One positive outcomes from our pandemic is that more of us are walking more often. And, chances are that walking is something you've never really thought.
Walking offers tremendous health benefits. But, if it's been a while since you've been active, it's important to take a look at how you walk. After all, it’s a repetitive motion and thousands of steps per day can put a lot of stress on your entire body resulting in aches and pains that may keep you from realizing those benefits.
Chances are, you learned to walk when you were just a toddler and you haven’t really thought about it much since. But life and activity levels change so it's important to learn how to walk correctly. Here's how to make the most of your daily strolls step-by-step.
Understand the mechanics
Having a clear idea of what a step actually involves can help you visualize how to walk correctly. Every step happens in two phases: stance and swing. A single gait cycle of stance and swing typically lasts about 1-second.” Your brain does all of that instinctually. Understanding the parts can be valuable in assessing where you might have weaknesses and can help assess any pain you’re having.
Pick the right shoes
Choosing poorly fitting or unsupportive shoes can lead to serious health problems. While symptomatic aches and pains may begin at your feet, the core problem often creates spinal mis-alignments that wreak havoc all over your body. There’s no perfect shoe for everyone. Stability is crucial. Avoid walking in sandals or other footwear without arch support.
Many shoe stores offer options with corrective structures designed to provide support in specific areas or even correct problems. I recommend starting with an established local running store or show store that specializes in corrective shoes. They'll look at the sole of your current shoes to determine wear patterns. If your shoes are wearing too much on the inside, then you might need something that gives you a little more arch support. If they’re wearing more quickly at the heel and causing pain, then you might need a little more cushioning. If you’re unsure about the shape of your step, sticking with a neutral shoe is a good place to start unless you’re having specific pain or are getting a personal assessment.
Pay attention to posture
It’s possible for your body to have an injury that you haven't noticed which is causing you to over-compensate and walk imbalanced. The obvious sign of this is poor posture. Poor posture often indicates weakness, pain or injury. When this happens we lean over to the weak or painful side, shifting the center of our mass to alleviate forces on that limb. That imbalance will cause of host of problems throughout the body.
If you start to recognize that you're imbalanced, seek professional help. Avoid attempting to force yourself into the right position because that often makes issues worse and accelerates health problems. Rather, call to schedule a consultation. We'll work together to find the underlying cause then use treatment to help eliminate the source of the problem rather than simply addressing the symptom. Sometimes the treatment solution is as simple as a combination of massage and learning proper walking technique and posture.
Stand up straight
Slouching is never healthy and that’s especially true while walking. Pull your shoulders back, keep your bum tucked underneath you, and your head parallel to the ground. As you lift your chin up, you'll automatically help bring your head in line with your pelvis and eliminate slouching. If you have a habit of slouching at a desk all day, it's normal that your back, neck, and shoulder muscles may feel sore after a long walk. Keep at it, the soreness will soon be replaced with a feeling of vitality.
Once you’re a more experienced walker, it’s tempting to try and up your pace and distance. But doing too much, too soon can cause problems with your stride and limit your workout capabilities. Taking too big of a stride will require your pelvis to rotate too far to step out in front of you. This puts stress on your lower back and a lot of stress on your heel as it impacts the ground. If you're looking to put a 'little more umpf' into your walking, I recommend increasing the pace of your steps rather than compromising your health by overstretching your stride.
A variety of problems ranging from joint pain, foot discomfort, and posture issues, and especially lower back pain can be alleviated through custom orthotics. These are insoles that slip into shoes. They are custom-crafted especially for your unique foot shape and biomechanical needs.
Dr. Dukes has helped many patients struggling with low back pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and even neck and shoulder pain find relief through custom orthotics so they can achieve their health and fitness goals.
When you're ready to live your best life, call me. Schedule a consultation. The team at Dukes Chiropractic is here for you. (813) 752-2524
Dr. Dukes spends her days helping people get back to doing what they love and avoid suffering from aches and pains that hold them back from truly living life.
Time and again Dr. Dukes finds lower back discomfort is the most common compliant. Why? Sitting is the main culprit. Prolonged sitting often causes the lower back muscles to become misaligned.
Poor posture is a compounding factor because lower back muscles then have to work overtime, becoming exhausted and weak resulting pain symptoms related to spinal mis-alignment. Remember that your spine is curved, so proper back alignment entails an 'S' curve — your back shouldn’t be a straight line. The back of your skull, your shoulder blades, and your lower pelvis should be lined up. Correct posture helps your body stay in top shape and avoid injury.
Good posture is the first step. Your second step should be regular preventative stretching and core strengthening exercices such as these:
1. Stretch your hip flexors and quadriceps: To help relieve lower back tension and pain, Dr. Dukes recommends standing hip flexor stretches and quad stretches (https://youtu.be/7r8yUtqLnDw), both of which work the front of your thigh. Doing these allow for proper pelvic mobility, which puts less stress on your lower back muscles.
2. Work on your mobility: Dr. Dukes says it’s really important to have mobility in the pelvis area and the vertebrae in your lower back. Ensuring that the pelvis, sacrum, and lumbar vertebrae are moving properly is a critical factor in lower back health. Try these exercise ball back stretches (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfgI4B20IZ0) and work on neutralizing any pelvic tilt that you may have.
Kudos if you practice good posture and are working exercises such as these into your routine and are realizing the benefits. Dr. Dukes wants you to establish safe and effictive routines. Be sure to schedule a consultation to learn proper posture, stretching and exercising techniques. If you're still struggling with back pain, call Dr. Dukes and schedule an examination. The sooner you do, the sooner you'll be back to living life on your terms.
Did you know that healthy body alignment can improve your circulation and heart health?
Studies reveal that chiropractic treatment such as the Atlas method may be used to reduce hypertension, reducing the risk of heart attacks. Fifty people who had recently developed high blood pressure were split into ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups. Patients in group ‘A’ were given Chiropractic therapy intended to enhance circulation. Group ‘B’ was given a placebo treatment. Researchers found that group ‘A’ treated with chiropractic had much lower blood pressure on average than group ‘B’.
The director of the study, Dr. George Bakris, MD, remarked, “When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn’t believe it,” he said. “But we checked for everything, and there it was. This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination. We saw no side effects and no problems.”
Additional studies reveal that chiropractic care can lower heart rate while reducing chest pain & anxiety. A study conducted by Palmer Chiropractic College researchers determined that chiropractic care lowers heart rate and alleviates chest pain. Chiropractic treatment also reduces anxiety, according to research published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
Do you want to use chiropractic care to naturally improve the health of your heart and lower your blood pressure? At Dukes Chiropractic, we help provide the body heal itself without surgery or medication. Learn more, call Dr. Dukes. Schedule your examination and begin living life on your terms, again. (813) 752-2524
Massage therapy is a natural treatment approach that can help increase circulation, relieve tension, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and relax your body to promote healing. Massage therapy is an important treatment tool. Did you know that many insurance companies now provide coverage for massage therapy sessions? Massage therapy benefits you in so many ways:
Strengthening Your Immune System – Regular massage sessions provide many benefits to the human body. It is a well-known fact that individuals who experience high levels of stress are more vulnerable to illness and injury. When stress is combined with sleep disturbances and poor nutrition, the impact is directed at the body’s immune system. Its ability to naturally protect itself against infections, pathogens, and bacteria is greatly reduced. Some might wonder how massage therapy benefits the immune system. Studies have indicated that regular massage sessions not only help reduce stress, but can also boost the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity (activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells”) and enhances the body’s ability to deliver nourishment. Moreover, massage therapy can be a great addition to any exercise program. Much like regular exercise can keep the body fine-tuned, regular massage therapy can help keep the immune system strong and resilient.
Helps Lower Blood Pressure – Regular massage therapy sessions have been found to reduce blood pressure levels. In fact, some long-term studies have shown that a consistent massage program can reduce both systolic (upper number) and diastolic (lower number) blood pressure. Moreover, it can also reduce cortisol levels within the body. Furthermore, consistent massage sessions can also reduce trigger sources for anxiety, hostility, tension, and depression. In turn, lower blood pressure levels can also reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and/or kidney failure, as well as many other health issues.
Promotes Healing – The purpose of massage therapy is to target the source of the body’s pain via eliminating tense muscles, increasing flexibility, and providing relaxation to the affected muscles as well as the body as a whole. Massage also promotes circulation to the affected or injured muscles, which increases nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissues. In turn, this increased activity to the affected sites reduces stiffness and edema (swelling) in the muscles and joints, as well as increases flexibility to help reduce pain. Moreover, this form of therapy also releases endorphins (pain-killing hormones), which boost the dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. These hormones assist the body in many ways–physically as well as emotionally. Case in point, they promote healing, pain management, and feelings of euphoria, as well as help to calm the nerves.
Improves Circulation – The long-term benefits of massage therapy are not to be underestimated. Improved circulation is part of a snowball effect that occurs in the body as a result of receiving regular massage therapy on a consistent basis. This is because proper circulation brings damaged, stiff, and tense muscles the rich blood supply they need to promote healing.
Moreover, massage also promotes improved circulation via the use of hands-on pressure, which moves the blood through the damaged and congested areas of the body. In turn, the release of this same pressure causes new blood to flow into tissues. Furthermore, the squeezing, twisting, and pulling action of the massage technique also removes lactic acid from the muscle tissues. As a result, this action improves the lymph fluid circulation, which carries metabolic waste products away from internal organs and muscles. In turn, this results in lower blood pressure levels and improved overall body function.
Reduced Anxiety – When the body is tense and under stress, it produces unhealthy levels of the well-known stress hormone, cortisol, which can contribute to weight gain, sleeplessness, digestive problems, and headaches. Massage therapy has been shown to decrease cortisol levels in the body. This enables the body to enter a recovery mode. Moreover, this form of therapy also triggers lasting feelings of relaxation, improved mood, and reduced stress levels.
Stress Reduction – Not only can massage therapy help with stress relief, but regular massage sessions over a prolonged period of time can boost energy levels, reduce pain, and stimulate individuals on physical as well as emotional levels.
Improved Posture – Many Americans experience back, neck, and muscle pain from a variety of sources. However, the primary cause of this pain results from poor posture. In fact, chronic back pain, which is the number one reason for missed work days and second most common cause of disability, is often the result of incorrect or poor posture while standing and/or sitting. Moreover, being overweight, poor posture, and repetitive or overuse movements can also contribute to the strain on the back and other potential problem areas. As a result, the added strain often causes spasms, pain, and tense muscles in the hips, glutes, back, neck, and legs.
Massage therapy can help get the body back into proper alignment. In fact, improving one’s posture can be one of the most beneficial and relaxing aspects of massage therapy. Massage allows the body to relax and loosen the muscles made tense and sore via bad posture. In turn, this allows the body to position itself in its organic and pain-free posture. As part of a consistent massage therapy program, the body’s muscles are loosened and relaxed. Moreover, the joints have greater freedom, flexibility, range of motion, and pressure points are relieved. As a result, the body is able to position itself in an organic and healthy posture. In short, massage therapy helps to correct the positions and movements developed over time as a reaction to pain.
Massage therapy is now considered a mainstream treatment tool which means that most insurance companies provide treatment coverage.
As part of our whole-body approach to your health, massage therapy may just help 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.
Did you know that just one hour a week of brisk walking has been shown to stave off disability in older adults? A recent Northwestern Medicine study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reveals that an estimated 14 million older adults in the U.S. have symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Approximately two in five people with osteoarthritis —most of whom have it in their lower joints —develop disability limitations.
The study found an hour of weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity allowed older adults to maintain their ability to perform daily tasks. The weekly hour of exercise reduced their risk of mobility disability (walking less than one meter per second) by 85 percent and reduced their risk of daily living disability (difficulty performing routine tasks such as walking in the home, bathing and dressing) by almost 45 percent.
Some health guidelines recommend older adults participate in at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity activity. But that level of activity can be daunting for many inactive adults.
If you are currently inactive and are looking for a path to a healthier lifestyle, call Dr. Dukes at (813) 752-2524. Schedule an exam to learn if you're ready to walk your way to the benefits of a more physically active lifestyle. She’ll help you begin your path to wellness safely and for maximum benefit.
Nine out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. Work pressures, relationship stress and other life challenges can cause tension headaches. Most of us share bad habits such as repetitive activities and poor posture. The result is tension in your neck and shoulders that feels like it slowly travels up the base of your skull to wrap around your head.
Schedule an examination with Dr. Dukes. Research shows that spinal manipulation can be an effective treatment option for tension headaches.
Together, see if chiropractic care is right for you. (813) 752-2524
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to prevent tension headaches. Activities such as Tech-Neck, Commuting, Video-Gaming, Jaw Clenching, Stomach Sleeping contribute to tension headaches.
Episodic tension headaches are often tied to stressful events. They typically come on quickly and are fairly painful. Chronic tension headaches tend to occur daily. They may come on as you wake up or after a long day of work or activity. Muscles in your neck and scalp tend to stay contracted with pain and tightness on across the head, in the forehead and at the base of the skull.
Ease tension headaches by:
Schedule an examination with Dr. Dukes. Together, see if chiropractic care is right for you.
Mom Summer Survival: Focus on Self-Care
Some moms can’t wait for summer months. Family time, vacation, holidays, travel and keeping up with the yard. It's easy to over-do-it.
Regularly scheduled stretching and massage therapy is a great way to focus on your self-care and prevent everyday aches and pains from becoming problematic. Professional therapy works wonders. And, by scheduling regularly at a Chiropractic office, you’ll be much more likely to be aware of potential issues and be prepared in advance so you can take steps to prevent or treat them. Call and schedule a soothing therapy session today.
Call Dr. Dukes today. Schedule an examination. Together, you can learn if chiropractic care is right for you. (813) 752-2524
Stress is a reality of modern living. Left untreated, stress may compound minor health issues and lead to major health issues such as anxiety or depression. Luckily, chiropractic care can help you manage your stress because chiropractic focuses on the spine care.
One of the effects of chronic stress is muscle tension and contraction, which can lead to dangerously unbalanced skeletal pressures which often cause headaches, migraines, muscle tension, and back and neck aches. Chiropractic adjustments and manual therapies help ease these painful symptoms through natural, drug-free treatment. Take control by scheduling an appointment.
Chiropractic Care can help reduce stress in four primary areas:
Reducing Muscle Tension Helps Reduce Stress
As you encounter stress, muscles tighten and become more tense. Over time, this takes a toll through chronic poor posture, loss of sleep, and difficulty focusing on tasks. Chiropractic care can help reduce tension and restore your body to its natural balance through manual therapies and spinal adjustments.
Restore Natural Balance & Function Through Spinal Adjustments
Your brain communicates everything with the help of your spine. As stress intensifies, you tense up causing your spine to move and become out of alignment. Chiropractic adjustments help restore proper alignment so that the body can begin to heal itself.
Heal Faster with Proper Posture & Regular Stretching
Posture refers to the position of the body while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture and regular light stretching helps keep your spine in a neutral or balanced state which reduces the negative effects of stress and helps prevent regression of your condition through your course of care.
Good Nutrition and Hydration Help Too
Good nutrition and proper hydration are the foundation of maintaining your health. Eating the right foods, avoiding some foods and drinking plenty of water will help reduce your stress symptoms faster so you can get back to normal.
Call Dr. Dukes today. Schedule an examination. Together, you can learn if chiropractic care is right for you. (813) 752-2524
If you’re like me, time speeds up over the holidays and before I know it, healthy habits have fallen by the wayside.
It’s easy to talk keeping your workout schedule but quite a different matter to make it happen. It’s just so rewarding to celebrate with friends and family.
Make this year different. Minimize your stress and keep stay on a healthy schedule by introducing brief ‘micro-workouts’ into your daily routine.
Our bodies were designed to move. Study after study show how regular exercise reduces stress and improves function, flexibility as well as overall health.
Maintaining your regular routine through all the food, family and festivities over the holidays is tough – if not impossible – for most of us.
I recommend adjusting how you approach your workout so that you can stay on track. Incorporate ten-minute micro-workouts 3 times each day. No special equipment are needed. Walk to the store, take the stairs or create a 10-minute workout that combines 5-minutes of stretching and 5-minutes of calisthenics. No matter how you decide to formulate your micro-workout, you’ll be glad you did. Recent research published in the American Journal of Health Promotion suggests that short periods of activity really add up. When researchers analyzed data from more than 6,000 adults, ages 18 to 85, they found that those who got short bouts of exercise (between 1 and 10 minutes) through everyday activities experienced many of the same benefits, as did those who continuously exercised for 30 minutes.
Call Dr. Dukes today. Schedule a wellness exam before beginning any exercise regimen.
Dr. Dukes will help you find a safe and effective plan to help you 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.
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.
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