As we close out the year, there have been challenges of getting the pandemic under control to return to our “normal”. Numbers are rising again and just when we were beginning to see some light, there has been a delay. So how are you coping with it all?
Many people have suffered emotionally, some have suffered physically as their normal routine has been altered. In our monthly workshop, we discuss what we can control and what is out of our hands (consider your response to the weather as an example). Many people have successfully pivoted during the past year and a half, to create their new normal. Remember, the one thing that you can control is your emotional response to the situation or environment. Many people reflexively “react” to the situation or effect, rather than seeing it as an event with no judgment, other than to see it as just that….an event. That reaction is a learned behaviour from our previous experiences and it is our judgement that determines whether or not it is good or bad. What follows is our emotional state that we link with that experience. This emotional state can impact your stress and cortisol levels, which in turn can have a detrimental impact upon your health.
We have discussed how much your emotional health can impact your physical well-being. Of course, it isn’t easy, otherwise we wouldn’t have this challenge of mental-emotional stress. The first step is to recognize it in yourself and then begin the slow process of taking a moment before your respond to an event vs reacting to it. Not easy, just as changing your posture is not automatic because you’re are going against years and years of a neural link that has been reinforced by many life events.
Start changing this pattern through simple appreciation and gratitude exercises. First thing in the morning or last thing at night, name 3-4 things that you are grateful for and again, it doesn’t have to be a thing or posession. It can be anything, such as a gentle snowfall that you experienced during the day, or the laughter of your children or just being able to share a meal with your family today. When we appreciate the simple things, it expands our world and you begin to see more beauty and amazing things that our world has to offer than the one they portray in the daily news. This higher level of thought helps your mind, which in turn helps your body because they’re intrinsically linked.
Have a great holiday and protect your mind and your thoughts because they become you!
“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change.”
– Dr. Wayne Dyer from The Power of Intention
– Dr. Rick
With many people working from home, we have set up less than ideal work environments for ourselves. Very cool at first being able to work from bed or off your couch, but the body will eventually rebel and let you know about it in a variety of ways, from headaches, neck, mid-back or lower back pain and stiffness.
During part of the initial visit, we look at your natural posture to determine how much of your challenge is due to poor postural habits. This may have been accelerated by your work environment leading to muscle imbalances.
One of these is called the Upper Crossed Syndrome, which is an imbalance of your shoulders, neck, and chest, some are too weak and some are too tight. In side views of the upper body, these muscles seem to group in the shape of an X, which has led to the name of the condition.
I generally find a forward head posture, rounded shoulders and if you were to hold pencils in your hands while standing there, they should be pointed somewhat forward. If they are more sideways across the front of your thighs, your shoulders are drawn inward creating that rounded effect. The muscles of the chest are too tight and the upper back muscles are overstretched and weakened. When muscles of the upper back are beyond their normal rest length, this strain can cause soreness from the lactic acid buildup of the overstretched muscles.
Some of the self-help exercises are to do chest or pec stretches that addresses the three parts of the chest, lower, mid and upper. A simple doorway stretch with the elbow below, at and above the shoulders will cover the entire muscle.
Next would be some upper back strengthening exercises. You can use simple resistance bands or cables if you are at the gym. For those familiar with weight training, you could do single arm bent over rows. Below is a photo of a single arm row, but you can use two arms to do the same exercise.
Face pulls can also be done using the resistance bands as a way of addressing the upper trapzius muscles and rear deltoid muscles. Specific rear deltoid exercises can also be done with dumbells or even the resistance bands by bringing the arms back and keeping the elbows straight.
There are a variety of more specific exercises that can be done to add variety. Always start with a light enough resistance or weight that will allow you to do the full range of the exercise and focus upon technique for the best benefit and to avoid injuries. You should be able to do 3-4 sets of 7-10 repetitions comfortably. Increase resistance as this becomes easier n the coming weeks and this strengthening exercise can be done 2-3 times per week at the beginning to help build it up.
The stretch exercises can be done daily or at least every second day. Try to stretch AFTER the strengthening exercises.
You will also want to address the home or office environment that created all of this in the first place. We covered this in an earlier newsletter. also look into using a standing desk, which has become a popular option. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just make sure that everything is within reach and you can modify the setup by improvising the set up with boxes, using a seperate keybaord from the one attached to your laptop. Don’t forget to keep moving several times during the day. Remember that inactivity is the new smoking in terms of increased health risks.
– Dr. Rick
HOLIDAY HOURS FOR DECEMBER / JANUARY
M. December 20 – open
Tu. December 21 – open
W. December 22 – open
Th. December 23 – open
F. December 24 – closed – Xmas Eve
Sa. December 25 – closed – Xmas Day
M. December 27 – open
Tu. December 28 – open
W. December 29 – open
Th. December 30 – open
F. December 31 – morning – New Year’s Eve
Sa. January 01 – closed – New Year’s Day
M. January 03 – open – regular hours this week
Have a safe, happy holiday and give your families and loved ones a big hug if they are in your social bubble!
From the staff at Bridlewood Chiropractic,
Dr. Rick, Dr. Eric, Desmond, Larissa & Yasmine xo