Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Chiropractor's Guide to Picking out a Great Backpack

A Chiropractor's Guide to Picking out a Great Backpack - Five Easy Steps

By Niccole O'Dell, B.A., D.C.
Positive Edge Chiropractic

Once again, the back-to-school shopping rush has begun!  Parents are flooding the stores with long lists of supplies that their children need. One of the most important purchases to make for your child is their backpack. A backpack is a critical item, since it is likely the only item that your kid will wear every day. A great backpack will be durable, cool, and promote good posture, while a bad backpack will cause your kids to slump and suffer from back pain.  Here are five great tips to picking out a winning backpack!

1.  Do not get a backpack that is too big (with too many pockets). If the backpack has too many pockets, then your child will be tempted to overload it with all of their school books, which in most cases can weigh up to fifty pounds! If you get a slightly smaller bag, than the child will have to carry some of those books in their arms which is way better for their posture. If they have a locker, encourage them to use it and only carry the books that they need.

2.  Try to keep that backpack weight to less than 20% of your child's overall weight. For a fifty pound child, that means that they should not be carrying more than 10 pounds on their back. Unfortunately, this is growing more and more difficult as schools assign more books and remove lockers from high school campuses, but encourage your kids to carry extra books in their hands.

3.  Try to get backpacks with thick cushioned straps and belts which attach around the waist. Thick straps help provide more cushioning for your child's shoulders. Also, the snaps in the front allow the weight to be distributed more evenly for the walk home from school.

4.  Beware of backpacks with cartoon characters on them! They often have the thinnest straps and the least ergonomic design. It is preferable to go with a generic backpack because they often have more in the way of comfort and ergonomics, and they are less likely to go out of style in a year!

5.  Rolling backpacks, while in theory a good idea, double-check with your child before you get one of these. They are often seen as "not cool" in the kid world. Also, while using this your child may need to walk slowly and might have a harder time keeping up with a group of kids. Holding the handle with one hand causes the child to walk a bit less efficiently (and certainly less symmetrically). Also, they are not always the most comfortable when worn as a regular backpack. These are, however, excellent for reducing back pain in your kids. Just make sure that they will use it. Remember, the best backpack for your kid, is the one that they will actually use!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Chiropractic and Scoliosis

By Michael T. Lagueux II, B.A., D.C.

Positive Edge Chiropractic

Scoliosis refers to a lateral or "sideways" curve in the spine, in either the shape of the letter "C" or "S".  In most people it is not known what the cause is, so the name "idiopathic scoliosis" is given.  In other cases, less commonly, the cause will be something else, such as a congenital defect or a developmental abnormality.  In this article, we will only be referring to the most common type, idiopathic scoliosis.  Maybe you remember the scoliosis screenings that your school nurse performed while you were in elementary school?  Screening large numbers of kids for scoliosis is a good strategy, since it occurs pretty sporadically in about 1.5% of the overall population.  Scoliosis occurs more commonly in females, perhaps for a variety of different reasons, not very well-understood.  At the present time, there isn't a perfect explanation for how or why idiopathic scoliosis occurs in the first place.

So if you've got a slight curve in your spine, what can you do?  If the curve is 10 degrees or less, your medical doctor will most likely not recommend any type of treatment.  If the curve is 10 degrees or more, you might be given the option to use a brace, such as the Boston Brace or the Milwaukee Brace.  When the curve is 20 degrees or more and is likely to progress, a brace is always recommended, sometimes in conjunction with surgery to correct the curve.  When a curve is especially significant, it may eventually result in heart and lung issues for the patient, because one lung is compressed and can't fully expand.  As chiropractors, however, we look at the situation a little bit differently.  We know that by performing specific adjustments to the spine, we can help to realign the vertebrae and to improve the overall range of motion of the spine.  We also know that since all of the peripheral nerves exit from the spine and go to all of the different parts of the body, any interruption in this "flow" can result in a problem involving any of these different parts.  So a patient with scoliosis at our office would be adjusted in such a way to correct their curve, no matter how many degrees it is.  When your spine is aligned and moving properly, the nerves are able to function at their best, and therefore so are you!

At Positive Edge Chiropractic, a patient with scoliosis would be given a program of specific stretches and exercises designed to help correct the curve.  In addition, we perform adjustments to the spine that are also geared toward correcting the curve.  Patients with scoliosis (even a very minor one) generally love getting chiropractic adjustments and report that it feels good.  And it makes sense, we are re-aligning the bones of the spine, helping to put them back where they should be!  Of course that's got to feel pretty good!  Usually after receiving an adjustment, the patient will feel an increase in range of motion and flexibility, increased energy, and an improved ability to breathe.  They will also experience an improvement in their overall posture, maybe even appearing a bit taller than they did before!

How does chiropractic help?  Performing specific adjustments on areas of the spine that are misaligned or don't move the way that they should is the main approach.  All of the joints in the body send information  about your body's position in space, called proprioception, back to the brain.  When joints of the spine are not moving properly or are misaligned, they they may send incorrect information back to the brain, or they may not send this information at all.  This will almost certainly have a negative impact on that person's range of motion, coordination, posture, and it may even cause pain!  At our office, we provide scoliosis patients with very specific adjustments to correct these misalignments, called subluxations.  Most patients with scoliosis report that the adjustments feel great, allow them to move more freely, help correct their posture, and even have unexpected benefits such as an improved ability to breathe.  If you or someone you know has a slight curve or a scoliosis, be sure to let them know how chiropractic can help!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chiropractic in the Olympics

Chiropractic in the Olympics

By Michael T. Lagueux II, B.A., D.C.
Positive Edge Chiropractic

Have you noticed that chiropractic has been in the spotlight during the 2012 London Olympics? A huge number of Olympic Teams have chiropractors as part of their medical staff. This article explains how, since 1979, Doctors of Chiropractic have taken care of Olympic athletes at the Olympic polyclinic - a "multidisciplinary medical services team".

Elite athletes like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, for example, utilize chiropractic on a regular basis. The truth is, nearly all elite athletes incorporate chiropractic into their training regimens in order to gain maximum advantage in their chosen sport. Olympian Dan O'Brien (who won the gold in the decathalon at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics) had this to say about chiropractic: "You obviously can't compete at your fullest if you're not in alignment. And your body can't heal if your back is not in alignment. It was the holistic idea that I liked about Chiropractic and that is what track and field is about. Every track and field athlete that I have ever met has seen a Chiropractor at one time or another. In track and field, it is absolutely essential. Chiropractic care is one of the things I think that no one has denied or refuted." Chiropractic helps to alleviate pain, increase range of motion and flexibility, and assist in recovery by normalizing nerve function and blood flow. With so many athletes incorporating chiropractic care into their training regimens, you have to ask, could us non-olympians benefit from it? The answer is a resounding yes! Even if you are not a gold medal contender, you can definitely benefit from chiropractic in the same ways that olympians and other elite athletes do. Being able to move better and experience less pain allows you to enjoy the activities that you love more frequently and more fully. Whether you're a runner, a golfer, a climber, or a surfer, you'll experience better coordination, more energy, and quicker recovery times. And when you feel good, you'll enjoy your chosen activity that much more. You'll find that you are able to spend more time engaged in the activities you love, which benefits you because you're exercising more and having fun!

Usain Bolt, known as "the world's fastest man", was recently photographed receiving a chiropractic adjustment at the 2012 London Games by the Jamaican Team chiropractor, Dr. Douglas. Have you seen this one?

Of course, you don't need to be one of these elite athletes to benefit from Chiropractic. At Positive Edge Chiropractic, we provide each of our patients with an individualized treatment plan designed to help them meet their health and/or performance goals. Whether your goal is to run a marathon, climb 5.12, or just get out there and enjoy your favorite activities free of pain, chiropractic is the answer! Call our office at (858) 635-9355 to book your appointment with San Diego's best Sports Chiropractors!