Building Strong Bones

Posted on October 4, 2018. Filed under: Acupuncturist, Aging, Exercise, Health, Hormone, injury, rebuild, Joints | Tags: , , , , , |

gregmonicaweight1~by Dr. Greg Steiner

Everyone needs strong bones; they provide structure and protect us from injury.  Fortunately, there are many ways to build stronger, denser bones even at an older age.  One of the best ways to increase bone density is exercise, but certain types of exercise yield better results than others.  Bones remodel themselves according to the stress placed upon them.  Doing light weights with lots of repetitions doesn’t really tug and pull and allow enough force on the bones & muscles to strengthen them. To properly “stress” a bone, you’ll want to use heavier weights but not so heavy as to injure yourself.  Body weight used as resistance can also work and can include yoga, elastic tubing, pushups, etc…) Weight bearing refers to how much of your body weight you are holding up while exercising.  For example, walking would be more weight-bearing than bike riding and running is more weight bearing than swimming (due to buoyancy of water there is less resistance).

Changing the direction and various angles in which we move our bodies can strengthen bones as well.  The hips, spine, wrist and ribs are much more prone to density issues, so focus on these areas are important. Because most of the time we move our hips in a straight linear pattern, the bones get the message that they need to maintain density for that path only.  That’s why exercise which involves swiveling, twisting or turning can build strength all around.  Exercises that rotate the hips include dancing, martial arts, tennis and even tai chi.

The next best way to build bone density is through nutrition.  Ample protein is needed because 50% of our bones are made of protein and really low protein can weaken bones.  If you consume a lot of protein, be sure to balance it with lots of vegetables. Be sure to also incorporate calcium.  The RDA is 1000-1200 mg daily but it’s been found that its better absorbed if spread out over the day instead all at once.  Great non-diary calcium providing foods include sardines, salmon, almonds, kale and broccoli.  Vitamin d and k help build strong bones too.  Magnesium is important because it helps activate vitamin D.  Other nutrients that are great for bone health include collagen (for bone flexibility), zinc, and omega oils.  Specifically, omega oils provide an anti-inflammatory response and are protectors against bone loss as we age.  You can boost your omega 3’s with fish and plant sources like chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

These recommendations as well as maintaining a healthy weight can not only keep you from losing bone mass and developing brittle bones but also actually increase it.  As we age, it becomes more difficult to build new bone, but not impossible; so work on building stronger bones and muscles to help battle osteoporosis, keep you more stable and  prevent injury in the future.

Dr Greg is an active resident of Twin Creeks in Allen, TX and his background is in acupuncture, health psychology, and chiropractic. He is with CA Acupuncture and Chiropractic Clinic located at 1101 Raintree Circle, Suite # 288, and can be reached for questions or appointments by phoning 972-747-0928.

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What Is Chronic Inflammation And How To Fight It Naturally

Posted on October 4, 2018. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Healing, Health, inflammation, Pain | Tags: , , , , , |

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~by Dr. Greg Steiner

Inflammation isn’t always a “bad” thing.  In fact, inflammation is what helps us to heal.  When the body has an injury, (ie. cut, bruise, infection, etc…) inflammation is the body’s first response. This process includes redness, swelling, heat, fluid increase to the injured area and altered function.  The intent is to repair, but sometimes it creates pain. This is called acute inflammation and its temporary and short term.  The other type of inflammation is chronic and ongoing.  Bad inflammation happens when the body thinks it has a danger when it really doesn’t. It keeps releasing its own inflammatory compounds where the body starts attacking itself mistaking areas like joints or intestines as an invader (think autoimmune disease, asthma, ibs, arthritis).

We often think of inflammation as a physical injury but it’s been found that putting the wrong kinds of food into our bodies can trigger it as well. Terms we hear often today like “leaky gut”, “gluten sensitivity”, “brain fog” and even the ability to lose weight could possibly be linked to chronic, low-grade inflammation.  With that said, one of the best ways to fight off inflammation is by changing our diet.  The biggest culprit that triggers inflammation is sugar.  This includes desserts, pastries, sodas, coffee drinks and even fruit juices.  Sugar goes by many names so look on ingredient labels for any word ending in “ose”, like fructose or sucrose and stay away from them.  Even artificial sweeteners like aspartame may trigger an inflammatory response.  Opt for a natural sweetener like stevia which doesn’t spike insulin levels, is low in calories yet gives the sweet taste desired.  I’ve seen patients with chronic headaches have a relief in symptoms by simply reducing sugars (especially artificial sugars) in their diets.

Many of my patients have noticed positive results in their health by opting to follow an elimination diet where they exclude certain foods to determine if perhaps they were the reason for their malaise.  Not everyone has negative results when they eat certain foods but they might feel improved symptoms by removing some known triggers.  Besides sugar, these triggers include:

  • Peanuts
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy-frozen, yogurt, ice cream, butter
  • Gluten-wheat, rye, and barley products
  • Refined carbs-white bread, white rice, potatoes and pasta
  • Trans and Saturated fats-found in fast and fried foods, cookies, donuts and even crackers
  • Processed meats-bacon, lunch meat, hot dogs
  • Artificial chemicals-food additives, coloring, and preservatives
  • High Sodium products-often found in canned soups & frozen meals

So with a long list of foods we should stay away from, what can we eat that are actually good for us? These include green leafy veggies like spinach, celery, broccoli, bok choy, and kale.  Other anti-inflammatory foods include beets, berries, pineapple, along with wild caught (not farmed) salmon, bone broth, chia & flax seeds, coconut oil and spices including turmeric and ginger.

Remember, inflammation isn’t always a “bad” thing.  It’s excess and continual inflammation that prevents us from staying healthy.  Fortunately, we can fight it naturally by eating the right foods for our body, incorporating exercise and also reducing & managing stress in our daily lives.

Dr Greg is an active resident of Twin Creeks and his background is in acupuncture, health psychology, and chiropractic. He is with CA Acupuncture and Chiropractic Clinic located at 1101 Raintree Circle, Suite # 288, and can be reached for questions or appointments by phoning 972-747-0928.

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The Mind & Body Connection To Stress & How To Manage It

Posted on October 4, 2018. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, Fatigue, Healing, Stress | Tags: , , , |

gregmonicapiggyb1

Dr. Greg & Monica beating stress & having fun at the same time!

~by Dr. Greg Steiner

Everyone encounters stress; it’s just a part of daily life.  Some have more than others but understanding how it impacts us physically and emotionally and building resilience and knowledge of how to combat it are keys to a healthier and happier existence.  Our mind and body are connected in that our minds control our thoughts and how we think affects how we feel.  Ever see someone who’s angry?  Usually their body is tense, with an aggressive type of posture.  Someone who is sad or depressed usually exhibits a slumping posture with shoulders rolled forward and chin downward.

Stress affects the body by influencing hormones.  If a tense situation occurs, hormones are released controlling heart rate, adrenaline, and breathing and getting the body ready for “flight or fight”.  The release of these hormones can result in a wide range of reactions to stress such as a decrease in testosterone (which decreases the ability to build or keep muscle) or increase in cortisol (which is often seen as fat around the midsection).  It can also cause fatigue, loss of appetite, pains in the body including headaches, lowered immune system, stomach problems, insomnia, and muscle tension.

Stress also affects our mind by causing us anxiety, restlessness, lack of emotion, inability to focus, anger, sadness and depression.  These type thoughts influence behavior and can lead to over/under eating, drug or alcohol use and social withdrawal.

Fortunately, stress can be controlled! We can decide to think in a way that will yield a positive outcome.  When you start to get control over something, no matter how small, you have a foundation of success to build upon.  When you adopt an optimistic attitude, organize yourself and tasks and work towards some type of end goal, you are able to get a handle over stress.  Some additional ways to manage stress include:

  • Get good, non-interrupted sleep
  • Exercise-running, weight training, any physical activity that makes you feel good
  • Find a support system- getting help from others, talking to a friend or loved one
  • Nutrition-eat foods with omega oils, include greens and nuts. Stay away from refined flours and sugars
  • Relaxation-yoga, meditation, deep breathing
  • Find a Hobby
  • Use a Planner-prioritize and make check lists
  • Listen to music
  • Play with a pet
  • Acupuncture

Changing our mindset can do wonders on combating the effects of stress on ourselves.  Instead of thinking of stress as a threat, view it as a challenge.  Instead of pressure, see it as an opportunity.  Instead of it being debilitating, see it as energizing.  All in all, by focusing on possibilities instead of problems, we change how we see things and can change our life for the better.

Dr Greg is an active resident of Twin Creeks and his background is in acupuncture, health psychology, and chiropractic. He is with CA Acupuncture and Chiropractic Clinic located at 1101 Raintree Circle, Suite # 288, and can be reached for questions or appointments by phoning 972-747-0928.

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Stay Hydrated in the Summer Heat

Posted on July 20, 2018. Filed under: Health, Hydration | Tags: , , , , , , , |

water for hydrationBy Dr. Greg Steiner

Staying hydrated is one of the best things we can do to help keep our body running efficiently.  It’s recommended we drink at least 12-16 glasses daily.  Our bodies depend on water and every cell, tissue and organ in it needs water to survive.  Our bodies are comprised of about 70% water and it has a myriad of functions.  It’s a lubricant which helps keep joints more supple and flexible and provides a protective cushion against shock in vulnerable areas like the brain and spine.  It also helps regulate body temperature by producing sweat which evaporates as a means of cooling the body.  Furthermore, it necessitates chemical reactions which make proteins and carbohydrates usable to the body.  Water is also used to transport nutrients all throughout the body.  We could live without food for a few weeks, but not water!

Knowing when we’re getting dehydrated may be difficult to recognize, but here are some signs of dehydration:

  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Darker colored urine & decreased amount
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Bad breath or dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Scaly dry skin or lips

Drinks that work against your hydration goals include caffeine containing liquids such as soda, tea, and coffee, and even energy drinks.  Caffeine causes a diuretic effect in which you lose water content thereby making you more dehydrated.  Alcoholic beverages like wine or beer can also dehydrate because liquor removes water from your tissues causing the need to increase water intake even more to offset the effects.  If alcohol is consumed, make it a point to consume one glass of water per alcoholic drink consumed (can help stave off a hangover as well).   Also avoid overly sugar laden drinks like sweet tea, lemonade and sweetened fruit juices.

Obviously good ‘ol plain water is best to stay hydrated but for flavor and variety you can add an infusion of fruit.  Milk works well and so does watermelon (though it isn’t a drink, it’s helpful in fluid retention).  Sports drinks with electrolytes are great if you’ve been involved in athletic activity and want to replenish.  Just be sure to read the labels and check sugar and carb content.  Also try caffeine free tea sweetened with a little stevia or drink unsweetened coconut water.

Tips to help you stay hydrated:

  1. Carry a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day and fill it up when empty. Some folks even carry around a gallon jug filled with water and sip off it all day long so they know they are drinking enough!
  2. Add a slice of lemon or lime to enhance the taste of your water
  3. When you feel hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger.  It can also help you feel more full
  4. If you have trouble remembering to drink water, schedule times to do it such as the beginning of every hour or right away when you wake up, at every meal, etc…

 

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Build Strong Abs and Reduce Back Pain at the Same Time

Posted on June 12, 2018. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Pain | Tags: , , , , , , |

medicine ball absIn today’s busy lifestyle, people strive to be as efficient, effective and productive as possible. So on the premise of  “killing two birds with one stone”, there are ways to build a strong lean set of abs and reduce back pain in one fell swoop.

Diet plays a strong role in not only creating a lean abdomen but also reducing inflammation that can be related to joint and back pain. By keeping inflammatory foods at a minimum, you’ll likely see great results.  Sugar is one of the biggest culprits, it turns into fat in your body and suppresses the immune system. Ridding starches like breads and pasta can help not only your mid-section cosmetically, but keep an over abundance of carbohydrates from turning into sugar.  The foods we eat can also cause bloating, especially around the midsection. For some, salt and dairy products cause water-retention. Great foods to take away the bloat but are also anti-inflammatory include foods that contain a lot of soluble fiber and help with constipation as well.  These include cucumbers, bananas, avocados, papaya, asparagus and kiwis.

The next way to build better abs and reduce back pain is to focus on certain exercises which build muscle and a stronger core.  Strong abdominal muscles not only look great but can actually prevent back pain by making you less prone to back injury and helping with better spinal alignment.  Back pain can be caused by weak abdominals and unbalanced muscles. The abs are the front anchor to our spine, and if weak, the other muscles that also support your spine, work harder to compensate.  In building strong abs, you’ll want to make sure that all the abdominal muscles including internal and external obliques and transverse abdominal are equally exercised.

One of my favorite overall abdominal exercises are the hanging leg or knee raise done in an upright position.  This dynamic exercise concentrates movement on the lower core which provides more benefit than holding a plank which is a static exercise. Performing exercises that allow you to curl your abs where you actively contract the muscle are great to do.  There are a multitude of exercises you can choose from but anything that causes pain or discomfort should be avoided. Another favorite exercise that not only strengthens the abs, low back, glutes, thighs, and overall core are squats. They work so many muscles at the same time providing more bang for the buck.  The best ab exercises will help support and give strength to the lower spine and abdomen and also work the deep and intermediate abs at the same time.

And let us not forget that one of the most simple and easy ways to make abs look great and help with back pain is good posture!  If we imagine a plumb line going straight up and down, we define good posture as having the ear, shoulder, hip, and ankles all in alignment with that imaginary line.  When we stand correctly, we see a multitude of benefits – we feel stronger, more confident, better balanced and we look taller, thinner and feel better!

 

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Why Women Need Testosterone Too

Posted on May 16, 2018. Filed under: Aging, Exercise, Healing, Health, Hormone, Testosterone | Tags: , , , , , |

Monica side with weights

Monica Steiner

By Dr. Greg Steiner

Most people have been under the impression that testosterone is for males only.  Not so!  This hormone is found in both sexes but in smaller concentrations in females.  Testosterone not only helps with keeping muscle mass (no more saggy arm skin) but it can help substantially with energy and overall well-being.  There are many things which affect testosterone levels with increasing age as a main factor.  Most recently, we’re seeing lowered levels appearing in younger ages and in both men & women so often it’s almost an epidemic.

Symptoms of low testosterone in women include:
Weight gain
Hair loss or thinning
Depressive mood
Irritability
Low libido/sex drive
Decreased energy & fatigue
Inability to build or maintain muscle mass

How Do I Know If My Testosterone is Low?
Questions to ask include, “Are you in your 40’s or 50’s? Have you had menopause? “or “Have you noticed a difference in your mood or how you feel?”  Because we have many different hormones, the issue at task is discovering just which ones are actually causing the problem.  Menopause symptoms as well as hypothyroid and low testosterone symptoms can be very similar and often overlap.  The best thing to start off with is a blood test to determine what may be off.  But don’t just go on labs alone because what some labs may consider to be a “normal” range may not be the optimal best range.  For example, if a patient has a testosterone level of 22 which one lab says falls within their “normal” range of 15-75.  This falls within the low range of normal but the patient could dramatically benefit from testosterone supplementation.  (There have been marked improvements in symptoms from shooting towards the upper 50% of “normal range”).

How to Naturally Increase Testosterone
Hormone replacement has been come well known in recent years but there are some things one can do to help increase those levels through nutrition, exercise and stress management.  Vitamin and herbal supplementation suggestions include plenty of omega oils, maca root, nettle root extract, and dim- (a broccoli extract which helps stop testosterone from being converted into estrogen) are good choices.  Because of deprived soils producing inferior foods with lowered nutrition on the market, a case for supplementation can be made.  A diet with lowered starches and carbohydrates and increased vegetables, good fats and proteins help as well.  Exercise is good for everyone but type of exercise can influence testosterone levels.  Those who are endurance athletes (runners, cyclists) whose bodies tend to be lighter and leaner  tend to have slightly lower levels than power athletes (weightlifters) or those who engage in strength building because growing muscle mass builds testosterone.  For stress management, having good, deep, and restorative sleep will make a huge difference.  Testosterone is produced when the body reaches a restorative state.  For example, with 5 stages of sleep, you’ll need to reach stage 3 or 4 at least in order to start that process.  Proper, uninterrupted sleep (where you dream) is necessary for recovery and sufficient testosterone production.

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Consider Cross Training to Prevent Injuries

Posted on May 16, 2018. Filed under: Exercise, Healing, Health, injury, rebuild, Weightloss | Tags: , , , |

gregmonicatire2

~by Dr. Greg Steiner

Many of us find a particular sport and fall in love with it, so much in fact, that there doesn’t seem to be a need or desire to do anything else than that particular sport.  Our thoughts may be, “If I focus solely on that sport and direct all my attention towards it, I can become better at it!”  While in theory, that’s the right attitude and perseverance will surely help reach one’s ultimate goal, this thought process can actually limit our experience and long term end result.   This limitation is defined by experiencing pain from overuse of certain joints or injuries that occur.  Fortunately, injuries aren’t inevitable.  As a matter of fact, most overuse injuries can actually be prevented and a great deal of these injuries are actually re-injuries. (Re-injuries can come from inadequate recovery where the body isn’t fully healed yet). This is where cross training fits in.  It’s keeping a well roundedness to your exercise program that strengthens and works a variety of muscles instead of the just the ones benefitting from one particular sport only.

While the major benefit of cross training is injury prevention by far, it’s not the only one.  It can also help with rehabilitation too.  When an injury occurs, no athlete wants to stop working out altogether and lose any progress they’ve made so cross training and exercising different body parts can still keep up fitness and activity levels.  Here, some muscles can rest, while others recover.  You can still train somewhat even while injured.

Improved fitness and strength can also be achieved by cross training.  Because certain sports focus on a specific combination of muscles, some muscles see over use while others are neglected.  Effective cross-training will enable the use of these other muscles and strengthen them.  Think about someone who is a runner, there’s fantastic cardiovascular exercise though a lot of hard impact on the joints, but when combined with yoga, allows a stronger and more stable core to be developed and promotes suppleness, fluidity and flexibility.

Improved motivation and excitement by changing up things helps keep one from becoming bored.  Trying out a new sport brings in a nice challenge while keeping fitness fresh and differentiated.  This keeps us from being stuck in a rut or in a plateau and can help us constantly evolve and grow athletically. You can also be flexible with your training needs (if you can’t run outside due to weather, you can lift weights at the gym).

Cross training and incorporating different activities into your main sport can not only help make you a better athlete overall, but enhance focus, keep you enthusiastic about exercise, and help keep you from injuries,  Like the old saying, never keep your eggs in one basket (one sport) but diversify your interests in staying healthy and fit as well!

 

 

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Pre & Post Surgery Prep for a Quicker Recovery

Posted on March 20, 2018. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, Health, Pain, surgery | Tags: , , , , , , |

monica back exercise~By Dr. Gregory Steiner, DC, MPhil

After over 25 years as a Natural Health Practitioner, I’ve come across a multitude of patients who used Chiropractic and Acupuncture therapies to either forgo their surgery or to prepare for an upcoming procedure.  I’ve also utilized these therapies on myself pre and post for knee surgery due to years and years of martial arts, over exercising, improper techniques, poor diet and ignorance in my youth. Surgery was performed to re-implant my own cartilage back into my kneecaps. I created a protocol for the first surgery and then tweaked it two years later for the second surgery.  The results of preparation pre and post were incredible and I’ve been able to share this protocol with my patients for their own rehabilitation success.

First and foremost is the concentration on nutrition. My patients and myself included, have used proteolytic enzyme supplements to prepare the body and help reduce inflammation.  These enzymes are designed to speed up the chemical reactions in your body and speed up your own repair process.  You should also focus on a more anti-inflammatory diet and consume foods like green leafy vegetables, walnuts, avocados, and herbs like garlic and ginger, and especially turmeric.  Stay away from sugars, white flours, and fast foods while also reducing dairy products pre and post-surgery.  I also liked to sip on branch chain amino acids pre and post.

Prehab also includes exercise.  Whether it be plyometrics or weight lifting, the goal is to activate the nervous system and get it charged up.  Anesthesia from surgery affects this, they create “nerve blocks” and it can take a while before they start firing up again.  It’s not just about lifting a bunch of heavy weights but using them in a controlled manner to activate the nerves as well and fire them up.

Acupuncture combined with electrical stimulation can also help.  I’ve used general points to boost energy and decrease stress and specific master points to help reduce inflammation and increase circulation to affected areas. Chiropractic is very good especially if the upcoming surgery is joint related.  The goal here is to get the joint in the best alignment as possible prior to procedure.

Getting the mind and body ready for surgery and preparing yourself  “pre-hab” and “rehab” can result in quicker and less painful recovery helping get you back to doing what you love to do in the shortest time possible.

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Headache from the Neck? Dealing with the “Cervicogenic Headache”

Posted on October 3, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Cervicogenic headache, Chiropractic, headache, Health, Neck Pain | Tags: , , , , , |

cervicogenic

Almost everyone has had a “headache” but did you know there are at least 150 different types of headaches?  There are vascular, condition specific, tension, cluster, migraine, environmental, disease related and the list goes on.  One of the most prevalent headaches I see at the clinic is that which is called the “Cervicogenic  Headache”.  It’s classified as a secondary headache which means that its caused by another issue other than directly in the head.  Pain is perceived as occurring in a part of the body other than its true source, a type of “referred pain”.  Simply put, perceived in the head from a source in the neck.

By identifying the type of headache, corrective measures can then be taken but it’s not always easy to determine the headaches because many symptoms and patterns are similar.  Cervicogenic headaches often feel as painful as a migraine and typically pain is located on one side of the head.  The pain seems to start at the back and wrap itself up and over the top to the side of the head.   Cervicogenic means that it’s coming from the neck, though neck pain may not be felt.  There are structures right at the base of the skull where it attaches to the spine along which arteries and nerves run.  If they get irritated or compressed, it can be problematic.  If you push at the base of the skull, it’s extremely tender, even light pressure above the nerve can hurt too.

For these types of headaches, a chiropractic adjustment can help dissipate that pain.  What happens here is that proper motion and relationship is being restored within the structures.  Abnormal tensions are reduced, pressure is lessened, muscles start to relax, and blood vessels return to normal flow and things start to heal in fairly short order.

Patients who are prone to neck and shoulder pain may experience these types of headaches more so than others.  It can be aggravated by sitting at computers or excessive cell phone use, especially with forward head posture because there is so much tension on the back of the neck.  If the head is dropped forward, the muscles then try to pull backwards, creating a kind of tug of war.  When the neck is out of alignment for long periods, chronic headaches can develop.  One of my top recommendations that you can practice at home and at any time is having good posture.  When you correct your posture, you take tension off the neck.  This can substantially reduce the occurrence of headaches.

Another recommendation is acupuncture. It can relax the muscles and also provide extra effects on the top of the head right in the muscular tension itself.  There are specific acupuncture points we use that directly target headaches. While chiropractic can work at the source of the headache, acupuncture can work directly on the source itself.  The good news is that there are natural therapies that can be used to help these headaches instead of ongoing dependence of medication.

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Stopping Neck & Shoulder Pain

Posted on April 6, 2017. Filed under: Acupuncture Information, Aging, Chiropractic, Exercise, Healing, Health, inflammation, injury, rebuild, Neck Pain, Pain, Posture | Tags: , , , , |

dr greg neck exercises cut out

Dr. Greg shows some simple neck exercises

By Dr. Greg Steiner
CA Acupuncture & Chiropractic

Neck and shoulder pain come in many shapes and forms.  There’s the sharp & stabbing type, sometimes coming from an arthritic joint or perhaps from something as simple as bending it in the wrong direction.  Sometimes it feels like it’s a grinding sort of pain and other times it feels heavy and stiff.  Whether the neck pain is a muscular or pinched nerve type, it usually doesn’t originate just in the neck but the uppermost part of the back, where a lot of muscles are activated and connect.  In order to be thorough and correct the problem, all these areas need to be addressed and assessed.

Oftentimes, headaches are caused by neck & shoulder issues.  If the muscles in the front of the neck are spasming, it can create a headache on the side of the head.  Tight trapezius and shoulder girdle areas can refer pain up the back of the head, and at the base of the skull, the deeper layer or muscles, when contracted or spasming can irritate blood vessels or nerves and produce “migraine” symptoms.

The feeling of an electrical shock or jolt running down the arm may indicate a nerve compression of some sort while a tightness or achy pain could result from a muscle strain from training at the gym.

The type of pain itself can often help identify the problem and therapies to be used for pain relief.  Ice packs are great to help reduce sharp pain while a stiff pain can be helped with ice and then heat.  The most effective therapy I have found is a combination of both chiropractic and acupuncture.  The chiropractic adjustment can help relieve muscle tension and restore some motion on just the first visit.  Subsequent visits keep increasing that range of motion, resulting in pain relief and longer term can restore proper alignment.  Add in the use of electrical stimulation and infrared heat and spasms and tightness can be also be reduced.  Acupuncture can also give a pretty satisfying analgesic effect by helping reduce muscle tension and inflammation.

One thing that can help reduce and prevent neck & shoulder pain is to focus on mobility and correct posture.  Gentle stretching and proper movement can keep the areas flexible and lubricated.  If you sit at the computer all day with your head leaning forward and hardly move, the strained position will eventually destroy the curve of the neck.  Inflammation also occurs, and nothing seems to fit in the right place.  The ligaments are no longer in the correct position and the front muscles start to shrink (because they are always contracted) while the back of the neck muscles are over stretched and weakened.  A great deal of this can be remedied by taking breaks to gently stretch the neck & shoulders, having the computer monitor & chair at the right height, as well as sitting tall and upright with the head in alignment with the shoulders.  The earlier you catch & remedy the problem, the faster you’ll see relief and following these simple suggestions can help deter that pain from the start.

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