The Link Between Posture and Neck Pain and Headaches

You know the feeling— when you wake up, it’s the first thing to greet you. When you go to bed, it’s the last thing you think about. Small movements throughout the day act as reminders of its presence. Achiness and fatigue seem to dominate your waking hours. 

If you’re struggling neck and shoulder pain from poor posture, you know just how much havoc it can wreak on both your body and mind. Who would have guessed your parents were doing you a favor when they told you not to slouch? 

Posture not only affects the way your body feels in general but can also be a key contributor to some pretty nasty headaches along the way. The good news? This is totally treatable with the right conservative care. 

Your Posture And Pain: Neck And Shoulders

Though poor posture can certainly stem from chronic injury cycles, it can also arise from normal lifestyle choices. From labor-intensive jobs to desk jobs, you may be susceptible to poor posture if they aren’t mindful of your form. If you experience upper body tightness and neck strain after a long work week, you may want to look at your posture at work— and how you relax at home.

The tricky part is the symptoms from poor posture compound over time, slowly. If you find yourself with your head gazing down for long periods of time or slouched over – like at a computer or reading on a mobile device– this puts undue stress on your neck. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons within and around the neck can become strained and the pressure can lead to some wicked tension headaches. These headaches can feel dull and achy and often get worse when turning your head from side-to-side. In more severe cases, disc degeneration can even occur. 

Think about it this way: poor posture (also known as ergonomics) forces certain muscles in your neck and shoulders to overwork in an effort to compensate. And while one day of poor posture isn’t going to be too much of an issue, years upon years of it can actually cause some serious damage when left uncorrected. 

Proper Posture At Work

In general, most people with desk jobs struggle to maintain good posture throughout an entire workday and workweek. This is in a big part due to the fact that we were made to move, not to be as sedentary as some of these jobs seem to encourage. However, we know that the modern world makes a good amount of this work a necessity. So how can you ensure you have a healthy posture throughout your shift?

One main solution to this is quite simple: move. You just have to be intentional about it, as this usually isn’t built into the job description. What does this mean?  Take many small walk breaks. You can make these breaks as a lap to the bathroom, the water cooler, or to say hi to a co-worker. Take simple opportunities to move and use these moments as a chance to reset and check in on your current posture. We promise, the more you do this, the more habitual it will become. 

Depending on your office policy, you can also look into using a sit-to-stand desk. The subtle differences between sitting and standing have been known to not only help engage different muscles to maintain good posture but also boost productivity. Score!

How To Build Long-Term Proper Posture 

Maintaining good posture is a long-term game. Just like one day of poor posture won’t do you in, one day of good posture won’t correct years of doing it wrong. To reap the benefits from good posture, practice and consistency are key. 

Practice Proper Form And Ergonomics

Shoulders back and down. Head gazing straight ahead. Abdominals engaged. Lower back flat. Most of us know how to engage our bodies in proper posture, however, the trick is being mindful enough to maintain good form throughout our busy days, especially when we start to get tired. Practice proper form by bringing yourself back to the present during small movements throughout the day. For example, when you bend over to pick something off the ground, do you round your back and get a headrush when you stand back up? Or, do you squat, engaging your abdominals, while keeping your back straight? Psst: the correct answer is the latter. 

Consult With A Medical Professional

When you’re beginning a new health routine, it’s always best to consult with a medical professional first. Your practitioner can help make sure that there aren’t any bigger underlying issues at play that you may not see, and also help to customize your plan for you. That’s important! Each of us brings different health histories to the table, so a one-size-fits-all approach is never the answer when you’re looking for long-term health solutions. 

Stay Mobile – And, Get In A Routine

Again, we know that this one sounds simple, but it’s important! Our bodies were made to move – so use ‘em! Staying active in general will encourage mobility and grant many other health boons along the way. 

There are also some great, simple at-home exercises that you can employ to help encourage your posture. Again, your medical professional can help you figure out the best exercise routine to implement for where you’re at in your journey.

How Chiropractic Can Help Your Posture

Through the use of adjustments of the spine, neck, and extremities, chiropractic can help to realign the body and provide relief that can be so desperately needed to help correct poor posture and maintain good posture. Stiffness in one area of the body can affect so much more than just that one area! Chiropractic care can help not only address the pain points you may be experiencing from poor posture but also help give the rest of your body the attention that it also needs through this process.

These gentle adjustments help to decrease inflammation, relieve pressure, reduce nerve irritability, and ultimately allow your entire body to relax and allow healing to take place. By working consistent chiropractic care into your routine, you can help your body maintain better posture, therefore increasing your overall quality of life. That’s a huge win-win. Your practitioner can also help you work in appropriate at-home exercises to accelerate your progress outside of office hours.

Whether you’re looking to tackle your posture problems or are looking to get help proactively, chiropractic care can help. Schedule your appointment online or call (626) 469-7478.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Woman Using Exercise Ball in Gym

Take Control Of Lower Back Pain With These 3 Exercises

If you’ve been plagued by lower back pain and discomfort, you’re not alone. An astonishing 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Not to mention, it is also the leading cause of job-related disability and is cited as the number one reason for missed work time. For a condition that is so incredibly common, it seems that many people feel ill-equipped to manage their everyday symptoms. 

Perhaps an overarching issue with managing back pain is that the discomfort makes complete rest tempting, when in fact the real gains come from incorporating the right exercises into your routine. Certain movements can help to strengthen the muscles around the back to better support your spine and lower back in return. We’ve rounded up some of what we feel are the most effective and easily implemented exercises for lower back pain. Let’s get started.

Bird-Dog Repeats

This exercise is great to counteract lower back pain because it helps with balance and stabilization– two things that protect your back and counteract weakness along with the pain associated with it. 

To perform this exercise, start on your hands and knees and engage your core muscles. Lift and extend one leg directly behind you, holding for five seconds. Then, repeat this movement on the other leg. Continue to alternate legs and, when you are comfortable, start also extending the opposite arm at the same time as the leg. While you’re doing this exercise, be sure to keep your core engaged and your back flat. Be careful not to raise your limbs past a point where you can maintain control of your lower back positioning. Repeat this exercise 8 – 12 times within pain-free limits of motion. 

Wall Sits

Grab a friend and try some wall sits! This exercise can be a really fun challenge, and it just happens to be a great tool to help combat lower back pain. 

Lean back and flatten your back against a wall. Slowly slide down until your knees are partially bent, keeping your back against the wall and your core engaged. Hold this for about 10 seconds, then slide back up the wall for a break. When you’re ready for another repeat, slide back down and time yourself again. Repeat this 8-10 times.

This movement helps to strengthen both your core and your leg muscles, two systems that contribute to helping your spine and backstay protected and happy. This is a great exercise to keep in your routine even after back pain has passed.

Knee-To-Chest Movement

This one may sound simple, but it can pack so many benefits for your lower back! This light stretch can help coax some of the tight, spasming muscles around your back to unlock a bit. Trust us, that’s a very good thing! 

Start by lying on your back with both knees bent. Engage your core, and try to flatten your back toward the ground. Keeping your back flat on the ground, bring one knee up toward your torso; reach out with your hands, and give it a gentle pull toward your chest to deepen the stretch and hold for about five seconds. Slowly lower your leg back down, and repeat this with your other leg. 

Note: if you’re one of many people who is particularly tight and having difficulty with flexibility, you may find it challenging to reach out and grab your knee as you lift it. In this case, simply use a towel for assistance. Wrap the towel around the base of your knee and use the ends to gently pull your leg closer without compromising your lower back form. This is a common yoga move to help people advance through movements that they may struggle with at first.

Movements To Avoid 

Though the movement is good for your lower back, there are certain exercises that can exacerbate existing pain. Always use pain and discomfort as an indicator when performing new activities, but also be aware some movements may be best to avoid altogether. These include standing toe touches, leg lifts, and any movement that involves twisting of your back.

How Chiropractic Can Help Lower Back Pain

Regular chiropractic treatment is another great conservative care option for not only overall health but also back pain. The gentle adjustments that your practitioner can apply during an appointment help to realign the spine and extremities for better overall function. These adjustments not only help your whole body feel better, but they can also fend off inflammation and even help support your immune system. This is especially important while your body is in the healing process. Not to mention, your practitioner can help you pinpoint which at-home exercises may suit your injury best. 

By scheduling regular chiropractic care, you can help to keep your body and your immune system in tip-top shape. During the initial evaluation, we will go over your health history in detail and construct a plan that you are completely comfortable with before moving forward. Don’t neglect your health; schedule an appointment online or call (626) 469-7478. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.


Sedentary Lifestyle Linked to Poor Health

Do you spend hours sitting at a desk while working? Does your day involve staring at a screen for focused periods of time? Do you notice your posture struggling with the surprising demands of sitting? 

You’re not alone. The average American now spends more than 10 hours per day in front of a screen. As computer-based jobs continue to grow in prevalence, it’s not unexpected. However, the ramifications of sitting for this significant portion of our time are much more serious than many of us may give credit. 

Implications Of A Sedentary Life

“Sitting is the new smoking.” This phrase has been coined to help the general population understand the gravity of the toll that prolonged, consistent sitting can have on our bodies. It can be understandably difficult to fully grasp just how serious sitting can be. After all, it’s necessary for everyone to rest and sit at times! However, the issue we’re facing today is the drastic amount of time that our population is sedentary. This sitting “epidemic” has been strongly correlated back to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and other chronic illnesses. In short, it’s time to start paying attention. 

Gradual weight gain. Did you know prolonged daily sitting significantly impacts the number of calories your body is able to naturally burn? Even if you’re not working out per se, walking consistently throughout the day significantly increases general, healthy caloric burn. As our modern society is engineered toward sitting more, our collective normal caloric output is decreasing drastically. This lifestyle change has contributed greatly to significant weight gain. 

Poor posture, chronic pain. On top of unnecessary weight gain, prolonged sitting can also severely impact posture. Bad posture puts undue stress on your joints and certain muscles, which can easily lead to chronic pain. In fact, ongoing back pain is the leading work-induced disability, as well as the highest cited contributor to missed workdays. When we’re sitting, it’s easy to hunch forward, usually toward the screen we’re looking at. A forward head positioning can put undue strain and stress on your muscles, as well as contribute to shoulder and back pain, and more frequent headaches. When this behavior is perpetuated day after day, it can become problematic. Chronic poor posture and back pain due to poor posture can also make necessary, healthy movement and activity are more and more uncomfortable. 

Everyday Ways To Improve Posture, Even At Work

If your job requires you to sit at a desk for long periods each day, don’t fret! There are plenty of simple, accessible ways to improve your ergonomic sitting situation for your long-term health right in your office. 

Swap out your chair. For starters, you can swap out a normal chair for a large exercise ball. The slightly unstable surface helps to keep your core and spine engaged in a much different way than a chair allows. Don’t feel like you need to go cold-turkey though; you can still keep your chair around to swap between time on the ball. Changing it up like this throughout the day may seem like a minor action, but the small movements it requires your body to go through can yield big benefits long-term.

Stand while working. Many have also found relief from using a sit-stand desk situation. On top of taking better care of your spine, these desks have also been linked to improved collaboration, job satisfaction, and managing or even reversing health problems. They are becoming more and more common in modern workplaces that are prioritizing the health of their employees. 

Take stretch breaks. You should also try to take small walking and stretching breaks. Get outside for a casual stroll during lunch. During the crunch hours of the day, use water and bathroom breaks as an excuse to move and also do some gentle stretching. If you’re more confined to your desk area, consider practicing some basic yoga poses. There are many online tutorials that walk you through basic stretches and only require the space that a small cubicle may give you. 

Practice mindful posture. When you do find yourself sitting, be proactive about your posture. Think about sitting with your shoulders back yet relaxed, an engaged core, and feet firmly planted on the ground. Reference this infographic for more tips on how to properly sit and incorporate small movements to help your body throughout the workday.

The Role Of Chiropractic With Posture

Though many people work with a chiropractor to help with back pain after it has begun, it can pay huge benefits to use as preventative care as well. When you’re sitting for a significant amount of the day, it’s good to be as proactive about postural health as possible. Chiropractic care and adjustments of the spine can help realign your body to keep your nervous and immune systems functioning properly. Ongoing chiropractic care can also help you maintain good posture more easily throughout the workday by keeping your spine aligned.

If your work requires a healthy dose of sitting on a daily basis, it may be valuable to consider working chiropractic care into your routine as a preventative measure. If you’d like to schedule an initial evaluation to get you started, we would be happy to get you on our patient calendar. Schedule an appointment online or call (626) 469-7478. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.


4 Easy Ways To Manage Sciatica Throughout the Day

Do you have consistent leg or back pain that you might describe as burning, tingling, or even sharp? Sciatica could be to blame. 

Sciatica pain starts in the lower back, moves through the buttocks and into the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. Because it often gets worse when you sit down, managing your sciatica pain throughout the day might feel like a full-time job of its own. 

How can you make your daily routine significantly more comfortable and pain-free? Here are four simple tips to get you started.

1. Optimize your Workspace

Sitting for long periods of time has become the norm for many of us. Unfortunately, when you’re trying to manage sciatica, even sitting can feel incredibly painful.

For sciatica patients, sitting down can feel significantly more comfortable with a well-designed chair and well-thought-out workspace. If possible, invest in a supportive ergonomic chair to provide support, and add in additional low back support by placing a lumbar pillow (or a rolled-up towel in a pinch) at the base of your chair. If your chair has wheels, you can easily roll yourself closer to your desk to avoid twisting and turning your body and potentially aggravating your sciatic nerve.

When using a computer, place the monitor in front of you at eye level and keep the keyboard and mouse nearby to minimize reaching. Keep in mind the way you sit also matters. Avoid crossing your legs, and keep your hips and knees bent at a 45-degree angle. 

Whenever possible, stand up every 20 minutes and take a few laps around your office or workspace. When moving from sitting to standing, don’t bend at the waist to get up from your chair as this can stretch and irritate your sciatic nerve. Instead, simply slide to the front of your seat and straighten your legs until you’re standing.

Depending on your office environment, you might also consider investing in a sit-to-stand desk. It lets you adjust your desk’s height so you can easily transition from sitting to standing. 

2. Go for a Walk

Walking can provide relief from sciatic pain by kickstarting the release of endorphins into your system and reducing the inflammation around your sciatic nerve roots.

Walk at a brisk pace for about 30 minutes, three to four times a week. When you’re walking, be sure to stand up straight to engage the muscles in both your core and lower back. To avoid burnout or injury, begin with short 5-minute walks and slowly build up your endurance.

If you’re in too much pain for a walk, consider going for a gentle swim in a warm pool instead. You’ll enjoy many of the same benefits with even less strain on your lower back.

3. Embrace the Mind/Body Connection

With so much focus on physical symptoms, it’s easy to overlook how powerful your mind can be in managing pain symptoms. When the mind focuses on something else, many patients can experience quick relief from their symptoms.

Mental imagery, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can decrease your pain levels and don’t require a lot of time– strive for 10 minutes each day, or 30 minutes three times a week.

2-3 minutes of controlled breathing in a quiet room is another option. And best of all, you can do this just about anywhere, even at the office!

4. Invest in a Good Mattress

Your body needs rest. A soft, unsupportive mattress forces your muscles to engage, even when you’re sleeping. If you’re not sleeping well or your muscles are unable to relax properly each night, you’ll eventually experience muscle fatigue and exhaustion. Invest in a quality mattress; look for a mattress with firm support, to ease the tension on your spine. You’ll sleep better and your body will get the down time it needs.

When To See A Doctor For Sciatica Pain

While there are many lifestyle changes you can make to your home and work environments to manage your sciatica pain, professional medical treatment is recommended. Chiropractic care zeroes in on the cause of your pain, provides immediate relief, and manages your ongoing care by implementing a customized treatment plan. 

Although every patient is different, the cornerstone of chiropractic treatment for sciatica is usually a chiropractic adjustment. Gentle pressure is placed on the painful areas to help reduce nerve irritability and bring back your range of motion. Stretching techniques may also be used on your sore muscles and joints so they’ll feel better right away.

An important part of managed care is getting to know the patient and set goals for the future. With a holistic, customized treatment plan that includes therapeutic treatment, maintenance care, exercise, and activity modification, your pain can be banished for good. The information in this article can provide some serious relief, but it’s for informational purposes only. There’s no substitute for professional consultation about your symptoms. Contact us at (626) 469-7478 or schedule an appointment online.


5 Neck Pain Causes That Might Surprise You (And When To See A Doctor)

Many people experience neck pain at some point in their lives. From poor posture to osteoarthritis, the causes of neck pain vary considerably from person to person, but sufferers know the symptoms all too well:

  • Pain that gets worse when you hold your head in one position for extended periods, perhaps when you’re driving or working at a computer.
  • The inability to move your head easily and fully.
  • Muscle tightness.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Headache.

If you find yourself messaging your neck several times during the day, it could be more than daily stress and strain— don’t underestimate the role the neck plays in your overall mood and health.

A Pain in the Neck–Literally.

The neck plays a unique role in the body: it’s strong enough to support the weight of your whole head but is also very flexible. Because of this combination of features, your neck is prone to injury and painful conditions that can hinder routine activities and restrict motion. 

We’re all familiar with common causes, such as whiplash caused by fender benders and car accidents, but other origins might surprise you:

  • Worn-out joints. Like most other parts of the body, the joints in your neckwear down with age. When the cartilage between your bones to deteriorate, we call this “osteoarthritis,” which in your neck, causes bone spurs to form. The result affects joint motion and causes pain.
  • Nerve compression. Herniated disks or bone spurs in the vertebrae of your neck can sometimes press on the nerves that branch out from your spine.
  • Tech neck. Many of us are guilty of spending far too many hours hunkered down over a computer or smartphone, resulting in an aching neck and shoulders at the end of the day. There’s actually a name for this condition– the dreaded “tech neck.” 
  • (Seemingly) minor repeated movements. Reading in bed, an awkward position–even gritting your teeth can strain your neck muscles.
  • Diseases. It’s relatively rare, but neck pain can sometimes be traced back to certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, or cancer.

How To Prevent Neck Pain

Some things can’t be helped such as age-related wear-and-tear; however, there’s a lot you can do to help prevent neck pain. Small tweaks in your daily routine can be hugely helpful, including:

  • Good posture. Whether you’re standing or sitting, remember to keep your spine in a straight line. Your shoulders should be directly over your hips, while your ears should always be lined up over your shoulders. In other words, stand tall–no slouching!
  • Take plenty of breaks. Long hours in the office and stop-and-go traffic are an everyday reality for many working adults. Our advice: take periodic stretch breaks– get up out of your chair, move around, and stretch your neck and shoulders.
  • Adjust your desk, chair, and computer. Ideally, the computer monitor (or anything else you’ll need to focus on for a long time) should stay at eye level. Optimal posture includes keeping your knees slightly lower than your hips. 
  • Use a phone headset or speakerphone. Fortunately, Bluetooth earpieces and headsets are mainstream, making them affordable and easy to find. But, if you don’t have that luxury when using a phone handset, never cradle it between your ear and shoulder.
  • Skip the shoulder straps when carrying heavy bags. Added shoulder weight equates to excessive strain on your neck; for heavier loads, consider a suitcase with wheels instead.
  • Choose your sleep position carefully. To avoid waking up with sore muscles, your head and neck should be aligned with the rest of your body. And if possible, sleep on your back with a small pillow under your neck and your thighs elevated on pillows to flatten out your spinal muscles. 

When To See a Doctor

While most neck pain improves gradually with at-home treatments and prevention techniques, we recommend a visit to your primary care physician when your neck pain is:

  • The result of an injury, like a car crash or fall.
  • Severe enough to interfere with your daily life.
  • Persists for several days in a row.
  • Spreads down your arms or legs.
  • Accompanied by numbness, weakness, or a tingling sensation.

Treating Your Aching Neck

While over-the-counter and prescription medications may bring temporary relief, many patients experience unpleasant side effects or limited effectiveness. Thus, the pain continues–and you feel worse from the medications.

Rather than trying to mask your symptoms temporarily, chiropractic care traces your pain back to the root of the problem. Though everyone’s pain is a bit different, chiropractic care most often involves treating the muscle, joint, and nerve in your neck using chiropractic adjustments or “cervical manipulations.” Though the name may sound intimidating, cervical manipulations place gentle pressure on your neck and spine, to loosen your stiff joints and bring immediate relief. If you’ve tried treating your neck pain at home and it’s not subsiding, make an appointment or call us at (626) 469-7478 to discuss your symptoms and begin a treatment plan. Your neck–and body– will thank you.


When Is Degenerative Disc Disease The Cause Of Lower Back Pain?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) occurs when normal changes in spinal discs take place over time, causing you pain.

Think of spinal discs as shock absorbers in between the vertebrae of your spine which help it to stay flexible. As you age, the discs begin to break down. This process is a natural occurrence, but if your lower back pain won’t seem to go away, you might be suffering from DDD. 

If any of the following patterns sound familiar, then you may want to visit a chiropractor for a spinal analysis:

  • More pain while sitting for a long time, lifting, twisting, or bending.
  • Less pain when walking or running
  • Less pain if you frequently change positions
  • Less pain if you lie down

What does it mean to have degenerative changes in the spine?

Just the name alone—degenerative disc disease—sounds scary. Is there cause for alarm and should you be concerned if you’ve received a DDD diagnosis? 

Yes and no. When changes in the spine cause the loss of normal structure or function, it’s considered degenerative.  Your spine carries a huge portion of your body’s weight. Over time, the collagen (protein) in your spine weakens. Meanwhile, water and proteoglycan (PG) content also decreases, and thus the discs become unable to withstand daily mechanical stress. These changes are caused by regular use, but habits like smoking or an unhealthy diet may also be contributors. Fortunately, most patients who suffer from DDD respond well to non-surgical treatment.

Non-Surgical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatments

If you think you have or you’ve been diagnosed with DDD, bed rest may be helpful for a few days during the most painful phases. However, each patient is different and will have a unique treatment plan; after bed rest, your treatment plan may call for several different remedies including stretching, extension exercises, aerobics, acupuncture, medication, and chiropractic adjustments.

Stretching exercises

Lower back pain may limit flexibility, and following a prescribed set of stretching exercises can improve movement in the trunk muscles. Stretching exercises help to widen the intervertebral foramen, the small canals on the left and right sides of your spinal column through which the nerve roots exit the spinal cord.

Extension exercises

The McKenzie Method is an example of an extension exercise for the lower back muscles and ligaments. They help maintain proper spine curvature and reinforce healthy posture.


Amped-up muscular endurance, a better sense of coordination, stronger abdominal muscles and weight loss are just a few of the benefits of aerobic exercise. 

Low or no-impact aerobic exercise like walking, biking, and swimming only put slightly more strain on your lower back than lying down while also strengthening your core. Stronger abdominal muscles help reduce the weight your lumbar spine is forced to hold up on its own.  As an added bonus, aerobic exercise helps keep anxiety and depression at bay for many patients. 


Although it should usually be combined with other treatments, acupuncture has been shown to jumpstart the production of endorphins, acetylcholine (an important neurotransmitter in the nervous system), and serotonin. 


Especially during the intense initial phase of low back pain, medications may be prescribed. Acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory agents, and even muscle relaxants can be effective.

Because of the strong potential for addiction, narcotics and even anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) should only be used temporarily.

Depression can also contribute to low back pain, and there are non-drug ways to address that which may improve both mood and sleep.

We do not condone taking medications for pain, but we realize that people do. Our intent is to provide caution around doing so, and make sure people realize this is not a viable long-term solution. 

If you experience an ongoing need for pain medicine we strongly urge you to come in and let us evaluate what is causing that pain. Whenever possible we want to treat and eliminate the underlying cause of pain, rather than mask it.

Chiropractic adjustments

Performed by chiropractors and physical therapists, adjustments can greatly improve DDD, making it much easier to twist, bend, and move around in daily life. Adjustments (also called manipulations) involve carefully placing pressure on spinal joints to relieve dysfunction and pain.

Your chiropractor may also perform different types of manual therapy to treat your DDD symptoms, including:

  • Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques to relieve pain and other DDD symptoms.
  • Therapeutic massage to help reduce muscle tension.
  • Trigger point therapy, which relieves tension by putting direct pressure on tight painful points in the muscle.
  • Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy, reducing or eliminating pain by using various chiropractic instruments.

Living with Degenerative Disc Disease

If you’ve been diagnosed with lumbar degenerative disc disease, the good news is most patients respond well to non-surgical treatment.  If your pain is persistent and continues even after bed rest, consult with your chiropractor. Together, your chiropractor will work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address your acute lower back pain and reinforce a healthy lifestyle, including avoiding tobacco, maintaining a regular fitness program plus dietary adjustments. 

This article isn’t a substitute for medical advice. If lower back pain has been an issue for you, you don’t have to keep suffering. Make an appointment online or call us (626) 469-7478, and let’s get to the root of your back pain as well as create a treatment plan just for you.


Sciatic Pain and a Tennis Ball: What They Have in Common

80% of people in the U.S. will experience some form of back pain (also called “sciatic pain”) during their lifetime. That’s far too many days spent sitting on the sidelines and struggling through daily tasks.

What might be causing your back pain isn’t always easy to determine, in part because most back pain starts days — sometimes even weeks or months — before the first symptoms ever show up. This can make it difficult to connect the pain back to its root cause.

We do know things like sports injuries, car accidents, inactivity, obesity, and poor posture are some of the most common culprits. What are some preventative measures you can take to ease the tension in your back?

7 Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain

  1. Exercise at least twice each week. You’ll strengthen the muscles in the spine as you improve flexibility and balance. Unsure where to start? Try some gentle yoga to begin.
  2. Drink water! Half your body weight in ounces is a great guideline.
  3. When you’re sitting down for long periods, incorporate breaks. Be sure to stand up periodically and spread your weight evenly on both legs.
  4. Consider supplementing with vitamins D and k2. Be sure to ask your doctor before starting any new regimen.
  5. Stretch before bed. If possible, sleep on your side.
  6. Stop smoking. We’re all aware of the cardiovascular health risks — but did you know smoking also lowers the blood flow to the lower spine and promotes degeneration of the spinal disks, too? More great reasons to give up the habit.

Sometimes, though, we all struggle with an aching back. When it comes to treatment, the most common course of action is to simply take a “wait and see” approach — in most cases, back pain will resolve on its own within a month. Many people also find relief through acupuncture, chiropractic care, or perhaps anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger, curcumin, and Boswellia.

And there’s another mode of treatment you may have heard about that can be amazingly effective…a tennis ball.

Tennis Ball Therapy – How it Works

How does a common tennis ball relieve your sciatic pain? It presses and treats the trigger points in the piriformis muscle, located beside your sciatic nerve. As your body weight presses into the part of your back that’s causing you pain, your muscles will relax and release. You’ll also improve your mobility and increase circulation.

It’s empowering to take charge of your own healing journey as you combine the benefits of massage, acupressure, and reflexology. You’re relieving muscle tension and soothing your sore muscles — all with a tennis ball.

How To Administer Tennis Ball Therapy

Massaging your body with a tennis ball is what’s called “self trigger point therapy,” because you can administer treatment yourself, and, it can be done in the comfort of your own home. As this treatment method grows in popularity and information continues to circulate, it’s very important to make sure you’re doing it properly.

Start by watching this instructional video: 

Then, try it for yourself:

1. Lie down on the tennis ball.

2. Adjust the tennis ball so it’s right at the painful spot on your lower back or glutes.

3. Relax and roll up and down on the ball, holding the ball on the most painful spot for 30-60 seconds.

4. Move the tennis ball on to the next painful spot, and repeat.

Total time spent: 5-10 minutes.

Similar to when you get a deep tissue massage, you might experience pain initially — but don’t worry, you’ll soon feel relief.  

More Serious Back Pain

What if you’ve tried the preventative measures, done the tennis ball therapy, but your back still isn’t feeling better…now what?  If you have persistent back pain, you should always see a medical professional when symptoms start affecting your daily living. Planning life around your symptoms or putting activities on hold due to pain are clear indicators it’s time to make an appointment online or call us (626) 469-7478 and discuss a personalized treatment plan. 

Chiropractic care and gentle adjustments of the spine can help reduce your pain; massage therapy eases the tension in your muscles and increases blood circulation. The combination of the two is especially effective and ongoing treatment can help you maintain good posture, improve your range of motion and keep your spine aligned, thereby putting an end to your back pain once and for all.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.


Disc Herniation Within Athletics

Herniated discs can happen to both athletic and non-athletic folk alike. That doesn’t make the back and neck pain or nerve sensations any more pleasant for the former population. Figuring out treatment while also trying to nail down a return-to-activity plan can feel incredibly daunting, especially for athletes. How can you visualize pushing yourself in training again when you’re experiencing so much discomfort at rest?

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a fitness fanatic, or near-professional status, rushed training or accidents in training can lead to a disc herniation. Though the journey back to full health can be overwhelming, most herniated discs are treated successfully through consistent, conservative care. Let’s take a look at this condition and your treatment options. 

How Does A Disc Herniation Occur?

The vertebrae that stack to make up our spine all have small pads between them, called “discs.” They serve as little shock absorbers to help protect our spine during day-to-day and dynamic movement. These discs are made up of a tougher outer cartilage ring and a softer, gel-like center. When a disc herniates, the soft-center portion is pushed through the outer cartilage edge. 

This kind of herniation is very common in high-contact sports, like football. It is also common with high-load activities, like complex, heavy weight lifting that requires twisting. However, one of the tricky aspects of this injury is how it presents in various cases. Once a disc has herniated, the displacement can put pressure on the nerves within the spine, causing an array of referral patterns. Though neck and lower back pain is a common symptom, a herniated disc in the lumbar region can also cause tingling in one leg or buttocks and a burning sensation in the neck. A herniated disc that’s located closer to the neck can cause tingling and burning in one arm or shoulder. 

Symptoms of weakness or numbness are considered more serious symptoms from a herniated disc and should be looked at by a medical professional immediately.

How Can You Prevent A Herniated Disc?

As with most injuries, taking preventative measures is always the ideal. To help protect your spine against a herniated disc, pay extra close attention to your posture and athletic form especially while performing high-load activities. Many sports injuries in the weight room happen when an athlete is near the end of a workout, becoming fatigued, and gets a bit lazy with their form toward their ending repetitions. 

A good rule of thumb: if you’re too tired to execute the exercise with less than perfect form, you’re too tired. Take the cue from your body and focus on rest instead of getting in that last set. 

You can also implement exercises that strengthen and stabilize the trunk muscles. This is especially important for athletes who play contact sports like football, basketball and soccer. By strengthening these muscles, your body is better prepared to respond protectively when contact does inevitably occur.

How Can You Treat A Herniated Disc?

Surgery is not the immediate answer to treat all herniated discs, and in fact, most cases have positive results from conservative care. For starters, basic rest can work wonders. For active individuals and athletes, this can feel especially difficult! But in the long run, time off now could mean more time back in the game later than if you try to push through pain and discomfort. 

Many also experience relief from using ice around the area to help decrease inflammation, as well as the application of some analgesic cream. 

Chiropractic Care For Disc Herniation

Chiropractic treatment is another great option within conservative care for a disc herniation. A chiropractor will evaluate the entire spine to better understand where your pain is truly coming from before providing any treatment. Once they have a better understanding of your personal pain pattern and symptoms, they may apply some gentle adjustments that can help to realign the spine for better overall function during the healing process. Depending on your specific case, some additional manual therapy may also be applied to encourage healing. Your chiropractor can also help prescribe the best at-home exercises to quicken your recovery time outside of the office. 

By scheduling regular chiropractic care, you can help keep your body’s response system in tip-top shape and minimize inflammation. During the initial evaluation, we will go over your symptom history in detail and construct a treatment plan that you are completely comfortable with before moving forward. Don’t put off your healing; schedule an appointment online or call (626) 469-7478. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.


The Healing Benefits of Chiropractic Care For Children

Most of us don’t think of young children as having issues that might require chiropractic care. But did you know many painful ailments that plague adults actually stem from a misaligned spine due to an undetected childhood spinal injury?

How Do Children Injure Their Spines?

The first few years of a child’s life is all about exploring surroundings. From infants gaining mobility to the toddler years to elementary school—seemingly harmless bumps and falls happen every day; it’s only natural as a child explores the world around them. But over time, even minor injuries can cause trauma to a child’s spine. Spinal bones can shift from their normal positioning during this stage of rapid growth, resulting in permanent deformities that may show up later in life.

The Three Windows of A Child’s Spinal Development

There are specific windows of time during which a child’s spine goes through major increments of development:

  • Birth through age five. The most critical time by far, this is when a child gains mobility, balance and coordination, and his or her spine experiences the greatest amount of minor traumas and repetitive stress injuries.
  • Age five to 10 years old. As a child starts school and engages in playground activity and organized sports, repeated falls and tumbles are bound to happen, sometimes resulting in undetected spinal injuries.
  • Age 10 to 15 years old. The spine goes through its final stages of development as your child eases into adulthood. While this stage seems relatively uneventful by comparison, it’s actually when your child’s spinal growth can be affected by things like improper backpack loading and carrying, poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, or at the other end of the spectrum, repetitive sports movements. Even if your child never seems to sustain a sports injury during this time of life, repeated impacts due to playing sports take a toll over time. The “invisible” effects of participating in high-impact sports and other activities often show up as an adult — and it can be painful. 

Injuries that show up in a more outward, dramatic fashion (like a concussion, whiplash, etc.) can benefit certainly from the gentle pressure of a chiropractic spinal adjustment. What many parents don’t realize is that any active child — especially one who plays sports —  is quite likely to experience a spine injury, regardless of whether they have painful symptoms right now. 

Your child’s trip to the chiropractor now can prevent plenty of adult onset-pain – we’ll talk more about that in a moment.

What Is Happening To Your Child’s Spine?

After the almost-constant bumps and falls that occur in the first few years of life, the vertebrae protecting the spine can lose their normal positioning, exposing the spine to trauma.

Spinal trauma can have lasting effects, including:

  • Delicate nerve tissue damage, resulting in interference with the brain’s ability to send nerve impulses to your organs, tissues, and muscles
  • Discs, blood vessels, and other soft tissues can swell and become inflamed 
  • Bone spurs and abnormal bone growth as the body compensates to protect the spine

These realities can come as a surprise to parents, as pain and other obvious symptoms aren’t always present.

The Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Kids

When young adults seek out chiropractic care, they often don’t realize their back pain is the result of a trauma they received 10-20 years ago. You can shield your child from experiencing the same discomforts by scheduling a pediatric chiropractic exam. Chiropractic care can uncover spinal problems that would normally go undetected in children. Left unchecked, spinal problems can grow into much more serious medical issues later in life.

You’re most likely already aware of the benefits of chiropractic care — perhaps you (or someone you know) has experienced the often instant relief that comes from having a properly aligned spine. With the gentle pressure of a chiropractic adjustment, your child’s normal spinal and nervous system function can be restored, too. Why not give your child this same opportunity? With proper alignment, your child’s body will be free to heal itself, enabling your child to grow up with a healthy spine and nervous system.

Would you like to learn more about ensuring your child’s spine is healthy not only now, but in the future? Schedule an appointment online or call us at (626) 469-7478. We look forward to creating a customized treatment plan for your child.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.


The Joy and (Back) Pain of Being a New Mom

Did you know your body is considered postpartum for an entire year after your little one arrives? Unbeknownst to many new moms, post-pregnancy hormones have a powerful effect on your joints, ligaments, lower back, and other parts of your body.

What should you do to avoid postpartum pain? And, are there ways to bounce back from your pregnancy more quickly, with minimal discomfort? Absolutely! 

Keep reading to learn 5 ways to help your body heal faster and more effectively.

1. Adjust Your Posture

It’s only realistic to expect some back pain as part of your new-mom healing process — after all, giving birth is strenuous on every muscle in your body, particularly your spine. And, with a newborn in your life, you’ll also likely find yourself sitting down more than ever, which places pressure on your spine and negatively impacts your posture. All said, it translates to lingering aches and pain in your back.

Back pain, however, shouldn’t sideline you from everyday activity. When sitting with your baby, use a footstool to elevate your feet to minimize pressure on your back. And, to help your body recover more quickly, consider making an appointment for a chiropractic adjustment to help your pelvis, hips, and spine regain their equilibrium and return to normal. 

2. Adjust Baby’s Position

Among many other changes in your life, you’re constantly toting around your new baby and your body may not be used to the new routine. Between feeding, holding, rocking, placing your child on a changing table, in a swing or in a crib, it’s quite common to develop back pain, not to mention neck pain, shoulder pain, and misaligned hips. So what’s a mom to do?

When you pick up your child, hold her close to your midline. This method activates naturally durable muscles that support you more readily. When possible, support your baby with your bicep, giving your wrists and hands a break from the strain. Additionally, your shoulder placement in this stance maximizes your ability to breathe and you’ll find your muscles won’t tire as easily.

3. Build your Core

Core-strengthening exercises not only help get rid of excessive pregnancy layers, but can promote better posture as you take on the new physical demands of parenthood. Exercises you’re likely already familiar with, such as pelvis tucks, planks, and crunches all build up your abdominals, strengthen your core, which in return, supports your back. Remember your muscles and ligaments are more flexible than usual following pregnancy, so adjust your speed and intensity accordingly. If you find yourself with sore muscles, ice, heat packs or warm bath can do wonders for easing muscle (and mental) fatigue!

4. Evaluate Your Car

It’s not uncommon for new parents to evaluate transportation options to accommodate their growing family. For many, parenthood means the days of two-door cars (temporarily) come to an end, due to the inconveniences of accessing the back seat. After a while, placing a carseat and child in and out becomes taxing on your back. If you are considering purchasing a new vehicle, a four-door or even a minivan can make your life considerably easier not to mention less strenuous on your back and shoulders. 

Another car-shopping note: make sure your car has a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) anchors for car seats, designed to make properly installing a car seat much simpler. Digging through car seat cushions to find the anchor can be not only frustrating, but hard on your back. Fortunately, most cars built after 2002 have this LATCH feature.

5. Take Time for You

It’s only natural your primary focus is on your baby, especially in those first few months after giving birth. Don’t forget to care for yourself, too– napping when baby naps, staying properly hydrated, allowing your friends and neighbors to assist with laundry and cleaning–these are a few of self-care basics. But don’t overlook the internal needs of your healing body. A visit to the chiropractor can help restore your body as you journey back to optimal health. 

Schedule your appointment online or call our office at (626) 469-7478 – our goal is to learn all about your health, help you regain your sense of wellness and avoid pain in the future. We’ll make sure you’re at your very best as you care for your new baby.