2 Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW to Improve Your Posture!

As is the case for most of us, maintaining good seated posture is a chore and requires diligent effort.  We begin our day with the best of intentions, however, as the hours wear on and the computer screen seems to drift farther away from our line of sight, the inevitable slouch takes hold.

Finally, when the day is done and we peel away from the work station, the effects of the day linger.
That dull ache at the back of your head, where your neck and base of your skull meet, and the nagging soreness in the middle of your back between the lower part of your shoulder blades.

And repeat the next day and the day after that.

The importance of good posture goes beyond aesthetics.  Improperly loaded joints wear quicker than properly aligned ones. This can lead to pain and injury.  Again, think of your car's alignment and the affects on your tires.

Here are a couple exercises you can perform RIGHT NOW to aid in the fight against gravity and the dreaded slouch!..........(CLICK THE LINK BELOW!)

First, think about your head position.  Are you jutting your chin forward like your "walking like and Egyption" (sorry if you don't get the song reference!).  If so, push your chin straight back until you feel a slight stretch at the back of your neck and a "double chin" feeling in the front.

Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.
 Next, either seated or standing draw your attention to the area between your shoulder blades. Rotate your arms so that your palms are facing forward.  Squeeze your shoulder blades together and reach your fingertips toward the floor so that your shoulders aren't just going back, but pushing downward.  Don't just stick out your chest.

Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.

These simple exercises will help "wake up" your tired postural muscles and help you maintain better posture throughout the day if you make an effort to stop what you are doing and perform them at least 5 times throughout the day.  They wont fix everything, but it's a start!  For additional information, or to address pain that doesn't resolve quickly, consult with your Newport Beach Chiropractor, Dr. Tara Pierce.  If your chronic postural stress has gone on for very long, you may require some additional help!

Acupuncture and Chiropractic offer relief from back and neck pain, headaches and even stress management! Call our office today to set an appointment! TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT NOW  CLICK HERE!

You have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Now what??

If you have experienced pain, burning, tingling, numbness or weakness in your hand and fingers (specifically your thumb, pointer, middle and half of the ring finger), you may be suffering with carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition affecting the hand and fingers.  It is caused by compression of, or trauma to the median nerve.  The median nerve passes through the arm to the wrist, where is passes through the carpal tunnel and feeds into the hand and fingers (see the picture below).  Most often, injury to the median nerve is the result of long hours spent at the computer.  This overuse causes irritation, inflammation and compression of this important nerve.

So what can you do about it?

Ignoring the problem and continuing to work through it may cause additional, possibly irreversible damage.  Though sometimes necessary, surgery is a potentially dangerous and possibly ineffective option.  Steroid injections can help short term, but are painful and may lead you down the road to surgery (as doctors will often use this as a means to determine if carpal tunnel surgery is indicated).  Medications like NSAIDs (like Ibuprofen) can reduce inflammation and pain, but are really only a bandage and doesn't  tackle the root of the problem AND can be harmful to your organs with long term use.

So what's left?
(click the link below to read more and find out)
In most cases conservative care should be your first stop.  (don't forget to read the note at the end of this post)

Acupuncture and chiropractic can be a safe and effective option for carpal tunnel syndrome's painful and annoying symptoms.  Acupuncture can be helpful for carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy as well! Your chiropractor will also treat the muscles, tendons,  ligaments and joints of your wrist, forearm, arm, neck and shoulder to address the problem along the whole pathway of the median nerve.  Chiropractic adjustments, wrist and forearm exercises and stretches as well as postural exercises can also help improve the way your body functions, not only helping your pain disappear, but help you prevent it from coming back!  By treating soft tissue and freeing nerve entrapment, followed by exercises you perform on your own, you can get out of pain and stay that way!

**It is important to note that not every case can be managed with conservative care alone.  If you experience significant weakness in your hands or fingers, or notice that the muscles of your palm appear to be withering away, it is important that you consult a neurologist right away.  If Dr. Pierce observes any of these findings, she too will refer you out for further evaluation.

What is CUPPING THERAPY?? AKA Myofascial Decompression technique....?

Cupping techniques were originally developed thousands of years ago and have been most popularly utilized as a traditional Chinese medicine treatment.  Cupping therapy has been used over the years to mobilize blood flow in order to promote healing.  Traditionally, the use of cupping assisted to reduce stagnation of qi along channels.  In recent year the use of this ancient healing art has gained interest of celebrities, healthcare practitioners and every day people seeking safe treatment for pain.  

Current terminology for cupping is Myofascial Decompression Therapy.  Much like it sounds, the cups are used to decompress soft tissues (muscle, tendon, ligaments and fascia) of the body.  Fascia is dense connective tissue made up of collagen fibers. Fascia surrounds muscles, nerves and vessels as well as organs.  Basically, its the tough stuff that keeps everything where it's supposed to be and allows us to move without displacing our spleens and livers and such.  

Lets talk about the fascial connection as it pertains to the musculoskeletal system.  Muscles are surrounded by and interact with one another with the assistance of the fascia.  When there is injury, either chronic or traumatic, the fascia is also affected, not just the muscles, ligaments and tendons.  If the network of fascial planes is disrupted due to scar tissue adhesions (sometimes referred to as knots), restrictions in function and mobility will result.  When you don't move well, your body suffers.  Faulty biomechanics (the way the body moves) can lead to pain and altered function which can dramatically affect the way you perform activities every day and keep you from doing the things you love.  

Why does all of this matter? Because, when the body moves with altered function, joint surfaces can wear unevenly, which can not only be painful, but may progress to joint damage and arthritis.  

Functional problems are easier to address than structural problems.  Soft tissues are more pliable and reactive to change than bony/joint structures.  Fix the muscular imbalances, improve joint mobility and strengthen what has become weak and you may avoid painful long term damage!

Cupping/Myofascial Decompression is one of the treatment options offered in Dr. Pierce's chiropractic and acupuncture practice.  Dr. Pierce believes that long term benefit from chiropractic care and/or acupuncture therapy requires a well-rounded approach.  Release restrictions in the muscle and fascia, restore joint mobility with the adjustment and joint mobilization and re-educate weak muscles to do their job and you will have greater results and learn how to prevent re injury! 

Release. Restore. Re-educate!  

Effective Treatment for Lateral Epicondylitis AKA Tennis Elbow!

Have you ever experienced soreness and pain on the outside of your elbow after playing tennis or other sports?  Maybe after a workout or after working long days at the office?  You may be suffering with Tennis Elbow.  Interestingly enough, you don't have to play tennis to have this affliction. So, what exactly is tennis elbow, and what can you do about it?

In tennis elbow, technically known as lateral epicondylitis, the tendons which attach the muscles on the top of your forearm to your elbow at the lateral epicondyle (a bump on your humerus bone at the site near where your elbow bends) experience microscopic tears which cause irritation and inflammation, which leads to pain.  These tiny tears are often the result of overuse and sporting activities.  So, what can you do about it???
You have a variety of options to use to treat this condition.  You may choose to rest and ice the area, which will help reduce inflammation.  You may also choose to consult your physician who may suggest medications, which as you know come with risks.  There are braces that can be used to reduce the load placed on the tendon attachment so you can perform activities with less pain, OR you may seek out the aid of a chiropractor, therapist and/or acupuncturist. 

A chiropractor or therapist will usually perform muscle therapy including stretching and massage of the muscles around the elbow as well as give you exercises and make recommendations to help you avoid re-injury.  A chiropractor will also likely adjust your spine and possibly the joints of the elbow and wrist.  

Acupuncture has been shown to be superior to placebo for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis, resulting in reduced pain and increased function. Acupuncture treatment will include using acupuncture points in the area of pain as well as additional regional and distant points to aid the healing of the damaged tissue.  

At our office, chiropractic, acupuncture and exercise therapy are all a part of the healing process we practice for tennis elbow and many other conditions.  

To read more about Acupuncture for the treatment of Tennis Elbow see this Journal Article

For a consultation or other questions Ask the Doctor