By Erica Thomas, Sponsored Content
CLAY – When it comes to getting your body going each day, you may often feel challenged and think, “What can I do to feel better on a daily basis?” Small neck, back and other body aches and pains can really impact your body and your daily life. Hug Chiropractic is working to improve that by offering six healthy habits.
With more people working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to stay healthy outside of the office. That has proven to be a challenge for many. Dr. Rachel Gilmore, with Hug Chiropractic, has worked to identify the following to support a healthy and happy lifestyle while being homebound or while being home more frequently.
“It’s important to pay attention to your health while you’re working at home,” Gilmore explained. “You either have more time to pay attention to specific aspects of your health or you’ve got more stress. A lot of people feel like they’re off track, so it’s good to have a basic foundation of things in your mind to help yourself stay healthy and focused.”
The six aspects are stress reduction, movement and mobility, hydration, nutrition, sleep, and decreasing neck and back pain. Let’s take a closer look at how each aspect impacts your overall health and what you can do to improve those things.
1. Stress reduction
Studies have shown that breathing and stress on the body are directly related. A person needs proper movement on the rib cage and spine, along with proper activation of the diaphragm. There are specific ways to breathe right. (See Diagram A)
With people always on the go, stress is a mainstay in many lives. Stress causes the release of the cortisol hormone, which can impact performance and goals. Stress can weaken your immune system, impact fertility, libido, and digestive functions. Yaribeygi, Habib et al
“That can increase your irritability and impact your mood, as well as cause weight gain,” Gilmore explained.
Taking the time to focus on reducing stress and breathing properly can improve a person’s ability to be successful with everyday tasks and with work.
2. Movement and Mobility
Movement is Medicine
“People need to stay mobile throughout the day,” said Gilmore. “A micro-break doesn’t have to be very long: it can be 5 to 10 seconds, or 1 to 5 minutes long. To break up the monotony in your day, get up, move around, or get a glass of water.”
Good rules of thumb are: Do not stay in the same position for longer than 30 – 40 minutes, and practice 10 minutes of movement for every two hours of sitting. It is also
recommended to take 8,000 – 10,000 steps a day. Walking improves cardiovascular health and in turn can improve your cognitive abilities and creativity, while decreasing other aches and pains throughout the body.
Carla Vanti, Simone Andreatta, Silvia Borghi, Andrew Anthony Guccione, Paolo Pillastrini & Lucia Bertozzi (2019) The effectiveness of walking versus exercise on pain and function in chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials, Disability and Rehabilitation, 41:6, 622-632, DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1410730 Hillman, C H et al.
“The effect of acute treadmill walking on cognitive control and academic achievement in preadolescent children.” Neuroscience vol. 159,3 (2009): 1044-54. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.01.057
Benefits of water intake include boosting your natural metabolism by increasing cellular activity, helping with food digestion, and keeping your body hydrated for better performance physically and mentally. Water also flushes toxins, crushes cravings, and wakes you up. A good standard is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water every day. If you are working outside in the heat or participating in physical activity, you should increase your amount of water intake.
“Staying hydrated is essential for your body to function properly,” Gilmore said.
“When it comes to nutrition, having a balanced approach is key to staying healthy while also enjoying life.” Gilmore recommends the 80/20 approach for most adults. (See Diagram B)
Getting appropriate servings of fruit and vegetables, fiber and complex carbs over simple sugars are also important.
When it comes to fad diets and individual health needs, Gilmore recommends consulting with your medical provider or a registered dietitian to find the best-balanced diet for you.
Limiting alcohol consumption can also help your body function properly. Gilmore explained, “Moderation is key and remembering to hydrate before and while drinking can improve your experience.”
“More alcohol consumption over time has been shown to cause fat gain and impact your mood” Gilmore said. “Some have seen more depression among individuals who regularly intake alcohol. However, occasional consumption of red wine may have benefits including the increase of antioxidants said to lower the risk of heart disease.”
While catching enough ZZZ’s, it’s important to think about things such as your sleep position. Getting seven to nine hours of rest a night is recommended, but no matter how much sleep you get, you should always try and stay on a regular bedtime schedule, and in certain positions.
“We recommend sleeping on your side or on your back to decrease the stress on your body,” Gilmore said. “Sleeping on your stomach places your spine into extension and compresses the posterior aspects of joints and muscles which can lead to more tightness when you wake up.
Placing a pillow between your knees, while on your side, or behind your knees, while on your back, can also help with your sleep posture and reduce overall tension.
“Sleep is vital for daily functions,” Gilmore added. “It can help cognitive tasks at work, school, or home and is one of the most important aspects for recovery of both injuries, minor wear-and-tear and normal day-to-day functions.”
According to Gilmore, sleep also supports the immune system for better healing and helps to regulate hormones and mood.
6. Decreasing Neck and Back Pain
Hug Chiropractic has seen more incidents among patients with neck and back pain in the past year. In fact, research from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) supports this observation.
With changes due to COVID-19, comes elevated stress and improper ergonomics for many throughout the workday. Many feel these changes have impacted their sleep, mobility, and nutrition, among other areas. Staying consistent on habits and lifestyle can help mitigate these changes and additional stress.
“Because we saw an increase in these complaints in our office, we suggest our patients move more, take micro-breaks, and do all of these other things to decrease neck and back pain,” said Gilmore. “We know that chiropractic work is a non-invasive, safe and effective approach to address common complaints of neck and back pain.”
Hug Chiropractic also works with other providers to find the best solutions for patients.
“We try to be very evidence-based and complaint-driven,” said Gilmore. “So, if the patient has neck or back pain, we address the problem, then provide home care and advice on lifestyle factor improvements.”
Hug Chiropractic has three clinics in the Birmingham area. For more information, visit BirminghamChiropractor.net or call (205) 854-9988.