Neck pain is one of the most common reasons we see patients. Also referred to as the cervical spine, it contains so many small vertebrae that support the weight of your entire head. Your neck is strong, but it’s the flexibility that leaves it susceptible to strain and injury.
The biomechanics of everyday living contribute to the wear and tear of your cervical spine, so even just prolonged sitting, accidents, falls, normal aging, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, poor posture, repetitive movements and blows to the head can lead to chronic pain and headaches.
Seeing a chiropractor about your neck pain is an important step in the right direction. During your visit your chiropractor will ask you a series of questions and will perform an exam to locate the source of your pain. They will ask about your current symptoms and if you have already tried to alleviate the pain on your own. A few of these questions may include:
- When did the pain start?
- Does the pain travel to other parts of your body?
- Are there movements that reduce the pain?
- Are there movements that make the pain worse?
- What measures have you taken to reduce the pain already?
Part of the exam will also include a physical component where your chiropractor will observe your range of motion, posture, and physical condition so they can note any movements that cause you pain. They may feel your spine to note any curvature and alignment, and to feel for tight muscles or spasms. They will check your shoulder area, and may perform a neurological exam as well.
In some cases, there may be a request for additional imaging tests like an x-ray, an MRI, and EMG, or a CAT scan to check for bone spurs, fractures, arthritis, herniations, bulging discs, or nerve damage before moving forward with a treatment plan. There are instances where treatments are out of the chiropractic scope of practice, like surgeries or medications and you’ll be directed to your medical physician.
When your treatment is in the scope of chiropractic care, neck adjustments are given to help improve mobility and to restore the range of motion. When performed correctly, this will also increase movement in the adjoining muscles. Typically, patients notice an improvement mobility, reduced pain, soreness, and stiffness.
Additionally, your chiropractor may include additional treatments depending on your personal profile and what the best case planning is for your individual needs. This may include massage therapy, rehabilitative services, or exercise.
Although neck pain is a common reason we see patients, each person has individualized needs that require an individualized treatment plan. If you are experiencing neck pain, talk to your local chiropractor to assess whether they can help you have an improved standard of living. Neck pain doesn’t have to be a part of aging, nor should it be tolerated until it “resolves itself”. Chiropractic care is available to you, call us, and easily relieve the pain and discomfort associated with neck pain.
5 Tips to Avoid Consuming Excess Sugar
When it comes to developing and maintaining balance in your health we have to consider the whole picture. This includes exercise, mental wellness, a structured routine, and nutrition. Aside from contributing to illness, there are many reasons why sugar should be eliminated, or at least reduced from your diet.
Sounds easy right? Well, if it were easy everyone would do it. The truth is sugar creates a similar sensation in your body as addiction. And we often don’t even realize all the foods, sauces and drinks that contain sugar.
There are two types of sugar, one that is naturally occurring and processed sugars that are added to everything from spices to drinks and desserts. While the consumption of naturally occurring sugars should be monitored, it’s the processed sugars that can really cause harm to your body. These include: brown sugar, white sugar, high fructose corn syrup and sweeteners.
Aside from the empty calories, consuming sugar will cause a spike in your blood sugar which makes you thirsty, hungry, and irritable. Sugar contributes to an acidic environment in your body, which also leads to inflammation. Ultimately, if you decrease your sugar intake you can lose weight, control your blood sugar, and decrease your risk of developing chronic illness.
Reducing or eliminating your sugar intake can come with some side effects like headaches and restlessness, but these subside after a few days.
Here are 5 tips to help you to reduce your sugar intake:
- Check Labels – Foods that are labelled as “light” or “low fat” are often high in sugar. When checking ingredients, if sugar is listed as one of the first ingredients it means it’s one of the most used ingredients. When checking the ingredients, also look out for fructose, high glucose corn syrup, malt/corn/rice/palm syrup, dextrose, maltose, and sucrose which are all common sugar aliases.
- Avoid processed foods – Not only are processed foods full of chemicals and preservatives, but they are often full of sugar as well. Nutrients are removed during the manufacturing process, leaving processed foods vacant of any real nutritional value. Eating fresh foods will provide your body what it needs to remain nourished.
- Maintain healthy blood sugar levels – Allowing your body the opportunity to maintain healthy blood sugar levels will reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Eating regular meals and steering clear of carb overloads (which turns to sugar during digestion) will allow your body to work efficiently.
- Don’t skip breakfast – Breakfast being the most important meal of the day may sound cliche, but you wouldn’t drive your car on an empty gas tank right? Having a nutritious breakfast with protein and fibre will help your body curb sugar cravings. Both will keep your body satisfied for hours, and will keep you from reaching for sugary snacks.
- Stay hydrated – More often than not, if you are craving sugar it could be your body’s way of telling you you’re dehydrated. Remaining hydrated will control your appetite, and will help you to reduce headaches and fatigue. The key to remaining hydrated is to not wait until you feel thirsty to drink water, rather have water available throughout the day to drink. Try and stay away from sugary drinks as well, although they may appear to be refreshing at the time, they are actually going to further dehydrate your body.
The truth is, cutting down on sugar for most people can be difficult. Your body has become accustomed to sugar, no matter how little you think you consume. Staving off headaches, irritability, and hunger will be the hardest parts of this journey, but once you develop a new routine with less or no sugar, you’ll notice a difference in your body and you’ll no longer crave it.
With excess sugar out of the way, you’ll have room for new recipe’s and new lifestyle changes!