I have been noticing some common themes in the patients I have treated this past month both in my own practice and covering for the other doctors within the health offices at Riverview Chiropractic Health. I would like to take some time now to share with you some of the common complaints patients have come in with, what causes those complaints and some ergonomic strategies for how to deal with these problems.
Patients can present with common complaints in each area of the spine: Cervical (neck and shoulders), thoracic (upper and mid back), lumbar (lower back) and the pelvis/hip region. For the cervical region a patient may present with pain in the upper neck and skull along with pain in the lower neck and upper shoulder area (the curved part of the neck where your neck and shoulder come together). This is a common condition called “upper crossed syndrome”. This condition is composed of several dysfunctions which are posturally related. This problem is seen a lot in people such as software engineers, or other people who sit at a desk and use a computer to accomplish their work tasks. First, there is forward head carriage where the head comes out in front of the shoulders. Muscles overworked here are suboccipitals at the base of the skull and trapezius/levator scapulae located near the meat of the upper shoulder area. The shortened weak muscles are chest muscles pectoralis major and minor. A common ergonomic fix to this problem is to put the body in a more upright position. Ankle joints, knee and hip joints should all be roughly at 90 degrees. Forearms should be roughly parallel to the ground. Wrists should be in a relaxed posture over the keyboard but should not rest on the desk. Use of a wrist pad is a good preventative strategy. Your computer monitor should be at eye level or a few degrees down from line of sight. Looking too far up or down is not good.
The next area of the spine affected is the thoracic region. Usually students come in with this problem. They are under a lot of stress with many deadlines. Poor posture for long days does not help either. Usually slumped forward or hunched over a book for long periods of time take its toll on this area of the body. The complaint is a pinching sensation in between the shoulder blades. The best way to get rid of this problem is to sit with good posture. One visualization i give is to have patients point to their sternum or “breastbone” and also to their umbilicus or “belly button”. When hunched these two areas come closer together. The solution is to sit up straight moving these two points away from each other. Another good strategy is to get up and stretch. Bruegger’s relief position is a good one to try. Ask your doctor how to do it.
With our Western New York winter comes many lower back woes. The major area here is the lumbosacral region, the lowest portion of the lower back. Frequent snowfall requires daily shoveling at times. Mostly this is caused by shoveling that yucky heavy wet snow. Here a person tries to take too big a scoop of snow and lifts the shovel too far out in front of their body along with throwing it with a twisting motion. Repeat this time and again and you have the perfect recipe for lower back pain and disc compression which can cause painful condition commonly known as sciatica or lumbago (lower back pain). The solution is to take manageable shovelfuls then step close to the shovel head. From here lift the load close to the body and mostly with the legs. Make sure to step (in the direction where you want to throw the snow) first when throwing the snow. This avoids twisting which creates compression on the joints and discs of the spine. Take frequent short breaks. It is better to have the job take a little longer than to injure yourself.
Lastly is the pelvis area. The most common thing here is for men to sit on their wallet or for women (and men too!) to cross one leg over the other while they sit. This puts the pelvis in an unlevel position. The brain scans the body for three “horizons” and it wants these “horizons” to be level and parallel to one another. The “horizons” are located at the shoulders, hips, and knees. When any area is out of balance the body with make corrections to fix the problem which results in muscle spasm and areas of increased stress on the body which leads to and increase in inflammation and pain. To solve this take the wallet and put it in the front pocket. You will not lose it and your pelvis will be level. If you are a leg crosser. Try to sit with legs even on the chair. Knees and hips at 90. Doing so keeps the body level.
Hopefully these quick tips will help alleviate or ease some of the symptoms to these common problems. Please don’t hesitate to ask your chiropractor about these and any other tips to improve posture. Your doctor will be glad to help you towards better posture and better health!
What’s going on in our office? We have new and exciting things going on this month!
Dr. Marinaccio is teaching a new, monthly line of FaceBook classes on essential oils. The first class ‘Essential Oils 101’ is on Wednesday December 12th at 8:30pm. Hop on our Facebook page to find the details!
Drs. Leuppie and Davis are hosting a Patient Education and Trigger Point Workshop on Tuesday December 18th. Call the office to RSVP and bring a friend!
Holiday Schedule: The office will be closed on Tuesday December 25th and Tuesday January 1st. Dr. Leuppie will have morning hours available on Monday December 24th. Drs. Leuppie and Marinaccio will have morning and early afternoon hours available on Monday December 31st.
We want to hear from you! During the month of December, we are raffling off one 60-minute massage each week for patients that write us a review on their office experience. A Google review and a Facebook review will each give you one entry for the raffle (only one review per person, per platform). We appreciate your trust in us and love when our your positive experiences help us share the healing of Chiropractic with others!
Give the gift of wellness this Holiday Season! Gift certificates are available for purchase for both Massage Therapy and Chiropractic care. Looking to use up end of the year FSA funds? Consider purchasing a Chiropractic Wellness Plan! See the front desk for details.
1 medium eggplant
All-purpose flour, for dredging
2 large eggs
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra- virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 large plum tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 cup ricotta cheese
Shredded fresh basil, for topping
Thinly slice the eggplant into rounds and season with salt. Pour some flour into a shallow dish. Beat the eggs in another dish. In a third dish, mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Dredge the eggplant in the flour, then dip in the eggs and coat with the breadcrumb mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant until golden, about 2 minutes per side, adding more oil between batches, if necessary. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
Toss the tomatoes with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and the vinegar in a bowl. Spoon some ricotta onto each eggplant slice. Top with the tomato mixture and basil.