Author Archives: Christopher Duncan

More Help for Weak Posture – Exercises

The biggest mistake people make when trying to improve their posture is forgetting to strengthen postural muscles.  They just sit up straight then after about 20 min they’re back to slouching because their muscles cannot maintain it.  I have some exercises that I’ve used for years to strengthen posture.  Here are some of the exercises that I recommend.  Here are some others that I’ve presented in a prior post. Give them a try and see how your posture improves.

Chin Tucks (For Anterior Head Postures)

Chin Tucks Full

  1. Looking forward retract your chin straight back, not down. You can use your hand to push it back if needed.
  2. Hold in that position for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Bring your chin strait forward and then back as before holding again for 5-10 seconds.
  4. This exercise can be overdone and you will feel a little sore the next morning if you do, so perform these chin retractions no more than about 5 times a day with 10 reps each time.

Shoulder Retraction (For Rounded Shoulder Postures)Shoulder Protraction-Retraction

  1. With your arms out in front of you retract just your shoulders back and down bringing the shoulder blades together.
  2. Keeping your shoulders back and down pull your elbows back in a slow rowing motion.
  3. Still keeping your shoulders back and down bring your elbows back to a straight position.
  4. Then return your shoulders to a forward position and repeat.
  5. This exercise is more mental than physical. It is designed to remind your brain to use these lower muscles to stabilize your upper back.

These exercises are for informational purposes and are not intended to be a substitute for examination, diagnosis and treatment by your physician chiropractic or otherwise.

D-Day Anniversary Treatment

I was honored to treat a WWII vet today on the 70th anniversary of D-Day. It was amazing to talk to him about his life, sad to talk to him about the condition of his spine. He used to enjoy riding dirt bikes and ATVs. We may not get him back to that, but he was unable to look me in the eye when he walked in the door because he couldn’t stand up straight or tip his head back. He walked out upright and looking at everyone in the eye, proud again. I tried to give him encouragement by suggesting the possibility of future ATV rides and his wife simply said, “Oh, no!”

These men and women who fought for the freedom of our world and our country deserve our best, not just what ever is convenient for us. Take a moment of your time today and contact your congressmen and senators about the VA care our veterans receive.

If you would like to I would also encourage you to support the current legislation to get a chiropractor in every VA center. You can find more info and how you can support that here:

Public Health: Teach Children What it Means to Eat Right.

Many of us were never taught what eating healthy is. Children learn their eating habits Colorful Foodfrom their parents. It is a learned behavior. It is not a chore. It’s not yucky. It doesn’t mean taking vitamins, or supplements. (If you have to take those every day it means that you are eating wrong.)

We as a culture have gone so far away from eating right that we have forgotten how. Most individuals who want to eat right feel the need to research it so that they know what to do. Now, if the culture around you has not taught you how to prepare foods like this then research may be needed. There are thousands of diets out there that will tell you what and how to eat.  All of them seem to be backed by scientific research and all of them will probably be proven and disproven multiple times over the next few years.  I recommend moderation in your diet. I have found, when you ask people how to eat better they already know. They’ll tell you that they should be eating less and what they should be eating is more vegetables and fresh food not processed or fast food. The principle is that basic.

Eating right will help reduce our risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other diseases. If we teach our children this habit then in a few generations these diseases could actually become rare rather than the most common diseases in our country.

Public Health: Be Healthy From the Start

Teach our children that breastfeeding is important and healthy by explaining to them why we do it and what the benefits are that they can look forward to seeing in themselves and their children when they do it.  We don’t need to have a big public breastfeeding rally, but this part of life should be discussed with children and not kept a secret from them until they have their first child.


From the National Public Health Week Website:

  • Breastfeeding is recommended for at least the first year of a child’s life, and exclusively for the first 6 months. Longer lifetime durations of breastfeeding are associated with decreased risks of maternal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, longer durations of breastfeeding are associated with decreased risk of many common childhood infections and sudden infant death syndrome, as well as chronic conditions in offspring such as obesity, Type 1 diabetes, and leukemia.
  • Prenatal care can help keep mothers and their babies healthy. Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have a low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get care.
  • Globally, an estimated 43 million preschool children were overweight or obese in 2010, a 60 percent increase since 1990. And children’s early-life experiences, such as lack of breast feeding, too-little sleep and too-much television can increase the risk of obesity later in life. That’s why early child care providers have such a crucial role to play in turning around the obesity epidemic.

Real Preventative Health Care Means Teaching Children

Public Health Nerd Alert: National Public Health Week 2014.

This week is National Public Health Week!  I am a huge supporter of Public/Preventative Health even though I disagree with the way it is usually presented (in the form of vaccinations, screenings, and government legislation or mandates).  I strive daily in my practice to improve the health of the public.  

How do you prevent or reduce obesity, diabetes, the flu, high blood pressure, cavities, STDs, low back pain, cancer, etc…?  The answer is not a vaccine, or early screening.  The real way to prevent most disease, injury and illness is by teaching our children how to live well.  Their bad habits are not as deeply ingrained as adults.  We’ve all tried to change our eating habits or get into shape, quit smoking, strengthen our posture or any number of other bad habits that affect our health.  Most of us have failed more often than succeeded.  I’m not encouraging giving up as adults.  Don’t stop trying to improve your health, but teaching children will also help you.

We may not be able to change the world instantly, but teaching a few children can change the world  in a generation.  Every generation wants to improve life for the next generation.  We want our children to have it better and to be better than we were.  If we worked hard to teach our children behaviors that help reduce health risks, in a few generations obesity and high blood pressure could be rare conditions.  This week I will present some small ideas to teach children that can have a huge impact.  Teach one child and see the difference.

adults-like-childrenGet kids off of the couch.  One way to do this that is beneficial for you is to invite them to play with you.  That means that you have to get off of the couch or out of the computer chair and go show the children how you played as a child.  Build a blanket fort, dig in the sandbox, chase a ball, wrestle in the grass, climb a tree, pull out your old skateboard or bike.  Being active will help prevent everything from obesity and high blood pressure to diabetes and low back pain. Our bodies are designed to move.   We develop painful, and at times, life threatening conditions when that design is inhibited. When you improve your function, your symptoms also improve. Chiropractic is here to facilitate and support that design.  Teach children to move.  Ask your chiropractor for help.

Chiropractic New Years Resolutions

Calendar 2015It’s that time of year again.  New Year, new you, a blank 365 page book to write.  How your year will go is all up to you.  Of course you can’t control everything, but you can always choose to do and be the best that you can with what you have.

Your body is one of your greatest assets, and if it’s not performing at its best then nothing will be as good as it could be.  That raise that you’re going to get is useless if you can’t enjoy the activities it will allow.  The best vacation ever is ruined by back pain that sidelines you.

On the other side of the scale even mundane things are so much better when you feel not just pain free, but healthy.  How much more can you get done when you come home after a long day and still feel energized?  It’s so much more fun to be able to play with the kids all day rather than dragging behind them with a headache.

Talk with your chiropractor and see how you can work to your health goals.  They can help you lose weight, quit smoking, touch your toes again, get those headaches or back pains under control or even improve your golf swing or race time.  Anytime you see your chiropractor you should set a goal with them, discuss a plan, and then carry it out with their help.  Goals are always easier to achieve with outside support.  Let your chiropractor support your health this year.  Start now.

New Site

ScreenShotI have outgrown and have decided to branch out.  The old address will still work as I have set it to forward to this one, but you might notice a new look as well as some changes in the future.  I want to make this primarily an info site for the public about chiropractic, and I will continue to orient my blog towards patients or others with questions.  If you have questions you want answered or recommendations please let me know.  Enjoy the new site, and thanks for visiting.  The new address is

In Honor of All Veterans

American-flagWe all know veterans.  Some are family members, some are friends.  My father, a veteran, is finally coming home from overseas and will be living near me.  He recently called me to ask about getting treatment when he gets back.  The answer that I had to give him was that it would be difficult to get any chiropractic care through the VA here or through Medicare.  I have treated quite a few veterans here in Sandy from all over the Salt Lake City area, and they all have had difficulty with the VA.  The VA told them that they don’t cover chiropractic care here in Utah.  That is not true, so, I provided them with this VA fact sheet and this guide to Veterans getting care put out by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).  After being shown the law the VA does cover their treatment.  When asked about this discrepancy in thier policy the official reply from the VA was that there is no demand in the Utah VA for chiropractic care.

“In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has started the long-overdue process of providing veterans with access to chiropractic care by placing doctors of chiropractic on staff at VA hospitals. The process of integrating chiropractic care in the VA system was initiated after Congress enacted a series of statues—Public Law 108-170 and Public Law 107-135—that reinforced a permanent chiropractic benefit within the VA health care system and specifically directed the VA to hire doctors of chiropractic to provide care for veterans.

As a result of the above-referenced congressional directives, the VA now provides chiropractic care (via hired or contracted staff) at 47 major VA treatment facilities within the United States. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of America’s veterans still do not have access to chiropractic care because the VA has taken no action to provide chiropractic care at more than 100 of its major medical facilities.

Despite important data demonstrating a critical need for chiropractic services within the VA, the disparity in access has been allowed to persist. Recent VA data cites “diseases of musculoskeletal system/connective system,” such as back pain, as the number one ailment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans accessing VA treatment.” -ACA Website

If you are a veteran or know one, or just appreciate the service that they have given then please give back.  Contact your congressman and Senator today.  There are currently bills in both the senate and the house that would require the VA to have a chiropractic physician on staff at all major VA medical facilities by 2016.  To make your voice heard on this topic you can visit the ACA Political Action Center

For more information visit the Chiropractic Veterans Affairs page



Sitting at a Desk is a Pain

balance-ball-chairWe sit a lot.  Most people sit at work.  We sit for recreation or entertainment.  We sit to drive, and we sit to eat.  Many people ask me the question, “what kind of chair should I get for work?”  Unknowingly they are asking the wrong question.  They really want to take care of their back and they’ve probably heard the fad news of the day that “Sitting is the New Smoking” or that standing or treadmill desks are the way to go.  There are kneeling chairs, exercise balls for sitting.  Balls mounted on chairs, reclining chairs and setups that you can climb inside.  Most of these devices are great, but I haven’t found a single one that you can’t sit poorly in.  You can even slouch on a ball.  The key is not what we sit in, though it can help to get good sitting furniture.

There are really only two ways to avoid the problems that come with sitting, the first way is to sit properly with good posture, however posture is supported by our muscles.  No one, no matter how well trained can sit indefinitely without those muscles getting fatigued.    Most of us are poorly trained and return to poor sitting posture after less than 20 minutes.  I highly recommend core training and exercises to improve our postural endurance, but like the different chairs it is not enough by its self.

tr800-dt7_fullviewThe only method that is manageable and within the reach of almost everyone is to sit for shorter periods of time.  That doesn’t mean to rush out and buy a standing desk or a treadmill work station.  You just have to limit your sitting to the period of time that your muscles and joints can handle at any given time.  For most people that means standing up 2-3 times per hour just to stretch or move.  You could walk to another cubicle to deliver a message, go get a drink, do 5 jumping jacks, or just stretch for 30 seconds and then get back to proper sitting.  Try it for a day.  Set a 20 minute timer and every time it goes off, pause what you’re doing, get up and move for 30 seconds.  You’ll be amazed at how you feel and how much more productive you can be even though you are taking more breaks.