Category Archives: womens health

Yoga Benefits for Back and Neck Pain

yoga benefits for neck and backYoga has been touted to benefit all types of ailments and conditions. It has been recommended to relieve stress and anxiety, aid in injury treatments and even for pregnant women looking for a safe activity. Among the variety of benefits received from regular yoga practice are those provided to our necks and backs.

Yoga focuses tremendously on our posture which directly impacts the health of our back and neck. Here are various benefits to regular yoga practice along with some exercises you can try today.

Benefits of Yoga for Neck and Back

Aside from relaxation, yoga has many benefits for your neck and back health. 

Strengthening

Yoga helps to strengthen your back and neck through holding poses for a period of time and by strengthening core muscles that support the skeletal system. Your practice can be very targeted meaning that if you’d like to target specific muscles, various yoga poses can accomplish that. Poses are a gentle way to strengthen muscles but are no less effective than more rigorous activity. The back and abdominal muscles are central muscles used the majority of yoga poses. As these muscles help to maintain posture and our spinal health, yoga is the perfect form of exercise to get them in tip top shape.

Balance

A wide variety of yoga poses require the practitioner to work on improving their balance. If you have issues with balance, don’t be afraid to begin a regular yoga practice. It’s meant to make you better! As you begin to become more comfortable with posing, your balance will improve and so will your strength of your neck and spine.

Stretching

Yoga practice focuses more than just improving strength and stability. Stretching and relaxation are just as much a part of the practice as your ability to hold poses. The stretching involved relaxes our neck and spinal muscles and increases our range of motion. While holding poses, we engage some muscles while relaxing and stretching others. Instructors regularly remind students to relax their necks and jaws to promote further relaxation. Stretching also improves flexibility, which is important for reducing pain and keeping your back and neck healthy.

At-Home Yoga Exercises

There are some core yoga poses you can do from home to get you started.

Cat-Cow Pose

Starting on hands and knees, hands directly under shoulders and knees in line with hips, inhale as you drop your belly toward the ground lifting your chin and chest upward (essentially creating an arch in your back). Exhaling, draw your belly into your spine and round your back dropping your head between your shoulders.

Benefits: This pose helps to stretch the spinal muscles and works on your core strength.

Forward Fold with Shoulder Opener

From a standing position, clasp your hands behind your back and slowly hinge forward at the waist allowing your arms to follow stopping when they’ve reached your ears.

Benefits: This pose is excellent for stretching the back while strengthening it and stretching the shoulders.

Seated Spinal Twist

To do this pose, start sitting on the ground with legs stretched in front, bring one knee to your chest placing the foot on the outside of the opposite leg. Wrap your opposite arm around the knee and slowly twist yourself toward the bent leg. Hold for 3 breaths.

Benefits: Perfect for those who need a deep stretch in their necks and backs.

Yoga Exercises for Seniors

If you’re a bit older and are not sure how well you’d do with standard balancing poses, there are some that you can do from a seated position. For instance, the forward fold with shoulder opener can be performed seated in a chair instead of standing.

The chair raised hand pose is wonderful for neck and spinal strengthening as well. Sitting in a chair straighten your arms forward, palms facing each other (think a toy soldier) and raise them so your bicep is next to your ear relaxing your shoulders down.

Forward bends from a chair are perfect for stretching the spine and neck safely, too. Simply sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground and hinge at the hips letting your arms hang toward the ground. The goal is to get your tummy as flat to your thighs as you can.

Remember, yoga is a practice which requires patience. You will work toward increasing your spinal health slowly, but the benefits can be felt as quickly as after your first session. If you’re struggling with back and neck pain, talk to your chiropractor about how yoga, paired with chiropractic treatment, can help your body feel better.

Exercises to Improve Balance

exercises to improve balanceMany times people feel that their ability to balance is like having good dance moves, you’ve either got it or you don’t. The good news is that’s not exactly true! 

There are several things that could be keeping you from maintaining optimal balance including injury, aging, or musculoskeletal issues. Regardless of your circumstance, there are ways to improve your balance.

Balance Exercises for Seniors

As we begin to age, it’s important that we remain as active as possible, and if you’re still working with a packed schedule, these exercises will fit into your day without much effort. These balance exercises can be done nearly anywhere at any time. 

  1.        Stand on one foot for 30 seconds at a time
  2.        Walk heal to toe
  3.        Back leg raises (holding onto the back of a chair or the wall, lift your straight leg directly out behind you)
  4.        Side leg raises (same as the back leg raises only lift your leg to the side)

While these may seem fairly simple, challenging yourself with these types of exercises go far in the way of improving your balance. These movements not only challenge you in the balance department, but you’re also strengthening your muscles through the repetitive movements. Stronger muscles makes it harder to take you down! As you begin to become stronger with improved balance, challenge yourself by only holding your support structure with one hand or doing the exercises for longer periods of time.

Exercises for People with Chiropractic Issues

If you’re experiencing balance problems due to chiropractic issues, first and foremost, a call to the chiropractor should be the first item on your check list. If you’ve already sought out chiropractic treatment, are looking to do a little more on your own and have received approval to do so, here are a few activities for you to try out:

  1.   Clock exercise: balancing on one leg with your back straight and head looking forward, picture a clock and move your arm from 12 to 9 to 3 etc. Try it on both sides.
  2.   Single leg deadlift, unweighted: standing on one leg with a slight bend in the knee, slowly hinge at the waist and try to touch the ground with your fingertips. Slowly make your way back to starting position. Don’t forget to do both sides!
  3.   Squats, unweighted: with feet shoulder width apart, chest up and face forward, sink down into a squatting position and hold for a moment. If you’d like to crank up the balance work, try a single leg squat.

Whether you need to improve your balance because of underlying musculoskeletal issues or because you’re getting up there in age, a chiropractor is absolutely one of the remedies you should be seeking. Chiropractors specialize in treating the entire body so if you’re a bit older and suffering from joint weakness that’s affecting your balance  or living with chronic pain, contact a Catalina Medical Center to get chiropractic treatment for your balance.

Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

If you are a new mom or are currently expecting a baby, you know that, in addition to your waist size, many other things also change about your body during pregnancy. Just like you make adjustments in your clothing to accommodate your baby, your body makes changes, too. And many of these changes are not very comfortable! Holistic chiropractic treatment during pregnancy can help with these changes, naturally.chiropractic care during pregnancy

Your body is under tremendous stress while pregnant, which increases the potential for severe pain. Research has shown that up to 50% of all pregnant women suffer from lower back pain, especially in the late months, when the position of the baby’s head can lead to sciatica.

If you have low back pain before pregnancy this problem can intensify, because during pregnancy, many hormonal and physiological changes occur. These changes can cause misalignment of the joints or spine which leads to pain in the lower back. All of these can contribute to generalized back pain, lower back pain while standing, aching feelings, muscle spasms, and sciatic nerve pain (sciatica), even in the early stages of your pregnancy.

Some of these changes include:

  • Changes in the structures of your pelvis 
  • Changes in posture often resulting in a “sway back”
  • Protuberance of your abdomen 
  • An increase in the curve of your lower back 

Holistic chiropractic care during pregnancy

Holistic chiropractic care during pregnancy is both natural and holistic. It involves the healthy maintenance of the spinal column and discs, the related nerves, and the alignment of the bones without the use of drugs or invasive procedures. The art and healing science of adjusting misaligned joints, especially those of the spine, used during chiropractic pregnancy adjustments decreases inflammation on the spinal nerves. This relieves stress and muscle tension and promotes health all through the body.

Unlike almost all drugs and pain medications, there are no contraindications known that limit chiropractic care during pregnancy. Chiropractors are fully trained to work with pregnant patients and they use techniques that do not place pressure on the abdomen. Many chiropractors use tables that specially adjust for an expectant mother’s special body.

Benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy

Maybe you are wondering how pregnancy chiropractic treatments can help you and your baby, even if you’re not having back pain or other symptoms. 

Besides natural pain relief, chiropractor adjustments during pregnancy have the potential to help you:

  • Maintain a healthier environment for your baby 
  • Control symptoms of nausea and heartburn 
  • Reduce the length of your labor and delivery 
  • Prevent a possible delivery by C-section 
  • Help with sleep issues

By performing a specific evaluation and chiropractic adjustments during pregnancy, your chiropractor can re-establish pelvic balance, reducing stress on the uterus and the ligaments that support it. Studies have proven this technique, called the Webster Technique, allows your baby to assume the best possible position in the uterus. When your pelvis is in a balanced position, the chances of a breech or posterior presentation, both of which increase the need for Caesarean birth, are reduced. When your baby is in the right position, safer, shorter, and easier labor and delivery are more likely.

Your chiropractor can also work with you to help find ways that are more comfortable to sleep, sit, stand, and walk, and give you advice on safe ways to continue your current exercise program or start a new, healthy plan of simple stretches or fitness for pregnancy. 

Chiropractic care after pregnancypostpartum chiropractic care

Postpartum chiropractic care includes helping realign joint problems caused by the extra stress of loose ligaments and added weight. This can prevent post-partum shoulder problems, muscle tension, headaches and back pain. Treatment after pregnancy can also help prevent the back pain associated with carrying your baby around. 

Most healthcare professionals realize the positive impact holistic care offers to patients. Talk to your healthcare provider about the many benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy and schedule an appointment with your Redondo Beach chiropractor. You can relax and enjoy this exciting time of your life when your options include natural choices that support you and your baby.