Oct 02

Sit all day? Here’s how you can avoid back pain.

Health-E-News October 2017
empowering you to optimal health

Avoiding Back Pain from a Desk Job

We’ve all been there. Working at a computer for too long is bound to cause a backache. One of the reasons could be that computer tasks are rarely a quick ordeal and it’s easy to sit at one for hours on end.

Most people are working at a computer for their job or find themselves completing a lot of daily tasks on a computer, whether it’s paying bills, working on the budget, or shopping for a gift for a loved one. There are already enough things in life trying to work against your back health, so don’t let your computer work be one of them. Here is a look at how to avoid back pain from your desk job in the future.

Facing the facts

You may be tempted to believe that you can avoid back pain because you’ve purchased a really great chair or that the pain you have is related to your mattress or fitness routine. Back pain from computer pain is common and not going anywhere, but you can lessen the damage and even prevent it all together.

Start with an ergonomics assessment of your current setup to see how badly you are being affected and be willing to accept the fact that computer work and desk jobs are going to cause you back pain unless you go out of your way to avoid.

Complete an assessment to see if that is the cause of the back pain by simply checking to see if you have to reach your elbow more than 90 degrees to use your mouse and keyboard. Leaning forward in the chair towards the screen or using a chair that isn’t adjustable could be the main source of your problems.

Why it’s hard to avoid

The main reason that people struggle to avoid back pain when working at a computer or a desk job is that it’s easy to forget to take breaks. Unless you are aware of your fitness needs day in and out, you are likely sitting at a computer for hours on end, only stopping for a restroom break or lunch. For some, even their desk chair lacks an arm rest to allow for any kind of break and rest. It’s important to take breaks not only for your back, but also for your eyes that are staring at a screen, your skin that craves sunlight, and your hands that type and click.

How to prevent this problem

If you’re ready to make a change and avoid back pain in the future at your desk job or during computer work, start by getting the proper chair that will help with you ergonomically. Start sitting up straighter at your desk and change your muscle activation patterns. Make sure you are working on good joint function in the spine using your nervous system, so that you can avoid spasms or flaccidity when your spine is in need of support.

The best thing you can do is to see your chiropractor regularly for an adjustment. Your adjustments will make sure your spine is moving better, the tension is lessened on your nervous system, and to find out if you are damaging your back without realizing it. Your chiropractor can adjust you in order to allow you to sit up with better posture for longer periods of time without becoming tired as quickly.

You can’t avoid back pain with your desk job, but you can make a huge difference by becoming aware of what harms your back and taking the steps to prevent and treat pain. Use this guide to make sure you are staying safe in front of the computer.

How Chiropractic Helps Hypertension & High Blood Pressure

Are you struggling with high blood pressure? It’s becoming more and more common as around 70 million North Americans suffer from hypertension. This equates to one-third of the adult population and it starts with 1 in 3 North Americans having higher than normal blood pressure readings. 

In addition to this epidemic, 1 in 5 adults don’t even realize they have it since there aren’t really symptoms that would advise them otherwise. Unless you are getting regular physicals, you may not realize you are suffering from this. Take a look at how chiropractic care can help you treat or avoid hypertension.

All about blood pressure and risks of hypertension

Blood pressure refers to blood pumping into your body’s arteries each time your heart beats. The pressure part of thing is the force of the blood being pushed against the walls of your arteries. You can get a blood pressure reading from your doctor which will show you your systolic and diastolic readings.

The systolic or top number is used to measure the pressure in the artier from your heart beating, while the diastolic is the bottom number showing the pressure in the arteries between beats. You want a reading that stays within normal levels of 120 over 180 or lower.

If your reading is 120-139 over 80-89, you are in prehypertension levels. If your blood pressure shows 140-159 over 90-99, you have hypertension stage 1, while those in hypertension stage 2 would have a reading of 160 over 100 or higher. Emergency care would be required at hypertension crisis of 180 over 110 or higher.

What causes some to experience hypertension? It’s a common condition that is dangerous and fatal, being the primary cause of nearly 1,000 deaths per day, according to the CDC. High blood pressure causes other dangerous conditions, including first heart attack, first stroke, kidney failure, and chronic heart failure.

In fact, 70% of adults will have their first heart attack with hypertension and that same number of adults will get chronic heart failure from high blood pressure, but a whopping 80% will have their first stroke due to their high blood pressure.

How to treat high blood pressure

The biggest question many have is how to treat high blood pressure if you suspect you may have it. There are prescription medicines you can take to control hypertension, but the medicines can have a strong effect on the body during treatment and after coming off of the medicine. There are natural ways to cure your high blood pressure that will allow you to avoid the medicine, but you have to put the work in to do it.

The natural methods to control hypertension would be to lower your blood pressure through lifestyle changes and chiropractic care. When you have too high of a sodium intake, drink too much alcohol, smoke, and have too much caffeine, you are contributing to high blood pressure.

The biggest causes behind it are being overweight and not exercising regularly, along with high levels of stress. Making changes to reduce your weight and bad habits, while incorporating regular chiropractic care can offer you a natural remedy to your hypertension. Chiropractic spinal adjustments to the atlas vertebra, the first bone in your neck, located at the base of the skull, have been shown to decrease hypertension in as little as eight weeks of care. 

You don’t have to run to your family doctor for prescription drugs when you learn you have high blood pressure. Make lifestyle change and work with your chiropractor so that your body can naturally heal itself.

Modern Day Problem Reversed With Chiropractic Care

Good posture, or rather, neutral posture refers to the body maintaining a natural, unexaggerated curvature, such that the muscles of the body are positioned to support an aligned spine. Specifically, this would equate to the cervical spine possessing a natural anterior curve (or lordotic curve), the thoracic spine curving posteriorly, and the lumbar spine curving anteriorly (creating a second lordotic curve). In this very position, the body is in a position to breathe optimally, hold the weight of the body, maintain balance, enhance cognitive functions, as well as increase energy flow throughout the body. However, a generational outbreak has broken loose, disrupting these biological and psychological processes, and subsequently hindering the overall quality of one’s life. This outbreak, unaware but possessed by many is known as forward head posture and is characterized by the head being anterior to the rest of the body, thus being anterior to the centre of gravity.

As this curvature stabilizes, the increased loads on the neck lead to abnormal muscular activity, thereby degenerating the cervical spine at a rate much higher than historically seen. The expected culprit of this abnormality is technological advances, which promote cell phone and computer usage in a head-tilting state. In the current day, people (on average) spend at least two hours per day with their heads tilted attempting to read electronic devices, which leaves us with no surprise to consider that 66% of the population suffers from abnormal cervical postures. As the posterior neural arch is responsible for ‘evening out’ the loads to the rest of the body, this anterior head tilt induces abnormal strain in the upper-neck region, subsequently degenerating cervical lordosis (and promoting cervical kyphosis).

In simpler terms, those who suffer from forward head posture do not benefit from the positive effects of a neutral spine, thus hindering daily functioning. In its most severe form, this cervical kyphosis tends to develop into Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy, which is increased tension between the spinal cord and vertebral bodies, consequently compressing and flattening the spinal cord. This domino effect ends with neuronal loss and demyelination of the spinal cord.

As shown, once forward head posture comes to fruition, it seemingly spirals downhill. In a sense, this is true. Neutral spine posture is under involuntary control and uses cervical joint mechanoreceptors and afferent input from ligament and musculotendinous sources to maintain alignment. However, in the case of forward head posture, as the increased strain lead to dysafferentation and a loss of proprioception, the reactivity equates to increased voluntary activity required to maintain a neutral spine (i.e. more effort is required). However, this does not always need to be the case.

In the case of a 21-year- old male patient who suffered from forward head posture, he spent only three weeks (~5 visits per week) doing–Z axis drop adjustments, as well as corresponding procedures to mobilize the cervicothoracic spinal via chiropractoric. As a result, the patient had regained one-fifth of his cervical curve, which is outstanding to say the least. To consider that a lifetime of postural misalignments can be healed (to a greater extent) by chiropractic care speaks volume to how simple it really is to increase one’s quality of life. Bottom-line—regardless of how “late” you believe it is, chiropractic care will always be an easy and simple solution to helping you complete your day to day tasks without unnecessary pain.

Forward Head Posture and Decreased Lordotic Curvature of the Cervical Spine – The Potential Sequelae of Abnormal Alignment 
Grant Tully, B.S., D.C. [March 28, 2016, pp 21-24]