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Healthy Kids and Healthy Spines

In Virginia Beach, there are a wide-range of scenarios our young families are facing as we embark on a new school year.  Regardless of the scenario your family faces, we want to educate you about ways you can support your child’s health through the spine.  It truly is the backbone of the body- providing structural support and housing the nervous system.  Keeping a healthy spine supports a healthy body, something we’re all striving for more than ever before!

Minimize screen time!

Although a funny term, did you know “text neck” is a real thing?!  Check out this graphic and see how even the slightest flexion of the neck can challenge the body.  Whether working on a Chromebook or looking at a phone, prolonged cervical flexion is not healthy for the spine.  Encourage taking breaks from the screen as frequently as possible (every 20 minutes for our young children).  The break should include getting out of the chair, stretching arms overhead and looking up at the sky, and taking 3-5 deep breaths.  Walking around for 5 minutes helps increase blood flow and wake the body up for more learning.

Move… in the morning AND the afternoon!

Did you know moving is a key component of learning??  Research has found that exercise improves both behavior and academic performance.  And this doesn’t just apply to children!

We appreciate and understand the challenges parents face trying to balance working from home and helping kids in the virtual classroom.  Incorporating physical activity for at least 30 minutes in the morning AND the afternoon can lead to a much happier household.  No need to be a full blown drill sergeant, simply allow for running, jumping, and being loud!  Kids needs to let that pent up energy out… or it shows up as poor attention spans or bad behavior.

Stretch as a family!

Do you ever feel general body aches and soreness after a long day of… sitting??  Children experience the same thing, sometimes on an even greater scale!  Sitting promotes the body to develop poor postural habits that result in tight muscles.  For children, add the growing factor on top of a sedentary day and you’re setting the stage for a long night of aches and pains.  As the bones grow longer, the muscles can’t keep up.  The muscles then pull on the bones creating those horrible “growing pains.”

Stretching is the answer!  Developing a healthy stretching routine at an early age can lead to healthier long-term lifestyle habits.  Join the kids and make stretching a fun, family event.  You need it too!

 

Drink water!

Do you know if your child is drinking enough water?  Below is a quick breakdown of how much water children should consume according to WebMD:

  • 2-4 years old: 2-4 cups (16- 32 oz)
  • 4-8 years old: 5-6 cups (32- 40 oz)
  • 9-13 years old: 7-8 cups (56-64 oz)
  • 14 and up: 8-11 cups (64- 88 oz)

Most adults walk around with some level of dehydration.  Low level dehydration can result in many ill-effects,

including muscle and joint pain (including the spine), increased blood pressure, increased risk for injury, increased risk of urinary-tract infections, and more!  While wearing face coverings, the need for proper hydration increases even more due to increased body temperature.  Water breaks are a great way to change up the day and keep the family well-hydrated!

Chiropractic care for kids… safe and effective!

At no stage in life is the body enduring more change than during growth and adolescence!   Physical and developmental changes are at their peak from birth through puberty.  The body is constantly replicating cells to grow and adapt preparing for adulthood.  You may notice that your child is very clumsy for a period of time- you know, that awkward puppy stage!  This is because the nervous system is trying to keep up with the changes within the body.  Since the spine houses the nervous system, why wouldn’t you want to ensure it’s functioning at its best!?

Chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to establish proper movement patterns and prevent structural imbalances at an early stage of life.  And it’s never too early!

Why is keeping a healthy spine so important?

As mentioned above, the spine has the very important job of being the literal back bone of the body!  Maintaining proper spinal alignment and strong postural muscles is essential for function.  The mechanics of the spine has a direct impact on how the body moves… and how the nerves communicate with the rest of the body.  Chiropractic is the best way to ensure everything is moving and communicating well.  Call to schedule your child’s first visit today!

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What Happens If I’m in a Motor Vehicle Accident- Part 1

It can happen…  You’re sitting at a red light and suddenly the car behind you rear-ends your vehicle.  Or you’re on the highway and a car cuts you off and brakes suddenly, and you’re not able to brake in time.  Or you’re driving on a back country road and the driver coming from the other direction veers into your lane putting you in a ditch to avoid a head-on collision.  It happens.  But you don’t have to suffer for it!

Dr. Amanda was recently in a car accident- and thankfully walked away with the primary damage endured by the car.  However, the physical response to injury was impactful on daily life.  And dealing with the insurance company brought light to the challenge it can be to navigate coverage, benefits, and how it applies to you and your situation.

In an effort to help others, we’re putting together a two-part series of articles to provide insight and advice when you’ve been involved with a motor vehicle accident.  This article will discuss the physical effects that can happen after being in an accident.  Next month’s article will discuss the ins and outs of getting your insurance questions answered.

It happened.

The car accident you weren’t expecting.  Your immediate reaction is to assess the physical condition of yourself, the people in the car, and the car itself.   Adrenaline is pumping causing your senses to be heightened and pain to be suppressed.  If you are severely or critically injured, you’ll be taken by ambulance to the ER.  If you’re injuries are considered “minior,” you’ll most likely be sent home and told to follow up with your physician should any concerns arise.  And now your head is spinning while you’re calling the insurance company. And you’re starting to feel a discomfort… or maybe it’s just the stress?

No matter how small the impact, a motor vehicle accident results in physical injuries to the body.  In serious collisions, life-threatening injuries may be present and addressed at the ER.  However, non-life threatening and non-visible injuries may not be addressed in an emergency situation.  Sometimes the symptoms don’t arise at the initial examination.  Or even until years later!  The delayed manifestation of symptoms is related to the phases of healing… and why it is very important to receive appropriate treatment after an enduring an accident.

The 3 Phases of Healing…

The Reaction Phase occurs in the first 24-72 hours after injury.  The area of injury has a traumatic response including swelling, muscle spasm, and pain and/or guarding.  For serious injuries, these symptoms take place immediately.  Your body is warning you that “something is wrong.”  And it prevents you from further aggravating it by eliciting such symptoms.  In a less traumatic car accident, the symptoms can take up to 48-72 hours to appear.  In these cases, the symptoms are often viewed as less dramatic and are often ignored.  You should never ignore symptoms or changes your body experiences after a motor vehicle accident.  Just because the ER cleared you, does not mean you’re free and clear from all injury.

The Regeneration Phase occurs next as the body lays down new tissue in and around the injured areas.  This phase typically lasts 6-8 weeks.  Depending on the area impacted, scar tissue development can interfere with normal movement patterns.  Even the smallest of changes in proper mechanics, especially in the spine, can lead to long-term dysfunction.  It is essential to address the mechanical changes early to prevent more challenging issues in the future.

The Remodeling Phase lasts the longest, anywhere from 3 to 12 months.  And it can be the most challenging phase.  The tissue is not yet fully repaired at this time.  Reestablishing proper function takes much longer to accomplish than simple pain reduction.  Don’t be fooled by a lack of pain, healing is still taking place for up to a year, or even longer, after a motor vehicle accident.

Why it’s important to seek chiropractic care…

Whether your car accident was yesterday or a few years ago, you should… With a focus on function related to musculoskeletal health, chiropractic care is an ideal treatment option after a motor vehicle accident.  Not only can treatment be provided, chiropractors are trained to identify when referring to another healthcare provider is necessary.  Benefits of seeking chiropractic care include:

  • pain reduction
  • improved range of motion
  • minimizing scar tissue development
  • restoration of faulty mechanics
  • improved nervous system communication
  • strengthening and prevention of future injury to the affected area
  • guidance and referral when necessary

 

The take-home message…

A motor vehicle accident is traumatic to the body, no matter how big or small the impact may be.  The signs and symptoms of injury might not happen instantly.  It’s important to have a chiropractic examination to assess the body’s condition.  The consultation and examination provide insight as to the the best course of treatment.  Even if an accident occurred “a long time ago,” it is encouraged to seek chiropractic care.  The body is amazing and will adapt as long as it can.  Unfortunately, the adaptations aren’t always in the best interest of your musculoskeletal health.  We can help you move better, feel better, and live better!

 

Check out next month’s article that will discuss insurance-related questions regarding a motor vehicle accident.

 

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Scoliosis- What You Need to Know!

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month.  It’s likely you’ve heard the word “scoliosis” to describe someone’s posture or diagnosed condition.  But do you really know what that means??  Do you have a scoliosis?  Is your child developing a scoliosis?  Here are some basics to help you understand the condition better and when to seek care.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine.  The lateral curvature can happen in different areas of the spine, including more than one area.  Small curvatures may go unnoticed if they barely impact the movement patterns of the spine.  Larger curvatures, however, can result in more noticeable, and sometimes painful, changes.

What are symptoms of Scoliosis?

Symptoms of scoliosis are often dependent on the severity of the curve (see below).  Here is a list of potential symptoms:

  • One shoulder blade higher than the other
  • A shoulder blade that sticks out more than the other
  • The appearance that the head is not centered with the rest of the body
  • The appearance that one shoulder is higher than the other
  • Uneven hips or one hip sticking out more than the other
  • A rotated spine
  • Pushed out ribs
  • Difficulty breathing due to a reduced available area for lung expansion
  • Back pain and discomfort
  • Arms not hanging down straight next to the body
  • When bending forward, the appearance that the two sides of the back are different heights

How is Scoliosis diagnosed?

Scoliosis is most often diagnosed in early childhood.  However, it is possible that a scoliosis develops later in life.  There is a test named “Adam’s forward bend test” that is performed by a nurse or doctor as a screening tool.  A scoliosis diagnosis is confirmed by x-ray.  If there is a curvature of 10° or larger, it can be labeled as scoliosis.  The severity of the condition is based on the curvature measurement.

  • mild curve is less than 20 degrees.
  • moderate curve is between 25 degrees and 40 degrees.
  • severe curve is more than 50 degrees.

What causes Scoliosis?

There are various reasons for a scoliosis to develop, most often affecting children.  Two to three percent of the US population is impacted.  The different types of scoliosis can help determine treatment needs.

Idiopathic Scoliosis- The cause of the most common form of scoliosis, idiopathic scoliosis, is unknown.  The majority of diagnoses occurs between the age of 10 and adulthood.  Chiropractic care is a very effective form of treatment for both pain management and preventing progression of the curvature.  Restoring proper vertebral movement (chiropractic adjustment), improving posture and back muscle strength (stretches/exercises), and maintaining proper nutritional health can all have very positive impacts on the symptoms associated with scoliosis.

Congenital Scoliosis- Congenital scoliosis means the patient was born with the condition.  This most often happens when the baby is developing in utero.  A vertebrae in the spine may be misshaped, missing, or even fused to another bone.  Congenital scoliosis can have more severe curvatures resulting in rib pain and breathing difficulties.  Other health problems may be associated as well, including heart and kidney concerns.  Chiropractic care can be very effective to help manage the symptoms associated with congenital scoliosis.  

Neuromuscular Scoliosis- Neuromuscular scoliosis is caused by any medical condition that affects the muscles and nerves.  Muscle weakness and imbalances are often the cause.  Cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and muscular dystrophy are examples of medical conditions tassociated.  Chiropractic care can assist in the management of symptoms associated with neuromuscular conditions in conjunction with other physicians.  

What are additional treatment options?

It is important to seek proper treatment advice when scoliosis is diagnosed.  At-home care consists of regular stretching and exercising, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep.  Chiropractic care and massage therapy reduce muscle tension and improve spinal movement.  Maintaining proper mechanics is extremely helpful in preventing additional pain and irritation to the spine. 

If early detection finds a moderate to severe scoliosis, a back brace may be recommended to prevent further progression of the curve.  And some curvatures are severe enough that surgical intervention is necessary.  It is important to discuss any concerns with your primary care physician and doctor of chiropractic.  Early detection and treatment is key to preventing long-term complications.

Suspicious of scoliosis impacting a loved one?  Already diagnosed with scoliosis?  Call or contact Body Logic today for evaluation and treatment options!

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Keeping Your Back Happy During Quarantine

Welcome to the world of adapting with the times!  Let’s be honest… it feels like we’ve been flipped upside down, turned around, and then told to walk straight and not touch anything or anyone.  It hasn’t been easy.  And that includes the physical changes we’re enduring!  Trying to keep your body “happy” during this time can be very challenging.

Kudos to those of you that have viewed Virginia’s stay-at-home orders as an opportunity to focus on your health!  Many patients have been increasing their activity points through yard work, walks in the neighborhood, and trying new exercise routines through various internet resources.

On the other hand, we have patients that have been working longer hours, sitting in front of the computer, munching on unnecessary snacks, and then binge-watching Netflix.  There has to be a happy medium!

How can I set up my at-home workstation to prevent my back from hurting?

Not everyone has their floor plans designed to accommodate a home-office.  We’ve heard patients describe their set up from lounging on the couch to sitting at kitchen counter on a bar stool- neither of which are good for the back!  When working from home, it’s very important to remember to get up every 30-60 minutes to loosen up the body and give your back a break.  Below are the American Chiropractic Association’s recommendations for an ergonomic work-station.  Can you change your workstation to lessen the strain on your back??

  • Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest, if they don’t reach the floor.
  • Don’t cross your legs. Your ankles should be in front of your knees.
  • Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
  • Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips.
  • Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support.
  • Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.

Why do I hurt more?? I’ve never been more active in my life!

Adding in activity is good for the mind, body, and spirit… however, the body doesn’t always know how to handle it!

Gardening- Thankfully, the pandemic hit Virginia Beach in the early spring time providing ample opportunity for outdoor activities.  Just a couple weeks ago, USA Today posted an article about the increase in gardening throughout the US.  Gardening is an excellent outdoor activity!  But it comes with sore muscles and achy backs if you’re not accustomed to the work.

TIPS

  1. Walk around the yard and warm up prior to beginning specific gardening activities.  Simply walking around helps increase blood flow to the muscles, preparing them for more strenuous activity.  Try alternating between short, quick steps and long lunge-like steps to get the heart pumping and add a little stretch.
  2. Squat to reach the ground.  Avoid excessive straight-legged bending at the waist when performing yard work.  This puts significant stress on the discs between your vertebrae and strains the muscles in the back.  Although a stretch is felt in the hamstrings and back, prolonged forward bending makes those muscles work harder.  And the pain is felt later, once your body has a chance to relax again!
  3. Alternate hands when pulling weeds.  We often rely on our dominant hand to do most of the work.  However, this can cause significant body imbalance from right to left.  Work both sides of the body to distribute the demands!

Cooking- With the closure of restaurants due to COVID-19, Americans are cooking more than ever before.  This means more time standing in the kitchen and looking down while preparing meals.  Hopefully healthier choices are being made!  But that doesn’t make for any less physical stress on the body from doing more in the kitchen!

TIPS

  1. Walk around the kitchen. Just like walking around the yard, the movement helps warm up the body.  You can gather ingredients and utensils needed for meal prep.  It also provides an opportunity to evaluate your kitchen set up for easier use!
  2. Open a cabinet door to rest a foot.  This is especially helpful when washing dishes.  Resting a foot on the cabinet prevents you from locking your knees and makes it easier to squat down when necessary.  Alternating which foot is resting in the cabinet also helps change up how your weight is distributed, often relieving back pain.

Exercising- Now that working from home is encouraged, and in some cases mandated, people have more time available for exercising.  An incredibly positive change for many!  But we’re also exercising from home which leads to more injuries when supervision is not available.

TIPS

  1. Slow and steady is the best method if you’re new to introducing exercise… and this includes people that were avid athletes in their younger years, but haven’t had the opportunity to maintain an athletic physique since the glory days of old.  There’s no shame in going back to the basics!
  2. Remember to stretch.  For a lot of people, exercise means sweating and burning calories.  Unfortunately, stretching is often neglected with that mentality.  Tight muscles are often a source of ache and generalized discomfort.  It is also essential for preventing injuries!
  3. Discuss your exercise routine with our chiropractors. There’s no better qualified physician than chiropractors when it comes to understanding the mechanics of the body.  Let us help you create the best routine for your body!

Here are 2 exercises and 2 stretches to help you handle the changes in activity!