Month: December 2011

What To Look For When Shopping For A Mattress

These days, there are a wide variety of mattress options to choose from. In addition to the familiar innerspring mattresses, you now can opt for memory foam, latex foam, air, futons, and waterbeds. One type of mattress is not inherently better than any other, and all can provide the proper support your body needs. The key is in carefully reviewing the available options, testing each kind out, and determining the right mattress type and style for your preferences and your body.

If you have a specific health problem, particularly a problem with your back or spine, you should check with your physician or health care provider about the kind of mattress that might be best for you. That will help narrow your choices.

Many people assume waterbeds are better than other kinds of mattresses because of the lack of pressure points and the fact that a waterbed conforms to the shape of your body. It is also nice to be able to adjust the temperature of the bed based on the season. However, waterbeds are expensive, require heaters, they may leak, and they are not good at isolating movement. If you are sensitive to motion in bed, a waterbed is probably not the right choice for you. Some rented homes and apartments place restrictions on the use of waterbeds as well.

In terms of typical mattresses, the most important thing to consider is proper sleeping posture. When you are lying on your side, your waist should be supported by the mattress and your shoulders and hips should sink in. That way your spine is in the same position while lying down as it is when standing up. No matter what the mattress is made of, if it is too firm or too soft you may not achieve proper spinal alignment. One special note for heavier people is that a firmer mattress often provides better support. Another consideration is the movement isolation. If you sleep with a partner, go with him or her to the mattress store to test out how much the mattress transfers movement across the bed.

In fact, testing a variety of mattresses is critical. Some experts suggest you need to test out 30 mattresses to get a proper idea of your needs! One good way to get exposure to lots of mattress types is to ask friends and family if they are happy with their bed. If so, test it out yourself in their home. That way you don’t have to go to 30 stores to try out all the available mattresses. Stay on the mattress for at least 15 minutes, 5 minutes on each side of your body.

As you are exploring your options, remember that mattresses are often significantly marked up and then discounted during sales. Ask the salesperson about a comfort guarantee, and get the details in writing. That way if you end up unhappy with the mattress, you can return it or exchange it for a better one.

Chiropractic for Cyclists

A burning sensation in the shoulders, numbness of the arms and hands, and tightness in the neck are common sensations among both recreational and competitive cyclists. They might be easy to ignore at first, but if they come back again and again they can seriously interfere with both enjoyment and training progress. Upper and lower back problems are another common consequence of regular cycling. Can a chiropractor help with these problems?

Absolutely. In addition, chiropractors can help prevent injuries and even enhance speed, strength, and efficiency for healthy cyclists. Athletes of all kinds can find help with rehabilitation, maintenance, prevention, and treatment in the hands of a well-trained chiropractor.

Chiropractors have a unique set of skills to offer cyclists, in addition to their general musculoskeletal expertise. Both specific and general skills are critical to the successful treatment of cyclists because everything in cycling is interconnected: the nerves, the muscles, and the joints. In fact, if your physician or chiropractor doesn’t address all three of these issues at once, you are likely to continue to have the symptoms, pain, or injury without relief. In particular, a chiropractor that specializes in sports medicine is will probably have the most to offer you as a cyclist. He or she will also work with adjunct professionals such as sports trainers or physical therapists as needed to address your particular needs.

Solutions to problems cyclists experience will likely be multi-dimensional. That is, a combination of adjustments, deep tissue massage, exercises, and stretches will likely be required. For example, if a cyclist is suffering from lower back pain, it’s possible the chiropractor will determine that it is due to hip rotation. An adjustment of the sacroiliac joints will be quite helpful, but appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises will also be needed to address the weakness and tightness in the muscles that affect the hip joints. Strengthening exercises will contribute stability to the joint, while stretching will help to lengthen the muscles in the region thus preventing them from contracting when stressed.

In fact, it is absolutely essential that patients do their part to contribute to their recovery from cycling injuries or pain. The chiropractor can do adjustment after adjustment, but if you do not complete the required stretching and strengthening exercises at home, you may not see the relief you expect.

Finally, a chiropractor who specializes in sports medicine will likely be able to help you professionally fit your bicycle so that it causes the least strain on your body. Seat placement, bicycle size, handlebar height, and cycling posture all have a significant impact on both performance and stress on the body. Many chiropractors offer in-house bicycle analyses and adjustments to help you get the most out of cycling with the least stress on your joints.

Weight Training Routines

Exercise is for everyone.  Anyone can find an aerobic program that is interesting.  And everyone needs strength and weight training routines to tone and strengthen muscles that are not sport-specific.

When you use one or two specific aerobic exercises you are working and strengthening only specific muscles.  Weight training routines will help you to tone and strengthen most of your large muscle groups.

Weight training routines use resistance and weights to tone your muscles.  This program will also condition your overall musculoskeletal system, increase your metabolism, strengthen and sculpt muscles.  Weight training routines will also help to increase bone density, lose weight and become more fit at the same time.

People who incorporate weight training routines into their exercise programs will also have greater control over balance, prevent accidental falls and injuries, and will find that they recover from illness and injury faster since they are fitter.  With your improved strength, you’ll also play your sport longer and with less effort.

Weight training routines can be designed with the help of a fitness trainer, with information from articles, books, and friends, or through interactive Internet program developers. Most routines will include the type of exercise for large muscle groups, the amount of weight, the number of repetitions or reps, and the number of sets – times you do the reps with a 1-3 minute rest between.

Your weight training routine should include an exercise for each major muscle group in the upper and lower extremities as well as core muscle groups in the abdominal and spinal muscles.  The weight training routine will be between 3-4 sets for each exercise with 8-10 repetitions for each set.  You must use the correct amount of weight for each exercise and rest 1-3 minutes between sets.

Let’s start from the beginning – the major muscle groups include the upper extremity groups such as the biceps, triceps, back, chest, and shoulders as well as the lower extremity groups like the glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves and hip flexors, and extensors.  Don’t forget the core muscle groups in the spine and abdominal muscles.

Your weight training routine should not be done daily.  There should be at least a 48-hour rest between workouts for specific muscle groups.  Some people rather work out the total body 3 times a week while others prefer to do upper body work 2 days and lower bodywork 2 days a week.

Working out every day leads to overtraining, injury, and fatigue.  During a weight training routine, your muscles have minor rips and tears to the muscle.  In the 48 hours, you should have between workouts the muscles will repair themselves and become larger and stronger – at the micro-level of course.  Over time these micro tears and repairs lead to stronger muscles and a fitter body.

The amount of weight you lift during a weight training routine should be able to be lifted safely 8 times with perfect form.  By the last repetition, you should feel tired.  If you feel you could continue in the perfect form then you have improved to the point where you can increase the number of repetitions (not beyond 15) or increase the weight.  You are at the right weight when you can do 8-10 reps for 2-3 sets with perfect form.

Use these basic tips to maintain a strong weight training routine and build strong muscles and a fit body.  Weight training routines will keep you healthy, reduce your risk of bone loss and improve your sense of well-being.  These are great benefits from 30 minutes 3 times a week doing a weight training routine.

What is the Cox Flexion Distraction Technique

The Cox Flexion Distraction Technique (also referred to as the Cox® Technic) was developed by Dr. James M. Cox as a gentle, non-force adjustment procedure to help the spine heal naturally. It is based on principles of both chiropractic and osteopathy, a combination that often provides fast relief from low back and leg pain, without the need for surgery.

The goal of Flexion Distraction is to decompress the vertebrae by applying gentle stretching or traction to the lower spine. The Cox Flexion-Distraction technique is performed on a special table (designed by Dr. Cox), which has moving parts to effectively separate the different parts of the spine. The Cox Table has movable sections to separately support the head and legs, allowing the patient to flex in many directions and thus extend the spine. The combination of this special adjustment table and very gentle pressure utilizes flexion-distraction and decompression to increase the disc height between vertebrae, decompressing the spinal column and restoring the spinal joints to their proper alignment and range of motion. The chiropractor can adjust the different sections of the table to neutralize the effects of gravity and then apply gentle pressure to the affected areas as they move through a more normal range of motion. Movements are repetitive and usually slow, without any quick thrusts or undue pressure.

The technique has been found to:

  • reduce intradisc pressure
  • widen the spinal canal
  • improve range of motion in spinal joints and in arms, legs, and shoulders
  • improve posture
  • reduce pressure on spinal nerves
  • increase circulation
  • improve nerve communication

The Cox Flexion Distraction Technique is utilized by an estimated 56% of chiropractors and has been successfully used to treat pain in the lower back, legs, neck, and arms. It can also reduce the pain of herniated, slipped, or ruptured discs, sciatica, and other conditions. Because of its gentle, non-force nature, is often used with patients who are recovering from spinal surgery or who are in rehabilitation. Not only is the process pain-free, but many patients also report that they find the procedure pleasant, and relaxing. The technique has become recognized as an effective methodology for relieving pain, often without the need for spinal surgery.

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