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Low Impact Exercises for a Healthy Life

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Women on Elliptical

It seems like almost everyday we are told to exercise more, fad workouts gain popularity, some even promise you never have to exercise again if you follow a specific tip. But the truth is that exercise can greatly extend your quality of life, length of life, as well as hosting numerous benefits such as decreased inflammation, and lower blood pressure. The most of the exercise we do knowingly, or not is aerobic. Aerobic exercise is exercise that relates to the cardiovascular system like running, playing basketball, or going for a walk. Aerobic exercise helps with weight loss, and regulating blood sugar. Aerobic exercise also can reduce pain, and reduce back pain by improving blood flow to the spinal structures. Not all aerobic exercises are the same however. While running is great for increasing heart rate it sometimes can cause pain in the knees, and back because of its high impact. Low impact exercise is often best for the body, and health. Below are some examples of ow impact exercises that you can incorporate into your life. 

Types of Low-Impact Exercise 

Walking

Walking everyday can drastically improve your health, for just 30 minutes a day walking can greatly improve blood flow, and prevent back pain. 

Swimming

Exercise in water allows low impact of your joints, while the water adds resistance. Making swimming naturally a fantastic exercise. 

Stationary Biking

Stationary biking can provide the same aerobic benefits of bike riding, but in a controlled environment. In stationary biking you don’t have to worry about jstling, or uneven ground and unexpected obstacles. This type of workout can also greatly strengthen knees. 

Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical machine stimulates, and mimics the movements off running, and jogging without the strain on your joints. This machines often have a variety of resistance levels to increase heart rate, and cardiovascular health

These are just a few examples of good low impact aerobic exercises. By implementing just one of these exercises in your routine daily for 30 minutes you can greatly improve your health.


Stress Management for Neck Pain Relief

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Stressed Man

At the Center for Total Back Care we take a complete approach to overall wellness of the body. While other clinics may focus on just symptoms we focus on relieving symptoms, by finding the root cause and then by putting in place preventative measures to avoid future pain, or discomfort. Accordingly a main cause of back and neck pain surprisingly can be one the most common things plaguing our society, which is stress. Not only does stress affect your mood, sleep, and overall wellbeing, but it also creates tension and tightening of muscles which causes neck pain. Below are three great tips for managing stress in your everyday life. 

Exercise

Study after study has shown that getting moderate exercise in can drastically reduce stress levels. Exercise can be used to quickly metabolize the excessive stress hormones in your body and get you back to feeling normal. This doesn’t always have to be a full blown workout if feeling a little under pressure, or stressed just go for a quick brisk walk to get some fresh air.

Relaxation Techniques

There are many different techniques, for dealing with stress some use yoga, while others use breathing techniques. A quick trick to help with stress is to close your eyes, relax your neck, and shoulders and take three deep breaths. This can help refocus your mind, while also releasing tension built up in your neck and shoulders 

Rest

Lastly a key stress management tool is rest. Lack of sleep can cause illness, and a host of other issues. Don’t be afraid to relax, rest doesn’t just mean sleep. Watch a favorite movie, take a bath, or just lay down for a bit. Rest is not only good for the body but also the mind. Sleep repairs both your body, and mind. 


The Benefits of Dry Needling

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Dry Needling

Dry Needling Is  Now Offered At The Center for Total Back Care
With Dr. Jolley’s recent certification in Dry Needling The Center for Total Back Care is pleased to offer this additional treatment with our other treatments to further help treat and decrease neck and back pain. 

What is Dry Needling?

Dry Needling is a special technique done by specially certified Chiropractors, and Physical Therapists in which a dry needle is inserted to treat a myofascial trigger point.. The needle is inserted to stimulate the tissue, and does not inject medication. But is instead intended to release trigger points, relieving muscle stiffness, and increasing mobility.
Dry Needling is extremely effective at relieving pain, its benefits are due to it being able to reach areas that traditional massage, or an adjustment may not be able to reach. Dry Needling isn’t acupuncture but instead is rooted in modern medical techniques and has many case studies supporting its effectiveness. 
What kind of a needle is used when receiving treatment?
A thin filiform needle is used to penetrate the skin, and stimulate trigger points. Pain is minimal, if not nonexistent when receiving treatment. 
While dry needling is extremely helpful with relieving back, and neck pain. It is but one tool used out of many in a treatment plan. Contact us today, to have Dr Jolley create a custom tailored treatment plan that best will take care of your specific health needs. 


Why Resting Isn’t Always the Answer for Back Pain

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Often times when tweaking your back, or feeling discomfort you may often think ice, and laying down for awhile is what is best. However, while resting for a short period may help, long periods of rest can cause increased weakness in your back, causing further weakness, and pain in your back. According to a special health report from Harvard Medical School. Resting for prolonged periods doesn’t only affect your back negatively, but can also “lead to digestive issues such as constipation, and an increased risk of developing bloods clots in your pelvis, and legs.” Bed rest can also negatively effect your mental state, and put you at a higher risk for depression. So the question comes, when experiencing back pain what should you do instead? 
The first thing is to evaluate what caused your back pain in the first place, was it a specific activity you were doing? Is your mattress not supportive? Or maybe the shoes you have aren’t supportive? Whatever it may be, see if you can make little changes that are causing the pain. 
Another important thing to do is make sure you are stretching, not only does stretching increase flexibility, and blood flow, but it also increases strength. We have many different resources for at home stretches, to relieve back pain. Stretching in turn can condition your muscles for the future, when further strains may be put upon it. 
If none of these help then it may be time to see your local chiropractor. At the Center for Total Back Care, our experts can put together a specialized program, and treatment plan to get you back to feeling yourself. With a preventative approach The Center for Total Back Care not only will get to feeling back to normal, but will also focus on helping strengthen your back to prevent future pain. When trying to find a Chiropractor in Mesa, call us today!


Best shoes for back pain

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Often when we think of back pain we think about “where” we feel it. The challenge is identifying what might be contributing to it. Our feet are our foundations for our posture. They help maintain proper spinal alignment when standing, provide shock absorption from ground forces, and they provide stability. If you feet hurt or are improperly supported they can increase back pain or make you more susceptible to injury. So what are the best shoes for back pain?

First, let’s consider what footwear is not good for back pain. Sandals can be some of the worst footwear when it comes to back pain. Sandals are the most basic of footwear, and only provide a barrier between your foot and the ground. They are often designed to be “carried” by the foot and require the foot to activate more muscles to help carry them along. Most have little or no arch support and are highly unstable. These types of shoes should be avoided, especially when experiencing back pain.

Women’s high heels are also poor footwear when it comes to back pain. High heels put the foot in an unnatural position, compromising its ability to provide stability. It also requires the wearer to constantly engage their hip and back muscles in order to maintain balance. This constant tension can increase back pain.

Old shoes are also a culprit. Shoes are like tires on a car, when worn out, replace them. Every individual has their own foot strike pattern, which over time wears out the shoe and can lead to decreased stability and support. Replace heavily worn shoes about every 3 months, even if sole wear is not visible. The wear may be inside the shoe where it is not visible.

So what does a proper shoe look like? Well, first the shoe needs to fit the activity you are doing. The key component in buying any shoe is knowing what its intended use is. If you are hiking, does the shoe have good grip on unstable surfaces and proper ankle support? If you are a runner, is it light weight and have proper cushioning and support for your type of foot strike? A runner wouldn’t wear a hiking shoe, and a hiker wouldn’t wear a running shoe. Start here when considering a shoe.

Find the right fit. The design of a good shoe requires a proper fit. Our foot size doesn’t stop changing after our teen years. While our foot might stop growing, the foot anatomy can start to change by flattening. This flattening can increase your shoe size and affect what you thought was a good width. Check your shoe size periodically to see if there are any changes. Even the best shoes won’t work for you if the fit isn’t right. Be aware, sizes between brands can be different to so always try a pair on first and don’t be afraid to return a shoe if it ends up not being the right fit. Check a stores return policies so you don’t get stuck with a pair of ill-fitting shoes.

Get foot orthotics to properly fit your foot. Shoe manufacturers design their shoes to meet a general populations’ needs. The orthotics built into the shoe, don’t always address your specific needs. You can often get orthotics fitted for you by a Podiatrist or Chiropractor/Physical Therapist.

So the best shoes for back pain are shoes that provide proper protection, support, and stability for the activity you are doing. Be prepared to invest into good footwear if you have back pain, it can dramatically improve your quality of life!


How Athletes Recover from Back Pain

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When most people think of back pain and an athlete, they think of Tiger Woods. His recovery is a well documented long dedicated process. In 2018, his return stunned the golf world as many sports writers had written his career as over. He is now back this week starting his 2019 season. So what can we learn from how athletes recover from back pain?

First, Tiger Woods began his process taking the most conservative route to recovery, physical therapy. He understood that once surgery takes place, the success rate and outcomes begins to diminish. Athletes are highly motivated to return to their optimal performance and are willing to put the hard work and consistency of treatment that is required in physical therapy. The challenge with the athlete is listening to their body through the process and not pushing themselves, which can set them back. Tiger Woods experienced this.

The next phase is going through less invasive treatments that help relieve pain temporarily to help in the recovery process. This can include nerve blocks and steroid injections. For an athlete this can help them address the pain and discomfort while they progress in their physical therapy.

Finally comes the surgical options. If the physical therapy and injections do not help the athlete they begin the surgical route. Tiger Woods surgical journey began in 2014. He had choices, do I take the more aggressive surgical route, which would limit his ability to return to golf, or do the more conservative surgeries. He knew the conservative route would mean the potential for multiple surgeries and multiple rehabilitation programs before he could “potentially” return to competitive golf. The same drive and determination that made him the #1 golfer in the world, helped him choose the more difficult path.

Over the next 3 years he dealt with setbacks and disappointments. He had the sports community saying he was done. He even let the possibility of him not ever golfing again to creep into his thoughts. But, when he returned last year, he shocked everyone, even himself and found success at the end of the road by winning the Tour Championship.

The athlete mindset is what we all need when dealing with back pain. There are no quick fixes, no magical surgery, no pill to get you through it. It takes hard work, a tough mentality, willingness to commit to the process.


3 Great Stretches at Desk for Back Pain

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Sitting at a desk all day can be a real pain in the back and really hurt productivity. In the past we have covered how to properly set up your workstation, but static postures for 8 hours a day can really do a number on your back. Here are 3 great stretches at desk for back pain. Perform 3-4 times daily.

Seated Twist

Seated Twist Stretch – Crossing your legs, place the opposite hand on the knee on top and twist towards the top leg’s side. Stretch should be gentle and held for 3 seconds. Reverse to the other direction. Perform 3 times.

Seated Side Bends

Seated Side Bends – Place your hands behind your head with elbows pointed out, while seated. Gently bend side to side in a slow controlled movement repeat 5 times each side.

Seated Pirformis Stretch

Seated Piriformis Stretch – While seated raise your leg and place the outside of your ankle/foot on the opposite knee. Place hand on foot and ankle, keeping back straight and bend forward up until you feel a stretch, hold for 30 seconds. Perform once per side.

You should feel no pain after performing these stretches. Consult with your physician before starting any stretch program.


Headaches are a pain in the neck!

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Headaches and Migraines

Are your headaches a pain in your neck?

Did you know that your headache can be caused by what is going on in your neck?  This type of headache is called a Cervogenic Headache and can often be overlooked and results in re-occurring headaches. Nearly 25% of all headaches can be related to this condition.  In other words your headache is caused by a pain in the neck!

The good news is that once you identify this as the cause, treating your headaches are as easy as treating your neck.  Your neck headache can originate from a variety of musculoskeletal and neurovascular structures in your upper neck; including the upper three neck joints, C2/3 disc, spinal cord coverings and neck muscles. A dysfunction in these areas can trigger pain signals that travel to your trigeminocervical nucleus (TCN) in your brainstem. This information is then transmitted into your brain and interpreted as a headache (Bogduk 2003).

How do you identify a Neck Headache?

Typically people with a neck headache will have tenderness in the upper part of the neck just below the head.  They also experience a reduction in range of motion due to stiffness.  Often sufferers will experience a headache that radiates from the back of the head to the front.  They will also experience some relief when adjusting their head/neck position.

Treating a Neck Headache

The good news once identified as the cause has been identified, treating the condition in your neck can result in immediate pain relief.  Physical therapy and chiropractic care can immediately address the neck dysfunction and patients will typically leave the clinic with instant relief from your headache.  While treating the headache is the first step, the expertise of a physical therapist and chiropractor is to help identify what may be causing the neck pain and help educate the patient to help them avoid future occurences.

It is important to note that sometimes a neck headache is combined with other conditions that also need to be treated.  Contact our office and schedule a consultation if you suspect you suffer from a neck headache.


Top Low Back Stretches: Prayer Stretch

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Top Low Back Stretches: Prayer Stretch

The prayer stretch is a great stretch that primarily targets the extensor muscles of the back.  The prayer stretch is excellent because it limits the loading placed on the low back while performing the stretch and allows you to fully relax, letting gravity do the work for you. The prayer stretch is one of the best stretches you can do to protect yourself from a low back injury and to help relieve pain during the rehabilitation from a low back injury.  When people injure their low back, the muscles surrounding the area of the injury will tighten to guard the area from further injury.  The problem is that this constant tension in these muscle groups, can increase pain when a nerve is involved and decreases blood flow to this area.  Decreased blood flow increases the time for healing.  So stretching the muscles in this area help break this cycle and allow for the body to heal.

Prayer Stretch

To perform the prayer stretch first consider the surface you are performing it on.  Due to your knees making direct contact with the surface you will probably want to perform this stretch on some form of padded surface. Also if you have knee pain you may want to place a pillow between the backs of your thighs and calves when you are kneeling.

Prayer stretchprayer stretch 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

-On your hands and knees, sit back so your buttocks is resting on your heels.

-Reach your hands forward to lengthen your spine and feel a stretch in your middle back.

-You can reach your hands to either side to focus the stretch on the opposite side of your spine.

-Hold for 10-30 seconds and perform 2-3 repetitions.

When should I perform the prayer stretch?

The prayer stretch can be performed prior to or after any workout program, especially with back loading is involved.  This will help prevent injury.  Performing this stretch after injury will help expedite the healing process.

When should I avoid performing the prayer stretch?

The prayer stretch needs to be approached with caution if you are dealing with back pain.  Some people with severe knee pain will have difficulty performing the stretch.  If you feel an increase in pain or numbness, stop and contact your doctor.

 


Top Neck and Shoulder Stretches: Trapezius Stretch

John Naumann Neck Pain, Uncategorized Leave a comment  

Here are the top neck and shoulder stretches everyone should be doing.  Neck pain can have many different causes and almost all of them included muscle tightness and muscle guarding.  Breaking up the tension in you neck and shoulders is one of the key elements to recovery.  It is important that when performing stretches in the neck that the individual does not have pain or numbness, but a mild stretching sensation in the muscles of the targeted area.  Please consult with a doctor if you have any questions about this exercise.  This week we start our series off with the Trapezius Stretch or commonly called the Trap Stretch.

upper trap stretchTrapezius Stretch

– Place the back of one hand on your lower back making sure you are keeping that sides shoulder down

– Place the other hand gently across the top of your head, while the head is looking straight forward

– Apply gentle pressure to your head pulling your head towards the hand on head side until you feel a good stretch, no pain. (Do not push down)

– Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and perform for both sides 3 times

 

FAQ:
When should I perform Trapezius Stretches?

Whenever you have limited range of motion in neck or have tightness in shoulders.  Perform at least 2-3 times daily.  If you are working at a computer workstation, perform 1 time per hour.

When should I avoid performing Trapezius Stretches?

If you experience an increase in localized pain during and prolongs after stretch, numbness, dizziness, or radiating pain during stretch, discontinue stretch and consult a doctor.

 


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