Here are a few basic activities and recommendations to help keep you moving well and functioning at your best, which compliments the treatment you receive in our office. These positions, movements or daily routines are simple and easy to implement, but can end up aggravating your condition if you're not careful. Make sure to do these simple activities the right way as outlined below:
Drink Lots of Water
Pure filtered water is the best, but if you need to flavor it with a little juice, flavor crystals, or lemon/lime that is fine. Minimize your coffee, tea, energy drinks, soda, alcohol, sugary juices ...etc., because they can actually be worse for you by pulling water away from your body, or giving you too much sugar. Try to consume half your body weight in ounces of water daily.
Ice the Pain
Icing will help get rid of that swelling, and provide relief from pain. Put a bag of ice directly on the skin over the painful areas and leave it there for the 15-30 minutes. You can also use a cold/ice pack, but place a thin towel or piece of paper towel down first to prevent frostbite. Following the icing, you may have a hot shower or warm bath in Epsom salts to loosen up the tissues. Do not use a hot pack of any type unless directed by your physician, as improper heating could increase the swelling and further aggravate your condition.
Eat Healthy / Avoid the Bad Stuff
Recent research shows that up to 70% of your immune system is controlled by your diet / nutrition. You should be eating: lean protein with every snack and meal, mostly vegetables with a couple fruit servings (no more than 3 fruit servings because of high sugar content), whole grain /whole wheat breads and pastas, and low fat dairy (yogurt, low fat milk, and cheese). This will help your body heal and repair itself, and perform at its best. Avoid sugary or fatty foods, soda, fast food, highly processed foods that come in boxes or cans, anything white (rice, flour, bread, pasta, sugar, …etc. because of no nutritional value), and deep-fried foods. Remember, good stuff in = good stuff out!
There are three things that we recommend to everyone:
- i) Multivitamin / Multimineral - so your body gets all the essential building blocks it needs.
- ii) Omega - 3 Fatty Acids (Fish oils) - these oils are anti-inflammatory. Take enough servings in order to get 1000mg + of the EPA and DHA (these are the only two omega-3 fatty acids that we are concerned with) combined per day. Store liquids / gels in the fridge and capsules in the freezer, and consume them with food.
- iii) Vitamin D (plus Calcium for women) - important for bone health, as well as for your muscles, nerves, mental health, and immune system. Woman should take it combined with calcium to maintain good bone mineral density throughout life.
If you aren’t sure what to take, or if what you are taking is of any value, do not hesitate to ask the physicians at Capital Chiropractic Center. If you are allergic to any of the contents in these supplements, avoid their consumption and bring it up with us to discuss a suitable alternative.
Proper posture is very important! Make sure that you keep your chin up and stand up straight - don't slouch. Shoulders should be rolled back, and your ears should line up with your shoulders, hips, knees and ankles when viewed from the side. If you know that you are going to be standing for a long period of time, make sure that you wear comfortable shoes.
Make sure you have a chair that is supportive – lumbar support, arm rests, contoured bottom. It should fit you correctly so that your back touches the chair, you have good low back (lumbar) support, and your feet are flat on the floor with knees at a 90 degree angle. Arms should be in at your side, elbows bent to 90 degrees. When you are forced to sit for a long period of time, for instance at a desk job, make sure to get up and stretch every 60 minutes. Sit with your back against the chair, feet firmly on the floor. Do not cross your legs.
Working at a Desk
Make sure that you are getting up every 60 minutes to stretch and move around. The type of chair you have is extremely important (see above). Try to avoid looking down at your computer screen - it should be at eye level. Everything should be within reach without having to strain to reach it, including phone, stapler, keyboard and mouse. Keyboard and mouse should be at same height as or slightly lower than your forearms so your wrists are not bent up, but rather are in neutral position.
Lifting objects is one of the most common ways to injure yourself. Even if it is a light object, twisting or pulling in the wrong direction when you're not stretched out can have a damaging effect on muscles and the spine. Make sure you carry the object straight in front of you and not to the side, in tight close to the body. You always want to bend at the knees, keep your back straight, tighten your core muscles, lift with the legs, and avoid lifting anything you know is too heavy.
Overall Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is extremely important, whether it is going to the gym, playing a sport, taking martial arts, or just going for a walk. Try to get some physical activity daily for 30 minutes or longer. It does not have to be all at once (for example taking a 10 minute walk 3 times per day), but it must be purposeful physical activity. Include stretching before and after the activity to stay loose. If you know that you are going to be working or playing for a while, make sure that you are adequately warmed up. It's easy to pull or aggravate something if you're not warmed up properly, even if it's something light like gardening or just pushing your child on a bike. Check with us or another health care professional to make sure you are healthy enough for regular exercise, or for any restrictions / modifications.
Talking On The Telephone
If your job requires you to use the telephone for an extended period of time, a headset is best, but putting them on speaker phone will also work. Avoid cradling the phone between your neck and your shoulder as this could cause you to aggravate the muscles or nerves in that area, and over time damage your spinal vertebrae.
Resting or Sleeping
Straining your neck or back while you're sleeping is a very common occurrence. We often fall asleep in strange positions where we are not supported properly or our necks are at an odd angle. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as that places unnecessary stress on your neck and back. If you sleep on your back, have good pillow support under your neck, and place a pillow behind the back of your knees to take the pressure on the low back. If you sleep on your side, again ensure good pillow support under your neck, and put a pillow between your knees to keep your hips level. Make sure that if you are going to nap or watch TV in bed, your neck and back are properly supported. Remember, rest is important for your body to recover properly and re-energize itself for the following day. Make sure you are setting aside a good 8 hours of sleep each night. If you cannot get it all at once, naps are also okay!
If you have any questions or concerns about any of these instructions, please feel free to discuss it with us! Thank you again for your efforts!