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Walking

3 Health Benefits Walking Provides To Your Spine

You hear a lot of people talk about the benefits of walking, but may not know how it applies to you. If you have back pain, walking regularly can be exceptionally helpful by providing the spine with added support and increased blood flow. These three spinal health benefits of walking should be enough to convince you.

Walking Aids in Rehydrating Your Spinal Discs

Gravity is not your friend. Well, not when it comes to your back. From the time you get out of bed until you lay down again at the end of the day, the pressure of gravity compresses your spine. When your spine is compressed that means your spinal discs are too. These fluid filled discs provide cushion for your vertebrae, but the constant compression that occurs throughout the day due to normal activity squeezes out the fluid out of them.

Dehydrated discs can cause back pain and structural problems. That is why restful sleep and staying hydrated are extremely important for spinal health.

Walking is also important because it increases circulation throughout your body, including your spine. This increased blood flow helps to rehydrate your discs which improves your spinal health. It also helps keep your spine younger, staving off the effects of the aging process.

Walking Relieves Back Pain and Reduces Stress to the Spine

Walking provides a great low impact aerobic workout. It increases blood flow which helps improve mobility, flexibility, and range of motion. When you incorporate stretching, you can reap even more of the benefits of a healthy spine.

The human body is made to move. When you don’t move or are sedentary, your muscles become stiff and inflexible. Moving prevents that, but even if you are experiencing some stiffness walking, stretching, and movement can help you regain that flexibility.

You will also find that walking regularly also helps with stress relief. Lower back pain is a very common stress symptom but walking combats it effects by encouraging the release of dopamine.

When you are stressed, your pain sensitivity is increased. You feel pain more acutely and it is more difficult to manage. By reducing your stress level, you also make your pain more manageable but at the same time, minimize lower back pain.

Walking Improves Posture

When you don’t use your muscles, they become weak and inflexible – and are not able to do their intended job. The muscles of the back are designed to provide support to the spine. When they are not used they can atrophy and weaken, resulting in stooped or other improper posture.

Poor posture causes back pain by putting more pressure on the spine. This can lead to pain, soreness, tension, and headaches. Without the necessary support, it can also lead to misalignment of the spine which can cause a number of problems.

Walking strengthens the supporting muscle groups so that your back muscles get stronger. Your spine gets the structural support that it needs. As your back muscles get stronger your body will naturally begin to adopt a correct posture. The benefits of good posture include improved organ function, reduced pain, less fatigue, and easier breathing.

Walking is good for your whole body as well as your mind. When you walk to reduce back pain you are also doing great things for your body. If you have any questions about proper form or how to achieve better, healthier posture, your chiropractor can help you. The spine is such an important part of the body; it does so much. Do your best to protect it and keep it in good health. In return, it will keep you moving for a long, long time.

Stability Ball Benefits

3 Reasons Why Sitting On A Stability Ball Is Good For Your Spine

The workstation is one of the most damaging places you can spend your day when it comes to your spine. Office chairs are not designed to promote good posture or spinal health while desks and computer monitors are notorious for being too low or too high. The result can cause pain in your neck and back, headaches, and a variety of other conditions.

However, if you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk for an extended period of time, what can you do? Are you stuck with an achy, stiff neck and back because your work station doesn’t promote a healthy posture? You don’t have to suffer; you can work healthier and smarter. Using an exercise ball as your chair is a great way to combat the painful and even detrimental effects of the traditional desk and chair.

Stability Balls as an Office Chair

A stability ball, also known as a Swiss ball, exercise ball, or physio ball, is a large, inflatable ball that is used as training equipment. Regularly incorporating the stability ball into your fitness routine is effective in increasing pillar strength, improving your stability, and helping you have better balance. It is large, making it high enough that it can easily be used as a desk chair.

At least one company has combined the fitness benefits of a stability ball with some of the convenient features of an office chair (wheels, lumbar support, etc.). Gaiam Balance Ball Chairs are stability balls that are intended to be used as chairs. The ball needs to be inflated before use and may need to be re-inflated from time to time. It also has a 300-pound weight capacity. It is a somewhat pricier alternative to the plain stability ball.

How Sitting on a Stability Ball Benefits your Spine

There are at least three outstanding benefits you can enjoy by using a stability ball as your chair. Try it for just 30 days and see the difference for yourself. In that time you will see:

Your core muscles are toned. As you balance on the stability ball it forces you to engage your core muscles including those in your deep back, abdominal, and pelvic floor. It will keep your muscles engaged for extended periods of time but also encourage you to move for a little extra core work. This in turn will help to keep your spine properly aligned and stabilized.

Your back pain is relieved. Sitting on your stability ball improves your circulation, encouraging blood flow throughout your body. An office chair, on the other hand, does just the opposite. This is helpful in relieving pain. It keeps your spine aligned which also helps with any back pain you may experience. This is in part to the core strength you develop, but also because you are less likely to slouch or sit in a position that puts a strain on your back.

You have better posture. A better aligned spine just naturally leads to better posture. Sitting on the ball works your core, strengthening those muscles so that your spine is supported, resulting in better posture. You will find that you sit up straighter and over time you will walk taller. Better posture is very good for your spine, making it more flexible and stronger.

It should be noted that it isn’t healthy to sit in any position for too long. Stand up and move about every hour or so. While the stability ball causes you to change positions throughout the day, you also need the larger movements that include standing, stretching and walking.

Visit www.ocwc.ca to learn more about our clinic.

Pilates chiropractic benefits

What Chiropractic Patients Want To Know About Pilates

Everyone knows that exercise is great for overall wellness, better health, and a strong body. Many chiropractors will often recommend regular exercise to their patients who need to lose weight, want better mobility, or are seeking relief from depression. A number of chiropractors are turning to Pilates to help their patients get stronger, more flexible, and more mobile.

What is Pilates?

In the early 20th century Joseph Pilates developed the exercise program to help World War I soldiers improve their physical fitness. It was used to rehabilitate patients who had been injured. By incorporating resistance, stretching, and target strengthening exercise, Pilates uses resistance bands, special machines, and floor work to reshape and rehabilitate the body. Dancers, gymnasts, athletes, and celebrities use Pilates to stay in shape. However, anyone can do it for a healthier, more supple spine.

Care of the spine is at the core of Pilates. By keeping it in a neutral, or natural, position, this exercise can prevent back pain as well as help ease it. When done correctly, Pilates can:

  • Improve muscle control and movement efficiency through mental focus.
  • Make you more mindful of your body’s position, specifically, remaining aware of the spine’s position and keeping it neutral
  • Improve centering and mental focus through special, breathing techniques
  • Support and improve posture by strengthening abdominal and back muscles.

Benefits of Pilates for Chiropractic Patients

The benefits of Pilates tremendous, but for chiropractic patients it is even more so. By regularly incorporating Pilates into your exercise routine, you can enjoy these incredible benefits.

You can adapt Pilates to your fitness level and needs. Whether you are just starting a fitness program or you’ve been working out for years, Pilates can be adapted to your fitness needs and level.

It helps you strengthen your core. The deep muscles of your abdomen, back, and pelvic floor make up the core muscles of your body. Many of the Pilates movements focus on these muscles, making a body that is strong and the frame is supported.

Allows you to strengthen your muscles without bulking up. With Pilates your muscles get strong, but it also stretches the muscles so that they are lean and long. You will look toned and tight but not bulky and muscular.

It focuses on whole body fitness. Many types of exercise only work certain parts of the body, but Pilates focuses on whole body fitness. It works every part of the body so that the muscle development is balanced.

It helps to improve your posture. Pilates strengthens your body and helps to keep your spine in proper alignment due to a strong core. As a result, your posture naturally improves. By incorporating it into your exercise routine, you will find yourself standing taller, stronger, and more graceful.

You can become more connected through your mind and body by increased awareness. Pilates engages your mind and increases body awareness. It unites mind, body, and spirit for complete coordination. Each movement is done with complete attention.

It improves your flexibility. Pilates is a gentle but powerful exercise that works to safely stretch the muscles, making them longer, and increasing the range of motion in the joints.

It can protect you from injuries. By strengthening your body, Pilates can help protect you against injury. It conditions your whole body so that your muscles and strength are balanced. This reduces your risk of injury.

You get a natural energy boost. Just like with any exercise, Pilates will give you an energy boost. However, it is increased even more thanks to the focused breathing and increase in circulation stimulating the muscles and spine.

It can help you lose weight and attain a lean, long, strong body. Pilates tones and strengthens the body and if you do it regularly it will reshape you. The body is leaner and more balanced. It also helps you move with more grace and ease.

Give us a call at (780)455-2112 to book your one on one session with our amazing instructor! Visit www.ocwc.ca to learn more about our wellness clinic.

Health Ergonomics working posture

4 Health Benefits of Working Upright

Sitting at a desk for extended periods of time is not healthy and can lead to a host of health problems. As more and more studies show the detriments of prolonged sitting, some companies are taking action to protect their employees’ health by installing upright work stations. These desks take the person from a seated position and move them into one where they are leaning. As a result, most of the workers are enjoying several health benefits.

It facilitates healthy postural transitions

Simply put, postural transitions are the body movements made when changing positions. There are large movements like going from sitting to standing, standing to leaning, and standing to sitting, but also small movements like adjusting arm placement or moving a foot.

Ergonomists suggest that a person should be making postural transitions several time an hour. They also recommend that people avoid any static position such as standing, sitting, or leaning for an extended period of time, instead advocating a transition or movement every 20 minutes when possible.

Static positioning has been linked to obesity, heart disease, and other health conditions. When the body is positioned in such a way that facilitates healthy movement, the body moves more often and in a more natural way. This is not likely to happen with static positioning, especially prolonged sitting.

It improves spine health

Sitting or standing for long periods of time is not good for the spine. When a person stands or sits without any healthy postural transitions the spine can begin to compact and the discs become hard. This undermines the spines ability to adequately support the body, leading to loss of mobility, decreased flexibility, and pain.

The spine is made up of small bones, vertebrae, which are cushioned by spongy, fluid filled discs. In a healthy spine, the discs are filled with fluid providing a good cushion for the vertebrae as they move and support the body. However, the discs need movement to encourage blood flow so they can continue working as they should. Working upright facilitates those movements, thus decreasing the likelihood of spinal problems.

It discourages painful posture

Standing and sitting for prolonged periods of time can cause pain and certain mobility problems. While they share some pain points, each brings its own problems. A strained neck and stiff, sore shoulders are often associated with sitting and standing, usually due to improper computer monitor placement. Poor leg circulation, tight hips, and lower back pain are also common problems of people who do a lot of standing or sitting on their jobs.

Using an upright workstation moves the body into a more natural, healthier posture that encourages natural, frequent movement. The spine is properly aligned over the hips, the hips are open, and the feet are adequately supported. It promotes posture that is completely contrary to being hunched over a desk – the typical posture for a sitting workstation.

It keeps core muscles engaged

When in a seated position, the core muscles are mostly lax and rarely engaged. Over time, these muscles can actually be trained to become weak, or lazy and not engage as they should. This means that they stop supporting the back and body which leads to poor posture, loss of balance, lack of mobility, decrease in flexibility, and pain.

Working upright encourages micro movements that engage the core. It’s not like crunches at the gym, but more like an ongoing mini-workout that keeps the core muscles toned and supportive. The results are a healthier spine, fewer gastrointestinal problems, better posture, and improved circulation.

Other health benefits of working upright include a decreased risk of certain cancers like colon cancer and breast cancer, improved circulation, better brain function, and a decreased risk of health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Working upright is the most natural position for the body’s best function and health.

Visit www.ocwc.ca for more helpful health and wellness information and tips! Give us a call at (780)455-2112 to start your wellness journey today.

posture chiropractic benefits tips

4 Posture Tips Every Chiropractic Patient Can Use

Good posture is more important than many people realize. Many a mother has followed her child around, reminding him or her to “stand up straight!” Not everyone knows all the reasons that this is important, but they should. Good posture is essential to good spinal health as well as good overall health.

People with good posture sleep better, feel better, and have fewer aches and pains in the joints, back, neck, and head. It helps you have better digestion, improves your organ function, and helps to make your chiropractic treatments even more effective. These top posture tips will help you stand straight and tall while enjoying better health.

Be aware

Being aware of poor posture is the first step in being able to correct it. When you feel your spine starts to curve, your shoulders hunch, or your back sway, stop and take a moment to pull your body back into proper alignment. Pretend that there is a string that goes through your entire body from the top of your head.

In your mind, pull that string up, raising your chin slightly so that it is parallel to the floor. Pull your shoulders back and allow your arms to hang naturally at your side. Bend your knees slightly (soft knees) with your feet about shoulder width apart. Tuck in your stomach and roll your pelvis forward so your back is not swayed. Keep your weight mostly on the balls of your feet. Think tall. Take deep breaths and allow yourself to get an idea of what this, good posture, feels like.

Use the wall

Using the wall or floor can help you get a feel for how to shift your pelvis. If you have a habit of tilting your pelvis back so that you have a sway back, you need to learn how to roll it forward to get it straight.

A person can develop a sway back out of habit, due to injury, or if they carry a lot of abdominal fat. It can cause a great deal of pain and just making the adjustment to straighten your spine will make a tremendous difference.

To get the feel for straightening your back, stand flat against a wall. Keep your feet directly under you. Now try to press the small of your back into the wall. Feel how your body shifts as your pelvis rolls forward. Pay attention to that sensation so you can duplicate it without using the wall. You can also do this while lying on your back with your knees slightly bent. Practice arching your back and then pressing it against the floor to get a feel for that motion.

Stay active

Regular exercise and stretching are very important for good posture. What many people don’t realize, though, is that good posture is absolutely vital while you are exercising. This is called “form.” You need to practice good form while you are doing weight bearing exercises, cardio, and stretching. If you don’t it can lead to injury or pain.

Your chiropractor can advise you on various exercises and the proper form for them. If you work out at a gym or at home, learn about good form for the exercises that you do. Fitness professionals can help you with this and are well worth the investment.

Get Regular Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic treatments can help correct poor posture, but even if you are working on it yourself it is important to get regular chiropractic care. There are several reasons for this. First, your chiropractor can make adjustments to your spine, providing you with a much wider range of motion and better mobility. Your chiropractor can also recommend exercises for you and show you how to do them properly. If you have weight issues he or she can provide you with advice on diet and lifestyle changes. Taking advantage of the whole body wellness that chiropractic offers will not only improve your posture, it will improve your life.

It’s never too late to correct your posture, give our clinic a call at (780)455-2112 to book your assessment with one of our wellness chiropractors. Visit www.ocwc.ca to learn more about us!

improve posture

Improve Posture With Chiropractic

Your mother always told you to stand up straight – and she was right. Good posture is very important. It is good for your health, your mood, and even how you are perceived by others. It is important to improve posture because good posture can help you stave off age related conditions and allow your vital organs plenty of room to do their job correctly.

A Word about Posture

Sometimes though things can happen that impact your posture. Maybe you sustain an injury and your body compensates by listing to one side or you hunch over in an effort to relieve the pain. Other times you may slouch in an effort to make yourself “invisible” in a crowd. Then there are those who just don’t give good posture its due and slouch because they simply don’t feel like standing up straight.

Whatever the case, poor posture can lead to back pain, headaches, increased risk of injury, decreased flexibility, and diminished mobility. It can actually cause you to age much faster. The good news is, in most cases even those with very poor posture can turn it around and improve posture to stand a little taller. Chiropractic care has shown to help many people regain their youthful, straight, healthy posture that they’ve lost.

Postural Conditions that Chiropractic Care can Help

There are certain postural conditions that chiropractic care is particularly helpful is alleviating, including:

  • Hip or pelvis unleveling
  • Scoliosis
  • Damage to the low back, mid back, and neck that affects its normal curvature
  • Forward head posture (often associated with using mobile devices)
  • Kyphosis or hunchback

Chiropractic Treatment to Improve Posture Problems

When you first visit your chiropractor, he or she will sit down with you and discuss the problems you are having, what your complaints are, when the problem started, and events that may have contributed to the problem. They will take a thorough medical history and observe the way you sit, walk, bend, and move.

Your chiropractor may request x-rays and will assess the alignment of your spine. You may also be asked to have neurological or orthopedic testing done to ensure that there is no underlying condition or injury that is causing your problem.

You will be asked to stand straight and the doctor will take measurements to determine if there is any visible deviation from your optimum posture. He or she will ask you to move and bend while they test your range of motion, mobility and flexibility as well as your muscle strength and length.

A Prescription to Improve Posture

Once your assessments are complete your chiropractor will discuss treatment options with you. He or she will walk you through the adjustments that will be done and other types of therapies they recommend. You will talk about the best course of action to relieve any pain that you are experiencing as well as get your spine back into alignment and improve your posture.

Your chiropractor will also likely talk to you about stretching exercises and things you can do at home in between appointments. They may discuss sleep positions, diet, work area adjustments, exercise, and weight loss. Chiropractic is a whole body treatment, addressing lifestyle changes that affect the entire body and getting it into optimal working order as a whole.

If you have poor posture you can change it, even if you are an older adult – or a senior. Often simple chiropractic adjustments can help improve posture within just a few sessions. Once your body is in alignment you will feel more energetic, healthier, and happier. Your body is an intricate machine and when one part isn’t functioning as it should, it affects all the other parts. Chiropractic can turn that around, helping your body function more effectively so you feel better.

Check out our website @ www.ocwc.ca or give our clinic a call @ 7809-455-2112 to book your assessment today.

How Mobile Devices are Wrecking Our Spines

Nearly everyone has a smartphone or mobile device these days, and while there is some merit to this technology by keeping us more connected – at least virtually – it is wreaking havoc on our bodies. When you look at the posture that people assume when texting, reading email, or browsing social media while on their mobile device or smartphone, you will see their head bent forward and rounded shoulders. They typically hold the device either at chest level or waist level meaning that their hands are together, forming an almost crouch position.

This is very bad for the spine but it creates problems for other parts of the body even beyond the spine. Let’s take a look at some of the common issues that come with bad smartphone posture.

Text Neck

The more you tilt your head downward (just as you do when looking at a smartphone), the more pounds of pressure you put on your neck and back. Your spine supports the weight of your head. The more it is thrust forward, looking down, the heavier your head gets. Doctors are seeing many young people with this problem, some even as young as 8 years old.

It is characterized by tightness or tension in the neck and shoulders as well as the upper back. Some patients report pain while others feel pressure, and others feel tightness. Sometimes the pain will spread throughout the body or from the neck to the arms and hands.

Forearm and Wrist Pain

Even the way you hold your phone in your hands can cause problems. Since you keep your hand in one position for long periods of time your muscles never have a chance to relax. You have several muscles engaged to do this: the forearms, the wrist, and the neck.

If you are experiencing pain, sometimes shooting, in your elbow or wrist your smartphone use may be the culprit. So put the phones away or leave them at home.

Sore Upper and Lower Back

As your neck struggles to support your head which is rolled forward, it stands to reason that you will experience back pain. In fact, both upper and lower back pain have been attributed to smartphone use.

Think about the muscles that run along your spine. They help stabilize it and help control and support your head. When you hunch over you strain those muscles in your upper back. What you may not realize is that similar strain is being put on the muscles in your lower back as well.

Blackberry Thumb

The muscles in your hand are very small but they can cause you a great deal of pain if you frequently use a mobile device. As you type on the keyboard of your smart phone, it can cause problems with tendons and ligament as well as the muscles.

This repetitive stress of the body is caused daily by people who stay hunched over their small phone screen. The repetitive movement of your thumb as it manipulates the device can cause inflammation in the thumb and hand.

Headaches from Tension in Neck and Back

One of the most common ailments associated with mobile device usage is headaches. These headaches can come from tension in the neck, strained muscled in the back, or overworked muscles through the hand and arm into the shoulder. It can also come from eyestrain caused by staring at the screen for extended amounts of time, looking at tiny text.

There is no doubt that mobile device usage is becoming a serious problem in our society today. While there are the people who text while driving or while walking, posing a significant threat to their own and others’ safety, what they are doing to their own bodies is enough to cause alarm.

Chiropractic care can ease the pain and reverse a good portion of the damage that has been done, but when patients continue with the same bad habits the treatment is only temporary. There needs to be a focused effort made to pull people out of their mobile devices, at least a portion of the time, to minimize the structural spinal damage they are doing to themselves.