so that she does not grow up with the SAME PROBLEMS as her Mom and Dad did. My goal is to help EVERYONE function better so that they can heal at an improved capacity from how they did the day or week or month before.
Just think, if you continue to climb the ladder of health, week after week, month after month, year after year, where you can be in six months, or a year, or five years?
As far as all my young lives receiving their life enhancing adjustments, I would like to see the next generations’ health at a higher level than the generation of today. Chiropractic care can go a long way to ensuring that that becomes a reality.
Today I was flipping through TV when I came across a show I viewed a few months ago. “Catching Kayla” is about Kayla Montgomery, then a high school girl who was a runner who noticed that her legs were going numb during her runs. The show, which you can also see on You Tube, profiled her battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
The show defines Multiple Sclerosis as a disease that causes nerve damage and interference in communication between her brain, spinal cord and legs.What happens to Kayla is that she starts a race out fine, and then her legs go numb. At the end of the race, her coach is at the finish line and catches her and carries her to the infield so she can regain the feeling in her legs. Hey, isn’t that the role of your Nervous System, to regulate and optimize all communication pathways between your brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves and the rest of your body?
It’s an interesting situation. Obviously, losing feeling in your legs is a bad situation. For Kayla, not feeling her legs getting tired may give her an advantage. I felt the emotion of the show, which culminates with Kayla winning State titles in Cross Country, indoor track and outdoor track in her senior year. Oops, spoiler alert!
One of the points I felt was interesting was the defining of Multiple Sclerosis as a disease that causes nerve damage and interference in communication between her brain, spinal cord and legs. Isn’t that the role of chiropractic? To increase the communication pathway between your brain, your spinal cord, and every part of your body? Every muscle, every organ, every system, everything!
You do not have to be Kayla Montgomery to take the steps towards increasing the essential pathway between brain, spinal cord and the rest of your body. You do not have to have Multiple Sclerosis, or headaches, neck pain, or digestive problems to want to optimize the function of your Nervous System. Actually, everyone can benefit from having a healthier functioning Nervous System. Who does not wish for a better way to regulate and optimize the communication between your brain, spinal cord, and the rest of you?
Seeing the impact that Multiple Sclerosis is having on Kayla Montgomery made me feel more passionate about helping everyone make sure that their Nervous System is functioning the best it can so that you can be at your best physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Here’s the scenario: I show a patient their posture pictures and the person sees their head leaning forward, and says to me, “My mom has been on my case my whole life to stand up straighter!”
So we have a laugh about it, but it is no laughing matter. The reason these patients were not able to stand up straighter is because their bodies do not permit them to! It’s not because they are lazy and do not want to. It’s because their spinal structure has adapted unsuccessfully over the course of their life, and this is the way their body compensates.
You may think, other than it not looking attractive, what is the health risk of having your head leaning forward? That’s a great question, and here’s the answer:
Imagine your head the weight of a 10 pound bowling ball.
Imagine your head leaning forward 10 or 20 degrees. Do you think this makes your head lighter or heavier? Of course the answer is heavier. How much heavier?
Research has shown that for every degree your head leans forward, that’s an extra pound of weight that needs to be supported by your neck and upper back muscles and spinal column. So, if your head is 20 degrees forward, you are supporting 30 pounds compared to 10 pounds in a healthy spine.
If this pattern were to continue over 20 or 30 years, how could this affect your long term health? In the September 23, 2004 issue of Journal of American Geriatrics Society, a study was done on over 1300 geriatrics. The results of the study showed that geriatrics with a hyperkyphotic curve, that means a greater exaggeration of the upper back curve, developed by a forward leaning head, INCREASED MORTALITY BY UP TO 14 YEARS!
Why? One reason is that the stress of a forward leaning head over a long period of time will result in reduced blood and nerve supply to your heart, and the reason given in the study is hyperkyphotic posture was specifically associated with an increased rate of death due to atherosclerosis.
Reduced nerve supply and reduced blood flow to your heart is serious business. This is why I have been using a digital posture analysis in my health practice for years. Your posture is a window into the function of your Nervous System.
Poor posture means poor Nervous System function.
Poor Nervous System function means poor ability to adapt, thrive and heal.
Poor ability to adapt, thrive and heal is a recipe for sickness, illness and disease.
Show me someone with poor posture who exhibits amazing health. Show me someone with poor posture with lots of energy and stamina.
Maybe your mother was right after all!