Bad Posture Effects Your Mind As Well As Your Body

I remember my mom always on me about sitting up straight on my chair and not looking down when I was walking.  I thought this was just because it didn’t look good so I listened.  However many people don’t listen and work 8+ hours at a computer with bad postural habits.

Slouching is bad for you. It’s bad not only for your physical health because your spinal muscles send messages back to the brain and these are altered with misalignments, but also for your emotional well being as well.

Sitting with your computer eye level instead of looking down is helpful.  Sitting to standing desks help but you still need to be conscious of how you are standing and how you are sitting.

Poor posture may not get you right away but in time it can cause back and neck pain, muscle fatigue, breathing limitations, arthritic joints, digestive problems and mood disturbances. It can also create a bad impression when interviewing for a job, meeting new people and other people’s impressions of you when watching you move about.

Researchers have shown that poor posture can even leave you vulnerable to street crime. Many years ago it was shown in a study where women who walked sluggishly with head and eyes on the ground were much more likely to be mugged than those who walked briskly and purposely with head pointed forward and looking alert.

We have gravity pushing on our body at all times.  If not aligned properly certain muscles will have to work harder than others to keep us upright. This leads to muscle exhaustion and discomfort.

In a study performed on 110 students at SFU in San Francisco.  50% of the students were told to walk slumped and the others were told to skip while walking down the hall, the skippers had a lot more energy throughout the day.

Any repetitive or prolonged position “trains” the body’s muscles and tendons to shorten or lengthen.  This puts a lot of stress on your joints and can reshape them until they are retrained again.   Just as walking in high heels can shorten the plantar fascia and achilles tendon,  slouching while sitting  for hours or standing will eventually lead to permanently rounded shoulders and upper back which I am sure if you live in Slicon Valley, you see a lot of.

Although early humans spent most of their waking hours walking, running and standing, today in developed countries, 75 percent of work is performed while sitting.  Then after work, people either take work home and are on the computer or watch television seated so more hours with slouching.  The more you live a sedentary life, the easier it is to have body discomfort.

“Text neck,” a term coined by a Florida chiropractor, Dean L. Fishman, is a repetitive stress injury resulting from hours spent with the head positioned forward and down while using electronic devices. This leads to tight muscles in the back of the neck and upper back. People who lean forward while sitting may be inclined to clench their jaws and tighten their facial muscles, causing headache and TMJ.

Leaning forward or slouching can also reduce lung capacity by as much as 30 percent (this may be why there is a rise in C-paps).  This reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, according to Dr. Rene Cailliet, a pioneer in the field of musculoskeletal medicine.

Additionally, slouching or sitting in a rounded position compresses the abdominal organs putting stress on them and decreasing normal digestion and bowel function.

Improving posture requires a conscious effort and often strengthening and flexibility exercises to correct muscular imbalances, according to Nick Sinfield, a British physiotherapist. For example, exercises that strengthen the core, buttocks muscles and back extensors help correct a slouching posture, he said.

So, in conclusion, the habits your mom instilled in you as a child can be helpful to your body and mind.

Fantasy Football, Posture & Food

We all love fantasy football.  Now instead of one day of football we get three days a week!  That is great, but what that can lead to is eating junk, slouching on the couch for hours and enduring hours of stress hoping our player or team is gonna do well.

Please be mindful of posture during the games.  Slouching can lead to headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and low back pain to name a few.  A good thing to do is sit on a rolled up towel and put it right under your lower hip bone called your Ishial Tuberosity.  Make sure that you position it so your back is not slouched and it is easy for you to sit with good posture without forcing your back upright.  This will help you prevent postural issues that may come up after sitting for hours watching the game.

Now the other problem…food.  Here are a couple of dishes that can help you fill up and keep you healthy as well.

There are tons of vegetarian dishes out there online to help you eat healthier but for those of you who like meat and need something hot to fill you up during the game here are some tips:

1. Butternut Bacon Squash

2 1/2 lbs butternut squash
15 slices of bacon
Olive oil
Chili powder
Garlic powder
PepperPreheat the oven to 350 F.  Peel and trim the butternut squash.  Cut the squash into 1″ cubes (discard the seeds and pulp–makes about 30 cubes).  Place the squash in a bowl and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper–to taste.  Toss to coat.  Cut the bacon in half, width wise.  Wrap half a bacon slice around one squash cube and place, seal side down on a foil lined baking sheet.  Repeat for the reminder of the squash cubes.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Flip the bites over (careful not to unwrap the bacon) and bake for another 20 minutes or until the squash is tender and the bacon is cooked through.  If you want to bacon crispier, broil it for the last 3-5 minutes of baking (keep an eye on it).*You could also use toothpicks to seal the bacon, if necessary
2. Buffalo Egg Chicken Muffins
8 Eggs
6 oz. Chicken – Cooked and Chopped
¼ Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
3 Tbs. Buffalo Wing Sauce
2 Green Onions – Chopped
1 Rib Celery – Chopped
1 Clove Garlic – Minced
Sea Salt and Pepper – To Taste

(2 Tbs. Peace and Love)


Preheat oven to 350° Lightly oil a muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl, fork whisk eggs.  To the eggs, add chicken, blue cheese crumbles, buffalo wing sauce, green onions, celery, garlic, sea salt and pepper.  Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour mixture into muffin tin.  This should be enough to fill 8 spots.

Bake 20 minutes or until fluffy and golden brown on top.

Prep Time – 15 Minutes
Cook Time – 20 Minutes

Makes Servings: 4
This will not only be different than most party foods served but will help you eat healthier than chips and dip.


Forward Head Posture Can Cause Headaches

It is very common for patients to come into my office with headaches and stress on their neck.  This isn’t much of a surprise since most people work at a desk with a computer, have a laptop that they use at home and text on their phone.  All of these actions cause the head to move forward.

According to Kapandji (Physiology of the joints, volume III), for every inch your head moves forwards, it gains 10 pounds in weight, as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned, because they have to work that much harder to keep the head (chin) from dropping onto your chest.   This also forces the suboccipital muscles (they raise the chin) to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the 3 Suboccipital nerves.   This nerve compression may cause headaches at the base of the skull. Pressure on the suboccipital nerves can also mimic sinus (frontal) headaches.

Rene Cailliet M.D., famous medical author and former director of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Southern California states:

Head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment. Forward head posture (FHP) may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity. These breath-related effects are primarily due to the loss of the cervical lordosis, which blocks the action of the hyoid muscles, especially the inferior hyoid responsible for helping lift the first rib during inhalation.”

Persistent forward head posture (a.k.a. “hyperkyphotic posture”) puts compressive loads upon the upper thoracic vertebra, and is also associated with the development of Upper Thoracic Hump, which can devolve into Dowager Hump when the vertebra develop compression fractures (anterior wedging).  A recent study found this hyperkyphotic posture associated with a 1.44 rate of mortality. 

It’s not uncommon to observe 2″ of anterior head placement in new patients.   Would you be surprised that your neck and shoulders hurt if you had a 20-pound watermelon hanging around your neck?   That’s what forward head posture can do to you.   Left uncorrected, FHP will continue to decline.   Chiropractic can be very corrective, especially in the hands of a chiropractic rehabilitationist.   Our specialty is in reversing the joint fixations (what we refer to as “subluxations”) and in re-invigorating the muscles that normally retract the head.

Whiplash Can Help With Chiropractic Care

In an article published in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine in 1999, they pointed out the superiority of chiropractic care for patients suffering from long term whiplash.

The authors of the article noted that a previous study had shown that 26 of 28 patients, or 93 percent, of patients with chronic whiplash benefited from chiropractic care.

In the authors own study, they interviewed 100 consecutive chiropractic referrals of patients with chronic whiplash. Their results also showed that of the 93 patients who remained in the study, 69 of them, or 74 percent, found improvement. The researchers concluded their opening comments with the statement, “The results from this study provide further evidence that chiropractic is an effective treatment for chronic whiplash symptoms.”

How To Prevent Tommy John Surgery

Tommy John surgery has become something that most big league pitchers and players have to consider when having elbow pain.  Throwing, especially at high speeds puts a lot of stress on the elbow.  Repetitive throwing can lead to swelling and tearing of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament in the arm. This ligament keeps the Humerus, Radius and Ulna in place and provides mobility of the elbow.

Compared to the larger muscles and ligaments in the body, this ligament is not as strong as knee ligaments (Anterior Cruciate Ligament).   Our body also wasn’t designed to perform high velocity throwing for years.  In time, if enough pressure is applied to the elbow, it will tear apart causing pain and effecting the velocity of throwing.

It is common for major league pitchers to have Tommy John Surgery.  Surgeons take some of the tendon of the players “good” forearm or hamstring and put it into the “bad” elbow.

They also drill holes in the ulna and humerus bones to sew it in.  Sounds easy huh?  Well, there are some concerns with this surgery.  In order to move the ulnar nerve away, surgeons have to cut or detach major muscles.  This can lead to infection, fractures, nerve irritation, numbness and inability for the muscle to function properly.  It is also pricey.  This surgery can run between $10,000 and $20,000.

Proper stretching, weight lifting can help pitchers stay away from this painful and expensive surgery.  Exercises with elbow pronation, supination and flexion are key to keeping the elbow in proper condition and ready to take the added stress of throwing a ball 100mph.

As chiropractors, we help keep prevent this surgery by keeping the joint in its proper position,  allowing the muscles and ligament to remain strong and work out any tissue damage that may have occurred.  We are a great option.

Causes and Risks Factors Of Neck Pain

What are causes and risk factors for neck pain?

Neck pain is a common condition.  It can occur from a number of disorders and diseases of any tissues in the neck.

Common conditions that may cause neck pain are degenerative disc disease (decreased size of disc space) neck sprain or strain, whiplash, disc problems or nerves that are pulled, squished or stretched.

If you are involved in sports or have had a motor vehicle accident, you are at risk of having neck pain.  It is not only sport or car accident related.  Bad posture when sitting at the computer, office or even texting and watching television can put a strain on the neck.


Neck pain is commonly associated with dull aching. It can keep you from sleeping if neck positions pull on the adjacent nerves.  Sometimes pain in the neck is worsened with movement of the neck. Other symptoms associated with some forms of neck pain include numbness, tingling, tenderness, sharp shooting pain, difficulty swallowing, dizziness or lightheadedness.

Problems with the neck can lead to headaches, pain in the jaw or face, shoulder pain.  Since the nerves of the neck go all the way to the fingers, it can cause pain all the way to the tips of the fingers.

What are the structures of the neck?

The neck has seven bones that protect the spinal cord.  Since the neck moves in every direction, there are several different angles of muscles and tissues.  Since we also have discs, skin, muscles, arteries, veins glands, the esophagus, trachea and larynx, any or all of these areas can be affected with dysfunction or stress on the neck.

How can chiropractic help neck pain?

Well, since your neck pain really stems from physical stress or nerve irritation, we specialize in keeping your nervous system and body functioning at its highest level.  We can easily diagnose and treat your condition safely and gently.  We also use physical therapy and massage to help you get better faster and keep you healthy!

Remember, any pain or sensation you feel is generated by a nerve.  So, if you have pain, a nerve is involved, we track the pattern of your nerve problem and find the area that needs care.  Then we show you how to keep good posture and give you exercises to stay healthy.  No drugs, no pain, just relief!

Impingement Sydrome vs. Frozen Shoulder

Impingement Syndrome and Frozen Shoulder are very similar because they effect the shoulder joint but there are some differences.  Lets look at both and see what we can do about them.

Impingement Syndrome (I.S.):
We become more at risk for shoulder can happen as we get older because we become tighter and less mobile.  This condition can sometimes become a problem after bouts of shoulder bursitis or rotator cuff tendonitis.  Injuries to the shoulder inflame the tissues and can cause long term damage.  The rotator cuff muscles become tight and do not function properly leading to decreased movement of the shoulder.

What are the Symptoms?
Difficulty lifting a straight arm over your head or behind your back.  There can be tightness, pain and tenderness on the shoulder area. If this problem is not taken care of, chronic muscle tightness and atrophy can pull or rupture the bicep muscle or tendon limiting ability to bend the arm and elbow as well.

What can be done?

1. Stretching exercises

2. Proper alignment of the shoulder in the joint space

3. Muscle and tissue loosening with massage or sastm (a Graston Technique)

4. Ultrasound, Tens machines can also be used to stimulate the area

What is a frozen shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)?
Frozen Shoulder is similar to Impingement syndrome but the capsule of the arm is affected with loss of movement in all directions (over the head, to the side, backwards).  It happens during active motion (patient does it) or when the doctor moves it and the patient is relaxing the arm.

What causes a frozen shoulder?
Repetitive movements or injury to the shoulder which causes inflammation, scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the shoulder’s  joint capsule which surrounds the shoulder joint and keeps muscles and tissues in place.

If you are diabetic, have chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis or have recently had chest or breast surgery you are at a higher risk of getting Frozen Shoulder.  Also, long term non-movement of the arm in its normal range of motion can develop frozen shoulder.

How do we know you have frozen shoulder?

During examination we will move your arm and see where its limitations are.  Orthopedic tests will be administered to test strength and neurological testing will be performed.

If necessary, an x-ray with contrast dye injected (Arthography) into the shoulder joint can show problems with the capsule.   Also an MRI can be taken to see soft tissue damage.

In order to help with this problem, proper stretching of the arm and rehabilitation is required.  Stretches must be done everyday to keep good blood flow, movement and mobility.  Here is the bad news….once you have frozen shoulder or impingement syndrome, you have to keep stretching.  It can and will come back.

Both of these problems need a lot of time for rehabilitation.  It can sometimes take be 6-8 months to get back to full function.  Be patient, it will happen, just a lot of hard work to get you back in the swing of things again.

It can be tricky but in either case, our Redwood City Chiropractic office can help.

Rotator Cuff Injuries Can Creep Up On You

Your rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons on the upper part of your shoulder.  These muscles are responsible for rotating your arm outward (Teres Minor and Infraspinatus), rotating it inward (Subscapularis) and moving it away from your body (Supraspinatus).  Since we use our arms a lot, irritation or damage to the rotator cuff is fairly common.

Injuries to the area can result from falling on the shoulder, lifting and repetitive arm movements.  The most common cause of a rotator cuff injury occurs when you lift our arm over your head to throw a baseball or to open shelves that are above the shoulders.  Athletes and chefs commonly have problems with the shoulder.

Here are some common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury:

Pain and tenderness in your shoulder, especially when reaching overhead, reaching behind your back, lifting, pulling or sleeping on your side
Limited movement in the shoulder
avoidance of lifting your arm over your head for fear of pain.

What causes a rotator cuff problem?

Normal wear and tear. Increasingly after age 40, normal wear and tear on your rotator cuff can cause a breakdown of fibrous protein (collagen) in the cuff’s tendons and muscles. This makes them more prone to degeneration and injury. With age, you may also develop calcium deposits within the cuff or arthritic bone spurs that can pinch or irritate your rotator cuff.
Poor posture. When you slouch your neck and shoulders forward, the space where the rotator cuff muscles reside can become smaller. This can allow a muscle or tendon to become pinched under your shoulder bones (including your collarbone), especially during overhead activities, such as throwing.
Falling. Using your arm to break a fall or falling on your arm can bruise or tear a rotator cuff tendon or muscle.
Lifting or pulling. Lifting an object that’s too heavy or doing so improperly — especially overhead — can strain or tear your tendons or muscles. Likewise, pulling something, such as a high-poundage archery bow, may cause an injury.
Repetitive stress. Repetitive overhead movement of your arms can stress your rotator cuff muscles and tendons, causing inflammation and eventually tearing. This occurs often in athletes, especially baseball pitchers, swimmers and tennis players. It’s also common among people in the building trades, such as painters and carpenters.
Being an athlete. Athletes who regularly use repetitive motions, such as baseball pitchers, archers and tennis players, have a greater risk of having a rotator cuff injury.
Working in the construction trades. Carpenters and painters, who also use repetitive motions, have an increased risk of injury.
Having weak shoulder muscles. This risk factor can be decreased or eliminated with shoulder-strengthening exercises, especially for the less commonly strengthened muscles on the back of the shoulder and around the shoulder blades.

Problems in your shoulder can be a long term problem.  When tissues are damaged it can take 8-12 weeks to heal.  Even after reconditioning the area you must keep up with it especially if you have a job that calls for repetitive shoulder movement.  I have had great success with S.A.S.T.M. to recondition the tissue along with proper alignment of the shoulder.  Incorporating exercises to strengthen the area really helps!  You don’t have to live with shoulder pain and limitation.  Give us a call and we will guide you to health.

What Is The Cracking Sound With An Adjustment?

Cracking or popping is caused by a mixture of synovial fluid located in the joint, friction and gas.  The sound happens when the gas (mostly carbon dioxide) is released from the joint.

Just think about when you get a package in the mail.  Often times there is bubble wrap in the box to protect your stereo, television etc.  When you press into the bubble (friction), it makes a popping sound.  That is pretty much like the pressure a joint gets with an adjustment.  No breaking of bone, no smashing bones, just a release of gas.  After the “pop” happens, the joint will not make a noise again until the gases come back into the joint.  That is why once you hear a pop, another one can not be repeated.

So, now after learning this information, there is no reason to fear of the sound right?  Well, if you are afraid of the sound, there are other methods of moving the joint that don’t involve a popping sound and most chiropractors will accommodate you if you are don’t like the sound.

Is Carrying A Backpack Good For My Child?

Kids carry heavy backpacks with school supplies.  Many times the backpack is carried over one shoulder pulling on one side of the neck.  This causes one shoulder to be higher than the other.  This can start to cause postural problems, headaches and neck pain.  Also, because the load is so heavy, kids often bend over pushing their head forward causing more stress on the neck and shoulders.   Research has come back showing that kids backpacks can be up to 30% of their body weight.  That is pretty heavy and to carry this load several days a week can have some huge affects on the body!

Prolonged stress on the back not only causes upper back and neck problems but lower back problems because of the strain on the spinal column.  Posture can be greatly affected because children are still very flexible and growing.  Please choose ergonomic backpacks that put less stress on the back and shoulders and ALWAYS have both straps around the shoulders to prevent unnecessary stress on the body.  This will enable your child to have a fighting chance against postural problems in the future!

Here are some things to look for when buying a backpack:

– Padded backs to help reduce pressure on shoulders, arms and back.

– Belts for the hip and chest to aide in proper weight distribution.

– Multiple compartments so that items can be placed in the pack with better balance and distribution plus keeping them secure and easy to access.

– Stabilizing compression straps on the sides and bottom to help secure and compress the contents.

– Reflective patches to increase pre-dawn or night safety.

Hope this helps!