Often when new Mom’s (or Grandmothers) return to my office with back pain I hear them say, ‘I’m just so busy I must have done too much again’.
It’s easy to let good habits fall by the wayside when you’re focusing on your babies health. Your health and wellness is important too!
I recommend that you find a moment to think about how you can incorporate these tips to help keep your back healthy:
Good Posture = Good Health
When lifting, use your whole body by bending hips, knees and ankles, keep the child close and avoid twisting & lifting.
Try carrying the baby face-out from the middle of your body.
If carrying a baby on your side, alternate the sides frequently.
Adjust your stroller handle to belly button level and push with relaxed, slightly bent elbows.
Use a pillow or arm rest to support the baby while feeding.
Support your back when sitting on the floor.
When Knocking Out the House Work…
Stand upright when mopping or vacuuming and keep elbows close to the body and avoid torso twisting.
Use a small stool to sit or kneel in comfort while cleaning the lower bath or kitchen areas.
If bending to clean tight areas – arch your back, take frequent breaks, and change your posture often.
When standing at your sink or counter – use a wide stance and lean your stomach against the edge to lower your body and prevent leaning forward, wear comfortable shoes or mindful of good posture.
When You Finally Have a Moment to Sit Down…
Your feet should touch the floor or be supported.
Keep your knees & hips level.
Sit-up and keep your spine straight.
Look straight ahead to avoid neck strain.
Position your TV or computer monitor even or slightly below your line of sight.
Be Kind to Your Body When Using Mobile Devices
Sit-up when texting or reading.
Steady your device at chest or eye level to decrease neck and back stress.
Use a hands-free device instead of holding to your ear.
Be Smart When You Lift
Avoid lifting too much weight or awkward shaped things, then ensure a clear path to move the object.
Keep a wide stance and bend from the legs (not from the waist!).
Keep the load as close as possible to your body - avoid bending from your back.
Do not twist – be sure to pivot from your hips and feet to reduce back stress.
Driving Can Be Hard on the Body
Adjust your seat height and distance so that your knees are slightly bent and your back is supported.
Adjust your seat to slightly different positions on long drives to avoid unnecessary strain.
Use lumbar support to support the natural curve in your low back…but not too much!
On long drives, take frequent breaks to stretch and throw in a short walk.
Be Continuously Active
Exercise at least 30 mins, 3 times a week – you will feel a difference.
Take rest breaks every hour: recline in your chair for a moment or walk around for a few minutes.
Perform a different task every hour or so & use different muscles to relieve back
Walk, Walk and Walk A Little More
Walking at a brisk pace is beneficial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Maintain upright posture to avoid slumping or leaning forward while walking.
Use a pedometer to track progress and stay motivated!
Find a walking partner – you’ll find yourself walking much more often!
Warm-up Before Exercise and Focus on Good Form
Stretch and then warm-up for a few minutes by increasing your heart rate slowly for 5-minutes.
Walk briskly, swinging arms in a pain-free manner, start slow, building up to higher intensity exercise.
When discussing long-term wellness, it's common for patient's to comment about a 'super-healthy' friend that doesn't have to diet or work to be fit.
They wonder what that friend does to be so 'lucky'.
The truth is that 'luck' is often grounded in a lifetime of simple habits.
If I had to pick one habit that my healthiest patients have in common, it is routine. They focus on making sleep a priority, enjoy daily physical activity, make water their primary beverage, eat regularly and cook most meals at home, limit screen (TV, phone, etc) time, make self-care a priority, occasionally miss a workout and they focus on keeping life simple.
Of course that demands of work and kids make holding to a routine tough. That's why keeping your routine simple is key to lifelong wellness. Here are a few tips to help you simplify your routine and stick to it despite the demands life throws at you:
1.) Go to bed earlier than you think you should. First, turn off your screens (TV, computer, phone, etc,) at least an hour before bed time. This will help que your body that it's time to rest and reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. Have a target bed-time and try to be in bed at least 15-minutes ahead of that. Going to bed at a regular time has broad benefits beyond helping to ensure that we get enough sleep each night.
2.) Wake-up, warm-up and eat. You don't have to wake and 5am and workout like a madman to be healthy. My healthiest patients wake-up about the same time every day. Then they warm-up. Some stretch, some walk and others have a more intense workout. All of them get moving first thing. Then they have good breakfast every day.
3.) Drink plenty of water. Healthy people make water their drink of choice. For them, it's not about avoiding coffee, tea or sugary drinks, they simply chose to drink water more often. You should too.
4.) Plan your meals and avoid processed foods. This can be tough - particularly for those with kids and demanding work schedules. You'll have to work ahead by planning your meals and maybe even preparing them ahead of time. Once you develop this habit, you'll feel the difference every day.
5.) Limit your screen time. Our digital gadgets have a big impact on our wellness. Healthy people simply spend less time in front of a screen at night. They understand that it's not realistic to eliminate TV, social media and checking email - they simple choose to limit their exposure after dark.
6.) Prioritize self-care. Whether it's work or social, healthy people make self-care a priority. They understand that it's important to say 'no' so that they can avoid being overscheduled and maintain their routine.
7.) It's okay to miss a workout now and then. Patients are often shocked to hear this. Healthy people listen to their body. They know that a workout should make you feel better, not worse. If you're not 100% it's okay to take a rest day, exchange your workout for a massage, or go to yoga instead of a HITT class.
8.) Keep it simple. Hopefully you recognize that what steps 1-7 have in common is simplicity. My patients that enjoy consistent wellness all share a sense of simplicity in their daily routines. They understand that life may disrupt their routine today and it's okay - tomorrow is a new day.
A consultation and wellness exam from Dr. Dukes can help you find what works best for you to feel your best and stick to it - for life.
Make health your top priority, call Dr. Dukes at (813) 752-2524 and schedule your wellness consultation today.
Patients often seek out chiropractic care for acute conditions like headaches, back pain or neck pain. Did you know that these acute conditions are not the top 5 reasons patients stay with chiropractic care?
Proper nervous system care offers benefits that may surprise you such as: Stress Relief, Injury Prevention, Mood Improvement, Immune System Strengthening and Better Sleep.
Have you ever said, 'I just don't feel right'? When your nervous system is out of line we know something is wrong but it can be tough to figure just what the trouble is. This can cause a great deal of mental and physical stress on your body. That's why regular wellness care is so important to feel your best.
Proper posture is vital to preventing injuries that can hold you back. Posture education and regular chiropractic adjustments are powerful tools to help ou acheive consistently proper posture at work, paly or rest.
Improve Your Mood
Wellness care helps balance every system in your body - including your body's chemistry. Physically feeling your best, and even working towards feeling your best, jump-starts the chemical signals that keep you in a positive mood.
Improve Your Immune System
Chiropractic adjustments help remove subluxations that prevent the nervous system from working properly. This includes the signals to and from your immune system. Your immune system can only work properly when your nervous system sends and receives the right signals.
Improve Your Sleep
So many of us suffer from sleep-related issues. Most of these sleep problems are related to stress, pain and/or body aches. Wellness treatments helps you improve sleep quality and get a good nights rest.
Chiropractic wellness care can helps you live the happy, healthy, well-adjusted life that you deserve. Make your health your top priority, call Dr. Dukes at (813) 752-2524 and schedule your wellness consultation today.
ts of us suffer from painful conditions without understanding that how we sleep may be a significant contributing factor. It’s not unusual for proper diagnosis to be delayed because how we sleep and sleeping position is often initially overlooked as a potential cause.
How you sleep can have can cause more than just back or neck aches. Did you know that sleep apnea, muscle cramping, impaired circulation, headaches, heartburn, tummy troubles and even premature wrinkles can be caused by poor sleep posture?
Sleep is vitally important. When discussing good sleep habits with my patients, we talk about sleep hygiene and which sleep position might be best for them.
First, understand that there is no sleep position that works best for everyone – life factors and health conditions must be considered.
Stomach sleepers are rare – about 7% of adults sleep facing down. While it may ease snoring, stomach sleepers are in an unhealthy position for their back and neck with their head turned to one side. I encourage patients to try a different position. Even if they are comfortable sleeping on their stomach, experience has taught me that eventually they’ll experience morning back or neck pain – symptoms of the tension caused by this poor position.
Side-sleeping and back-sleeping positions put most adults in a safer position. With the right pillow, your back and neck are in a neutral position.
Side-sleeping is the sleeping position recommended most often as it allows your back and neck to rest in a neutral position and it’s very adaptable to individual needs. Stretching your legs out and placing a pillow between the knees helps achieve optimal body alignment and comfort. Side-sleeping may help reduce symptoms of those suffering from sleep apnea, heartburn or acid reflux. And, sleeping on the left side is recommended for pregnant women because it may improve circulation to the baby.
Back sleeping is good position too – particularly when a good pillow is placed under the knees. The pillow helps restore the natural curve to your back making this position more comfortable for some while reducing the tendency to over-extend your back when sleeping in this position. One note of caution – avoid the sleeping on your back with your arms over your head as this can cause back pain.
Proper sleep position and a good sleep routine can keep you feeling your best. A consultation and wellness exam from Dr. Dukes can help you get the good night’s rest that you deserve and your body needs. Make your health your top priority, call Dr. Dukes at (813) 752-2524 and schedule your wellness consultation today.
Dread exercise? It’s tough, you know how important active lifestyle is to your long-term health and wellness but you simply don’t enjoy exercise.
You’re not alone. Often patients report that despite their best efforts, working-out isn’t for them. This is a real issue.
There are many reasons patients struggle to exercise daily. It’s tough to know where to start. Some are bored by exercise. Others can’t find the time. Many report pain or discomfort.
Fortunately we’ve had success working through the reasons our patients avoid exercise to craft personalize wellness plans they find fun, rewarding and achievable. You can too. And, your long-term health and wellness depends on it.
Listening to patients I’ve discovered that the number one reason they dread exercise is expectations. Most people that dread exercise have tried to implement a plan but have become discouraged by what they perceive as lack of results.
If you dread exercise, think about this: What are your goals? How are you defining success? In other words what do you expect to get out of an exercise program and how quickly do you expect those results to happen?
I encourage all my patients to:
• Develop an exercise program that compliments your lifestyle. Turn your favorite activities into opportunities to be active. You are much more likely to start and stay with an exercise program that incorporates the things you already love to do.
• Stay encouraged every time you exercise by having realistic expectations and an achievable plan. That means making attainable short-term and long-term goals. Creating small goals allows you to feel good because you’re seeing tangible results over time.
Here are the steps we take to help our patients through the process:
1. Make exercise play instead of work. We’ll make a list of the things you love to do and then develop exercise activities based around them. For instance, if you’re an ‘outdoors person’ join a walking or running group rather than a gym. Do you love watching TV? How about a treadmill or stationary bike that allows you to enjoy your favorite shows while you workout? It’s all about creating a fun and enjoyable exercise environment so that you’ll stay with it.
2. If you’re experiencing pain, stop exercising and seek professional help. You need to know if the pain is indicating a serious health issue or, it’s the expected soreness of exercising. Understand that as your fitness increases, your body will reward you with less soreness. The good news is that we all get better at exercise no matter where we begin.
3. Make an achievable plan. Knowing where to start and finding the time is tough. I’ve found walking to the best place to begin. It’s easy to work walking into what you already love to do and, just 20-minutes a day can make a big difference. Increase your walking time by five minutes every two weeks until you are up to 45 to 60 minutes a day.
When you’re ready to enjoy exercise, give Dr. Dukes a call. She’ll help you find the health and wellness you deserve, and have fun doing it.
Researchers have discovered 4 simple factors that have been linked to living about a decade longer. Are you doing what it takes to live longer & better?
In a new study researchers pinned down four factors that appear to be strongly linked with a significantly longer life.
• All four factors relate to lifestyle and include things like diet and exercise
• Women in the study with the strongest adherence to all four factors lived an average of 14 years longer than their female peers who adopted none of them; men lived an average of 12.2 years longer
Not surprisingly, the road to a long life is littered with hype. There are the usual suspects, like pricey pills and supplements, as well as the peculiar, such as infusions of blood from young mice or standing-room chambers pumped with sub-zero temperatures.
And Then There's Science.
As is frequently the case, the real ways to improve your health happen to be mundane. Thankfully, though, that also means you wield a significant amount of power over these factors.
In a new study published in the American Heart Association journal 'Circulation', researchers pinpointed lifestyle factors that appear to be linked with a significantly longer lifespan, judging by the outcomes of two long-term studies that involved about 123,000 adults.
All factors are things that can largely be changed, like quitting smoking or eating healthier. In the studies, women who adopted all factors enjoyed roughly 14 extra years of life, on average, compared with their peers who adopted none of them; men got an average of an extra 12.2 years.
Keep in mind that these are averages. These conclusions do not mean that suddenly putting all these factors into practice will lengthen your life by a decade. All that can be said definitively, is that judging by this research, people sharing these habits tend to live longer than people with few or none of them.
With that in mind, here are the four factors you can put to work today to live longer & better.
30 Minutes of Daily Cardio Exercise
Cardio exercise is an all-natural way to lift your mood, improve your memory, and protect your brain against age-related cognitive decline. In other words, it's the closest thing to a miracle drug that we have.
A wealth of recent research suggests that cardio — any type of exercise that raises your heart rate and gets you moving and sweating for a sustained period of time — has a significant and beneficial effect on the brain.
"Aerobic exercise is the key for your head, just as it is for your heart," read a recent article in the Harvard Medical School blog 'Mind and Mood'.
Most research suggests that the best type of aerobic exercise for your mind is anything you can do regularly and consistently for 30 to 45 minutes at a time, bringing it in line with the latest study findings.
Eating like a Mediterranean
It often seems like there can't be a single best diet for your health.
But a growing body of research suggests that a meal plan focusing on vegetables, protein, and healthy fats has key benefits for losing weight, keeping the mind sharp, and protecting the heart and brain as you age. The new study bolsters that research, finding that eating this way is also linked with living longer.
As with drinking, dietary habits were self-reported, but the study's general findings are supported by dozens of previous studies. Researchers looked at aspects of previously agreed-upon standards for healthy eating, including high intakes of vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains; healthy fats like those from fish and olive oil; and low intakes of red and processed meats, sugary beverages like soda and juice, and trans fats and salt.
Smoking kills. No other habit has been so strongly tied to death.
In addition to cancer, smoking causes heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Smokers inhale burned tobacco and tar along with toxic metals like cadmium and beryllium, and elements like nickel and chromium — all of which accumulate naturally in the leaves of the tobacco plant.
So it's no surprise that the latest study found evidence that abstaining from cigarette smoking for life was linked with living longer. But if you've already smoked, the research still has good news: Both quitting and cutting back were also linked with positive outcomes related to life expectancy.
"Smoking is a strong independent risk factor of cancer, diabetes mellitus, CVDs, and mortality," the researchers wrote, "and smoking cessation has been associated with a reduction of these excess risks.“
Sticking to a healthy body weight
When it comes to quickly assessing the health of large groups of people, a measure called body mass index, or BMI, can be helpful. Generally speaking, a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered within the "healthy range" for healthy adults over age 20, according to the CDC.
Because of this, it makes sense that the latest study used this BMI range to define what they considered an "optimal" body weight. Essentially, they found that people who fell within that BMI range tended to outlive people who fell outside of it and were either overweight or underweight.
From an individual perspective, however, BMI is far from a perfect means of gauging your overall health. The 1830s-era measure does not take into account a number of key health factors, including overall body fat, gender, muscle composition, or the amount of fat you're carrying around your middle, also known as abdominal fat. Abdominal fat (as measured by your waist circumference) is emerging as a key alternative to BMI because of its strong links with heart health and diabetes. Plus, it's really easy to do.
Article adapted from Erin Brodwin’s Business Insider article, ‘Researchers have discovered 5 simple factors that have been linked to living about a decade longer.’
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s natural immune response that helps the healing process begin. Chronic inflammation occurs when an imbalance in your immune system causes your immune response to ‘stay-on’, continually creating more inflammation in response to the existing inflammation.
Most patients are surprised to learn that almost everything we do can diminish or exacerbate the conditions that foster chronic inflammation. Stress, diet, exercise and sleeping habits can be major contributing factors.
Left unchecked, chronic inflammation can lead to diseases as well as impacting your whole body via symptoms such as: joint pain, weight gain/inability to lose weight, complexion/skin problems, high blood pressure, respiratory conditions (asthma, allergies, congestion) or digestive issues (irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion).
The good news is that you can reboot your immune system and find relief through non-drug / non-invasive treatment options.
First, regular chiropractic adjustments have been shown to reduce the chemicals in your body (cytokines) that cause inflammation to run rampant. Adjustments also align your spine ensuring proper nervous system function so that your immune system can function properly too.
Second, lifestyle changes are critical to successfully treating chronic inflammation. Regular exercise, proper sleep, good nutrition, hydration & PH balance and eliminating smoking will allow you to reach a level of wellness you never thought possible – without drugs or invasive procedures.
If you feel that you may be suffering from chronic inflammation, Call Dr. Dukes today.
She’ll help you understand your challenges, learn your options and find lifelong health and wellness.
Walking is a fantastic way to begin and maintain fitness. It is a wonderful habit with many studies confirming that those who walk regularly are better able to manage weight as they age.
Walking also offers so many health benefits such as: reducing your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes; improving your flexibility and balance; and, there are some studies that show walking may even lower your risk of developing dementia.
For most of us, daily walking may be more beneficial than running because walkers have a much lower risk of exercise-related injuries than through running. The key for those starting out is to keep at it! So, if you’re just starting your fitness journey, know that fitness walking is a seriously good place to begin.
You won’t need lots of fancy clothes to get started. A good pair of supportive, properly fitting shoes designed for walking or running are mandatory. You need the shock absorption to protect your joints and the support to walk stronger and longer.
Not sure what shoe is right for you? Ask us!
Turn your stroll into a fitness walk by focusing on your core. To do this, draw your bellybutton toward your spine as you walk. Keeping your core engaged throughout your walk will make be more effective, protecting your back and getting your abs in on the action.
Getting started is simple. First, head outside. Then walk at your normal pace for 10 minutes. Was your core engaged? It should be. Your body is now warm and ready for an increased challenge: Walk the 10 minutes back at a “hurry-up” pace.
The hurry-up pace is when you are late for an appointment and you must get there. You shouldn’t be out of breath at this pace. If you are, slow down and work up to faster paces slowly.
A beginner should aim to walk about 1-mile in about 18 minutes. You should be able to get to that goal quickly in just a few weeks of consistent walking. Then, extend to 2 miles of walking, no matter how long it takes, and finally get to 2 miles in 30 minutes. That is a strong walking pace that will reward you with better fitness, health and wellness.
So get out there. Be active. And live life to the fullest, longer.
No matter how you choose to be active, keep these recommendations in mind before you start:
Dr. Dukes is here to help you succeed. Call for help in finding the right walking shoes or call to schedule your wellness exam with Dr. Dukes today and soon you’ll be building fitness habits that will keep you living well longer.
If you’re like most, you haven’t spent much time thinking about your flexibility and sense of balance. Believe me, having good flexibility and being able to maintain your balance in a variety of situations is a remarkably accurate measure of personal health.
Too many times I’ve seen patients suffer thought life-altering injuries caused by the combined effect of poor balance and inflexible joints.
You might be surprised to know that good flexibility and balance are two keys to living well longer.
The good news is that no matter your age, you can improve your flexibility and balance.
I encourage all my patients to make weekly flexibility and balance enhancing sessions a lifelong habit.
Flexibility and balance exercises can be surprisingly challenging at first. Don't give up!
Your health will improve. And, you’ll be much more likely to stay active longer in life. Make improving flexibility and balance a life-long habit to enjoy these benefits:
There are so many wonderful ways you can choose to improve your flexibility and balance. Before you start it's vital that you consult your healthcare professional to learn proper exercise techniques and which types of flexibility and balance exercises are safe and effective for you.
So get out there. Be active. And live life to the fullest, longer.
No matter how you choose to be active, keep these recommendations in mind before you start:
Dr. Dukes is here to help you succeed. Call to schedule your wellness exam with Dr. Dukes today and soon you’ll be building fitness habits that will keep you living well longer.