Posture

It’s time to text out and tune in to the real world when it comes to our phone use. Our iPhones and Androids are running and ruining our lives. The masses are becoming corporate sheep that constantly stare at their phones all day. Over use of the phone is turning into a habitual epidemic that is leading us to a whole host of problems. Besides the social disconnect, and the ruined lives from car accidents from texting, neck pain can also result from these sustained postural aberrations of looking down at your overly priced gizmo gadget widget next best thing phone. Chiropractors have termed this condition as Text Neck.

Text Neck from too much phone use can cause severe pain and can lead to permanent injury to the neck if not dealt with appropriately. Especially when the cause of the pain to the person is unknown, like so many of the gradual aches and pains that occurs in the neck. Text neck not only causes neck pain, but also upper back pain and excruciating wanna put yourself out of your misery type headaches.

Sometimes it can be difficult for the doctor to make the connection that the patient’s neck pain is coming from their phone. A patient presents with neck pain and describes the history of their pain as coming on gradually for no apparent reason. This is why it can be difficult to determine the cause of some aches and pains, because the patient hasn’t put 2 and 2 together yet. A good chiropractor can fish this out of a person, but it is not easy as people have a hard time fathoming that their recreational phone use is causing a catastrophe in their neck. There is also the denial stage that someone has a problem with their phone use that also causes the diagnosis of Text Neck to be difficult.

The habit of looking down at the phone to play games, surf the internet, check your facebook, shop online, watch videos on youtube, and read books inadvertently causes over use and under use of muscles in the front and back of the neck. Imagine going to the gym for a year and only working on your pectoral muscles, this is similar to what constantly checking and playing your favorite time waster games does to your precious neck. If your spine was as visible as your face was, we would all take better care of it.

The neck has a similar curve to the low back, and when the neck is out of this healthy neutral position, it distorts the natural neutral lordotic curve of the neck. Maintaining a reversal of the curve in your neck, and out of the neutral position, it slowly deforms the supporting ligaments of the cervical spine. The ligaments in the back of the neck get overstretched and the ligaments in the front of the neck undergo contracture and become shortened. Eventually this will cause a reversal of the curve in neck, even when the person returns to the neutral position of their head being over their shoulders. This habit eventually creates what is known as military neck, a straight neck that is misaligned.

Even worse, when the misalignments of the neck can become so bad that a kyphotic curve results, which is a reverse of the lordotic curve. The unbalanced overly stretched and under stretched supporting spine ligaments add stress to joints, nerves, discs, and muscles. These structures will wear out and can cause premature degeneration of the neck, bulging discs, and numbness and tingling down the arms. Muscles will also become overly active and under active, or weak and tight, and overly strong and lengthened.

Text neck can become a nightmare to deal with, especially if it dealt with by your good amigos named Tylenol and Ibuprofen, and worst yet continuing the prolonged use of looking down at your phone.

As a Denver chiropractor, I routinely treat patients that have neck pain due to their habit of playing with their phones. Some patients are so addicted to their phone that they use their phone while they are being treated on the chiropractic table. As a chiropractor, we have a wide variety of therapies to help your neck. Do your neck a favor and put down your phone.

To Your Health,

Dr. Trent Artichoker

Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd, Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211

303-455-2225 (BACK)

www.DenverColoradoChiropractic.com

ergonomic consultation in denver co
An Example of Bad Sitting Ergonomics

An Example of Bad Sitting Ergonomics

I think we like to have internal civil wars between our brains and our bodies. Even though they are intimately connected, I think the brain has a superiority complex. I see this battle when it comes to the desk jockey. This is the person who sits all day, every day, and that is how they make their money, by sitting and doing computer-desk work. I realize that this is unavoidable and can be very taxing on the body, but if I had a choice, I think I would rather be a stunt man and take my injuries one by one vs. slowly becoming a mongoloid like cave dweller chained to one position. Heck, even prisoners have more freedom than desk jockeys.

 

This internal war starts with the body revolting, sending messages to the brain to move, squirm, readjust, get up, take a break, stretch, and so on. The mind recognizes the bodies check engine signals, but overcomes them with rationalization. The mind tells the body to take it, and keep on sitting. The mind realizes the importance of surviving, but also keeps in minds that whole must keep working to earn that oh so precious dollar.

At one point the mind might give a little and do more exercise outside of the working hours, but sometimes this is not enough. With some minds, there is recognition of the importance of the work space ergonomics. The chair is always recognized as very important. Here comes the problem. Some minds will start to think that sitting on a huge ball will help keep them upright for endless hours that their job demands. They think that the ball will magically strengthen their core to a point that they can sit forever without fatigue, like some sort of superhero. Short periods of large ball sitting are okay, but endless sitting will short circuit the system. This is when they find me, a Denver chiropractor, and the one they seek for help. Their brain has recognized its own inability to protect itself, its civil war has lost, and the body is battered and can no longer cooperate.

Well, I want to help all of the professional sitters sit better, to be able to sit longer, and sit without fatigue. I recently have had more than a normal amount of people come to the clinic and tell me they have neck and back pain, and they want me to fix them. When there are no obvious injuries, I have to play a bit of Sherlock Holmes. I usually suspect with a high degree, the job category, especially if they sit all day. When it comes out that they are using a large ball to sit on, I have to pull my teacher hat out.

Most people like to think they have good ergonomics. This of course is natural for the professional sitter. Let me tell you why sitting on a ball all day is wreaking havoc on your body.

Sitting requires using your muscles to some degree. It you are using the same set of muscles to sit for extended time, that is, more than 30 minutes, your muscles will fatigue. Think of holding a bowling ball like a waiter holds a tray. With the weight directly over the hand and weight, it is not so bad, because it requires a high degree of balancing versus strength. This is the concept that the ball sitters are using, but it is flawed. For a short time this version of sitting will work, but certain muscle groups will fatigue at one point.

The goal of sitting well is to shift the strain on muscles, and not have one group of muscle bearing the burden. This is what happens with ball sitting, one group of muscles are doing all the work while the rest are sitting back and taking a nice vacation.

Shifting the load on muscle groups to different muscle groups is the key to prevent one set muscles from fatiguing, and using a ball to do this is impossible. With a ball, you cannot rest your arms; your arms are endlessly hovering to type and mouse. The muscles that do this are what many people call their shoulders. This is the Upper Trapezious, Levator scapulae, Rhomboids, Splenius Capitus, and many others that share connections with the neck and back. The muscles in your low back share the same burden, they never get to rest, because they are always engaged.

By using these muscles continuously, you will put a tremendous amount of strain on the upper back, low back, and the neck. Using a ball also prevents you from resting your neck. Having a chair where you can tilt back and rest your noggin, and rest your arms while you take or make a call is just what the body wants, a shift in muscle group use.

Prolonged use of any muscle will put the check engine light on. Using over the counter non steroidal, like Ibuneverworkuprofin, or Tyandnotfixanol will never cure your problem. You are just putting tape over the check engine light. After a while of body revolt, your joints will be out of alignment, trigger points and muscle adhesions will develop. This will show as low back pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and headaches.

If you keep repeating the pattern of using your ball to sit on while you are developing neck and back pain, your problem will become much harder, longer, and much costlier to fix than buying a good ergonomic chair. Do your body a favor and get rid of that six dollar Walmart ball that you are using.

Next time you sit on your ball, become aware of what muscles you are actively using. Next, think of how long those same muscles can keep contracted without fatigue. Listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs, as long […]

road bike
I would bet that Lance gets back pain at the peak of his back, which we call a spinal hinge.

I would bet that Lance gets back pain at the peak of his back, which we call a spinal hinge.

Colorado is home to some of the most amazing biking trails in the world. Our beautiful mountains, with pristine lakes and streams, create the most surreal backdrop for the avid outdoor enthusiast. Its lure is strong, and bikers know this all to well, and end up paying for it, which I call, “bikers back”.

I’m a chiropractor in Denver, and it is becoming quite easy to pick out the person who has a love for biking, just based on the shape of their back. Think about this, stay in one position for an extended period of time, and repeat the process over and over for years. What do get? You get muscle imbalances, and you get a change in normal ligament tension laxity ratios. You have created a system that is out of boundaries of the normal.

The body has an amazing capability of adapting to its circumstances. We place a high demand of strain on the back when we sustain certain postures for to long. Our Colorado bikers know this all to well. Biking for four hours straight has to have repercussions on the back. The back is literally stuck in a flexed position for far to long than it really wants. I have seen this same type of back with migrants who stand bent over in the fields for way to long. A Denver sports chiropractor can help alleviate the pain associated with this activity.

People with bikers back are easy to spot, because their upright posture looks like they are still on their bike. Biker backs loose their ability to extend the spine. Perhaps we should call this bikers syndrome, because the postural changes affect more than just their back. Some bikers do a great job of reversing this with exercise and chiropractic adjustments.

It is similar to upper cross syndrome, the head sticks out, your shoulders become rounded, the pectoral muscles become tight, psoas muscle undergoes contracture, the back extensor muscles become stretched out and weak, and many more imbalances. These imbalances not only affect muscles, but ligaments and joints as well. You can read more about this phenomenon called biomechanical creep, and hysteresis.

Once the system that surrounds the joints becomes imbalanced, the joint will not work at its optimal performance. This can lead to back pain, neck pain, head aches, predispose you to injuries, alter your breathing patterns, and even cause insomnia.

It is the yin and yang of life, your body is the currency that will pay for your habits. Want to ride a bike for four hours? If so, then you must follow the law of opposites, and do something that restores the extension in your mid back.

Sports chiropractic adjustments do wonders in this area. I have measured people’s height before and after adjustments, and they are always 3-7 mm taller after their adjustment. They also report that they can breathe easier and feel more upright.

I also like teaching people how to use the foam roll. The foam roll is a cylinder that you place on the ground, and roll around on. Foam rolls can usually be purchased at the chiropractor’s office, or at sporting good store.

respectfully used from Julie's web site: http://www.julieseymour.co.uk/health-fitness-blog/2008/9/25/self-myofacial-release-or-foam-rollering.html

respectfully used from Julie

Some posture exercises will help, in particular, I like Bruggers exercise. You can do this while you are sitting. Look forward, sit tall, palms facing up resting on your thigh, externally rotate your shoulders, keep your shoulders down, and now squeeze your shoulder blades together, as if you were trying to hold a coin between the back of your shoulder blades. Hold this position for 20 seconds.

Bruggers Posture Exercise, respectfully used from: http://www.sal2009.com/index.php?key=brugger

Bruggers Posture Exercise, respectfully used from: http://www.sal2009.com/index.php?key=brugger

Dr. Trent Artichoker MS, DC

Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211

303-455-2225 (BACK)

text neck
Image source: Pippa Garner’s “Ms. Goodwrench” cartoon for Car and Driver Magazine, March 2009 edition

Image source: Pippa Garner’s “Ms. Goodwrench” cartoon for Car and Driver Magazine, March 2009 edition

Forget about sending smoke signals, or telegrams, we’ve moved into the 21st century. This isn’t Star Trek times, but we are getting much closer to the future. I’m talking about texting. Texting is a great way to communicate, but it should be done at the right time. Unfortunately, texting is being blamed for the latest death of the plastic surgeon, Dr. Frank Ryan. Dr. Frank Ryan is the successful surgeon who did Heidi Montag and many other celebrity figures. My thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Ryan’s family

 

Texting is not only dangerous while driving, but can also wreak havoc on your neck. As a chiropractor in denver, I am seeing more people with neck pain lately due to their texting habits. Sometimes I’ll catch them in the act. As I enter the room to greet them for the first time, they are busy texting. That seemingly harmless activity, can cause headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain. The prolonged forward bend of the neck causes the muscles to fatigue and eventually strain.

It is similar to wearing a back pack all day, eventually your muscle will tire and give out. Muscles can only work so long without giving them a break. So, text safely, and text with your head in a neutral position. This will put less strain on your neck muscles, and then you can text all you want.

Dr. Trent Artichoker MS, DC

Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211

303-455-2225

forward head posture causes neck pain

bowling ball head

Denver is such a beautiful city, but hard to enjoy when you have neck pain. Neck pain can be caused by a multitude factors, some serious, and some not so serious. What is causing your neck pain?

As a chiropractor in Denver, I regularly see people come to my clinic for help with their neck pain. When there is no trauma, or other disease processes, neck pain can be typical for the person that spends lots of time at the computer. Computer monitors are like black holes, they suck you in, and are very hard to escape. They end up giving forward head posture. I’ve had my fair share of neck pain, but who can blame us. Computers are fascinating and life changing, but they can be a hazard to our health.

I like to think of our head like a bowling ball. Pretend you are holding a bowling ball, like the women in the picture. If you tilt your arm one way, certain muscles in your hand/arm have to work harder than the other muscles. Now move the bowling ball in the other direction, and notice the different muscles being activated. Try holding that bowling ball all day, everyday. Your head is like a bowling ball, if it is to far in front of your body, the muscles in the back of your neck have to work much harder than the muscles in the front of your neck. We call this problem anterior head carriage, or forward head.

This constant contraction of the muscles in the back of your neck will make them fatigue. Once your muscles fatigue, your muscles will start to send pain signals, and become knotted. The knots in your muscles are referred to as trigger points. Trigger points can cause considerable pain, and send pain signals far away from the actual trigger point.

There are many therapies that help with painful necks. Here is a short list,

1. Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy – Re-Aligns the spine causing decrease in muscle tension
2. Massage Therapy
3. Ultrasound
4. Electrotherapy
5. Exercises to balance out muscle imbalances
6. Laser Therapy
7. Myofascial Release
8. Trigger Point Therapy
9. Muscle Stretching
10. Muscle Energy Techniques
11. Mechanical Massage
12. Ergonomic Changes
13. Postural Awareness
14. Heat/Cold therapy

There are number of ways to treat this problem, but the point is to get it treated and looked at by a professional.

Dr. Trent Artichoker MS, DC

Denver Chiropractic, LLC

3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211

303-455-2225

back pain from shoe choice

First of all, I would like to say that if you are experiencing chronic pain, my heart goes out to you and the suffering that you experience. This post is meant to give you a different perspective on chronic pain and possibly new treatment options yet explored.

Most people that live with chronic pain have been to countless doctors with minimal results. Why is it that chronic pain is so difficult to treat? Mostly because the perspective that if a certain spot on your body is painful, then that is the spot that needs the treatment. Although it makes sense, being similar to a dysfunctional part on an automobile. Replace the part, and everything is fixed.

The problem is that the body’s systems are more interwined than simple parts. For acute injuries, where one part of the body is damaged, then yes, therapy to that part is essential. There are two schools of thought when it comes to assessing the body, and that is structural verses functional. Acute injuries often need the structural perspective, and chronic pains need the functional perspective.

The functional perspective takes into account all systems and how they work together. I have found that addressing parts of the body that seem asymptomatic are actually the root cause of pain. For example, a central nervous system reflex that is termed reflex inhibition, may account for many of the chronic pain syndromes. Reflex inhibition protects the body from injury by turning muscles off when others are activated. For instance, when you flex your bicep, the triceps needs to be turned off in order for the arm to bend, and this in summary, is reflex inhibition.

Another protective mechanism of the body is the ability of muscles to undergo spasm. Muscle spasms try to protect the joints by contracting the muscle and preventing movement. This system is not perfect and the spasm can be “on” chronically. So, chronic protective muscle spasms occur when the biomechanics are faulty. Furthermore, the chronic spasm inhibits its corresponding antagonist muscle (bicep/tricep) via reflexive inhibition, which triggers faulty function.

For example, if your shoe choice is suboptimal or have flat feet, there will be repetitive assault on the structures of the body. Chronic assault will show up as foot, knee, back, or neck pain. You take approximately 10,000 steps everyday, and if you are wearing shoes that do not firmly support the heal you run the risk of developing chronic protective muscle spasms. So, when the spasm is left on due to repetitive stress from faulty biomechanics reflex inhibition kicks in and keeps muscles turned off, which become weak and dysfunctional.

So, we have muscles that are chronically turned on and chronically turned off. This leads to tight and weak muscles and compensation patterns develop and pain appears in parts of the body where energy is “leaked”. This leads to postural abnormalities and a cycle of dysfunction begins and is possible that it will not end unless appropriately treated. If that is not enough, the dysfunctional cycle also creates an inflammatory soup that bathes your body, which if not treated can lead to systemic pain.

I have found through learning from other doctors, literature research, and experience that specific treatments can lift chronic pain syndromes.

Such treatments are always specific, but in general the following therapies will help; and include,

1. Restore foot biomechanics through orthotics, appropriate shoe choice, extremity manipulation
2. Releasing chronic protective muscle spasms via massage, ischemic compression, mechanical massage, muscle energy techniques
3. Spinal manipulation to restore function of the spine and to trigger co-activation of mechanoreceptors for nociceptive inhibition
4. Instrument assisted soft tissue therapy, such as graston or gua sha to the chronic “on” muscles
5. Exercise that addresses the weak and imbalanced muscles
6. Supplements to reduce inflammation
7. Diet to reduce inflammation
8. Proper sleep
9. Proprioception training – wobble board/balance board series
10. Proprioceptive neuromusclar training – D1, D2, etc.

In summary, acute injuries need to have structures addressed and treated. Chronic pains need to have the function of the body restored.

To Your Health,

Dr. Artichoker

www.DenverColoradoChiropractic.com




ergonomics in denver


Since the dawn of computer time, man has de-evolved into a creature that habitates the recesses of the virtual world. Unfortunately, consequences of extended html surfing tear into the reality of dealing with bad posture. It is not called ape posture as the title entails, but referred to as “Postural Syndrome”.

I recently attended a networking event here in Denver, Colorado and the topic of posture came up several times. Most people admit to having “bad posture”, and yet have never explored ways to improve posture. Fear not, your knuckle dragging ape ways do not have to be and can be changed with good advice.

What is so important about good posture? Why do you need to be aware of your posture? What can happen to the body with bad posture? These are the questions that I would like every one of you to ponder a bit. Posture is your outward expression of the energy that you conserve or expend.

Conserving your energy with good posture will pay off. Bad posture leads to fatigue, that leads to stress, that leads to illness, that results in injury. Long term poor posture can result in:

1. Neck pain
2. Upper back pain
3. Lower back pain
4. Shoulder pain
5. Arm pain
6. Arm numbness
7. Tingling in the arm
8. Muscle weakness
9. Muscle spasms
10. Tight muscles
11. Referred pain
12. Jaw pain
13. increased blood pressure
14. …..the list goes on and on folks!

What does bad posture look like?
1. Forward head
2. Increased upper back curve
3. Slumping
4. Straightening of the neck or
5. Increase curve of the neck
6. Rounded shoulders
7. Increase or decrease in the curve of the low back

What can you do about your posture?
1. You should be able to touch your computer screen with your finger tips.
2. Top of the screen should be level with your eyes.
3. Keyboard should be level with your elbows.
4. Your wrist should be lower than your elbows.
5. The wrist should be supported.
6. Your chair should have adjustable arm supports.
7. Your chair should have an adjustable height option.
8. Your chair should have a head rest.
9. Your chair should also have tilt capacity.
10. The phone should be within arms reach.
11. Feet should be flat on the floor.
12. Strengthen your Rhomboids – for every 20 min. of sitting, keep the shoulders down and squeeze your shoulder blades together as tight as you can for 10 sec. Repeat this strengthening exercise every 20 minutes and you will notice a difference.
13. Strengthen your spinal erectors – while sitting in your chair we have a tendency to slump, this strengthening pose is the reverse of the slump posture. Arch your entire spine (including head), hold this pose for at least 10 seconds. This will strengthen the muscles that keep your back from slumping.
14. Stretch the neck. Turn your head to left half way, sit on your right hand to keep the shoulder down, with the left hand put it on the back of your head and bring the head toward the left arm pit. Do the same on the other side. Repeat sequence except keep your head straight and use the other hand to bring the ear to the shoulder.
15. Exercise – This is a big one, but it must be tailored to the individual. Most people have muscle imbalances that need to be identified, and be prescribed particular exercises.
16. Get ADJUSTED! – This can be one of the most benefical items with this list. Specific spinal adjustments by a chiropractor will help release tight muscles and will allow joints that are restricted in motion to move like they should.

If you think your work place could use an ergonomic evaluation, or would like me to give a short talk over lunch about posture and stress issues in the work place, please call to arrange.

To Your Health,

Dr. Trent Artichoker MS, DC

Denver Chiropractic, LLC

3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211

303-455-2225

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