Category Archives: Chiropractic and the Workplace

Access to Chiropractic for Military Families

The NavyTimes reported on a possible revamping of the military medical system recently

Washington policymakers will soon begin consideration of the biggest overhaul of the military health care system since Tricare replaced CHAMPUS in the early 1990s — changes that would shift millions of beneficiaries to commercial, private-sector health plans.

This plan is purported to save the Pentagon billions of dollars as well as improving access to care for over 9 million military families.

Participants would have to provide the same services now covered by Tricare, including inpatient and outpatient services, medical and surgical care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, maternity care and pediatrics, preventive care and more.

But some plans could offer benefits that the current Tricare program doesn’t — chiropractic care, fertility treatments, acupuncture and more — at various costs.

The commission, whose members included six retired military officers, a Navy reservist and a Medal of Honor recipient, all with legislative and professional expertise in military pay-and-benefits issues, says the program, called Tricare Choice, would give families more choice of doctors, better access and improved treatment.

For the full article visit http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/benefits/health-care/2015/03/16/commission-proposes-tricare-choice/24458697/

chriscapitolstraightTo support improved access to chiropractic for our military and their families you can sign up for alerts about legislation affecting chiropractic athttp://www.chirovoice.org/ or you can visit the legislative action center for the ACA (http://cqrcengage.com/aca/) to find current issues and contact your representative or senator to make your voice heard.  There are currently 3 federal issues that affect chiropractic and the military. Take a look and support our troops.

“Ugly giant bags of mostly water!”

This quote is from Star Trek the Next Generation. It is an alien life form describing humans and Hydrateis very apt. I don’t know about the ugly part, but we are mostly water. While estimates differ, our bodies are made up of 55-75% water. Water affects every aspect of our function. Many of us are not getting enough of it. Some experts feel that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. While working out you can loose 6-10% through sweat, and everyone knows you need water when you exercise, but that is obvious and our body is demanding water at that point.

Chronic mild dehydration has unknown effects. We don’t know what it does to us to be a little dehydrated for years. We do know that as little as 1% dehydration can cause a 5% decrease in cognitive ability and physical performance. This is the first time that our body will start to feel thirsty. You should be drinking before you get thirsty. If you’re thirsty then you’re already having symptoms of dehydration. We also know how important water is for us. Here are some symptoms that you may not associate with dehydration.

Some Lesser known Symptoms of Dehydration:

  • Craving for sugar
  • Headaches
  • Bad breath
  • Irritability
  • Chronic Illness
  • Chronic Pain

Some lesser known benefits of drinking water are:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased cognitive ability
  • Increased physical ability
  • Clearer skin
  • Decreased joint and muscle pain
  • Improved immune system

The next time you get the munchies, or a headache, or feel a little out of control or tired, try a glass of water.

Don’t Let Your Computer Beat You Up

How Not to Do It

How Not to Do It

Everyone uses computers now.  We use them at work, at home, at play, our children at school are using them.  As a result of this relatively new activity I see more and more injuries related to it.  Who would have thought that sitting all day could injure you.  Some common computer related injuries are Carpal tunnel Syndrome and other Repetitive Stress Injuries, facet syndrome in the low back and in the neck, upper cross syndrome, and just general back and neck pain.

You can avoid or reduce these problems with a few simple modifications to your computer use.

  1. Take the time to modify your workstation for you.  Especially if there are multiple users of your computer as often happens at home, make sure that you adjust it for you.  At home make sure to educate your family on these tips also.
    • Position the monitor so that the top of the screen is at or below eye level.  If you can’t adjust the monitor try adjusting your chair a little.  The monitor should also be in line with your keyboard so that you are not having to turn to see the screen while you type.
    • Make sure your chair supports you.  Chairs with lumbar support are good, but they must fit you.  You can use towels or pillows or purchase tailored items to fit your back.  You’re chair should have arm rests that fit you.  They should not push your shoulders up or let them hang down.  The back of your knees should be an inch or two in front of the chair, not touching, and your feet should be able to touch the floor or be supported in some way.
    • Keep your mouse close to your keyboard so that you don’t have to hang your arm out away from your body to use the mouse.
    • Use computer settings and lighting to keep text visible for you, not to small so that you end up leaning into the screen just to be able to read it.
  2. Your wrists should be in a neutral position while typing or using your mouse rather than angled up or down.
  3. Limit the time that you are on the computer or take frequent breaks.  This doesn’t mean that you have to get up and waste time for 15 min.  You can take a break by standing up for a second and touching your toes.  Clench your hands into fists and then stretch them out.  Do some wrist exercises.  Twist in your chair to get full spine range of motion.  These things only take a few seconds, and if you remember to do them 3 times an hour you will avoid the effects of creep on you soft tissues.
  4. Drink plenty of water (not soda, or coffee).  Eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise.Good computer posture

Your chiropractor can help you to prevent and reduce computer related injuries.

Your Commute and Your Spine

With modern transportation people have opted to live far away from their jobs.   This has it’s advantages.  It is also causing problems for commuters.  Most sources agree that the average American spends about 30 min in their car to get to work.  That’s an hour a day, and more time each year than you spend on vacation.

Your back is taking a beating from all this driving.  Car seats are designed for looks not usually for support, and even when we have a good one we rarely use it properly.  But let’s not dwell on the bad.  Here are some ideas to help with this problem.

  • If you can, move closer to work, bike, walk or run to work.  You get your exercise and you avoid the car.  You might be surprised at how easy it is to bike to work at least some days.
  • Keep yourself fit.  Diet and exercise can help your body handle a lot. Chiropractic can help you keep your body in peak condition.
  • Take your wallet out of your back pocket.  I’ve seen some huge wallets.  At least take it out for your commute.
  • Relax.  Leave early so traffic doesn’t stress you.  Listen to relaxing music while driving, and avoid stressors in general.
  • Park far away.  This is especially important for those who sit in offices all day.  This will get your legs and back moving a little before you have to sit again.
  • Use proper posture in the car.  Sit upright and relax your shoulders.  If it helps you get a lumbar support from a store like relax the back.  Adjust your seat to help you sit properly.  Men usually sit to far back with their legs fully extended, and women usually sit to close.  Keep as much of your thighs on the seat as possible.
  • Adjust the seat when you get uncomfortable rather than shifting yourself.

These ideas can reduce the chance of you having to come see me, but if you do find your self with back pain from driving see your chiropractor.  The sooner you come in the less damage is done and the less time it takes to correct it.

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.