Dr. Corinne: Back Pain, Sciatica and What You Can Do to Help Alleviate It
Dr. Corinne Weaver : Feb 26, 2021
Weak core, tight hamstrings, oh my!
In the last year, I have noticed more of my patients having back issues. I believe it is from lack of movement and more screen time. In order to be healthy, you must first look at your spine. (Image: Pixabay)
Posture correction and alignment can involve several different exercises and techniques. The process typically begins with a full assessment of existing spinal health. Using a functional approach, you can begin to correct alignment with the goal of lowering your risk of injury, thus positively impacting your performance and overall health. Awareness of existing postural health is the key! Make the move to get a postural assessment soon to achieve your health goals.
Don't just sit there!
There are many health complications directly related to poor posture, such as digestive and circulation issues. If you work a desk job, it's likely that you're familiar with some of them already!
Here are some easy tips to improve your posture as you sit long hours at a desk:
-Do regular neck and shoulder exercises.
-Uncross your legs; it's been proven that leg-crossing affects spinal health and alignment negatively, no matter how comfortable it might feel.
-Master your breathing to ensure the body stays relaxed and keeps spinal integrity even during stressful periods.
-Stand up and move around at least every two hours. Moving the body regularly reduces the chances of stagnation, poor digestion, and circulation.
These are just a few of the many things you can do to maximize your postural health. Ultimately, it comes down to creating good habits to ensure optimal spine health.
Practicing proper posture is a great way to ensure overall health. It is associated with healthy circulation, reduced back pain, and even boosted energy levels. However, these benefits can only be achieved if your spine is aligned during sleep as well!
Are you a side sleeper? Do you toss and turn a lot during sleep? Here are some tips to ensure your spine is supported while sleeping:
For back sleepers, place a small pillow under the back of your knees to reduce stress on your spine and support the natural curve in your lower back.
For stomach sleepers, place a flat pillow under the stomach and pelvis area to help to keep the spine in better alignment.
For side sleepers, place a firm pillow between your knees to reduce stress on your hips and lower back.
When choosing a mattress, you want to aim for an even surface. Sleeping on a mattress that is either too soft or too hard can negatively impact your alignment. Practicing proper spinal alignment during sleep will support muscle strength and ensure the healthy functioning of organs surrounding the spinal column.
Weak core, tight hamstrings, oh my!
Arthritis is the number one cause of physical disability and is becoming increasingly common for doctors and chiropractors alike to encounter patients of all ages with symptoms. Deteriorating collagen and cartilage in the space between vertebrae in the spine cause stiffness and pain. Luckily, there are exercises to help ease mobility difficulties along the spinal.
Below are a few examples:
Strengthening the muscles surrounding the spinal column is a great way to boost support for weak joints and deteriorating cartilage. This can be done by increasing abdominal and core strength. Try some gentle stomach crunches every morning to boost both spinal and abdominal strength. IMPORTANT: Avoid full sit-ups, as they will generally place too much weight and strain in the hips and discs in your lower spine.
You can also benefit from loosening tight hamstrings which pull on low back muscles. Using a resistance band, lay on your back and hoop the strap/band around the sole of one foot, extending the leg up overhead. Hold for about 30 seconds to a minute, allowing the hamstring to stretch out and keeping the lower back pressed down on the floor. Focus on single-leg lifts and drawing the knee towards your chest.
Effects of these exercises will vary depending on the location and severity of the arthritic symptoms, so if symptoms worsen or persist, listen to your body and seek medical advice.
Sciatica is diagnosed when a spinal nerve root in the low back becomes compressed and starts generating symptoms of low back pain. This is often due to the degeneration of intervertebral discs in the spine and is almost always associated with the sciatic nerve (which is the longest nerve in your body!). Because of this, any compression or strain on the sciatic nerve anywhere in the body can ultimately have effects that are felt elsewhere, too.
Sciatica can be treated with:
-Cold Compression packs held to the affected areas for the first few days, followed by dry heat
-Continuing with gentle exercises to ensure good circulation around the body
-Natural remedies like anti-inflammatory herbal teas and spices can greatly ease inflamed areas
Many people will find relief using one or more of these methods. It's important to remember to listen to your body and keep these techniques on hand during flare-ups.
Do a self-assessment!
There is any number of reasons why you may begin to experience back pain at any stage of your life.
Some common reasons include:
Weight gain - increased pressure to the spinal column and its supporting cartilage comes when there is excessive weight to support. This is why many people experience back pain after gaining significant amounts of weight. The spine and its surrounding organs are incredibly delicate and will respond to changes and unnecessary pressure.
Pregnancy - a combination of weight gain, organ pressure, and hormonal changes in pregnant women can impact their experience of back pain. There are specific exercises and movements which can be done to relieve this.
Age - as we age, our bones lose strength and flexibility. This is why many people begin to experience pain in the back and joints later in life.
Poor Posture - living a sedentary lifestyle encourages poor posture and can have a significant impact on back pain. The more time spent in poor alignment, such as being seated hunched over at a desk or in unsupported sleeping positions, the more likely we are to experience back pain. Keep in mind there are many reasons for back pain. Identifying the cause of your pain is the key to proper treatment. What do you think is causing you discomfort? Assess your current state of health and mobility as a way to move forward and eliminate pain from your life for good! Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here
"Self-assessment is the first step to all assessment."
Now it's time to give yourself a self-assessment. The key is to practice daily to maintain muscle and joint health, so get moving today!! I love working one-on-one to help people live healthier lifestyles. My mission is to help you get healthier without needing more medications. If you or someone you know needs help, make sure you reach out because I am available for a telehealth call.
Dr. Corinne Weaver
Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.
Dr. Weaver was named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds.
Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.