Ticks: Dangers, Prevention Tips, and Treatment.

Ticks are a sensitive subject during the summertime in North America. And for good reason: a quick google of the word ‘tick’ will bring up stories such as “A New York Man Was Killed by a Rare Brain-Infecting Disease Spread by Ticks” and “Ticks are Reaching Record Numbers in North Carolina” – and it’s only August. 

 

Adult ticks – which are about the size of a sesame seed – can be active any time the temperature is above freezing, but they are most active during the warmer months. They are particularly pervasive from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November.

 

Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses or parasites, and carry pathogens that can be passed onto humans through the bite of an infected tick. The most commonly found tick-borne illnesses include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever. 

 

In the United States alone, more than 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); however, health officials have acknowledged that the true number of cases is likely much higher. 

 

Lyme has been diagnosed in almost every state, but recent reports show that 90% of cases stemmed from 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. 

 

Celebrities from Shania Twain to Avril Lavigne, Alec Baldwin, Yolanda Hadid, and Ben Stiller have been outspoken about their battles with the illness. Lavigne has even used her platform to spread awareness, famously telling People Magazine in 2015 that she was “bedridden for five months” due to her crippling symptoms. 

 

There is no direct way to test for Lyme disease – doctors can only test for the presence of antibodies that your body releases in response to the disease. If a test comes back negative, it may be that the antibodies haven’t built up enough to be detected, so if you think you have Lyme disease, it’s important to start treatment as soon as possible. 

 

Lyme disease – transmitted by the black-legged tick – has been called the “Great Imitator,” because its symptoms can mimic hundreds of other medical problems.

 

Symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases may be subtle or pronounced, and range from digestive and respiratory issues to vision impairments, neurological issues, and skin problems. 

 

Prevention Tips (and what to do if you’ve been bitten) 

 

Be tick aware. Use these prevention tips to maximize your safety!

 

  • Avoid areas where ticks live: woodpiles, long grass, leaf piles, and beach grass.

 

  • Apply doTerra’s TerraShield Outdoor Blend which contains powerful essential oils and other plant oils known to provide outdoor protection in a natural, safe way.

 

  • Alternatively, other EPA-approved tick repellents (such as DEET) can be used, but we recommend trying natural products first. 

 

  • Remove your clothing once you get home and toss it into the dryer for 10-15 minutes at a HIGH temperature. 

 

  • Examine yourself and your pets DAILY.

 

  • Check EVERYWHERE: ticks love to hide and are often found in hairy, hot places on your body. (Yes, even your armpits.) 

 

For more information on all common tick-borne diseases, go to  https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/index.html

 

How Chiropractic Can Help with Symptoms

A Science Daily report shows that 15% of patients with Lyme disease develop central nervous system involvement – resulting in painful, sometimes debilitating symptoms. And, this is not exclusive to Lyme disease: it can be felt by any tick-borne illness.

 

New research also indicates that inflammation plays a major factor in the neurological changes associated with Lyme. Chronic Lyme symptoms include fatigue, restless sleep, aching joints and muscles, speech problems, decreased short-term memory, and pain and/or swelling in the knees, shoulders, elbows, and other joints. 

 

Inflammation is a normal and healthy way for the body to preserve itself. It helps the body to heal by removing harmful irritants and pathogens. The issue arises when inflammation becomes chronic. At this point, the body responds by creating even more inflammation.

 

While there is no one answer or quick remedy for fixing the ailments caused by Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, anti-inflammatory drugs have been used to prevent inflammatory reactions in the body. For people who don’t want to take medication, or have found that it isn’t enough to resolve their pain, chiropractic adjustments can help with the aches and pains by triggering a positive response in the immune system.

sunscreen safety

How to Buy the Best Sunscreen for Your Skin this Summer

It’s 2019. By now, everyone should know: you need to wear sunscreen.

Not only is sunscreen helpful in shielding your skin from harmful UV rays — the #1 cause of skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society — but it also helps to prevent premature aging, sunburns, and blotchiness of the face.

UV rays penetrate the skin every time they come in contact with the sun. Because of this, it is important to practice safe sunscreen use all year long, not only in the summertime when the days are longer and the sun is stronger.

It is recommended to reapply sunscreen every two hours to protect your skin from sunburns. Although you may not see the benefits right away, the advantages of using sunscreen can be seen later on in life.

Studies have found that sunscreen offers better protection against the sun than wearing a full-length dress; in fact, cotton dresses offer zero protection altogether.

These results answer the age-old question, “Why wear sunscreen?”, and yet, with so many options on the market, consumers are still left wondering exactly which sunscreen to buy.

Choosing a Sunscreen

When choosing a sunscreen, always consider the ingredients, not just the label or marketing — which can be false or misleading. Sunscreen should contain, at least: Titanium dioxide, Octyl methoxycinnimate (or OMC), Avobenzone (also known as Parsol), and Zinc oxide.

Sunscreen should:

  • Shield your skin from harmful UV rays
  • Prevent premature aging
  • Lower skin cancer risks
  • Lower blotchiness of the face
  • Prevent sunburns
  • Prevent tanning
  • Enhance skin health

Finding the right brand of sunscreen for your skin can be difficult and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are countless varieties of sunscreens available at affordable rates on the market today — the FDA estimates that there are over 12,000 sunscreen products sold in the U.S. alone.

What to look for:

  • Choose a sunscreen that is waterproof
  • Choose a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30
  • Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen or gel that is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic
  • Choose a sunscreen that is dermatologists approved (recommended, but not necessary)

What to avoid:

Almost two-thirds of all sunscreens recently evaluated by the Environmental Working Agency would not be considered safe and effective under newly proposed FDA standards. This year, the group analyzed more than 1,300 products with a sun protection factor (or SPF), and, as reported in 2018, over 60% of the products evaluated don’t offer adequate sun protection OR contain harmful chemicals. The 2019 products, judged by the FDA found similar results.

Under the proposed rule, Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide have been classified as GRASE, or, “generally recognized as safe and effective.”

The two ingredients that are not classified GRASE are PABA and Tolamine salicylate.

For more information on the studies, take a look at this information about sunscreen safety:

https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/prevent/is-sunsceen-safe

 

How to manage a sunburn:

In addition to pure aloe vera gel, which can sometimes feel sticky, you can use Lavender essential oil for sunburns.

Lavender will help your skin to heal and prevent scarring. It can be used on its own or blended with other essential oils like peppermint or melaleuca (tea tree oil) to give it some extra oomph!

If you find yourself — after a long day in the sun — with a harsh burn, try one of these aloe vera alternatives:

  • Cool compress: Put 2 cups of cool water in a bowl. Add 10 drops of lavender (or 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of peppermint or melaleuca oil) and soak a clean washcloth in it. Apply to the burned area for 20 minutes. Repeat as necessary.
  • Healing bath: For an all-over sunburn, take a cool or lukewarm bath with 10+ drops of lavender in it. Alternately, take a baking soda bath. Add 1/2 cup baking soda, 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of peppermint or melaleuca for a soothing, healing soak.
  • Roller ball: Fill a small roller bottle half full with fractionated coconut oil or another carrier oil. Add 10 drops lavender oil (or 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of peppermint or melaleuca oil) for a soothing and cooling blend to roll over the affected area. (Note: do not apply to blistered sunburns!)
  • Spray mist: Put 1/2 cup of water in a spray bottle. Add 10 drops of lavender (or 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of peppermint or melaleuca oil) and mist over the affected area.
  • Healing balm: For future sunburns, you can create a soothing balm. Melt 4 oz. of coconut oil on your stove or in the microwave. Add 40 drops of lavender oil (or 20 drops of lavender and 20 drops of peppermint or melaleuca oil) and stir. Pour into a clean jar and cap. Allow to cool. When needed, rub a small amount over the affected area. (Note: do not apply to blistered sunburns!)

The Takeaway:

To protect you and your family from the sun, Dermatologists recommend that you:

  • Seek shade during the sun’s strongest hours: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses to protect your skin from the sun
  • Apply sunscreen to all skin that clothing won’t cover

And, of course, have a great summer — in or out of the sun! As Stylecraze.com suggests, “Enjoy the sun 365 days with a liberal dab of sunscreen.”

 

New Year’s Resolutions for a Happy and Healthy Spine

Is it March already?

The District has experienced many extreme snowfalls this winter, as well as fluctuating high and low temperatures. Luckily, permanent warm weather may be right around the corner! Beginning at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10th, get your clocks ready to spring forward for Daylight savings time!

As you prepare your mind and body for spring, why not update your New Year’s resolutions as well? Studies have shown that most Americans tend to make resolutions that focus on weight loss, diets, finances, or relationships, but, there’s one important health-related goal that people tend to overlook: their spine.

Leave your back pain in 2018 with these  tips for a healthy spine:

  1. Practice at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day

Doctors often recommend 30 minutes of exercise each day to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, increase heart health, improve memory, productivity, and self-confidence, and boost your overall mood.

Lesser known, however, is the life-altering benefits physical activity can have on your spine. The last thing you want to do when your back in aching is get up and go for a run, but, research shows that getting your body in motion is beneficial for your spine!

A regular routine of aerobic and strength training exercises can help alleviate neck or back pain by reducing the likelihood of and/or severity of flare-ups, keeping the spine functional and mobile, burning calories to help achieve or maintain optimal weight (this can remove excess pressure on the spine), and increasing the production of endorphins which act as a natural painkiller.

To strengthen your back, stomach, and leg muscles, try:

  • Partial Crunches
  • Hamstring Stretches
  • Wall Sits
  • Pelvic Tilts
  • Bridges

To strengthen your lungs, heart, and blood vessels (and help you lose weight), try:

  • Swimming and other water aerobics
  • Elliptical or step machines
  • Biking
  • Walking

For a combination of both, try:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates

For severe pain, start with shorter intervals of exercise, such as 5-10 minutes of walking or swimming, and gradually work your way up to a more extensive routine.

2. Improve your Posture

Spinal discs are loaded three times more while sitting than standing. During long periods of stationary activity, stress is added to your back which can lead to backaches, muscular pain, and headaches.

If you work at a desk all day, practice good ergonomics by positioning your monitor at eye level, standing tall with your shoulders pulled back and spine in a neutral position and feet flat on the floor. To avoid hunching or straining your neck, hold your cell phone, tablet, or other mobile devices in front of your face when using them.

In addition, choose the right office chair! The purchase is worth the comfort. For help choosing the right chair, go to http://ow.ly/3U9S30nVU7z.

3. Stay Hydrated

This may go without saying, but water is an imperative source of nourishment for our bodies, and especially our backs! Because the discs between your vertebrae are composed almost completely of water – and play an important role as “shock absorbers” – maintaining proper hydration is key to successful back health.

When not properly hydrated, these discs begin to shrink, which can lead to swelling and eventually pain or worse case, a ruptured disc.

So, drink lots of water throughout the day to keep your muscles and intervertebral discs healthy, happy, and hydrated!

5. See a Chiropractor

Getting adjusted regularly might not be at the top of your priority list, but, it should be!

Routine adjustments from your chiropractor can help correct misalignments and imbalances before they cause back pain or other serious health issues.

When your spine is aligned correctly, your muscles, nerves, and joints can reach optimal functionality and enable your body’s restorative healing properties.

Become a practice member today with Ashburn Family Chiropractic. We’re here to help!

humidity in winter

Winter Weather: A Humidifier May Help Keep You Healthy

Temperatures have dropped as low as 11 degrees in the area this winter, and though it may not be as cold as the record-breaking chill of the Midwest, it’s important to take extra precautions to stay safe during the remainder of the season.

While turning up the heat, keeping tissues on hand, and cleaning the surfaces of your home can contribute to maintaining a healthy environment, homeowners often overlook one of the most important necessities: a humidifier.

When the air in your home is dry, you’re more susceptible to discomforts such as congestion, bloody noses, irritated vocal cords, dry coughs, cracked lips, sinus congestion, and headaches – which humidifiers have been known to treat.

This invaluable appliance has also been proven to ease the symptoms of the flu or common cold by adding moisture to the air and effectively reducing skin, nose, throat, and respiratory irritation.

On top of the many benefits that humidifiers add to human wellbeing, they can be great for your houseplants, too! Houseplants can become more vibrant, and wood floors, wallpaper, and furniture may last longer!

Signs You Need A Humidifier

According to Healthline.com, “When used with care, humidifiers can make a significant difference when it comes to dry skin and airways.”

Here are a few of the common reasons to consider using a humidifier in your home or office space:

  1. Your Hands and Lips are Constantly Dry:

Central heating can cause a 20-30% humidity level dip, which can make your skin lose moisture. Lack of moisture can leave your skin feeling tight, dry, flaky, or itchy. The skin on your hands and lips are especially vulnerable to moisture loss.

Quick fixes like hand lotion and chapstick may do the trick for a day, but, a humidifier would naturally – and seamlessly – rehydrate your skin!

  1. You Experience a Frequent Dry or Scratchy Throat:

Do you suffer from recurring seasonal colds or bacterial infections like strep throat? There are more than 3 million cases of strep throat and 1 billion diagnosed colds each year in the U.S. alone. When exposed to dry, indoor air, your vocal cords can become irritated.

A humidifier can help maintain the optimal levels of humidity in your home while soothing and lubricating your throat.

  1. You Live or Work With Kids

If you live with kids – or someone who works with them – then you know one thing: germs spread quickly!

According to Compactappliance.com, humidifiers can help you avoid getting the flu altogether. Studies have shown that the flu virus is able to survive longer in low humidity. By adding moisture to your environment during the flu season, you’re creating a less-than-ideal setting for the virus to thrive – decreasing your chance of catching it.

  1. You Snore

As if the heightened risk of developing illnesses and unpredictable weather weren’t enough, dry air can also contribute to your snoring symptoms! Lack of moisture in the air causes the nose to become congested and throat to swell, resulting in restricted air movement through the nose – that’s where humidifiers step in!

Maintaining optimal humidity levels encourages natural air movement and reduces snoring.

  1. You Have Allergy or Asthma Symptoms

Research suggests that being exposed to too high or too low levels of humidity can increase the risk of asthma-like symptoms.

Humidifiers can relieve the symptoms of people who struggle with dry sinuses or airways who are prone to allergic reactions.

 

While a humidifier is not a cure-all for winter sickness, flu prevention or the symptoms listed above, it may help. If you have severe snoring or sleep apnea symptoms, allergies, asthma or other medical conditions, please let us know!

Pixabay

Snow Shoveling Safety and Tips for Safe Winter Activities

The weekend forecast is calling for snow showers Saturday and Sunday with highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s, and Virginians know what that means: shoveling. Lots of shoveling.

While most recreational winter activities and chores are harmless, a select few can pose problems for outdoor enthusiasts. Injuries including concussions, dislocated shoulders, spinal strains, broken elbows, skier’s thumb, and ankle sprains are all possible from shoveling, skiing, sledding and ice skating.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Simply walking outside in the freezing weather without layers of warm clothing can intensify older joint problems and cause pain.”

So when you head outside this weekend, be sure that you are geared up – and warmed up.

Here’s a list of safety precautions for this weekend!

Snow Shoveling Safety

  • Layer clothing to keep your muscles warm. It is important to wear not only the amount of clothing you think you’ll need but enough to withstand the outdoors for longer than a few minutes.
  • Do warm-up stretches and moves before you head out, similar to what you would do before exercise. You may feel silly, but you’ll thank yourself when you go back inside. When you muscles are cold, they are more likely to be strained.
  • Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions. Go slow and be careful if you think there could be ice.
  • An ergonomic shovel can help take some of the strain off of clearing your sidewalk. No matter what type of shovel you use, bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Or, avoid lifting the show and shove it to the side when you can!
  • Stop immediately if you feel chest pain, get tired, or have shortness of breath. There is a correlation between shoveling snow and heart attacks, so be aware of how you’re feeling and call 911 if you think you’re having a cardiac event.

If you do strain your back or fall on ice this weekend, contact us!

If you plan to go skiing, sledding, ice skating or having a good old-fashioned snowball fight, here are tips on how to stay safe and healthy!

Hitting the Slopes

If you’re heading to a local ski resort, going ice skating or taking the kids sledding, here are a few tips from the American Chiropractic Association.

Warming up is not optional – it is essential. If you don’t have much time, it’s better to shorten the length of your workout and maintain a good warm-up than to skip it altogether. A good warm-up can be completed in 15-20 minutes and will make the transition into your chosen winter exercise much easier and more rewarding.

Skiing

  • Do 10 to 15 squats, standing with your legs shoulder-width apart and knees aligned over your feet.
  • Slowly lower your buttocks as you bend your knees over your feet.
  • Then, stand up straight again.
  • It’s a good idea to wear layers because you may be going from a cold environment (outdoors) to a warm environment (indoors).

Ice Skating

  • Perform several lunges.
  • Take a moderately advanced step with one foot and let your back knee come down to the floor while keeping your shoulders in position over your hips.
  • Repeat the process with your both feet.

Sledding:

  • Perform knee-to-chest stretches to fight compression injuries caused by repetitive bouncing over the snow.
  • While either sitting or lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and hold for up to 30 seconds.

Remember: cool-down stretches are almost as important as warm-up stretches. Take your time. For instance, at the bottom of the sledding hill, before walking back up, do additional knee-to-chest stretches or repetitive squatting movements to recover flexibility.

Above all else – have fun! Happy snow day(s) to everyone from AFC.

 

Natural Prevention and Survival Tips for Cold and Flu Season

Studies show that between 5 percent and 20 percent of Americans are affected by the flu each year. In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults have an average of 2-3 colds per year, and children have even more.

The peak cold and flu season is between December and February. However, in just these three months of the year, over 200,000 people can be hospitalized in the United States, and sadly, some of those cases are fatal.

Fighting colds and the flu starts with prevention!

Try these immunity-boosting tips and products we have available in the office to get your body’s defenses in tip-top shape:

  1. Saline Nasal Spray:

If your nasal passages are dry, the nose can’t flush out bacteria, which results in a safe haven for germs. You can add an essential oil like OnGuard to a saline nasal spray as well (1 drop in 4 oz. of liquid).

  1. Essential Oils like OnGuard or Breathe

doTerra On Guard is a proprietary essential oil blend and provides a natural and effective alternative for immune support.

doTerra Breathe helps to minimize the effects of seasonal threats and promotes a restful nights sleep.

  1. Nutritional Supplements (by Standard Process and MediHerb)

Epimune Complex (vegetarian/Gluten Free) or Echinacea (Gluten Free) both help strengthen the immune system response.

Astragalus (Gluten Free) is good for the elderly or those with chronic immune system issues.

 If you already have the cold or flu, then try these (by Standard Process and MediHerb):

  1. Herbal Throat Spray (Gluten Free) for a sore or scratchy throat which is usually the sign of a cold, infection or flu coming on.

2. Andrographis Complex (Gluten Free) for acute infections associated with a cold or flu.

      3. Congaplex breaks up congestion and stimulates the immune system.

      4. Broncafect helps maintain healthy lung function and fights off a cough.

      5. Oscillococcinum®   temporarily relieves flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headache, fever, chills, and fatigue. (by Boiron)

6. ColdCalm® temporarily relieves cold symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and minor sore throat. (by Boiron)

How do you know if you have the cold or flu?

Knowing how to identify a cold or flu means being able to identify what it feels like in your body. The symptoms of a cold or flu can be similar and each is caused by a different type of virus. You can tell the difference by asking yourself: “Are symptoms in my head or my whole body?”

Colds symptoms appear slowly over a few days and mainly affect your head; you’ll have congestion, sneezing, a sore throat or a cough. Conversely, the flu affects your whole body and comes on suddenly. You’ll experience pain and body aches, GI symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, and a fever.

Stay healthy this season!

 

Little Backs, Big Backpacks – How to Keep Your Children Safe This School Year

Are you looking into buying your child or teenager a new backpack for the holidays this year?

Know before you buy.

Backpack safety is imperative for developing children, yet many parents don’t know how heavy is too heavy.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, young children are struggling with back pain significantly more than previous generations. ACA recommends that your child’s backpack weigh no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight and never hang more than four inches below their waistline, however, statistics show that only 4 percent of parents actually weigh their child’s backpack.

Excessive backpack weight can cause a myriad of painful issues in children and adults which can potentially lead to a lifetime of health problems. If a backpack is overloaded, it can create stress on the spine while wearing a backpack improperly over one shoulder can cause permanent misalignment of the spine, muscle fatigue and a lowered state of health.

Avoid backpack-related pain, and check out our 4 steps to safe backpack use:

Choose Right

Choosing the correct size backpack is an important step to safe backpack use. Don’t pick one that is too big for your child — It should never be longer than the length of their back. 

Pack Right, Pack Light

The maximum weight of a loaded backpack should not exceed 15 percent of your child’s body weight, so don’t overpack. This means for a 100 pound child, the backpack should weigh no more than 15 pounds and for an 80 pound child, the backpack should weigh no more than 12 pounds, and so on.

Backpacks alone can weigh anywhere from 2-4 pounds, whereas textbooks can weigh over 2 pounds each. With these measurements, you can see how quickly a backpack can surpass the desired safety requirements.

Without weighing the backpack yourself, an easy way to check if it bears too much weight is to see if your child is forced to bend forward while they carry it. If they are, then it is overloaded.

A great rule of thumb is to only carry what’s needed. For example, your child doesn’t need to be carrying around textbooks from last week’s exam, overdue library books, old papers, or uneaten snacks. If they don’t need it, they should rid of it, or at the very least, store it somewhere else so they aren’t transporting it on their shoulders throughout the day. 

Lift right

To lift the backpack correctly:

  • Face the pack.
  • Bend at the knees.
  • Use both hands to lift the pack, lifting with your legs.
  • Apply shoulder straps one at a time.
  • Avoid slinging the backpack onto one shoulder. 

Wear right

To wear the backpack correctly:

  • Use both shoulder straps, pulling snug, but not too tight.
  • If there is a waist strap, use it. It will distribute the weight better.
  • Don’t let the pack hang low on your back.

Most importantly, don’t ignore persistent pain. If your child frequently complains of pain in the back or neck or if one arm or leg hurts more than the other, this is not normal and should be checked out.

Regular adjustments can help your child to deal with the stresses of a heavy backpack, plus whatever else they have to face. Afterward, they will feel 10x better and healthier.

What is text neck?

To the name’s suggestion, “text neck” is the recently diagnosed epidemic of the infamous head bent downward, shoulders slumped texting posture that has become universal in the digital age.

It is the body’s automatic response to handheld technology, yet it is not just synonymous with texting. It can also be seen when people use many other digital devices such as tablets or e-book readers, computers, nooks, and gaming system controllers.

Everything we, as a society, know and understand as the appropriate relationship between our bodies and our technology has become dangerous for our spines.

What are the side effects?

You’re likely to recognize the pain, a sensation of tightness and achiness in your neck and shoulders, before pinpointing the cause. Whether you play games on your smartphone during your morning commute, respond to emails for hours a day or stare at your GPS on a cross-country road trip, when left untreated, the pain of text neck can lead to chronic headaches and constant discomfort.

The human head weighs between 10 and 11 pounds, a heaviness which strains the back of the neck when pulled too far forward. According to recent studies, for every inch forward you hold your head, the weight carried down through the spine increases by 10 pounds. At a 45-degree angle, the typical angle that most people view their cellphones, the head weighs 49 pounds, at a 60-degree angle, another popular perspective, it weighs 60 pounds.

The pressure that is put on the front of the neck also causes the back to gap, which can produce intervertebral discs to mitigate backward, increasing the chance for disc bulges, a common spine injury. The back of the neck also becomes strained because the muscles in the backside are in a constant state of contraction while trying to pull and support the head, making the muscle tense. Text neck can also create a tightening on the front of the neck and chest, leading to dysfunction in the shoulders and middle of the back.

When to visit your chiropractor:

Most people are so encompassed with and reliant on their phones that they lose track of their posture throughout the day and become unaware of how they look from an outside perspective. According to The Washington Post, research shows that over time, text neck can lead to early wear-and-tear of the spine, degeneration, and even surgery.

If you are experiencing symptoms of text neck, even on a minimal scale, act now; don’t wait for the discomfort to increase so much that the pain is unlivable for daily functions.

In the early stages, it may not be necessary to visit a professional chiropractor. In addition to a series of adjustments, there are many exercises that can be done at home to help alleviate the pain and symptoms of text neck.

The best possible action to take is to spend as much, if not more time in the opposite postural position (of text neck) to counterbalance the downward/forward head motion. In other words, if you spend time during the day looking down at your phone, spend time in the evening on a stretch that elongates the spine backward, such as the exaggerated nod head gesture.

8 helpful exercises to combat text neck:

  1. Exaggerated Nod
  2. Downward-Facing Dog
  3. Cat-Cow
  4. Padahastasana
  5. Bow Pose
  6. Chin Tuck
  7. Pigeon Neck
  8. Chest Opening

All exercises can be found at these links:

 

 

 

How Dehydration Affects Your Brain, Energy Levels, and Body

Most people know that dehydration is bad for them, but you may be surprised at how it can affect you.

Right now, we are still encountering the sweltering heat of summer —high temperatures are breaking records here in DC and around the world — and the Northern Hemisphere may experience its hottest year ever recorded.

There is typically a spike in dehydration in the mid- and late-summer months, when the heat index is the highest.

Aside from the general lightheaded feeling and dry mouth that individuals commonly recognize as dehydration, there are many hidden dangers that affect your physical and mental health. Our brains are highly influenced by hydration status and even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can result in impaired brain function. Dehydration has been shown to negatively impact concentration, and functions such as problem-solving, motor coordination, and attention suffer the most.

Although it’s still unknown exactly when cognitive errors occur, studies show that the most severe impairments start to transpire at a 2 percent drop in body mass, a water weight loss that can happen quickly.

Surprising Benefits of Staying Hydrated

I usually tell my patients to go with the formula of 1/2 your body weight in ounces, so if you weigh 200 lbs., then you want to try to drink 100 ounces per day.

There are many benefits of staying hydrated — some you may not know about!

  • Prevent headaches: Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines, and increasing your water intake can help.
  • Think more clearly: You may feel foggy and have trouble concentrating without enough water. Drinking up to be more productive at work!
  • Relieve constipation: Increased fluid intake can help alleviate symptoms of constipation. Low water consumption has been shown as a risk factor for constipation in young and elderly individuals.
  • Lose weight: Drinking water can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate. Sometimes what we mistake for hunger is actually thirst.

Signs of dehydration include feelings of thirst, dizziness, heat cramps, nausea, mood changes, fatigue, and frequent headaches. In extreme cases, when left untreated, you may end up having to go to the emergency room for treatment.

How easily a person becomes dehydrated is dependent on their body mass. Younger children and infants need to monitor their hydration more than an adult would because they have a lower total body weight and a higher concentration of water. An infant’s total body water is 70 percent whereas it’s about 65 percent in older children and 60 in adults; infants and children can also turn over electrolytes and water faster than other age groups, meaning they lose water more quickly than adults.

Tips on Staying Hydrated Safely

  • Hydrate throughout the day: Drinking too much water can dilute the body, leading to a low sodium and salt intake in the blood and, in extreme cases, cause seizures. Stay hydrated by taking in fluids throughout the day, not all at once. Keep a water bottle with you!
  • Eat for the weather: Especially in hot weather and the summer months, try to consume fruits and vegetables and other foods that have high water content.
  • Exercise around the sun and heat: It’s great to stay active, but it’s best to exercise when the sun isn’t at its peak. Exercise indoors if it’s especially hot and humid outside, or go out for your walk, run or bike ride before the sun rises or after the sun sets. (Be sure to wear reflective, light weight clothing.)

Following these tips on hydration and ensuring that you always carry around extra liquids when out in the sun is a great way to ensure you don’t experience dehydration.

Stay cool! (And hydrated!)

 

Patient Appreciation Week

Come enjoy free food and drinks with us to celebrate all of our amazing patients! Hop on a roller table or get a free seated massage for no charge! Stop by Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, July 23 – 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., or 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.!