Total Back Newsletter

RUNNING ON EMPTY By Dr. Perry Nickelston

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Are you running on empty? Is your life spiraling into one prolonged episode of fatigue? There are many factors that can contribute to fatigue, including stress, poor eating habits, altered sleeping patterns, poor breathing, lack of exercise, too much exercise, and sometimes an underlying health condition. Most of the time, fatigue can be traced to one or more of your daily habits or routines. More than likely, you already know what’s causing your fatigue; you’re just not doing enough about it. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most powerful changes you can make today to fight fatigue.

Whatever happened to getting eight hours of uninterrupted sleep? When was the last time you actually hit that goal? Almost never, right? That’s a shame because adequate sleep is one of the most effective ways to help your body recover and regenerate from the stressors of life. It is paramount to do whatever you can to get eight hours of sleep a night.

Exercise is a fantastic way to combat fatigue and increase energy while becoming healthy. The key is to not exercise so much that you end up sending your body into a state of overtraining and more fatigue. More is not better with exercise; better is better. It is recommended that you exercise 20-45 minutes three to four days per week. You must allow sufficient time for your body to recover from intensive workouts, so adequate rest is crucial if you want to achieve optimal results. If you overdo it, your body will let you know with fatigue and/or injury.

Simply put, don’t put off until tomorrow anything that you can do today, whether it’s changing your car’s oil, going to the grocery store or doing any of the daily tasks that get put off again… and again. Get organized and make a plan of action to complete tasks. Procrastination leads to mental stress and anxiety. It’s the dread of anticipation that will take it out of you every time. To minimize the risk of perpetual procrastination, make a list of the “Top 5 Things to Do Before Noon” each day. Whatever task you want to do the least should be at the top of the list. Get these tasks over and done with before midday, and you won’t spend the day worrying and stressing about getting them done. Then you can start on your To Do List for the remainder of the day.

Eating frequently helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels, preventing energy crashes. If you wait too long between feedings, your insulin levels spike, causing your body to go on a hormonal roller-coaster ride. You will feel surges of energy followed by sudden crashes with tiredness, fatigue and lethargy. It is very difficult to maintain a normal state of energy with big swings in metabolic hormones.

Try consuming three regular meals and two snacks per day, waiting no longer than three hours between meals. Never skip breakfast. Breakfast sets the tone for the day in terms of your metabolism. Combine macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) each time you eat. Limit simple carbohydrates such as juice drinks, bread, pasta and crackers (especially the refined variety), and processed foods, as these are known to cause mood swings from blood sugar changes. Combining macronutrients normalizes the glycemic index effects of foods on your blood sugar levels. This index traces how much blood sugar spikes in relationship to the foods you eat. The lower the glycemic index number, the better for your body. Finally eat more protein and fibrous carbohydrates to reduce digestive fatigue on the body.

Source: To Your Health –By: Dr. Perry Nickelston



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What are the high-risk times and events for your lower back? Why can you get into more trouble doing something as simple as picking up a loaf of bread from the trunk of the car, rather than doing something more challenging? What simple steps can you take to avoid injury and pain? Let’s get the answers to these questions and more.

When it comes to your lower back and injury risk, there are two critical times when you need to be especially careful. One is first thing in the morning. Your back is actually swollen at that time. You are substantially taller, and the discs have extra fluid in them. A careless forward bend or twist first thing in the morning can do substantial damage to your discs or other back structures. It doesn’t seem fair that such a simple thing, bending and twisting, something you have done thousands of times before, can suddenly cause big problems.

The other critical time is after you have been sitting. Long car drives or airplane trips are especially challenging. In this case, the culprit is something called “creep.” This means that your ligaments and tendons lengthen into the position that you have been in. Think of sitting in a bent-forward position, as your legs are forward. The ligaments and tendons do not provide protection properly when they have been lengthened by creep. When you first get up from sitting, you are at risk. The longer you have been sitting, the higher the risk. If you sit more upright, with good lumbar support, you will have somewhat less risk.

Don’t bend over immediately after sitting. Sitting, even in good posture, puts you at risk. The longer you end up sitting and the worse the seat is, the more at risk you are. Airlines are very risky; it’s hard to get up and move around because of the tight quarters, and the minute the plane stops, you bend over and get stuff from under the seat, or reach up and twist and lift to get your bag from the overhead compartment. After a long sit, give yourself at least a few seconds of backward bending and/or moving around to reset your spine. Then you can carefully, using your hips rather than your back, bend over to pick up something.

When you sit, don’t slump. Slumping reinforces the risks, making it more likely for something bad to happen to your discs or joints or muscles. So sit up straight and keep your back in neutral. Neutral means that you keep a bit of a lordosis (inward curve) in your lower back, keep the lumbar spine from slumping forward, stay more upright. This simple action can make a huge difference. Like any habit, this will require you to “Just Do It” for a few weeks.

Talk to your doctor about these and other high-risk moments for your lower back, and what you can do to relieve low back pain or avoid the pain altogether.

Source: To Your Health –By: Marc Heller, DC



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Watching students carrying their backpacks on a college campus can be a chiropractor’s nightmare, for much damage is in process to young backs that will show up years later in multiple back problems. “A lot of people are wearing their backpacks too heavy, which is harming their backs and their health,” said Allison Gross, a chiropractor at the EnCana Wellness Center at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta.

And Jim Krumpak, a chiropractor in Youngstown, Ohio, said heavy book bags could cause eventual disc injury, bone spurs, thinning of discs and nerve irritation. He said backpacks should be about 15 percent of a person’s body weight.

At Youngstown State University, a survey of 50 students showed that students carry book bags that weigh anywhere from five to 30 pounds. “Heavy book bags can certainly affect young adults. Most studies have focused on high school students, but they can also apply to college students,” Krumpak said.

The biggest backpack sins include carrying the bag on one shoulder, failing to use the waist strap and letting it rest too far down the back, Gross said, suggesting the following tips: On the 15-percent-of-body-weight rule, “closer to 10 percent is better,” she advised. Use a backpack that has shoulder straps that are at least two inches wide and padded. Always use both shoulder straps.

“If your bag is slung over one shoulder, even with a light weight, it’s unhealthy for the spine.” — The top of the backpack should be at shoulder level and the bottom no lower than the top of your hips. Use the waist straps to make sure the backpack fits snugly against your back.

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