You Want the Best Night’s Sleep? Try This

What is the best position for sleeping? That question has been asked to me by hundreds of patients over the years. My understanding of spinal mechanics and my research into this area has led me to pass on the following knowledge:

Best position to sleep: On your back or on your side. Here there are a few caveats. If you are sleeping on your back:sleep

This is a great way to enhance the natural curves of your spine. With a pillow under your head, you protect the natural inward curve of your neck. If you have a reduced neck curve or a straightened or reversed curve in your neck, you will find that you will not be able to use a standard cushioned pillow as someone who has more of a natural curve to their neck. If you do have a reduced or reversed curve in your neck, it is important to still use a pillow to provide cushioning to the back of your neck. Remember gravity? Gravity always pushes down with the same force. Imagine sleeping on your back for eight hours every day of your life. Gravity is constantly pushing down with a force, trying to straighten the natural inward curve in your neck. A supportive pillow will help offset the stress of gravity pushing down, helping maintain the curve that you do have. Of course, with your regular chiropractic visits, a healthier functioning Nervous System will help you improve the natural curve in your neck so you will be able to graduate to more supportive pillows over time.

THE most important consideration when sleeping on your back is to put a pillow under your knees. Remember what I said about maintaining the natural curve in your neck? The same applies to your lower back! Think about gravity now pushing down on the inward curve of your lower back. Do you want to maintain the nice, supportive inward curve of your lower back, or do you want the curve in your lower back to straighten, inviting more stress and tension on your muscles, joints, and discs? Millions of Americans suffer from lower back pain. Just think of how beneficial it can be to spend eight hours a night promoting proper spinal assignment.

A few considerations about sleeping on your back. If you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, you may want to try sleeping on your side. Studies have shown that sleeping on your back promotes snoring and sleep apnea.

Sleeping on your side:

This is the most common position that people sleep, and the most supportive. A few side sleeping considerations:

Sleep with a pillow between your knees. Just like back sleepers, sleeping on your side causes gravity to push down with a constant force on your hips. Would it make sense that gravity can cause less stress on your hips if your knees were separated by a pillow? YES! Place about a 6 inch thick pillow between your knees to reduce the stress of gravity on your hips and lower back. Sure the pillow may come out during the night, but this practice will be the necessary support for quality sleep on your side.

When sleeping on your side, do not curl up in a fetal position. It restricts diaphragmatic breathing. Your legs should be somewhere between straight and fetal, a gentle bend to your legs. Support your head with a comfortable pillow, which keeps your head level with your shoulders.

Worst position to sleep: Your stomach

So many patients have told me over the years that they sleep on their stomachs. It’s possible that this is a contributing factor to chronic neck and lower back pain. There are two reasons sleeping on your stomach is the worst position:

1 When you sleep on your stomach, unless you are sleeping on one of my tables, your head is turned to the side for eight hours. Imagine going through your work day with your head turned to the side the entire day. Could that create any subluxations? What would be the end result for your neck and shoulders? To me, it sounds like an invitation to chronic neck and shoulder pain.

2 Sleeping on your stomach puts more stress on all the curves of your spine. Stomach sleeping makes it difficult to maintain a neutral position with your spine. What’s more, the pose puts pressure on joints and muscles, which can irritate nerves and lead to pain, numbness, and tingling.

I hope your learned a few things about how to maximize your comfort and health for a very important period of your day, since you spend about one third of your life sleeping.

The Worst Thing you Can do if you Run

I just viewed a timely article from Posture Pro, the developers of the posture diagnostic program I use in my practice.FHP

The article shows the effect of Forward Head Posture (FHP) on the quality and quality of running. Now that I am in my yearly training period for the Bolder Boulder, I put this information to the test. Although I feel my posture is normal, I was aware of my head going forward when I would tire and also going uphill.

What the article emphasizes is that as your head goes forward while running, the extra weight puts pressure on your upper back to arch, creating chronic neck and shoulder pain. It also forces your arms to wing and come across your body in a scissors action, as opposed to pumping up and down.It causes osteoarthritis, as well as additional wear and tear on your joints. This morning I went on a long run and noticed a definite improvement of the quality of my breath as well as less wear and tear on my hips and upper back.

Just think, if you are a runner, and you are running several miles a day several day a week for most of the year, what accumulated effect is that having on your neck muscles, your upper back muscles, your respiratory system, your heart, your hips, and your legs? Do you think that accumulated wear and tear will break down your joints, as well as increase muscle tension and pain?

If you have great posture, you may be able to make these adjustments. If you have Forward Head Posture (FHP), you may not be able to make the improvements on your own. If you are not currently a patient, I recommend getting in touch with me. Let’s take some pictures of you, find out what the stress of your FHP is, and let’s put a plan together to help you reduce this significant stress on your body, and preserve your body the best that you can. To read the entire article, done very nicely with color photos and easy to follow thought process, click here HERE

 

I can Virtually Guarentee you Healthy Teeth and Gums!

One would say, “I love it when he lifts my left hip”, and the other would say, “I know, I can feel my body just releasing everything.” Then one would say, “How about when he touches here,” and the other would say, “Yes, that’s the best!”dentist

I have noticed when I work with dentists and dental hygienists, that they have very similar muscle tension patterns. That’s because they sit hunched over for very long periods, leaning over to the left (if they are right handed). Over a period of months, years, decades, what happens to them? Those muscles become tight, rigid, inflexible, and it turns to pain. What happens to them? Is it possible they become tight, rigid, inflexible, and they live a life of pain?

I am so thankful and proud that my two wonderful dentists have decided that “enough is enough,” and they do not want to live this way any more. They have decided that they want to live a healthier lifestyle, with less subluxations, and have a greater ability to adapt to and heal from their daily stresses. What a great decision they have made.

Getting back to my original statement, how can I virtually guarantee you healthy teeth and gums? I can say with 100% confidence, that when I go see my dentist who is functioning with a healthy Nervous System, and has a greater ability to adapt to his daily stresses, I KNOW he is providing a better service for me than a dentist who is subluxated, who has extreme muscles tension, and may be feeling tight, rigid, inflexible, and in pain. That’s who I want to help my teeth and gums be as healthy as possible.

My request to you is, the next time you see your dentist or hygienist, please give him or her my card, and tell them WHY they should be receiving chiropractic care. If it’s good enough for you, why isn’t it good enough for them?

Is this How you Want Things to Turn Out?

This past weekend, I traveled to Florida to celebrate my Mom’s 84th Birthday. It was an amazing family experience, as I got to celebrate with my Mom, one of my sisters, my brother and his family, and several lifelong family friends.hunched woman

Sitting at my Mom’s breakfast table provides a view of her parking lot. From here, I can clearly see the decline of health in Florida, and surely America. It’s a parade of men and women in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Most of them are stooped in their posture, using walkers, canes or wheelchairs. In speaking with my Mom, her friends, and others I meet, they are all too happy to share their litany of health problems:

-COPD

-Arthritis

-Congestive heart failure

-Degenerative Joint Disease

-Degenerative Disc Disease

-Every imaginable pain in every imaginable place

-Constipation

-Diverticulitis

-Gall Bladder problems

-Diseased Liver

and more and more and more.

My favorite saying is, “Your health is your most important asset. What are you doing to protect it?”

I have no doubt that most of these individuals, my Mom included, when they were in their 50’s and 60’s, thought they were healthy, and that they would stay that way.

What happened?

How did they lose their health?

Will they ever regain it? You can’t just close your eyes, click your heels three times and say, “I want my health back!”

What are YOU doing to ensure that you protect your MOST IMPORTANT ASSET – YOUR HEALTH!

Last week I had a discussion with a patient about her progress, and I recommended that she view her chiropractic care as an investment over the course of her lifetime. She questioned me about that, and I replied, “Look at all the great things you are doing for yourself. Yoga, diet, proper sleep, exercise. Would you ever consider giving them up? Her answer was “no.” Your regular visits here help your Nervous System, which controls and coordinates everything that happens inside you, work the BEST it can. Why would you want to give that up? She agreed, and made a commitment to a lifetime of care.

I don’t know about you, but I plan on hiking Mount Sanitas every Friday into MY 80’s. I plan on traveling and living my life healthy for many years. I am not going to be one of those people I see from my mom’s breakfast table. Everything breaks down eventually. What are you doing to ensure that YOU last as long as possible?

5 Benefits of Powerful Body Language

Even in poor lighting or at a distance when all the details are fuzzy, you probably could posture seatedidentify your friends simply by how they stand or walk. Posture is possibly the most unconscious expression of ourselves. Yet it is possible to make changes to how we hold ourselves, and in this way we can shape our lives and possibly even our destinies.

Power

By now, most everyone has seen Amy Cuddy’s 2012 TedTalk where she proposes a simple life hack: Assume a “power posture” for just two minutes each day to improve your destiny. As she explains, social scientists have noted how expansive, open postures reflect high power, while narrow, closed postures reflect low power in humans as well as non-human primates. Yet, these postures not only display power, they also can produce it. In fact, researchers have proven in various studies when people adopt high power poses they increase their feelings of dominance, risk-taking behavior, power, action orientation, pain tolerance, and actual testosterone. At the same time, people who adopt high power poses reduce their anxiety and actual cortisol (the stress hormone).  Ultimately, her advice amounts to little more than reminding us to embrace the salesman’s credo “fake it till you make it.” But maybe we can all stand to hear good advice repeated one more time.

Mood

While some hanker after power, others simply want to feel more positive and generally up-beat, both worthwhile goals. Through various experiments Dr. Erik Peper, San Francisco State University, has assessed how body posture affects subjective energy level as well as the ability to generate positive and negative thoughts. In one experiment, his test subjects either skipped, swinging their arms in an upward motion, as they walked down a hall or slouched as they walked down the hall. Almost all of the skipping participants reported feeling more energetic, happier, and positive. Meanwhile, those who had slouched reported nearly the opposite emotions; they felt sad, lonely, isolated, sleeping, and “zombie-like.”

Memory

In another series of experiments, Peper discovered body posture can affect the recall of positive or negative memories. When sitting in a collapsed position and looking downward, participants in a study found it much easier to recall hopeless, helpless, powerless, and negative memories, than empowering, positive memories. When sitting upright and looking upward, it was difficult and for many of the participants nearly impossible to recall hopeless, helpless, powerless, and negative memories and easier to recall empowering, positive memories. An upright posture improves memory in general, some say, because sitting up straight helps increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, and according to some accounts, by up to 40 percent.

Confidence

A study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University in 2009 found that sitting up straight reinforced confidence. In this study 71 students were divided into two groups and instructed to maintain opposite postures while answering prompts in a business questionnaire. Those who held the upright, confident posture were much more likely to rate themselves in line with whatever they wrote down; their posture gave them confidence in their thoughts, no matter what they might be. Students who had assumed the slumped over, less confident posture, were rarely convinced by their own thoughts, whether they be positive or negative. In the end, students felt themselves empowered to rate themselves more highly when in the upright rather than the slouched position because the former posture led to confidence in their own positive thoughts.

Digestion

Good posture tones core muscles supporting your digestive organs. Researchers believe a slouched posture may contribute to more than one digestive problem, including acid reflux, constipation, and even hernias. Hunched shoulders can lead to a less than ideal digestion. “When you sit in a crunched position, your intestines are folded up as well,” Steven Weiniger, author of Stand Taller — Live Longer, told Prevention. “And that slows everything down.” It is a good idea to move around after eating or, at the very least, sit upright.

Bones

Proper alignment puts less stress on the spine and helps you have good posture. Yet, it also helps your skeleton support your body mass as is intended and in turn this keeps your bones strong and healthy. Poor posture, on the other hand, requires your muscles and connective tissue to “hold you up.” Essentially, then, they do the work of your bones and, over time, your bones become weaker. To strengthen your bones and avoid osteoporosis, it is important that you stand tall.

Headaches

A study conducted by Italian researchers in 2008 compared two groups of government employees over an eight-month period. One group included 175 participants and acted as the control in the experiment. The other (intervention) group included 169 participants who were asked to perform posture exercises every two to three hours, reminded to avoid excessive muscle contractions of the neck and shoulder area, and educated as to the benefits of posture, among other lessons. Participants in both groups used diaries to track their headaches, neck, and shoulder pain, and their use of pain medication. At the end of eight months, the intervention group reported 41 percent fewer headaches, 43 percent less neck and shoulder pain, and a 51 percent reduction in the use of pain medication.