De-conditioning Syndrome II
Assuming you have read De-conditioning Syndrome part I, you should understand that most of the aches and pains we suffer from are not the result of age or a specific injury that we would like to blame. These episodes are really a result of poor conditioning, lack of proper movement and mechanical stimulation of muscles, tendons and ligaments over time. Our bodies are designed to move and when we have lifestyles that do not promote motion, de-conditioning is the result.
So then, the question is, what does someone do to improve this? Contrary to what many people believe, we are not designed to sit, ever. The furniture and ergonomics company's would rather you believe that a nice 'ergonomically designed" chair will keep your back in shape. It will not! Move it or lose it. Putting anything to support or lean on for hours at a time will cause muscles to go on vacation.
I have learned from nearly 20 years of practice, prescribing specific exercises and activities for patients to do 3 times a weeks for 60 minutes+ each time does not work for the long term. Most patients, once out of the acute episode of pain, will re-prioritize there life and avoid the specific exercises and or just forget about them entirely, since pain is not reminding them at the moment.
Changing little things in our daily routine is much more effective in the long run for fighting this de-conditioning syndrome.
1) Wear a good pair of tennis or running shoes, ALL THE TIME, even in your house. Get a new pair that never goes outside if you must.
2) Reduce the amount of sitting you do as much as possible. Get yourself a good quality balance ball that is appropriately sized for you to sit on in "good posture" that has your thighs parallel to the floor. Most of our patients do well with a 75cm ball. Make sure the ball is good quality, rated at over 850 lbs. and is from an un-opened box. The brand we use in the office is Theraband (1000 lbs.) and a good, safe ball should cost around $50.00.
3) Befriend your balance ball. Start sitting on it instead of a chair with fancy lumbar supports. Many patients can not sit on a ball for long at first because the muscles used to support them have de-conditioned and wasted away from the use of fancy, expensive external supports. Put that ball in front of your computer at home and at work. If it is in the way and you have no other "lazy" option, you are more likely to use it. You will automatically begin to move, shift and roll on it when your not even thinking about it.
4) Walk more!
5) If you do experience an episode of pain, the faster you ice it to reduce the inflammatory process the better. Never put heat on these strains/sprains.
6) Have a tube of Arnica Gel handy. I have no clue as to how this stuff works but it does. In our office we use a brand called Arnicare from Boiron. We tell all our patients to ice and apply the gel asap after an injury.
7) Although this may be slightly off topic, start taking a good Omega 3 supplement regularly and learn what pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods are. You can see a synopsis of these foods under the wellness section on our website.
9) Understand that your spine is like any other body part, it needs some attention to be healthy. Just like going to the dentist or optometrist, regular spinal checkups and adjustments from your Chiropractor to get those joints "unstuck" will help prevent many of these little spinal problems from becoming more severe.
These are just a few things you can do to try and modify your daily routine a bit that will help in the long run. It is not everything that we should be doing, but every little bit helps.
Yours in Health
Dr. James D. McLelland
Richmond Virginia Chiropractor
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